Yellow Medicine County, MN History - Chapter 59 yellowm.gif (5938 bytes)



Chapter LXXXIX.


    Norman is the most important town in the western part of the county, and had the county of Canby been organized, as was attempted a few years since, would have contained the county seat. In June, 1870, the first claim was taken by A. G. Gulmon, of Fillmore county, on section 32. He returned to Yellow Medicine, and while on his way met S. A. Hegaard, Friber Olson and John Bryngulson, also from Fillmore county, and directed them to his claim; they all located in the southern part of the town. The next year Thor Olson and Knut Christianson took claims further down the river. During 1872 and 1873 most of the land near the Lac qui Parle river was taken.

    The first township officers were elected April 7, 1874. The list is not complete as the early records are missing: A. G. Gulmon was chairman, Christian Houg and Borne Peterson, supervisors; John Swenson, clerk; John Paulson, assessor; Andrew Knudson, treasurer; A. G. Gulmon, justice; Friber Olson, constable.

    The Lutheran parish school taught by Christian Houg at private houses in 1875-'y6 was the first. The first public school was taught by Andrew Overson in 1877 at the house of Gustave Erickson. The first religious services were held by Rev. N. Brandt, Norwegian Lutheran, at the house of Friber Olson July 10, 1871. The society now occupies the school-house in Canby and numbers 359 members with Olof Hoel as pastor.

    Magnus Anderson was born in 1826 in Norway, and in 1866 came to America. He located in Houston county, Minnesota, and his home was there five years with the exception of about one year spent in Iowa. Since the spring of 1872 he has lived in Norman. Married Mena Olson in 1858, and has six children; the living are C. M., Anna, Carrie and Edward.

    Martin Gilbertson, native of Norway, was born in 1858, and when twelve years old came with his father to the United States. After living seven years in Houston county, Minnesota, he came in 1877 to Norman. January 17, 1880, Mary Olufson became his wife; their child, Hilda Caroline, died here April 1, 1881, aged six months.

    Nelson Gilbert was born in 1854 in Norway. When sixteen years old he came with his parents to America; lived in Wisconsin until 1879 when he came to Lincoln county, Minnesota, and in the fall of 1881 to this town. He married in 1875, and his wife died in the summer of 1880. Mr. and Mrs. Erik Knudson settled here in 1875; their children are Tina, Petrina and Annie; Mr. Knudson died in 1879, and his widow became the second wife of Mr. Gilbert in 1881.

    Martin A. Gulrud, native of Norway was born in 1842, and when eleven years of age accompanied his parents to the United States and located in Houston county, Minnesota. Enlisted in Company D, Second Minnesota cavalry; served from January, 1863, to December, 1865. In 1867 he took a farm in Wilmington, but since 1872 his home has been in Norman. Married August 3, 1868, Martha Larson; Louis, Adolph C., Bernard M. and Clara M. are the living children.

    A. G. Gulmon was born in 1841 in Norway, and in 1851 came with his parents to America. Lived three years in Wisconsin, then in Fillmore county, Minnesota, until twenty years of age when he returned to Wisconsin for three years then came again to this state. In June, 1870, he came to Norman and took the first claim in the town; at the first town meeting he was elected justice and has held other offices. Married in 1870, Annie Lawrence; has six living children: John, Laura, Ida, Gilbert, Lawrence and Julia.

    Syver Hegaard, born in Norway in 1838, learned the trade of carpenter, and in 1868 he immigrated to America; resided in Fillmore county, Minnesota, until 1870; June of that year he came to Norman as one of the earliest settlers; he built the first house in town; Karen Johnson was married to him in 1868, and has six children living: Andrew, John, Martin, Charles, Olans and Albert.

    Christian Houg, born in Norway in 1841, came to this country in 1867; after living on a farm in Houston county, Minnesota, one year he went to La Crosse county, Wisconsin, and remained about three years; taught school winters. Since 1872 his home has been in Norman; he taught the first school here and has held different town offices. Betsy Erickson, became his wife in 1872; they have lost four children; only one is living, Adolph.

    Rev. Olaf Hoel was born in 1841 in Norway; from 1868 to 1871 he lived in Fillmore county, Minnesota, engaged chiefly in teaching. He studied eighteen months in the Norwegian Lutheran College at Decorah, Iowa, and three years in St. Louis; graduated July 3, 1876; was ordained July 16th of that year, and came to this town as pastor of Stephanus church, also has charge of the congregation at Minneota. Married August 19, 1876, Mary Lund; they have three children: Hannah, Wilhelm M. and an infant.

    Andrew Knutsen, who is a native of Norway, was born in 1846. Immigrated to the United States in 1868; after working four years in Fillmore county, Minnesota, he came to this town in 1872; has officiated as town treasurer and assessor. In 1872 he married Mary Mathison who died in 1879, leaving one son: Anton; Anna Bindiksen became his wife in 1881.

    Ole N. Lien was born in 1842 in Norway. He worked at carpentering until 1869, when he settled in Houston county, Minnesota, and worked on a farm there four years. In the spring of 1873 he came to Norman; has served his town as treasurer. Miss Olena Simonson became his wife in 1869; they have seven children: Anna, Emma, Nels, Netta S., Thea, Hannah M. and Alette L.

    Ole O. Lokken, native of Norway, was born in 1845 and came in 1869 to the United States. After working four years in Fillmore county, Minnesota, he came in 1873 to Yellow Medicine county; resided two years in Wergeland and since May, 1875, his home has been in Norman, where he has officiated three years as supervisor; married in 1871, Mathia Peterson. The children living are, Ole, Petra, Martin, Peter and Albert.

    Arnt Olufson is a native of Norway, where he was born in 1855, and came with his parents to the United States in 1865. Resided in Houston county, Minnesota, until the summer of 1873, when he removed to this town with his mother who took a claim on section 14; in 1878 Mr. Olufson took 80 acres on which he has since lived. In 1877 Miss Lena Paulson became his wife. They have two children, Matilda J., and Samuel O.

    Jens Nicolay Pederson, who was born in 1841, is a native of Norway where he learned the business of stone mason. Since 1866 he has been a resident of America; worked at his trade seven years in Houston county, Minnesota, but in the spring of 1872 he located in this town. Mr. Pederson married in 1867, Mary Erickson who has borne him seven children: the living are, Martina, Nels, Peterina and John.

