Trails to the Past
Traill County North Dakota
COLONEL WILLIAM H. ROBINSON, treasurer and general manager of the Beidler & Robinson Lumber Company, with headquarters at Mayville, is a gentleman of much executive ability and is widely known as an intelligent and public-spirited citizen. He is identified with various financial enterprises in that part of the state, and has made a success of life, winning his way upward by energetic efforts and faithful service.
Our subject was born in Chicago, Illinois, October 21, 1843, and was the eldest of a family of five children born to Henry and Jane (Hutchings) Robinson. His parents were natives of England, and the mother still lives at Albert Lea, Minnesota, After entering upon his business career Mr. Robinson was called to defend his country, and enlisted, in 1861, in Company F, Thirty-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Returning from the war, he began clerking for J. Biedler Lumber Company in Chicago, and was with that firm about twelve years, and in 1876 began for himself in Allerton, Iowa, and in. 1882 disposed of his Iowa interests and arrived at Portland, Dakota, in May, and under the firm name of Beidler & Robinson established the lumber business at Portland, and in 1885 the firm of Beidler & Robinson Lumber Company was incorporated. They now own twenty-six lumber yards in North Dakota and Minnesota. Soon after the incorporation of the company the headquarters were taken up in Mayville, and the business of the company has been more than successful. Mr. Robinson is also junior member of the firm of Dibley & Robinson, dealers in steel combination and wood bridges, the firm having headquarters at Fargo. Mr. Robinson is also Indian trader at Standing Rock agency at Fort Yates, North Dakota.
Our subject was married in 1870 to Miss Lillian Abbott, of Chicago. One daughter was born to this union, who is now Mrs. R. H. Bush, of Grand Forks. Mr. Robinson was married in 1896 to Miss Edith Anderson. Mr. Robinson was a member of the senate in the first state legislature, and did very efficient work toward passing the prohibition bill through the senate. He also assisted in securing the location of the State Normal at Mayville. He is prominent in public affairs, and has been prominently identified with the Republican party of the state; was a delegate to the Minneapolis national convention, and attended the St. Louis convention and was there elected national committeeman for North Dakota. He was chairman of the state central committee during three campaigns, and at present is chairman of the state central committee and a member of the national committee. Mr. Robinson is a Knight Templar and thirty-second-degree Mason, and also holds membership in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
REV. JOHAN R. RORVIK, pastor of Immanuel Norwegian Lutheran Synod, Hillsboro, is a gentleman of culture and intelligence and since taking up his labors in North Dakota has endeared himself to the people of Traill county. The church over which he presides has prospered since he assumed charge and much credit is accorded him for his earnest and unceasing labors for its growth.
Mr. Rorvik was born in Bergen stift, Norway, April 17, 1863, and was the second in a family of six children born to Johan and Petrine (Johnsen) Rorvik, both of whom live in Norway. His father is a wealthy farmer and resides near the coast and devotes his winters to fishing.
Our subject passed his early youth at his native place and when seventeen years of age left home for academic work, preparatory to entering Hauges Minde College in Christiania, with the idea of preparing himself for the ministry. He began college life at Christiania when nineteen years of age and completed a three-years course, receiving a degree corresponding to that of B. A. He emigrated to America in 1885 and began working in a furniture store in Minneapolis and in 1886, as soon as his finances would permit, began his studies in Luther Seminary at Madison, Wisconsin, and completed a three-years course in theology. He was ordained a minister in the summer of 1889 and given charge at Brainerd, Minnesota, which he held until 1892 and then took his present charge in Hillsboro. The Synod Lutheran church was organized in 1892 by Rev. J. Ingelstad, and at the time of our subject taking charge of the pastorate numbered about fifteen families. The membership has increased steadily since that time and now numbers about forty families. The church edifice was built in 1893 and is a wooden structure, but has the largest seating capacity of any church in the city. It is handsomely finished and is one of the leading churches of the county.
Mr. Rorvik was married, in 1890. to Miss Anna Lysne, a native of Northfield, Minnesota. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Rorvik, as follows: Ragnar (died within a year), Agnes Rolf and Hilda. Mr. Rorvik is a Prohibitionist and takes an active interest in temperance work.
AUGUST G. ROSENKRANZ. .deceased. This gentleman was well known during the early days in Traill county, North Dakota, and at the time of his demise was a resident of Davenport township, Cass county, wherein he was a large land owner. He went to Dakota with no resources other than the tools with which nature endowed him and after facing the discouragements and losses incident to life in a new country amassed a fortune and enjoyed remarkable success as an agriculturist.
Our subject was a native of Germany, and was born July 30, 1854. His parents, August and Mary Rosenkranz. were natives of Germany, and emigrated to America in 1873 and settled near Appleton, Minnesota, where they now reside. Four sons and two daughters were born to this worthy couple, all of whom now reside in Minnesota. Mr. Rosenkranz remained in Minnesota until 1882 and then went to Fargo, North Dakota, and resided there one year and then moved to Kelso, Traill county. North Dakota, and purchased wheat and resided there for ten years. He then bought land in Davenport township, Cass county, and resided thereon during the rest of his life. He improved his farm and made a comfortable home there and was one of the substantial men of the township.
Mr. Rosenkranz was married, in 1882, to Minnie Schwarz, a daughter of August and Mary Schwarz, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Rosenkranz, named Herbert A. and Minnie F. Mr. Rosenkranz died in North Dakota, July 4, 1893. He was a gentleman of exemplary character and was a consistent member of the Evangelical Association. He served as chairman of the township board for ten years at Kelso, and was prominent in local affairs, wherever he had his home. He held membership in the Ancient Order of United Workman. He was mourned by a loving wife, and a large circle of friends.
