This section will present the history of the rune stone, and its impact through the years on its discovering family, in a different way. Through the perspective of some of the key documents and letters from throughout the controversy, we hope you will get a feel for the human emotions and motives, both high and low, that emerged as the saga of the rune stone unfolded. From true scholars to charlatans, the characters that were on the stage are brought back to life, at least a little.

In the earliest known letter written by Olof Ohman, dated November 9, 1879, on page 2 he listed the cities he traveled through by train on his way to Minnesota.

“And then traveled the small part of America, I landed in Philadelphia and then went on the railroad to Pittsburgh and then went to Columbia (sic Columbus), Indianapolis, Peoria, Galva, Bishop Hill. There I made a stop for 7 days and then continued to Rock Island. P.S. I talked to three men who belong to Olof Rindes congregation and then on to Milwaukee, in Wisconsin, a city by Lake Michigan, and then on to St. Paul in Minnesota, on to Morris the last station. Now I have safe and sound arrived to Douglas County where I had the honor to say hello to the people of Forsa, “Good day.”


The John P. Hedberg letter was sent to the newspaper Svenska Amerikanska.

Posten on Jan 1, 1899

Swan J. Turnblad

I enclose you a copy of an inscription found on a stone about 2 miles from Kensington by O. Ohman. He found it under a tree while grubbing - he wanted I should go out and look at it and I told him to haul it in when he came (not thinking much of it), he did so and this is an exact copy of it. The first parties of the flat side of stone the other was on flat edge. I thought I would send it to you as you perhaps have means to find out what it is - it appears to be old Greek letters please let me hear from you and oblige.

Yours Truly, J.P. Hedberg

N. H. Winchell wrote a letter to the Museum Committee on December 15, 1909, stating that the Rune Stone was genuine.

“I have personally made a topographical examination of the place where the Kensington rune stone was found, and of the region northward to Pelican lake where the skerries are located, to which the inscription refers, and I am convinced from the geological conditions, and the physical changes that the region has experienced probably within the last five hundred years that the said stone is not a modern forgery, and must be accepted as a genuine record of an exploration in Minnesota, at the date stated in the inscription.”


Winchell underlined and obviously questioned this statement in a footnote at the bottom of page 4 of George T. Flom’s 1910 paper on the language on the Rune Stone.
“While knowing that the runological-philological questions are the only ones that have scientific value,”

Even at this early date one sees the bias and narrow-mindedness among the so called scholars. Flom so fully believes that linguistics is the only discipline that could possibly shed any light on the stone, that he fails to perceive how outrageous his comment is. Of course Winchell, the geologist, sees the bias and the blunder immediately.

“This energetic discussion brings out important new facts, which everyone who is seeking only the truth will welcome, but everyone will be at liberty still to make such application of the facts as his own judgment dictates. The results reached by Flom are open to two elements of distrust.

1. His denial, instanter, prior to any investigation, of the genuineness of the stone. He has not shown the mental status of a frank and open-minded investigator.

2. He, and R.B. Anderson are sharp, business and personal rivals of Holand and contestants before the Scandinavian people of the Northwest in thepublication of historical and statistical works on the settlement of the Northwest by Scandinavians. Such rivalry has broken out in flagrant personal attacks in the newspapers by one upon the other, and Anderson has culpably misrepresented some facts, and has manufactured others. The same having been published in his paper “Amerika” at Madison, Wis. Mr. Holand by his activity and the greater sales of his printed works has provoked them to intense jealousy. Mr. Flom has accepted some of Anderson’s fabrications.”

These notes were written by Newton Winchell on a blank page in the back of George Flom’s paper on the Kensington Rune Stone on July 20, 1910.


On page 4 of the letter Olof Ohman wrote on April 28, 1927, he wrote about the upcoming rally at Oscar Lake, for a monument to the Kensington Rune Stone.

“I send you a clip from a newspaper that will give you the information that it is decided to build a monument on the site that the stone was found. That I have waited for, for 29 years, but it looks like it will really take place now. As long as there isn’t more criticism of the same, but I am informed that runologists and archaeologists who are the learned authorities in that science in Europe have now proclaimed that it is real. A dear greeting to you.


