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These are the minor characters seen in Kirsten's series.


A Swedish agent who assists the Larsons on their trip; he immigrated from Sweden four years ago. Anders finds him a good man. He helps them exchange their money for American money at a bank, buy their train tickets, escorts them to the train that takes them from New York to Chicago, and all the way to the Mississippi River.

Amos Anderson[]

A black-haired nineteen-year old student at Powederkeg School (and thus the same age as the teacher, Miss Winston). 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 properly 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 about an inch 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.

Brown-Haired Woman[]

A brown-haired young woman in New York. She wears a long blue apron and lives in a brown house (with steps) some distance off of Broadway.

When Kirsten is lost and crying on her stairs, the woman sees her and touches her on the shoulder, trying to help her--however, she does not speak Swedish (and Kirsten does not yet speak English), so they are unable to communicate. She's puzzled as Kirsten asks for help, then motions to the pitcher; Kirsten clings to it tighter. She goes inside and comes back with a tin cup of water to Kirsten to drink before sitting next to her. When Kirsten traces the shape of a ship into the dust at her feet, the woman smiles at the picture, locks her door, and leads her back to Battery Park where the others are. Before Kirsten or her family can thank her, she is gone again.

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 near 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 seem 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 best to return to Sweden. They're only seen in The Runaway Friend.


A family friend of Olav and Inger Larson. 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. ("Mormor" is the Swedish term for one's maternal grandmother, which confirms her as Greta's mother.) Her full name is never stated.

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, and told Kirsten before the family left that when she's lonely, to look at the sun and remember we all see the same sun.

Kirsten sees red berries in baskets carried by women in New York and is reminded of the cloudberries her grandmother gathers in Sweden.

She is mentioned in Kirsten's Surprise, when Greta and Kirsten reminisce how she helped them 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. He has pale white skin and a white beard. He is the oldest trapper in the area; he 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 because 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, 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, implying that most older trappers don't use the methods he does.

In Changes for Kirsten Kirsten, Lars, and John initially talk about him when they 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 inside and sees Old Jack sitting against the wall looking right at them and screams, trying to escape and 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 to harm the body. 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 has been placed under one of his Native blankets by Lars.

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; the child is too young to know about 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.