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History and Biography 



MAJ. R. I. HOLCOMBE, Historical Editor 
WILLIAM H. BINGHAM, Central Editor 









£««A Publishers and Engraven 





Minneapolis, Minn. 


APR 27 1916^ 


In compiling this compendium of history and bi- 
ography and preparing it for publication its publish- 
ers have been engaged in a work of very unusual 
interest. The story told in these pages is substan- 
tially that of a rich and fertile region awakened by 
the commanding voice of mind from its Avasteful sleep 
of ages to a condition of intensifying and expanding 
productiveness and the conversion of its vast re- 
sources, prior to that time unused, into serviceable 
forms for the benefit of mankind. 

The various stages by which that region has ad- 
vanced from a wilderness to a highly developed sec- 
tion of country, rich in all the elements of modern 
civilization — basking in pastoral abundance, re- 
sounding with the din of fruitful industry, busy with 
the mighty volume of a multiform and far-reaching 
commerce and bright with the luster of high moral, 
mental, and spiritual life — the home of an enteiiDris- 
ing, progressive, and all-daring people, as they 
founded and have built it, are depicted in detail or 
clearly indicated in the following chapters. Such a 
theme is always and everywhere an inspiring one. 
But happily for the world, though unhappily for the 
historian, among us it is one fast fading from current 
experience and comment into the realm of the anti- 
quarian. For in this land of ours civilized man has 
established his dominion over almost every region, 
and there is little of our once vast wilderness left to 
be conquered. 

The book contains biographies of many of the 
progressive residents of Polk County, past and pres- 

ent, and some of men living elsewhere now who were 
once potent in the activities of this region — those 
who laid the foundations of its greatness and those 
who have built and are building on the superstructure 
— and is enriched with portraits of a number of them. 
It also gives a comprehensive survey of the numerous 
lines of productive energy which distinguish the peo- 
ple of the county at the present time and of those in 
which its residents have been engaged at all periods 
in the past since the settlement of the region began. 
And so far as past history and present conditions dis- 
close them, the work indicates the trend of the coun- 
ty 's activities and the goal which they aim to reach. 
In their arduous labor of preparing this volume the 
publishers and promoters of it have had most valu- 
able and highly appreciated assistance from many 
sources. Their special thanks are due and are cor- 
dially tendered to Judge William Watts for his serv- 
ices as a reviewer and fountain of information ; to Mr. 
Elias Steenerson for his complete and entertaining 
contribution descriptive of the early Norwegian set- 
tlements in the county; to Mr. W. B. McKenzie for 
his discriminating history of the press in this section ; 
to Mr. N. P. Stone, Historian of the Old Settlers' So- 
ciety, for infoi'mation obtainable from no other per- 
son; to Mr. Edmund M. Walsh for thrilling remi- 
niscences of the early days at Crookston ;to Mr. James 
M. Cathart for his equally valuable history of the 
city of Crookston; to Mr. Charles L. Conger for his 
graphic account of the rise and fall of Columbia 
County ; to Professor N. A. Thorson for his able and 


suggestive history of the Polk County school system; 
to Mr. C. G. Selvig for his fine exposition of the North- 
western School of Agriculture and the Experiment 
Station operated in connection with it ; to Mr. Thomas 
B. Walker, of Minneapolis, for his lucid and highly in- 
teresting presentation of the salient features of the 
lumbering iudustry in this region ; to Mr. James J. 
Hill and Mr. W. J. Jlurphy, of Minneapolis, for valu- 
able, timely, and helpful encouragement in the work; 
to Mr. Warren Upham, secretary of the Minnesota 
Historical Society, for comprehensive and accurate 
information on the geography and geology of Polk 
County; to ilr. B. D. Childs. of North Yakima, Wash- 
ington, for a chapter of sparkling reminiscences of 
the early days; to Rev. William Thicllion for his ex- 
cellent article on Gentillj' and his church there and 
the cheese factory conducted hy its members under 

his supervision and started by his initiative ; to Peter 
Allan Cummiug for his article on the Marias Com- 
munity, and to many other persons whose assistance is 
gratefully acknowledged but who are too numerous to 
be mentioned specially by name. Without the valu- 
able and judieioiis aid of all these persons, those who 
are named and those who are not, it would have been 
impossible to compile a history of Polk County of the 
completeness and high character it is hoped and be- 
lieved this one has. Finally, to the residents of Polk 
County, to whose patronage the book is indebted for 
its publication, and whose life stories constitute a 
large part of its contents, the publishers freely tender 
their grateful thanks, with the hope that these per- 
sons will find in the volume an ample recompense for 
their generosity and public .spirit in making its pro- 
duction possible. 




By Wakren Upham. 







IN THE WAR OF 1812 1"^ 




THE Hudson's b.\y company — dunc.\n graham comes to east gr.4nd porks prior to 1800 — da vid Thompson 
















By James A. Cathcart, Secretary of the Commercial, Club. 





By W. B. McKenzeb, Crookston Times. 

newspaper conditions past and present land notices paid the pioneer printers e. m. walsh and the 







By N. A. Thorson. 


By C. G. Selvig. 
a red river valley institution — new building dedicated death of superintendent wm. robertson the 





By Superintendent C. G. Selvig. 

origin and early history securing the land for a site — beginnings in 1895 the soil at the station 

plans outlined the work of early years drainage installed drainage work begun a new ad- 
ministration — experiments in crop production — field crop work — the horticultural division 

live stock departments, etc ill 



By Prop. C. G. Selvig. 

location of the county — early geological histoky soils temperature settlement and first set- 
tlers — red river carts — immigration after 1876 — pioneer wheat farming — agricultural devel- 
opments and production statistics — present farming conditions — corn potatoes — fruits live 

stock industry dairying poultry raising live stock farming cattle statistics growth of 

live stock raising — statistics of farm products and live stock — drainage work in polk county, by 
george a. ralph, c. e 116 



By Charles L. Conger. 

some proceedings op the board business done regularly and in order defeat and disaster after all 

the new county fight of 1896 the leaders op columbia's fight for existence 125 








To face page 

Polk County Court House 9 

Tlie Old Crossing of Red Lake River, near Fisher, in 1858 48 

First Depot in Crookston — Picture taken in 1874 70 

Main Street, Crookston, in 1882 70 

Crookston Lumber Mill in Height of its Activities 72 

Pioneer Fire Fighters 76 

Bird's-Eye View of Crookston in 1885 76 

Robert Houston's Claim Shanty 85 

Crookston's Water Power in Early Days 85 

Crookston's First Flour Mill 85 

South Broadway, Post Office in Foreground 86 

A Corner of the Railroad Yards, Ciookaton 87 

The Crookston Dam (Built by W. J. Murphy in 1914) 88 

To face page 

The Consolidated School at Trail, Polk County 96 

District 69— Polk County 96 

District 273— Polk County 96 

N. A. Thorson, County Superintendent 96 

Central High School, Ciookston 101 

New Armory, Crookston 101 

Owen Hall, Robertson Hall, Stephens Hall, Kiehle Build- 
ing and Home Economics 107 

Home Economics Building and Stephens Hall 109 

Senior Hall and the Hill Building 110 

Another View, Including Superintendent's Residence 113 

Stock at Northwest Experiment Station 115 

First National Bank at Mcintosh 131 


Anglim, W. S -. 465 

Bagley, Sumner Chesly 209 

Berg, CM 131-342 

Buckler, Hon. R. T.. 194 

Conger, Charles L 161 

Duckstad, Brown 391 

Flaskernd, K. E., Mr. and Mrs 351 

Hanson, Norman 425 

Hendricks, John Albert 367 

Hill, James Jerome 111-444 

•Tohnson, Edward W 290 

Keck, Bert D 252 

Kelley, Andrew J 431 

Kronschnabel, George 307 

Krostue, Hon. Gunder 175 

Larson, L. W 243 

JIcKenzie, William E 233 

McKinnon, John R 225 

Marin, W. A 216 

Melbo, Hans H 358 

ilerrill, Anson Charles 411 

Misncr, Harvey Chase 146 

Morris, Tom 153 

Mossefin, Ed 25<> 

Murphy, W. J 89-458 

Nelson, Dr. Arne 413 

Nelson, Theodore 375 

Ophcira, Andrew 407 

Ohnstad, Jens, it. D 399 

Reese, T. N. J 324 

Remick, Mr. and Mrs. John 297 

Rosaaen, Hans Olus 276 

Ross, Cliarles 384 

Sargent, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph 283 

Selvig, Conrad G 420 

Steenerson, Elias 167 

Steenerson, Gunder 201 

Steenerson, Hon. Halvor 263 

Stowe, Edmund L 333 

Stone, Nathan P 181 

Tagley, Joseph 268 

Thorson, N. A 96-395 

Vasenden, Nels 315 

Walker, Thomas Barlow 74-451 

Watts, Hon. William 141 

Wheeler, Jerome Winthrop 187 




By Warren Upham. 


The great watercourses of Polk County are the Red 
River, which here flows nearly north-northwest, form- 
ing the western boundary of the county and the state, 
and its principal tributary, the Red Lake River, which 
takes a more meandering course. If the many small 
loops and bends of the latter stream are disregarded, 
however, its general route, from which the bends 
mostly deviate only a quarter to a half of a mile on 
either side, is seen on the map to be quite direct, run- 
ning west and northwest through the ceuti'al part of 
the county. The cities of Grand Forks and East 
Grand Forks are named from their situation where 
these streams unite, or rather where the lower river 
forks as it was seen by the Indians or the French voy- 
ageurs when coming up in their canoes. 

Both these rivers have received translations of their 
Ojibway or Chippewa names, which these Indians 
gave to them on account of their being the outlet of 
the great Red Lake. Above the Grand Forks, indeed, 
the main Red River, as it is named by the white men, 
was called Otter Tail River by the Ojibways from the 
lake of that name on the upper part of its course. We 
may also go a step farther back to note that the name 
of Red Lake is likewise translated from its Ojibway 
name, given very long ago, according to the late Rev. 
Joseph A. Gilfillan, for twenty-five years a missionary 
on the White Earth reservation, from the bright red 
and vermilion hues of the sunset sky reflected upon 

the placid water of the lake; while Otter Tail Lake 
derived its Indian name from a long point of land, 
shaped like the tail of an otter, between the east end 
of the lake and its main inflowing stream. 


The southeast part of this county is spai-ingly tim- 
bered, mostly with groves of small poplars, being 
on the western limit of the originally forested region 
of the eastern United States; bi;t it also has consid- 
erable expanses of original prairie, interspersed with 
the wooded and brushy areas. Westward a heavier 
growth of forest trees, including oaks, elm, basswood, 
box-elder, cottonwood, and other species, borders the 
rivers, usually reaching only a few rods and rarely a 
quarter of a mile from their banks. Otherwise the 
main western tract, forming a part of the broad and 
flat Red River Valley, is an extensive prairie, richly 
carpeted with grasses and flowers, being the eastern 
margin of the great prairie region of western and 
southern Minnesota, which thence continues west in 
the Dakotas and is gradually succeeded by the drier 
treeless plains that reach to the Rocky Mountains. 


Although no very conspicuous hills or ridges diver- 
sify the surface of Polk County, it includes in its 
highest southeastern part two tracts of low drift hills, 
small ridges and knolls, called moraines, Avhieh were 



amassed on the borders of the continental ice-sheet at 
times of pause or readvance interrupting its general 
departure from this region. The more northern of 
these tracts begins close east of Fertile and reaches 
about thirty-five miles northeast and east, with a 
width from one to five miles, passing close south of 
Erskine and onward to Gully station, near the east 
boundary of the county. The more southern morainic 
tract is part of a wider and longer hilly belt, stretch- 
ing from Fosston southward into Mahnomen County 
and northeastward into and through Clearwater 

Hills in each of these moraines occasionally rise 
50 to 75 feet, or rarely more, above the adjoining and 
intervening hollows. Nearly all the surface is strewn 
with plentiful drift boulders, varying in size up to 
five feet or sometimes ten feet in length or diameter. 
Their abundance on the moraine belts is in remark- 
able contrast to their infrequent occurrence on other 
and smoother glacial drift areas that form much of 
this southeast part of Polk County and also the 
greater parts of Red Lake and Pennington counties, 
which originally were included in this county. 

No rock outcrop is found in these counties, nor 
indeed in a very large region of western Minnesota, 
which is overspread with a vast sheet of the glacial 
and modified drift deposits to a depth commonly 
ranging from 100 to 200 feet or more, mantling and 
concealing the bed rocks. 

Westward, along the low and flat valley of the 
Red River, fine alluvial silt, destitute of drift boulders 
or even pebbles, is spread over both the underlying 
rocks and the glacial drift, reaching in general about 
twenty or twenty-five miles from the river. This 
deposit, which has given this valley its fame as a 
very fertile wheat raising area, was laid down 
chiefly by river floods that flowed noi-thward after 
the ancient lake of the valley had been drained away. 
If the valley silt were mainly of lacustrine deposition, 
it would extend farther from the Red River to the 
old lake beaches on each side of the valley at consid- 
erable heights above the flat river plain. 


The range between the lowest and highest stages 
of the Red River much surpasses that of any other 
river in Minnesota. At Breckenridge the range is 
about 15 feet, but it increases rapidly northward, 
liecoming 32 feet at Moorhead, attaining its maxi- 
mum of 50 feet in the south part of Polk County, 
and continuing nearly at 40 feet from Grand Forks 
to the international boundary and Winnipeg. Floods 
rising nearly or quite to the high water line thus 
noted have been rare, occurring in 1826, 1852, 1860, 
1861, and 1882. They are caused in the spring by 
the melting of unusual supplies of snow and by heavy 
rains, and often are increased by gorges of ice, which 
is usually broken up along the southern upper portion 
of the river earlier than along its lower course. These 
floods attain a height only a few feet below the level 
of the adjoining prairie where that is highest, and 
along the greater part of the distance between Moor- 
head and Winnipeg the banks are overflowed and the 
flat land on each side of the river to a distance of two 
to four or five miles from it is covered with water 
one to five feet or more in depth. 


It is of much interest, for our consideration of 
the ancient water levels, that a brief notice be given 
to the altitude and general contour of Minnesota, and 
more especially of the basin of the Red River. The 
topographic features of the state may be summed 
up for its western three quarters as being a moder 
ately undulating, sometimes nearly flat, but occa- 
sionally hilly area, gradually descending from the 
Coteau des Prairies and from the Leaf hills, re- 
spectively about 2,000 and 1,700 feet above the sea, 
to half that height, or from 1,000 to 800 feet, in 
the Red River Valley and to the same height along 
the valley of the Mississippi from St. Cloud to Min- 
neapolis. The lowest land in Minnesota is the shore 
of Lake Superior, 602 feet above the sea ; and the 
Mississippi flows past the southeast corner of the 
state at the height of 620 feet. 



Lakes in northern and central Becker County, 
forming the sources of Ottertail River, the head stream 
of the Red River, are 1,400 to 1,500 feet above the 
sea; Ottertail Lake, 1,315 feet; and Red Lake, 1,176 

Rainy Lake is 1,117 feet above the sea; the Rainy 
River descends 23 feet at International Falls, two 
miles and a half from the mouth of this lake; the 
Lake of the Woods is at 1,060 feet; and the Winni- 
peg River thence falls 350 feet to Lake Winnipeg. 

At Fergus Falls the Red River descends about 
80 feet in three miles, from 1,210 to 1,130 feet; at 
Breckenridge its height at the stage of low water is 
943 feet; at Moorhead and Fargo, 866 feet; at Grand 
Forks, 784; at St. Vincent and Pembina, near the 
northwest corner of Minnesota, 748; and at the city 
of Winnipeg, 724 feet. 

Heights of railway stations in this county, noted 

in feet above the sea, are as follows: 

Beltrami 901 East Grand Forks.. 831 

Russia 892 Burwell 914 

Kittson 885 Benoit 1019 

Carman 877 Dugdale 

Crookston 863 INIentor 

Shirley 900 Erskine 

Euclid 890 Mcintosh 

Angus 870 Fosston . 

Fisher 852 Fertile . 

Mallory 837 Tilden . . 



During the early geologic eras of Arehean and 
Paleozoic time, which were almost inconceivably long, 
Polk County appears to have been a land surface, re- 
ceiving no rock formations. Probably then, as now, 
it was in the interior of a large continent, which with 
many changes has become the North America of today. 

Through the greater part of the ensuing Mesozoic 
era, so named for its intermediate types of plants and 
animals, Minnesota was wholly a land area. The 
floras and faunas of this time were gradually chang- 
ing from their primitive and ancient characters, called 
Paleozoic, but had not yet attained to the relatively 
modern or new forms which give the name Cenozoie 
to the next and latest great division of geologic time. 

Toward the end of the Cretaceous period, in late 
Mesozoic time, western Minnesota was depressed be- 
neath the sea. Frequent outcrops of Cretaceous shales 
and sandstone, continuous from their great expanse 
on the western plains, occur here and there in the 
central and southern parts of this state; and in 
numerous other places deep wells, after passing 
through the thick covering of glacial drift, encounter 
these Cretaceous strata, which sometimes are found 
to reach to a thickness of several hundred feet. 

Ever since the uplift of the Red River basin from 
the Cretaceous Sea, it has stood above the sea level 
and has received no marine sediments. It was in- 
stead being slowly sculptured by rains and streams 
through the long periods of the Tertiary era; and 
during a part of the relatively short Quaternary era 
it was deeply covered by snow and ice similar to 
the ice-sheets that now envelop the interior of Green- 
land and the Antarctic continent. 

These two eras, or principal divisions of geologic 
history, may be here classed together as a single 
Cenozoie era, distinguished by the evolutionary crea- 
tion of new and present types of life. Nearly all the 
plants and animals of the preceding eras have dis- 
appeared, as also many that lived in the early Cenozoie 
periods, while new species succeeding them make up 
the present floras and faunas. 


The last among the completed periods of geology 
was the ice age, most marvelous in its strange contrast 
with the present time, and also unlike any other 
period during the vei-y long, uniformly warm or tem- 
perate eras which had preceded. The northern half 
of North America and northern Europe then became 
enveloped with thick sheets of snow and ice, prob- 
ably caused chiefly by uplifts of the lands as exten- 
sive high plateaus, receiving snowfall throughout the 
year. But in other parts of the world, and especially 
in its lower temperate and tropical i-egions, all the 
climatic conditions were doubtless then nearly as now, 
permitting plants and animals to survive and flourish 



until the departure of the ice-sheets gave them again 
opportunity to spread over the northern lands. 

High preglacial elevation of the drift-bearing re- 
gions is known bj' the depths of fjords and sub- 
merged continuations of river valleys, which on the 
Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific coasts of the north part 
of North America show the land to have been elevated 
at least 2,000 to 3,000 feet higher than now. In Nor- 
way the bottom of the Sogne Fjord, the longest and 
deepest of the many fjords of that coast, is 4,000 feet 
below the sea level. Previous to the Glacial period or 
lee age, and doubtless causing its abundant snowfall, 
so high uplift of these countries had taken place that 
streams flowed along the bottoms of the fjords, chan- 
neling them as very deep gorges on the borders of the 
land areas. 

Under the vast weight of the ice-sheets, however, 
the lands sank to their present level, or mostly some- 
what lower, whereby the temperate climate, with hot 
summers, properly belonging to the southern portions 
of the ice-clad regions, was restored. The ice-sheets 
were then rapidly melted away, though with numer- 
ous pauses or sometimes slight readvances of the 
mainly receding glacial boundary. 

On certain belts the drift was left in hills and ridges 
accumulated during this closing stage of the Glacial 
period along the margin of the ice wherever it halted 
in its general reti'eat or temporarily readvanced. 
Upon the greater part of Minnesota and North Dakota 
the only hills are fonned of this morainic drift, rang- 
ing in height commonly from 25 to 75 or 100 feet, but 
occasionally attaining much gi-eater altitude, as in the 
Leaf Hills of Ottertail County, Minnesota, which rise 
from 100 to 350 feet above the moderately undulating 
country on each side. 


When the departing ice-sheet, in its melting off the 
land from south to north, receded beyond the water- 
shed dividing the basin of the Minnesota River from 
that of the Red River, a lake, fed by the glacial melt- 
ing, stood at the foot of the ice fields, and extended 

northward as they withdrew along the valley of the 
Red River to Lake Winnipeg, filling this broad valley 
to the height of the lowest point over which an outlet 
could be found. Until the ice barrier was melted on 
the area now crossed by the Nelson River, thereby 
draining this glacial lake, its outlet was along the pres- 
ent course of the Minnesota River. At first its over- 
flow was on the nearly level undulating surface of the 
drift, 1,100. to 1,125 feet above the sea, at the west side 
of Traverse and Big Stone counties; but in the proc- 
ess of time this cut a channel there, called Brown's 
Valley, 100 to 150 feet deep and about a mile wide, 
the highest point of which, on the present water 
divide between the Mississippi and Nelson basins, is 
975 feet above the sea level. From this outlet the 
valley plain of the Red River extends 315 miles north 
to Lake Winnipeg, which is 710 feet above the sea. 
Along this entire distance there is a very uniform 
continuous descent of a little less than one foot per 

The farmers and other residents of this fertile plain 
are well aware that they live on the area once occu- 
pied by a great lake, for its beaches, having the form 
of smoothly rounded ridges of gravel and sand, a few 
feet high, with a width of several rods, are observ- 
able extending horizontally long distances upon each 
of the slopes which rise east and west of the valley 
plain. Hundreds of farmers have located their build- 
ings on these beaeh ridges as the most dry and sightly 
spots on their land, affording perfectly drained cel- 
lars even in the most wet spring seasons, and also 
j'ielding to wells, dug through this sand and gravel, 
better water than is usually obtainable in wells on the 
adjacent clay areas. While each of these farmers, and 
in fact everyone living in the Red River Valley, rec- 
ognize that it is an old lake bed, few probably know 
that it has become for this reason a district of special 
interest to geologis-fs, who have traced and mapped 
its upper shore along a distance of about 800 miles. 

Numerous explorers of this region, from Long and 
Keating in 1823, to General G. K. Warren in 1868 
and Professor N. H. Winchell in 1872, recognized the 



lacustrine features of this valley ; and the last named 
geologist first gave what is now generally accepted as 
the true explanation of the lake's existence, namely, 
that it was produced in the closing stage of the Glacial 
period by the dam of the continental ice-sheet at the 
time of its final melting away. As the border of the 
ice-sheet retreated northward along the Red River 
Valley, drainage from that area could not flow, as 
now, freely to the north through Lake Winnipeg 
and into the ocean at Hudson Bay, but was turned 
by the ice-barrier to the south across the lowest place 
on the watershed, which was found, as before noted, 
at Brown's Valley, on the west boundary of Min- 

Detailed exploration of the shore lines and area of 
this lake was begun by the present writer for the 
Minnesota Geological Survey in the years 1879 to 
1881. In subsequent years I was employed also in 
tracing the lake shores through North Dakota for the 
United States Geological Survey, and through south- 
ern Manitoba, to the distance of 100 miles north 
from the international boundary, for the Geological 
Survey of Canada. For the last named survey, also, 
Mr. J. B. Tyrrell extended the exploration of the 
shore lines, more or less completely, about 200 miles 
farther north, along the Riding and Duck mountains 
and the Porcupine and Pasquia hills, west of Lakes 
Manitoba and Winnipegosis, to the Saskatchewan 

This glacial lake was named by the present writer 
in the eighth annual report of the Minnesota Geolog- 
ical Survey, for the year 1879, in honor of Louis 
Agassiz, the first prominent advocate of the theory of 
the formation of the drift by land ice. Its outflowing 
river, whose channel is now occupied by Lakes 
Traverse and Big Stone and Brown 's Valley, was also 
named bj- me, in a paper read before the American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, at its 
Minneapolis meeting in 1883, as the River Warren, 
in commemoration of General Warren's admirable 
work in the United States Engineering Corps, in pub- 
lishing maps and reports of the Minnesota and Mis- 

sissippi River surveys. Descriptions of Lake Agassiz 
and the River Warren were somewhat fully given 
in the eighth and eleventh annual reports of the 
Minnesota Geological Survey, and in the first, second, 
and fourth volumes of its final report ; and more com- 
plete descriptions and maps of the whole lake, in 
Minnesota, North Dakota, and Manitoba, were pub- 
lished in 1895 as Monograph XXV of the United 
States Geological Survey. 

Several successive levels of Lake Agassiz are re- 
corded by distinct and approximately parallel beaches 
of gravel and sand, due to the gradual lowering of the 
outlet by the erosion of the channel at Brown's Val- 
ley, and these are named principally from stations on 
the Breckenridge and Wahpeton line of the Great 
Northern Railway in their descending order, the Her- 
man, Norcross, Tintah, Campbell, and McCauleyville 
beaches, because they pass thi-ough or near these sta- 
tions and towns. The highest, or Herman, beach is 
traced in Minnesota from the northern end of Lake 
Traverse eastward to Herman, and thence northward, 
passing a few miles east of Barnesville, through Mus- 
koda, on the Northern Pacific Railway, and around 
the west and north sides of Maple Lake, which lies 
in Polk County, about twenty miles east-southeast of 
Crookston, beyond which it goes eastward to the south 
side of Red and Rainy lakes. In North Dakota the 
Herman shore lies about four miles west of Wheat- 
land, on the Northern Pacific Railway, and the same 
distance west of Larimore on the Pacific line of the 
Great Northern Railway. On the international bound- 
ary, in passing from North Dakota into Manitoba, 
this shore coincides with the escarpment or front of 
the Pembina Mountain plateau ; and beyond passes 
northwest to Brandon on the Assiniboine, and thence 
northeast to the Riding Mountain. 

Leveling along the upper beach shows that Lake 
Agassiz, in its earliest and highest stage, was nearly 
200 feet deep above Moorhead and Fargo, a little 
more than 300 feet deep above Grand Porks and 
Crookston; about 450 feet above Pembina, St. Vin- 
cent, and Emerson ; and about 500 and 600 feet, re- 



spectively, aliove Lakes Manitoba aud Winnipeg. 
The lengtli of Lake Agassiz is estimated to have 
been nearly 700 miles, and its area not less than 
110,000 square miles, exceeding the combined areas of 
the five gi'eat lakes tributary to the St. Lawrence. 

After the ice border was so far melted back as to 
give outlets northeastward lower than the River War- 
ren, numerous other beaches marking these lower 
levels of the glacial lake were formed, and finallj', by 
the full depai'ture of the ice. Lake Agassiz was drained 
away to its present representative. Lake Winnipeg. 

While the outflow passed southward, seventeen suc- 
cessive shore lines, marked by distinct beach ridges, 
were made by the gradually falling northern part of 
this lake; Init all these, when traced southward, are 
united into the five beaches before noted for the 
southern part of the lake. During its stages of north- 
eastern outflow, a lower series of fourteen shore lines 
were made. Thus Lake Agassiz had, in total, thirty- 
one successive stages of gradual decline in lieight and 
decrease in area. 

The earliest Herman beach has a northward ascent 
of about a foot per mile, but the lowest and latest 
beaches differ only verv .slightly from perfect horizon- 
tality. It is thus known that a moderate uplift of 
this area, increasing in amount from south to north, 
was in progress and was nearly or quite completed 
while the ice-sheet was melting away. Before the Gla- 
cial period, all the northern half of our continent 
had been greatly elevated, producing at last the cold 
and snowy climate and the thick ice-sheet; in a late 
part of that period the land was depressed under the 
weight of the ice, which in consequence melted away ; 
and latest, at the same time with the departure of 
the ice-sheet, the unburdened land rose a few hund- 
dred feet, the uplift having a gradual increase toward 
the central part of the country formerlj' ice-covered. 

In comparison with the immensely long and an- 
cient geologic periods that had preceded, the final 
melting of the ice-sheet, the deposition of its marginal 
moraines and other drift formations, its fringing 
glacial lakes, and the attendant uplifting of the land. 

occupied little time and were very recent. The en- 
tire duration of Lake Agassiz, estimated from the 
amount of its wave action in erosion and in the accu- 
mulation of beach gravel and sand, appears to have 
been only about 1,000 years, and the time of its ex- 
istence is thought to have been somewhere between 
6,000 and 10,000 years ago. 


The south line of Polk County crosses the highest 
beach near the middle of the south side of Garfield 
Township, about two and a half miles southeast of 
Fertile. In the east edge of the southeast quarter of 
section 28 and the west edge of the northwest quar- 
ter of section 27, Garfield, this beach is a typical ridge 
of gravel and sand, with its crest 1,166 to 1,173 feet 
above the sea. There is a gi-adual descent toward the 
west. The depression on the east is a sixth to a fourth 
of a mile wide, sinking 6 to 10 feet below the beaeh. 
Farther eastward the land is moderately undulating 
glacial drift, rising 20 to 30 feet above the beach and 
liearing frequent groves of small poplars, bur oak, and 
canoe birch. 

When Lake Agassiz stood at its greatest height, the 
Sand Hill River brought into its margin a delta six 
miles long from south to north and three miles wide, 
reaching from the upper beach to the west side of Gar- 
field and continuing south through the northwest part 
of Sundal in Norman County. The surface of this 
delta deposit of stratified gravel and sand descends 
slowly westward and is crossed by the lower Herman 
and Norcross shores, though tliese lake levels are not 
there generally traceable. The Tintah shores pass 
along its western margin, which in some portions was 
worn away to a low escarpment, steeper than its origi- 
nal frontal slope, while the ei'oded sand and gravel, 
after being carried some distance southward, but not 
wholly beyond the delta, were deposited in beach 
ridges. Upon the delta plain manv dunes of small 
and large size, seen from a distance of ten or twelve 
miles across the lower expanse at the west, have been 
heaped up by the winds, probably mostly before vege- 



tation had spread over this area after the withdrawal 
of the glacial lake. 

In the south half of section 32, Garfield, and in a 
belt which thence extends approximately north and 
south, the surface of the delta, as it was originally 
deposited, falls toward the west with a slope of 25 
or 30 feet in a mile, from 1,125 or 1,130 feet to about 
1,100 feet above the sea. Beneath the original sur- 
face, however, channels have been eroded by the 
winds, and sand hills 25 to 75 feet above it have 
been blown up in irregular groups and series, scat- 
tered over a tract about a mile wide and extending 
three or four miles southward from the Sand Hill 
River, in section 29, the northeast part of section 30, 
and in section 31 and 32, Garfield, and reaching south- 
ward in sections 5 and 8, Sundal. An isolated group 
of these hills lies north of the Sand Hill River, in the 
northwest quarter of section 16, Garfield. These sand 
dunes are in part bare, being so frequently drifted 
by the winds as to allow no foothold for vegetation; 
other portions are clothed with grass or with bushes 
and scanty dwarfed trees, including bur oak, the 
common aspen or poplar, cottonwood, green ash, black 
cherry, and the frost grape. 

The upper Herman beach, the first of the series 
which was formed in the vicinity of Maple Lake con- 
temporaneously with the single Herman beach farther 
south, runs approximately from south to north, 
through or near the northeast corner of section 4, Gar- 
field. It is a smooth gravel ridge, with its crest 1,165 
to 1,175 feet above the sea. The second Herman 
beach, in the east part of section 5, this township, 
and section 32, Godfrey, about a mile west of the 
upper beach, has a height of 1,149 to 1,153 feet, being 
a I'idge of gravel and sand about forty rods wide, with 
very gentle, prolonged slopes toward both the east 
and west. A half or two thirds of a mile farther 
west, the third Herman beach, passing through the 
northwest quarter of section 5, Garfield, and the west 
part of section 32, Godfrey, has a height of 1,130 to 
1,135 feet, forming a distinct ridge in its southern 

part, but farther north being a flat area of gravel and 
sand, slightly elevated above the land next east. 