MARTIN L RUDE, one of the prominent citizens of Hillsboro, Traill county, deals in city real estate there and has become well-to-do by industrious habits and careful management. He has passed through varied experiences and is now spending his declining years amid the most pleasant surroundings and esteemed by his fellow men.
Our subject was born on Sulerud, in Eidsberg, Norway, September 18, 1851, and was the sixth in a family of eight children born to Lars and Maria (Olsen) Evensen, both of whom are deceased.
At seven years of age our subject was adopted by a wealthy land owner and remained on his farm until fourteen years of age and then went to Christiania and attended billiard tables in Masonic Temple. He soon obtained work on board a steamer as steward and when fifteen years of age engaged on a large passenger steamer on trips between Tronjehni, Christiania and Hamburg. He then decided to devote himself to navigation and began the study of the same and March 4, 1866, passed the examination and soon afterward shipped as seaman on the Madammen and made four trips to France and a trip to Antwerp and Belgium. Shipping on another vessel, he made Newcastle, Constantinople, Odessa and back to Malta, Gibraltar, and thence to England. From there he went to his native country and thence to Cardiff, Wales, and from there came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He remained sixteen days, viewing the wonders of the New World and then shipped for Hongkong. The ship was wrecked near Montevideo, on a coral reef, the crew took to boats and only thirteen of twenty-one on board were saved. Our subject arrived at Montevideo arrayed simply in his underclothes. He next joined the United States navy and remained twelve months, the last three of which he served on the gunboat Wasp, under command of the now famous Sampson. After this he made two voyages, the first in a Norwegian vessel to the East Indies and back to Rosaria, and the final trip was on the Harold around the Horn to the Maccabee Isles, thence to Londonderry, from which place he soon took passage for America. He arrived on our shores in 1873 and after a visit at his father's in Douglas county, Minnesota, devoted himself to whatever he could find as employment, railroading, lumbering, contracting, etc., and for about two years worked for McMullen & Company of Minneapolis. He accompanied the government surveyors in 1877 on an expedition to Fort Custer, going by team and boat on the Missouri, Big Horn and Little Big Horn rivers and he was a great aid in navigating these streams. The work was completed in October of that year and fifty of the men started afoot over the plains, three hundred and eighty-eight miles to Medicine Bow. Mr. Rude then devoted himself to farming in Douglas county, Minnesota, and in 1879 with an ox-team drove to Fargo, North Dakota, and' took land in Cass county, where he lived a short time, and in 1880 assumed charge of the laundry at Fargo, which he operated one year. He sold his Cass county farm for four thousand dollars and invested in five hundred and twenty acres of land on the Wild Rice river in Minnesota. This venture proved a complete success and in 1894 he disposed of his Minnesota interests for ten thousand dollars and went to Hillsboro, Traill county, and invested in city property and also opened a meat market. He now rents his market and has retired from active business pursuits, devoting his attention to the selling of real estate in the city and he management of the opera house in that city.
Our subject was married, November 27, 1877, to Miss Ella Ramstad. Mr. Rude is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is a Scottish Rite and Mystic Shrine member. Politically, he is a Republican and is strong in his convictions. He has served two years on the city board and is well known and popular with the people.
OLE P. SATROM, one of Traill county's most prosperous and painstaking farmers, conducts a well cultivated tract of eight hundred acres in Galesburg township. His farm is not as extensive as other estates of the county, but the buildings and land evidence careful management and strict attention to the details. The buildings are substantial, and he has provided house room for all machinery, stock and grain, and thrift is everywhere apparent.
Our subject was born in Gudbrandsdalen, Hammar Stift, Norway, November 12, 1859, and was the third in a family of twelve children, born to Paul P. and Engeborg (Korshus) Satrom, both of whom now reside with our subject. In his native land Mr. Satrom worked at farm labor and at railroading, and after attaining his majority came to America in company with two of his brothers to join two other brothers who had preceded them. In the spring of 1881 he arrived at Fargo, North Dakota, with twenty-five dollars, and in June homesteaded the farm his buildings now occupy. He erected a small 8x 12 foot shanty and then went to Cass county to find work, and during two winters worked for his board at Hunter, and attended school in Cass county, gaining a good understanding of English. He purchased a yoke of oxen in the fall of 1882 and the following spring a third ox and began breaking land on his own farm and also for others. His land has raised excellent crops and he has met with success in his-calling. His house is commodious and his main barn is a structure 55x88 feet with storage room for one hundred tons of hay. This building he erected in 1892. Surface water is abundant, and a five acre grove of thrifty trees adds value and coziness to his home.
Mr. Satrom's first wife, who bore the maiden name of Annie Branthaugen, died March 29, 1892. Four children were born to that union, as follows: Paul O., who died March 16, 1894; Gena Olea, who died August 2, 1883; Gine Olie, who died July 22, 1890, and John O. Mr. Satrom was married, January 29, 1896, to Christine Kraabel. Mr. Satrom is one of the leading men of his locality and is chairman of the township board. He is a member of the Synod church and is a man of enlightened views, and enjoys the confidence of the people among whom he lives. He has served on the Republican county central committee.
GEORGE F. SCHLOSSER. is one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Traill county. He was an early settler of North Dakota, and has resided near Mayville for the past ten years, during which time he has gained his commendable position as a man of excellent character and active public spirit. His farm is one of the most extensive in the state and is fully improved, and on account of its location, affording the quiet of country life and the educational and social advantages of the city, is one of the finest pieces of property to be found.
