Benson County North Dakota Genealogy

Normania Township North Dakota
Township 155 North, Range 67 West


Brinsmade Early Citizens Schools & Churches Atlas of Benson County, 1910 Plat Map


History of Normania Township, North Dakota

Taken from Leeds/York Seventy-five Years Diamond Jubilee 1886-1961 book

It is believed that the earliest homesteader to settle in Normania township came in the spring of 1883. He was John L. Solberg, who homesteaded on the east side of Mauvais Coulee, the present site of the bridge near the present farm of Clifford Myhre. Most of the early settlers of the township were of Scandinavian descent. Some came directly from the old country, some from the eastern states, and a few from Canada. There were a number who came from the Red River Valley who, even in that day, found land prices too high, and pushed west where land was "free. Many of the first pioneers were stopped by the Mauvais Coulee and did not go any further. While there were few settlers in the early 80's, the coming of the railroad brought many more homesteaders and much of the township was soon claimed.

The township was officially organized in 1890, and the first township meeting was held April 24, 1890. George Engebretson Sr.'s choice of Normania (Norman or Norway) was accepted as a name for the township after much discussion at an organizational meeting. Mr. Engebretson also had the distinction of being the first representative elected from Benson county to the first State Legislature in 1889. Hans Blegen also assisted in organizing the township and became the first chairman of the board. He later served as Assessor for many years; his son, Olaf, living on the O. Kinlien homestead, is present Assessor for Normania township and has served for many years. The first supervisors were John Kennedy, Halvor Peterson and Knud Hiaasen. Normania township also boasted one of the first State Senators to the State Legislature in A.J. Kirkeide who served for two terms. He was a county commissioner from 1895-1903.

Among the earliest homesteaders were: Ingvold Anderson, Torger Tofsrud, Thor Brujord, Erick Lysne, Thorval Torgerson, K.O. Hiaasen, John Lunde, John T. Solberg, and Mary McDonnell. Arriving a short time later were: T. Wardrope, T. Kildahll, A. Kirkeide, H. Peterson,  H. Blegen, B. Muri, J. Wigness, R. and A. Yri, E. Andrews, and F.M. Foss. Other homesteaders were: G. Engebretson, Sr., A. Blegen, J. Thompson, O. Jacobson, B. Halvorson, B. Hefta, C. Halvorson, T. Hefta, H. Halvorson, J. Kirkeide, T.N. Lien, J. Haney. O. Wilmer, O. Kinlien, I. Knudson, J. Kennedy, C. Johnson, and M.K. Medhus.

Village of Brinsmade , Normania, North Dakota

Portions as published in the Brinsmade Star 1915

Brinsmade was platted on October 7 1889 by Eugene.S. Rolfe, when the Northern Pacific was extended from Minnewaukan to Leeds, & is located on the southwest quarter of Section 6 in Township 154, Range 67 West, which quarter was the original filing of John H. Erickson. Rolfe a Minnewaukan attorney & state senator named the town to honor his friend, Rev. S. Brinsmade, a Congregational minister of Beloit, Wis. All but block 8 was sold to John S. Hubbard in January 1892.  Ormsby McCorg was the first to open a store & elevator in the then new town, but burned out in 1891. The village was incorporated April 4, 1904. Accordingly officers were elected who met & organized into a local law making body, the first ordinance being spread upon the village record books dating April 4, 1904, and signed by G. Hofstrand as the president of the village board of trustees & J.R. McLaren was the first clerk. The officers were H.J. Haugan, president of the board, with Geo. W. Hopper & Chas. R. Bochne the other members; & R.P. Forest, clerk.

The history of Brinsmade is not unlike hundreds of other towns in the northwest & may be recorded in few words. The primary cause of its origin was the railroad, but the subsequent development & growth of population in the surrounding country rendered the market facilities it provided a necessity. The subsequent growth of Brinsmade was fostered & sustained wholly by the agricultural interests of the country tributary, & is not the result of any speculative or any fictitious agency; hence the advancement made was a gradual & steady move forward, step by step.

According to the 2010 Census it had a population of 35.

