Trails to the Past

Ransom County North Dakota Biographies



JOHN L. TANNER has been identified with the business and farming interests of Ransom county since its early settlement and is a man of ability and energetic effort. He makes his home on section 30, in Sydna township, and is proprietor of a fine estate on which he conducts general farming and the raising of draft and driving horses. He also engages in carpenter work and many of the buildings of that locality are his work.

Our subject was born in Porter county, Indiana, February 3, 1861, and was the third in a family of four children born to Norman B. and Sophonia (Draper) Tanner. His father was of Scotch descent. Our subject was reared on a farm and when eighteen years old took a special course in the preparatory department of the Valparaiso (Indiana) Normal. He went to Wadena county, Minnesota, when he attained his majority and worked in the lumber woods and in 1882 went to Red river valley, Minnesota. He went to Milnor, Sargent county. North Dakota, in March, 1883, and purchased wheat during the fall, after which he entered the employ of N. Linton, dealer in lumber and general merchandise and was connected with him until 1884, and then engaged with Mr. Thompson in the implement business. This venture proved unsuccessful and our subject worked for J. Riddle, lumber dealer. who sold his business in 1884 to Rose Brothers, continuing with them as foreman until 1885. The firm sold out to J. J. Howe & Company, with whom he continued as foreman until 1892. He then went to reside on his farm, located four miles northwest of Milnor, since which time he has met with success in that pursuit.

John L. Tanner was married, in 1885, to Miss Sydna A. Lannigan, a native of Wisconsin, who went with her parents to North Dakota in 1882. Mr. and Mrs. Tanner are the parents of five children, as follows: Cora. Charles, deceased, Olive, Frances and Mabel. Mr. Tanner is prominent in local affairs and assisted in the organization of Sydna township, which was named for Mrs. Tanner. In 1896 Mr. Tanner was elected county commissioner for the fifth district and he has served his township as clerk. In political faith he is a Republican and twice served on the Republican county central committee.

WILLLIAM TRUMBULL, who is well known as one of the most extensive farmers of township 133, range 57, is an early settler of that locality, and was for many years connected with the business interests of Lisbon, Ransom county. He makes his home on section 10, and aside from grain raising is interested largely in stock raising. He is a man of careful management, and possessed of business ability, which, when supplemented By the strictest honesty, brings abundant reward.

Our subject was born in Juneau county, Wisconsin, May 22, 1856, and was the fifth in a family of nine children, born to William and Anna (Browne) Trumbull, both of whom were natives of Ireland. When eighteen years of age he went to Olmsted county, Minnesota, and worked at farm labor and well digging. He went to Cass county, Dakota, in the spring of 1880, and dealt in horses for some time, and in 1882 located butcher shops in Lisbon, and also dealt in stock. He was one of the early day business men of that place, and aided in its up building. He secured land in 1882, and he and his brother did an extensive business in farming, well digging, and dealing in horses and cattle. He located on his farm to reside in 1895, and is now the fortunate possessor of four hundred and eighty acres of land, and crops about eleven hundred acres annually. He has a flock of three hundred sheep, which proves profitable, and intends following stock raising more extensively. His farm is well supplied with water, and range is plentiful, and the farm is admirably adapted to that line of agriculture.

Our subject was married, in 1895, to Miss Addie Lebo. Mr. and Mrs. Trumbull are the parents of one daughter, upon whom they have bestowed the name of Ruth. Mr. Trumbull is one of the prominent men of his community, and has served in various important commissions. He takes an active interest in the welfare of his locality, and is now serving his third term as county commissioner for the third district. Politically he is a Republican, and has served as a member of the Republican county central committee, and has attended as delegate numerous county and state conventions. He holds membership in the Ancient Order of United Workmen and Modern Woodmen of America.

JOHN B. VIE. As a young man of ability and prominence this gentleman merits special mention. He has acquired a valuable property and conducts general farming on section 20. of Moore township, and has been a resident of Ransom county since his boyhood. He is well known as a man of active public spirit and has already taken a place among the leaders in his community.

