American Girl Wiki

These are the minor characters in Kirsten's series

Amos Anderson

A black-haired nineteen-year old student at Powederkeg School. He has blue eyes and is as tall as Olav Larson. He has a reputation for being rowdy and troublesome and once got into a fight that made Mr. Coogan punch him.

Miss Winston's sternness (and public embarrassment) is enough to shame him into behaving better during school.

The Berg Brothers

Two brothers that live near the Larsons. They're bachelors and are often referred to as "Big Berg" and "Little Berg", with Big Berg being an inch or so taller than his younger brother.

Mr. Berkhoff

The owner of Berkhoff's General Store. He is a bald man with a mustache.

Brave Elk

The father of Singing Bird and the chief of his tribe.

Mr. Coogan

The previous teacher of Powderkeg School; Anna and Lisbeth say he was very strict teacher. Miss Winston replaces him as teacher and tells the students that Mr. Coogan was injured after being thrown from his horse.


A boy around Peter's age. He was traveling to California with his Ma and dog to reunite with his Pa before the their wagon fell over. He is one of the main characters of the short story Kirsten's Promise.

Five Swans

An Ojibwe Indian that trades with Olav and Inger Larson.

Johanna Green

The ten year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Green. She is tall for her age and is described as having eyes that seemed older than a ten year old's should.

Mr. and Mrs. Green

The Larsons' neighbors. Their original surname was Sjögren.

Following the death of their eldest daughter, Mr. Green decided the should immigrate to America for a new start. Due to Mrs. Green's growing paranoia over strangers, and Mr. Green's lack of farming skills, they decided it would be best to return to Sweden.

They're only seen in The Runaway Friend.


A family friend of Olav Larson and Inger Larson's. He's a tinsmith and pays the Larson a visit in The Runaway Friend.

Miss Mobeck

A Swedish woman who visits Minnesota in The Runaway Friend. She visits the Larsons and asks them and their neighbors questions about life in America.


Kirsten's maternal grandmother and Greta Larson's mother. (As "Mormor" is the Swedish term for one's maternal grandmother, this confirms her as Greta's mother.) Her real name is unstated.

She did not immigrate with the family and still lives in Sweden; due to the difficulties in travel in the era, it is all but impossible for the family to see her again after they leave. She gifted Kirsten her amber heart necklace as a parting gift before the family left Sweden.

She is mentioned in Kirsten's Surprise, when Greta and Kirsten reminisce how she helped pack their painted trunk.


A Norwegian girl who attends Powderkeg School with Kirsten. She is described as having a round face, creamy skin, blond hair she wears in a thick braid, and a dimple in one cheek. In Kirsten and the New Girl, she and her family are new to America. She's very good at math (numbers).

Old Jack

An elderly man who makes his living as a fur trapper, with white skin and a white beard. He is the oldest trapper in the area and came west as an explorer and settled in the area. He lives alone in the woods in a modified cave with a chimney and door; he has never married or had a family. He's known for dressing in all leather clothing and fur caps and using rope traps rather than modern (for the era) metal traps. He's considered different, in part beacause of his desire to be isolated and not liking to being where others are present. He's wise in trapping and prefers to seek out mink and martens, and other animals whose furs are worth a lot of money. John Stewart says Old Jack showed him where to trap for foxes. Kirsten thinks he sounds spooky and is scared of him, and Lars later states that there aren't any more like him.

In Changes for Kirsten Kirsten, Lars, and John initially talk about him when come across one of his traps, a snare trap for mink. Later, when Kirsten and Lars find themselves out later than planned, Lars spots Old Jack's snowshoe tracks and says they should follow the steps to find where he lives to ask for a lantern to help get back home so they don't get lost. As they find the cave-cabin, there is no smoke coming from the chimney and drifted snow has piled up on the door indicating no one has likely come past it. When the two let themselves in by pushing the door open, Kirsten tumbles and sees Old Jack sitting against the wall looking right at them and screams, trying to escape thinking Old Jack will hurt them. Lars points out that he can't hurt them or anyone, as he's dead; his face is white, his eyes are glazed over, and there's no cloud of breath at his lips. Once Kirsten realizes he's dead she takes a closer look and thinks he resembles an animal of the forest. Lars pulls Old Jack's fur cap over his eyes respectfully and speculates that, as Jack was quite old, he likely sat down to rest and his heart simply stopped. As the two look around inside with the lantern, they see among Old Jack's meager things that the back of the cave is stacked with pelts to the roof, impressing Lars greatly with the quality and quantity. Lars speculates that Papa would say they would need to bury Old Jack properly (come spring once the ground is thawed) and--since he's died with no family or others to claim his property--that his furs belong to those that found them, the Larsons. Lars formulates a plan to take the furs back on their toboggan, cover Old Jack's body with a blanket, and in the morning as they leave seal up the cave with stones against the door to make sure animals don't get in. As Kirsten states she's scared to sleep the night with the dead, Lars assures her that Old Jack was a good man whose soul is in Heaven and there's nothing to fear. Kirsten does fall asleep and by the time she wakes up, Jack's body is under one of his Native blankets.

The value of Old Jack's pelts is enough for the Larsons to buy the Steward home as their own.

Erik Sandahl

A friend of Kirsten's. He's a few years older than Lars Larson. He immigrated to America with his sister Sigrid from Sweden, and lives in a shanty near the Larsons.

Sigrid Sandahl

Erik Sandahl's sister. She immigrated with Erik to America, where she met Tom Braxton and married him. Later on she left her husband and moved in with a friend, where Erik was able to find her.

John Stewart

A friend of Lars Larson and Mary Stewart's brother. He traps furs with Lars.

Mary Stewart

A friend of Kirsten, Anna and Lisbeth. She has curly brown hair and a "squinched-up" face like a sleeping puppy, and attends Powderkeg School with them. Her older brother is John and she has a younger one year old cousin being raised as a sister.

Her family initially moved to Minnesota from Boston four years ago (thus prior to Kirsten's arrival). She's worked on a quilt before so when Miss Winston is not there to guide them she helps.

The year before the events of Happy Birthday, Kirsten! (in 1854), her Aunt Sadie gave birth to twins; Sadie and one twin died. The Stewarts took the baby to raise as their own and calls her Mary's little sister; she cannot know of her biological mother.

Mr. Stewart

John and Mary's father.

Reverend Trulsson

A reverend from Saint Paul. In The Runaway Friend he escorts Miss Mobeck to the Larsons' farm.

Mr. and Mrs. Vanstrum

The Larsons' neighbors. Mrs. Vanstrum keeps a blue rosette Mr. Vanstrum gave her when they were courting.