Our subject is a native of Brownsdale, Minnesota. and was born December 19, 1858, and was the youngest of a family of four children born to Albert and Katherina (Nies) Schlosser, both of whom were of German descent. The mother died when our subject was a child and the father is residing with his daughter in Iowa. The father married a second and a third time, and two children were born to these later unions, the family numbering in all six children. The family settled in Columbia county, Wisconsin, where our subject resided amid pleasant surroundings until he attained his majority. With twenty dollars cash, he started, in company with his brother and Mr. P. Kegler, in a prairie schooner, in 1880, for Dakota and arrived in Grand Forks county. He at once sought work, and June 9 began on the Grandin farm, in Traill county, and there did his first wage earning. He soon saw the possibilities in Dakota, and took land as a pre-emption in Grand Forks county, and there built a shanty and purchased on time a yoke of oxen and began to turn the sod. Ninety acres was the result of his first season's work for himself and others, and he soon began the cultivation of his land. He secured an additional one hundred and sixty acres and pushed forward the improvements of his farm, and in 1889 sold advantageously and at once invested in three hundred and twenty acres on the Goose river, adjoining the city of Mayville, where he has since resided. This proved a good investment, as it has since more than doubled in value. His farm comprises timber land, some of which has been sold to the city and has been converted into a beautiful island park, which in summer presents a lively scene of picnics, boating and swimmer. Mr. Schlosser has recently donated to the city a location for the electric light plant. For the comfort and convenience of the family, he erected a handsome residence in 1898, which is' fitted with modern heating and sewage systems, and is a model in every particular, while the furnishings evidence the good taste of its occupants. He has added to his original purchase of land, and now owns three thousand one hundred and sixty acres of land in Traill and Steele counties, all of which he personally supervises.
Our subject was married, in 1888, to Miss Lizzie McMillin. Six children have been born to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Schlosser, as follows: George, Pearl, Anna May, Glenn, Gladys and Francis W. Mr. Schlosser was elected mayor of the city of Mayville in 1898, re-elected in 1890, and under his guidance many improvements have been established. A relentless war has been waged on gambling games and games of chance and liquor dealers, an electric-light plant has been established and a waterworks system has been begun. A pubic library building will soon be opened, owing to the generous donation of J. L. and E. B. Grandin and the support of the citizens of Mayville.
ALVIN SCHMITT, who is ably conducting the editorship and management of the "Hillsboro Banner," was born in Dodge County, Wisconsin, February 13, 1862, and was the fourth child born to William and Barbara (Metz) Schmitt. He passed the early years of his life in Dodge County and at the age of fourteen years entered a private school and completed an academic course. He entered the office of the "Wisconsin State Register," as an apprentice, at the age of sixteen years, and in 1882 went to Hillsboro, Traill County. North Dakota, where he was employed in "The Hillsboro Banner"' office. He has rapidly risen to prominence in newspaper circles and the paper which he controls is successful financially and otherwise. He is a man of intelligence and true citizenship and highly esteemed throughout that region.
Mr. Schmitt was married, in 1898, to Miss Hattie Moll. One daughter has been born to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Schmitt, upon whom they have bestowed the name of Marie Louise.
"THE HILLSBORO BANNER" is a newsy twelve-page County paper, issued weekly at Hillsboro, Traill County, under the management and editorship of Alvin Schmitt. Its political affiliations arc Republican, supporting the present administration and voicing prohibition. The paper was first issued in 1880 by Edward Barker, and after four years passed into the hands of George E. Bowers, and in 1885 was owned by George E. Bowers and Alvin Schmitt. Mr. Bowers became sole proprietor in 1889 and from him it was exchanged to the present manager, Alvin Schmitt. A [ stock company was formed in 1896 and Mr. Schmitt became editor and manager. The "Banner" office is fitted with a three-horse-power gasoline engine, Babcock press and extensive fixtures and equipment for job printing, and enjoys a liberal patronage in this line. The paper has a wide circulation and is among the best newspapers of the County. A review of the life of its manager and editor will be of interest to the readers of this work.
WILLIAM K. SEAVER, one of the well-known and energetic farmers of section 31 in Eldorado township, was an early settler of that region and was for many years identified with the public affairs of Traill county, gaining for himself an enviable reputation as a public-spirited citizen.
Our subject was born in Boone county, Illinois, October 5, 1857, and was the third in a family of thirteen children, eleven of whom are still living, born to Knute and Thora (Hjordal) Seaver. The family name was originally Quarme, but our subject's father adopted the Christian name of his father as a surname. His father was a forty-niner in California, but after several years there returned to Illinois, and engaged in farming the land purchased about 1845, a tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres which has increased to two hundred and thirty acres comprising the present farm.
Our subject remained at home until seventeen years of age, and then went to his uncle's in Mitchell county, Iowa, and worked at farm work four years, and in the spring of 1879 went to Caledonia and took land in what is now Belmont township, and after a couple of years sold his farm and was appointed deputy sheriff and served eight years in that capacity. He thus mixed in pioneer life in Hillsboro from the start of the town and served on the police force as chief of police and afterward as deputy sheriff. He was elected sheriff of Traill county in the fall of 1892, and in 1897 purchased the farm on which he now resides, and settled to diversified farming. He erected a new part to an original log house, the log part being utilized as a dining room. He now owns two hundred and eighty acres of land near the Goose river, and has about twenty acres of timber land.
Our subject was married, in 1885, to Miss Hannah Hanson, a native of Winnesheik county, Iowa. Mrs. Seaver attended the Normal School of Cedar Falls and was a teacher, and in 1882 went to Dakota, becoming one of the pioneer educators of Traill county, and spent two and a half years in that work. Two sons have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Seaver, as follows: Herbert K. and William Arthur. Mr. Seaver is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Lutheran church. Politically he is a Republican.