Our subject was born in Fillmore county. Minnesota, September 14, 1868. and was the third in a family of eight children born to Peter O. and Martha (Vie) Vie. The mother is deceased and the father is a resident of Moore township. Ransom county. The father went to Dakota in 1881 and our subject went there in 1883, at the age of fourteen years. He completed his education in the public schools of Dakota and in 1892 purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land and began farming for himself. He now owns one half-section of land and is contemplating the erection of a residence and barn of convenient and modern design. His farm is a valuable one and he has made a success of his chosen vocation.

Our subject was married, in 1893. to Miss Johanna Lean. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Vie. as follows: Martha. Vida and Clara. Mr. Vie has served as assessor two years and was a member of the board of supervisors. He is much interested in educational work and is at present school clerk. Politically, he is a Republican and Prohibitionist and has attended numerous county Conventions as a delegate.

PETER O. VIE, whose career has been devoted to the pursuit of agriculture, in which he has been eminently successful, is one of the earliest settlers of Moore township. Ransom county. He is the owner of four hundred and eighty acres of land, and cultivates annually about three hundred acres, and is also engaged in stock raising, wintering about thirty head of cattle, and raising hogs quite extensively for that locality.

Mr. Vie was born near Hammer, Norway, June 25, 1839, and was the only son and third child in a family of four children born to Ole P. and True Enaason. He was reared on a farm and assisted with the farm work, and after the death of his father took charge of the home farm. He disposed of his interests in Norway, in 1867, and with his wife and children came to America and settled in Fillmore county, Minnesota, where he secured work on the railroad, which he followed most of the time until he located in Dakota, in the spring of 1881. He then had a cow, a few household effects and about one hundred dollars in money, and he built a small frame house, 14x16 feet, sodded on the outside, and made a permanent residence on section 34, in Moore township. He worked for others the first summer and hired ten acres of breaking done on his farm, and the following season secured a yoke of oxen and put in a small crop and broke more land, also working some for others. He added improvements to the place as circumstances would permit, and is now the owner of a fine estate, and enjoys a comfortable income.

Our subject was married, in 1863, to Miss Mary Vie. Mrs. Vie was an able helpmeet to her husband in the pioneer days, and after assisting in bringing about the easy circumstances which the family now enjoys, she was called to her last rest, in 1897. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Vie, as follows: Ole; Tina; John; Martin, deceased ; Christ; Oscar, deceased; Oscar; Paul and Arthur. Mr. Vie takes an active interest in public affairs in his township, and is the present township treasurer. He is well known as a gentleman of true worth, and commands the respect and esteem of his fellow men. Politically he is a Republican.

CASPER OLSON VIG, residing on section 12,. in Bear Creek township, is one of the earliest settlers of Ransom county. He has accumulated a fine property by dint of his own efforts and is a striking example of what can be accomplished by honest industry and careful management.

Our subject was born at Claven, Frosta, near Tronhjem, Norway, April 19, 1853. He was the youngest in a family of three children born to Ole and Martha (Olson) Olson, both of whom are now living in their native land. After having worked as a farmer and sailor until his twenty-second year he came to America and worked in a saw-mill in Wisconsin, and spent the winters in the lumber woods. He worked on a grading train for about two years and during several threshing seasons followed that work in Goodhue county, Minnesota. He went to Valley City in July, 1878, and from thence to Ransom county, taking land as a preemption on the banks of the Sheyenne river. He had about two hundred and fifty dollars with which to develop his farm and built a log house 12x16 feet. He developed a wheat farm and now owns five hundred and twenty acres of fine land, all of which, with the exception of the pre-emption which was his homestead farm, he has acquired by purchase. He has added to his original dwelling and has a comfortable residence on his homestead farm. He owns a threshing outfit and is a well-known and successful thresher of northwestern Ransom county, this work adding materially to his annual income.

Our subject was married, in 1878, to Miss Anna Kragness. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Vig, as follows: Oscar A., John, Sophia, Mary, deceased, Martin, Carl, Alfred and Amanda. Mr. Vig has served as chairman of the township board and assisted in the organization of Bear Creek township. While he did not file on his land as early as others of the settlers he is the first pioneer of the township and has always taken an active interest in the welfare of his community. Politically, he is a Populist and is a man who keeps abreast of the times in all public affairs and is strong in his convictions.