    Charles Swendson was born in 1840 in Norway; immigrated in 1866 to America. He worked two years in Goodhue county, Minnesota, and in the pineries the same length of time. In 1872 he came to Yellow Medicine county and chose a farm of 160 acres in Norman; was one of the early settlers of the town. Married in 1874, Mary Everson; the children are Lem J., Thea C., John and Rena.

    John A. Tvedt was born in 1851, in Norway, and in 1872, came to America; lived four years at La Crosse, Wisconsin; he came here in the spring of 1876, and took 160 acres on section 10. Miss Lena, daughter of Harry Larson Rye, of Woodbury county, Iowa, became the wife of Mr. Tvedt, July 19, 1879.


    In August, 1876, the village of Canby was laid out on land owned by the railroad company and occupies the northwest quarter of section 3, town of Norman. The site proved a good one, and Canby has grown rapidly, and taken her place among the enterprising business points of the Northwest, with a population of about 400. Canby was incorporated in 1879; the first officers were: John Swenson, president of council, E. P. LeSuer, Gustave Erickson and H. G. Smith, trustees; H. C. Westby, recorder; O. N. Lund, treasurer; Nels Landru, justice; L. C. Mosier, marshal.

    The first store was opened by John Swenson, in his claim shanty, in 1872, with a stock of goods amounting in value to fifty dollars. Mr. Swenson has grown with the town and is now the leading business man, owning a mill, an elevator, a general store, a lumber yard, besides being engaged in the sale of agricultural implements. Almost every branch of business is represented in the village. There is a newspaper, "The Canby News," edited by A. M. Morrison; two banks; two law firms; a flouring mill with three run of stone, capacity eighty barrels per day; several general stores with large and complete stock of goods; hardware and drug stores. There are two lumber yards, one livery stable and three hotels; the LeSuer House is the most prominent. The village school building is a credit to the place, and was erected at a cost of about $3,000. The Norwegian Lutheran church society occupies the building for worship. The Baptists also have an organization. The village officers for 1882, are H. C. Westby, president, Gustave Esickson, A. W. Chester and Milo Gates, M. D., trustees; Nels Erickson, recorder; John Swenson, treasurer; John Moore, justice; N. K. Landru, marshal.

    John P. Arnott was born in Hanover, Indiana, in 1852. He completed his education in 1876 at the Indiana State University; read law at Madison, and was admitted to the bar in September, 1876, at Bloomington, Indiana, and practiced there two years. In 1878 he came to Canby and opened a law and land office. He has been village attorney and deputy clerk of court for Yellow Medicine county; also member of village council. In 1880 he married Maggie J. Davis.

    S. T. Bland was born in Indiana in 1844, and moved to Illinois when eight years old. In 1862 he enlisted in the 123d Illinois infantry, and served three and one-half years; returned to Illinois, and moved to Missouri and Kansas; in 1870 he came to Minnesota, and was in business in various places until 1880 when he engaged in the saloon business at Canby. In 1874 he married Eva Beatty.

    A. E. Chase, native of Maine, was born in 1853, and in childhood moved to Wisconsin. He completed his education at the Oshkosh Commercial College in 1872, and then entered mercantile business; for four years he was deputy clerk of court in Winnebago county, and in 1878 came with a company and settled in what became Oshkosh township, Yellow Medicine county; in 1881 he came to Canby and was made clerk of the Exchange bank when it was started in January, 1882. In 1874 he married Alida E. Little.

    M. E. Dodge was born in Genesee county, New York, in 1842. At the age of three years he moved with his parents to Wisconsin and farmed there until he came to Minnesota in 1870; he was farming in Lac qui Parle county six years, then went to Elgin and engaged in the butcher business. In 1879 he came to Canby and engaged in livery business. In 1867 he married Annie Westover; two children, George and Wallie.

    N. J. Doxtader, native of New York, was born in Fulton county in 1840. He was raised on a farm, and in 1867 went to Wisconsin; engaged in mercantile business until 1880, then came to Canby, and has been in general merchandise business since. In 1869 he married Miss M. E. Haynes.

    Gustav Erickson, born in Norway in 1848, came to America in 1871, and settled in Cottonwood county, Minnesota; the next he went to Watonwan county, from there to Lac qui Parle county, and in 1877 located at Canby in the farm machinery trade. He married, in 1873, Julia Anderson: Ida, Edward and Oscar are the children.

    Nels Ericson was born in Jefferson county, Wisconsin, in 1850. In 1873 he came to Minnesota and lived on a farm in Renville county till 1876, then moved to Beaver Falls and engaged in business about a year and a half; went into business at Minneota, Lyon county, and in 1880 came to Canby and entered the office of J. P. Arnott as clerk; was elected village clerk.

    Dr. H. E. Farnsworth was born in Clinton county, New York, in 1856 and when thirteen years old, accompanied his parents to Goodhue county, Minnesota. In 1876 he entered Rush Medical College at Chicago and graduated in 1879; came to Canby and began the practice of medicine. In the fall of 1881, he married Mary E. Wells.

    A. G. Feldhammer was born in Norway in 1848. He immigrated to America in 1868 and after a year and a half in Wisconsin, moved to Sacred Heart, Minnesota; farmed three years, clerked in a store at Waseca three years, and in 1876 came to Canby and entered general merchandise business. In 1878, Martha Thompson became his wife; they have one child, Mellie.

    Hon. E. A. Gove was born in Weare, New Hampshire, in 1832. At the age of twenty he entered Dartmouth College and graduated in 1856, after which he taught private school some time, then went to Janesville, Wisconsin; he was admitted to the bar in June, 1857, and soon after moved to Sparta, Wisconsin; in 1858 went to Tomah and in 1866 came to Minnesota. He practiced in Farmington until 1870, then went to Hastings, having been elected judge of probate the preceding fall; after four years he moved to Minneapolis, and in 1875 was judge of probate. In 1878 he removed to Marshall and in 1880 to Canby. In March, 1881, he was appointed postmaster. In 1857, he married Miss M. L. Haynes; they have two children: Lottie E. and Florence.

    C. H. Hastings was born in Steuben county, New York, in 1845, and when twelve years old went with his parents to Wisconsin; when seventeen he entered the 3d Wisconsin cavalry and served two years. In 1875 he moved from Wisconsin to Waseca, Minnesota, and in 1880 came to Canby and engaged in saloon business with S. T. Bland.