Thence the Herman beaches are very finely devel- 
oped for a distance of six to eight miles northward, 
passing through Godfrey Township into the southeast 
part of Tilden, where they curve to the northeast 
and east. From this great bend of their course, these 
beaches pass eastward by the northeast end of Maple 
Lake and by Mentor and Erskine. The highest Her- 
man beach is traced onward northeast and east to 
Trail and Gully railway stations; and it continues 
through Clearwater and Beltrami counties, passing 
close south of Red Lake. 

Maple Lake, the largest of the many lakes in the 
southeast part of Polk County, is 1,169 feet above the 
sea. In its curving course west and north of this lake 
the highest beach of Lake Agassiz is magnificently ex- 
hibited, forming a massive, gently rounded ridge of 
gravel and sand, about thirty rods across, with the 
crest of its highest portion, along a distance of two 
or three miles, at 1,178 to 1,186 feet. 

On the Fosston line of the Great Northern railway 
and on the same latitude with the eastwardly curving 
beaches north of Maple Lake, three small beach ridges 
are crossed about two and a half miles east of Benoit, 
the elevation of their crests being successively 1,062, 
1,069, and again 1,069 feet, in their order from west 
to east. These probably represent the upper Tintah 
beach. One and a quarter miles farther east a more 
massive beach is crossed, with its crest at 1,092 feet, 
which is probably the lowest Norcross shore line. 
Other beach ridges crossed nearly one mile and a half 
and again nearly two miles east of the last, with crests 
respectively at 1,114 and 1,120 feet, are apparently 
referable to upper Norcross stages of the lake. The 
next beach noted on this railway, three quarters of a 
mile farther east, at the height of 1,142 feet, belongs 
to the lower portion of the Herman series. 

In section 34, Liberty, close south of the Sand Hill 
River, the Campbell shore is marked by a low eroded 
escarpment of the glacial drift or till, the top of which 
is 1,010 feet above the sea, being probably 10 feet 



higher than the lake level when it was made. It 
runs in a nearly due north course, parallel with the 
well developed McCauleyville beach ridges which lie 
a half to two thirds of a mile farther west. Continu- 
ing northward through Liberty and Onstad townships 
and the southern two thirds of Kei-tsonville, the 
Campbell shore is almost continuously a terrace cut 
in the till, having a descent of 10 to 30 feet within 
as many rods. Numerous boulders, remaining from 
the wave erosion, are strewn on a narrow belt below 
the terrace. The erosion was in progress along the 
greater part of this terrace during both the upper and 
lower Campbell stages of the lake ; but a beach ridge 
of gravel and sand, which was accumulated along its 
base during the lower stage, extends through section 
5, Onstad, and into the adjoining sections. 

From the southeast part of section 9, Kertsonville, 
the Campbell shore takes a north-northeastward course 
for the next ten miles to the southwest corner of the 
township of Red Lake Falls and to the Red Lake River. 
Along this extent it bears a conspicuous beach deposit, 
on which several farmhouses are built, their cellars 
being dug to the depth of six or eight feet in gravel 
and sand, while the surface on each side of the shore 
line is till. For the greater part of this distance there 
are two parallel beach ridges, usually occupying to- 
gether a width of about fifty rods. The crest of the 
eastern and higher beach is 1,012 to 1,015 feet above 
the sea, and that of the lower beach about 1,000 feet, 
varying from this only one or two feet. Each ridge 
has a descent of four to six feet toward the east, and 
their western bases are respectively at 995 and 985 
feet, approximately. The upper and lower Campbell 
levels of Lake Agassiz, which heaped up these beaches 
by their waves, were very nearly at 1,000 and 990 feet. 

Several much later and lower stages of this ancient 
ice-dammed lake, after it had ceased to outflow at 
Brown's Valley, are represented by beach ridges 
traced in nearly parallel south to north courses 

through Crookston, Parnell, Belgium, Euclid, Angus, 
and adjoining townships. The lowest beach observed 
in this county, passing through sections 10 and 15, 
Tabor, is referred to the Gladstone stage of the lake, 
named from Gladstone in Manitoba. The southern 
end of the waning Lake Agassiz had then receded 
from Brown's Valley to the vicinity of the mouth of 
Sand Hill River, and its depth of water above the 
present Lake Winnipeg was reduced to less than 200 

Two relatively .small deltas were formed in the east 
edge of the lake by the Buffalo and Sand Hill rivers, 
while its west edge received four deltas, each much 
larger in both area and thickness, namely the Shey- 
enne. Elk Valley, Pembina, and Assiniboine deltas. 
All of these remarkable tributary sand and gravel 
deposits were brought by inflowing streams during the 
earliest and highest Herman stages of the lake, though 
each was considerably channeled and in part borne 
farther and to lower levels during the later and lower 
stages. In every instance the delta formations were 
supplied mainly by drainage from neighboring por- 
tions of the melting and departing ice-sheet. Alike 
on the east and west sides of the Red River Valley, 
the retreating border of the continental glacier nearly 
adjoined the ancient lake, being melted back from 
south to north as fast as the lake grew northward and 
made its earliest beaches. 

Above the Sand Hill delta, southeastern Polk Coun- 
ty was yet covered b.y the ice, melting fast away every 
summer, when its drift supplied the sand beds of the 
delta. Not far distant northward, the front of the 
ice-sheet stretched across the valley, but it was grad- 
ually yielding its place to the great glacial lake. Soon 
the originally smootli delta expanse, laid bare by the 
land uplift and the declining lake levels, was partly 
blown by the winds into high and picturesque sand 
hills, before protecting vegetation could overspread 
the surface. 






IN THE WAR OP 1812. 

The record of the early human occupation of the immediate ancestors of the Red Indians. The princi- 

Red River Valley of the North is very incomplete and pal moiind in the county is now within the limits of 

imperfect. It seems quite probable that from creation Crookstou, and only three-fourths of a mile from tlie 

until a few hundred years ago it was not occupied at center of the city. It is on the south liank of the Red 

all by human beings, and its only denizens were the Lake River and 35 feet above the stream. 
wild birds of the air, the wild beasts of the prairies In about 1890 Prof. Moore, then principal of the 

and scanty forests, and the fishes of the lakes and Crookstou City Schools, and some of his pupils made 

streams. There are no signs of a remote settlement or excavations in this mound and found in it human 

other form of ancient civilization in the Valley. bones, including skulls. From the reports made to the 

That very ancient and very mysterious race, which, compiler of this examination it does not seem that any 

for inability to coin a more suitable name, we call the pottery, flint, stone, or copper implements, or any 

Mound Builders, and which lived at one period in the other reliable evidences of Mound Builder work or oe- 

southeastern part of the State, never dwelt, for any cupation were found. These evidences certainly 

considerable time in the Red River Valley. At any would have been unearthed had the old pre-historic 

rate, none of their mounds and tumuli, which invari- race been the builders. Their work and former sites 

ably denote and prove their former presence, are of occupation are almost as readily determined as 

found here. There are mounds but they were not those of the ancient Greeks and Romans, 
built by the old Mound Builders. The so-called Red In noting the Crookstou mound Hon. William 

Indians were the first human occupants, hut their oe- Watts plausibly suggests that it marks the site of tlie 

cupation was fugitive, unstable, and disconnected. cemetery of an old-time Sioux village. This maj' he 

It is true that there are mounds or tumuli within a correct theory, although we now know a great deal 

the present boundaries of Polk County, and that some of the early and very early history of the Sioux, and 

authorities have pronounced these to be the work of we do not know that (at least within tlie proper time 

the old Mound Builders; of course these authorities when skulls and other human bones would be pi-e- 

are of those that believe the Moujid Builders were the served for a long time in the earth) there was ever a 




considerable Indian village at the site of Crookston. 
If the Sioux had such a village, it must have been of 
the Sisseton band (Sissetonwans, or People of the 
Marsh), because the Sissetons were later located not 
very far to the west or south ; we know their early 
history fairly well, and we have no account of such a 
village in that part of the country. Possibly the 
mound may have been the burial place for a village of 
Cheyenne Indians, for we well know that they were 
in this quarter for several yeai-s before they were 
driven out by the Sioux and went into various parts 
of South Dakota and the southeastern part of North 
Dakota, and mainly upon the river which still bears 
their name as it is commonly pronounced. 

Both the Cheyennes and the Sioux built mounds 
over their dead; both tribes made and used pottery. 
But their mounds were simple sepixlchres and their 
pottery was solely for domestic purposes. In 1680 
Father Hennepin found the Sioux of Mille Lacs 
boiling their food in fire-proof earthen pots, which 
they had made. But neither tribe built large, high 
mounds, for temples of worship, for observation or 
watchtowers, and for the burial places of their chiefs 
or kings, as the Moi;nd Builders always did. Neither 
tribe made flint and stone implements, either arrow 
and lance heads or axes, spades, etc., and the Mound 
Builders constantly made these things. The Sioux, 
Cheyennes, and other Red Indians picked up the flint 
arrow points and lance-heads and used them (though 
many of them had come from quarries as far off as 
West Virginia), but they could not make them — and 
none of them ever knew who did! 

It is probable that the Crookston mound was made 
to cover the remains of their warriors slain in some 
pre-historic battle, in which the Sioux were the victors 
and had the opportunity of decently interring their 
dead. The Sioux often, and indeed almost commonly, 
raised a slight mound of earth over the skeletons of 
their dead. If not slain in battle, their dead were sus- 
pended in trees or placed upon high scaffolds until the 
flesh was gone, and then the bones were taken down 
and buried. Sometimes the remains were buried in 

receptacles made in the banks of streams and coulees, 
and even in the big mounds made by their predeces- 
sors in the country, the Mound Builders. The idea 
probably was to honor the venerated remains and to 
preserve them from destruction or desecration. Many 
a modern Indian 's bones have been found in a Mound 
Ihiilder's sacrificial mound, and thus fairly justifying 
the belief that the mound itself was the work of 
modem Indians. 

There is a possibility that the great battle between 
the Sioux and the Chippewas described by Warren as 
having occurred on Sand Hill River, and mentioned 
on another page, was really fouglit on the Red Lake 
River and that the Crookston mound is the grave of 
the Sioux warriors killed therein — as suggested on an- 
other page. But there is no positive evidence in sup- 
port of this suggestion, and Warren is clear in his 
statement that the battle was on the Sand Hill River. 
There is no mound on the Sand Hill near the supposed 
site of the battle, although the Sioux held the field and 
had the opportunity to bury their dead properly ac- 
cording to their custom, with a heap of dirt raised 
over them. 

Prof. Winchell's "Aborigines of Minnesota" men- 
tions (p. 361) the Crookston mound and gives its 
dimensions, when he survej^ed it, in 1880, as "7 feet 
high and 120 feet in diameter." The location is, how- 
ever, erroneously given as ' ' about two miles southwest 
from Crokston." 

The "Aborigines" notes (p. 362) another mound 
in what is now Polk County, and which is described as 
having a diameter of 58 feet and a height of four and 
a half feet. Its location is given as in township 148, 
range 45, not far from Melvin Station. 

The Sand Hill River mounds are also noted on page 
362 of "Aborigines." These are three small mounds, 
averaging about four feet high and 55 feet across, 
which are located in township 147, range 45, west of 
Fertile. It is difficult to tell without examination by 
digging into them whether these are natural or artifi- 
cial. There are numerous erroneous statements in 
"Aborigines" — ^typographical errors often — regard- 



ing these mounds. One, now in Red Lake County is 
described (p. 362) as in "section 90," when section 9 
is meant. 

The absence of dense forests filled with deer and 
other game, and furnishing fuel and material for habi- 
tations, was one reason why the Red Indians avoided 
the Valley region. There was little other kind of 
country here save the big prairies, which were almost 
untraversable save by hor.seback, and these aborigines 
had no horses, and indeed never saw one ; since horses 
were not original to Minnesota, nor, indeed, indige- 
nous to the United States, but had to be introduced 
from Europe. The aborigines of the Red River Val- 
ley, with their flint arrow heads and lance heads, and 
traveling altogether on foot, had a difficult job to kill 
buffalo and deer. Their best and common mode of 
securing these animals was to creep upon them as they 
grazed in the high grass of a lowland, near a lake or 
river, and, suddenly bounding forth, stampede the 
herd and chase its members into the water, where they 
often came up with them and speared them to death. 
Farther westward the tribes were accustomed to chase 
the buffalos over high precipices. 


The identified Indians who first visited, and prob- 
ably lived at intervals, in the section of the Red 
River Valley now embraced within Polk County were 
the Crees. There were others before them, of course, 
but we do not know who they were or what to call 
them. The Crees were in this region, especially about 
Pembina, Lake Winnipeg, and the lower Valley, when 
the first white men came. The Jesuit Fathers men- 
tion them, in their "Relations" for the year 1640, as 
"dwelling on the rivers of the northern sea, [mean- 
ing Hudson's Bay] where the Nipissings go to trade 
with them." Laeombe, in his "Dictionary of the 
Cree Language," says that, according to their tradi- 
tions, the Crees — in, say about 1750 — "inhabited for 
a time the region about the Red River, intermingled 
with the Chippewas and Maskegons, " but were at- 
t7'aeted to the plains b.y the buffalo. The Maskegons 

were practically themselves Crees, being an offshoot 
of the tribe. They were often called the Swamp Crees, 
because Maskeg (or Muskeg) means a swamp. 

Many authorities regard the Crees as Chippewas. 
Their language is virtually a Chippewa dialect; their 
manners and customs are much alike; they too were 
a forest people, and finally they had a tradition that 
they were descendants of a band that in the long ago 
seceded from the Chippewas in northern Minnesota 
and went to dwell on Lake Cree. The Smithsonian 
Institution "Handbook" (1907) says: "The Crees are 
closely related, linguistically and otherwise, to the 
Chippewa. Prof. Hayden regarded them as an off- 
shoot of the latter and believed the Maskeeons another 
division of the same group." Many bands of the 
Crees were nomads and were generally unsettled, 
their movements being governed largely by their food 
supply. In their wanderings they mingled with the 
Assiniboines, who were offshoots of the Sioux, and in- 
termarried with them and the old Chippewas from 
whom they had sprung. 

Father Belcourt, the good priest of Pembina, who 
lived so long with them on the Assiniboine, Saskatche- 
wan, and Red Rivers, says the Crees, in 1850, called 
themselves Ke-nish-ti-nak, meaning held by the winds. 
They lived long at Lake Winnipeg, whereon, when the 
winds blew hard, making the waves run high, they 
were checked by the winds and could not travel in 
their little frail canoes. Radisson, who, in 1659, either 
saw them or heard of them, says the Cree canoes were 
so small that they could not carry more than two 
persons. The name of the tribe was written by the 
French as Kri-stin-aux ; then it became Christenaux, 
Kilistinos, Kenistonas, etc., but the chief French 
form was Chris-ti-naux, which was pronounced Crees- 
te-nose; and the French finally contracted the word 
to Crees, as they contracted Naudowessioux to Sioux. 

Now, when the white tradei's of the Hudson's Bay 
Company came to the Lake Wiiniipeg region they 
found the Crees. The poor savages were overjoyed to 
meet men who could furnish them steel implements in 
exchange for (to them) such simple and easily-pro- 



cured things as beaver and other skins, buffalo robes, 
and various other kinds of furs and pelts. Many of 
them came up the Red River in their little boats, made 
villages in the groves along the river and its tribu- 
taries, and remained in the country a long time en- 
gaged in trapping and hunting. The products of 
their efforts were sent down the river to the Hudson 's 
Baj' fort on Lake Winnipeg, which post was for a long 
time called Fort Garry. The Hudson 's Bay Fur Com- 
pany was chartered by King Charles II of England, 
"the Merry Monarch," May 2, 1670; but it was not 
until in 1799 that its agents took possession of the Red 
River proper and established trading posts in the 

Prior to the advent of the Hudson's Bay Company 
into their region, the Crees were practically savages 
of a very wild and unenlightened sort. Their slight 
contact with the French did not improve them. In 
the Jesuit "Relations" of 1670-71 Father Dablon 
writes: "Finally the Kelistinos [a name for the Crees] 
are dispersed through the whole region to the north 
of this Lake Superior — possessing neither corn, nor 
fields, nor any fixed abode, but forever wandering 
through those vast forests and seeking a livelihood 
there by hunting." Their condition remained prac- 
tically unchanged until after the traders came. Then 
their women married many of the traders and their 
employes; the families thus created lived after civil- 
ized fashion, and in time the missionaries and 
school teachers came. 

The Crees were attacked by smallpox from time 
to time, and the tribe was greatly reduced by the rav- 
ages of this disease. They left Minnesota, as a whole, 
before 1820 and went up into Manitoba and other 
Canadian provinces. About 10,000 of them are now 
in Manitoba and about 5,000 elsewhere in northwest- 
ern Canada. They have always been a peaceful tribe, 
were never at war with their Algonquian neighbors, 
and left northern Minnesota rather than fight the 
Chippewas. In 1885, however, the mixed bloods of 
the tribes rose in rebellion against the Canadian au- 
thorities, because it was sought to remove them from 

their lands on the Saskatchewan to a more inhospitable 
region to the northward ; but in a little time their 
rebellion was subdued and their leader, Louis Riel, 
was executed by hanging, November 16, 1885. 

It is reasonably certain that, during the period they 
were in Minnesota, the Crees visited the country now 
called Polk County, and dwelt there from time to 
time. To be sure no particulars of their connection 
with the early histoi-y of the county can now be given. 
We can only assert that, as they were generally 
through northern Minnesota, and especially along the 
Red River, they must have been at intervals in Polk 

The Cheyenne Indians have a tradition that at one 
time they wei'e settled upon Otter Tail Lake and Lake 
Traverse and were driven out by the Crees into the 
upper Minnesota River country, below Big Stone 
Lake. From the Minnesota Valley, fearing trouble 
M'ith the Sioux, they removed into what is now South 
Dakota and North Dakota, many locating on the river 
bearing their name. 


Although the Chippewas and the Crees were kin- 
dred people, and of the same blood and lineage, they 
had separate tribal organizations and are always 
spoken of and referred to as two different nations or 
tribes. The word Chippewas is a corruption of Ojib- 
ways, by which name these Indians formerly called 
themselves, and which means "roast till puckered 
up," referring to their manner of cooking meat or of 
torturing their prisoners. They once lived about the 
Sault Ste. Marie. The early French often called 
them "Saulteurs, " which is the equivalent, in old 
French, of Sautcurs in "Francaise moderue, " mean- 
ing leapers or jumpers. Sault, which is pronounced so 
or soo, is an old French word meaning leap, and is 
not found in modern French vocabularies. Sault Ste. 
Marie, therefore, is literallj' in English, the Leap of 
Saint Mary. The Sioux called the Chippewas "Hkah- 
hkah Tonwan," or Waterfalls People, meaning the 



people of the Waterfalls of St. Mary. Hka-hkah 
meaning waterfalls and Tonwan meaning people. 

The Chippewas occupied the Red River country as 
the result of a war of conquest. About the beginning 
of the XVIII Century — probably between 1710 and 
1736 — they drove the Foxes from northern Wiscon- 
sin down to Iowa and Illinois and compelled them to 
confederate with the Sauks (or Sacs). Then, some 
time after 1736, they turned on the Sioux and drove 
them (first from Lake Superior and then from North- 
ern Minnesota generally) southward and westward 
down to the Minnesota and across the Mississippi and 
the Missouri. The Smithsonian Institution's "Hand- 
book of American Indians" (Vol. 1, p. 278) indicates 
that after driving away their enemies from northern 
Minnesota, the Chippewas continued their westward 
march into North Dakota until they occupied the head 
waters of the Red River and had a large band as far 
west as the Turtle Mountains, in the extreme northern 
section of North Dakota. 

It is alleged by the "Handbook" referred to (ibid) 
that one cause of the dispossession of the Sioux by 
the Chippewas was to obtain possession of the wild 
rice tracts about the numerous lakes and streams of 
northern Minnesota. For a long period the Sioux con- 
trolled the wild rice output of Minnesota and would 
not allow the Chippewas to gather it without a sort 
of tribute payment, and to this tribute the Chippewas 
vigorously objected. Warren (History of the Ojib- 
ways) and other authorities cite that the French trad- 
ers of the posts on Lake Superior furnished the Chip- 
pewas with fire-arms and then instigated them to 
attack and drive away the Sioux, because they sold 
their furs to the English traders of the Hudson's Bay 
Company, instead of to the French of the Lakes. It 
is probable that the real reason of the Chippewa at- 
tack was a double one — the instigation of the French 
and the desire to possess the wild rice beds. 

The Chippewas were largely dependent upon the 
wild rice for food. They called it mahnomen, and 
revered as a goddess the spirit that controlled it. 
When the Sioux occupied the Mille Lacs country, in 

Jlinnesota, the Chippewas had to travel many miles 
from their Lake Superior homes, and often to risk 
their lives, for the wild grain, which was virtually a 
staff of life for them. They still use large quantities 
of it. According to the report of the Bureau of 
American Ethnology for 1900 there were 10,000 Chip- 
pewas in the United States using wild rice for food. 
The Sioux, too, use it when they can get it. The de- 
cisive battle between the Sioux and the Chippewas for 
the ownership of the wild rice beds of Minnesota is 
believed by many to have occurred on the eastern 
shores of Mille Lac, at the supposed Sioux town of 
Kathio, in about 1750. (See Brower's "Kathio," p. 
92.) According to the estimate of Warren, himself a 
half-blood Chippewa, the battle occurred in 1657 
(Minn. Hist. Socy. Collections, Vol. V, p. 157, et 
seq.), a difference in dates of the two eminent authori- 
ties of 100 years. Warren further says, however (p. 
162), that, after being defeated at Kathio, the Sioux 
went down near the mouth of Rum River and did not 
finally leave the Mille Lacs region until 1770. 


Practically ever after their advent into the country, 
the Chippewas continued to hold northwestern Min- 
nesota, including Polk County, against the Sioux. 
Warren's History of the Chippewas (p. 356) relates 
that, for a niimber of years after the Chippewa occu- 
pation, a camp of ten tepees of Sioux had their camp 
on the upper Thief River and succeeded in evading 
and escaping the guns and tomahawks of their heredi- 
tary enemies. The surrounding hunting grounds 
were so rich, and wild rice was so plentiful, that life 
was easily lived, and they were loth to leave the local- 
ity. They built a high embankment of earth around 
their camp and took eveiy means in their power to 
conceal themselves from their merciless foes. In 
hunting they would not discharge their guns, because 
of the loud noise, but used their bows and arrows in 
killing game. 

At last they were discovered by their relentless ene- 
mies. The Crees and Assiniboines of the Pembina and 



Devil's Lake regions made a treaty with the Yankton 
and Sisseton Sioux, and a short term of peace resulted. 
During the deliberations at this treaty, the Crees 
learned of the existence of the isolated Sioux band and 
the locality of its camp. When the peace period 
closed, some Crees gave the information to their Chip- 
pewa relatives, and the latter, from about Red Lake, 
soon raised a war party and marched upon the hid- 
den Sioux. A total surprise was made, and after a 
brave but unavailing defense, the ten lodges, and all 
their inmates, were totally destroyed. The embank- 
ment or breastwork of earth which once surrounded 
the little Sioux village was plain to be seen in 1852. 
Warren received his information of this affair from 
Wa-non-je-quon, then chief of Red Lake, whose father 
helped destroy the Sioux. 

From the hiding place and secret occupation of the 
Sioux on the little river, the Chippewas afterward 
called it Ke-moja-ke Se-be, or Secret Place River ; but 
the French traders and coureurs pronounced Kemoj 
a-ke as Ke mod a-ke, which means stealing. Then the 
stream began to be called Stealing River and Thief 
River, and by the latter name it is laid down on 
Nicollet's map of 1842, and is still so called. 


About 1808 (as near as can be conjectured) a band 
of Sioux defeated a larger band of Chippewas down 
on Long Prairie River, in Todd County. The Sioux 
were Sissetons and Wahpetons, from western Minne- 
sota and eastern South Dakota, and had come over to 
hunt on their former rich game preserve. The Chip- 
pewas were on the way to attack the Sioux on Rice 
River. The fight lasted all day and was very fierce 
and bloody. At the close only seven unhurt Sioux 
were left, but they were enough to drive back the 
Chippewas, because they had guns, furnished them 
by the Hudson's Bay Company's traders on the Red 
River. The Chippewas also had some guns, but each 
party used bows and arrows in addition to their fire- 
arms. The Chippewas captured 36 horses (or ponies), 
but could not learn to manage them, and, after many 

of them had been crippled by kicks and falls, they 
finally slaughtered every pony and devoured them. 
Old Hole-in-the-Day, then a young man, and his elder 
brother. Strong Ground, were among the leaders of 
the Chippewas in this battle. 


The same day on which the battle at Long Prairie 
was fought a large Sioux war party of Sissetons, Wah- 
petons, and Yanktons attacked the Chippewa villages 
near Pembina, whose chief was Little Clam. They 
were defeated with considerable loss and chased back 
up the Red River. (Warren, p. 3.54.) As a result of 
their defeat on this and other occasions in the same 
period, the Sioux were forced to retreat to the west- 
ward of the Red and Mississippi Rivers and south of 
the Sliayenne. Then, for an indefinitely long period, 
in order to control the beaver dams and the buffalo 
preseiwes of the Red River, there was war between 
the Chippewas and the Sioux, from the Selkirk Set- 
tlement to Big Stone Lake and the headwaters of the 
Minnesota. The Assiniboines and Crees were allies of 
the Sioux in this war. It was dui'ing the early yeare 
when they made the short peace with the Sioux re- 
ferred to, and upon its termination when they be- 
trayed to the Chippewas the existence and site of the 
little Sioux band on Thief River. 


The year after the battle on the Long Prairie River, 
or about 1819, the Sioux along the whole line of the 
eastern frontiers became tired of fighting the Chippe- 
was in open field and sought to defeat them by secret 
action involving the foulest treachery, even from the 
Indian point of view, which considers everything fair 
in war. They made an extraordinary and apparently 
sincere attempt to enter into a general and permanent 
peace with the Chippewas. Chah-pah (or the 
Beaver), head chief of the Yankton, or Ya.nktonnais 
Sioux, who were then about Lake Traverse, had a 
Chippewa woman for one of his wives. He put her 
on a good horse, gave her his peace pipe, and bade 



her go to her former people at Pembina aud tell them 
that, ill a week or more, he would come to them with a 
large delegation of Sioux aud smoke with them the 
pipe of profound peace and good will. At the ap- 
pointed time the Sioux chief, with a large number of 
his people, arrived at Pembina, and the Red River 
Chippewas heartily accepted his offers of peace and 

At the same time the Sisseton, Wahpeton, some 
Yanktons, and a large number of Medawakanton 
Sioux, met the Mississippi, the Sandy Lake, and the 
Mille Lacs Chippewas in a treaty on the Platte River, 
near its junction with the Mississippi, and ten miles 
south of the present town of Little Falls. The peace 
pipe was smoked by these former foes, and games of 
various kinds were played by the young men of the 
two tribes. For some time all went merrily, friendly, 
and well. 

But a certain Medawakanton Sioux was one of the 
seven survivors that fought off the Chippewa.s in the 
Long Prairie battle. He had not forgotten nor for- 
given. He picked a quarrel with a Chippewa warrior 
and struck him with a ball stick. The blow was re- 
turned aud a general fight would have resulted had 
not young Wah-nah-tah (the Charger), a son of Chief 
Chah-pah, rushed in, forcibly separated the combat- 
ants, and chastised the offending Sioux. He feared 
that the Chippewas would become suspicious that the 
apparent friendly intentions of the Sioux were not 
real, and they certainly were not. The intent was to 
cause the Chippewas to be off their guard, and then 
the Sioux would fall upon them and either extermi- 
nate them or drive them from the country. The end 
would justify the means. 


But while the peace councils were being held above 
and below him, Flat Mouth, chief of the Pillager band 
of Chippewas, about Leech Lake, did not attend them. 
He quietly but industriously hunted beaver on the 
Long Prairie River. The peace pipe had been sent 

him, but he refused it. He said the Sioux were not in 
earnest in their professions of peace so soon after their 
bloody battle on the Long Prairie. He said he knew 
the Sioux character, and felt sure that they were in- 
sincere in their protestations of desire for a future 
permanent peace between the two tribes. 

Heading twenty or more of his baud. Flat Mouth, 
in the fall (of 1819?), went to Otter Tail Lake with 
his beaver traps and canoes. But he and his men took 
their guns with them and kept their powder dry. At 
the outlet of Otter Tail Creek, one evening, the chief 
became impressed with a sense of danger. He had his 
bark canoe (which he had brought up the Crow "Wing 
to the Otter Tail portage and then across to the lake) 
and, fearing to go to sleep on the shore, he embarked 
himself and family in the boat aud passed the night 
on the lake. The next morning he discovered the trail 
of a war party of apparently 400 Sioux. They had 
been at the site of his camp of the previous evening 
and had gone in the direction of Battle Lake. From 
a rude drawing on a blazed tree. Flat Mouth deter- 
mined that one of the Sioux leaders was Chahpah, 
the chief of the Yanktons. 

There were no Chippewas at Battle Lake, south of 
Otter Tail, but at the Leaf Lakes, to the eastward, 
there were quite a number. Working his canoe 
through the chain of lakes with their links of streams, 
like a great rosary of water. Flat Mouth reached 
Leaf Lakes and sounded the alarm. That morning 
two of his cousins were killed and their bodies muti- 
lated by the Sioux, but in the fight they killed three 
of their enemies and wounded many others. The 
Sioux soon learned that their plan had failed, because 
the Chippewas had discovered it and were fully 
aroused. At once they hurried southward, back and 
away from the Chippewa country, and soon were in 
their villages, near the sources of the Minnesota and 
Red Rivers. 

Flat Mouth repaired to his village and sent his war- 
pipe and war club by fleet messengers from band to 
band, informing his people that he was going on the 
war path against the Sioux and wanted their help. It 



was as in the days of Roderick Dhii, when he was 
wont to send the fiery cross among his clansmen to 
rouse them to war. The Chippewas were soon ready 
to march down against the Yanktons at Lake Traverse. 
But meanwhile Chahpah had reached home, and 
alarmed at the discovery of his treachery, again sought 
to make peace with the Chippewas. He induced his 
white brother-in-law, Col. Robert Dickson, "the red- 
headed Scotchman," to act as mediator. Col. Dick- 
sou's wife was Chahpah 's sister. 

At the Beaver's request, the Colonel sent a swift 
courier to Flat Mouth with a message from the Sioux 
chief denying all participation in the late war party 
of his people, and especially denying that any of his 
warriors had killed the two cousins of Flat Mouth. 
He also invited the Chippewas to meet him in another 
peace council at Col. Dickson's trading post, which 
was on the Minnesota side of the Red River, at or near 
"La Grande Fourche," (the Grand Forks) for the 
purpose of smoking the peace pipe and re-establishing 
and strengthening good will between their respective 
people. Flat Mouth accepted the invitation and, tak- 
ing 30 of his best warriors with him, set out for the 
Grand Forks. He arrived in due time at Dickson's 
trading post, where he found four Frenchmen in 
charge of the establishment, Col. Dickson being ab- 
sent. On the next day Chahpah arrived, but with 
only two of his Yanktonnais as a body guard. 