HON. ASA SERGEANT, one of the first settlers of Traill county, is a gentleman who commands respect wherever he is known. He has spent a useful career in North Dakota, and is one of the wealthy and influential citizens of Caledonia, and operates several hundred acres of rich land.
Our subject was born in Peacham, Caledonia county, Vermont, August 5, 1844, and was the fourth in a family of six children born to Elijah and Sylvia (Watts) Sargeant, both of whom are deceased. He enlisted in the fall of 1862 in Company F, Fifteenth Vermont Infantry, and after a short service returned to his native state. In 1868, during the first "boom" of the Red river country, he and some relatives invested in land on the Minnesota side of the Red river, and in 1870 our subject went to look at the land purchased. He worked during the season in Minnesota and passed the winter in Pembina. In the spring of 1872 and he entered the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, working in the store at Georgetown, and soon afterward was established in a store at Caledonia, and later for three years at Walla Walla. In association with C. M. Clark, he rented the Caledonia flouring mills in 1876 and later they purchased the plant. The mill was erected in 1872. and was the second mill built in what is now North Dakota. The frame of the structure is of oak, hewn from the native timber, and the whole building is as sound as when erected thirty years ago. The mill was sold some years afterward, but was repurchased by Mr. Sargeant and Edward Braseth. They are running the mill at the present time. It is a one hundred-barrel capacity mill, and is run by steam and water power combined. Our subject now owns seven hundred acres of land, bounded on two sides by the Goose and the Red rivers. He is now planning a departure to the Pacific coast to join his family and remain there for some time, and perhaps make his home there.
Our subject was married in 1879 to Miss Amanda Houghton, who went to Dakota in 1876. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Sargeant, as follows: Vie, a student of music and also a teacher of music; Charles, a student of Pacific University, of Oregon; Helen, deceased; Martha; Ray, deceased, and Neal. Mr. Sargeant was elected to the territorial legislature in 1876, which met at Yankton, and he was appointed by the governor among the first county officers, as both probate judge and county treasurer. In the fall of 1886 he was elected county register of deeds and served three terms. He is one of the solid men of Traill county and is well and favorably known throughout the state of North Dakota.
SEVERT SORENSON, residing on section 10, in East Buxton township, is one of the early settlers of that locality and has aided in its development and advancement. He is one of the citizens of foreign birth who have labored for the better interests of their adopted land and have gained a comfortable competence and an enviable reputation.
Our subject was born near Tronjeim, Norway, September 8, 1843, and was the eighth in a family of nine children, five of whom are now living. His parents, Soren and Bergoite (Bjorn) Larson, were natives of Norway. Our subject served an apprenticeship of five years in a blacksmith shop and in July, 1865, started to England, with the intention of establishing a wagon manufactory, but found no good location and then emigrated to America, arriving at New York, August 15, 1865. After a short time he started for the copper mines of Michigan, and worked there at his trade eighteen months, but tiring of the isolation of the mines he went to Chicago and from there to Allamakee county, Iowa, where he purchased a country shop. He took a trip westward through St. Paul to Big Stone Lake in 1868 and the following year started for Colorado, but stopped in St. Ansgar, Mitchell county, Iowa, and there opened a shop during the boom times. In the spring of 1878 he went to Belmont, Traill county, North Dakota, where he secured a mule team and looked for land and entered claim to the southwest quarter of section 2 as a tree claim and in the spring of 1881 removed to Buxton with his family and worked at his trade, meanwhile improving his farm for about three years. His health then began failing and he removed to his farm in 1884 and has resided there since. He has added to his acreage and now owns and operates four hundred and eighty acres. He has an artesian well and good buildings and has met with unbounded success in agricultural pursuits.
Our subject was married, in 1874, to Miss Matilda Davis. Mr. Sorenson died in 1808, aged forty-six years. Eight children were born to this union, as follows; Annie, now Mrs. A. Sorley; Samuel deceased; Henry; Maria M., teaching in Traill county: Minnie, deceased; Martin ; Samuel and Otto. Mr. Sorenson is a member of the Lutheran church and is actively interested in educational matters.
JACOB A. SORUM, County sheriff of Traill County, is extensively interested in farming in that county, and is one of the substantial and public-spirited citizens of the state. He has acquired his property and high reputation by his earnest efforts, and is a man of much energy and a capacity for well-directed labor. He has resided in Hillsboro but a short time, but has become well known and is highly respected by all. His farm consists of four hundred and sixty acres of choice land, upon which he has placed modern buildings, and it is a home of luxury and the farm yields abundantly and furnishes a comfortable competence.
Our subject was born in Allamakee County, Iowa, April 13, 1858, and was the eldest in a family of twelve children, born to Andrew and Bertha (Torgerson) Sorum, both of whom are living and make their home in Eldorado township. Trail County. North Dakota.
Our subject, with his father and sister, went to Dakota from the home farm in Iowa in the fall of 1879, and both father and son entered claim to land in Traill County, each in section 30. A log house was erected on each farm, and the following spring the remaining members of the family joined them in the new home. They broke the land and engaged in wheat raising during the first season, and hauled their grain to Fargo, forty miles distant, the nearest railroad point. Mr. Sorum had but forty dollars on his arrival in Dakota, and the strictest economy and hard work were necessary to get a start on the pioneer farm. He put a small addition to the small log house and this was his home until 1896, when it was supplanted by a fine frame residence, and a 40x6o-foot barn was erected in 1890, giving the place an appearance of thrift and care in its development. Our subject has added to his real estate as circumstances permitted, and now owns four hundred and sixty acres of land, which forms one of the best farms in the County. An artesian well furnishes an abundance of water, and also gives a supply of natural gas, which as yet can not be utilized.
