Alfred Rognes married Jenette Bye, a country school teacher, July 3, 1918 in Albert Lea, MN. Jenette had graduated from Waldorf College in Forest City and Alfred attended the Academy there. They had both been on basketball teams at Waldorf. Both were Norwegian descent. Their parents, John and Julia Bye and Ole and Josephine Rogness, all came from Norway.
They had rented farms east of Scarville and then west of Vinje. By 1930 their family had grown to five (Jerome, Junice, Oswald, Rosella, and Byford) when they purchased a 120 acre farm five miles southwest of Joice in Fertile Township. Much of the moving was done with horses. Jerome and Oz, who were 9 and 7, recall driving the team hauling hay equipment across the 25 miles to their new home …. alone!! The barn was big and held 6 horses and 14 milk cows, plus pens for calves. They also raised hogs and chickens. Their farming was diversified — corn (always checked for 2-way cultivation), oats, hay and soybeans were added in the 40’s.
Alfred’s first tractor was probably a G P John Deere, then a W.C. Allis. His last tractor was a 3-point hitch Ford tractor. The older grandchildren remember getting rides on it. They also owned one of the first combines in the neighborhood. Before the combine, they joined the neighbors in using their small 22-inch threshing rig and would pitch the oat bundles into it from only one side. It could handle five bundle racks. Alfred loved to break horses. He had two big sorrel broncos that he couldn’t break. He gave up and traded them in on a new combine.
The farmhouse was big, too, and three more children brought their family to eight. Ray, Norma, and Alfred, Jr. call Joice their birthplace. The Rognes family lived on this farm during the depression years and World War II. Both parents were good managers and all worked hard to make ends meet. Some of the family inherited Jenette’s brown eyes and reddish hair, while other have Alfred’s blue eyes and brown hair.
Alfred and Jenette taught their family good moral and spiritual values. The children went to Larson School, along with the Heimdals, Rindens, Ramseys, and Tweeds. They hitched their Indian Arabian pony, Laddie, to a surrey in the fall and to a “Two-Runner” sled in the winter and drove the nearly two miles to their country school. Most of the family attended high school in Joice. The older ones spent a few weeks renting a room in Joice during bad weather, otherwise they drove. Al remembers riding in a bus in later years! The family attended Beaver Creek Church and then Bethel and the late Zoar Lutheran Brethren Churches. All of the children, except Alfred, Jr., were married between the years of 1941 and 1954.
In 1954, Norma was planning her marriage to George Barville in October, while Al was in the service in France and Alfred and Jenette were building a house in the north part of Joice. They moved into it from their farm home. Alfred spent some of his retirement years doing carpentry work. Jenette liked taking pictures, especially with her movie camera. She also enjoyed her vegetable and flower gardens. They traveled to visit their family and others. Jenette died in 1974 and Alfred spent three years in the Lake Mills Care Center before he died in 1988. They enjoyed their 36 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. (There were 36 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren by the time of Alfred’s death.)
Several generations of Rogness have lived a part of their lives in the Joice area. Alfred’s brothers, Henry and Judine lived south of Joice and also hist sister, Olga and Andrew Davidson. Some of them cared for their dad, Ole Rognes, who died in 1943 while living with his daughter, Olga. Some of the grandchildren were born near Joice.