ORVILL E. VOSBURG belongs to that class of intelligent and enterprising farmers who have attained a high position among the people. He has pursued farming in Ransom county for many years and amid pioneer experiences and the discouragements which beset the early settlers of a country had steadily gained a place as a well-to-do and worthy citizen. He resides on section 24, in township 134, range 55, and has gathered about him the comforts of life. His farm comprises one half-section of land, on which he has placed good improvements and made such arrangements as tend to the economical conduct of the same.

Our subject was born in Wayne county, New York, June 15, 1857, and was a son of Charles and Charity (Earles) Vosburg. He is of German descent, his grandparents hailing from Germany. Our subject went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1879 and upon his arrival there he had but twenty-five cents in his possession. He worked at Woodside about one month and then spent nine months in working in Pine county and in June, 1881, went to Dakota and entered claim to land on which he erected a 12x14 board house and where he lived alone until 1884. He has a well-improved farm, with good buildings and a well fitted with a windmill and attends personally to the work of the place. He has six cows, of the Durham breed, and the income from the dairy products is no small share of the income of the place.

Our subject was married, in 1884, to Miss Lizzie Howell. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Vosburg, named as follows: William, Clara, Ruby, Adelia, John, Charles and Charlotte, deceased. Mr. Vosburg is a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and Modern Woodmen of America. In political faith he is a Republican and is a leader of his party in Ransom county. He has served four years as county central committeeman and has also attended various conventions in the county as a delegate. His labors for the advancement of his community have been. given freely and he is respected and esteemed wherever he is known.

TYLER J. WALKER, general merchant and proprietor of the Fort Ransom Roller Mills, resides in one of the most pleasant spots in Fort Ransom. He is a pioneer of that region, and his efforts have been rewarded by the acquisition of a fine property and an extensive business. His home is one of social comfort and every appointment bespeaks the refinement and culture of its occupants.

Mr. Walker was born in Rushford, Filmore county, Minnesota, May 5, 1859, and was the fourth in a family of eight children born to Hiram and Celestia (Nims) Walker. His father was a miller and manufacturer and in 1877 went to Valley City, Dakota, and erected the first mill of that place. Our subject joined him in 1879, and the following year went to Fort Ransom, and filed claim to land, and began farming, and also engaged without aid in the construction of a dam. and the erection of a saw mill, and then from the native timber began the erection of a flouring mill, the capacity of which is now forty barrels. He lived alone two years, camping in a beautiful spot in the bend of the Sheyenne river, directly across from his mill. This place is now a favorite summer camping ground, and the objective point of picnic parties for many miles around. Boating, fishing and bathing are the 20 chief enjoyments, and our subject and wife extend their hospitality to all, and the camping ground, known as "The Park," is open to all. Our subject established in the general merchandise business in 1895, and now carries a complete stock and enjoys prosperity.

In connection with this review it were well to mention the history of the place. Fort Ransom, the site of the old fort, the breastworks of which alone remain, was known by the Indians as Matoti, meaning Bear's Den Hillock. The name properly was applied to the highest point of land near the old fort. Near the fort is a spring of purest water, near by which is a flat rock, inscribed in characters which have never been translated, and are probably the work of Indians.

Mr. Walker was married, in 1885, to Miss Mary Hoiland, who is also a native of Rushford, Fillmore county, Minnesota, and was born November 15, 1864, and is a daughter of Aadne and Johanna Hoiland. Mrs. Walker is a lady of refined tastes, and housewifely instinct, and the home is a model in every particular. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Walker, named as follows: Lettie and Bessie. Mr. Walker is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Modem Woodmen of America, Ancient Order of United Workmen and Independent Order of Foresters. He is now serving his third term as county commissioner, and takes an active interest in the advancement of his community. Politically he is a Populist.

WALTER L. WILLIAMSON, one of the most extensive real estate dealers in Ransom county, is a resident of Lisbon, North Dakota, where he has resided for many years. He is well known as pioneer of North Dakota, and enjoys an enviable reputation as a worthy citizen, and able business man.