Our subject was married, in 1881, to Miss Rindena Ekdahl, a native of Norway. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Sorum, as follows: Bertha, now Mrs. A. Dahl ; John, now attending Agricultural College at Fargo ; Turine ; Julius ; Carl and Albert. The family reside in the County jail building, which is one of the most substantial and imposing structures of the County, built of stone to a height of about twelve feet and the upper part of pressed brick. Mr. Sorum was elected County sheriff in 1898, and during the summer of 1899 removed to Hillsboro. He served on the township board in his township three years, and during two of the time was chairman of that body. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and also the United Lutheran church. Politically he is a Republican, and is a firm supporter of party principles, but does not seek public preferment.
ANULF STEENSON, one of the prominent and wide-awake early settlers of Eldorado township, Traill county, is now engaged in diversified farming on his pioneer farm and has accumulated a fine property. He is held in the highest esteem by his associates and enjoys the confidence of those among whom he has resided since the early days of the settlement of that region.
Our subject was born in Kummedal, Norway, May 19, 1856, and was the youngest in a family of four children born to Steen and Isabella (Anulfdatter) Knudson. The family came to America in 1860 and settled in Mitchell county, Iowa, where a new farm was opened up, and there our subject received a common-school education and later attended the Cedar Valley Seminary at Osage, Iowa, and fitted himself for a teacher. He taught school for about three years, and in the spring of 1878 went to North Dakota and traveled through that state and Minnesota by team with a companion. During the summer of that year he filed a claim to the southwest quarter of section 6 in Eldorado township, where his buildings now stand. He became a permanent settler in the spring of 1879 and lived alone in a 10x12 board shanty till 1881. He borrowed money with which to get to Dakota, and is now the owner of five hundred and sixty acres of land, on which he has erected a fine residence 28x30 feet, and in 1888 built a fine barn 40x52 feet. He has an artesian well, and from this gets a good supply of water, making his farm one admirably adapted to diversified farming. He taught the first school opened in Eldorado township, which was in October, 1879, and about twelve pupils completed the enrollment. He received twenty dollars per month and board for his recompense, and the pupils occupied a 14x 16-foot tar-papered shanty.
Our subject was married, in January. 1882, to Miss Gunel Pederson. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Steenson, as follows: Stephen, Tilda, Thomas and Carl. Mr. Steenson was township clerk from the organization of the township in 1881 to 1894, and was also elected county commissioner for the second district in 1890 and served three years. He was elected county treasurer in 1894 and proved an efficient and popular officer, being returned for a second term, lie is a Republican in political faith and has attended county and state conventions of his part. In religious belief he is a Lutheran and a member of that denomination.
HON HERBJORN H. STROM. is probably one of the best-known men in public affairs in North Dakota, and is one of the leading farmers of Traill county. He is an early settler, and in every instance he has proven himself an efficient officer, looking to the better interests of those whom he represented, and for the advancement and up building of his county and state. His home is located in section 10 of Eldorado township, and he has prospered in his chosen calling, and a fine property is the result of his perseverance and good judgment.
Our subject was born in Nore, Prestegjeld Nummedal, Norway, January 27, 1846. and was eldest in a family of four children, born to Herbjorn and Kjersti (Larsdatter of the farm Lian) Strommen. He worked at farm labor in his native land until twenty-two years of age and then sought his fortune in the new world, joining a cousin in Clayton county. Iowa. He worked there about four years, and then established a general store, and after two years established in the farm machinery business in Elgin, Fayette county, Iowa. Hearing of the Red river valley, with a party of about twenty he drove overland to North Dakota, Caledonia being their objective point. They prospected through the country from Caledonia to Northwood, through Grand Forks county, and down to the Red river, thence up that river to the point from which they started, and as most of the land along the streams had been taken, they concluded the central part of Traill county furnished as good prairie land as was to be procured, and accordingly located in that locality, and the present thriving condition of the farms in that vicinity testify to the decision being wise. Our subject filed claim to the southwest quarter of section 10 in Eldorado township, where he has since resided, and erected a small frame house, the lumber being hauled from Fargo. His wife and two children soon joined him in the new home, and in 1890 a more commodious residence was erected for the comfort of the family, and in 1897 3 substantial barn 62x64 feet was erected. He sunk an artesian well one hundred, and forty feet in 1886, and this furnishes excellent water. He owns five hundred acres of rich land, and has a fine grove of trees which enhances the beauty and the value of the place.
Our subject was married, in 1875, to Miss Guri Halvorsatter, who was born on the farm Brevig, in Norway. Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Strom, as follows: Henry, foreman of the Howard and Halvorson farm; Lewis, a teacher of Traill county and a student in the university at Grand Forks; Otto, John, Clara and Martin. Mr. Strom is a member of the Lutheran church. He assisted in the organization of his township, and his first public service consisted u\ organizing the road district, and soon afterward he organized an independent school district, and was clerk of the first school board, and has taken an active part in school matters, and also was a member of the first township board. He was elected coroner of Traill county in 1882, and served two terms, and in 1888 was elected county commissioner for the second district, and served one year, resigning to accept a seat in the lower house at the first session of the state legislature, and served in that capacity three terms. He took an active part in opposition to the Louisiana lottery, and following his service as a representative he was elected a member of the state senate, and while a member of that body introduced important measures which have become laws. He is a member of the Republican party, and is a well-known figure in county and state conventions, and is highly esteemed by those among whom he resides regardless of party lines.
