Trails to the Past

Traill County North Dakota


ENGEBRIT FINGARSON, one of the successful grain farmers of Traill county, resides in section 30 of Caledonia township, and is a wideawake and energetic citizen. He conducts a farm of three hundred and twenty acres and has acquired a wide knowledge of his calling, which enables him to make the best of his land and he has accumulated his property single-handed and is highly esteemed for his intelligence and push.

Our subject was born in Hallingdal, Christiana stift, Norway, October 14, 1848. He was the eldest in a family of four children born to Fingar and Christe (Thoison) Engebretson. He worked at farm labor and also learned the shoemaker's trade, and when twenty-two years of age, in 1870, came to America, his uncle sending him a ticket. He worked in Iowa at farm work, and soon afterward went to Clayton county, Iowa, where he worked at farm labor five years, and then purchased eighty acres of land in Worth county, Iowa. He did not meet with success there and after five years of useless work he started overland for Dakota by ox team. He was then $300 in debt and his possessions amounted to an ox team, wagon and about eight head of young stock, and June 14, 1880, he arrived on the homestead, which he had secured on a visit in 1879. Living in his wagon he began the erection of a rough board shanty sodded on the outside, and he cropped wheat on the three acres which had been broken the year before, and from that small acreage obtained enough for Hour and by working for his neighbors he provided for the winter. He has never had a crop failure while there, his farm yielding no lower than twelve bushels per acre, as high as twenty-five bushels. He erected a residence in 1890 and in 1896 remodeled the same and now has a home of more than usual comforts. He erected a good barn in 1890, and the buildings on the place are substantial and convenient.

Our subject was married, in 1875, to Gunel Erickson. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Fingarson, as follows: Christiana, Matilda, a teacher in Traill county; Fred and George. Mr. Fingarson is a member of the township board, and in political sentiment is a Republican and Prohibitionist.

FREDERICK L. GOODMAN. A prominent position as a citizen and business man is accorded this gentleman, and he is deservedly gaining the confidence and esteem of his fellow townsmen. He is engaged in the real estate, loans, and insurance business in Hillsboro, and is one of the best known men of Traill County. He has interested himself largely in the financial enterprises of the city and in all matters of a pubic nature and all projects tending to the development and improvement of that locality he has taken an active interest and aided by his counsel and liberality.

Our subject was born at Fort Ann, New York, February 24, 1861, and was the youngest of four children born to Origin.W. and Mary J. (Farr) Goodman, both of whom are now deceased. The Goodman family dates in America to Colonial days and the first authentic record in 1646.

Our subject was but one year of age when his father died and his mother re-married when he was ten years old. At seventeen years he entered the Troy Conference Academy at Poultney, Vermont, and took a classical course, and in March, 1881, he left the institution to accept a position in the real estate and loan department of the First National Bank of Fargo, North Dakota. He assumed charge of that department in the fall of 1882 and in the spring of 1886 established an office in partnership with S. W. Shields, and has since engaged in that line. He handles loans and has paid much attention to placing loans throughout the Red river valley.

Our subject was married in 1888 to Miss Harriet B. Angevine, a native of Vermont, and a graduate of the Boston School of Liberal Arts. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Goodman, as follows: Cecyl B.; Elma F., deceased; Paul A. and Donald F. Mr. Goodman has served in the city council two terms, and in 1898 was mayor of Hillsboro, and has taken an active interest in local improvements, including city water works and electric light plant. He is a member of the First Congregational church and is prominent in secret society circles, holding membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Knights of Pythias. He is the present grand representative of the last named order. Politically he is a stanch Republican.

"GOOSE RIVER FARMER," a weekly Republican sheet of extensive circulation in Mayville and throughout Traill county and surrounding country, was established in February, 1890, by C. Cranston. The paper was later purchased by Stewart & Drew in June, 1896, and recently passed into the hands of Joseph M. Stewart, as sole owner. Mr. Stewart is the present manager and editor and has made a success of his work. The plant is well equipped for job work and does an extensive business in that line.