    N. K. Landru, born in December, 1835, in Norway, came when six years old to America. Lived ten years in Rock county, Wisconsin, and twelve years in Dane county; removed to Forest City, Iowa, where he followed his profession, that of veterinary surgeon. Since December, 1877, he has lived at Canby; owns 160 acres of land, also practiced his profession and carried on a livery until 1880. He has served as justice of the peace here. Married in December, 1856, Catharine Lewis; nine children.

    E. P. Le Suer was born in Jamestown, New York, in 1832. In 1856 he came to Minnesota and was in hotel business at Rochester, for two years, then went to St. Louis and learned photographing; from there he went south and was engineer on the Mississippi Central railroad until the Union army took possession. In 1864 he returned to Rochester, and ran hotels in different places until 1877, when he built the house he now owns, in Canby. August 3, 1879 while riding with his wife and five children, a storm arose and his wife, three of the children and a little girl, cousin of his wife, were killed by lightning; he was rendered unconscious, but recovered after a long time. He has been married three times, his present wife Julia Olson, he married in 1881.

    O. N. Lund was born in Norway in 1825, and came to America in 1855. He followed the trade of harness maker twelve years in Iowa, then moved to Winona, Minnesota, and five years later to Rushford, where he engaged in general merchandising. In December, 1876 he came to Canby, and built the double store where he is now in business; for a time he handled general merchandise and hardware, but now, only the latter. In January, 1882, he started the Exchange Bank of Canby, of which he is president. In 1856 he married Johanna Johnson.

    William Michael, native of Switzerland, was born in 1851 and came to this country in 1868; went to St. Paul and to Shakopee where he learned the trade of harness maker. He worked in Minneapolis and other places at his trade and came to Canby, where he engaged in business for himself; he has been constable two years.

    A. M. Morrison, was born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1852 and came to Minnesota in 1865. He learned the printers' trade in Mankato and followed it there until 1877; he then came to Canby and established the "Canby News" which he still continues to edit and publish. He was teacher of the first school in the village of Canby. In 1879 he married Miss Eva O. Morse of Mankato.

    C. O. Norton was born in Washington county, New York, in 1850. In 1868 he moved to St. Paul and went into the First National Bank as book-keeper, and after four years there, accepted a position in the office of the Sioux City railroad. In 1874 he took a trip through England, France, and Switzerland, and returned to St. Paul, went south, and then went to Marshall, Lyon county and bought an interest in the Lyon County Bank of which he was vice-president; after one year he came to Canby and helped establish the Bank of Canby, of which he is cashier. In 1879 he married Miss Lottie E. Gove.

    D. E. Sawtelle, native of Illinois, was born at Rockford in 1852. His parents moved to Wisconsin, and when he was eleven years old, to Chicago. In 1877 he went to Florida and engaged in farming for a year and a half, returned to Chicago, and in 1879 came to Yellow Medicine county; he was one of the first settlers in the town of Wergeland; in 1871 he came to Canby and began the grocery business. Married in 1876 Miss E. B. Wilson; four children.

    John Swenson was born in 1842 in Norway; came to America in 1870, and settled on a farm in Wisconsin; in 1872 he came to Minnesota and located in town 114, range 42, where a portion of the village of Canby now stands. He built a small shanty, and with a capital of fifty dollars opened a little store; he has kept pace with the growing town, and now has one of the leading stores, an elevator with capacity of 2,500 bushels, a flour mill capable of producing eighty barrels per day, a lumber yard, and also deals in farm machinery; he also owns a large farm adjoining the village; he was post-master from 1878 till 1881, and held the office of town clerk. In 1870 Olive Olson became his wife.

    A. A. Wattner, native of Norway, born in 1839, immigrated to Chicago in 1860. In 1875 he moved to Fillmore county, Minnesota, and engaged in mercantile business until 1878, since when he has been in business at Canby. Married Laura Erickson in 1878; two children, Martha and an infant.


    Hazel Run includes township 115, range 40. The first settler was Mads Peterson, who came in 1871, followed in the fall by G. Overson, Andrew and Edwin Anthony, and S. S. Neskang. The town was organized in 1877; the first officers were: S. S. Neskang, chairman; Edwin Anthony and Andrew Christianson, supervisors; Andrew Anthony, clerk and justice; Mads Peterson, treasurer; G. Hoverson, constable. The first school was taught by Sarah Doncaster, in a private residence on section 20. Rev. Knut Thorstenson preached the first sermon. The first marriage was C. C. Anderson and Emma Anderson in 1872. Sophia Peterson, born in 1871, was the first birth, and Iver Iverson, frozen to death January 1, 1873, the first death.

    A. Anthony was born in 1845 in Norway. In 1850 the family moved to Wisconsin, in 1852 went to Illinois, and when he was twelve years old they returned to Wisconsin. From the winter of 1865 till the next autumn he served in the 52d regiment of that state. In 1871 he came to Hazel Run; married in the fall of that year Lettie S. Tollefson; Jeanett, Clara, George, Ida, Albert, Alfred, Peter and Melvin are the children.

    Edwin Anthony, native of Illinois, was born in 1851, in Boone county, and when a child accompanied his parents to Adams county, Wisconsin, where he was subsequently employed in farming. In the spring of 1872 he located at his present farm in Hazel Run. Betsey Holverson was married to him in 1875, and has borne him three children: Selina J., Belle D. and Henry C.

    Amund Johnson who was born in 1855 is a native of Norway. At the age of fifteen he located in Fillmore county, Minnesota, but since March, 1879, has lived in Hazel Run, Yellow Medicine county. In the spring of 1880, he married Julia Everson, who was born in 1860 in Norway.

    S. S. Neskang, born in 1836, grew to manhood in Norway, his birthplace. In 1869 he immigrated to Columbia county, Wisconsin, and in the spring of 1870 came to Minnesota; after spending a year in Sandnes he located on section 34 in Hazel Run; he helped organize the town and was the first chairman of the board and has since held the offices of supervisor and justice.

    Mads Pederson was born in 1836 in Norway, and after leaving school engaged in teaching; also followed the life of a sailor for a time. In 1869 he immigrated to Columbia county, Wisconsin, and the next year came to Minnesota; in the spring of 1871 he removed from Sandnes to Hazel Run. Married in 1866, Annie Madson; Jennie A., Mathew M., Sophia, Andrew, Annie, Mary, Margaret and Robert are their children.