Flat Mouth refused to smoke the peace pipe with 
Chahpah, and the Sioux chief then realized that his 
treachery had become fully known and was to be pun- 
ished. He was undismayed, however, and told his 
sister, Mrs. Dickson, that if he had to die he would 
go like a ' ' brave Dakota. ' ' That night it rained heav- 
ily and the thunder roared, but amid the tumult the 
Chippewas could hear the death song of Chahpah as 
he chanted it amid the gloomy surroundings in the 
trading house of his brother-in-law. The Chippewa 
warriors wanted to kill him and his companions out 
of hand, but Flat Mouth forbade them. He said they 
might kill the Sioux, but must not "shed blood on 
the steps of these white men, nor in their presence." 

Then he added : ' ' You know my heart has been sore 
since the death of my cousins, but though their mur- 
derers deserve death I do not wish to see them killed. 
Though it is my doing, I shall not be with you. ' ' 

The next morning early Flat Mouth departed for 
Gull Lake, and the three Sioux, brave to the last, set 
out for Lake Traverse, guarded by the Chippewa war- 
riors, who had murder in their hearts and eyes, as 
an escort. Out on the prairie the escort shot the hap- 
less and helpless chief and his companions, took their 
scalps, cut off their heads, and ran swiftly with the 
bloody trophies until they caught up with Chief Flat 
Mouth. Sha-wa-ke-shig, who was Flat Mouth's head 
warrior, killed Chahpah and took his scalp. The 
chief's American medal, which he wore conspicuously 
on his breast, was taken by Wash-kin-e-ka, or Crooked 
Arm, a Red Lake warrior. This incident occurred in 
Polk County, perhaps a mile below the present site of 
East Grand Forks. 


Colonel Dickson was greatly exasperated when he 
learned of the killing and the mutilation of his In- 
dian brother-in-law. He sent word to Flat Mouth 
that thenceforth the smoke of a white man's trading 
house would never more rise toward the sky from the 
camp of a Pillager band of Chippewas. The Pillager 
chief laughed at the threats, and afterwards, in relat- 
ing the story to Warren, he said that the traders con- 
tinued to visit and trade with him as usual, and that 
his village continued to grow larger, "notwithstand- 
ing the words of the red-headed Scotchman." But 
these traders were not the agents of Col. Dickson, who 
refused to trade with the Pillager chief and injured 
him in every way he could. Perhaps his treatment of 
the chief in this respect alienated Flat Mouth from the 
British interest and conduced to strengthen his predi- 
lections toward the Americans. 

During the AVar of 1812 Col. Dickson was the prin- 
cipal agent of the British in Minnesota. He recruited 
scores of Indians from the Sioux and Chippewas and 



sent them to figlit against the Americans. Some of 
these red mercenaries served with the British Army 
as far to the eastward as in northern Ohio. But Chief 
Plat Mouth remained firm in his friendship toward the 
Americans, although he knew but little about them; 
he persistently refused to fight them in aid of the 
British, and was true to the promises he made Lieuten- 
ant Pike in the council of Leech Lake, February 16, 
1806. Dickson sent the Prench Canadian, St. Ger- 
main, from Fort William to Leech Lake, and made 
rich presents to Flat Mouth to induce him to lead the 
Pillager band into the British camps, but Flat Mouth 
sent back the wampum belts, etc., with this message : 
"When I go to war against my enemies, I do not call 
upon the whites to join my warrioi-s. The white peo- 
ple are quarreling among themselves, and I do not 
wish to meddle in their quarrels. I do not intend to 
ever strike a white man or even break a window in his 
house." (Warren, p. 369.) 


Tlie Yanktonnais received the news of the killing 
of their chief with horror and indignation, and swore 
vengeance against every living Chippewa thing. The 
Beaver (or Chahpah) was succeeded by his son Wah- 
uah-tah (or the Charger), previously mentioned, and 
who became one of the most influential and celebrated 
warriors and chieftains of the great Sioux nation. He 
was so celebrated and well known among the whites 
that his name was given to one of the original coun- 
ties of Minnesota Territory, in 1849. Wahnatah 
County was about 60 miles wide from north to south, 
and extended from the mouths of the Crow Wing and 
the Clearwater westward to the Missouri. During his 
military career the great chief amply revenged the 
death of his father by repeatedly striking bloody blows 
upon the Chippewas of the Red River. 

After the killing of the Beaver, active warfare was 

renewed between the Sioux and the Red River Valley 

Chippewas. Less than a month after the tragedy, 

Wah-nah-tah started from Lake Traverse, with a 

large party of Sioux warriors, to go into the Chippewa 

country at and about Red Lake. At the same time, 
a body of Chippewas, headed by Chief Wash-ta-do-ga- 
wub, started southward to attack the Sioux at Lakes 
Traverse and Big Stone. They were largely Red 
Lakers, although Plat Mouth and a detachment of 
his band were with the party. 

Nearly opposite the mouth of Goose River, orig- 
inally called by the French, "la Riviere Outarde," or 
the River of the Canada Goose, in what is now the 
southwest comer of Polk County, a little north of 
Neilsville, the two armies met. Two of the Chippewa 
scouts, in advance of the maiu force, were suddenly 
fired upon by the Sioux and one of them was killed. 
The Sioux then rushed forward and a bloody fight 
ensued. The Chippewas were taken somewhat un- 
awares and the Sioux pushed them back to Sand 
River,* after a series of stubbornly contested en- 
counters. The Chippewas "dug themselves in" at the 
little river by letting themselves down behind its south 
bank and by digging rifle-pits and improvised breast- 
works. The battle lasted till dark, when the Chip- 
pewas, believing that they had the worse of the fight, 
crossed the Sand River to the north and hastened to- 
ward their wigwams. They carried their badly 
wounded along and threw the bodies of their dead 
into the river, to prevent them from being scalped and 
otherwise mutilated. One Chippewa warrior, named 
Black Duck, particularly distinguished himself by 

* It is possible that the stream here mentioned as the Sand 
River should really be called the Eed Lake River, and that the 
battle took place at the present site of the City of Crookston. 
It may be that the mound on the south bank of the Red Lake, 
about three- fourths of a mile from the center of the city, marks 
the site of the burial place of the Sioux that were killed in 
the action. The bones found by Prof. Moore and his scholars 
in this mound about 25 years ago may have been those of Wah- 
nah-tah 's slain warriors; they could not have been those of 
Mound Builders. After the Chippewas retreated the Sioux may 
have gathered up their dead in a group and heaped the earth 
over them, as was frequently their custom in finally disposing 
of their dead. 

The data which warrants the assertion that the battle was 
at Sand Eiver is reasonably clear, but yet there have been no 
tangible evidences of a deadly conflict there. And if the bones 
disinterred by Prof. Moore at Crookston were not relics of a 
battlefield, what were they? True, we have no account, and 
not even a legend, of an Indian battle at the Crookston mound, 
but many a battle between aboriginal tribes has been unre- 
corded and its victims gone ' ' unhonored and unsung. ' ' — Com- 



killing and scalping seven Sioux. He was a R«d 
Laker and his name was given to the lake on which 
he lived, and which is a dozen miles south of Red 
Lake and is the source of Black Duck River. In recent 
years a railroad station on the Minnesota & Interna- 
tional was established near the lake and a town laid 
out called Black Duck. The Sioux, too, retreated dur- 
ing the night, and thus there was a military spectacle, 
often seen where white men's armies were the actors, 
of two hostile forces running away from each other 
after a battle. The Sioux soon returned and cared 
for their dead and sent scouts after the Chippewas 
without results. 

It would not be practicable to detail all of the bat- 
tles and other hostile and sanguinary encounters be- 
tween the Chippewas and the Sioux while they were 
fighting for the control of the Red River Valley and 
the rest of the country embraced within the northern 
part of Minnesota. The narration of these incidents 
which occurred in other counties belongs in the his- 
tories of those counties. Except those here mentioned, 
it must be said regarding the old Indian fights which 
took place in what is now Polk County, that no reliable 
data regarding them can be found by the present 
writer. Plenty of mention is made of fights and hos- 
tile campaigns made in the valley by the two tribes, 
but no dates can be fixed when they occurred, and no 
localities determined; nor can it be stated positively 
and under conviction that these affairs took place with- 
in Polk County, and therefore belong solely to this 
history. Doubtless there was many an Indian fight 
in Polk County which will never be noted. Yet the 
history of the county will not suffer by such an omis- 
sion, for, really, three-fourths of the fights between 
hostile bands of the Sioux and the Chippewas in Min- 
nesota were inconsequential, and of no more impor- 
tance than the combats between packs of ravenous 
wolves on the prairies in the days long gone by. The 
incidents here narrated are derived, in by far the 
greater part, from Warren 's History of the Minnesota 
Chippewas; and Warren's presentations are based 
upon the statements made to him by the renowned 

Chippewa chieftain and warrior, Esh-ke-bug-e-coshe, 
or Flat Mouth. 


It may be well, however, to give one tradition of a 
great Sioux-Chippewa battle which is said to have 
occurred at some time between 1785 and 1800 on the 
east side of Upper Red Lake. There is no written rec- 
oi'd of the affair that the compiler can find; and the 
only evidence that there was such an affair is the 
testimony of Indians or mixed bloods long since dead, 
and such testimony is almost altogether legendary or 
traditional. And yet this evidence is not to be alto- 
gether disregarded or despised, when the character of 
the testimony and of those delivering it is considered. 
Writing to the compiler under date of January 8, 
1916, Hon. Wm. AVatts, than whom there is no one 
more interested in or a better authority upon early 
Polk County history, says: 

"After being driven from this part of the Red River 
Valley, the Sioux made several attempts to recover it, 
until they were finally defeated in a gi'eat battle by 
the Chippewas on the east side of Upper Red Lake. 
I have never seen a description of that battle. • * * 

"I do not think this was a battle identical with 
that described as taking place on Thief River when 
the Sioux band hid themselves, etc. Battle River, 
which flows into Upper Red Lake from the east, is 
said to get its name from being near or on the site 
of this battle. I have heard it frequently spoken of, 
but cannot get anything like a definite description 
of it. 

"According to what I have heard it was fought 
about 125 years ago, and was the last great battle be- 
tween the two trilies in northwestern Minnesota. I 
have heard that Pierre Bottineau frequently told of 
what he had learned about it from participants. The 
story is that it was a very bloody battle and that the 
Chippewas were victorious. I think Paul Beaulieu, 
of Mahnomen, Minn., would be able to give the tradi- 
tionary account. The father of Moose Dung, the lat- 
ter a signer of the 'Old Crossing treaty' of 1863, 
was one of the Chippewa chiefs engaged in the bat- 
tle, and Moose Dung often told what he had heard 
about it." 

Neither Warren's History of the Chippewas nor 
Prof. Winchell's "Aborigines of Minnesota," both ex- 
cellent authorities on the wars and feuds of the two 
tribes, make any reference whatever to the alleged 



old-time battle on the Upper Red Lake. Aud yet 
there may have been such a battle, and certain of the 
mounds found on Red Lake may be the sepulchres of 
some of the Sioux warriors slain in the conflict. 


In the end the Chippewas remained in control of 
the country, although in many instances this control 
was disputed and disturbed. War parties of Sioux 
came up into the Chippewa country on forays and 
warlike excursions, at intervals, until 1863. The Chip- 
pewas raided the Sioux during the same period. De- 
tachments from the eastern band at Pokegama and 
the St. Croix raided Little Crow 's band near St. Paul 
in the spring of 1842, and in April, 1853, attacked and 
killed fugitive members of the same band fairly in the 
streets of the Capital City. In May, 1858, Chippewas 
from the Mille Lacs and Gull Lake bands went down 
and attacked the Sioux village of Chief Shakopee, on 
the lower Minnesota, and at the town bearing his name, 
but were defeated with a loss of 20 killed, and 


August 15, 1862, only a very few days before the 
great Sioux Outbreak, some Red Lake Chippewas 
slipped down to near Red Iron's village, on the Min- 
nesota, not far from the Yellow Medicine Agency, and 
killed a Sioux man and his son and got away with 
their scalps. The 20th of July a detachment of the 
same band, presumably, had shot and killed two Sioux 
within 18 miles of Yellow Medicine ; while in May 
a hunting party of R^d Iron's band was attacked on 
the upper Pomme de Terre by a band of Chippewas 
(presumably Red Lakers) and chased out of the coun- 
try, losing two men killed. 

The bodies of the Sioux man and his son that were 

killed in August were taken to their village and ex- 
posed in the street and thus lay in state, as it were, 
for two days. At last a war party of 25 was made up 
to go northward to the Chippewa country and avenge 
the killing. All but three of the party (who were 
Yanktonuais) were of the Wahpeton band of Sioux 
and the leader was Eta-zha-zha, or Gleaming Face, 
who, under the Christian name of Lot, died at Sisse- 
ton, South Dakota, only a few years since. In 1901, 
before a commission that was investigating the conduct 
of the Sisseton Sioux during the great Outbreak, Lot 
testified to the foregoing facts, and further stated that 
the Sioux were absent from their villages about two 
weeks, during which time they were mainly in the 
Otter Tail Lake region. When they had returned to 
(heir own country, they found, to their amazement and 
distress, that during their absence a great and bloody 
outbreak had been made against the whites. (Minn, 
in Three Cents., Vol. 3, p. 288.) 

Certain careless or reckless writers on Minnesota 
history have asserted that the great Sioux Outbreak 
of 1862 was the effect of a long meditated and care- 
fully planned movement of the Sioux and Chippewas 
in combination ; that Little Crow and other chiefs for 
the Sioux, and Hole-in-the-Day aud other leaders for 
the Chippewas, had been in constant communication 
and engaged in preparing for the uprising long before 
it occurred, etc. These assertions are wholly false. 
The two tribes hated each other too viciously and im- 
placably ever to found a friendly alliance for any pur- 
pose. The tragic incidents mentioned, and others that 
might be given, show that these long-time foes con- 
tinued to fight one another up to the very date of the 
Outbreak and prove the utter falsity of the claim that 
they ever were engaged as allies in plotting against the 




It is always interesting to every citizen to learn (so 
as to believe) the facts connected with the early his- 
tory of his country. Among the items composing these 
facts one of those of rarest interest is the identity of 
the first Caucasians or white men to visit his district 
or locality. Sometimes this may be ascertained with 
accuracy; but generally, especially in Minnesota, the 
information is impossible to secure beyond and with- 
out a reasonable doubt. The present writer is unable 
to assert positively, and to furnish proof of the asser- 
tion, who were the first white men to visit the dis- 
trict of country now comprised within the boundaries 
of Polk County. He can only furnish certain infor- 
mation on the subject, all that is readily accessible, 
and let every intelligent reader pass upon the ques- 
tion and decide it for himself. 


It is fairly probable that the first white men that 
visited and traveled over the soil of Polk County were 
32 Norsemen, who came some time in A. D. 1362. If 
they were here at that time, they probably came from 
the very early Norse Colony of "Vinland" which is 
said to have been on the northeastern Atlantic coast 
in what is now the State of Maine, or either of the 
Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or New- 

The evidence that these men were here, or at least 
somewhere in this portion of the Red River Vallej', is 

a stone with an inscription to this effect. This stone 
has come to be known as the Kensington Rune Stone, 
because it was found near the village of Kensington, a 
station on the Soo Railroad, in the southwestern por- 
tion of Douglas County, and because the inscription 
on it is in the ancient Runic dialect. The stone was 
found on the farm of Olaf Ohman, three miles north- 
east of Kensington, November 8, 1898, by himself and 
his two young sous. Nils Olaf Flaaten, owner of an 
ad,joiuing farm, was present immediately after the 
finding. All the parties are Swedes, and though plain 
people, in modest circumstances, are honest, upright, 
and highly esteemed citizens. None of them have 
any other than a primary education. 

The stone was thoroughly discussed and examined 
by several Scandinavian and other archaeologists and 
scientists, and carried back and forth for two or three 
years, going in 1911 to Rouen, Prance. It is now in 
the custody of Mr. Hjalmer Rued Holand of Madi- 
son, "Wisconsin, who obtained it in 1907 from Mr. 
Ohman, the finder. Mr. Holand has spent much time 
and money and made extensive research in his inves- 
tigation of this tablet and is thoroughly enthusiastic 
in his belief that it is genuine. This opinion is firmly 
held by a large ma.iority of the experts that have ex- 
amined it. Those who doubt its authenticity do so on 
seemingly insufiicient grounds. The strongest argu- 
ment in its favor is the stone itself, which is of the 
variety that geologists call graywacke, which is 



abundant in the locality where the stone was found. 
The whole subject is well presented in 66 pages of 
Volume XV of the Minnesota Historical Society Col- 
lections, and in Castle's recently published State His- 
An English translation of the inscription reads : 

"Eight Goths and twenty -two Norwegians upon a 
journey of discovery from Viuland westward. We 
had a camp by two skerries one day's journey north 
from this stone. We were out fishing one day. When 
we returned home we found ten men red with blood 
and dead. Hail, Virgin Mary, save us from evil. 

"Have ten men by the sea to look after our vessel 
14 (or 41) days' journey from this island. Year 

The term Goths means Swedes, because they were 
from Gothland, in the southern part of Sweden. The 
characters on the stone translated "Hail, Virgin 
Mary" are the equivalents of A. V. M., meaning in 
Latin, "Ave, Virgo Maria." It is uncertain whether 
or not the characters translated 14 should be 41, as 
some Runic writers put the figure denoting units be- 
fore the figure denoting tens; the custom varied at 
different times and in different countries. 

Assuming the genuineness of the stone, the author- 
ship of the inscription may be determined with reason- 
able probability. The party, consisting of at least 
40 persons, had set out from Viuland on an expedi- 
tion of exploration and discovery. Uniformly a priest 
accompanied such an expedition as its chaplain, and 
at that period, and for 200 years thereafter, all Chris- 
tians were Roman Catholics. In this instance the 
priest of the ill-fated party was, it may be presumed, 
a Runic scholar. The other members doubtless were 
illiterate. To record the tragic incident of the kill- 
ing of ten of their number and the fact of their pres- 
ence and condition in the country, for the benefit of 
civilized people that might come after them, the stone 
was prepared and inscribed. Probably the priest 
drew the Runic characters on the stone and a proper 
artificer cut them out. The priest would almost 
naturally offer a prayer to the Blessed Virgin for 
protection and preservation of the survivors from the 



fate of their comrades whom they had found 
with blood and dead." 

The theory of those believing in the genuineness of 
the Kensington Rune Stone and in the authenticity of 
its inscription may be here stated. It is believed that 
the starting point of the expedition was, as the inscrip- 
tion says, in Vinland (or Wineland) the Scandinavian 
Colony on the eastern coast of America. Although 
unchallenged records prove that there was such a col- 
ony between the XI and the XIV Centuries, its exact 
location has never been determined. It may have been 
in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick or Maine or Massa- 
chusetts. It is supposed to have been founded by Leif 
Erickson, in about A. D. 1000. The records also prove 
that this colony sent out numerous exploring expedi- 

It is further believed that the expedition left Vin- 
land in a ship of the prevailing character of the period 
and sailed successively through Davis Straits, Hud- 
son's Strait and across Hudson's Bay to the mouth 
of the Nelson River. Here the ship was left in charge 
of ten men, as the inscription states, and the remain- 
der of the party, including the priest, ascended Nel- 
son River in smaller boats to Lake Winnipeg. Pass- 
ing through the lake, they ascended the Red River, 
probably to the Grand Porks. Here, for some reason 
— perhaps on account of low water — they left the 
stream and marched overland in a southeasterly direc- 
tion, through what are now Polk, Norman, or Mahno- 
men, Becker, and Otter Tail Counties, and then into 
Douglas, where the ten men were killed and where 
the stone was found. 

What finally became of the party can now never be 
known. It is barely possible that it, or the most of 
its members, succeeded in returning to Vinland ; it is 
more probable, however, that all perished under the 
stone weapons of the savages of the country that killed 
the ten men in the camp by the two skerries (or big 
rocks in the water) of the lake now believed to be 
Pelican Lake. These savages may not have been the 
ancestors of the Red Indians of modern centuries ; for 
there is a belief that the ancestors of these Indians are 



not the barbarians that drove away the Mound 

If the Kensington Rune Stone be genuine, it can be 
readily accepted that the members of the party that 
made it were the first Caucasians or white men to visit 
and tread upon the soil of what is now Polk County. 
For they must have come up the Red River from Win- 
nipeg in boats or canoes, since they could hardly have 
proceeded on foot through the swampy valley with its 
rank vegetation ; and they must have struck out over- 
land when the navigation of the river further south- 
ward became impracticable, which would be at the 
mouth of the Red Lake River, or "the Grand Forks" 
of the olden time. 

All depends upon whether the stone is genuine or 
not. And at present a very large majority of those 
that may be considered authorities on the subject are 
of the decided opinion that it is what it purports to be, 
and that it is in no respect a fake or fraudulent. The 
latest history of Minnesota which is by the accom- 
plished and conservative Capt. Henry A. Castle, gives 
it full endorsement. 


Following the party of Scandinavians that made 
and left the Rune Stone in Douglas County— assum- 
ing that there was such a party — the next Caucasians 
to visit the region of what is now northwestern Min- 
nesota, including Polk County, came in perhaps be- 
tween the years 1655 and 1660. These were the two 
French adventurers, Radisson and Groseilliers. It is 
not certain through what portions of northwestern 
Minnesota they passed, if indeed they passed through 
any. Warren Upham (Minn, in Three Cents., Vol. 1, 
p. 274) says that their journeys extended into the 
present area of Minnesota, "but not, as I think to its 
western or northern boundaries." Yet the accom- 
plished George Bryee, in his History of the Hudson's 
Bay Company, (p. 6) states: "They visited the coun- 
try of the Sioux, the present states of Dakota, and 
promised to visit the Christinos (or Crees) on their 
side of a lake evidently either the Lake of the Woods 
or Lake Winnipeg." 

Radisson left a "journal," written in English, 
which has been printed, and this is substantially the 
authority of all historians and writers for their asser- 
tions concerning the two unscrupulous adventurers. 
But the statements of Radisson in tlie "journal" of 
his alleged travels and adventures is confusing rather 
than enlightening. It is not certain where or when 
they went, what rivers or lakes they saw, or what peo- 
ple they met. No two writers agree on these points. 
Bryce and Upham disagree as to whether or not they 
visited western Minnesota and the Dakotas, and Bryce 
can be no more definite about a certain lake they 
reached than to say it was either Lake of the Woods 
or Lake Winnipeg, which are 100 miles apart. The 
"journal" says they passed fourteen months on "an 
island," and Blakely, writing in the Minnesota His- 
torical Collections, says this "island" was in a lake 
on the northern boundary of Minnesota, while War- 
ren Upham says it was in the Mississippi, near Red 

It is certain that Groseilliers and Radisson were in 
the Lake Superior region and in the service of the 
Hudson 's Bay Company, but it is hardly possible that 
they ever saw northern Minnesota, or any part of what 
is now Polk County. 


After Groseilliers and Radisson, the first Europeans 
to come to Minnesota were some other French traders 
and adventurers, whose leader was Daniel Greysolon 
Du Luth, for whom the present city of Duluth was 
named. These people came first in 1679 to northwest- 
ern ]\Iinuesota, below Duluth. Du Luth claimed that 
he went that year to the great Sioux village on the 
largest of the Mille Lacs, but this can hardly be be- 
lieved. He was there the following .vear, however. 

For in the spring of 1680 came Father Louis Henne- 
pin, a Belgian Franciscan priest, and two Frenchmen 
named Accault and Auguelle to the Mille Lacs as pris- 
oners of the Sioux. They were coming up the Mis- 
sissippi in a canoe, when met by a Sioux war party at 
Rock Island, made prisoners and taken back to the 



villages of their captors. The following July they 
were released and started with a large Sioux hunting 
party down the river. Below the mouth of the St. 
Croix they met Du Luth and his party and returned 
with them and the Indians to Mille Lacs, where they 
arrived August 14. Here they remained until the end 
of September, when they set out in canoes for Can- 
ada. They passed down the Rum and the Mississippi 
to the Wisconsin and then up that river and on to 
Oreen Bay, where was a large French trading post. 
Neither Du Luth or Father Hennepin ever saw the 
Red River Valley. 

Subsequent white explorers, traders, and visitors to 
Minnesota — Capt. Perrot, Pierre La Sueur, and a few 
others — confined their investigations and operations to 
the southeastern part of what is now Minnesota and 
never visited the Red River Valley. They do not 
seem even to have gone very far up the Minnesota or 
the Mississippi. Le Sueur went up to the Blue Earth 
and a few miles up that stream, where he said he 
found extensive copper mines and took 30,000 pounds 
of their ore to France. He also said he had but 32 
men, yet for a winter's meat supply he and his men 
killed 400 buffaloes. Of the buffalo meat so furnished, 
he and his chronicler, M. Penicaut, said that the party 
ate on an average six pounds a day, besides drinking 
four bowls of broth and that this diet "made us very 
fat, and there was then no more sickness among us." 

Every one is at liberty to believe as much or as lit- 
tle of these portions of Le Sueur's reports as he 
pleases. If there was ever any copper ore on the Blue 
Earth River, Le Sueur must have taken it all away, 
for none has ever been found there since, although it 
has been diligently and thoroughly sought for. Le 
Sueur also claimed that he ascended the Mississippi 
"a hundred leagues" above the Palls of St. Anthony, 
which would have taken him up into Manitoba, al- 
though he says lie went only within "ten days' jour- 
ney, ' ' or 250 miles, from the source of the great river. 
Had Le Sueur visited the Red River Valley, which he 
•did not, what wonderful reports he might have made ! 

It is an unpleasant fact that nearly all of the earli- 

est white visitors and explorers in Minnesota have 
given us incorrect, erroneous, misleading, and even 
knowingly false statements of their adventures and 
of conditions in the country. Father Hennepin made 
no mischievous or hurtful statements, but even he 
wrote that, a little above where Port Snelling now 
stands, he killed a snake "as big around as a man's 
thigh," and other of his assertions are gross exag- 
gerations. Du Luth and Le Sueur make numerous 
incredible asseverations and falsifications of history. 
Radisson, as a narrator and historian, is simply pre- 
posterous and ridiculous. Capt. Jonathan Carver was 
a great liar, but every other American visitor that 
came after him in early days, as Pike, Long, Cass, Cat- 
lin, and others, wrote the truth, or at least tried to be 


The first Caucasians to look upon any portion of the 
Red River and its valley were a party of Frenchmen 
whose principal members were Pierre Gautier de 
Varennes, Sieur (or Lord) de la Verendrye, his sons, 
and a nephew named De la Jemeraye. The senior 
Verendrye (pro. Vay-ron-dr-yay) was, in 1728, a 
"chief factor," or head trader, in the fur trade at 
Lake Nipigon, north of Lake Superior. Prom what 
the Indians told him, he was induced to undertake a 
rather formidable expedition to the far westward, ex- 
pecting to secure large quantities of furs, to establish 
permanent trading posts or forts iu the country, to 
get great gain for himself, and to advance the interests 
of his government. Verendrye was born in Canada, 
but was loyal to the French Government and its 

With the permission of the French authorities of 
Canada and the financial aid of some Montreal mer- 
chants, the senior Verendrj^e, with his sons and his 
nephew — the latter the Sieur Jemeraye — began, in 
1731, a series of explorations and developments far 
west of Lake Superior. They followed rather closely 
a line which is now practically the northern boundary 
of Minnesota. They built a trading post, which they 



called Fort St. Pierre, at the mouth of Rainy Lake ; 
another which they called Fort St. Charles, on the 
west side of the Lake of the Woods, near the 49th 
parallel of latitude, and finally other posts as far west 
as on Lake Winnipeg and the Assiniboine and Sas- 
katchewan Rivers. The Verendryes and their asso- 
ciates were probably the first Caucasians to see the 
Red River of the North, and this at its entrance into 
Lake Winnipeg. 

The senior Verendrye was far more anxious to cross 
the continent and reach the Pacific Ocean than to dis- 
cover and note the local geographic features of the 
eountiy through whicli he passed. He left very mea- 
ger and unsatisfactory records of his travels and 
those of his sons. He sent the latter very far ^\est- 
ward and they discovered some considerable elevations 
which they called "the Great Shining Mountains." 
Some modern historians and investigators think these 
were the Big Horn Mountains of Montana, while oth- 
ers think they were the Black Hills of South Dakota. 

In June, 1736, a party of 22 French voyageurs ac- 
companied by a priest and one of Verendrye 's sons, 
were murdered by the Sioux Indians of northern Min- 
nesota on an island in the Lake of the Woods. The 
Sioux considered that the Frenchmen were too friend- 
ly with their old-time foes, the Crees. Thereafter the 
Verendryes kept out of the Sioux country, and kept 
within the country controlled by the Crees and the 
latter's kinsmen, the Chippewas or Ojibways. 

Verendrye 's sons built a trading post on the south- 
em shore of Lake Winnipeg, near the mouth of the 
Red River. Only the sons were here; the father re- 
mained at Lake Nipigon. We cannot tell what his 
sons reported to him, but in his records he makes no 
mention of any stream which can now be identified 
as the Red River of the North. Of course his sons 
were familiar with the river, but they either did not 
tell their father of it, or else he did not think it worth 
mentioni)ig. It is not probable that they ascended the 
river any considerable distance, because, for one rea- 
son, they were afraid of coming upon the bloody- 
minded Sioux. 

In 1734, Verendrye, or his sons, buUt a fort near 
"Lake Ounipegon," at the mouth of the Maurepas 
River (which is now known as the Winnipeg River), 
and not far from the present Port Alexander, on the 
southeastern projection of the lake. Here the French- 
men passed at least a year, engaged in trading with 
the Indians between Lake Winnipeg and the Grand 
Portage (Bryce's History of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, p. 85), and during this time they must have 
become acquainted with the Red River, although they 
made no written mention of it. 


The earliest printed description of the northern 
part of Minnesota, and especially of the lower Red 
River region, was published by Arthur Dobbs, in 
London, 1744. Among other articles it contains a 
narrative by a French-Chippewa half-breed named 
Joseph La Prance, who, from 1740 to 1742, traveled 
extensively through what are now the northern parts 
of Minnesota and all of Manitoba. He reached Lake 
Winnipeg (or "Ouinipique") in September, 1740, 
and spent the autumn there hunting beavers with the 
Crees. Prom these Indians he learned of the big Red 
Lake of Minnesota, but he understood them (or else 
his amanuensis misunderstood him) to say that it lay 
west instead of south of Lake Winnipeg. His descrip- 
tion reads: 

"On the west side of this lake [Winnipeg] the 
Indians told me that a River entered it, which was 
navigable with Canoes ; it descended from Lac Rouge, 
or the Red Lake, called so from the Colour of the 
Sand. They said there were two other Rivers run 
out of that [the Red] lake, one into the Mississippi^ 
and the other westward into a marshy Country, full 
of Beavers." 

This is the earliest known printed description of 

the lower Red River Valley. It will be noted that 

La France says Red Lake was so called "from the 

Colour of the Sand," presumably to be found on its 

beaches and shores. Some other obsen'ers saw -the 

reflection of a red sunset on its surface and thought 

the derivation of the name came from the apparent 



color of the water they saw, and which of course the 
aborigines had seen. 