GEORGE O. STROMNER, cashier of the Clifford State Bank, of Clifford, Traill County, North Dakota, is a gentleman of excellent business qualifications and ably conducts the affairs of the institution with which he is connected. He is one of the foreign born citizens who have been won to this country by the wonderful stories of advantages and freedom, and has become thoroughly identified with American progress and advancement. He has acquired a comfortable competence by dint of his own efforts, and well merits his high standing as a citizen and business man.
Our subject was born in Norway, October 25, 1859, and has been a resident of the United States since 1866. He received his education in Wisconsin, and in 1881 settled at Mayville, North Dakota, where he engaged in the real estate, loan and collection business. He has considerable valuable property in the town of Mayville, including a comfortable home, and resided there until the spring of 1899, when he removed to Clifford to accept the cashier ship of the State Bank of Clifford.
Our subject was married, in 1888, to Mary Julson, of Big Springs, Wisconsin. Mr. Stromner has always taken an active interest in local affairs wherever he has resided, and while a resident of Mayville he served as alderman from 1885-88 and again in 1894. He was city treasurer from 1888- 94, and in the fall of 1894 was elected County auditor and served in that capacity four years, and was an especially efficient officer and gained the confidence of the people of Traill County.
HON. SWENUNG C. SWENSON, one of the most prominent farmers of North Roseville township, has followed his calling in Traill county for the past twenty-two years, and now enjoys a comfortable home and the highest esteem of his fellow men. His farm adjoins the city of Portland and he has four hundred acres of choice land.
Our subject was born in Jefferson county, Wisconsin, January 29, 1853. and was the third in a family of four children born to Christian and Karre (Nordskog) Swenson, both of whom are now deceased. When about four years of age he went with his parents to Fillmore county, Minnesota, and there grew to manhood, assisting with the work on the farm. He received a good common school education, and in May, 1877, went to Traill county, North Dakota, arriving at Fargo. He then started to locate a claim, and traveled afoot to the Goose river, at the point where Hillsboro now stands, and followed the stream to his farm which he now occupies. He purchased eighty acres of land of the railroad company, and also located a homestead claim, and built a small log house, and with a yoke of oxen purchased began the improvement of his farm. He has added to his possessions from time to time, and now owns and cultivates four hundred acres, all of which is in Traill county, and is well located, and has yielded from thirteen to twenty-two bushels of grain per acre annually. He has erected good buildings and enjoys prosperity.
Our subject was married, in 1878, to Miss Maria Nelby. Mr. Swenson is a member of the Lutheran church. He has always taken an active part in public affairs, and was a member of the first board of supervisors of his township, and in the fall of 1898 was elected to the lower house, and served in the sixth session of the state legislature. He served on the following committees: Engrossing and enrolling, agricultural, warehouses and grains. Politically he is a Republican, and is firm in his convictions, and attends the county and state conventions of his party. He is a man of broad ideas and earnest effort for the up building of the community in which he makes his home and has attained prominence as a farmer and citizen.
TOBIAS H. THOMPSON. The farming community of Belmont township, Traill county, is indebted to the Kingdom of Norway for one of its most enterprising and successful citizens, in the person of the gentleman whose name heads this article.
Mr. Thompson was born in Norway. February 24, 1839, and was the sixth in a family of seven children born to Hans and Antoinette (Christofferson) Thompson, both of whom later came to Dakota, and the mother died in this state. At the age of fourteen years Tobias H. Thompson began to earn his living, first working in a brickyard and later at railroading, then at surveying, and lastly was made foreman of a construction gang. Having a brother in America, he came to this country in 1882, arriving at Chicago with fifty dollars in money. He came at once to Traill county, Dakota, and joined his brother, Chris. Thompson who was a farmer of Belmont township, but who is now deceased. Mr. Thompson engaged in farm work for two years, and in 1884 built a small house on a school section and started to improve it, with the idea, which he afterward realized, of eventually buying the land by making it pay for itself. He rented it from the state in 1887, and in 1892 purchased it. He is now the owner of three hundred and forty-three acres of the best land in the county, and has put upon it splendid improvements, and greatly enhanced its value and yielding powers.
Mr. Thompson was married, in 1881, to Miss Sigre Gunderson, also a native of Norway, and to this union nine children have been born, named as follows: Annie, Hilde (deceased), Henry, Gilbert, Hilda, Arthur, Ottelie, Magda and Tracey. Mr. Thompson is a Republican in political faith, and has been active in public affairs of his county. He has held local offices, and has been a popular choice as a delegate to county conventions of his party, and for several years has been a member of the Republican county central committee. He is regarded as the leader of his party in Belmont township.
TOBIAS R. TOBIASON, the efficient postmaster of Hatton. and one of the well known business men of that thriving town, has resided in Traill county for nearly twenty years, and has a well developed farm in Garfield township on which he makes his home.
Our subject was born in Winneshiek county, Iowa, March 16, 1854. and was the second child and oldest son of five children born to Roland and Mary (Thompson) Tobiason. His parents were natives of Norway, and our subject's elder sister was born in that land. The father now resides in Steele county. North Dakota.
When fourteen years of age our subject entered the Norwegian Lutheran College and attended Decorah Institute, and then applied himself to teaching ten years in Winneshiek county, Iowa, and Grant county, Minnesota. During this time he also handled loans and sold musical instruments, and in 1880 entered the employ of W. J. Holmes, of Fergus Falls, traveling for the loan business, and in the fall of 1882 went to Mayville to look after his land interests in that locality, and soon afterward settled on his farm in section 8, of Garfield township. The land adjoins the village of Hatton, and he still resides thereon. He established a land office, making proofs and loans, and of late has handled some machinery and has established a profitable business.