    J. A. Thompson was born in 1848 in Norway, and at the age of twelve came with his parents to America. In the spring of 1878 he removed from Wisconsin to Minnesota and located on a farm in Hazel Run. Mr. Thompson has filled different town offices. In 1878 he married Annie Gunderson; they have one child: Andrew.


    Hammer is in the western part of the county, and is formed of township 115, range 45. The first settler was John Huffman, who came in June 1872; his father and brother came soon after. The first town meeting was held July 2, 1877, at which were elected: E. Huffman, chairman, E. E. Grasswick and Austin Oleson, supervisors; Erick Rulison, clerk; Austin Oleson, treasurer; E. Huffman and O. E. Johnson, justices; Martin Oleson and Hans Johnson, constables. There are two organized school districts, numbers 38 and 41. The first school was taught in 1880, William Little, teacher. Rev. Bird, a Lutheran, preached the first sermon in 1879. The first child born was Maud Huffman.

    Erick E. Grasswick was born in Norway in 1845 and immigrated to Wisconsin in 1867; moved to Fillmore county, Minnesota, and from there to this town; has been town treasurer and supervisor. Married in 1871, Margit Oleson; their children are Emil O., Carl A., Annie C., Mina E.

    Gunnell Jackson was born in Norway in 1826. At the age of thirteen years he came to America and lived in Rock county, Wisconsin, until 1848, then moved to Dane county. In 1861 he enlisted in Company H, 16th Wisconsin, and was at Chickamauga and Resaca, where he was crippled; was discharged in 1866. After the war he moved to Clayton county, Iowa, and five years later returned to Wisconsin. In 1877 came to Hammer.

    Thomas McMillan, was born in Lower Canada, June 16, 1834. In 1856 he moved to Wisconsin and engaged in lumbering until 1862, then enlisted in the 27th Wisconsin infantry; was promoted from second to first lieutenant and mustered out in 1865. In October, 1866, he moved to Redwood county, Minnesota, and lived on a farm four years, then engaged in livery business at Redwood Falls. In 1878 he came to this town and has since given his attention to breeding fine blood horses. He was sheriff of Redwood county five years; member of village council two years. Married Lydia B. Malone in 1857. Florence M., Charles J., Lydia B., Minnie May are the children.

    Andrew Olson, native of Norway, was born in 1843. In 1858 he came to America, and lived in Illinois. Enlisted in the 16th Illinois cavalry and was discharged in three months; enlisted in Company F, 9th Illinois infantry and served through the war. He learned the carpenter's trade in Chicago; in 1877 he came to this town. In 1872 he married Ida Jergenson; five children: Annie L., Oscar S., Edward O., Freddie A., Ida A.


    This town is on the south side of the county, and contains thirty-six square miles of rolling prairie land. The first settler, Christian Olson, came in 1870; Ole and Peter Nelson, and Ola Olason came the next year. January 19, 1878, the first town meeting was held; officers elected: Christian Olson, chairman, O. F. Wilson and Nels Johnson, supervisors; N. O. Carle, clerk; C. B. Lindberg, assessor; P. J. Quam, treasurer; N. O. Carle and C. Schram, justices; Lars Carlstrom and Ola Olason, constables. The name first given the town was Green Prairie, but changed March 12, 1878, to Swede Prairie. The first school meet-was held August 10, 1877, and the first school opened January 7, 1878, with Charles A. Minthorn as teacher. The religious services were conducted in the fall of 1876 by Rev. K. Thorstenson.

    C. B. Lindberg was born in Sweden in 1836. In 1869 he came to Minnesota and lived in Carver county; removed to St. Peter and from there to Swede Prairie. He has been assessor, school officer and poundmaster; owns 360 acres of land. In 1870 Anna Johnson became his wife.

    Ola Olason, native of Sweden, was born in 1848. He came to St. Peter, Minnesota, in 1869 and in 1871 moved to his farm in Swede Prairie; has been supervisor and constable. December 12, 1872, he married Christina Lingren; they have two children, Charley and Alfred.

    A. J. Oleson was born in Sweden, August 22, 1852. While a child he came with parents to America; they lived in Chicago a year, in St. Paul a few months, then lived in Washington county, Minnesota until 1864; went to Nicollet county and in 1876 to Janesville, Wisconsin, and studied telegraphy, after which he was employed in Chicago. After working for the Metropolitan Telegraph company two years, he returned to Nicollet county and came to Swede Prairie. March 4, 1879 he married Martha S. Peterson.

    P. W. Swenson was born May 10, 1849 in Sweden. In 1868 he came to St. Peter, Minnesota, and worked on a farm there and in Olmsted county; for four years from 1873, he was an attendant at the hospital for insane at St. Peter. In 1878 he came to Yellow Medicine county and located on section 28, Swede Prairie; he has been chairman of town board two years. Married Inger Peterson November 24, 1874.


    This town is in the eastern part of the county, and is form of township 115 range 41. Oscar Trovaton was the first settler; he came in the spring of 1872. Solomon Mickelson, Hans Cheesey, J. L. Gulseth, and Gunder Johnson, were early settlers. The first school was taught by Carrie Hawley, at the house of C. Mickelson, on section 14. The Norwegian Lutherans have an organization. Rev. Knut Thorstenson was first pastor. August 3, 1878, was the date set for the first town election; the people failed, however, to organize at that time. The first officers were elected March 11, 1879, and were H. A. Trovaton, chairman, J. L. Gulseth and Gunder J. Kjos, supervisors; J. T. Hersother, clerk; Lewis Anderson, assessor; H. A. Trovaton and J. L. Gulseth, justices.

    Gerharth Gorman was born April 19, 1821, in Norway, where he acquired a good education, and then engaged in teaching. In 1864 he removed to Quebec, Canada, and soon after to Fillmore county, Minnesota; in 1866, went to the town of Sandnes; was one of the first settlers there; still owns that farm and one in Friendship, where he has lived since 1879. Married in 1869, Carolina Tompkins-Knutson. She had three children by a former husband and has borne Mr. Gorman, four.

