Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

Historic Glensheen Estate and the Congdon Family

Using the Archives during COVID-19

The UMD Archives is currently closed, but we can answer questions by email and phone, and provide a limited number of scans of requested research materials. Please let us know if you are a current UMD student, staff, or faculty member who needs archival materials for a class or work related project as we will prioritize those requests. 

During June 2021, the UMD Archives will be unable to respond to most research requests because the staff will be focusing on a collections maintenance project. We are sorry for the inconvenience to researchers and look forward to working with you again soon. 

Questions? Contact us at or 218-726-8526.

Please contribute to the Northeastern Minnesota COVID-19 Community Archive Project.

1920 U.S. Census


Amanda Strand

  • Age 33
  • Born in Sweden, parents born in Sweden
  • Year of immigration to US - 1909

Annie Johnson

  • Age 26
  • Born in Sweden, parents born in Sweden
  • Year of immigration to US - 1904 or 1914

Buna (?) Olson

  • Age 28 
  • Born in Minnesota, parents born in Sweden

Hilda Anderson

  • Age 26
  • Born in Sweden, parents born in Sweden
  • Year of immigration to US-1915


John McKay

  • Age 46 
  • Born in Scotland, parents born in Scotland
  • Year of immigration to US -1908 
  • Job: Coachman 

Isabella McKay (wife of John)

  • Age 48 
  • Born in Scotland, parents born in Scotland
  • Year of immigration to US - 1911 

Richard Wilson (listed as roomer with the McKays)

  • Age 21 
  • Born in Pennsylvania, parents born in Pennsylvania
  • Houseman (at Glensheen) 


Donald Shepherd

  • Age 49 
  • Born in Scotland, parents born in Scotland
  • Job: Gardener (left in 1920-21) 

Mabel Shepherd (wife of Donald)

  • Age 38
  • Born in England


Information in Footnote to History, the diary of Else Wilke Soetebier, who was briefly a maid at Glensheen in 1922. Translated from the German and edited by her daughter-in­ law Virginia M. Soetebier in 1995. 

Housekeeper - Mrs. Spencer 
Cook - Mrs. Smith 
Houseman - Mark Roper (lived in mansion, brother of James) 
Butler - James Roper (lived in mansion) 
Cook - Sarah Roper (wife of James) 
Became cook after Mrs. Smith left, moved into gardener's cottage(?) 
Chauffeur and animal manager- John McKay (misidentified as James) 
Groomsman - ? 
Laundress - Victoria (lived in mansion) 
Downstairs Maids (lived in mansion)

  • Martina
  • Gunhild 

Upstairs Maids (lived in mansion)

  • Else Wilke 
  • Agnes (sister oflaundress Victoria) 
  • Lenore ( came with Congdon daughter, as nanny for the grandchildren)

Gardener: George Wyness

1930 U.S. Census


Johnie Young (female - may have been a widow)

  • Age 44
  • Born in Wisconsin, parents born in Wisconsin
  • Job: Cook

Ida Windahl

  • Age 28
  • Born in Wisconsin, parents born in Norway 
  • Job: Maid

Freda Ottoson

  • Age 38 
  • Born in Sweden, parents born in Sweden
  • Job: Maid

Possibly living in mansion

Segrud Stafseth 

  • Age 31
  • Born in Norway, parents born in Norway
  • Job: Houseman 

Serene Stafseth (wife of Segrud)

  • Age 32
  • Job: not mentioned

Stafseth children:

  • Borchild Maud (born 7 /.15/1926)
  • Sigmund Oliver (born 3/24/1927)


James Roper 

  • Age 36
  • Born in England, parents born in England
  • Job: Chauffeur 

Sarah Roper (wife of James, possibly second wife)

  • Age 24 
  • Job: Cook

Roper children:

  • Robert (born 1924, died 2004)
  • John (born 1926, died 2005)


George Wyness 

  • Age 65
  • Born in Scotland, parents born in Scotland
  • Job: Head Gardener (came in 1921)

Cora Wyness (wife of George) 

  • Age 55
  • Born in Germany, parents born in Germany
  • No job mentioned

Wyness children:

  • Graham (born 1908 ) 
  • John (born 1910 ) 
  • Robert Keith (born 1915)
    • Returned to Glensheen after WWII and took over from his father as gardener until 1985. 
      Died in 2004. 

Contact Us:


Phone: (218) 726-8526

Location: Kathryn A. Martin Library
Library Annex 202 (see map)