During the summer and autumn of 1741 La France 
canoed to a lake which he called "the Lake du Siens." 
"Warren Upham concludes that this lake is probably 
the present Rice Lake, in Clearwater County, fifteen 
or twenty miles northwest of Lake Itasca, and on the 
Wild Rice River, near its source. The Sioux word 
for wild rice is psin, pronounced as spelled, and Mr. 
Upham thinks La France corrupted the word into 
"Siens." Why he should use a Sioux word in a 
region peculiarly Chippewa to describe a natural fea- 
ture cannot here be explained. Moreover La France's 
' ' Siens ' ' may be a corruption of the French ' ' cygnes ' ' 
(pro. seens), meaning swans. However, Mr. Upham 's 
theory is rational and quite plausible. 

Mr. Upham is also of the opinion that a river which 
La France called the "River du Siens" is the present 
Red River; that a "fork" of this river, which he 
mentions, is at the mouth of the Wild Rice River, and 
that an "eastern tributary" which he noted would be 
the Red Lake River. Although the conclusions of 
Prof. Burpee, in his "Search for the Western Sea," 
differ from Mr. Upham 's regarding the lakes and 
rivers mentioned by La France, Mr. Upham still 
thinks he has identified these natural features cor- 
rectly. (See Minn, in Three Cents., Vol. 1, p. 302.) 


After Verendrye and La France the English trav- 
elers and explorers were the first to come to what are 
now northern Minnesota and southern Manitoba. 
These were first of all fur traders, and their explora- 
tions in behalf of development and civilization were 
secondary considerations and operations. Some of 
them visited the Red River but others of them never 
saw it, confining their observations to the country 
eastward of the river and its valley. Two of them 
wrote out and committed to print instructive and 
valuable descriptions of the country they visited and 
interesting accounts of their experiences therein. 

Alexander Henry, the senior, traversed the central 
route along a portion of the northern boundary of 

Minnesota in 1775, but did not get as far westward 
as to the Red River. In 1809 he published in book 
form a record of his investigations as a traveler, 
trader, and explorer, and his book "Travels and 
Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories 
Between 1760 and 1765," is fi'equently consulted and 
quoted from by modern historians. 

Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who, in 1789, discovered 
the great northern river which still bears his name, 
came to the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior in 1785 
and finally crossed the Rocky Mountains and the 
Coast Range to the Pacific, going by the way of the 
Peace River. In his book of "Voyages," etc., pub- 
lished in 1801, he narrates much concerning the white 
men and the Indians of northern Minnesota during 
the latter part of the XVIII Century. But he makes 
no particular mention of the Red River, which he 
never saw. 

David Thompson, born in London in 1770, entered 
the service of the Hudson's Bay Company when he 
was 19 years old, or in 1789. In 1797 he joined the 
Northwest Fur Company and in the Spring of 1798 
he traveled through the Red River Valley, visiting 
Red Lake and even Turtle Lake, the latter about 
seven miles north of Bemidji, in Beltrami County. 
His other explorations for the Northern Fur Com- 
pany were important. He became renowned for his 
maps of the country and his plats, field notes, etc., 
fill forty large record books of the public surveys 
department at Toronto. Portions of his records were 
published by the Canadian Institute in 1888 and by 
the eminent historian. Dr. Elliott Coues, in 1897. It 
is unfortunate, however, that his description of the 
Red River and its region is not very elaborate. 

The younger Alexander Henry, as he is called, a 
nephew of the senior Alexander Henry, spent from 
1799 to 1808 in the region of Lake Winnipeg and the 
Red River. He was engaged in the fur trade and his 
principal posts were at the mouths of the Park and 
the Pembina Rivers. His journals, in which he gives 
many geographic names of Northern Minnesota, were 
edited and published by Dr. Coues in 1897. Henry's 
names of very many of the lakes and rivers of the 
region are still used. 





The first white men with fixed residences and steady 
occupations in the country to visit and occupy por- 
tions of what is now Polk County, were fur traders 
in the service of the Hudson 's Bay and the Northwest 
Fur Companies, both English corporations. 


In 1668 an American ship, the Nonsuch, 


Zachariah Gillan, a New Englander, sailed from Lon- 
don into Hudson's Bay and landed at the mouth of 
the Nelson River. It was sent out by some London 
furriers to investigate the fur and pelt resources of 
Hudson's Bay, which great inland sea had been dis- 
covered by Henry Hudson fifty years previously. A 
full ship-load of furs and peltries was easily secured, 
and on the return of the Nonsuch to London a great 
corporation was soon formed to make permanent occu- 
pation of the Hudson's Bay region and make thorough 
exploitation of its resources available for traffic. The 
corporation called itself, "The Governor and Com- 
pany of Adventurers of England Trading into Hud- 
son's Bay." King Charles II, England's "merry 
monarch" of the time, readily gave the company a 
charter which was dated May 2, 1670. 

The first Governor of the Company was Prince 
Rupert, the dashing English cavalier, whose titles 
were Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of 
Bavaria and Cumberland. The region of country in 
which the company was to operate was styled Prince 
Rupert's Land, which name is still in use. The gen- 

erous King Charles gave the adventurers a vast 
expanse of country, which of course he did not really 
own, and which, according to the terms of the charter 
comprised, — 

The whole trade of all those seas, streights, bays, 
rivers, lakes, creeks, and sounds, in whatsoever lati- 
tude they shall be, that be within the entrance of the 
streights commonly called Hudson's streights — to- 
gether with all the lands, countries, and territories 
upon the coasts and confines of the seas, streights, 
bays, lakes, rivers, creeks, and sounds aforesaid, which 
are not now actually possessed by any of our subjects 
or by the subjects of any other Christian Prince or 

Of course, by the terms of the charter, the Red 
River region was included in the trade territory of 
the great corporation, since the water of the river 
whose name it still bears flows finally into Hudson's 
Bay and may be said to lie "within the entrance of 
the streights commonly called Hudson's Streights." 
Into Lake Winnipeg run both the Red River and the 
Saskatchewan, the latter rivaling the Mississippi in 
some respects, springing from the very heart of the 
Rocky Mountains. The vast territory drained by 
these streams was all legitimately covered by the 
language of the company's charter. 

It must be borne in mind, however, that at the time 
the charter was given, the French owned Canada, 
including the country south of Hudson's Bay; and 
this great empire they continued to own and control 
until it was taken away from them by the English 
after the French and Indian War and by the treaty 




of Paris in 1763. The charter recognized the facts, 
and therefore provided that the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany was not to interfere witli the trading posts 
already in the country in the actual possession of 
"the subjects of any other Christian prince or state." 

Hence it was that the Verendryes, La Prance, and 
other French subjects acting under the French au- 
thority, visited Lake Winnipeg and the Red River 
and made establishments long before the English 
came. How far they ascended the Red River, if they 
ever ascended it at all, or what they did, if anything, 
in the Polk County country, is unknown to the pres- 
ent writer, and it seems now that it is too late to 
inquire into the subject. There is no known record 
of the French exploitation of this district beyond 
what has been noted, and it is not probable that the 
operations connected therewith were of much impor- 
tance or there would be such a record. 

Moreover, it was many years after the Hudson's 
Bay Company began operations when its agents began 
to operate in the Red River region. We only have 
disconnected accounts of the presence of these traders 
in the country, and these accounts refer to only the 
latter part of the XVIII Century. 


The first engagee of the Hudson's Bay Company 
to ascend the Red River, so far as the present writer 
is informed, was a young Scotchman named Duncan 
Graham. He came to Winnipeg and the Red River 
some time during the last half of the XVIII Century. 
A fairly reliable biographical sketch of the young 
trader was published in the Minnesota Pioneer of 
April 15, 1851, over the signature of "P." The 
author was probably Dr. Thomas Foster, a prominent 
pioneer newspaper man and a noted writer on Min- 
nesota early history. In this article it is stated that 
some time prior to the year 1800 Duncan Graham was 
"connected with a trading post of the Hudson's Bay 
Company at the Grand Forks on Red River. Later 
he was for a long time in charge of an establishment 
at the place M'hich is still called Graham 's Point, south 
of the Grand Porks." 

On which side of the river at the Grand Porks 
stood the trading establishment with which Graham 
was connected cannot with certainty be stated. Pre- 
sumably, however, it was on the Polk County side, 
for the Indians who were its patrons lived chiefly on 
that side, being the Chippewas of Red Lake and the 
other lakes and rivers directly east of the post. 
Graham had associates, of course, and he may have 
had predecessors, but we do not know who they were. 
He is the first white man whose identity has been 
clearly determined that established himself within 
what is now Polk County. A sketch of him seems 
proper in this connection. 

Captain Duncan Graham was a native of the High- 
lands of Scotland, and a member of a prominent 
family of the region. The Clan Graham, or Graeme, 
is one of the most renowned in the early history of 
Scotland. He was not born in Edinburgh, as one 
account says. He was born about 1766, although 
there is ground for belief that his birth occurred near 
1760. He came to the Northwest when a very young 
man, presumably in the service of the Hudson's Bay 
Company. He was in the Minnesota country in the 
latter part of the XVIII Century. 

According to the sworn testimony of Michael 
B'risbois (as reported in Vol. 2, Wis. Hist. Coll., p. 
130), Captain Graham, James Aird, Brisbois himself, 
and others were traders in the Sioux country on the 
Minnesota in 1781. If the Captain had been bom in 
1766, he would have been in 1781 but 15, or too young 
for an Indian trader. Judge Lockwood, who was a 
trader at Prairie du Chien and also on the upper 
Minnesota, in 1816, says Graham was in the country 
about 1786 or 1787 (as is noted in Vol. 9, Wis. Hist. 
Coll., p. 467), and it is certain that he was at Men- 
dota, the mouth of the Minnesota River, in December, 
1802, for at that date he was one of the witnesses to 
the will of Archibald Campbell, a prominent trader, 
who was killed in a duel, and his will recorded at 

Near Mendota Captain Graham married a mixed- 
blood Sioux woman, a granddaughter of a noted 
Frenchman of the earliest times named Penichon, who 



was at first a trader among the Sioux but became chief 
of one of their small sub-bands. Succeeding him in 
the chieftainship was his son, whose Indian name was 
Nah-zhin Okauko, or Stops Suddenly, but who was 
generally called Son of Penichon; he was one of the 
signers of Lieutenant Pike's treaty with the Sioux at 
Mendota in 1805. The true name Penichon is vari- 
ously misspelled. His band was in time presided over 
by Chief Black Dog, and its last chief was Mankato. 

During the war between the United States and 
Great Britain (1812-15) Graham became first a lieu- 
tenant and then a captain in the British military 
service, and was very active against the Americans. 
He had a command of Sioux Indians in northern Ohio 
and participated with his warriors in the battles of 
Maumee and in the unsuccessful assault on Fort 
Stevenson. lie assisted in the capture of Prairie du 
Chien in July, 1814, and in the following September 
went down to the Rock Island, with 30 Indians and 
three small cannon, and utterly defeated and drove 
back down the river a force of 400 Americans under 
Colonel Zacliary Taylor (afterwards President), who 
had a rather strong fleet of ai'med boats and was 
coming up to recapture Prairie du Chien. Graham 
was but a lieutenant at the time, but for this exploit 
was made a captain. 

After the war Captain Graham remained in the 
Northwest and became a naturalized citizen of the 
United States. He was as faithful thereafter to his 
adopted country as he had been to British King 
George. He became an Indian trader in Minnesota, 
and a prominent one, and his operations ranged over 
the extent of country between Pembina and the Cana- 
dian border on the north and the latitude of Prairie 
du Chien. In 1819, when the crop failed in the 
Selkirk Colony, and the people on the lower Red River 
were starving. Captain Graham and another trader, 
named "William Laidlaw (or Laidlow), went from 
Pembina to Prairie du Chien and brought back to the 
suffering colony three big boat loads of wheat and 
oats and 30 bushels of peas, which furnished plenty 
of seed for planting and quite a stock for eating. 

How the supplies and the boats were transported 
from the head of navigation on the Minnesota over 
to the Red River can only be conjectured. (See 
Neill's Hist, of Minn.) 

Captain Graham had by his marriage four intel- 
lectual, fairly accomplished, and altogether worthy 
daughtei-s, who married four prominent Minneso- 
tians, viz. : Alexander Faribault, Joseph Buisson, 
Oliver Cratte, and James Wells. The son was 
Alexander Graham, who also became prominent in 
Minnesota. Some of the Captain's grandchildren 
have long- lived in Minnesota and at Devil's Lake, 
North Dakota, and are well known as honorable and 
useful members of society. 

Captain Graham died at Mendota, Minn., at the 
residence of his son-in-law, Alexander Faribault, 
December 5, 1847, aged between 81 and 87. His wife, 
whose Indian name was Hahzah-hota-win, or Gray 
Huckleberry woman, also died at Mendota, March 2, 


We know for certain that Captain Graham was not 
the only trader at East Grand Forks at an early day. 
David Thompson, the explorer, astronomer, cartogra- 
pher, and general investigator before mentioned, vis- 
ited the Forks in March, 1798, and found there Jean 
Baptiste Cadot, engaged in the Indian trade. Dr. 
Bryce (Hist. H. B. Co., p. 138) suggests that this was 
the son of the Cadot (or Cadotte), the veteran master 
of the Sault Ste. Marie, who for a long time refused 
to acknowledge the English sovereignty of the country 
but remained faithful in his allegiance to his "beau- 
tiful France." 

Thompson particularly notes in his journal the 
establishment of Monsieur Cadotte at the Forks, where 
he remained a few days. Then he determined to find 
the true source of the Mississippi, which had long 
been an object of interest to geographers and explorers. 
This, too, had been one of the duties laid upon him by 
his employers, the officers of the Northwest Company. 



For it must be understood that, although Thompson 
had originally entered the service of the Hudson 's Bay 
Company, he had disagreed with its authorities as to 
what he should do, had withdrawn from its employ, 
and had, in 1795, entered the service of its strenuous 
rival, the Northwest Companj^, which had been organ- 
ized in 1783-84. His position was that of chief sur- 
veyor and astronomer. 

Making a detour from Grand Forks, in order to 
avoid the ice then in the Red Lake River, Thompson 
struck the upper banks of that river and followed the 
banks until he reached Red Lake. Leaving this lake, 
he made a portage to the south some 12 or 15 miles 
and came to Turtle Lake (in what is now the southern 
portion of Beltrami County), and this lake he con- 
sidered to be the source of the Mississippi; but of 
course he was mistaken, for 40 years later Schoolcraft 
determined that Lake Itasca (in the southern corner 
of Clearwater County), some 35 miles to the southwest 
of Turtle Lake, is the true source of the great Father 
of "Waters. But in early days many geographical 
mistakes were made. Thus when the treaty between 
the United States and Great Britain was made, in 
1783, following the close of the "War of the Revolution, 
the Turtle Lake visited by Thompson was thought to 
be farther north than the northwestern angle of the 
Lake of the "Woods. 

After leaving Turtle Lake, Thompson visited Red 
Cedar Lake and Sand Lake, in the direction of Lake 
Superior, and at length reached the Northwest Com- 
pany's trading post near the mouth of the St. Louis 
River and the Fond du Lac. On the Sand Lake River 
he found a trading post of his Company. Indeed 
about this time posts of the Northwest Company fairly 
dotted the country now comprising the northern por- 
tion of Minnesota. Singularly enough, however, when 
Thompson, in March, 1798, came to the present site 
of "Winnipeg there was no trading post or other white 
habitation there. The "Verendrye post of Fort Maure- 
pas, built 70 years before, and succeeding white men's 
establishments had all disappeai'ed. 


The profitable operations of the Hudson's Bay 
Company excited the envy and cupidity of certain in- 
dependent traders who in 1783 and 1784 organized 
a rival corporation which they called the Northwest 
Company. The leading members of the Company were 
Simon McTavish, Benjamin and Joseph Frobisher, 
Peter Pond, and William McGillivray. Peter Pond 
was a Connecticut man but an early trader in the 
Northwest. At one time he had a post near the mouth 
of the Minnesota River. He was of an impetuous, 
violent disposition and killed at least two other traders 
in quarrels over business matters. The Northwest 
Company entered with great energy upon its enter- 
prises and soon had moi-e trading posts in Manitoba 
and northern Minnesota than the Hudson 's Bay Com- 

Then, in 1795, the New Northwest Company, com- 
monly called the XY Company, was formed, with 
Alexander ]\Iackenzie as the leading spirit. This be- 
came a strong corporation and a formidable rival of 
both the Northwest and the Hudson's Bay organiza- 
tions. But in 1804-5 it was merged with the North- 
west Company under the old name. This Company 
now drove out, practically speaking, nearly all the 
Hudson's Bay traders from lower Manitoba and north- 
ern Minnesota. "When Lieut. Pike came up, in 1805, 
he found Northwest Company trading houses on the 
upper Mississippi at the mouth of the Red Cedar, at 
Sandy Lake, at the mouth of the Prairie River and 
below Pokegama Falls, on Upper Red Cedar Lake, and 
the main establishment at Leech Lake, with Hugh Mc- 
Gillis as the general agent or chief factor. He noted 
that there were numerous other posts to the north and 
northwest of Leech Lake. All of these establishments 
were flying the British flag in token of their allegiance 
to Great Britain, notwithstanding the scenes of their 
operations had been American soil, fairly won by the 
"War for Independence, ever since the treaty of 1783. 
Lieut. Pike made all the traders with whom he came 
in contact haul down the Union Jack and run up the 



stars and stripes and Chief Factor McGillis promised 
to send word to all the other traders in the country 
that they must do the same. 

Seven years after Pike 's visit came the War of 1812 
between Great Britain and the United States, and 
then, of course, the stars and stripes came down from 
the trading houses. Practically every British trader 
was an emissary for King George. Robert Dickson, a 
factor of the Northwest Company, recruited a num- 
ber of Indians in Minnesota and led them into the 
British service. They served against the Americans 
on tlie upper Mississippi, in Michigan, and in northern 
Ohio. After the close of the war, in 1815, they re- 
sumed their trading operations in Minnesota. They 
were openly defiant of the authority of the United 
States, kept up their British flags, held frequent coun- 
cils with the Indians, distributed British medals among 
them, and whispered to them that another time was 
coming when their great English father would need 
their services in a war against the Americans ! A few 
American traders had ventured up into the country, 
but the British traders conspired against them and 
drove them out. They controlled the trade from Win- 
nipeg to as far south as the lower Des Moines River 
and constituted a formidable menace to American in- 

Upon the complaints of the American traders Con- 
gress enacted that none but full American citizens 
should have licenses as fur traders. Tlie British fac- 
tors evaded this restriction by having some humble 
employee in their service who was an American take 
out the license in his name and then they conducted 
the business as theretofore. Finally the Executive 
Department of the Government acted. In 1819 the 
Secretary of War, John C. Calhoun, of South Caro- 
lina, determined that the laws and authority of the 
United States should be respected. He ordered mili- 
tary posts established on the northern and northwest- 
ern frontiers, and that these posts should be supplied 
with sufficient garrisons to bring the defiant British 
trading malefactors to terms and to enforce the United 
States laws in those regions. Posts were established at 

the mouth of the St. Peter's River, now Fort Snelling; 
at Council Bluffs, on the IMissouri ; at the month of the 
Yellowstone, on the upper Missouri, and at the ' ' Palls 
of St. Mary's," now commonly called Sault Ste. 

Not long after the U. S. troops came up and built 
Fort Snelling the Northwest Company began to lose 
business in this region. Fort Snelling was built and 
properly gan-isoned in 1819-20, and in March, 1821, 
the great Northwest Company virtually surrendered 
the field and was absorbed by the Hudson 's Bay Com- 
pany under the latter 's name. 

The strife and warfare between the Northwest and 
the Hudson's Bay Companies, involving attacks 
against the members of the Selkirk Settlement, on the 
Red River, in 1815 and 1816, the actual fighting of lit- 
tle battles — in one of which Governor Semple, of the 
Hudson's Bay Company was killed — the slaying of 
perhaps 50 other men, etc., need not be more than ad- 
verted to here. 

What is of importance in a histoi-y of Polk County 
is that it was the traders of the Northwest Company 
that were within what is now that county between 
1790 and 1820. Just where they all were, and who 
they were, cannot now and here be stated. David 
Thompson found Jean Baptiste Cadotte with a trad- 
ing post at East Grand Forks, in March, 1798, and 
we know that Duncan Graham was here in this period. 
There was no trading post then at the Red Lake, but 
traders came and went, and they may have been at 
the big lake the year before or tlie year after. That 
the traders of the Northwest Company were scattered 
along the upper Red River and along the Minnesota 
from its source to its mouth from 1790 to 1820 is a 
fact well established. 


The Hudson's Bay and the Northwest Fur Com- 
panies consolidated in March, 1821, and the follow- 
ing year a number of their former traders that had 
done business for them in the Red River and upper 
Minnesota region concluded to forjn a new Company to 



operate in the Minnesota country and did so. The in- 
corporators were Joseph Renville, Thomas Jeffries, 
Kenneth McKenzie, Wm. Laidlaw, and perhaps Dun- 
can Graham, and one or two others. They named the 
new organization the Columbia Pur Company. Its 
central establishment was the post on Lake Traverse. 
All of their posts were licensed by the U. S. Indian 
agent at Fort SneUing. 

When, in July, 1823, Maj. Long's exploring expedi- 
tion reached Lake Traverse on its way down the Red 
River, it found an important post of the Columbia 
Company in charge of Mr. Jeffries and others. (Keat- 
ing 's ' ' Narrative, ' ' p. 444 et seq. ) The village of the 
Sioux chief Wahnatah, the Charger, was near by and 
the expedition spent some days in the neighborhood. 

By the year 1825 the Columbia Company had a 
number of licensed trading posts in Minnesota. These 
posts were called by the pretentious name of ' ' Forts, ' ' 
and were as follows : Fort Adams, at Lac qui Parle ; 
Fort Washington, at Lake Traverse ; Fort Union, at 
Traverse des Sioux ; Port Barbour, Falls of the St. 
Croix; Fort Bolivar, at Leaf Lake; Fort Confedera- 
tion, on the Des Moines River, where the city of Des 
Moines now stands. 


In 1808 John Jacob Astor founded the great busi- 
ness organization known as the American Fur Com- 
pany. He was its President until in 1834, when he 

Avas succeetled by Ramsay Crooks, father of Col. Wil- 
liam Crooks, for whom Crookston was named. After 
1822 this company had absorbed or swallowed up its 
smaller rivals and was conducted in the country east 
of the Missouri by what were termed its Northern and 
Western Departments. The Northern Department em- 
braced the region of the Great Lakes and the upper 
Mississippi and was conducted by Ramsay Crooks, 
whose headquarters were in New York, but who spent 
much time at Mackinaw and at other of his trading 
posts in the Northwest. Pierre Chouteau, Jr., of St. 
Louis, superintended the Western Department, com- 
prising, at first, the Missouri River country and the 
Rocky Mountains. Later Chouteau & Company pur- 
chased the Western Department, including the coun- 
try west of the Mississippi. In Minnesota the chief 
post or "factoi'y" of the company was at Fort Snel- 
ling, and Gen. H. H. Sibley was the "chief factor" 
for many years. 

In 1825 the American Company had a post at Red 
Lake called Fort Pike. Other of its posts in the Min- 
nesota country were at the ' ' upper sand hills, ' ' on the 
Cheyenne ; at Crow Wing, on the Mississippi ; at Lit- 
tle Rapids (Carver), on the Minnesota; at Leech Lake, 
Devil's Lake, below Big Stone Lake, Sandy Lake, and 
at the Forks of the Red Cedar River. It is unfortu- 
nate that the names of the traders at these posts have 
not Deen preserved. 








In the spring, summer, and fall of 1823, pursuant 
to orders from the War Department, a miscellaneous 
expedition, under the command of Maj. Stephen H. 
Long, with a corps of scientists for observations of a 
general character, went from Washington to and 
through a considerable portion of the Northwest, in- 
cluding the Red River Valley and a great deal of 
northern Minnesota. Coming into the Minnesota 
country in July, the expedition passed from Fort 
Suelling up the Minnesota Valley to Lake Winnipeg 
(then called Winnipeek) thence up the Winnipeg 
River to the Lake of the Woods and thence eastward 
along the Canadian boundary to Lake Superior. A 
very interesting and valuable history of the expedition 
was written by Prof. Wm. H. Keating, its geologist, 
recorder, and historian. 

The expedition left Fort Suelling for the ascent 
of the Minnesota in the latter part of July, 1823, and 
comprised two small parties, one on horseback riding 
along the shores, and the other up the river in boats. 
Lake Traverse was reached July 23, and here three 
days were spent with the authorities of the Columbia 
Fur Company, at their main post. They struck the 
Red Lake River a few miles from its mouth, and found 

their position to be latitude 47 degrees, 47 minutes, 
and 25 seconds north, and longitude 96 degrees, 53 
minutes, and 45 seconds west. Keating calls the river 
"the Red Fork of Red River," and says that where 
the party forded it the width was forty yards. Its 
banks were steep, and the carts were crossed with 
difficulty; its bed was sandy and its current very 
rapid. The party went along the east bank of the 
river to Pembina, which was reached August 5. The 
village — or rather settlement — of Pembina had then a 
population of 350, most of whom were Metis, or half 
bloods, and who lived in 60 log houses or cabins, near- 
ly all of which stood on the west bank, adjacent to a 
former fort of the Hudson's Bay Company, which 
had been recently abandoned. 

It will be borne in mind that the Hudson's Bay 
Company originally claimed the country of the Red 
River Valley as far up as the "Red Fork," or Red 
Lake River. In 1812 the Company granted to Thomas 
Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, for his colony, the country 
of the Valley, including both banks of the Red River, 
"up to the Red or Great Fork," assuming ownership 
and control to that extent. But when, after the War 
of 1812, the international boundary line was estab- 
lished, as a result of the successful issue in 1781 of 
their War for Independence, the Americans acquired 




the country far down the Red River, including the 
site of the Pembina Settlement. 

Keating notes that in the spring of 1823, a few 
months before Maj. Long's arrival, the astronomers 
of the Hudson's Bay Company had made observa- 
tions which had led them to suspect that the Pem- 
bina settlement was south, and not north, of the 
boundary line. They, therefore, removed ' ' Fort Pem- 
bina" down the river to Fort Douglas, at the mouth 
of the Assiniboine River. Keating records that Fort 
Pembina was 120 miles by water up the river from 
the Assiniboine, "and near the mouth of a small 
stream named by the Chippewas the Anepeminansepe, 
from a small red berry termed by them anepeminan, 
which name has been corrupted into Pembina. The 
theme of the word is anepin, meaning summer, and 
minan, meaning berry, while sepe means river or 
creek. ' ' The berry is identified as the high bush cran- 
berry; scientific name, viburnum oxycoccus. Many 
writers say that the discovery of the fact of their 
illegal location and the removal from Pembina to Fort 
Douglas occurred in 1820 or 1821 ; but Keating was 
there in August, 1823, and says that these events oc- 
curred the previous spring. 

Describing the rivers and other natural features of 
the Polk County region. Prof. Keating writes : 

"The Red Fork, which by the Indians is consid- 
ered the main branch of the Red River, takes its name 
from the Red Lake, in which it rises. Both are said 
to be translations of the term bloody, used by the In- 
dians, and which is doubtless derived from some 
slaughter committed in that vicinity, and not (as is 
the case with many other rivers which have the same 
appellation) from the color of their beds.* 

"In times of flood the Red Pork is navigable for 
barges throughout its length to Red Lake, a distance 
of 120 miles; in ordinary stages of water, canoes can 
ascend to its source. This is the most important trib- 
utary of the Red River, containing an equal quan- 
tity of water with the main stream above the Grand 
Fork. Mr. [Thomas] Jeffries [of the Columbia Fur 
Company, and guide to the expedition] informed us 
that the Red Lake has, at the western part of the 
main lake, the form of a crescent, with its back to 
the southwest. 

* But La France, the first visitor, says the lake was named 
for the color of the sands on its shores. 

"The general course of the Red Fork from this lake 
is northwest. It receives a few small tributaries, the 
most important of which are the Clear River, enter- 
ing about 30 miles from its mouth, on the southwest 
side, and Thief River, entering it from the northeast. 
The woods along Red Fork are very thick and extend 
to about half a mile on either side. Hazelnuts were 
\evy abundant and nearly ripe at that time [August 

"Below the junction of the Red Fork with the main 
stream, the Red River was observed to be about 40 
yards wide and its current was about one knot an hour. 
The bed of Swamp or Marsh River was dry. At the 
confluence of the two branches of Two Rivers there is a 
considerable salt spring. • # « There 
are doubtless in this country a great many salt springs, 
especially below the Red Pork; we saw none, but we 
were informed that fine springs exist on Big and Lit- 
tle Saline Rivers, on the Two Rivers, and in other 
places, where the salt is found in white efflorescences, 
so as to be annually collected there by the colonists of 
Pembina. And yet, notwithstanding its abundance in 
the country, and the ease with which it can be gath- 
ered, the price of this article is from $4 to $6 per bar- 
rel of 80 pounds. One of the residents on the river 
cleared $500 in one winter by the salt which he col- 
lected. Probably by boi-ing to a small depth abun- 
dant springs would be found. ' ' 

Recent investigations show that salt exists in in- 
calculable quantities in Kittson, Marshall, and the 
northern part of Polk Counties, and at no very con- 
siderable depth fi'om the surface. Time alone can de- 
termine whether or not this great resource will ever be 


There accompanied Maj. Long's expedition from 
Fort Snelling (or Fort St. Anthony) to Pembina, an 
Italian gentleman named Giacomo Costantino Bel- 
trami. He had come to America on a journey of ad- 
venture under the patronage of an Italian countess; 
his elaborate published account of his "Pilgrimage in 
Europe and America," etc., is mainly a series of de- 
scriptive letters addressed to this lady. Anglicized, 
his name would be James Constantine Beltrami and 
on the title pages of his books it is given as J. C. Bel- 

The accomplished but eccentric Italian joined the 
Long expedition as a guest, but his relations with the 



party were unpleasant almost from the start at Fort 
' Snelling. When Pembina was reached, there was an 
open rupture and he left the party to complete his 
"pilgrimage" by himself and on his own account. 
Leaving Pembina (which he calls "Pembenar") Bel- 
trami set out, with two Chippewas and a half-breed 
interpreter, and traveled southeastwardly to the junc- 
tion of the Thief and the Red Lake Rivers, and thence 
his journey was by canoes up the latter river to Red 
Lake. He calls the Thief River ' ' the Robbers' River ' ' 
and gives the name "Bloody River" to both the Red 
Lake and the Red Rivers. He considered the former 
the principal branch of the latter, which in one place 
(Pilgrimage, Vol. 2, p. 400) he mentions as "the Red 
River, or, more properly speaking, the Bloody River." 
But he does not call Red Lake ' ' the Bloody Lake. ' ' 

After a number of perils and privations Count 
Beltrand finally reached Cass Lake and Leech Lake, 
and then went down the Mississippi in a canoe to Fort 
Snelling, and thence to New Orleans, etc. En route, 
on Tliief River, the Sioux fired on his party, severely 
wounding one of his Chippewas. The next day both 
Indians and the half-breed deserted him and took a 
short route to Red Lake. For four days the Count 
waded up Red Lake River, towing his canoe, in whioli 
was his baggage; once the canoe upset, throwing 
everything into the water. On the evening of the 
fourth day he met some Chippewas, and one of them 
assisted him in paddling his canoe to Red Lake after 
two days of hard work. He skirted a great deal of 
the shores of the main Red Lake and finally made a 
portage from the south shore to waters which eventu- 
ally led him into Mud Lake, which he said the Indians 
called the " Puposky-Weza-Kanyaguen, " or End of 
the Shaking Lands. The chief of the Red Lake Chip- 
pewas M'as called Big Rabbit, and on the north shore 
was another band of some 300 souls whose chief was 
the Big Elk. 


