During the year 1963 Abel Magnus Paulsen wrote the following description of Sommarset. "Sommarset is a small place with two farms located on the west side of the Øksfjorden about ten miles from its inlet at the large Vestfjorden. It is thirty three miles northeast of Kabelvaag, the headquarters of the Vaagan Parish.
"At this latitude the sun sets below the southern horizon about the 23rd of November and remains hidden in the south until about January 20th, when it comes briefly into view. Each day the sun remains a little longer until it shines twenty-four hours a day beginning on May 24th, and never sets until late July. This is the land of the midnight sun.
"Sommarset had never been settled until 1879, when my parents established their home there. My father Paul Andreas Paulsen, in company with his older brother Johan Erik, had contracted to purchase the land together, from Iver Riise who lived in Storfjeld, for the price of 1,200 Kroner ($300.00 Amer- can money). Sommarset is a beautiful place with one sloping hillside above the other, profusely covered with native grasses, and wild flowers beginning at the shoreline and extending up the mountain side. A roaring creek flows down the mountainside about fifty feet south of our home. This creek is the south boundary line of the property, and the Tortenbak Creek, about three blocks north is the north boundary line. The west boundary line is the top of the mountain approximately three miles from the fjord, the fjord being the east boundary. A somewhat level area, 100 feet above the sea, was selected for building of the two homes and barns. An area 100 feet by 300 feet was leveled where the two houses were built. The two houses were built about forty feet apart facing each other across the yard. Our house was nearest the creek, facing north. The barns and hayloft were built about 100 feet further up the hill to the west.
"The banks of the Øksfjorden are very steep. About 100 feet from the shore line it varies between 100 to 150 feet deep. There is no harbor at Sommarset. The nearest anchoring place is about one mile south at Kalvhaupollen. The next closest anchoring is about two miles north at Hamnes. There are no roads along the fjord. The country is very rough, even now in 1963, there are no roads of any kind, only trails between the farms. All traffic between the neighbors is done by boat.
"A heavy east wind is prevalent, especially during the winter months. It can stir up very heavy waves which beat against the west shore of the three and one half mile wide fjord. Not even a small rowboat can be left anchored overnight. The first thing the family did was to mine out of the rocky shore a sloping incline which extended from the higher ground down to the low tide mark. They then bolted down crosswise birch logs about 16 to 24 inches apart so that boats could be pulled up from the fjord upon them without touching the rocks. The small row boats used were very light; even so, it took at least two men to pull them up to safety from the waves. When the tide was low and the east wind was blowing you needed all the help available to get the boat to safety before it was demolished."
Johan Erik Paulsen -- Brown House
Paul Andreas Paulsen -- Yellow House
Picture Complements of Simon Christiansen
The farm Hundness, home of Simon Martin Christiansen, is located approximately four miles south of Sommarset on the west coast of the Øksfjordenon a narrow peninsula jutting out into the Øksfjorden. It has a small harbor on each side with white sandy beaches providing shelter for small boats during stormy seas. There was only one house built on the farm, which burned down sometime during the nineteen twenties. A new house was built on the original foundation sometime during the nineteen forties.
Picture Complements of Simon Christiansen
To submit family information or to be added to the Bergstedt,
Christiansen, and Paulsen email list to receive occasional notices about changes to the site, contact Allen
Leigh via the address given below. I respect your privacy and will use your address only for the list; it will
not be given to anyone.
© Copyright Allen W. Leigh
Permission is given to use pages copyrighted by Allen W. Leigh in non-commercial