Our subject was married, in 1883, to Miss Josephine Anderson, who died in 1893. Four children were born to this union, as follows: Orlando, Wilhelm, Carl, and Joseph, deceased. Mr. Tobiason was married to Miss Olivia Bye in 1895. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Tobiason, named as follows: Theodore and Benjamin. Mr. Tobiason takes an active interest in county, township and school affairs, and well merits his high standing as a citizen. He is a Republican in political faith, and has served in county and state affairs of his party, and is now a member of the Republican county central committee.
FRED W. WARREN. Few men have been more bountifully rewarded by cultivating the land of the Red river valley than the gentleman whose name introduces this article. He now owns and operates seventeen hundred and eighty acres, most of which yields well, and he is one of the most extensive farmers of Traill county. He has a home of more than usual comforts, in section 30, of North Mayville township, and has spared no pains in completing every detail of convenience and furnishings.
Our subject is a native of Vermont, and was born at Poultney. He and a younger sister constituted the family born to William W. and Jane (Robinson) Warren, both of whom resided near Mayville, North Dakota, until their deaths. His father was a soldier in the Civil war and was by occupation a farmer, and in 1878. at the request of T. L. and E. B. Grandin. took charge of the Mayville farm. He remained there as superintendent during the rest of his career, and our subject was given employment on the farm and after a few years became overseer of a part and during the time he was thus engaged he secured three pieces of government land near Mayville. He took up his residence He took up his residence in section 30, in North Mayville township, in 1888, where he still resides, and has purchased additional lands, his home farm now consisting of one thousand acres, and he also has a section of land northwest of Portland, all of which he personally oversees. His home is large and furnished with modern conveniences, including modern plumbing, hot and cold water, bath, etc. He has met with unbounded success and his land averages, in wheat, from fifteen to twenty-six bushels per acre. He raises an abundance of hay and with about sixty acres of corn the question of feed for stock is well disposed of and every feature of the farm is carefully planned and carried out.
Our subject was married, in 1884, to Bertha Lee. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Warren, as follows: Lottie L, Arthur W., Clarence H., Mary Josephine, George L., William W., Fred F., Frances and James M. William and Fred are twins. Mr. Warren is a man of broad ideas and politically is a Republican and supports prohibition. He is well known and held in the highest esteem by all with whom he comes in contact.
AUGUSTUS L. WENTWORTH. Probably no man has been more intimately associated with the farming interests of North Dakota than to gentleman whose name heads this personal history, and his name is closely connected with the annals of Traill county, in which he operated for many years as a successful agriculturist, and is now the owner of extensive farm lands, which he has divided into half-section farms and rents, while he has his home in Kelso.
Our subject was born in what is now Knox county. Maine, February 7. 1830, and was the oldest son and second child in a family of ten children born to Leonard and Mary (Arnold) Wentworth. The family was of English origin, and Governor Wentworth of New Hampshire colony was a member of the family.
Our subject was reared on a farm in Maine, and worked also in the woods, and at the age of twenty-one began work as shipwright. When about twenty-five years of age he purchased a hundred-acre farm and devoted himself to agricultural pursuits, and upon the death of his father-in-law Northern Pacific Railroad bonds passed into his hands, and these being worth but sixteen cents on the dollar, he decided to go west and select the bonded lands, paying from three and a half to five dollars per acre. In this manner the family secured one thousand four hundred acres of land, and of this our subject and wife owned three hundred and fifty acres in Hillsboro and Kelso townships, in Traill county. The land was located by our subject and his brother-in-law, Mr. L. S. Safford, in 1875, and in the spring of 1878 our subject again went to the farm and passed the summer and then took government land as a tree claim and pre-emption on section 6, in Kelso township, and in June, 1879, removed there with his wife and family. He built a home on his pre-emption and operated the farm until 1892. He built on the banks of the Elm river in section 33, and about 1889 took up a residence in Kelso village. He now owns over one thousand acres of land, which is divided into half-section farms. The village of Kelso is on his land, and near there he has opened to the public about twenty acres of native timber on the banks of Elm river, and this constitutes one of the most beautiful spots on the Elm. The river and several small lakes make it an ideal picnic spot, and it is a popular resort for miles around.
Our subject was married in September, 1855, to Miss Olinda Safford, a native of Maine. Mrs. Wentworth died January 19, 1891. She was a true helpmeet, and mourned by her family and a large circle of friends. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth, as follows: Mary, now Mrs. P. J. Casserly, residing in Hillsboro township, Traill county; Benjamin S., the only son, now residing in section 33, in Hillsboro township, and one of the leading farmers of that locality. He has a fine farm well improved, and a fine new residence adorns it. Jennie C., deceased; and Luella S., now Mrs. A. L. Heikes, residing in Chicago. Mr. Wentworth was the first postmaster of Safford post office, established in 1881, where the village of Kelso now stands. He was elected county commissioner for the second district in 1895. Politically he is a Republican, and has seldom been absent from state and county conventions. Mr. Wentworth is loyal and determined in his adherence to the right and to his friends, and is one of the most important factors in the social and financial interests of Traill county. Portraits of Mr. Wentworth and his son, Benjamin S., will be found in connection with this sketch.
