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John/Johan Nordland/Norland

Replies: 10

Re: John/Johan Nordland/Norland

Posted: 1329525492000
Classification: Query
The June 28, 1885 newspaper article in the Duluth Times talks about Norland's crimes in Finland and refers to a name change:


His Crime in Finland and His Escape From Punishment - Why He Committed Suicide.
Fond Du Lac, June 27.

Editor Tribune: Since the forty days for which Waisenen was remanded to await the action of the governor expired, there has been quite a speculation on the part of the Finlanders here as to the final action that will be taken in his case. There are several Finns here who were personally acquainted with Norland in the old country, and one of them, Joseph Erickson by name, gave me the following of Norland's history: Norland was convicted in Finland for the murder of a postmaster there, and while lying in prison feigned sickness and through the influence of his father, and his money, who, by the way, was well-to-do, his, Norland's, death and burial occured; but in place of Norland the coffin contained stone to make it heavy and represent a corpse, was incased and buried, while the real Norland was spirited away to this country, where he afterwards lived, except for a short time, when he made a visit to Norway, his father sending him money. At one time he sent him $500. Norland expressed to his friends that he would hang himself, and that if he could not do so in Duluth he would when he got to Stillwater, and that he had committed so many crimes that he had no peace of mind, and that his conscience troubled him so that he would rather end his miserable life than to have it prolonged. His real name was John Hollin [unfortunately, that name is hard to read, might say Holdin], but on arriving in America he adopted the name of Norland to avoid detection. Those knowing him seem to think he, of the two, was the most to blame for Farley's death, but do not exhonorate Waisenen, and seem to think him deserving any punishment he may get.

[signed] X

I find the following, although it is not specifically about John's family:

Freeborn County Standard
Albert Lea, Minnesota
January 14, 1885

Facts concerning the past life of John Norland the accomplice of Wiseman [sic] in the murder of Joseph Farley, says a Duluth dispatch, have come to light through a Finlander, who knew Norland in Finland, and divulged the story to John Lunberg, proprietor of the Pacific house in this city. Six years ago Norland murdered a mail carrier in Finland, and after committing the crime cut open the bag, at the same time cutting off the thumb and forefinger in his haste.

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bethrau1 1329525492000 
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