Our subject was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, April 3, 1859, and was the eldest in a family of six children, born to Dr. Walter M. and Mary P. (Raymond) Williamson. His mother is now living in Philadelphia. The family in America dates to 1682, when Daniel Williamson settled in what is now Newton Square, Delaware county, Pennsylvania, twelve miles from the center of Philadelphia. The family became well known in the state of Pennsylvania, and Daniel Williamson was a member of the Pennsylvania assembly from 1687 to 1721. Various ones of the family fought in the Revolutionary war, and John Williamson was lieutenant in Anthony Wayne's regiment.

From the time our subject was about two years of age he spent his life in Philadelphia, and his education was completed at the Episcopal Academy. He entered a wholesale dry goods house at the age of fifteen years, and then spent three years as traveling salesman. He went to Brown's Valley, Minnesota, in 1882, and from there drove to Lake Kandiotta, in what is now Sargent county. North Dakota, under the guidance of a half-breed Indian. After remaining a short time he returned to Minnesota, and in 1884 again went to Dakota, and was engaged in a general merchandise business in Milnor, and later became connected with the real estate business of the Bank of Sargent County at Milnor. He moved to Lisbon, Ransom county, in 1892, and for four years was manager of tlie real estate and insurance business of F. P. Allen, and later established his present business. He now handles real estate in the counties of Sargent, La Moure, Cass, Richland and Ransom, and also does a mortgage and loan business.

Our subject was married, in 1889, to Miss M Ethleen Knuppenburg, a native of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Williamson is one of the pioneer educational women of the state, and was engaged in teaching in Richland county about twelve years. Mr. and Mrs. Williamson have been the parents of three children, as follows: Walter K., deceased; Mary E., Francis V. Mr. Williamson is a gentleman of the best characteristics, and does very effective service in the up building of the educational interests of the community in which he makes his home.

He was one of the incorporators and acted as secretary of the normal school at Milnor, the first institution of its kind established within the present limits of the state of North Dakota. He is a popular member of the Masonic fraternity and is a member of all of the Masonic bodies; a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor of the Supreme Council Thirty-third S. J. U. S.; trustee of the Masonic Temple of Fargo and chairman of the committee of grievances and appeals of the Grand Lodge of North Dakota since 1893. He has been a member of the Grand Lodge since the organization of the same, and is also past master of Anchor Lodge, No. 25, of Milnor; and is deputy inspector general of North Dakota for the valley of Lisbon.

JAMES O. WOLD, an enterprising member of the farming community of Ransom county, has devoted the greater part of his life to agriculture, in the pursuit of which he has been very fortunate. He is proprietor of a fine farm in Liberty township, his homestead being located there in section 8.

Our subject was born near Bergen, Norway, March 25, 1842, and was the second in a family of eight children born to Ole J. and Maria (Johnsen) Wold. The mother now lives in Minnesota and our subject is now the oldest of her living children. He worked in his native country by the year until he became of age, and then crossed the ocean to America, locating in Dane county, Wisconsin, where his cousin resided. Later he went to Winneshiek county, Iowa, and there passed his first winter in America, attending the public school and soon acquired a good English education. He purchased a farm in Moore county, Minnesota. and there resided until the spring of 1882, when he disposed of his interests and went to North Dakota. He spent one month in Cass county, and then located on the farm which he now owns, filing a homestead claim to the land. He had seven head of cattle and three horses, but was without means, and for the necessaries he and his two sons worked out by the day. He is careful in the conduct of his farm and by the best of management has acquired a well improved property, consisting of one half-section of land. His barn, 46x50 feet, furnishes shelter for his stock and products and a good well, with windmill attached, supplies an abundance of good water.

Our subject was married, in 1863, to Miss Orine Andersen. Mr. and Mrs. Wold have been the parents of eight children, as follows: Andrew, now married and living in Eddy county; Ole, at home; Maria, now Mrs. K. Syverson, living in Eddy county ; John, farming in Eddy county; Albert; Annie, deceased; Christian and James. Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Wold appear on another page. Mr. Wold is a member of the Lutheran church. He occupies a prominent position as a citizen and takes an active interest in local affairs. Politically he is a Republican and a usual delegate to county conventions of his party and a recognized leader.



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