Joseph M. Stewart is a native of Canada, and was born at Cheapside, Ontario. He was educated in the Hamilton Collegiate Institute and started the study of theology preparatory for the church, but gave up the notion and pursued a course of general private reading for a number of years. He went to Manitoba, where he managed a general store for three years and taught school two years. He went to Hope, Steele county, in February, 1890, en route for the coast, and established a barber shop in Hope and later invested in the furniture business. He became manager and editor of the paper with which he is now connected in 1896 and the paper has increased in circulation and now covers an extensive territory. Mr. Stewart is a gentleman of excellent education and his push and energy has gained him a prominent place as a citizen and business man.

Our subject was married in 1887, to Miss Beatrice A. Drew. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, as follows: Gordon, Alice, Lloyd and Earl. Mr. Stewart is a thirty-second-degree Mason and member of El Zagel Shrine, Fargo, and is a master of Dakota Lodge, No. 55, Mayville, North Dakota. He is identified with the Republican party in political belief and is generally a delegate to county and state conventions of his party. He is a student of the questions of the day and is an intelligent writer and conversationalist.

Mr. Stewart was the eldest of four sons born to Benjamin and Mrs. Alice J. (McGregor) Stewart, both of Scotch descent.

JAMES GRASSICK, M. D. This gentleman enjoys the distinction of being the oldest resident physician of Traill county. North Dakota. He is a gentleman of intelligence and excellent education and has taken a prominent position as a citizen and practitioner, and enjoys a liberal patronage and the highest esteem of those among whom he has lived and labored. He is interested extensively in several business enterprises in that locality and farm lands near the town of Buxton, and has accumulated his fortune single handed.

Our subject is a native of Aberdeen. Scotland, and was born June 29, 1850. He was the youngest in a family of seven children born to Donald and Helen (Edward) Grassick. The father died when our subject was a small child, and when he was six years of age he came to America with his mother and step-father, Peter Grant, and resided on a farm in Huron county, Ontario, Canada. When seventeen years of age he began teaching school and devoted himself to that profession twelve years, the last five of which time he was principal of the Hensall public schools in Ontario. During this time he began reading medicine in the office of Dr. J. McDiarmid. of Hensall. and afterward entered Ann Arbor College and took a year's study, and then entered the Rush Medical College in Chicago and graduated with the class of 1885. He worked six months in the Toronto general hospital and Burnside Lying-in hospital and then went to Dakota, thinking the West the best place for a poor man to make a start. He went to Buxton in the fall of 1885, penniless, and as he remarks, "with his whole kit in his vest pocket." He established his office at once, and for the first few years covered territory forty miles north and south, west to Mayville and east into Minnesota. After two years of practice he returned to Ann Arbor College and in 1888 received a diploma from that institution, and then returned to his former field. He took a postgraduate course in Chicago in 1896, and strives to perfect himself in his profession. He has built up an extensive practice and has met with remarkable success. Mr. Grassick has an archeological collection of Indian relics and curiosities of the Northwest, which is said to be the finest in the state. It is well arranged, and much patient care has been expended in bringing it to its present state of order and display. Mr. Grassick is a shareholder in the Farmers' Lumber Company, and a shareholder and director of the State Bank of Buxton.

Our subject was married, in 1889, to Miss Christina McDougall, a native of Canada. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Grassick, as follows: Jessie Christina and Donald James, deceased. Mr. Grassick is a thirty-second-degree Mason, and also holds membership in. the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a Democrat in political sentiment and earnest in his convictions.

BENEDICT B. GRINLEY, of the firm of Hangom & Grinley, the sole hardware merchants of Portland, is a gentleman of excellent characteristics and has won his way to a goodly competence and prominence as a citizen by persistent and faithful efforts. He is a young man of good education and business ability and his success in North Dakota is assured.