Reference has been made to the settlement by 
Scotch, Swiss, and French Canadian Colonists of the 

district obtained in 1881 by Lord Selkirk from the 
Hudson's Bay Company and which was on the lower 
Red River. It was called generally the Selkirk Set- 
tlement, and sometimes referred to as the Red River 
Settlement. The first colonists came from Scotland 
in the fall of 1812 and located at the mouth of the 
Assiniboine, near the present site of Winnipeg. 

The Selkirk Settlement is definitely and in some 
respects rather prominently connected with the his- 
tory of Minnesota, and especially with that of the 
Red River Valley. The first permanent settlers and 
residents of the State, and of that part of the Valley 
within the State, were refugees and fugitives from the 
Selkirk Settlement, or Red River Colony. They had 
been driven out by grasshoppers, floods, drouths, and 
other calamitous visitations and they sought safety to 
the southward, where they believed conditions were 
better. By the year 1840 nearly 700 Red River ref- 
ugees had come to Fort Snelling and many of them 
had made permanent settlements about St. Paul and 
elsewhere in Minnesota. (Minn, in Three Cents., Vol. 
2, p. 76.) 

And so, too, regarding the first white settlers in the 
Polk County district of the Red River Valley. They 
too came from the Red River Settlement. Only a few 
of these were farmers, however. They were traders, 
but had cabins along the Red, and perhaps on the 
Red Lake River, and doubtless they cultivated gardens 
and small tracts of grain. There was also consid- 
erable corn raising in the country in early days, more 
perhaps, in proportion to other crops, than there is 
now. In 1826 the Chippewas of Red River were rais- 
ing plenty of corn, potatoes, and turnips. In 1832, 
when Schoolcraft and Boutwell were on their famous 
expedition to Lake Itasca, they stopped, in the first 
week of July, at the trading post at Sandy Lake. In 
his journal (Minn. Hist. Socy. Coll., Vol. 1, p. 158) 
Boutwell writes: 

Corn for this post is mostly obtained at Red Lake, 
from the Indians, who there cultivate it to a consid- 
erable extent. The trader tells me that he bought 105 
bushels from that place this spring, and that it is not 
a rare matter to meet a squaw who has this quantity 
to sell. 



On page 168 (ibid.) BoutweU refers to corn raising 
by the Indians at the Red Cedar Lake and says: 
"They originally obtained the corn, which they have 
cultivated here for many years, from Red River. ' ' 

The History of the Minnesota Agricultural Society 
(p. 11) says that at intervals between 1827 and 1838 
the quartei-masters at Fort Snelling bought corn from 
the northern Chippewas, and that in many instances 
the Indian women had carried the grain on their backs 
from their granaries to the shipping points on the 
upper Mississippi. 

So that it is quite probable that the early settlers in 
the Polk County region raised corn, notwithstanding 
the difficulties of its cultivation, when it was subject 
to the injurious attacks of blackbirds, wild pigeons, 
and grasshoppers from its planting to its harvesting. 
The Selkirkers, in their settlement at Pembina, had 
these pests and other obstacles to contend against in 
their agricultural operations, and this was why so 
many of them left the country for the lower Minne- 
sota districts, and other more favored regions. Some 
of the Red River I'cfugees went as far as to Indiana. 

Selkirk's colonists first polk county settlers. 

The fact is not generally remembered that many of 
the early members of Lord Selkirk's Colony settled 
in what is now Polk County prior to 1820, under the 
mistake that they were locating on British territory. 
They were quite excusable. They knew but very little 
about the boundary line between the United States 
and the British possessions, as established after the 
War of the Revolution by the treaty of Paris, in 1783. 
As has been previously stated, the charter given the 
Hudson's Bay Company by King Charles granted the 
Red River Valley to the company — at least as far 
south as to the Sioux Wood River. In 1811, when 
Lord Selkirk purchased the land for his colony from 
the company, the deed gave (in part) the boundaries 
of the grant as extending from the Assiniboine River 
"due south from that to the height of land which 
separates the waters which run into Hudson's Bay 

from those of the Missouri and the Mississippi. ' ' 
(Ross's R. R. Settlement, p. 9.) 

The "height of land" mentioned is equivalent to 
the watershed between Lake Traverse and the mouth 
of the Sioux Wood, in Traverse County, Minnesota, 
and Roberts County, South Dakota. This is more 
than 200 miles south of the 49th parallel, or the 
boundary line between Canada and the United States, 
and of course the Hudson's Bay Company had no 
right to dispose of any land on American soil or below 
the boundary. But it seems that neither Lord Selkirk 
nor any one else in that quarter of Canada knew (and 
perhaps did not care) anything about the interna- 
tional boundary. 

Selkirk (or Lord Thomas Douglas) was apparently 

innocent. He had paid a good round sum for the laud 

of his proposed colony and he was determined to have 

a perfect title to it. He recognized the title of the 

Cree and Chippewa Indians to the country and he 

was bound to extinguish it so that there should be no 

cloud upon his own. So, at ' ' the Forks of Red River, ' ' 

July 18, 1817, he made a treaty with certain chiefs 

and warriors of tlie tribes mentioned by which they 

ceded to him tlieir claim to the territory described as 

follows : 

All that tract of land, adjacent to Red River and 
Assiniboine River, beginning at the mouth of the Red 
River and * extending along the same as far as the 
Great Forks, at the mouth of the Red Lake River, and 
along Assiniboine River as far as Muskrat River — 
otherwise called Riviere des Champiguons, [the River 
of j\Iushrooms] and extending to the distance of six 
miles from Fort Douglas, [near Winnipeg] and like- 
wise from Fort Daer, [at Pembina] and * also from 
the Great Forks and certain other parts extending in 
breadth to the distance of two English statute miles 
back from the banks of the said rivers, on each side, 
together with all the appurtenances whatsoever of the 
said tract of land, to have and to hold," etc. 

The consideration given the Indians was 200 pounds 
of tobacco, 100 pounds to each tribe, for the entire 
grant amounting to about 110,000 square miles. 
(Bryce's H. B. Co., p. 207; but his "Romantic Settle- 
ment of Selkirk's Colonists," p. 42, says 116,000 

The italicizing is by the compiler. 



square miles.) What Selkirk paid the Hudson's Bay 
Company is not certainly known; it is stated at 
$50,000, $125,000, $500,000, etc.* The treaty was 
signed by Selkirk and by Chiefs the Sounder, Black 
Blanket, Big Ears, and Black Man, the first two of 
the Crees. 

As stated, the land ceded extended two miles on 
either side of the Red River from its mouth practically 
to Lake Traverse. It particularly included the coun- 
try comprising the west two miles of Polk County. 
The Selkirk colonists came to the Red River fii-st in 
1812, locating near its mouth. Soon after, when the 
French Canadians had joined the Colony, many of 
them, Scotch and French, came up the river and set- 
tled at various points. A good many were on the 
Red Lake River, "some leagues from the Great 
Forks." (Ross) John Mclntyre is recorded as dying 
at la Grande Fourche in 1817. The list of these set- 
tlers has been lost so far as the present writer knows. 
But former writers have established the facts of the 
settlement. In his ofllcial report of his expedition, 
Capt. John Pope states : 

The settlements along the Red River of the North 
were made first about the year 1812 by a colony of 
Scotch, English, and Canadian French, who were 
located upon a grant of land made by the Hudson's 
Bay Company to Lord Selkirk, t extending along both 
sides of the Red River to about the parallel of 47 de- 
grees north latitude. It was supposed at the time 
that the grant was contained in the possessions of the 
English, and t the settlements were therefore made 
near the mouth of Red Lake River, or wliat is now 
called "La Grande Fourche," on the "Great Fork 
of Red River." 

* Lord Selkirk died, broken in heart and fortune, in 1820, 
and in 1836 his heirs sold back to the Hudson 's Bay Company 
the territory of his Colony for 84,111 English pounds sterling, 
or about $408,000. (See Justin Winsors Grit. Hist, of Amer., 
Vol. 8, p. 61.) His was a noble character. He was a real phil- 
anthropist and the most generous and disinterested man in the 
history of American colonization, but died a victim to the 
predatory selfishness of other men, that were his business rivals. 
It is not well known that in 1818 he went by land from Pem- 
bina to the mouth of the St. Peters (now the site of Mendota 
and Fort SneUing), and thence by river to St. Louis, Cairo, 
Louisville, Pittsburg, and thence overland to New York, where 
he took ship for Europe. He never saw America afterward. 

t The italicizing is by the compiler. 

Large numbers of Indians were soon attracted to 
the settlements by the presence of so many strange 
people and the display of so many tempting articles 
of traffic ; moreover many of the colony were at once 
induced to take to themselves Indian wives, and in a 
few years the half bloods that resulted from these 
connections amounted to several thousands. It was 
not until about 1820 when it was ascertained that 
these settlements had been made within the territories 
of the United States. It then became necessary for 
the traders that had settled among the people, and 
who belonged to the English trading companies, to 
remove their stores to points within the British pos- 
sessions, and they forced all the peoples who had by 
this time become dependent upon them for goods and 
supplies, to break up their settlements and remove to 
points lower down or north on the Rod River. They 
now [1850] extend along both banks of the river from 
the northern frontier of the United States northward 
to the entrance of the river into Lake Winnipeg, in 
latitude 51 north. (See Pope's Report to Secy, of 
War, Senate Ex. Doc, p. 30, No. 42, in 31st Cong. 
1st Session.) 


Not many names can now be given of the Selkirk 
Colonists that settled on the Red River in or near what 
is now Polk County. Bryee's "History of Lord Sel- 
kirk's Colonists" (p. 167) mentions a French family 
that afterwards was in the Colony as having been at 
"the Forks of Red River" as early as in 1811. The 
name of this family was Lajimoniere. In 1815 the 
family had joined the main colony and Mr. Lajimon- 
iere distinguished himself by carrying a packet of 
letters for Lord Selkirk from Red River to Montreal. 

Another former member of the Selkirk Colony was 
Charles Bottineau (father of the noted mixed blood 
Pierre Bottineau, who was prominently identified with 
Minnesota history), who became a fur trader and 
lived for a considerable time near the present site of 
East Grand Forks. He had been a hunter for Alex- 
ander Henry, at Pembina, in 1803, later a partner 
with Charles Grant, at St. Joseph, and joined the 
Colony several years later. In 182 — , he had "a hun- 
dred acres in crop." (N. D. Hist. Coll., Vol. 1, p. 
304; Ross's Red River Valley, 176.) Some time after 
this he became a trader in the Grand Forks region. 
It is commonly stated that his noted son, Pierre, was 



bom in the Red River Settlement, in Manitoba; but 
surviving members of his family state that the historic 
old guide, scout, pioneer, town builder, etc., was born, 
in 1810, at the trading post of his father, at Bear 
Point, on Turtle River, 12 miles northwest of Grand 
Porks, and in North Dakota. His last years were 
spent on the Red Lake River, and he died at Red Lake 
Palls in July, 1895. 

Donald McKay and Alexander McBeth, both Scotch- 
men, were two other Selkirkers who engaged in trade 
in 1821 at "the Great Porks" and on the "Red Pork." 

Joseph LaBissoniere was a French Canadian with 
a half-blood Chippewa wife, who left the Selkirk Col- 

ony and about 1830, was a trader on the lower Red 
Lake River. Prior to that time he had been a North- 
west Company trader at "La Grande Fourche," or 
the Great Pork, and had also been on Turtle River, a 
few miles to the westward. His son, Isaac LaBisson- 
iei-e, was born at his father's post in North Dakota 
in 1823, and died in St. Paul, in June, 1910. The fam- 
ily removed to St. Paul in 1837 and Joseph and Isaac 
helped build the little log Catholic church at St. Paul 
in 1841. The church was called St. Paul's and the 
city took its name from it. This was the first Chris- 
tion Church building erected in Minnesota. 








Reference has been made to the passage, in former 
times, through what is now Polk County, of trains of 
two-wheeled vehicles called the Red River carts. These 
carts were originally built wholly of wood and raw- 
hide, not a particle of metal being used in their con- 
struction. The wheels were large and clumsy, being 
sometimes five feet in diameter and three inches thick. 
The felloes were fastened together by tongues of wood, 
and pressure in the revolutions of the wheel assisted 
in keeping them from falling apart. The hubs were 
thick and strong, the axles were all wood, and even the 
linch-pins were wooden. A light box frame, tightened 
by wooden pegs, was fastened, also by pegs, to and 
poised upon the axle. The common price of such a 
cart was, in Manitoba, two pounds; in Minnesota, ten 

Each cart was generally drawn by a single ox, and 
sometimes by a tough, strong Indian pony, or "ea- 
yuse." The animal was hitched between shafts, and 
its harness was made of roughly tanned ox hide or 
buffalo hide. This leather was called by the Red 
River Metis, or mixed bloods, "shagganappi," and 
the horse that drew the cart was called a "shagga- 

nappi pony." A loaded cart generally contained 
about 500 pounds weight. A good pony could often 
draw such a load 50 miles a day, but a slow, plotl- 
ding ox could not compass more than 20 miles in that 
time. The axles of the cart were not greased or lubri- 
cated in any way, and the wheels turned with a dread- 
ful squeaking and screeching which could be heard on 
the open prairie for more than a mile. 

The carts generally moved in trains. Ten carts con- 
stituted a "brigade," in charge of three men. Five 
or six or more brigades made up a train, which was 
in charge of a guide or leader, who assumed much au- 
thority. He was on horseback, rode backward and for- 
ward along the line, yelling at the drivers and those 
in charge of the extra oxen or ponies, and marshaling 
his forces in pomp, flourish, and style. He had to be 
an intelligent man, for the stopping places for the 
night, where there were plenty of grass and water; 
the time of halting and starting; the disciplining of 
the crews, and all the other details of the successful 
management of a considerable caravan were all under 
his charge and responsibility. The history of these 
Red River cart trains which often might be likened to 
ancient Midianitish caravans, may be briefly sketched. 




Prior to 1844 the import of goods to and the export 
of furs from the Red River Colony and the trading 
posts in that quarter were made through the circuit- 
ous, difficult, and uncertain Hudson's Bay route. 
This route was open and navigable practically only 
two months in the year and was beset with difficul- 
ties at all times. In 1843 Norman W. Kittson (for 
whom both Norman and Kittson Counties were 
named) established a trading post of the American 
Fur Company at Pembina. The first season he se- 
cured about $2,000 worth of furs and buffalo robes, 
but there was the greatest difficulties in the way of 
sending them to market. He had to deliver them at 
Mendota (Fort Snelling), the headquarters of the 
Blinnesota division of the Company, and formerly the 
way of transporting furs from the upper Red River 
posts to the ' ' factory ' ' at Mendota was up the Red to 
and through Lake Traverse, then by portage to Big 
Stone Lake, and thence down the Minnesota. But this 
method of transportation involved much hard work 
and its success depended largely upon the proper 
stage of water in the rivers. 

After due deliberation Kittson procured six of the 
rude carts which have been referred to, loaded his 
furs, and in the spring of 1844, set out for Mendota, 
which he reached after a toilsome and expensive jour- 
ney. Presumably he had six or eight men with him. 
The route he followed was that which had been taken 
by the Red River refugees when they had left the 
Selkirk Settlement for Fort Snelling; it ran along 
the west side of the Red River to Lake Traverse, then 
crossed into what is now Minnesota, thence ran to des Sioux, near St. Peter, and on down the 
Minnesota Valley to Mendota, or what was then com- 
monly called the St. Peter's. 


]\Ir. Kittson's first ventures in cart transportation 
were failures. On the first trip he lost $600; and on 
his journeys the two following years he lacked over 
$1,000 in coming out even. But he was of stubborn 
Scotch courage and believed in his scheme and fol- 

lowed it up and in time a great success crowned his 
efforts. He soon realized that he had made mistakes 
and he corrected them. First, he changed his route. 
He crossed the Red River near Pembina and went 
down the east side of the river to near the mouth of 
the Otter Tail ; then he struck across by way of Otter 
Tail Lake to Sauk Rapids, on the Mississippi, near 
St. Cloud, and then it was an easy march down to 
Fort Snelling and Mendota. His carts, too, brought 
back goods and supplies for the use of his patrons and 
for the people of Pembina generally. The trail from 
Pembina down to the Otter Tail was always a few 
miles east of the river. 

The new route crossed the Red Lake River near and 
west of Fishei". This passage way was long known 
as "the Old Crossing of the Red Lake River." It 
crossed Sand Hill River near Beltrami. It passed 
through the Avestern part of Polk County from north 
to south a distance of about 50 miles. This was called 
the "western route," to distinguish it from othere. It 
was also called the Kittson Trail, the Half Breed Trail, 
and the Crow Wing Trail. One rea.son for its selec- 
tion by Mr. Kittson, in addition to the fact that it was 
most direct, was that it avoided the route by Big Stone 
Lake and Traverse des Sioux, the country of the Sioux 
Indians, who were in a chronic state of deadly hos- 
tility against the Chippewas, including Kittson's 
mixed-blood cart drivers. The latter were whole- 
somely in fear of their old enemies and stniek against 
being employed among them. In time the upper Red 
River traders, who did business with the Sioux sent 
their trains down the Minnesota Valley and brought 
back goods and supplies. 

This route was selected by Wm. Hallett, a noted 
scout and trader of the region acting for Mr. Kitt- 
son. For a long time it served its purpose well. Maj. 
Woods and Lieut. Castor, with the dragoons of Capt. 
Pope's party, came over it in August and September, 
1850. Capt. Pope shows it on his map accompanying 
his official report, and the map shows where Maj. 
Woods and the dragoons encamped eveiy night. It 
crossed the Red Lake River apparently seven miles 



from the mouth. The map also shows the trail on the 
Dakota side which the party followed in going up, 
but lays down no other trails in the lower Red River 
than it and the one mentioned as on the east side. 
The latter is labeled by Capt. Pope as "the Half 
Breed Trail. ' ' In his report Jtlajor Woods says as to 
the route he and the dragoons followed on the return 
from Pembina: 

The route we followed is well known and traveled 
every summer by large "trains" of carts from the 
Red River settlements. * * * ^We left Pembina 
on the afternoon of the 26th of August on our return, 
and had for about 1.5 miles the same difficulties to con- 
tend with that we encountered going out; but at this 
point the prairie began to improve. There had evi- 
dently not been so much rain as at Pembina, and 25 
or 30 miles farther on the roads became good and we 
traveled without any serious interruptions, averaging 
more than twenty miles a day until we reached Fort 
Snelling the 18th of September, 1849. We made the 
distance from Pembina to Fort Snelling, coming down, 
471 measured miles, in 23 V2 days. We were 57 days? 
going up. (Wood's Report, p. 21 ; Exec. Doc. No. 51, 
31st Cong., 1st Sess.) 

We have other evidence that the old Kittson Trail 
was identical with the "western trail," the "old 
Crow Wing Trail," and the "Half Breed Trail" 
mapped by Capt. Pope. In 1859 the late Capt. Rus- 
sell Blakeley and others, who were engaged in open- 
ing the Red River to commerce, went from George- 
town by way of this trail to Pembina. In Vol. 8 of 
the Minn. Hist. Soey. Collections, p. 55, Capt. Blake- 
ley says : 

* * * We resumed our journey by way of the 
old Kittson trail, the location of which can be found 
on the map of Capt. John Pope, in his report of the 
topographical survey of the Territory, in 1849. 

Other early and reliable authorities confirm the 
statement of Capt. Blakeley, that the line marked by 
Capt. Pope as the "Half Breed Trail," and which 
ran only a few miles east of Red River, was identical 
with the old "Kittson Trail," opened by Wm. Hallett 
in 1844. But this trail was at least partially aban- 
doned in about 1858 (or perhaps in 1860) and wholly 
disused after the Civil war. 

When it was first followed, it was used only in the 
early spring, in August, and in the late fall. At such 
times the ground was frozen in the spring and fall and 
dry in the late summer, and could be easily traversed ; 
at other times the muddy and swampy conditions of 
the Red River bottoms rendered this route impassable. 
In April, before the ground had thawed, the carts 
came down with the furs of the winter's hunt, and 
soon returned with supplies. In the late fall they 
came down en route to St. Paul for the trader's win- 
ter supplies. Maj. Woods and his dragoons came 
down late in August and the first part of September, 
when the rains were over, and the major says that 15 
miles from Pembina the road was good. He had sev- 
eral wagons, in which his provisions and baggage were 
transported, and they were easily hauled along. 

Manton Marble, a noted American journalist, for a 
long time editor of the New York World, made with a 
party, a tour of Minnesota and the northern part of 
North Dakota in the summer and early fall of 1858. 
He went down the river from Georgetown to Pembina 
on the west or Dakota side, but returned via the old 
Kittson (or Pope) trail, on the Minnesota. Appar- 
ently he crossed the Red Lake River near where Fisher 
now is. In the February, 1861, number of Harper's 
Magazine he presents a descriptive illustrated sketch 
of the crossing of the little river by his party ; he 
both wrote and illustrated the article, for he was a 
good artist and an accomplished penman. He made 
a fine sketch of where his party crossed the Red Lake, 
and this sketch clearly shows a scene resembling the 
topography near Fisher, wdth no boulders or other 
features such as are seen near Huot, but with heavy 
timber, high banks, etc. In describing the situation, 
Mr. Marble wrote : 

Red Lake River is the largest of the tributaries of 
the Red River, excepting only the Assiniboine. 
* • * It is itself the main stream. We came to its 
banks one afternoon at the spot figured in the sketch 
here given, dined, and then attempted the passage. 
The water was high and the river wide. By wading 
it on horseback, we soon found the easiest spot to 
cross. It was necessary to enter the stream from a 
projecting spot of land, make head against its cur- 


From a sketch made by Mauton Marble in the summer of 1858 aud printed in Harper's 

Magazine for January, 1S61. 



rent for a few rods, then turn where the deep chan- 
nel was narrowest, wade through it, and keep on a long 
shallow bar to the opposite shore. The force of the 
current in the deepest part was more than any but 
a strong man could stand against ; and, to wade, even the shallow bar, was like forcing one's legs 
through dry sand. 

The party had great trouble in getting their cart, 
with the provisions and baggage on it, across the 
stream. The water was too deep to haul the stuff 
in the cart, and so the latter was floated across and 
the provisions and baggage carried over on the men's 
shoulders. This was on September 23 (1858), when 
the trail was dry but the Red Lake River was at a good 
stage where the crossing was made. Apparently, 
under the conditions stated, this crossing was near 

In the early years of the decade of 1850 — say, in 
about 1855 — the Red River cart trade had inci-eased 
to such proportions that trips had to be made at all 
seasons of the year, except in very cold weather. 
The old Kittson trail, on the east side of and only 
a few miles from the Red River, was practically im- 
passable during many montlis, by reason of watery, 
muddy, and swampy condition. At the breaking up 
of the river in the spring it overflowed its banks and 
sometimes its swollen current was more than a mile 
wide. On such occasions several weeks of clear and 
warm weather were required for the waters to sub- 
side and the mud to dry so that the carts could pass 
down the valley. 

Supplies were demanded by the traders at all sea- 
sons, and in almost every month, and Kittson and his 
chief lieutenant, Joe Rolette, were forced to procure 
them from Fort Snelling and St. Paul, the headquar- 

** Too late for inserting in the proper place, Hon. Wm. Watts 
writes to the compiler: "There was an old trail that crossed 
Bed Lake River about a mile west of Fisher; but in the 
Beventies, when settlers first came this way, the survivors said 
that this trail did not seem to have been much traveled. In 
this respect, they said, it was in very marked contrast to what 
was known as the Pembina Trail, which crossed Red Lake 
River near Huot. ' ' Of course, as the trail had been abandoned 
for at least ten years and had never been graded or otherwise 
improved, it soon fell into decay and obliteration, and to the 
settlers from 1878 to 1880 did present the appearance of infre- 
quent use. — Compiler. 

ters of the Chouteau Company with which they were 
allied. A new route for the cart trains which should 
be traversable at almost any time of the year was 
demanded — and secured. Just who established it, or 
first passed over it, cannot now be stated. Nor can it 
be said with certainty icheii it was established. But 
iipon its definite location it ran eastward for some 
distance until it crossed the valley and then went up 
on the permanent dry land and then went south- 
ward until after it had crossed the Red Lake, the Sand 
Hill, and other rivers to Detroit Lake, etc. Lieutenant 
Governor John Schultz, of Manitoba, went over this 
trail in 1860, and (in his pamphlet on "the Crow 
Wing Trail," in the Collections of the Manitoba His- 
torical Society for 1904) he says that it "went from 
Pembina across to the country eastward." He de- 
scribes this counti-y as "of fine gravel ridges, running 
north and south, with willow and balsam poplar 
trees." It was said to extend from Snake to Sand 
Hill River, when another sort of country was entered 
upon. It then went successively to Detroit, Rush, and 
Otter Tail Lakes, thence eastward, along the Leaf 
River, to the Crow Wing River, and thence down the 
latter to Crow Wing. 

This new route could not have been the "old" Crow 
Wing Trail, except in part. There seems to have 
been no map made of it until in 1865. It was called 
the "Crow Wing Trail," but not the "Old" trail of 
that name for many years afterward. It was called, 
at least in later years, by Polk County people the 
"Pembina Trail." It crossed the Red Lake River near 
where is now situated the village of Huot, in the 
southwest comer of Red Lake County, whereas the 
"old" trail crossed near the site of Fisher. From the 
upper or Huot crossing, the new ti-ail passed through 
the central part of Polk County southward about 26 
miles, and is now part of a judicial highway. Tt 
crossed the Sand Hill River near Fertile, while the 
old trail crossed near the site of Beltrami. 

In addition to the two trails here mentioned. Gov- 
ernor Schultz, in the pamphlet heretofore mentioned, 
says that in 1860, when he explored the country, there 



were three others in this region, viz. : (1) The military, 
stage, and early Red River steamboat route, from 
St. Paul to Breckeuridge and Georgetown, and then 
down the Red River to Fort Garry. (2) The Breck- 
enridge Flats route, which skirted the west bank of 
the Red River from Pembina to the junction of the 
Sioux Wood and the Red, crossing the latter either at 
Georgetown or Fort Abercrombie (McCauleyville), 
and then across the Breckeuridge Flats to Otter Tail 
Ford, and entered the rolling, lake-dotted country in- 
tervening between that ford and St. Cloud. (3) The 
mail-carriers, dog-train route, used only during the 
winter months. It crossed the Red River at Pembina, 
passed on to Red Lake, which it crossed on the ice; 
then from this big lake it went south, over the ice of 
many other lakes, to and across Leech Lake ; then, by 
way of sundry other lakes, all of which were crossed 
on the ice, to Crow Wing; thence down the Missis- 
sippi to Port Ripley, Sauk Rapids, and St. Anthony 
to St. Paul. Of the "old" Crow Wing trail. Gov. 
Schultz says : 

It was opened in 1844 by Wm. Hallett for the 
trader, Norman Kittson, whose trains having been 
attacked by the Sioux when on their way to St. Paul 
via Lake Traverse and Traverse des Sioux, sought 
safety by thereafter taking the new route. Many 
miles of this trail had to be cut through the Big Woods 

As stated, in 1844, when the first cart train was 
composed of six carts, it carried $2,000 worth of 
furs. In 1850 the carts brought down to St. Paul 
$15,000 worth and carried back $10,000 worth of 
goods. In 1851 there came to St. Paul 102 carts, but 
in 1857 there came about 500. In 1858 there were 
612 and nearly all were from the Red River Valley. 
When St. Paul was laid out, in 1849, the destination 
of the carts and their loads was changed from Men- 
dota to St. Paul, which had been made the capital 
of the new Minnesota Ten-itory, and then had stores 
and shops and a big warehouse built by the Fur Com- 
pany, which then belonged to Pierre Chouteau, Jr., 
«Ss Company, of St. Louis. In 1859 the steamer Anson 
Northup was running on the Red River between 

Georgetown and Fort Garry and it carried tons of 
furs for the Red River traders as far as to its southern 
terminus. Not all of the Polk County traders patron- 
ized the cart lines, for some of them were in the Hud- 
son's Bay Company's service and were forced to 
ship their furs to the markets of the world by the 
way of Hudson's Bay. 

In 1858 the value of furs received at St. Paul from 
all sources was $161,022, but in 1863, when the Sioux 
in Dakota were hostile, the value increased to $250,- 
000 and half of the amount received came from the 
Red River Valley. (See Williams' Hist, of St. Paid, 
pp. 304 et seq.) The trade was of great advantage to 
St. Paul. Nearly all of the money paid for the furs 
on their arrival in St. Paul would be spent in the 
town, and the supply of circulating medium would 
be, at least for a time, abundant and of great value. 
And there was a valuable feature about this medium. 
The Red River men sold and bought for coin onl.y, 
gold and silver, nearly all of American coinage, with 
occasionally English sovereigns which were in demand 
on Red River. 

It is much to be regretted that we cannot now pre- 
sent the names of the traders then living in what 
is now Polk County that were interested in the Red 
River cart trains. One fact may be derived from 
this circumstance — they did not grow rich from the 
trade or famous in any way. There is a great deal 
of misinfoi'mation extant concerning the profits made 
by the Minnesota fur traders from their transactions. 
It has been often asserted that they swindled the 
"poor Indians" shamefully out of their skins and 
pelts and made enormous profits. And yet only three 
or four of the old Minnesota traders grew wealthy. 
We well know who these men were. Norman W. Kitt- 
son was one, Henry M. Rice, Gov. H. H. Sibley, and 
Louis Robert were the others that made respectable 
accumulations. Yet these men made but very little 
comparatively out of the fur business. By far the 
greater part of their holdings came from their profits 
in real estate transactions. Thev bought Minnesota 



lands when they were cheap and afterwards sold 
them at handsome profits. 


In the summer of 1819 an expedition, half military 
and half investigatory, went from Fort Snelling to 
Pembina, made a thorough examination and a report 
thereon upon the intervening country, and gave to 
the world much information. The expedition was 
composed of about 50 men, nearly all in the military 
service. The commander was Major Samuel Woods, 
of the Sixth U. S. Infantry (from Fort Snelling), 
and under him were Second Lieut. A. D. Nelson, who 
was the expedition 's quartermaster and commissary ; 
Brevet-Capt. John Pope, of the U. S. Topographical 
Engineers, who had been directed to make a thorough 
sui'vey of the country, and Lieutenants J. W. T. Gardi- 
ner and T. P. Castor, who were in direct command 
of 40 men of Company D of the First Regiment of 
the U. S. Dragoons, acting as escort. There were also 
Dr. Craig, a surgeon, and Basil Beaulieu, the guide, 
with some other civilians connected with the ex- 

The chief ob.ject of the expedition was to select the 
site for two or more forts, to be built so as best to 
protect the country from the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany's traders (who were coming upon Minnesota 
Territory and appropriating the fur trade, mainly by 
selling and giving whiskey to the Indians), and to 
put a stop to the bad practices of Hudson's Bay em- 
ployes, who were wont to raid upon northern Min- 
nesota and North Dakota soil and kill off the buf- 
faloes by thousands. 