    Iver Iverson, native of Norway, was born December 6, 1836. The family came in 1839 to America; from New York, removed to Chicago, and in 1841 to Wisconsin, where he lived on a farm until coming in 1860 to Minnesota; located in Linden, Brown county. In May, 1879, he came to Friendship, where he owns a farm of 160 acres. Married in 1857, Elena Christophers; of their six children four are living.

    Gunder Johnson, born April 14, 1843, was reared on a farm in Norway, the land of his birth. In 1863, he emigrated to Canada, soon after located on a farm in Wisconsin. In 1867, Mr. Johnson came to Minnesota, and to his present home in June, 1875. He was married on Christmas day, 1870, to Mary Gulason, and has six children.

    Henry Munson, born November 15, 1846, in Norway; at seventeen years of age he came with his parents to America, and located in Iowa. In June, 1864, he enlisted in Company F, 9th Iowa cavalry; from the close of the war till August, 1878, he lived in Dodge county, Minnesota, where he owns a farm, then came to Friendship; he has been town treasurer and supervisor. Married in 1866, Anna Wilson; eight children.

    Peter Petersen was born November 9, 1829, in Sweden; came to America in 1855; lived the greater part of the time at Chicago until enlisting in March, 1865; served until the war ceased. In 1869 he located at Lac qui Parle, but since May, 1877, has lived in Friendship. Married in 1851, Sarah Magnus, since deceased; his second wife was Anna Olson. Seven of their nine children are living.


    Among the first settlers of this town were Andrew West and George B. Enos. The first town meeting was held January 27, 1879, at the house of Andrew West; officers elected: G. B. Enos, chairman, Helge Golickson and Anton Hendreckson, supervisors; A. E. West, clerk; Andrew Anderson, assessor; J. L. Dorr, treasurer; W. B. Enos and A. E. West, justices; J. L. Dorr and G. B. Enos, constables. Andrew West taught the first school, in 1881; district number 40, includes the whole town.


    Congressional township 114 range 44 was organized in 1879, and the first election held April 5th. B. A. Borgersen was elected chairman, O. O. Narkin and J. Jorgensberg, supervisors; Arthur Hewitt, clerk; Thor Landsverk, assessor; Isaac Olson, treasurer; W. H. Cole and Carl Gunderson, justices; K. T. Sebberg and Isaac Anderson, constables. The first settler was Frederick Jacobson; other early settlers were B. A. Borgersen, K. T. Sebberg and O. O. Narkin. The first school was taught by Arne Swensess, at the house of Isaac Anderson. Rev. Berg, a Norwegian Lutheran minister, held the first services at Isaac Olson's; a society was organized in 1872.

    The village of Porter was laid out in September, 1881, on land owned by the railroad company, in section 33. There are two elevators, one general store and one blacksmith shop in the village. Mr. Porter built the first elevator and the village was named for him. Harstad post-office was moved from across the county line in Lincoln county to this place and the name changed to Dalston, and recently to Porter; Ole Dahl is postmaster and has the office at his store in the village.

    Bernhard A. Borgersen was born in 1845 in Norway; traveled through different portions of Europe; was also a soldier in Norway; immigrated to the United States, and previous to coming to Minnesota was for a time in Chicago and Wisconsin. In 1876 he located in Wergeland, where he works at farming and carpentering. Married, February 22, 1873, Anna Torgerson; the children are Henry E., Ludwig M., Alfred N., Janette F. and Lillie E.

    O. H. Dahl was born October 1, 1849, in Norway, and came to this country in 1866. He located in Dunn county, Wisconsin, and from there moved to Decorah, Iowa, where he attended the Norwegian Lutheran College, and graduated in 1872. He then came to Yellow Medicine county and engaged in business until 1875 at Minneota; then lived on a homestead in Lyon county two years, then bought wheat in Minneota for Van Dusen & Co. In 1881 he came to Dalston, now Porter, and engaged in merchandise business and buying wheat for Van Dusen & Co.; he is also postmaster. Married, February 7, 1877, Amelia Michaelson; Alma, Toline and Hans M. are the children.

    W. E. Drummond was born in Jefferson county, New York, in 1845. Moved with parents to Iowa when ten years old, and to Fillmore county, Minnesota, in 1856; he began learning blacksmithing in 1866. Enlisted in 1862 in Company E, Seventh Minnesota, and served till the spring of 1865. He worked at the blacksmith trade in Fillmore county three years, then came to Wergeland; is now running a blacksmith shop in Porter village. Married Mary H. Cooper in 1875; she died in 1877, leaving one child, Charles E. Lizzie Pifenger became his wife in 1878; one child, William R.

    Arthur Hewitt, a native of England, was born in 1844. Emigrated in 1848, and lived in Indiana until 1855, then moved to Carver county, Minnesota; in 1879 he took a homestead in Wergeland. In 1863 he enlisted in Company I, Second Minnesota cavalry and served until November, 1865. In 1874 he married Mary M. Cole; children, Elizabeth, Frank E. and Ellen M.


    This name is derived from the province of Posen formerly belonging to Poland but now a part of the German Empire, from whence most of the settlers came. The town was set apart for organization May 2, 1879, and includes all of congressional township 113, range 39. Settlement began in 1868; in the spring of that year Joseph Tyson accompanied by his wife's father, William Alderson come in, both having their wives with them.

    The first birth was that of Jennie Maria, a daughter of B. F. and Agnes Curtiss, born April 30, 1873. The first death was that of David M. Frank; he died July 10, 1874. The first religious services were conducted by Prof. S. A. Hall, a Methodist, at the residence of Joseph Tyson in section 10, in the summer of 1873. The Lutheran denomination have a frame church which they built in 1879; first minister was Rev. Hunziker.

    There is but one school district in the town, which includes the whole of it. The school-house was built in the spring of 1876 and located in section 14. The first school was taught by Miss Susan L. Lampman of the town of Minnesota Falls during the summer of the same year.

    The first town meeting was held at the above school-house, May 17, 1879. The following officers were elected: August Milbradt, chairman, L. S. Moses and Julius Frank, supervisors; B. F. Curtiss, clerk; Randolph Frank, treasurer; David Frank and Herman Stetzepfand, justices; M. A. Lee and August Timm, constables. No assessor was elected. Neither justice qualified and B. F. Curtiss appointed to the office. August Stroscheim was appointed constable in place of those elected who failed to qualify.

