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Harding Township

Early Settlers

Information taken from the Ramsey County Centennial book

Thomas John Keogh was born in Dublin, Ontario, Canada on August 4, 1858. This was an Irish settlement. He came to Grand Forks when he was 21 years old and hauled freight from Larimore, North Dakota to Devils Lake the first winter. The next spring the railroad was built to Devils Lake and the land north of town was opened to homesteaders that summer. He came to Devils Lake in 1880. Thomas had two brothers and three sisters, all of Devils Lake at one time. His wife, Mary Grace Keogh was born in Kinkaro, Ontario, Canada September 13, 1860. Her mother, Louisa Varry was born in Buffalo, New York. Her father, James Hearsnep, was born in Whittle Hills, England, to Lady Grace Barton Hearsnep. James Hearsnep came to Kinkora in his early years and there he met Louisa Varry where they were married and raised six girls and one boy. Mary Grace Hearsnep came to Devils Lake and met Thomas Keogh. Thomas and Mary Keogh were married at Ft. Totten, North Dakota on February 26, 1886. There was no priest in Devils Lake at that time. They homesteaded in Harding Township in 1882. Their land was just south of what is now (1983) Bjarne Trangsruds. Later they sold that land and moved the house two and a half miles north.
They had nine children, Mayme, Will, Vince, Henry, Grace, James, Leo, Vern, and Charles. Thomas Keogh once was the manager of the Cleveland Baseball Club. Harding Township was once named Cleveland Township.Thomas died in Minnesota in 1943. Mary died in Montana in 1950. They are buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery near Webster, North Dakota.

James Keogh moved from the Edmore community in about 1935 to farm his parents farm. He was married to the former Lydia Hanson Rye. Her daughters were Mae Rye Keogh and Eileen Rye Zettler. Together they had one daughter, Marion Keogh Monnney. Lydia Keogh died in March 1941, and is buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery. Jim Keogh later married Catherine Degnan in 1942 at Devils Lake. Katie Keogh was the Registrar of Deeds in Devils Lake when they met. Having lived most of her life in Devils Lake, Katie was a well known figure in the community. She died in 1968. The farm was purchased from Jim Keogh in 1977 by Nick and Verna Kuntz. Verna is the granddaughter of Thomas and Mary Keogh. 

Arthur Edward Stewart (Art).  Art was born on November 9, 1883 to John B and Elizabeth Stewart.  He was the first white baby born in Ramsey County, ND.  The family lived in Dry Lake township.  His mother, Elizabeth, died on October 24, 1890 when he was 7 years old.  In 1902, the men of his family moved to a farm in Cato township.  In 1910, Art went to Alma, Montana as a homesteader.  He returned to ND occasionally until 1927 when he moved permanently to a farm near Joplin, Montana..  In 1943, Art married May Hermanson, to whom he had been engaged since 1910 (engaged for 33 years!).  May, the daughter of Gus Hermanson, was born December 12, 1884 in Harding township, Ramsey County.  Before her marriage, she worked as a housekeeper some of the time, but made her home on her own land not far from her parent’s farm.  She was active in Scandinavia Lutheran Church and Ladies Aid, and was a member of the Pioneer Daughters.  Since Art and May were so well loved in their respective communities, it was difficult for them to decide in which state to live.  After 3 years in Montana, they returned to North Dakota and built a house on May’s property.  They lived and farmed in Harding township for the next 25 years.  In 1971 they became residents of the IOOF Home in Devils Lake.  They remained members of the Starkweather-Scandinavia Parish. May died on February 5, 1973, and Art died on July 16, 1975 at the age of 91.  They are buried in the GAR Cemetery in Devils Lake, ND.

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If you wish to submit data for this township, please contact Colleen Goltz Ramsey County Coordinator since 19 April 2013.