The expedition took what was called "the middle 
route to Red River," and which left the Mississippi 
at Sauk Rapids, 76 miles above the mouth of the Min- 
nesota, and intersected the Red River near its most 
southern point, at the mouth of the Bois des Sioux, 
or Sioux Wood River. It crossed the Red aliout ten 
miles north of the Sioux Wood and then pursued a 
route down and parallel with the river, on the 

Dakota or west side, to Pembina. Returning Capt. 
Pope and a small party came in canoes up the Red 
River from Pembina to the Otter Tail River, thence 
up that river to Otter Tail Lake, then through that 
and other lakes and streams and by a portage to the 
Crow Wing River, down it to the Mississippi, and 
thence to St. Anthony's Falls and Fort Snelling. 

Going up, the party left Sauk Rapids June 16 and 
arrived at Pembina August 1. The trip was without 
special incident save that the mosquitoes were extra- 
ordinarily voracious and annoying, that numerous 
severe electrical storms were encountered, especially 
at Lightning Lake, and that travel was toilsome. At 
the Rabbit River the party met 25 Red River carts 
from Pembina, in charge of a member of the Selkirk 
Colony, laden with furs and pemmican, and on the 
way to the market at ' ' St. Paul 's, ' ' as the place was 
then called. Ten miles further north they met 65 
more carts, similarly laden and with the same desti- 
nation and in charge of Norman W. Kittson, the 
trader at Pembina, and to whom all the furs men- 
tioned belonged. 

On the return trip Maj. Woods and Lieut. Castor, 
with the dragoons, passed through what is now Polk 
County from north to south. In his report Maj. 
Woods describes the country north and south of the 
Red Lake River as "naturally fine and fertile" and 
adapted to agricultural purposes, although perhaps 
"too far north for corn of the present varieties." 
Capt. Pope stopped at the mouth of the Red Lake 
River and computed the latitude to be 47 degrees, 48 
minutes, and 8 seconds north. He too was of opinion, 
"that the climate of the Valley of the Red River 
would be too severe and the seasons too short for the 
successful cultivation of corn, but all other grains 
would be produced most abundantly." The Captain 
further said that the only valid objection to the Val- 
ley as a wheat country was its distance from mar- 
ket; but, to remove this obstacle, he recommended 
that Congress make grants of land in aid of the con- 
struction of railroads from the head of navigation 
on the Red River eastward to Lake Superior and 



from the same head "to the Mississippi below the 
Falls of St. Anthony." He referred to the extensive 
wild rice fields in the Red Lake River region, and 
thought that large quantities of rice and maple sugar 
produced here might profitably be sent to market 
over these roads when they should be constructed. 

At the time of Maj. Wood's and Capt. Pope's ex- 
pedition the Territory of Minnesota had been re- 
cently organized. It embraced all the country lying 
to the north and west of Iowa and Wisconsin, con- 
taining about 160,000 square miles. Capt. Pope 
noted that of this great expanse, the country lying 
west of the valleys of the St. Peter's (Minnesota) 
and the Red River, "is still unexplored." The two 
ofBcers reported that the head of navigation of the 
Red River was in the vicinity of the mouth of the 
Sioux Wood River. At the latter point they recom- 
mended the establishment of a military post; but 
when Fort Abercrombie was built, some nine years 
later, it was established several miles to the north- 
ward, on the Dakota side, nearly opposite McCauley- 
ville. They also recommended that a post be estab- 
lished at Pembina and this was afterward done. 

During the Civil War, Capt. John Pope became a 
major general in the Union Army ; but after his dis- 
astrous defeat at Second Bull Run he was sent to 
the Northwest to conduct the military operations 
against the Sioux Indians during the great outbreak 
of 1862. 


The region in which Polk County is situated was, 
upon the advent of civilization in this quarter, and 
for a long time thereafter, conceded to belong to the 
Chippewa (or Ojibway) tribe of Indians. The Polk 
County country was obtained by treaties made with 
them at different times by the United States author- 

The first treaty for the cession of the country was 
made by the old Pillager Band of Chippewas with 
Territorial Governor Alexander Ramsey, who was 
accompanied by ten other civilians, at Pembina, in 

the early autumn of 1851. Gov. Ramsey and party, 
with a military escort of 25 dragoons from Fort 
Snelling, left St. Paul August 18 and returned 
October 28. By this Pembina treaty the Chippewas 
ceded to the United States a tract on the lower Red 
River 150 miles in length by 65 miles in width, and 
which was fairly divided from north to south by that 
river. The northern boundary of the cession was the 
49th parallel of latitude and the southern boundary 
was Goose River on the west side and Buffalo River 
on fhe east side of the Red River. The Government 
was to pay the Indians $30,000 cash in hand, and 
$10,000 a year for twenty years as the purchase price. 
But the U. S. Senate refused to confirm this treaty 
and therefore it never went into effect, to the great 
disappointment of both the Pembina settlers and the 
Pillager Chippewas. (Minn, in Three Cents. Vol. 2, 
p. 325.) 

RIVER. ' ' 

Not until in 1863 did Congress order another treaty 
with the northwestern Minnesota Chippewas. This 
treaty was ordered held "at the old crossing of the 
Red Lake River." The probabilities all are that 
Congress meant the site of the treaty to be the cross- 
ing of the old Kittson Trail, the trail mapped by 
Capt. Pope, since that was the first Red River cart 
trail, the old trail of 1844. This crossing was near 
the present site of Fisher, perhaps a little to the west- 
ward. There being in 1863 two crossings of the Red 
Lake River, Congress particularly designated the 
"old" crossing as the council gi'ound. 

Yet the treaty was not held at the "old" crossing, 
but at the crossing of the iiew trail, up near the site 
of Huot, in Red Lake County. At the time that was 
the crossing best known, and probably this was the 
reason for its use. June 8, 1914, the people of the 
countiy celebrated the event by a large meeting at 
which appropriate exercises were held and an endur- 
ing monument placed in position. There is no ques- 
tion that this is the place M'here the treaty was held. 



since it must be presumed that the participants iu 
the celebration knew the facts and what they were 
doing. A soldier, Benjamin Dolbec, of the Mounted 
Rangers, who was present at the treaty was also pres- 
ent at the celebration. The preamble to the treaty 
says it was made at the "old crossing," but it cer- 
tainly seems that this is a mistake. 

At all events, on October 2, 1863, while war with 
the Sioux to the westward was yet being waged, the 
treaty was concluded. The Government commission- 
ers were the then Senator Alexander Ramsey and 
Ashley C. Morrill, representing the Government, and 
the Chiefs and head men of the Pembina and Red 
Lake bands of Chippewas for the cession of a large 
tract of country containing Polk County. The 
boundaries of the country so acquired were these : 

Commencing at the intersection of the international 
boundary with the Lake of the "Woods; thence, in a 
southwesterly direction, to the head of Thief River; 
thence down Thief River to its mouth ; thence south- 
easterly, in a direct line, toward the head of Wild 
Rice River to the boundary of a former cession (1855) 
by certain bands of Chippewas; thence along the 
boundary of said cession of 1855 to the mouth of the 
"Wild Rice; thence up the channel of the Red River 
to the mouth of the Sheyenne; thence up the Shey- 
enne to Stump Lake ["Place of Stumps," otherwise 
called Lake Chicot], near the eastern extremity of 
Devil's Lake ; thence north to the international bound- 
ai-y and thence eastward to the place of beginning. 

Thus the territory acquired embraced practically 
all of the Red River "Valley in Minnesota and Dakota, 
except a small portion previously ceded, and was 
estimated to contain 11,000,000 acres. The treaty, 
with certain amendments, was ratified by the Senate 
March 1, 1864, the Indians assented to the amend- 
ments in April following, and President Lincoln con- 
firmed it May 5. 

As finally confirmed, the treaty provided that the 
Indians should receive for their lands ceded as above 
$10,000 annually to the Red Lake band and $5,000 
to the Pembina band, to be distributed equally per 

capita among the members of the band. The Govern- 
ment also agreed to expend annually, for fifteen years 
$8,000 for the Red Lake band and $4,000 for the 
Pembina band in the purchase of fishnet twine, dress 
goods, blankets, provisions, farming tools, etc. The 
Government also agreed to furnish each band for 
fifteen years with a blacksmith, a physician, a miller, 
and a farmer, as also $1,500 worth of steel and iron 
and other articles for blacksmithing purposes and 
$1,000 for carpentering. 

The treaty made by Ramsey and Morrill, at the 
"Old Crossing of the Red Lake River," in 1863, pro- 
vided that the Chippewa contracting parties should 
"not be held liable to punishment for past offenses." 
This clause referred to an incident which occurred 
at the "Old Crossing" of the Red Lake River the 
previous year, and which may here be described. 

The treaty of 1863 with the Chippewas was origi- 
nally ordered and planned to be held in August, 1862. 
In his report of Indian affairs in Minnesota for that 
year Superintendent Clark "W. Thompson, says that 
the Chippewas of Red Lake and Pembina were noti- 
fied to "collect at the mouth of the Red Lake River 
(italics compiler's), on the 25th of August, 1862." 
There they were to meet the commissioners appointed 
by the Government for their lands and the right of 
navigation of the Red River of the North. "The In- 
dians assembled at or near the point designated" 
(italics compiler's), says Superintendent Thompson, 
"but the Commissioners were unable to meet them." 
They had started up from St. Paul and reached St. 
Cloud on the 19th of August, and the next day re- 
ceived the news of the great Sioux uprising of that 
season, and also learned that Chief Hole-in-the-Day 
and some other Chippewas were acting menacingly 
and threateningly. The commissioners therefore 
feared to go farther up into the Indian country at 
the time, and turned back to St. Paul. 

The Indians waited until they had consumed all the 
provisions they had with them, and all they could pro- 
cure in the vicinity. Mr. Kittson was then passing 
through towards Pembina with about $25,000 worth 



of goods, a portion of which belonged to British sub- 
jects, agents of the Hudson's Bay Company. Some 
of tlie goods consisted of flour, canned goods, etc., 
and the hungry Indians at once seized them and every- 
thing else eatable, and finally took of the stores any- 
thing and everything they wanted. They .said to Kitt- 
son that they knew he was their friend, but that for 
a long time he and other traders had traveled through 
the Indian country without paying anything for the 
privilege and they were determined that the white 
men should no longer use their trails as thoroughfares, 
unless the owners of the country, the Chippewa In- 
dians, should be paid for the trespass. They said they 
would take and use the goods before them as a part 
payment for what was due them. They finally prom- 
ised that if the United States would make a treaty 
with them, either that or the following year, they 
would consent to pay for them out of any sum prom- 
ised them in the treaty for their lauds. This promise 
they kept when the treaty was made. 

The "Old Crossing" treaty provided that $100,000 
.should be appropriated to the Indians to "make com- 
pensation to said injured parties [the traders that 
owned the seized goods] for the depredations com- 
mitted upon them." Some of the goods, while they 
were transported by Kittson's carts, really belonged 
to Hudson's Bay traders about Pembina. 

A subsequent treaty, made at Washington in April, 
1864, by Clark W. Thompson and Ashley C. Morrill, 
as representatives of the Government, and the chiefs, 
head men, and principal warriors of the Red Lake 
and Pembina bands of Chippewas, amended the pro- 
vision in the ' ' Old Crossing" treaty above quoted. The 
amendment provided that $25,000 of the $100,000 
mentioned in the first treaty should be paid to the 
chiefs of the bands to enable them to purchase pro- 
visions and clothing to be used as "presents to their 
people upon their return to their homes." Of this 
$25,000 there was to be $5,000 expended for the ben- 
efit of the head chief, May-dwa-gwa-no-nind. From 
the $75,000 remaining, the injured traders and the 
steamboat people were to be paid, and then if any 

further sum remained it was to be paid for the debts 
of the Indians which had accrued since January 1, 

Scrip for 160 acres of the land ceded by the treaty 
was, by the Old Crossiug treaty, to be issued to evei-y 
mixed blood of the bands "who has adopted the 
habits and customs of civilized life and is a citizen 
of the United States;" but this restriction as to citi- 
zenship, etc., was stricken out by the Washington 
treaty, so that any mixed blood, whether civilized or 
not, was entitled to scrip for 160 acres of the ceded 
land as a homestead; but if they accepted the scrip 
and located it, then it was to be "accepted by said 
mixed bloods in lieu of all future claims for annui- 

There was to be set apart from the ti'act ceded a 
reservation of 640 acres near the mouth of the Thief 
River for Moose Dung, a chief of the Red Lakers, 
and a like reservation of 640 acres on the north side 
of the Pembina River, for Red Bear, a chief of the 
Pembina band. lu recent years an extensive saw- 
mill was built on the Moose Dung tract and there was 
much litigation connected with the acquirement of the 
site. Article 6 of the "Old Crossing" treaty reads: 

The laws of the LTnited States now in force, or 
that may hereafter be enacted, prohibiting the intro- 
duction and sale of spirituous liquors in the Indian 
country, shall be in full force and effect throughout 
the country hereby ceded, until otherwise directed 
by Congress or the President of the United States. 

This provision was not disturbed by the Washing- 
ton treaty made by Thompson and Morrill, and pro- 
hibitionists have claimed that under it no liquors can 
be sold on the great expanse of country mentioned 
in the treaty. It will be noted, however, that the 
temperance provision quoted makes no reference what- 
ever to beer or any other malt liquors, nor to wines. 

Clark W. Thompson, who signed the treaty at 
Washington, was Superintendent of Indian Affairs 
for the Northwest. For a number of years he lived 
at Wells, in Faribault County, and was prominent in 
Minnesota affairs. 



The Indians who signed the treaty made by Ram- 
sey and Morrill at the Old Crossing were as follows : 
Moose Dung, Crooked Arm, Little Rock, and Leading 
Feather, chiefs of the Red Lake band; Red Robe, 
Big Man, Four Skies, Palling Wind, and Berry 
Hunter, principal wai-riors of the Red Lake band. 
Representing the Pembina band were Chiefs Red 
Bear and Little Shell, and Warriors Wolverine, 
Joseph Gornore, and Joseph Montreuil, the last two 
mixed bloods. 

It was Indian war time when the Old Crossing 
treaty was made, and Commissioners Ramsey and 
Morrill had a fonnidable military escort of infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery, all Minnesota volunteers. Some 
of the witnesses to the Indian signatures were Joseph 
A. Wheelock, the commission's secretary, aftei-ward 
the well-known editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; 
Maj. Geo. A. Camp, Capt. Wm. T. Rockwood, and 
Surgeon P. Rieger, of the Eighth Minnesota Infan- 
try ; Capt. P. B. Davy and Lieut. L. S. Kidder, Com- 
pany K, First Minnesota Mounted Rangers; Lieut. 
G. M. Dwelle, Third Minnesota Battery, and Pierre 

Bottineau, the famous old mixed-blood scout. Benj. 
Dolbec, a member of Capt. Davy's Company, was 
present at both the treaty and the celebration and 
pointed out the exact site. 

At Washington and the treaty of April, 1864, the 
Indian signers of the amended treaty were as follows : 
Prom the Red Lake Band, Head Chief May-dwa-gwa- 
no-nind (or One Spoken to) and Chiefs Moose Dung 
and Little Rock ; Warriors Leading Feather, the Boy, 
Palling Wind, Little Shoe, White Hair, Straight Bird, 
Makes the Earth Tremble, and Bad Boy. Prom the 
Pembina Band, Chief Red Bear and Warriors Equal 
Sky and Wants Feathers. The witnesses for the In- 
dians were Paul H. Beaulieu, J. G. Morrison, and 
Hon. Peter Roy, interpreters; for the United States; 
T. A. Warren, interpreter, Chas. E. Gardell, and 
Chas. Bottineau. All of the witnesses for both sides 
were Chippewa mixed bloods. 

As has been stated the treaty was held near the 
village of Huot, which was first called Louisville. 
Both names were derived from Louis Huot, the pio- 
neer owner of the site. 





In Volume II of Cooper & Company's History of 
the Red River Valley (Chicago, 1909), appears a 
chapter descriptive and narrative of Polk county. It 
may be characterized as the only historical sketch of 
the county ever published in imposing form. The 
article was written and revised by Hon. WiUiam 
Watts, of Crookston, and therefore may be regarded 
as authoritative. For Judge Watts is a long-time resi- 
dent of the county and well versed in its history from 
its beginning as an organized county, and even long 
before. It is well that he consented to write the 
article, for otherwise much of the record of the county 
would be lost and not preserved in convenient and 
permanent form. 

From the judge's valuable article several notes of 
the county's history have been extracted and used as 
data or notes for the present volume. Some of them 
have been quoted literally, but the majority have been 
used practically as texts or suggestions for comment. 
For example he speaks of tlie old Pembina trail, as 
' ' the route by which the Hudson 's Bay Company car- 
ried its furs and merchandise between the Northwest 
and St. Paul in the early days," and he states that 
although the famous trail passed through Polk County 
the Bay Company had no trading post within its bor- 
ders. The fact is that the Bay Company never used 
the trail "in early days," and made but little u-se 
of it at any time. The trail was inaugurated in 1844 
by Norman W. Kittson (then the chief factor of Chou- 
teau & Company, of St. Louis) at Pembina, and it was 
used almost exclusively by him and his sub-agents up 
to about 1854, when he entered into partnership with 

Major W. H. Forbes, in St. Paul, in the general Indian 
trade supply business. The organization was called 
"the St. Paul Outfit." The Hudson's Bay Company 
first used the trail in 1858. In Harper's Magazine for 
January, 1859, the late Dr. R. 0. Swee^iey, of St. Paul, 
wrote : 

* * * The past season over 800 Red River 
carts, loaded with furs and skins, came into St. Paul 
from those far northwestern valleys. Even the Hud- 
son 's Bay Company have at last availed themselves of 
the superior facilities of the heretofore ignored routes 
to our market, by sending last season over 60 packages 
of furs and pelts, taking in return cattle, mules, and 
implements of agriculture. 

It would seem that 60 packages, or about 3,000 
pounds, would not constitute but a very small portion 
of the cargoes of the carts, for three of the screaking 
but stout vehicles could easily transport 3,000 pounds. 


From 1850 to 1860 there was some development and 
occupation of the country within the present limits of 
Polk county. Indeed it seems from certain known 
circumstances that settlements were made in different 
parts of the country's present area before 1850. 

In 1858, when Polk County was created by the Min- 
nesota Legislature, its declared boundaries included 
all of the now area of the county, and also the follow- 
ing described territory : All of Pennington, Red Lake, 
Mahnomen, Clearwater, and Norman Counties; the 
greater part off the north half of Clay County ; twelve 
miles of the northern part and a strip three sections 
long from north to south by one section wide off the 




west side of Becker County; the southwest part of 
Beltrami County; twelve miles off the southern part 
of Marshall Couuty and all of the Red Lake Indian 
Reservation — an area of about 3,030 miles. 

When in 1849 and 1850 a census of the people of 
ilinnesota Territory was taken whatever civilized 
population existed in this region was counted in the 
returns of Pembina County, to which county what is 
now Polk then belonged. But in 1860 Polk County 
was in existence, a separate county, and in the census 
of that year it was enumerated separately. The com- 
missioner was Oscar Taylor, of St. Cloud, who was a 
lawyer, but during the Civil and Indian Wars was a 
captain in the First Minnesota Mounted Rangers; 
later he was a member of the Legislature for sevei'al 
years and a prominent attorney of St. Cloud. His 
enumeration was made in the month of July. 

At the time of the enunciation there were four post- 
offices in the then Polk County, viz. : Georgetown, Rice 
River, Red River Junction, and Red Lake. Of these 
only Red River Junction, now East Grand Forks, is a 
Polk County town and post office. The population of 
the county was listed as to their post office addresses, 
and the total was 240, of which 140 males and 100 
were females. (Minnesota Year Book for 1871-1872.) 

Of course each of these post offices was the site of 
one or more trading houses and the enumerated inhab- 
itants were for the most part connected in some way 
with them. Perhaps a majority of those counted, 
especially those at Red Lake, were Indians or mixed 
bloods. The rule was to count all of white blood, and 
also all Indians and those of mixed Indian blood that 
had "adopted the habits and customs of civilization." 
This definition was held to include all that had pro- 
fessed Christianity, no matter if they still went blank- 
eted and moccasined and yet dwelt in tepees and wig- 
wams. The number of the mixed bloods reported was 
94, leaving the total white population 146. 

These figures are from the manuscript copy of the 

census, as reported by Commissioner Taylor and now 

on file in the office of Public Documents in the capitol 

building at St. Paul, and also as reported in the State 

Legislative Manual for 1871. 

According to the manuscript copy of the census 
referred to the population of Red River Junction 
(now understood to be what is East Grand Forks) 
was as follows : 

"Eustace Oiner, age 30; laborer; born in Upper 

"Nolbert Laureance, age 20; laborer; born Upper 

"Martin Schulte, age 14; servant; born Germany. 

"Charles Benoit, age 18; servant; born Lower 

"William C. Wilworth, age 33; engineer; value of 
real estate, $3,000; personal, $1,200; born in New 
York. His wife, Emily Wilworth, age 27 ; housewife ; 
born New York ; his child, Jane Wilworth, age 4 ; born 
in Minnesota. 

"Wm. Peters, age 21; laborer; born Hudson's Bay 

"George W. Northrup, age 23; surveyor; personal 
property $300 ; born in New York. 

"Antoine Bellaire, age 34; laborer; his wife, Kath- 
erine, age 34, and their seven children, Antoine, age 
12 ; Charlotte, age 10 ; Mary, age 8 ; Eustace, age 6 ; 
Delict, age 5 ; Solomon, age 3, and Joseph, age 1 ; all 
mixed bloods and born in Minnesota; no property 

"Saml. J. Painter, (?) age 39; steamboat captain; 
real estate, $3,000; personal property, $1,000; born 
Pennsylvania. His wife, Elizabeth, born Virginia, 
and their five children — Sarah Ellen, aged 11, 
Rosanna aged 9, Francis M. aged 7, and James aged 
5, were born in Kentucky, and Joel, aged 3, born in 

' ' Charles Cavileer, age 42 ; physician ; real estate, 
$10,000; personal, $500; born in Ohio. His wife, 
Isabel, age 22 ; born Hudson 's Bay Territory ; their 
children. Sarah J. age 3, Edmund R. age 2, and Wil- 
liam McI. age two mouths, were born in Minnesota. 

"Jane Bruce, age 30; no occupation given; personal 
property $200; born in Hudson's Bay Terry.; mixed 

' ' Eliza Currier, age 16 ; no occupation ; born Hud- 
son 's Bay Territory; mixed blood. 

' ' Moses Currier, age 12 ; born H. B. Terry ; mixed 

"Albert Seargeant, age 40; merchant; real estate 
$800; personal $1,500; born New Hampshire. 

"Wm. Henry Morse, age 30; steamboat pilot; real 
estate $10,000; personal $500. 

"Richard C. Burdick, age 25; merchant; personal 
$1,000. His wife, Catherine, age 22; born in New- 
York. Their child, Charles, age 2, bom in Minne- 

"Catherine Nelson, age 39; servant; born Vir- 
ginia ; negro. 

"John Bereau, age 24; servant; born Hudson's 
B. Terry." 



The whole population therefore was 40, including 
one negro and 12 mixed bloods. Total males, 25; 
females, 15. There were only 8 dwelling houses 
listed; perhaps the Indian and mixed-blood lodges 
and shacks were not counted. The total value of 
real estate owned was $26,800; personal property, 

Georgetown post office reported 65 people, of whom 
3 were mixed bloods; Rice River, 46 whites and 4 
mixed bloods; Red Lake had 4 whites (traders) and 
80 mixed bloods and one Indian, John Tombay. 

The exact residences of the people of these various 
post offices cannot here be definitely given. It is 
probable, however, that for the most part those of 
Red River Junction (as East Grand Forks was then 
called) lived at or near the Junction. The place 
■was called Red River Junction because it was the 
junction of the Red River with its principal tribu- 
tary, the Red Lake. What eventually became of all 
these Red River Junction people is not known to the 
present writer. We know that Charles Cavileer (as 
he always wrote his name) went to North Dakota 
and laid out the town of Pembina, was its first post- 
master, and died there in 1902. He was prominent 
in early North Dakota affairs and the county of 
Cavalier (with the reformed spelling) was named 
for him. 

George W. Northrup was from St. Paul, though a 
New York born. He led an adventurous life as a 
hunter, Indian trader, guide, etc. At one time, in 
1858, he was captain of the "Anson Northrup" 
(Minn. Hist. Coll., Vol. 8, p. 52.) In the Civil War 
he enlisted in Company C, of Brackett's Battalion, 
of cavalry, and in the Sioux battle of Khay Tah-hkah 
Koota, ("hill or mountain where we shot the 
deer") commonly called the battle of Killdeer Moun- 
tain, he charged far to the front and received ten 
Indian arrows in his body, one through his heart. 
The Indians knew him well and called him "the Man 
that Pulls a Hand Cart," because when on one occa- 
sion, when he was connected with a train of Red 
River carts, he drew one of them quite a distance. 

(See Pioneer Press, Oct. 12, 1896; Capt. Blakely, 
.Minn. Hist. Soey., Coll. Vol. 8, p. 53 ; Edwd. Eggles- 
ton. Harper's ilag. Feb., 1894.) 

FROM 1850 TO 1860. 

After the creation and organization of Minne- 
sota Territory, in the early part of 1849, the first 
Legislature divided the territory into nine counties, 
called Wa.shington, Ramsey, Benton, Itasca, Waba- 
shaw, Dakotah, Wahnahta, Mahkahto, and Pembina. 
At the time the Missouri River was the western boun- 
dary. Pembina County extended from the west line 
of Itasca to the Missouri River and from the Cana- 
dian boundary southward to the mouth of the Buf- 
falo River. It comprised generally what is now 
nearly all of the northwestern part of Minnesota 
and practical!}' all of the present State of North 
Dakota east of the ]\Iissouri River. What is now 
and has in the past been Noi-th Dakota was for nine 
years a part of Pembina County. 

The census of that county in 1849 gave it a popu- 
lation of 637, of which number 295 were males. The 
post-office of all these persons was given as Pembina, 
though many of them lived at what is now St. Vin- 
cent, on the east bank of the Red River, opposite 
Pembina. Of the entire population 27 persons were 
listed as born at Red Lake or elsewhere in "Minne- 
sota Territory," and seven were natives of other 
States. Nearly all the people were of mixed Indian 
blood. (U. S. Census Reps, for 1850; also N. Dak. 
Hist. Coll., Vol. 1, p. 385 et seq.) It is almost cer- 
tain that in 1849 there were w'hite people living 
within the present confines of Polk, but we do not 
know who and exactly where they were. 

THE Hudson's b.\y company retltrns to Minnesota. 

After having its posts and agents banished from 
the United States, in 1821, the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany confined its operations to its own territory or 
otlier portions of Canada. There was great ill feel- 
ing by the American traders against the traders and 
posts of the great English corporation. The agents 



of this corporation seem to have been always rapa- 
cious and they became unscrupulous and bold. They 
sought every means to capture and secure the Indian 
trade in the northern part of the United States west 
of Lake Superior and as far south of the interna- 
tional boundary as po.ssible. They supplied the In- 
dian hunters freely with whisky, during the trading 
seasons, induced hundreds of them to come over to 
Canada to trade and even to sell their furs to the 
company's servants at points within the United 
States. They frequently came upon trading excur- 
sions up the Red River and often were at Red Lake, 
always bringing whisky. They were not allowed 
under an English law to "sell" ardent spirits to 
the liquor-loving Indians, but it wa.s held that "ex- 
changing" these beverages for furs was not selling! 

All along during the decade of 1840, and in the 
early part of that of 1850, Norman Kittson, Joe 
Rolette, and other American traders in this quarter 
had complained often and vehemently of the injuries 
done them by the Bay Company's tradei's and hunt- 
ei-s. They said that in addition to seducing the 
Indian trade away from them, the company's men 
habitually raided what is now the northern part of 
North Dakota and killed and drove off so many hni- 
faloes that often there was a meat famine among 
the Teton and Mandan Sioux and the Assiniboines, 
Crees, and Chippewas, upon whom the traders de- 
pended for patronage. 

In the winter of 1849 Kittson and Henry M. Rice 
— the latter having a number of trading houses in 
the Chippewa country — made strenuovis efforts to 
stop the predatory incursions upon their preserves. 
Kittson wrote to Delegate Sibley: "The traders of 
tlie Hudson's Bay Company have, during a few 
months past, been engaged extensively in intro- 
ducing liquor among the Indians within our limits." 
Rice wrote to Gen. Fletcher, agent for the Winne- 
bagoes : 

"The agents of the H. B. Co. brought a large 
quantity of ardent spirits to their depot at Rainy 
Lake, and at the time the Indians were gathering 

their last wild rice crop they sent a quantity of liquor 
within our boundary and gave it to our Indians in 
exchange for rice. I have ample and positive proof 
of this. It is impossible to take provisions to these 
remote posts, and the traders and employees are 
compelled to live on wild rice and fish ; the rice they 
purchase from the Indians. The object of the H. B. 
Co. was to .secure all of the surplus rice so that my 
men would be compelled to abandon the country. 
They well know that, with the advantage of whisky, 
they can break down any opposition." 

And February 12, 1849, Gen. Fletcher wrote to 
Hon. Wm. Medill, commissioner of "Indian Affairs." 

"The object which the British traders have in sup- 
plying the Indians with ardent spirits is to break 
down the American traders. They annoy and dis- 
commode our traders by piirchasing with whisky all 
the .surplus provisions the Indians have, but they 
injure our traders most by preventing them from 
obtaining furs. While the Indians can obtain liquor, 
they will not hunt and obtain furs, and having no 
money nothing can be made out of trade with them. 
About 20,000 buffalo are killed annually within the 
country occupied by the Sioux and Chippewa In- 
dians south of our northern boundary by half breeds 
from the British side of the line. One-third of the 
Red River Canadians subsist on buffalo killed on the 
American side of the line. The destruction of the 
buffalo is a heavy tax on our IndiaiLS, especially the 

These descriptions of conditions induced the au- 
thorities at Washington and the expedition of Maj. 
Woods and Capt. Pope, of 1849, was resolved upon. 
In his instructions to Maj. Woods for the conduct 
of the expedition. Adjutant General R. Jones in- 
structed him, among other things, to observe and 
report upon the condition of the Indians at Pem- 
bina and the Red River Valley, and particularly to 
report "the influence exerted on them by the Hud- 
son's Bay Company by trade, present, and other- 
wise." In asking President Taylor for the expedi- 
tion, Hon. Thomas Ewing, Secretary of the Interior 
— which office had been newly created — stated that 
the great evils committed upon northern Minnesota 
by the Hudson's Bay agents ought to be at once 
"corrected and prevented in the future." Among 
other suggestions he proposed that a moderate por- 
tion of the then Indian country, near the boundary 



line, and "upon the Red River of the North" be 
speedily acquired by treaty and purchase. This 
tract of country so acquired he thought ought to be 
"opened to actual settlement, for which it is repre- 
sented to be well adapted." On the tract he would 
place "a body of citizens ready, not only to observe 
our laws respecting intercourse with the Indians, but 
willing and able to prevent furtber violations of them 
or incursions into our territor}- bj^ those connected 
with the British .settlements north of the boundarJ^" 

The Secretary wrote April i, 1849, and on the 
6th of June following the expedition left Fort 

But for some time after the Woods and Pope ex- 
pedition to Pembina the trespasses of the Hudson's 
Bay Company continued; not until 1857, after they 
had been allowed to establish their own posts on 
American soil. Gradually, however, they ceased 
almost entirely. 