    J. C. Christianson, native of Norway, was born in 1822, and in 1850 settled in Dane county, Wisconsin, and engaged in farming for fifteen years; removed to Iowa and farmed eight years; came to Minnesota in 1873 and bought 156 acres in Posen. Stena Toleff was his wife's name; married in 1849; of the twelve children born five are living: Gabriel T., Della, Lena, Ella, Annie.

    B. F. Curtiss was born in Yates county, New York, in 1843. At the age of fourteen he settled in Olmsted county, Minnesota. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company H, 6th Minnesota, and was discharged for disability in January, 1865. In 1871 he moved to Redwood county, and the next year came to Posen. January 22, 1867, he married Agnes McCorquodale, at Rochester; the children are: Alexander R., Samuel B., Arthur Garfield, Jennie M., Edith M., James A., John F., Harvey M.

    Julius Frank was born in Posen, Germany, in 1849. In 1856 he came with parents to America, and lived in Wisconsin until 1870, then came to this town; has been supervisor three years and is now chairman. Married in 1873 Henrietta Stroscheim. Albert D., Agnes, John and Robert are their children.

    R. Frank was born in Posen, Germany, March 19, 1847, and at the age of nine went with parents to Marquette county, Wisconsin; lived there ten years, and in Fond du Lac county four years. In 1870 he came to this town and made a claim. He was first town treasurer, and has held other offices. December 6, 1871, Augusta Steabner was married to him. Their living children are Emma R. Reuben D. and Amelia. Anna A. burned to death March 25, 1877. David Frank, father of Randolph, was born in Posen, Germany, in 1806. He brought his family to this town in 1870, and made the second actual settlement. He took a homestead of 160 acres, the farm now owned by his son-in-law, John Bahn. He was married in Germany in 1835 to Charlotte Klavetter. He died here July 10, 1874.

    August Keger, native of Saxony, Prussia, was born August 6, 1834; he learned the blacksmith trade at eighteen years of age; he immigrated to Philadelphia, and worked there for twenty-five years. In 1877 he came to this town and took a homestead of 160 acres on section 34. In 1855 he married Catharine Frade; have six children living: Louisa, Christiana, Augusta, Charles, Katie, Frederick; four children have died.

    A. Milbradt was born in Germany in 1828. He learned cabinet making and came to Wisconsin in May, 1867. Lived in Ripon eleven years, then moved to St. Charles, Minnesota. In 1871 he came to Posen and took a homestead; has been chairman of town board. He married Henrietta Stroscheim January 17, 1858; children: Gustave, Herman, William and Frederick were born in Posen, Germany; August in Ripon, Wisconsin, Mary and Augusta, at St. Charles, and Charles in Posen, Minnesota.

    Herman Milbradt, native of Germany, was born in Posen, December 1, 1859. He has always lived with his parents and followed farming. He owns forty acres on section 10, Posen township.

    Peter Palmer was born in New York, in 1812, and lived there until 1855, then moved to Minnesota and lived in Washington county until 1870; he then came to Posen, and lives on section 6. In 1841, he married Elizabeth House; eight of their eleven children are living: Melissa, Alexander, Albert, Edward, Daniel, Olive, James, William.

    Peterr Peterreins was born in Germany in 1819, and learned the trade of blacksmith. Came to America in 1849 and worked in Philadelphia until 1851, then came to Minnesota; worked at his trade in Minneiska two years and farmed eleven years in Wabasha county. In 1864 he moved to Brown county and lived in the towns of Milford and Home until 1877, then came to Posen. He married in 1849, in Germany, Augusta Kocher; they have nine children living; three are married; those at home are Mina, Peter, August, Charley, John and Josephine; three children died.

    Ludwig Preus was born in Posen, Germany, in 1840. In 1872 he came to Owatonna, Minnesota, and worked at farming and railroad work until 1880, then purchased eighty acres in this town. Married in 1867, Caroline Luck. Augusta, Herman, Charles, Rudolph, Frederick, and Otto are the children.

    Rev. J. C. Reynhout, native of Holland, was born July 31, 1835. Studied theology in Holland, and after traveling in different parts of the world and acting as missionary in South America, he came to the United States in 1869. In 1879 he went to New Ulm, Minn., and from there to Winnebago Agency; in 1881 he came to Posen. He has been married twice; his present wife was Ida Gesstman; one child, James.

    August Stroscheim, native of Germany, was born in Posen, in 1852. At seventeen years of age he came with parents to America, and after six months in Wisconsin, came to Minnesota, and worked in Dodge county. In 1872 he came to Posen with his parents, and in 1874 he took a claim on section 28. Married at Sleepy Eye, Amelia Peterreins, April 1, 1877; Augusta, Amanda and Martha are the children.

    Michael Stroscheim was born in Germany, in 1820, and learned the trade of carpenter. Came to America in 1868; lived in Wisconsin till spring of 1869, then went to Dodge county, Minnesota. In the fall of 1872 he came to Posen and took a homestead. Married in 1845, Karina Timm; four children living: Augusta, August, Henrietta and Theodore.

    Gottlieb Timm, native of Germany, was born in 1826. Came to New York state in 1869 and lived near Syracuse; in 1876 he came to Posen, Minnesota, and made a homestead of 80 acres on section 28. Mary Grummins became his wife in 1855; they have four living children: Minnie, Gottlieb, Ferdinand, Matilda. August died in 1872, aged twelve years.

    A. H. Yarns was born in Broome county, New York, in 1843. At the age of fourteen he came with parents to Minnesota and settled in Fillmore county. In 1861 enlisted and served till July, 1862. In 1866 he moved to Olmsted county and in 1869 returned to Fillmore county; June, 1873, he came to Posen. In 1867 he married Emma Clark. Children: William, Mary, Ernest, Alice and Ethel are living; Arthur died in Fillmore county.


    The first actual settler in this town was Andrew Sorenge who located on section 3 in 1877; claims were taken in 1875 by C. P. Kenyon and D. W. Richards but they did not locate permanently until later. May 20, 1879, the first town meeting was held; officers elected: P. O. French, chairman, A. L. Houghton and J. H. Footh, supervisors; Fred. Rockwell, clerk; P. C. Bayard, treasurer; W. J. Hooker and P. G. Wells justices; Victor Anderson and F. Roller, constables. The first religious services were conducted by Rev. Christ. Botcher, German Lutheran, January 15, 1879. The people belong to an organization in Minneota.