GEORGE A. WHITE-THE PORTLAND STATE BANK was established in 1886 by George A. White. The following officers are now in charge: C. S. Edwards, president ; C. L. Grandin, vice-president; George A. White, cashier; and P. M. Paulson, assistant cashier. Mr. White established the bank as a private institution, and it was operated thus until i8yo, under the name of the Citizens' Bank, and was then incorporated as a state bank, and G. A. White was cashier, K. H. Brunsdale was president, and N. G. Nyhus was vice-president. The capital stock was ten thousand dollars, and the surplus six thousand dollars, and the bank conducts a general banking, real estate and insurance business, and is one of the solid financial institutions of the state.
George A. White is a native of Michigan and was born May 23, 1857. He was the youngest of a large family of children born to Royal O. and Sarah (Wonsey) White. He was left an orphan at the age of seven years and his early boyhood was passed with his brothers and sisters, and at the age of twelve years he began working at farm labor during the summer months and attending school winters, and at the age of seventeen years began teaching school in Grundy and Butler counties, Iowa. He entered the Iowa State Normal in 1874 and during four years taught and attended to his studies, and in 1879 went to Wahpeton, Dakota, and there taught and worked at farm labor. He improved his spare hours at reading law, and during 1880-81 studied in the law office of Wilson & Ball, at Fargo, and was admitted to the bar in December, 1881. He went to Portland in the spring of the following year and established himself in the practice of his profession and devoted himself exclusively to that until the founding of the bank above named, since which lime he has given no attention to his profession only as occasion demanded. In partnership with C. Winslow, Mr. White has recently invested in twenty-four hundred acres of land in Canada, which they intend developing. His residence in Portland is a handsome and commodious structure, and has every appointment of a modern home.
Mr. White was married, in 1887, to Miss Ella S. Powers, a native of Michigan. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. White, as follows: Harold; Ronald; George, deceased; and Hollis. Mr. White was elected county superintendent of schools for Traill county in 1886 and assisted in establishing and perfecting the educational institutions of the county. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Fraternal Union, the Masonic fraternity, having passed the thirty-second and Shriner degrees in the last named. He is a Republican in political sentiment and is a leader of his party, and at present is chairman of the county central committee and conducted the campaign of 1898. He is often a delegate to county and state conventions and takes an active part in public affairs.
HON. HAYDEN M. WILLLAMS, one of the most prominent men of southwestern Traill county, resides in a comfortable home on a farm adjoining the village of Blanchard, on section 30, in Bloomfield township, and successfully operates nine hundred and sixty acres of land. He is widely known as a man of active public spirit and energetic character, and as such is highly esteemed and respected.
Our subject was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin, February 18, 1858, and was the fourth of six sons born to John H. and Catherine (Webb) Williams. The family is of Welsh-Irish extraction, and the ancestors were New Englanders in colonial times. Our subject's father died in 1896, aged seventy-three years, and the mother survives at the advanced age of seventy-eight years.
Leaving home at nineteen years of age our subject passed some time in Iowa, and went to Fargo, North Dakota, in the spring of 1878, but returned east, and in 1881 went to Dakota again, and two years later became foreman on the Preston farm. He used his land rights, in 1885, by taking government land near Devil's Lake, but remained on the Preston farm until 1893, when he began operations on his farm, and in 1895 was the possessor of a section and a half of land, which he now operates.
Our subject was married, in 1882, to Miss M. Teresa Cruden, who died June 29, 1899. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Williams, as follows: Hayden B., deceased; Joseph Walton; Grant C. and Webb Mr. Williams is a member of the Catholic church and also the Modern Woodmen of America. He was elected state representative in 1896 and introduced the bill relating to freight rates and also successfully introduced two other bills of lesser importance. He served as chairman of the agricultural committee and served on the labor and school lands committees and did very efficient work while a member of that body. Politically, he is a Republican and attends county and state conventions of his party. He is a leading spirit in all moves calculated to benefit the locality in which he resides and his popularity is well merited.
TOLLEF H. WOLDY. a prosperous farmer of section 1, in Logan township, Traill county, is a gentleman of exceptional business ability and has been identified with many financial enterprises in that locality, meeting with success in all. He is well known and held in the highest esteem by those among whom he resides.
Our subject was born in LaCrosse county, Wisconsin, May 23, 1856, and was the younger of two sons born to Henry and Margaret (Wolde) Woldy. His parents were of Norwegian birth, and the father died April 12, 1900, in Milnor. North Dakota. Until fourteen years of age our subject lived on the Wisconsin farm, and when his father removed to Goodhue county, Minnesota, he began for himself, entering a dry-goods store at Faribault, Minnesota. where he remained in the capacity of clerk until about twenty years of age. With his savings he was enabled to attend St. Oluf College one year, and he finished his education with a business course at Wilmot Business College, at Madison, Wisconsin. He then returned to Faribault and entered into partnership in the clothing business with L Brockman, and in the spring of 1880 went to North Dakota. He spent one year clerking in Forgo, and then, in partnership, established the pioneer general store near what is now Kindred. He went to Buxton in the spring of 1884 to take charge of a bankrupt stock, and this he purchased and became one of the early business men of Buxton. He served as postmaster there from 1884-88, and in 1895 traded his business and stock, securing farming lands adjoining the village, and then took up his residence thereon and has followed agricultural pursuits since that time. He now conducts a farm of one section and has good improvements on the same, including an artesian well and substantial buildings. Aside from his farming interests he is secretary of the Buxton Farmers' Elevator Company.
Our subject was married, in 1886, to Miss Ella Nelson, a native of Minnesota . Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Woldy, as follows: Melvin N., Helen M., Ruth L., June I. and Esther. Mr. Woldy is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and also the United Lutheran church. He is county commissioner for the third district, having been elected in 1898. Politically he is a stanch Democrat and thoroughly identified with the movements of his party in Traill county.
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