Olof Ohman”

On December 4, 1927, Olof Ohman wrote glowingly about the rally at Oscar Lake on June 1, 1927.

“November 29 there was a big meeting in Alexandria because of the Kensington rune stone, like you saw in the news clip that I sent you. This summer, June 1st, there was a meeting in Oscar Lake. There were about 10,000 people there, there were also 3,000 automobiles. It was a record at the scene.”


On September 2, 1935, Karin Ohman wrote a letter to the relatives in Sweden, sadly informing them of Olof’s death.

“I now send you a few of written words to let you know that our father is dead. He died August 27th in the morning. We led him to bed on Saturday evening, he felt so bad and his legs hurt. He then laid in bed to Tuesday. That day we got him up in a chair, but when we laid him back in bed he took three short breaths and it was over.”


On October 16, 1949 one day after receiving Holvik’s check and offer to purchase the Rosanderbook, Amanda wrote back asking him to return the book.

“Kensington, Minn.
Oct. 16-49

Dear Sir

Am returning check as we don’t want to sell this book we really want to keep it. So please return it at once. Did look over books here but am sure there is none Mr. Holvik would care for. Return Skolmstaren we value it as a keepsake.

Your(s) truly

Manda Ohman”


The end of this letter, written by Erik Moltke to J. A. Holvik, on December 13, 1949, sums up Professor Moltke’s sentiments about the stone, in no uncertain terms.

Note the apparent glee in what should be a dispassionate scientific enquiry. Note too that there was no original draft, and that everything Moltke says here is later proven false.

Letter written from Olof Ohman Jr. to Art and John Ohman Transcribed on July 2, 2004 by Scott F. Wolter

Viking Alta April 2th, 1957

Dear Broers,

Well I think it’s about time to write letter and an thank you for the Echo that you are sending me that was a good writing about Rune Stone and I hope you send some more off them about the rune stone. We have had a nice winter we had very little snow this the snow just about gone now we have had letter from William I see. They got another son I wrote to Lalard quite a while ago but I have not got any answer yet I wrote him to look around at second stores see if he could if he could find 20 gauge automatic shot gun and let me know what they cost gunnery here is very high price. I do not do much shooting any more. We had a card from Walter Gran and he said he was gong to send a letter later but we have not got it yet. When he wrote he was breaking colts. I was up in Hospital 4 days I have had a cold all winter now I can not stand to be out in cold any more but now I am feeling pretty good it is pretty good here in Viking the hospital is so close the hospital is twice as big now as it was when you and Walter was here it was and wing built to it in 1953.

Page 2

I wonder if the Park Region Echo keep any paper on file from years past I wish I could get a copy since the year they had that a drawing on a monument to be placed where rune stone was found. I had one that you sent to me and I let my John Kring he did so I last it Pete my home is not so well he took sick two years ago with heart trouble and he is going blind glasses do not do him any good any more. Is that rune stone in Alexandria now if it is if it is could you check my measurement 31 long 16 width 6 thick.

I’m pretty sure it will be a monument sometime where that stone was found it might not be in our time but pretty some time. I will send my diagram on root that went over it. I know size of the root that over the stone but I forgot size of the tree if was 9 inch or 10 inch in Dia. Well this is I can think about for this time.

Greetings from us,

O. E. Ohman

P.S. Did Oscar mo get his round harow

Olof Ohman Jr. was forgotten about as the third witness at the moment of discovery since he had grown up and moved to Viking, Alberta, Canada, in 1905. Holand came along at took the stone from Ohman in 1907 and the serious investigations didn't begin until 1909, so his input was never obtained. Olof Jr. died later that same year.

This letter, and his subsequent input, wasn't found until 2004 when Scott Wolter went through the Ohman documents with the family. Better late than never!


During the research for “Kensington Rune Stone: Compelling New Evidence,” much effort was directed toward gathering together old family documents. Some were not previously known by most family members. In the selection we believe the reader can see that these were mostly family letters that no-one dreamed would ever become public. And in them one can see that this is not the sentiment of a family with a secret to keep hidden about a hoax. Rather, it is a family whose lives were touched for generations by the finding of the stone and the accusations that followed.


Ohman Family


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