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Helga was a Norwegian immigrant who married young, bore nine children, and endured fruitless years on the harsh Minnesota prairie before moving West. She and her husband Ole settled near the little Washington farm town of Rockford, only to be wiped out by the nationwide depression of 1893.
Lured by an offer from a mysterious sponsor, Helga was promised funds if she and her daughter walked unaided and unfinanced all the way to New York City. The women "tramped" the railroad lines through Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Omaha before reaching roads and "civilization" in the Midwest. They walked on through Chicago, Pennsylvania, and finally reached New York. On the arduous journey they faced extreme cold and heat, hunger and exposure, and even shot a man in the leg in self-defense. They met with mayors, governors, and other notables, such as, President-elect McKinley on his porch in Ohio.
On Christmas Eve, 1896, the New York World reported their arrival in New York City. What followed was an American tragedy.
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