Hans Peter Jacobsen Wiggen 1830-1896

Hans Peter Jacobsen Wiggen is not a familiar name to many, but his face is more familiar: His portrait, complete with tobacco pipe, beard and sou'wester hat was the model for the well-known figure on tobacco pouches from Tiedemanns tobacco factory.
His family came from Viggja in Børsa. In 1825 his father left and settled in Ila in Trondheim. The family's house was later called Romsdalsgården [the Romsdal house] by others because they spoke their mother's dialect there, so they felt they came from Romsdalen (Mellomila 16). From here Jacob Wiggen founded a whole town’s fisherman dynasty: He married and had a total of seven sons who all became fishermen. As if that was not enough: These seven had a total of 22 sons, and 20 of these were also fishermen in Trondheim!
Hans Jacobsen Wiggen was number three in the second generation. Apart from the special use of his portrait there is not much to set him apart from the other "Romsdalsgutan" [Boys from Romsdalen]. They fished in the Trondheim fjord, and the fish were sold in Ravnkloa. The Wiggen men rose early and went to bed late, hardy people in a constant battle with fjord and wind. In brief, they are archetypical representatives of the traditional Trondheim fjord fishing fleet, which continues to be part of the urban scene.
However, this industry has declined: Around 1900 there were 30 Wiggen fishermen in the town, 15 years later the number had shrunk to 10. New times were coming.
The women in the Wiggen family lived their own arduous lives. Not much is told about their story. At any rate this fisherman dynasty has numerous descendants, and the name lives on, including in the core areas of Ila and Ilsvikøra.
Recommended reading: Wiggen, Gunnar J.: Slektsboka om familien Wiggen [The book about the Wiggen family]. Trondheim 1999.

Author: Einar Rædergård