Elevators in Brinsmade 2017
The Bingamin Elevator on the left the Ose Elevator on right

Photo by Peter Herman Photography

Brinsmade Highlights

Taken from the Benson County Farmers Press "Brinsmade Gopher Day Centennial
July 1 & 2, 1989 Centennial Special Edition

1909 1911 1913
Normania Township election results: clerk, A.J. Kirkeide; treasurer, J.J. Kirkeide; assessor, H.O. Blegan; justice of the peace, N.T. Lien

In July A.R. Herman competed the construction of a new barn,
A barn dance was held.
Georg Herman was quite badly scalded on the back & hand while attempting to change a soft plug in a threshing machine. Oscar Mehus returned from Minneapolis. He had been taking a course of studies at Augsburg Seminary the past winter.

Dr. Vigeland purchased a Model T Ford Automobile-his first.

C.H. Hofstrand returned home from Philadelphia, PA where he finished his course in veterinary medicine.
1914 1915 1919
Albert Herman built a new modern cook car for threshing season. Just as Mrs. Noah Gerig entered the outskirts of Brinsmade one day in July, the horse she was driving became frightened & in its antics Mrs. Gerig was thrown out & received some bad bruises. The children with her escaped injury. The Tilden School opened Dec 30 with Miss Sadie Cochran at the helm.

Nels Sasserson planned to go to Minneapolis to continue his musical studies.

The following officers were elected in the Mennonite Sunday School: superintendent, Noah Gerig; secretary, Fern Powell; treasurer, Peter Ringenberg; organist, Edna Herman; cor. secretary, Mrs. E.S. Powell.

Frank Salisbury & wife moved into the section house. Frank was employed as a hand on the section.

Cora Salisbury was engaged to teach the Stewart school.
1921 1922 1923
The Brinsmade orchestra, under the direction of Nels Sasserson, played for a dance at the Opera House.

Miss A. Lucille Drake organized a music class in Brinsmade.

A new & enterprising business was started by Jack McDonald Jr. His shoe shining parlor was called "Cosy Shine Shop".

Ben Tester was appointed night watch for the city during the busy season to stop cat fights, keep the dogs off the street & watch the burglars burgle.
George Dickinson of Brinsmade was named Benson County director of the North Dakota Good Roads Assoc.

C.M. Padgett of Brinsmade, who had the contract for the Oberon-Minnewaukan state highway, completed graveling the road in the northern part of the county.

E. Beissbarth of Brinsmade was names to the advisory board of the Benson County Bankers Assn.
Fire in the I.G. Stewart barn 3 miles south of town one day in June badly damaged the building & 1 horse was so badly burned that it had to be shot.

Mrs. B.W. Tester of Brinsmade sustained and injury to her right arm when the Ford she tried to crank, kicked.

Confirmands at Brinsmade Lutheran Church in August were: Agnes Loken, Stella Tangelien, Esther Lindelien, Esther Solberg, Alma Remmen, Judith Syverson, Irvin Lunde & Ellen Pearson.

John C Pohl who was employed at Link's Garage for a number of years, decided to go to the coast.

Four cars of stock were shipped out of Brinsmade, two by Tom Myking, one by Dr. C.H. Hofstrand & one by Andrew Grasser.
1924 1926 1927
 In 1924 the following village officers were elected: trustees-1st Ward, A.F. Herman; 2nd Ward, Thom Myking; 3rd Ward, Ira Bingaman; clerk, John Lindelien; treasurer, H.S. Herman; assessor, A..J. Planting; justice of the peace, O.G. Hiaasen.

Alma Mehus of Brinsmade was selected as piano soloist for the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra & was the youngest American to be so honored. Miss Mehus was a pupil of Prof. E.A. Boehmer, formerly in charge of the Dakota Conservatory of Music in Fargo. She studied in Chicago & spent a year in Germany.

Peter Molitor was a veterinarian in the area.

Paul Rutherford worked at the Tilden elevator.

Blair Chapman was a champion chicken raiser.