    There are two organized school districts in the town, numbered 31 and 35. The first school was taught in 1880 by Ella Sorenge.

    The first birth was in 1879, Mary Tash. The first death, that of Mrs. Mary Houghton, occurred December 12, 1880. P. C. Bayard and Mertie Wells married August 30, 1880, were the first parties living in the town to marry.

    P. C. Bayard, native of Ohio, was born in 1855, and while a babe accompanied his parents to Orange county, New York; six years later removed to Winona county, Minnesota. After working two years in the machine shop at Rochester he came, in the spring of 1878 to Burton, where, in company with a brother he is farming and stock raising. Married August 30, 1880, Mertie Wells.

    P. O. French was born in 1837 in Bennington New York. Received common school and academic education, also took a scientific course at Hillsdale college; after leaving school he engaged in teaching. Enlisted in 1864 in Company B, second New York mounted rifles; after the war he was employed in speculating. Married January 11, 1866, Mrs. Nancy Wood, who died December 12, 1868. One child, Willis. Mr. French was in grocery and commission business for some time in Chicago, also engaged in manufacturing and selling machinery. In 1870 he married Rhoda Gillett. Mr. French resided for a time in Austin and was mayor of that city; in October, 1877, he took a claim in Burton, and moved here the year following.

    J. W. McAllester, who is a native of Wisconsin, was born in 1855, in Oshkosh, where he lived until twenty-three years of age. He received a common and high school education, also graduated from a business college at Oshkosh, in 1875; taught school for a time, was also engaged in selling tomb stones. In 1878 he came to Minnesota and located on section 24 of Burton. Married in 1877, Hattie Richards; one child, Bradley R.

    H. B. Peterson was born in 1843 in La Moille, Illinois. From nine years of age till the year 1862 he was in Rockford, Illinois, then enlisted in Company M, eighth cavalry; participated in many battles and served till July, 1865. Married in 1869, Kittie Rice. Mr. Peterson was in Iowa from 1865 to 1870, also traveled through other western states; was for some time in the employ of P. O. French; since 1879 his home has been in Burton.

    W. H. Richards, native of England, was born in 1849. He came to the United States in 1853, and located at Fox Lake, Wisconsin; he was city marshal there, was engaged in the dairy and livery business; also had a meat market two and one-half years and was on a farm for a time. In 1878 he came to Burton and took a claim on section 34. Married April 21, 1872, Ida Walker; the children's names are Herbert J., Willie V. and Leon A.

    Jerome B. Rogers, born in Oneida county, New York, in 1833, removed in 1844 to Wisconsin; after passing three years in Milwaukee he went to Winnebago county; he embarked in the lumber business, and was working in the pineries until 1862, when he visited California and Oregon, but returned to Oshkosh and soon after came to Minnesota. He was farming at Austin fourteen years but in 1881 located in Burton. Married in 1857, Adelia Wilkins, who died April 12, 1859; one child: William. In 1860 he married Lucretia Hall; children are Wallace, Nellie, May and Lila.

    P. G. Wells was born March 16, 1821, in Rutland county, Vermont. In 1854 he moved to Du Page county, Illinois, and two years later to Howard county, Iowa, thence in 1860 to Winnebago county, and in 1878 to Burton. His home of 160 acres is on section 6. Married in September, 1852, Charlotte Bucklin: their children are Frank P., Mary E., Mertie O., George J. and Bertie.

    Professor Frank Wells, son of P. G. Wells, is a native of Rutland county, Vermont, and was born about fifteen miles from his father's birthplace, and they came to Minnesota the same year. Mr. Wells has been employed in teaching and farming since completing his studies.


    This town is named for Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and was first settled in the spring of 1877 by Halvor Landsverk; the next spring L. S. Chase located on section 32, and N. N. Smart came about the same time, but did not bring his family till 1879. The first town meeting was held July 19, 1879, and L. S. Chase elected chairman, J. F. Kuni and George Oale, supervisors; A. E. Chase, clerk; N. N. Smart, assessor; Alpheus Fuller, treasurer; Edmund Chase and G. E. Pratt, justices; I. J. Beals and Ole Mekelson, constables; C. G. Nelson, overseer of poor.

    There are four organized school districts, and the school-houses two frame and one sod; the first schools were taught in 1880. July 25, 1880, the first sermon was preached by Rev. Geo. Y. King, a Baptist, at the Chase school-house. The first child born in the town was Mary, daughter of Carl Voss, born February 1, 1879.

    Ira J. Beals was born in Massachusetts, March 25, 1829. He removed with his parents to Lewis county, New York, and in 1855 went to Winnebago county, Wisconsin. In September, 1862, he enlisted in Company I, 21st Wisconsin infantry; and was with General Sherman and served until the close of the war. In 1878 he came to Minnesota, and to Oshkosh township. January 15, 1857, he married Miss M. Chase; Elmer E. and Edward C. are their children.

    L. S. Chase was born in Woodstock, Oxford county, Maine, May 16, 1840. At the age of fourteen his parents removed to Wisconsin. After receiving his education, he taught school for fifteen years. February 22, 1865, he enlisted in Company C, 46th Wisconsin infantry; in 1875 and 1876 he served in the lower house of the Wisconsin legislature. In 1878 he came to the town of Oshkosh; he has been chairman of the town board since organization. December 18, 1866, he married Eliza J. North; their children are: Maud E., and Lee E.

    C. A. Dano was born April 25, 1854, in Janesville, Wisconsin. His parents moved to Sauk county and to Baraboo. At the age of sixteen he began clerking for Huntington & Stanley, and when twenty-one began the clothing business for himself. In 1879 he came to this town. Married February 16, 1874, Jennie A. Ambler; of the three children born, Inez B., and Jennie I. are living.

    George Y. King, born September 25, 1831, in New Sharon, Maine. At the age of fifteen he went to sea in the merchant service, and afterward joined the U. S. marine service; he went on the Japan expedition and witnessed the signing of the treaty. In 1857 he settled in Wisconsin, and in 1879 came to Oshkosh. He has a farm of 160 acres; he is a Baptist preacher, and delivered the first sermon in the town. In 1862 he married Phoebe Pratt; they have one son, Fred Y.