In 1857 the Hud.sou"s Bay Company decided to 
abandon York Factory, its station and principal port 
of entry at the mouth of Nelson River, at Hudson's 
Bay. Soon after it completed arrangements with 
the U. S. Secretary of the Treasury whereby goods 
for the company and for the former Selkirk colonists 
miglit be carried in bond through the United States 
via St. Paul, Minnesota, and the Red River of the 
North. (N. D. Hist. Coll., Vol. 3, p. 552.) Trade 
with the Red River Valley now grew rapidly. Posts 
of the Bay Company, by permission of the United 
States, were established at various points on the 
river. In 18G0 Mr. Kittson sold out all his interests 
in the Red River fur trade to his former unprin- 
cipled rival and oppressor, the Bay Company, and 
became its agent, eventually establishing a line of 
steamboats and barges called the Red River Valley 
Transportation Company. 


The establishment of Fort Abercrombie, although 
on the Dakota side of the river, was another event 
of importance in the history and development of the 

Red River Valley. Its location was determined upon 
in 1857, but it was built chiefly in 1858 and 1859. 
Its location was determined by the reports and rec- 
ommendations of IMaj. Woods and Capt. Pope, after 
their expedition to Pembina in 1849. Work was 
commenced upon the buildings in the spring of 1858, 
and the first structures were log cabins. It was 
named for Col. John J. Abercrombie, then lieutenant 
colonel of the Second U. S. Infantry, and detach- 
ments of that regiment constituted the first garrison. 
In June, 1858, a private expedition, of which 
Manton Marble, the accomplished writer and artist, 
was a member, visited Fort Abercrombie on a trip 
to Pembina and beyond. On page 306 of Harper's 
Magazine for August, 1860, appears a sketch by Mar- 
ble of the incomplete fort as it was in June, 1858, 
with the little log cabins as the soldiers' quarters, 
etc. Below the sketch is a printed description by 
Mr. ilarble from which the following is an extract : 

"North of Graham's point (12 miles) as we round- 
ed a turn of the river, whose wooded margin had 
concealed it from us hitherto, we came in sight of 
Port Abercrombie — that is, of the one building 
erected for the commander's quarters and the canvas 
storehouses, which are built upon the prairie near 
the river bank. The log houses or quarters which 
ofSeers and privates at present occupy are aU built in 
a quadrangle upon a pear-shaped promontory, look- 
ing west toward the prairie." 

The Government records show that Lieut. Col. 
Abercrombie arrived with the first detchment of his 
troops in August, 1857. (Sec. War Rep. Cong. Series 
No. 943, p. 354.) But the fort was not fully com- 
pleted for several j'ears later. The object of its build- 
ing at the time the work commenced was not the pro- 
tection of the American traders against the agents of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, since at that time the 
latter, by permission of and license from the Ameri- 
can authorities, had their posts everywhere through 
the Valley and practically controlled, without protest 
or objection, the trade of the region. The object was 
to protect and encourage the pioneers that were com- 
ing into western Minnesota to take advantage of the 
offer by the Government of new lands in that quarter. 



Probably, too, the building was secured by the associa- 
tion of Northern and Southern Democrats, some. of 
whom were Senator Henry M. Rice and Henry T. 
Welles, of Minnesota; John C. Breckinridge and 
Beriah Magoffin, of Kentucky; Robert Toombs, of 
Georgia ; George B. Clitherall, of Alabama ; Jefferson 
Davis, of Mississippi, and probably Dr. Archibald 
Graham, of Virginia. Some of the operations in Min- 
nesota of these gentlemen are noted elsewhere. 

But in July, 1859, the fort was temporarily aban- 
doned. On the 25th Capt. N. H. Davis, Second U. S. 
Infantry, with one company of that regiment, aban- 
doned the post, leaving it in charge of a military store- 
keeper. The reason assigned was that there was no 
longer any danger to Americans or American inter- 
ests in that quarter. The abandonment was not for 
very long. In June, 1860, it was re-occupied by three 
companies of the Second Infantry, under Capt. Gard- 
ner and was garrisoned thereafter until in 1877, when 
it was discontinued as a military post. 

The establishment of Fort Abercrombie was of great 
assistance in the development of Polk County and 
all of the other portions of the Red River Valley. Set- 
tlers were induced to come to the country in the belief 
that the fort would be a refuge and a rendezvous in 
ease of Indian trouble, and that no serious danger 
need be feared from the savages. It was due largely 
to the representations of Henry T. Welles, through 
Senator Henry M. Rice, that a garrison was ordered 
re-established in the summer of 1859. The associa- 
tion which he represented had laid out the town of 
Breckenridge and wanted to sell lots therein, as well 
as to dispose of their lands in the vicinity, and the 
occupation of the fort by 300 soldiers would give con- 
fidence in the situation to would-be investors and spec- 
ulators. (For a good and authentic sketch of Fort 
Abercrombie see Part 2, Vol. 2, No. Dak. Hist. Socy. 


The creation of Polk County was brought about by 
a strange set of influences and circumstances. In 

1856-57, while Henry M. Rice was in Washington, as 
delegate in Congress from Minnesota Territory, he 
formed a sort of business alliance, as he had some time 
before formed an intimate friendship with certain 
prominent Southern men, the most of whom were 
members of Congress. Some of these men were Jeffer- 
son Davis, Secretary of War in 1856 ; John C. Breck- 
inridge, Vice President; James Buchanan, President, 
both from 1857 to 1861 ; Robert Toombs, of Georgia, 
U. S. Senator, and Beriah Magoffin, later Governor of 

Mr. Rice had long possessed great influence and 
control over a faction of the Democratic party in Min- 
nesota Territory. Through his control of the Terri- 
torial Legislatures he succeeded in having Minnesota 
counties named from time to time in honor of his 
Southern friends and associates. Davis County (now 
partly Swift County) was named for Jeff. Davis; 
Toombs County (now Wilkin) for Robert Toombs, 
and Breckenridge (now Traverse, etc.) for the Vice 
President, all ultra pro-slavery men. Then two coun- 
ties, Polk and Pierce, were named for ex-Democratic 
Presidents, and one for the existing President, James 
Buchanan. All of these Southern statesmen, except 
President Polk, had been of valuable personal service 
to Mr. Rice and were greatly pleased at the rare com- 
pliment involved in the naming of counties for poli- 
ticians of others. It is probable that Mr. Rice lost 
nothing by his courtesy. 

But the bestowal of the name of James Knox Polk 
upon a Minnesota county was proper and befitting. 
It is understood that his last official act as President, 
at 11 :45 P. M., March 3, 1849, was his signing of the 
bill creating Minnesota Territory ; he died at his home, 
Nashville, Tennessee, June 15 following. When Gen. 
Sibley, who was Delegate in Congress from what by 
courtesy was called "Wisconsin Territory" and was 
pushing the bill for the creation of Minnesota, it was 
understood that all along he had the sympathy of 
President Polk. It was unfortunate that he did not 
live to see the Territory which he helped to create be- 
come a magnificent commonwealth of the Union. He 



was but 54 when he died, having been born in North 
Carolina in November, 1795. His home was in Ten- 
nessee after he was eleven years old. He served in 
Congress fourteen years and was Speaker of the 
House from 1835 to 1839. He was Governor of his 
State from 1839 to 1841. The Democrats nominated 
him for President in 1848 and he was elected over the 
great Henry Clay by a majority of 40,000 of the popu- 
lar vote and of 70 in the electoral college. He de- 
clined a second term. He advocated the war against 
Mexico and was an efficient President during that 
contest. But he was opposed to wars in general, and 
it was largely his great influence during his adminis- 
tration which prevented war with Great Biutain in 
1846 over the Oregon question — a war of which many 
unwise Americans were decidedly in favor — and when 
he was in Congress he and some other Congressmen 
prevented a war with Spain. He was a man of pure 
and high character and personally popular. This 
county need be weU satisfied with its name. 

Polk Countj' was created by the first State Legis- 
lature of Minnesota in the summer of 1858; it was 
approved by Governor Sibley July 27. From the 
Legislative Journals it is learned that the bill was 
introduced in the House of Representatives and was 
known as House File No. 303. It established the coun- 
ties of Pembina and Polk and was so entitled. It is 
difficult to learn who was the author of the bill, since 
the Legislative Journals are without indexes; proba- 
bly it was Hon. John N. Chase, the Representative 
from the Pembina district, which was the 22d and 
was composed of Todd, Cass, and Pembina Couuties. 
The act passed the House some time in the first weeks 
of July and the Senate July 13. In the latter body 

the votes were 23 for and 3 against. Those against 
were Senators Michael Cook (for whom Cook County 
was named), H. L. Thomas, and George Watson. 
What their objections were is not known. 

The boundaries of the county as originally estab- 
lished commenced at the southwest corner of Pembina 
County, opposite the mouth of Turtle River and run- 
ning up the Red River to the mouth of the Buffalo 
River, or Georgetown; thence eastwardly up the Buf- 
falo along the northern boundary of Breckenridge 
County, and then along the northern boundary of 
Becker County to the southeastern extremity of Lake 
Itasca; then north and east up the Jlississippi to its 
intersection with the count}- 's eastern boundary line, 
at the northeastern extremity of Cass Lake; thence 
due north to the southern boundary of Pembina Coun- 
ty, and then due west to the point opposite the mouth 
of the Buffalo River, the place of beginning. 

The county seat of Polk County was temporarily 
located at Douglass, and that of Pembina County at 
St. Vincent. According to Sewall's map of Minnesota 
for 1860, Douglass was located on the Red Lake River, 
at the new crossing, or where the new Pembina trail 
ci'ossed the river, and where the Ramsey treaty of 
1863 was held. The present site is called Huot P. 0., 
and consists of one house, which stands in the south- 
western part of Red Lake County. Douglass was orig- 
inally a ti'adiug post belonging to the Hudson's Bay 
Company. A town was laid out here in 1858, but it 
does not seem to have made any No at- 
tempt at formally organizing Polk County was made 
until in 1872, and the Legislature did not declare the 
county fully organized until March 3, 1873, fifteen 
years after it had been created. 






If the history of Polk County begins at the time 
when it became first occupied by actual and perma- 
nent settlers, it can be said to begin in June, 1871. 
It is true that W. C. Nash settled at East Grand Porks 
in 1870, but he belongs to the earliest pioneers of the 
Valley, having come here as a military man and mail 
caiTier, contractor, and Indian trader, and, while we 
crown him as the oldest and earliest settler of Polk 
County, we shall date the real settlement of Polk 
County one year later. 

It is also proper here to mention another name, 
that of the really celebrated French mixed blood, 
Pierre Bottineau, who was born in the Red River Val- 
ley, and as early as 1830 traveled over Polk County 
as trapper, scout, and messenger. After residing at 
various other points in Minnesota, he finally settled 
near Red Lake Palls, Polk County, in 1876. He was 
instrumental in bringing to Polk County a large num- 
ber of French settlers, who established what was then 
known as the French Colony. 


Barring the exceptions stated, the first settlers of 
Polk County are, in the order named, the following: 
Levi Steenerson, Ole Estenson and family, Ole 0. 
Estenson, Peter 0. Estenson, Esten 0. Estenson, Peter 

0. Setermoe, Ole Jevning, ToUif Ose, Knut Steener- 
son, Henry Simon, Paul Simon, GuUek Spokley, 
Salve Spokley, Tollef ToUefson, Jorgen Knutson, John 
Bremseth, Peter Jacobson, and John Sundet. This 
was in June, 1871; all were "squatters" on lands 
along the Red River, extending for a stretch of about 
twelve miles, and on both sides of Sand HiU River. 
The land was not surveyed, and each of the settlers 
had plenty of elbow room. They agreed among them- 
selves as to boundaries, and each sought to secure a 
large proportion of timber, which stood in abundance 
along the river bank, the sheltered bends forming 
ideal building places. 


These settlers constituted two groups or parties. 
Those settling south of Sand Hill River were acquaint- 
ances from Houston County, Minnesota; but most of 
them came originally from Telemarken, Norway. 
Those to the north of the Sand Hill were acquaint- 
ances from Freeborn County, Minnesota, and origi- 
nally came from Osterdalen, in Norway. The settle- 
ments became known among the Norwegians as 
Telemarken and Osterdalen. 

These settlers' chief occupation, for a number of 
years, was stock raising, both on their own account 
and on shares, or for pay from the Hudson's Bay 
Company. Agriculture was conducted on a compar- 




atively small scale, as the markets were not developed, 
and, besides, the grasshoppers harvested what they 
did put in during the first two or three years. Fish- 
ing for cattish was quite an industry among the set- 
tlers those days. 


As time went on each of these pioneers corre- 
sponded with friends in other localities, who soon came 
and located near them, and thus the settlements grew 
at a remarkably rapid rate, the Irish, the Bygland, 
the Scotch, and the Stavanger Settlements. North of 
the Osterdalen Settlement, came several Irish fami- 
lies, and located what is called the Irish Settlement. 
They came there soon after, but the same year as the 
Osterdalens, and among them were Peter Genaw, 
Barney Haggerty, Mike Quirk, Patrick Quigley, 
Thomas and John Logan, John Garrety, and Mathew 

North of the Irish Settlement, and for a stretch 
of about twelve miles, is the settlement known as 
Seterdalen. The first man to settle there was Daniel 
Ose, in June, 1872, and the next was his brother-in- 
law, Knute Ose, who took land near him in August 
of the same year. These two Oses had been induced 
to come by ToUef Ose, who was one of those who took 
land along the Sand Hill River in 1871, and became 
neighbor and partner to Levi Steenerson, who was 
engaged in teaming and contracting for the Hudson's 
Bay Company. He was interested in developing the 
County, and saw the opportunities for emigrants to 
soon become independent land owners in this new 
country. He advised them to come and locate, which 
they did, and they became the nucleus for that set- 
tlement, which grew very rapidly, and when it was 
organized into a town was named Bygland, after the 
town in Norway where the Oses came from. 

That part of Polk County which is now Norman 
County, from near Georgetown, on "Wild Rice River, 
to north of Marsh River, was settled about the same 
time as the Sand Hill country, only a little later in 

the summer. Among the first there were Joe Grotte 
and his three sons, Joseph, Nicholas, and Albert. 
Peter, John, and Tonnes Efterland, Andrew B. Lar- 
son, Lars B. Larson, Andrew Thompson, L. Hender- 
son, H. L. Gorden, Ole Halstad, R. and N. R. Hage, 
and L. L. Hauske. The majority of these immigrants 
were from Fillmore County, and originally from Sta- 
vanger, Norway, wherefore it was frequently called 
the Stavanger Settlement. 

The Norwegian stream of emigrants seems to have 
stopped at Red Lake River, as there we find the Scotch 
in possession in the same year, represented by such 
hardy pioneers as Robert and John Coulter, James 
Thomas, Robert Nisbet, and William Flemming, who 
were soon followed by their friends and acquaintances 
until the Scotch element also had a fair foothold in 
the virgin soil of Polk County. 


In 1872 parties began to locate on the Red Lake 
River near Crookston. Among the first there were 
found Bernard Sampson, E. M. Walsh, Peter Cor- 
nelius, Christian Sather, John Darko, Delos Jacobus, 
Wm. Stewart, James Greenhalgh, E. C. Davis, N. P. 
Johnson, John Christianson, P. J. LaChapelle, and 
Richard Hussey. They were attracted by the rail- 
road survey which located the crossing at the pres- 
ent site of Crookston. 

The Danes and Swedes, not to be outdone, also put 
in appearances. Of the Danes we recall Hans P. 
Johnson, Nels P. Johnson, L. P. Johnson, Ole Chris- 
tiansen, C. C. Tygesen, and of the Swedes, Nels Wood- 
Strom, Nels and Andrew Malmberg, Olof Erickson, 
and August Peterson. 


On account of the financial panic of 1873, the rail- 
road was not completed when expected and the set- 
tlers, for a number of years, were doomed to disap- 
pointment and great hardships. The settlers along 
the Red River were better off, because in summer 
time the steamboats plied the river as far as Moor- 



head in early spring, and to Frog Point (now Bel- 
mont), later in the season. In low stages of water, and 
in the winter time, the Hudson 's Bay Company main- 
tained a stage line on the Dakota side, and trading 
posts at points ten or twelve miles apart, thus keeping 
up communication between St. Paul and Winnipeg 
the year around. 

fisher's landing first commercial point. 

The projected and partly built St. Paul & Pacific 
Railroad was, during the years following, patched up 
so as to carry traffic between Fisher and Glyndon 
where it connected with the Northern Pacific, which 
was in operation between Duluth and Moorhead. Fish- 
er's Landing was head of navigation on Red Lake 
River, and there connected with the steamboats run- 
ning up Red River from Winnipeg. Thus a traffic was 
established, via Crookston, between St. Paul and Win- 
nipeg, which afforded the settlers relief to a consider- 
able degree. Although in winter they were barred out 
of this communication with the outside world, it did 
not cause such disappointment as at first, as it was all 
understood before hand, and all were prepared for this 

These conditions prevailed until 1880, and during 
that time Fisher's Landing was the leading business 
point in the county. In the early seventies the influx 
of settlers was rather slow, on account of the ravages 
of the grasshoppers and the unsettled condition of 
railroad building. It will be remembered that this 
was the period following the financial panic of 1873 
and the failure of Jay Cooke & Company, who were 
the chief promotors of the Northern Pacific and other 
railroads of this country at the time. 


Up to 1876 the settlement of the county extended 
very little more than has already been mentioned. 
That is to say, it was settled along the streams; the 
Red River, the Sand Hill River, and the Red Lake 
River as far up as a few miles above Crookston ; the 
prairie was unoccupied and in its wild stage. The 
lands were not surveyed until 1874, so that up to that 

time the settlers were merely squatters. It then became 
known where they were "at," and from that time 
there were Government regulations to follow. 

The Railroad Company had a grant of every odd 
section for twenty miles from the Red River east, ex- 
tending from River to the Canadian Line, and 
this was in dispute in some way so that it could not 
be sold, but the company recognized the first applicant 
to purchase, by acknowledging his application on a 
postal card, stating that the application had been re- 
ceived and placed on file and would receive fii-st 
consideration when placed on the market, which would 
be when a decision on the validity of the grant had 
been reached. While this was all right, these condi- 
tions made events uncertain, and did not tend to boost 
things. In a few years, however, this uncertainty 
came to an end as the railroad company secured a 
favorable decision and put their lands on the market 
at very reasonable terms, and they went like "hot 
cakes." It was not long until the prairies were set- 
tled, as well as the timbered stretches along the 
streams. Up to this time the country was mainly a 
grazing country, but now it began to take on a differ- 
ent aspect. The St. Paul & Pacific Railroad had come 
into the hands of men familiar with the Red River 
Valley, of whom N. W. Kittson and J. J. Hill were 
leading spirits, and the master hand of the now famous 
financier was soon in evidence. The St. Paul & Pacific 
Railroad became the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Mani- 
toba Railroad, and in 1880 was completed to Grand 


The years 1878 and 1879 were the real beginning of 
the development of the Red River Valley. During 
this period the railroad lands were placed on the 
market at the rate of $5.00 per acre, but rebated at 
the rate of $2.50 per acre for breaking three-fourths 
of it, and an additional rebate of fifty cents per acre 
for cropping it, so that a quarter section of land cost 
only $440, and no residence was required. It was 
fully as good terms as on Government land ; an addi- 
tional charge, however, was placed on land with tim- ' 
ber on it. 



This method eacouraged the men on the railroad 
lands to break up the land and farm it, and produce 
freight for the railroad to handle, which was of im- 
portance to the railroad company, in order to show 
the financiers of the East that the railroad traversed 
a rich country which would afford traffic sufficient 
to produce profits on its investment. The plan worked 
out to fuU realization for the i-ailroad company, and 
it was not long until all its lands were sold and the 
wheat came into the loading stations so fast that they 
were unable to take care of it for want of cars and 
elevators. The railroad company then arranged with 
elevator companies to build elevators, and gave them 
preference over track-buyers and flat-houses by de- 
clining to furnish the latter with cars, and thus forced 
the wheat into the elevators. This was a justifiable 
proposition, probably, from the standpoint of the rail- 
road company, but it was a bitter pill for the grain 
growers to swallow, and led to a strife between the 
farmers and the railroad company. The farmers 
finally made their demand a State issue, resulting in 
legislative enactments tending to relieve the conditions 
and to establish the principle of State control of rail- 
roads, which recently has been confirmed to the fullest 
extent by the United States Supreme Court. 

It is interesting to recall the stages of development 
of this great Valley. First, we find it a stock country, 
necessarily so on account of the natural conditions. 
Transportation was of the crudest kind, mostly by 
ox teams over poor roads and across unbridged 
streams. The early settler lived snugly along the 
river bank, well sheltered by tall timber, in which 
he had a cluster of log buildings, used as dwelling 
and stables. He had a large herd of fat, sleek cattle, 
fed exclusively on prairie hay, which had been gath- 
ered on the vast unsettled prairie with a hand scythe 
and pitchfork, and which, possibly on account of its 
having been produced on virgin soil, may have con- 
tained a large amount of nutrition, which enabled the 
cattle to grow fat on it to the exclusion of other food. 
Unrestricted freedom was enjoyed by the pioneer; 
there was no encroachment by near neighbors and he 

had unlimited range for his cattle in summer time, 
with abundance of timber for building and for fire- 
wood. These were comforts which to some degree 
overcame the many hardships of the Red River Valley 

Then a change came. The prairie began to be set- 
tled and opportunities for raising stock began to 
diminish. Claim shanties began to appear on former 
meadows and pasture lands. Soon there were seen 
men driving two ox teams abreast before a breaking 
plovv, turning down the green grass and turning up 
the black soil, making a field at the best rate of speed 
then known. Then some lands would be fenced, and 
soon the hitherto bleak expanse was dotted with 
shacks and well covered by fenced fields. 

These conditions produced two classes of farmei-s — 
those who wanted an open range, and those who 
wanted each one to pasture his own cattle. This 
question was at one time a burning one in this com- 
munity, and a spirited election to decide it was once 
held in the town of Vineland, as there was at that 
time local option by the towns on such questions. The 
party that favored pasture law was defeated, greatly 
to their disappointment, as they were anxious to 
extend their wheat fields. When the next Legislature 
passed a herd law for the State, there were those who 
attributed it to the railroad company, which, they 
said, was encouraging the grain growing to the great- 
est extent possible. This State herd law removed one 
of the main barriers of progress to the prairie farmers. 
The stock man adjusted himself to the new conditions, 
and soon the railroad companies were flooded with 
wheat; and then they began to agitate for more stock 
raising by the farmers. This is a question which still 
puzzles many wise heads, and is yet to be adjusted, 
according to professional critics, in a better manner 
than now prevalent. 


Drainage became of utmost importance, especially 
so in the southeastern part of the county. The Sand 
Hill River lost itself on the flat country near Beltrami, 



and created a vast tract of wet land known, as the 
Beltrami Swamp, extending from near Marsh River, 
south of Beltrami, to west of Fisher, a distance of 
about twenty-four miles, with a width of about six to 
ten miles. The channel of Sand Hill River was com- 
pletely obliterated for ten miles across this swamp, 
and came out again about four miles east of Red 
River, where it again regained its channel, with high 
banks fringed with fine timber, and having a fall of 
several feet to a mile, sufficient to create fine water 
power. The towns of Vineland and Hubbard were 
isolated from Fisher, Crookstou, and Ada. From the 
points where its railroad was running it was neces- 
sary, in order to reach Fisher, to travel around this 
swamp, making the distance twenty -five miles, in place 
of fifteen miles straight across, and the same would 
bold good in order to reach Crookston. We were haul- 
ing our wheat with oxen which traveled about two 
miles per hour, so it can be imagined that it was an 
annoying situation, and a continuous temptation to 
travel straight across ; but if any one was rash enough 
to yield to the temptation he nearly always met with 
disaster by getting stuck in the mire. Imagine the dis- 
gust and despair of a granger who, with his ox team 
and load of wheat, would get stuck in the mire everv 
forty rods for a distance of more than six miles (and 
having to unload and carry the grain sacks on his back 
across each time), and the desire it would incite in the 
mind of such granger for better roads and better 
drainage, and how he would highly resolve to pro- 
mote such a reform! 

It was to some extent due to this situation that 
the matter of drainage was finally taken up by the 
State. During the fall of 1879 a mass meeting was 
called in the Sand Hill Settlement for the purpose 
of seeing what could be accomplished with regard 
to opening the channel of Sand Hill River, and also 
to secure a road across to Crookston, the county seat. 
The secretary of the meeting was instructed to com- 
municate with the county commissioners and the 
St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad Company 

with a view to get aid from them to further the enter- 
prise. This resulted in a call for a drainage conven- 
tion, which was held at Crookston in a skating rink 
located on the corner where the federal building now 
stands. At that convention it was decided to ask the 
State for an appropriation for a drainage survey, and 
J. J. Hill pledged one third of the cost. At the next 
Legislature the appropriation was made and later fol- 
lowed up by appropriate legislation on the subject, 
until a system of drainage had been installed which 
has been of incalculable benefit to our county and 

Where parties in 1877 maintained a muskrat camp, 
and the writer partook of a dish of muskrat soup, 
he, in 1907 established a route and located boxes for 
rural free mail delivery, and this land today is grow- 
ing as fine a crop as any other tract in the county, 
and fine automobile roads traverse it in all directions. 
Fine frame dwellings and barns can now be seen 
where in early pioneer days ducks and geese were 
swimming among the weeds. The fine dwellings and 
barns now throughout our county present a great 
contrast to the structures of 1871 to 1878. 


The writer had a log house ten by twelve feet on 
his homestead in section six, township one hundred 
forty-eight, range forty-eight; it was covered with 
elm bark, with turf on top of it to hold it down and 
make it warm. The logs in the structure were about 
eight inches in diameter at the top; each end of the 
log had a notch cut half way into it, and these were 
laid on top of each other, the upper side being hewed 
into shape to fit into the notch of the other log. This 
dwelling had a door and a window ; the ground served 
as a floor; three beams and the walls and sides con- 
stituted the rest on which the elm bark roofing was 
placed. It was a real modern beam ceiling bungalow. 
This model was one of the best in vogue for the time 
for the bachelors, with the exception that mine was 
smaller than the general run. 




My neighbor on section eight, cornering on my 
homestead, had a cabin of a different make, one which 
was not considered as well up in fashion as mine, but 
which he insisted was of much older architectural 
design ; and unless he could be convinced, he said, that 
my more modern structure proved of some special 
superior fitness, he would consider his the better of 
the two, not to mention the fact that he had a larger 
structure than I, which he continually reminded me 
of especially in the presence of a friend of ours, who 
had several marriageable daughters. 

I must not forget to give my neighbor's name and 
to describe how his cabin was constructed. His name 
was Jorgen Jorgenson Tudal. His cabin was sixteen 
by twenty-four feet in size and was dug four feet 
down into the ground, and the dirt piled two feet 
high on one side of it and three feet on the other; a 
rather small log was placed on top of the dirt on the 
lower side and a big one on the higher side, thus giv- 
ing sufficient slant for a roof. In the center was 
placed a good strong log, and across the whole were 
placed split poles, and on top of that was put a layer 
of hay, then a lot of loose dirt, next a layer of turf ; 
there were a door and window in the front end. 

Jorgen would always insist that I should stay with 
him, as there was so much more room in his house, 
and I frequently acceded to his wishes, and I had to 
admit that my quarters were rather cramped. An 
opportunity came, however, that proved that my cabin 
was superior in fitness. At one time, while we were 
attending a stag dance at a bachelor friend's house, 
on a sultry summer evening, he insisted I should stay 
with him after the dance was over, and I consented. 
It was well on in the wee small hours when we retired 
and we were quite drowsy and soon fell asleep. Jorgen 
was a very heavy sleeper and was snoring away in 
great shape — snoring so that the reverberation fairly 
shook the roofing. We had not been sleeping very 
long until a big rain storm set in and the rain came 
down in torrents. I finally awoke and found the 
water coming in on all sides and standing two feet 

deep on the floor ; the bread box w-as floating around ; 
the ham and yeast cakes came tumbling from their 
moorings, and dirt was continually sliding off the 
wall as the rain washed it down. I shook Jorgen by 
the arm and called out to him, but he slept on. I 
could not arouse him. Finally I took him by the legs 
and pulled his bare feet down into the water and thus 
got him awake. I called out to him then, "Jorgen, 
your house is not fit to live in ; let us go down to my 
place." "Oh, you scoundrel," he said, "how can you 
sit there and laugh at this ? See ray bread and bacon 
in the water!" 


Besides those I have already named as the earliest 
pioneers I will give a list of names of others who 
came to the county previous to the period of rail- 
roads, say U13 to 1879, and the towns in which they 

Hubbard Town : Andrew Thompson, Peter Jacob- 
son, Henry Smith, Lars Helgeland, Ole Spokley, Jens 
Syverson, Nels Paulsrud, John Bjorenstad, Jens 
Vigen, Biire Kolstad, Carl Olson, Halvor Kravik, El- 
ling Ellingson, John EUingson, Ole Fossos, Gunder 
Veum, Jorgen Jorgenson, Thor A. Berland, Frank 
Hanson, Halvor, Gunder, Kittel and Ole Dale, Ole 
Thostenson, Knute S. Aker, Elias Steenerson. 

Town of Vineland : Steener Knutson, Chris and 
Andrew Steenerson, Ole and Andrew Bremseth, Tom 
Knutson, Andrew P. Elseth, S. P. Elseth, Iner H. M. 
Joen, Sven P. Svenson, M. C. Roholt, Iver Bjorge, Ole 
and Erick Stortroem, Anthon E. Hanson, Simon Ban- 
gen, Ole Simonson, Hans Bangen, Hans and Lars 
Berg, Swennung and Erick Linden, Peter, Edward 
and Amon Moen, John and Peter Thompson, John J. 
Borsevald, Ingeret Stubson, Nels Thune, Nels Glaback, 
Hans Glasrud. 

Town of Tynsert : Ole and Jacob Johnson, Erick 
Jordal, Paul Halverson, Isia Abrahamson (a Fin- 
lander), Hans Kopang, Helge Thoreson, Esten, Leet, 
Ole and Ingebret Fosback, Ole Bruenen, August Aas, 
Iver Lund, Peter Boukind, Halvor Lunos, Ingebret 



Vingelin, EUing Dokken, Gunder Harraldson, Arne 
Ness, Ole, John, Louis aud Lars Larson, Andrew 
Elby, K. D. Gulseth, Lars Gulseth. 

