Martha, the second oldest child of Lars and Anna Stephenson, was born in Skanevik, Norway, on January 12, 1865. She came to the United States with her parents and spent her early years south of Helmar and later in Grundy County. She probably started working as a hired girl at a young age. On March 6, 1889, Martha married Rasmus A. Chally. Rasmus was the thirty-two year old brother of John Chally, who had married Martha’s younger sister Julia one year earlier. Two sisters had married two brothers. Martha and Rasmus were married by Reverend A. G. Nilsen at Hauges Lutheran Church.

At that time, Rasmus was working in a local lumber camp, but would later travel out west to work. Sarah Mabel, their first child, was born January 23, 1890; Henry Lewis, their second child, was born August 28, 1893.

Tragedy struck the family in 1897 when Martha contracted consumption (tuberculosis) while caring for an ill woman. She died on August 26, 1897, leaving Rasmus with two small children. The children lived part of the time with their father but also spent a lot of time with their relatives. Five years after Martha’s death, Rasmus married Matilda Anderson. There were two children from this marriage: Russell and Milford. After Rasmus received a bad injury iii a lumber camp, he settled in Morris, Illinois and started working for the Morris Paper Mill in about 1912. RaslflU8 died June 22, 1930 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Morris, Illinois.

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