    John F. Kuni was born in Switzerland in 1835. In 1843 he emigrated to Wood county, Ohio, and in 1849 came to Minnesota; lived in Winona county until 1879 and then came to this town. In August, 1864, he enlisted in Company K, 11th Minnesota. Was married May 1, 1868, to Alice D. Welch; Cora, Belle, Frederick, Lettie, Merton, Wildred and Hattie, are their children.

    Halvor Landsverk, native of Norway, was born February 9, 1846. In 1871 he settled in Dane county, Wisconsin, and in 1877 came to the town of Oshkosh. He was the first settler in the town, and located on section 32. Married in 1866, Lena M. Landsverk; have had nine children, seven are living; Teresa, Lena, Annie, Christina, Christ, Ole, and Hilbertina.

    C. G. Nelson, born April 27, 1847 is a native of Sweden. In 1868 he came to the town of Faxon, Sibley county, and in 1878 to his present home in Oshkosh; has held town offices in this and Sibley counties. In 1875 he married Christina Johnson; Emma J., Hilda M., Edward J., and an infant, are their children.

    Mons Swenson was born in Sweden in 1827. He came to Carver county, Minnesota, in 1856 and farmed there until 1878, when he sold his farm for $3,500 and came to this town. In 1853 he married in Sweden, Elizabeth Sweltson; she died in Carver county; in 1870 he married Eva Andriotta; his children are: Emma M., Edwin, John A, Julia A.

    Carl Voss, native of Germany, was born in 1833. He was raised on a farm and in 1861 came to this country; he lived in Illinois until 1863, then enlisted in Company C, 141st Illinois infantry; after five months service was honorably discharged. He worked at mason work in Cook county, Illinois nine years and in 1872 came to Minnesota; lived in Scott county until 1878, then came to Oshkosh. He married Henrietta Kiarn in 1864; Minnie, John, August, Annie and Mary are the living children; two have died.


    township 115, range 42, was set apart for organization October 6, 1879, and the first election held October 25. First officers: T. V. Vose, chairman; P. N. Rodnez and John Polson, supervisors; J. R. Brown, clerk; J. S. Kelm, treasurer; J. R. Brown and J. Johnson, justices; William Hartfield and Soloman Vestrom, constables. The first settlers were Swedes, John Polson and R. Olson, who came in August, 1872. School district number 29, includes the entire township; the school-house is built of prairie sod, and the first term was taught by Nels Rodnez in 1879. A Lutheran minister, Rev. I. Magny held the first religious services in 1874 at the house of John Polson.

    John R. Brown was born in Yorkshire, England, December 20, 1818. He learned the trade of silk weaver and in 1855 came to this country and lived in Wisconsin until 1878, when he came to this town. In 1838 he married Harriet Speight and has ten children; his two eldest sons served in the war of the rebellion.


    The first settlers in this town were George and William Dickerson, who located on section 18, in April, 1878; in June, 1878, Robert North located on section 12. The first town meeting was held January 29, 1880, at the house of James Abbott. Officers elected: Robert North, chairman, James Abbott and Richard Hillige, supervisors; William North, clerk; Anson Abbott, treasurer; Valentine Lenz, and N. S. Pratt, justices; George Jewell and J. G. Wheeler, constables; Adam Kackelman, overseer of highways. The first birth was in the family of Richard Hillige, a son, born March 12, 1879. The first marriage was George North and Elizabeth Barker. St. Leo post-office was established in January, 1880, with Valentine Lenz as postmaster, and the office located at his house.

    J. Abbott was born March 28, 1814, in the town of Ossipee, New Hampshire. At the age of ten removed to Machias, Maine, and in 1848 went to Oshkosh, Wisconsin; in 1878 he came to the town of Omro, Yellow Medicine county, Minnesota. In 1842 he married Margaret Cofrin; his second wife was Jane Wilson, whom he married in 1878. His first wife bore him eight children; seven are living: James A., Elizabeth, Eldora, Anson, Edgar, Ida and Frankie.

    G. Abraham, native of Germany, was born in 1843. In 1870 he came to this country and lived in Indiana until 1872, then came to Minnesota; his home was in Faribault county until 1878, when he came to Omro. In 1872 he married Wilhelmina Zinter; they have had five children; four are living: Adelia, Bertha, Wilhelmina and Lydia.

    Robert North was born in Essex county, New York, January 21, 1826. At the age of twelve he moved to Erie county, and in 1856 went to Winnebago county, Wisconsin; in 1878 he came to Omro; he has been chairman of town board since the organization of the town. His wife was Sarah Miranda Campbell, whom he married April 23, 1846; their living children are Eliza Jane, William H., George A. and Robert E.; one child died.

    W. H. North was born July 6, 1850, in Erie county, New York. He moved with his parents to Wisconsin, and lived in Winnebago county until 1879, then came to Omro; he has been town clerk, treasurer and justice of the peace. Married, January 27, 1870, Nettie Drake, and has two children, Florence Elba and Sarah Agnes.

    John G. Wheeler, native of Kentucky, was born November 5, 1852, in Kenton county. At the age of two he went with his parents to Ohio and two years later to Iowa; in 1858, went to Macon county, Missouri; at the age of fourteen his father died and he then traveled through the southern and western states; returned to Missouri where he married, March 1877, Elizabeth C. Kimble, and returned to Minnesota.


    This town was the last in the county to organize, the first town meeting being held May 30, 1881. The name of Le Roy was first given it, but as there was already a town of that name, Fortier was substituted in honor of Joseph Fortier, present sheriff of the county. The first settler was Hans J. Gunderson, who came in the fall of 1873. He located first on section 22, but removed in 1878 to his present farm on section 34. Fortier occupies the southwestern corner of the county.

    James A. Coombes, born in 1844, lived in his native city, Boston, excepting one year spent in Virginia, till twelve years of age, when he went to Michigan, and worked four years on a farm. Returned to Boston and enlisted in 1861, though but seventeen years old; served three years; participating in many very hard battles and has never entirely recovered from a wound in the knee. He was then employed in carpenter and farm work in Michigan, Boston and New York till 1879, the date of his settlement in Fortier. Married, March 12, 1880, Sophia Scheef; one child, Jacob H., died.

Source - History of the Minnesota Valley, including the Explorers and pioneers of Minnesota - North Star Publishing Company, Minneapolis - 1882.
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