Ole Underdahl was section foreman at Tilden.
Two places of business were visited by thieves at Brinsmade during the holiday season. Mr. Link's garage was broken into one night.  While they were busy at work about 5 a.m. Mr. Rognlie, who was employed there, happened to come in & hearing the noise he expected to find Mr. Link so walked in unaware the 2 robbers were there.  They quickly covered him with their guns, secured a rope & tied him up hand & foot & finished their business. They took at shotgun, a flashlight & about $18 in cash. Mr. Rognlie succeeded in releasing himself after awhile & gave the alarm but the perpetrators had by this time made good their escape.

Nels Sasserson held 1st violin chair with the famous Paul Whitman Orchestra. Mr. Sasserson attended Minnewaukan & Brinsmade schools.

Magnus Hofstrand & Thomas Ose, Brinsmade, attended the IVA meeting.

Mabel Helgeson taught near Brinsmade.

J.K. Smith was a well know well driller from near Brinsmade.

Harry Stewart of Brinsmade was a member of the "Kings of Harmony" orchestra.

Thomas Ose kept Brinsmade on the map as a baseball town.

Fire destroyed the house occupied by Frank Salisbury near Brinsmade.

F.W. Bowman of Brinsmade was chairman of the Benson County Red Cross.
Mrs. J.M. Dooley of Brinsmade was one of the successful competitors in the "Dakota Maid" flour contest. Her version of why Dakota Maid flour was best was published in a booklet. She received honorable mention.

O.G. (Olaf) Skarsten was a Brinsmade painter.

Several young boys got the music bug. Harold Vigeland, Ray Forest & Carl Lien took violin lessons from Mr. Paulson.  Lavig Forest & Norman Vigeland took cornet lessons from Henry Haugen. Norman Myking received a new clarinet. Ernest Ringenberg tried to master the saxophone.

Dr. E. Yri, the Brinsmade dentist, divided his time between Minnewaukan & Brinsmade.
1928 1929 1930
R.P. Forest was president & Harvey Herman, secretary of the 22nd Club.

Pupils in the primary room prepared several weeks for the grade declamation contest. Taking part were Lloyd Hofstrand, Harry Salisbury, Ralph Law, Arnold Hofstrand, Kathryn Tester, Sammie Crowley, Phyllis Tester, Patricia O'Connell, Hugh John Forest, Jerome Rolle, Nona Evenson, Karrie Harmon, Walter Lien, Gladys Lien, Bert Nygaard, Marren Kenner, Alvin Kenner, Harold Vigeland, Judges were Mrs. Gunderson, Mary Witmer, & Mrs. Sheets. Phyllis Tester was awarded 1st prize & Patricia O'Connell the 2nd prize. Phyllis represented the primary room at the Benson County grade declamation contest.

Ambrose M. Harney, former Brinsmade man, opened a mortuary in Devils Lake.

T.I. Gwynn moved to Brinsmade & was a mechanic at Link's Garage.
The Benson County Consolidated High School declamation contest was held in Brinsmade April 12. Winners were Dorothy Tester, Mary Plummer, Hugh John Forest, Clinton Stoeser, Loren Witmer, Lawrence Forest, Harry Ose & Lloyd Hofstrand. There was a group of 14 entered for a song in addition to the above. Judges were Rev. Voth, Ruda Blegen, Roy Lawrence, Martin Evenson & Mrs. H. L. Sheets. Miss Solberg acted as judge for ballots.

The Brinsmade dental office of Dr. E.O. Yri was closed in September.

T.I. Gwynn, the Brinsmade Maytag dealer, sold 80 Maytags in his territory the past season.
Dr. J.G. Vigeland, Brinsmade was appointed superintendent of the Benson County Board of Health.

Dr. C.H. Hofstrand of Brinsmade was elected director of the N.D. Shorthorn Breeders Assn.

Dr. C. F. Hofstrand of Brinsmade was president of the Benson County Fair Assn.

Winners at the Benson County Consolidated High School declamation & oratorical contest were: girls reading-1st Wilma Oleson, Brinsmade; 2nd Maybelle Zaloudek, Brinsmade. Boys reading -1st, Edward Zaloudek, Brinsmade; 2nd, Leslie Strand, Flora.

Harvey Herman of Brinsmade took a position as assistant cashier & bookkeeper in the Benson County State Bank.

Martin Evenson of Brinsmade was chairman for the Carl Ben Eielson Memorial Assn. fund drive.

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