Our subject was born in Bergen Stift. Norway, December 11, 1867, and was the younger of two sons born to Bottolf and Olena (Bredlie) Gronlee. Six children were born of his mother's second marriage. The family came to America when our subject was two years of age. and settled in Dane county, Wisconsin, and when he was six years of age the father died, and the mother afterward remarried and a home was made in Vernon county, Wisconsin. Our subject left home at the age of fourteen years, and worked at farm labor during the summer months, and attended school winters, and thus earned his own living. He worked three years as assistant engineer in a sash and door factory in Merrill, and then attended school about one year in Freeborn county. He went to Dakota in 1886 and worked on a farm and also operated a transfer line in Portland, and then returned East for a time, and in 1892 took up his residence in Dakota. He entered the Buflat Academy in 1893. and took a business course, and was then employed in the hardware store of M. J. Akins for two years. The firm of Hangom & Grinley was formed in 1895. and purchased the business of Mr. Akins. and is now the only firm of the kind in Portland. They have a liberal patronage and are prosperous merchants.

Our subject was married, in 1896, to Miss Olene Skarprud. One daughter has been born to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Grinley, upon whom they have bestowed the name of Lillian O. Mr. Grinley is actively interested in local affairs and has served on the city council. He is a Republican in political sentiment and a leader in local movements of his party.

HENRY GRONKE, living in Hillsboro, retired from active labors, went to the Goose river country in Dakota, in 1871, settling on a farm there June 2, and in company with Charles Mergenthal. became the earliest pioneer of the county. Mr. Mergenthal had been through the country the previous year with a surveying party and he and our subject are known as the founders of the German settlement of Eldorado township, Traill county. Mr. Gronke experienced many hardships in his pioneer home, but is now enjoying the reward of his industry and persistent efforts and has a comfortable home in Hillsboro.

Our subject was born in Hanover, Germany, June 4, 1846, and was the second child and only son of a family of three children born to Henry and Catherine (Bausa) Gronke. He came to America in 1857 with his parents and joined his sister in Illinois and as he was a tailor by trade followed that line. His father soon afterward left Illinois for Yankton, Dakota territory, and there he died in 1870 and the following spring our subject joined his mother at Yankton, but was not pleased with the prospects presented in that part of the state and as his brother-in-law, Mr. Mergenthal, had recently returned from a trip through the Red river valley and reported favorably regarding the country, five families started on May 24 for the Goose river country. They all drove ox-teams and arrived at their destination June 2 and our subject took a pre-emption claim in section 34, in township 46, range 50, and Mr. Mergenthal settled near by, but the others of the party after a few days left for Minnesota. The little group of log buildings erected by our subject and his party were the only marks of civilization for miles around and all was undisturbed throughout the valley. Thirty years have passed since then and the most vivid imagination could not picture the advancement of that wilderness. They were undecided which to pursue, the raising of wheat or cattle, the tall grass and luxurious feed pointing to the latter industry, while the excellence of the soil and the severe winters decided for the former and they bent their efforts to wheat raising, which was very unsatisfactory until 1874 on account of grasshoppers. The potato crop was to be depended on and the establishment of a store on the Red river by the Hudson's Bay Company made a ready market for their produce. The crop of 1874 was a success and to the present advancement has been sure and rapid. Our subject now owns seven hundred and sixty acres of land and on his home farm has a large barn and comfortable residence, in which his only son now resides and rents the farm. Mr. Gronke has made his home in Hillsboro since 1898.

Our subject was married, in 1872, to Miss Amelia Housemann. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Gronke, as follows: Ida, now Mrs. D. Engle; William, residing on the home farm, and Minnie, who resides with her parents. Mr. Gronke is a member of the German Lutheran church and in political sentiment is a Republican.


The information on Trails to the Past © Copyright  2023  may be used in personal family history research, with source citation. The pages in entirety may not be duplicated for publication in any fashion without the permission of the owner. Commercial use of any material on this site is not permitted.  Please respect the wishes of those who have contributed their time and efforts to make this free site possible.~Thank you!