Norse is on Farm Road 182 forty miles west of Waco in southwestern Bosque County. Norwegians had arrived in East Texas by 1845, but in 1853 the malaria then prevalent in Henderson and Kaufman counties forced them to search for new homesites. Two differing stories explain how they chose southwestern Bosque County. One version credits Cleng Peerson, the "father" of Norwegian immigration to America, with suggesting the locale to his countrymen. The second story states that Nicholas Hanson, a soldier at Fort Graham, directed a Norwegian scouting party to the area. At any rate, the Scandinavians visited the area and found a rolling landscape reminiscent of the terrain of eastern Norway. The first settlers, including the Questad, Ringness, and Grimland families, arrived the following year. Later, additional Norwegians settled the regions of Meridian, Gary, and Turkey creeks. The isolated families soon centered their social life upon a scattered group of buildings, including a rock school and a few shops, which they named Norse. Religious services were held in the school until Our Savior's Lutheran Church was dedicated in 1878. A post office opened in 1880. In the mid-1880s community citizens established the Norse Mutual Fire Insurance Company, a nonprofit, shared-risk organization, which was so successful that within a few years its directors were forced to limit membership to Scandinavian families living within twenty miles of Norse. As late as 1956 the company was still headquartered in the rural community; it ceased operation in 1984.
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