Town of Bygland : Torkel and Ole Danialson, Tar- 
grim Jorgenson, Jorgen Kniite, Halvor and Ole Torg- 
rimson, Gunsten and Swenke Swenkenson, Torbjon 
Tollefson, Anton Lindem, Soreu, Knute, Paul, and Ole 
Sorenson, Ole aud Osmund, Isaacson and Osmund 
Osmundson, Knute K., Halvor K., aud Osmund K. 
Knutson, Tom Benson, J. G. Anderson, Ole Anderson, 
Jens Halvorson, Ben Torkleson, Aslak Bjorenson, Ole 

Fisher : Ole and Jacob Jorgenson, Andrew, Halvor, 
Nels and Ole Stalemoe, Ole "Williamson, Jon Peterson, 
Ole Vatendal, A. G. Anderson, T. G. Olson, Osmund 
and Gunder Thommason, Patrick Lealos, John Cown- 
eron, Henry Sweet, Fred and George Warden, Sam 
Tarreson, Theodore Helgeson, Jens Halvorson, John 
Hegg, Jens Wallerbeek, A. E. Bradish, Tom Ei'win, 
Carl Widenhoefer, Mike Feleske, Julius Wagoner, 
Adam Burr, Julius Zacho, C. U. Webster, Fred Radi, 
Hod, Frank and Will Haney, Ole and Jorgen Hanson, 
Louis Christienson, Gunder, Gudno and Knute Lee, 
James Brewster, Dave Greenlief, Thomas Moran, 
James, Roberts, and Dan Bain, Mike Burns, Ole Olson, 
J. B. Merrill, Even and Lars Olson, Hugh Thompson, 
Frank S. DeMers, Gunder Krostue, John Carter, 
Frank Zaraker, Capt. Russell Adam and Alex Thomp- 

Town of Huntsville : Edwin and James Lealos, Ed 
Cookman, George, Charley, and Alex Coulter, D. B. 
Ferguson, James Shanks, Tom MacVity, James Mc- 
Gregor, Paul Jones, Joe Jai-ves, Wilber Skinner, 
Richard Barrett, John Goodwin, James aud Joseph 
Robertson, James Lee, James, Dan and John Mc- 
Donald, R. E. White, Ole Hanson, Adam Irvine, Rob- 
ert Anderson, Arne Higden, James Cummings, Dun- 
can Bain, A. Boucher, Leon Surpanault, Halvor Thar- 
aldson, Ole Danielson, M. Boucher, M. Hunt, A. L. 
Steele, Jerry Enright. William Jackson, Garrett Mur- 
phy, C. J. Tollakson, John, Thomas and Pete McCoy. 

Crookston : Frank Bevins, J. 0. Sai'gent, H. 
Schribner, H. C. Schribner, B. Soper, Jacob Ide, Mart. 

Leikness, Simon Skogness, Andrew Kleven, Ole Knut- 
son, J. B. Rome, Peter Berg, Chris Hansel, Sampson 
and Matt Hilde, Ole Jorgenson, L. Aspass, Knute A. 
Berget, Chas. Mattsou, J. Knutson, Ole Engebritson, 
A. Andei'son, J. B. Anderson, Rev. Bersnen Ander- 
son, John Gilbei't, Jens Wallerbeek, 0. 0. Knudson, 
IT. 0. Gudvongen, S. C. Lytle, A. Arness, M. K. Valor, 
John Saugstad, T. A. Harris, 0. J Volland, Ole Kro- 
ken, Oscar Johnson, John Sylvester and Joseph Syl- 
vester, 0. P. Onstad, W. A. Marin, Mat Cornelius, E. 
E. Lomen, Mike Wentzel, Julius Wentzel, August 
Wentzel, Phil Capestran, Alfred Savory, Christ Han- 
son, Hans Jenson, M. LaPlant, Ole 0. Hoven, N. T. 
Woodstrom, John Stoughten, 0. K. Quamme, F. L. 
Robert, M. C. Hanson, T. H. Bjoin, P. J. McGuire, 
Rice Webb, William Watts, R. H. Cochran, E. F. Kel- 
ley, M. Langevin, Fred Fox, Joe Gouche. 


Edmund M. Walsh will always be fairly distin- 
guished for his pi'ominent connection with the early 
history of Crookston and Polk County. He came here 
when but 20 years of age. His personal sketch, which 
appears elsewhere, shows that he was born in New 
York State in 1851, and when six years of age was 
brought by his parents to Henderson, Sibley County, 
Minn., where he was reared to young manhood. In 
1870 he took charge of his father's general store at 
Henderson, but closed it the following year and set 
out for the Red River Valley, which became the future 
scene of his successful operations. 

At the time Mr. Walsh left Henderson the old St. 
Paul & Pacific Railway Company was operating its 
line at that time from St. Paul to Willmar, and con- 
structing the balance of the line to Breckenridge. A 
four-horse stage line was running from Willmar to 
Fort Garry and carrying passengers, express, and 
mail, and the freighting was done by Red River carts 
drawn by Indian ponies and oxen, one pony or ox 
being harnessed to each cart; sometimes there were 



as many as two hundred carts in a string. These ve- 
hicles were made entirely of wood, and often, when 
in motion, their squeaking could be heard for a long 
distance. A large amount of freight was also hauled 
by American freighters, using, mostly, oxen and 
wagons, and hauling from one ton to one and one-half 
tons to the wagon, and making on an average of twenty 
miles a day ; but when the Northern Pacific Railway 
was completed and in operation to Moorhead, the Red 
River steamboats and barges superseded and put out 
of business the ox carts and wagons as freightei's. 

Describing his pioneer experiences in the great Val- 
ley, Mr. Walsh writes: 

I left St. Paul, the forepart of September, in the 
year 1871, and went as far as Willmar on the passen- 
ger train of the old St. Paul & Pacific, now the Great 
Northern. At Willmar I boarded the construction 
train and rode to the end of the track, then walked 
thirty miles to Breckenridge, which was then com- 
posed of one shanty as a stopping place. I expected 
to overtake an ox train going to Fort Garry (which 
train was owned by friends of mine), and continue 
my trip with them as far as Grand Forks, North 
Dakota, where my father was in the lumber and mei'- 
cantile business ; but unfortunately for me the ox train 
had left Breckenridge, the day before I had gotten 
there, and so there was nothing left for me to do but 
to start out on foot and alone and overtake my friends ; 
but this I accomplished that same da.y, after they had 
struck camp for the night. The next day we passed 
through Moorhead. This was a very busy place at 
that time, as the Northern Pacific crossing had just 
been located at that point, and every one Avas either 
building or seemed to be getting ready to build. There 
were also a number of tent stores and saloons; the 
only building of any importance was the Chapin 

Georgetown was the next point of interest, beiug 
the Hudson's Bay trading post, having stores and 
buildings of good construction. Here we crossed the 
Red River to the Dakota side and continued our slow 
journey north. When we got to within twenty miles 

of Grand Forks, we had stopped at a creek to water 
the oxen ; then the stage came along, and also stopped 
to water the stage horses. I induced the stage driver 
to take me into Grand Forks, where we arrived after 
dark at the stage and hotel station, which was kept 
by John Stewart. I asked him if that was Grand 
Forks, and he said "Well, yes; part of it." I then 
asked him where the rest of it was, and he told me 
around the corner of the building, and said "Do j'ou 
see that light over there, about a mile away?" I 
said "yes." "Well," said he, "that is the rest of 
Grand Forks. Good night." 

The next morning I discovered that Old Uncle John 
was about right, as in the town there were only the 
saw mill owned and operated by Griggs, Walsh & Co., 
their general store, their bunk and boarding house, 
and a small building occupied as a saloon by Romeo 
Whitney. There were also several other buildings 
under construction and which were completed that 
Fall, one being a residence for Capt. Alex. Griggs 
and a boarding house by Uncle John Fadden. 

There not being much for me to do in Grank Forks, 
I boarded the stage November 1, 1871, and went to 
Fort Garry or Winnipeg where I found employment 
at my trade, as tinner, at good wages, and staying 
there until March 1, 1872, I then returned to Grand 
Forks. Winnipeg at that time had a population of 
about 1,000, mostly Scotch and French mixed bloods. 

About that time there was considerable talk of a 
railroad being built through Northern Jlinnesota from 
Breckenridge to Pembina. From information that 
some of the leading men of Grand Forks had, it was 
said that the crossing of the Red Lake River by the 
railroad would be about ten or twelve miles east of 
Grand Forks, and that there would be a gi'eat city 
at that point some day; consequently there was much 
interest manifested by many in trying to .strike the 
right point where the road would cross. Myself 
with Jake Eshelman (known as "Stripes"), Harry 
Farmer ("the dude"), and Harry Sheppard 
("Shepp"), were sent up the Red Lake River to set- 
tle on four claims (the land not being surveyed at 





that time), and to hold them for the town syndicate. 
We located our claims about two or three miles west 
of where Fisher is now located, and commenced to 
make improvements in the way of shanty building, 

Along about May 1, 1872, we were informed that the 
railroad had located the crossing at Crookston, so 
we then abandoned our claims and joined in the rush 
to the crossing, afterwards named Crookston, after the 
chief engineer of the railroad. Col. Wm. Crooks, of 
St. Paul. We were too late to secure any land on the 
town site, as it was all taken up or squatted on by 
parties following the railroad engineers. Bob Hous- 
ton was one of the first, with W. H. Stewart, Leo 
Peigonote, E. C. Davies, Joseph Barrett, B. Sampson, 
John Darkow, Dick Hussey close seconds. Soon a 
very lively little town was born, and it grew quite 
rapidly. Stewart started a saloon and hotel; Davis, 
who had a large grading contract, had supply stores, 
and other stores and saloons — principally saloons — 
grew up in a night. Among others of the first settlers 
whom I call to mind are J. R. Barb, Charles Wentzel, 
Frank Jerome, P. Gervais, Paschal and Mrs. Lacha- 
pelle, Jake Meyers, Jim Turner, and Henry Sheppard. 
There were a great many men employed in railroad 
work, in steel and grading gangs, and business was 
very brisk, gamblers and others of that ilk reaping 
part of the prosperity. During the summer of 1872 
Bruns & Finkle, of Moorhead, put up a large store, 
which was managed by Wm. Ross. E. Lariviere also 
put up a large store and had a large Indian trade, and 
about that time I put up a frame tar-paper shack 
and started a tin shop and hardware store on a small 
scale. There were also a few settlers that came in and 
settled on land near Crookston. James Greenhalgh, 
Sr., Christ Sathre, Peter Cornelius, David Wilkins, 
and Sam Honeywell, with their families, were among 
the first to settle. 

Prosperity wa.s in the air all during the summer 
and up to the middle of October in the year 1872, 
when word came from railroad headquarters to stop 
all work at once; consequently several hundred men 

were thrown out of work. As winter was coming on 
most of the men left and winter closed in on the few 
that remained. Fortunately the stores and others 
had large stocks of goods on hand. Money being 
plenty (apparently), everj'body lived high, antici- 
pating the resumption of railroad work in the early 
spring of 1873; but we were doomed to disappoint- 
ment, and for four years it might be said we hung on 
by our eyelashes waiting for the operation of the 

A part of this period is what we used to call "cat- 
fish-or-no-breakfast " times, and what the inhabitants 
didn't know about cooking cat-fish was not worth 
knowing. We had them stewed, fried, baked, boiled, 
scalloped, and in bouillon. The winter months con- 
stituted the social season of the year, and were spent 
in dancing, surprise parties, theatrical entertainments 
with all local talent, and other social doings. During 
these years, were added to our numbers K. D. Chase, 
John McLean, W. G. Woodruff, D. Jacobus, E. H. 
Shaw, H. G. Palmer, Munroe Palmer, and their fam- 
ilies. Mrs. Munroe Palmer was our first school mis- 
tress, and taught the few children in a small log 
cabin that was built by the railroad engineers. 

The Indians were very numerous during the early 
years of settlement. Particularly in the summer 
time they would come in, in large numbers, and they 
usually camped where the High School buildings now 
are. They were peaceable enough and we had very 
little trouble with them, except when they got liquor 
from some of the traders, and this happened often 
enough to cause the U. S. Government to send U. S. 
Marshal Nichols here to investigate. He evidently 
found evidence enough to convince himself that there 
was good cause for complaints, for a short time after 
his third visit here he returned with a squad of soldiers 
from Fort Pembina and seized the entire stock of 
goods of E. Lariviere 's store and later sold the same 
at public auction. Mr. W. D. Bailey was the success- 
ful bidder, and he continued the business until he sold 
out to Fontain & Anglim in 1876. 

The Red River steam boats ran up here part of the 



seasons of 1874 and 1875, landing at the foot of Third 
Street, and carrying freight to Winnipeg which had 
been hauled in here by the branch line of the St. Paul 
& Pacific Railroad. During 1875 the railroad was 
built into Fisher's Landing, which was made the head 
of navigation until the railroad was built on to Grand 

In 1877 and 1878 the heavy settlement of Polk 
County began. Pierre Bottineau and his son, John 
B., brought in a large number of French Canadians 
from Ramsey and Hennepin Counties, Minnesota, and 
also quite a number from "the East, locating them 
along Red Lake River from Louisville to Red Lake 
Falls, and along Clearwater River from Red 
Lake Falls to Lambert. The Southern part of the 
State also furnished quite a number of settlers from 
Wabasha County and other points on the Mississippi 
River, and these newcomers settled around Crookston. 



In 1871 a firm of lumbermen, Jarvis & Berridge, 
of Winnipeg, purchased a lot of logs cut from Indian 
lands, under a permit from the Indian Department, 
for the sale of stumpage, the proceeds to go to the 
Indians. The logging was to be done just north of 
the White Earth Reservation, on the very upper 
waters of the Clearwater River, a tributary of Red 
Lake River, coming in at Red Lake Falls. The en- 
terprise was in large part a failure, in consequence 
of the extraordinary expense of driving the logs, and 
the prosecutions by the Government of those who did 
the logging on the deal with the Indian Department, 
as not being authorized by Congress. This led to 
prosecutions by the Federal Department, and it was 
finally declared an unwarranted prosecution, as the 
authorization of the cutting was done by the Indian 
Department and parties to the contract, as purchas- 
ers of the timber, were legally authorized; therefore, 

for any violation of law pertaining to the operations, 
the Government officials should be held responsible. 
In this case the cutting was not held to be a criminal 
offense, as it was done in the interest of the Indians. 
The work extended over two or three years, in efforts 
to get the logs over the difficult driving on Clear- 
water River. 

These operations led the lumbermen of Winnipeg 
to investigating the timber on Rice River, which runs 
through the White Earth Reservation, and on the 
Red Lake and Clearwater Rivers, on the Red Lake 
Reservation. It was found that a considerable body 
of timber, belonging to the Pillsburys and to T. B. 
Walker, was lying around the northeast corner and 
easterly side of the White Earth Reservation. The 
most of this timber, bj^ more or less of a long haul, 
could reach the Clearwater River (which, for the first 
ten or fifteen miles, runs eastward along the north 
boundary of the White Earth Reservation, and then 
farther east and noi-th to Clearwater Lake), and 
made a considerable body of the pine mentioned, 
tributary to that river. The Winnipeg lumbermen, 
having found this timber available for driving to the 
Red River, undertook to purchase some of it for sup- 
plying their mills in Winnipeg, and their undertak- 
ing resulted in a contract to purchase logs of Mr. T. 
B. Walkei", to be delivered at Winnipeg, at a rate 
which seemed to be sufficient to make the operations 
profitable, although at a large expense for hauling 
and driving the logs. 

Tons of dynamite were used in clearing the boul- 
ders which were thickly strewn along the lower fifty 
miles of the Clearwater River, and expensive dams 
were built to hold the spring floods in Clearwater 
Lake and on the river above. Upon Mr. Walker's 
purchasing the timber owned by the Pillsburys, a 
number of years' logging was carried on and the logs 
driven to Winnipeg, where the difficulties of hold- 
ing the logs, the high price which they had to pay for 
them, and the bad management of the lumber firm, 
made a practical failure of the enterprise, with the 
failure of the lumber company to meet their obliga- 



tious and pay for the logs. Wlieu the logs were all 
delivered in the booms at Winnipeg, the banks came 
to the rescue, took possession of the logs and paid for 
them, and ran the mills and received back their ad- 
vance, together with money already due them from 
the Winnipeg lumber firm. 

The drive of logs that was delivered at Winnipeg 
that last season was one that had been hung up the 
year before on the Clearwater River, and which, by 
means of the spring floods, was brought down over 
the falls and rapids and into Red Lake River, where 
there was plenty of water to drive the balance of the 
way. The logs of the previous winter were driven 
down to the rapids and had to be left (the same as 
they had been the year before), for the drive that 
was taken that year to Winnipeg. 

As the Winnipeg firm was "all in" it was not in 
condition to purchase the logs, which were hung up 
on Clearwater River, and this led to the building of 
the lumber mills at Crookston. A site was selected 
opposite the city, on the townsite of Carmen, which 
had only the river between it and the townsite of 
Crookston. The mill was built and expensive improve- 
ments put in for holding logs. These improvements 
consisted of expensive cut-offs or bins above Crooks- 
ton for the floods to pass through and leave the logs 
on the lagoons, with very expensive piers and booms ; 
this made quite a practical and satisfactory lumber- 
ing enterprise, excepting as to its large cost. This 
was followed by attempts of certain parties in Crooks- 
ton to organize boom companies and secure the ripar- 
ian rights on the river to control the booming, making 
the lumber company pay tribute to the extent of about 
what there would be in the lumber business as a boom- 
ing charge for this unnecessary outside interference; 
but the courts intervened and decided against the 
interference, and for that reason, the mills were built 
at Crookston; otherwise they would have gone to 
Grand Forks, or the logs might have been taken again 
to Winnipeg, and no further lumbering would have 
been done at Crookston. 

A first-class milling plant was established at Crooks- 

ton and it was in operation for many years; but as 
soon as the plant was located and the lumber in pile, 
the farmers of the township in which it was located, 
outside of the townsite of Crookston, began levying 
the most excessive rate of taxation, — in excess of that 
levied against any lumber plant in Minnesota, even 
in the cities, where vastly greater expenditures for 
local matters would be necessary. This became so 
burdensome that it became necessary to appeal to 
the Legislature of the State and to add the mill-site 
to the townsite of Crookston, where naturally there 
would be at least double or triple the amount of taxa- 
tion appropriately assessable for expenditures which 
were not in any manner necessary in a townsite of 

Soon after the Crookston mills were in operation, 
the people of Grand Forks, finding how advantageous 
it was to Crookston to have the miUs located there, 
made an especial effort and offered a millsite location 
and a portion of the necessary lumber yard, as an 
inducement for either Mr. Walker or the Red River 
Lumber Company to build mills at that point. They 
also were to furnish the riparian or shore rights for 
boom privileges for holding the logs for a consider- 
able length of the Red River, at Grand Forks, and 
also a considerable length of shore rights on the Red 
Lake River, some miles above Grand Forks, to hold 
larger drives of logs which could not be held down 
at the mill booms. Pursuant to this agreement, the 
mills were built at Grand Forks, just at the lower 
edge of what was then the town, and a thrifty lumber 
manufacturing business was established. After sev- 
eral years the mill burned down, and as the riparian 
rights had never been furnished, as agreed upon by 
some of the prominent citizens of Grand Forks, and 
as there was not sufficient room to hold the logs, and 
there was a likelihood of losing a large lot down the 
river, in case of a flood, Mr. Walker undertook to 
locate on the Minnesota side of the river. This loca- 
tion would have been fully as well, or better, for Grand 
Forks; but the people opposed it and some of the 
citizens bought up shore rights in the properties 



which the mill company was seeking to secure. Find- 
ing that a sufficient amount of boomage rights, as well 
as necessary yard room for piling and for planing 
mills and other purposes of the lumber plant, could 
not be secured, the project was abandoned, and the 
persons who had come there pretending to be in line 
to build more mills were found not to have any such 
intention, but were only speculating out of options 
and purchases which they had made to sell to the 
Red River Lumber Company. Thus ended the Grand 
Forks lumbering operations, after about ten years of 
operating the mills. 

After the Crookston mills had been running for 
about sixteen years, came the panic of '93. At this 
time also came the Government sale of the timber on 
the Red Lake Indian Reservation. As the Red River 
Lumber Company was the only lumber concern on 
Red Lake River, Mr. Walker arranged to secure money 
from the banks in Minneapolis to purchase a sufficient 
amount of the timber to enable the mills at Crooks- 
ton to operate for many years. For this purpose he 
arranged with one of the largest banks of Minneap- 
olis for sufficient funds to purchase a large amount 
of the timber, and to do this, he placed several busi- 
ness accounts, including his own per.sonal account, in 
this bank, and provided, under an agreement, for the 
amount of the ten per cent, which each account was 
allowed to take from the bank, under the banking 
laws. AVhen panicky conditions came on, and the 
bank was calling upon its customers, as far as they 
reasonably could, for payments to meet the withdraw- 
als of money that the depositors were making, there 
was one lumber firm in Minneapolis which owned a 
very favorable tract of timber on the vipper Missis- 
sippi waters. This tract two other prominent lumber 
firms were anxious to purchase and to take advantage 
of the stringent times to secure it at only a fraction 
of its value. Mr. Walker had no interest in either 
one of these concerns — nor was it any of his particular 
business, as to the outcome of such sale — but, finding 
that the president of the bank was forcing the owners 
to sell for $200,000 property worth $600,000 or 

$800,000, he, rather indiscreetly, said to some of the 
directors of the bank, that it was a shame to sacri- 
fice the rights of this concern in favor of the wealthier 
firm that happened to have money to pay, and as that 
firm owed the bank money, the president was requir- 
ing the owners to sell and sacrifice for this price. The 
directors, on the statement of Mr. Walker, did not 
approve the order requiring them to sell, which so 
displeased the president of the bank that he called 
olf the agreement to furnish the additional loans that 
he had agreed to make to Mr. Walker, and also re- 
quired him to pay up the comparatively small amount 
which he owed the bank. 

At that time of panic the banks were not furnishing 
money, and were having a close time to meet their 
own obligations, and so the Red Lake timber sale 
passed and Mr. Walker did not even attend the sale. 
Therefore the Shevlin Company, backed by one of the 
largest concerns in the State, found itself without 
competition to buy in these lands at a veiy low rate, 
and much less than was anticipated. It had been 
presumed that Mr. Walker would be on hand at the 
sale to purchase substantially the whole at whatever 
price was necessary to get it, and at more than any 
one else could afford to pay. He had some use for 
the timber, and the others would have to make a be- 
ginning, and without a sufficient amount to establish 
mills, they hardly considered it worth while to attend 
the sale. 

Mr. Shevlin, after finding himself in possession of 
so large an amount of timber, bought out the mills 
and lumber and the remainder of the timber that Mr. 
Walker owned on the Clearwater River. In addition 
to this, he built mills at Thief River Falls, and for a 
considerable number of years supplied the Red River 
Valley with lumber and aided very materially in the 
prosperity of the northwestern part of the state. Mr. 
Walker then withdrew from that territory and after- 
ward built mills over at Akeley, Hubbard County, 
Minnesota, on the headwaters of the Crow Wing 
River, and has been, up to the present time, quite 
largely engaged in manufacturing lumber at that 

'yAo-incLj ■iy> //<a/A^yr- 



point. In the meantime, he sold his milling plant in 
Minneapolis and for the past sixteen years, has been 
engaged only in manufacturing at the new townsite 
of Akeley. 

The episode given as the reason for Mr. Walker's 
abandoning the Red Lake River mills at Crookston, 
and the sale to Shevlin & Company, is more a per- 
sonal incident than an historical feature, but may be 
of interest as an explanation, and as an example of 
how an incidental or accidental circumst-ance may 
turn the current of events into different channels. 


In the spring of 1877, in company with James Hill, 
of Warren, Wisconsin, Superintendent W. H. Fisher, 
of St. Paul, Minn., et al., I visited the Valley of the 
Red River of the North, making headquai'ters at 
Crookston. At this time the other railroads into the 
Valley were the Northern Pacific, which had been built 
from Duluth to a point just west of Fargo, and the 
old St. Paul & Pacific, which had built two lines, one 
of which, starting from St. Paul, had been completed 
as far north as Melrose, Minn. ; the other starting at 
Minneapolis, had been completed and was being oper- 
ated to Breckenridge, Minn. Also, while these were 
in process of construction, the company building the 
road brought material from Duluth over the Northern 
Pacific to Glyndon, and had laid rails as far south as 
old Barnesville toward Melrose, and also north from 
Glyndon to what is now Euclid. At this point of con- 
struction the financial backers of the vSt. Paul & Pacific 
were thrown into bankruptcy, all work stopped, and 
the property defaulting on its interest was thrown 
into court and J. P. Farley, of the Illinois Central, 
was named receiver, with W. H. Fisher as superin- 

After Mr. Farley's appointment as receiver, he had 
interested Norman Kittson, of St. Paul, who was run- 
ning a line of steamboats from Crookston to Port 

Garry (now Winnipeg) on the Red River, induced 
him to furnish the funds to take up the track from 
Crookston to Euclid and relay it to Fisher, thereby 
enabling the boats to meet the end of the railway 
without navigating the dangerous stretch of river 
between Crookston and Fisher. 

This was the condition of the railway service on 
my first visit to Crookston. Our party took the train 
at Minneapolis, and during the day made our way 
to Breckenridge where we stopped over night at the 
old Hyser House. The next morning we hired a team 
and drove to Fargo, stopping at Fort Abercrombie 
for dinner, reaching the old Headquarters Hotel at 
Fargo near nightfall. I distinctly remember that 
where Wahpeton now stands there was but one house 
and that was covered with tar paper. The third morn- 
ing we took train from Fargo to Glyndon, ten miles, 
and then changed from the Northern Pacific to the 
St. Paul & Pacific and went aboard a mixed train, 
which ran tri-weekly during the summer (there were 
no trains in the winter), from old Barnesville to 
Fisher. We arrived at Crookston in the afternoon 
of the third day. 

The town at that time consisted of two streets; the 
main one is now the alley between the Great Northern 
Depot and the property known for many years as the 
Fountain & Anglim store, at that time occupied by W. 
D. Bailey as a general store. The other was a short 
intersection of Robert Street from the railway to what 
is now known as the Routell Block, then occupied by 
Ross & Walsh as a general store and tin-shop. 

During the previous spring Mr. Farley had been 
greatly hampered in operating the road by the flood 
waters collecting on the south half of Section 1, just 
south of the river, and on our return to St. Paul, he 
proposed to Mr. Hill and myself that if we would buy 
Section 1 at the agreed price of $2.50 per acre, and 
bind ourselves to drain it so the water would not be 
a menace to traffic, he would, "i"un flat cars under 
the Crookston depot and locate it and the town on 
Section 1, moving all their switches and the yards, 
with other railroad property, to the south side of 



the river. ' ' We were not ready at that time to accept 
the offer, aud six weeks later, when we went back 
prepared to enter into the contract, he informed us 
that in the meantime J. J. Hill and associates had 
secured control of the properties, and that it was 
beyond his power to carry out his former proposition. 

This trip with our party led to the formation of 
the firm of Childs, Lytle & Co., consisting of E. D. 
Childs, W. G. Lytle, and James Hill, and the con- 
tracting between this partnership and J. P. Farley 
for 10,000 acres of land of the St. Paul & Pacific 
Railway grant at the price of $2.50 per acre, or 
$25,000. This contract was afterwards ratified by 
J. J. Hill and his associates and the laud selected from 
the townships of Andover, Fairfax, Lowell, and 

During the summer of 1877 we sent teams from 
Warren, Wisconsin, to Crookston and broke up 300 
acres of land on sections 23 and 24 in the township 
of Andover, returning the teams to Wisconsin for the 
winter at the close of the breaking season. In the 
spring of 1878 Mr. Lytle and family and myself and 
family removed to Crookston, where Mr. Lytle still 
resides (although he retired from the firm in the fall 
of 1880), and where I remained until the fall of 1907. 

We were the pioneers in the wheat business from 
Ada north, except that Barnes & Tenuy, of Glyndon, 
had bought a few carloads at Crookston during the 
fall of 1877. They built houses at Rolette, Beltrami, 
Carmen, and Crookston, and as fast as the road was 
extended north, after its re-organization as the St. 
Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba. Under the firm name 
of Sterret, Hill & Childs, we built at Fanny, Euclid, 
Angus, Warren, Argyle, Stephen, HaUock, and St. 
Vincent ; also on the line to the west as far as Grand 
Porks. At Fisher we went into Capt. Demeres's 
wheat field cut down a portion of his grain, sufficient 
for a building site, had the elevator built, and filled 
with over 30,000 bushels of wheat before a rail was 
laid to it, so we could load cars. 

When at Grand Forks, the very first cars of freight 
brought in by rail was the lumber for our wheat 

When we first settled in Crookston, one of the heavi- 
est drawbacks to immigration was the lack of good 
water supply for domestic use and during 1878 and 
1879 our firm spent much money in prospecting for 
an artesian supply from below the alkaline deposit. 
Finally, in company with Corser & Elwood, we im- 
ported a deep-well contractor, with his machinery 
from Minneapolis, and succeeded in establishing two 
flowing wells in Carmen. An analysis of these waters 
showed them to be 99.4 per-cent pure water and the 
residue healthful mineral salts. One of these wells, 
furnished water for the city of Grand Porks during 
the great typhoid epidemic in the decade of 1880, 
being shipped over in carload lots; but afterwards, 
when the Carmen elevators burned, this well was 
choked and has never been opened up ; the other well 
is still in use in the street north of Block 11, Carmen. 
This demonstration of the existence of an artesian 
basin of pure water in the Red River Valley was a 
factor in its development of more than passing in- 

In 1880 and 1881 our firm platted and dedicated 
the townsite of Carmen, now embraced in the Fifth 
ward of Crookston. 

When the city in the earlj' '80s was negotiating 
Avith T. B. Walker of Minneapolis, asking him to 
locate a great lumber industry at that point, the dona- 
tion by our firm, without price, of the land on which 
the mill and lumberyard were established was a lead- 
ing factor in influencing Mr. Walker's decision. 

In the church life of the city it was my privilege 
to be one of the charter members of the First Meth- 
odist Church, and at a later date, of the Baptist, both 
in Crookston and Carmen. After the city limits were 
extended south of the river during different periods 
I was for fourteen years a member of the City Coun- 
cil and took part in miich of the important legisla- 
tion of that period, among others had an active part 
in defeating the $50,000 bond issue, which was sought 
to be given as a bonus to the Northern Pacific Railroad 
when it entered the city. 

The years 1878 to 1888 were crowded full of activ- 
ity. We were laying foundations on which those who 



* i 




came later have in many instances builded success- 
fully. Late in the decade of 1880 my partner, Mr. 
Hill, made a heavy and most unfortunate investment 
in a silver mine in New Mexico, which swept away 
every vestige of his personal fortune. Tlie loss so far 
undermined the financial condition of our corpora- 
tion that it took the next fifteen years, and very great 
sacrifices of our holdings, to pay off the claims result- 
ing from his unfortunate speculation, and this led to 
my selling all of our holdings in Minnesota and re- 
moval, in 1907, to Washington, where I have since 




settlers' ASSOCIATION. 

To the large number of members of the Old Settlers' 
Association who were not present when the initial 
steps in the direction of compiling and publishing a 
personal and general history of Polk County, and es- 
pecially of its pioneer period, a statement of the op- 
portunity and circumstances leading to the venture 
is due. The following synopsis of report of the meet- 
ing at which this enterprise was launched will give 
a better view of the spirit and purpose of the old set- 
tlers than any mere statements. 

Persuant to a call issued by John Carter, president 
of the Old Settlers' Association of Polk County, a 
meeting was held in the office of 0. 0. Christianson, 
at Crookston. At this meeting, in addition to the local 
members, there were present the Honorable Halvor 
Steenerson and the Honorable R. J. Montague. Mr. 
Montague was one of the pioneer attorneys of Crooks- 
ton, who at one time held the office of county judge, 
and at another time the office of mayor of Crookston. 
A few years since, be moved to Virginia, Minnesota, 
where he is officially known as city attorney of that 
enterprising city. Routine business being temporarily 
laid aside, Judge IMontague interested the meeting 
with a half hour's talk, reviewing many of the im- 

portant events in the eai-ly history of the county and 
city, also calling to mind many amusing affairs in the 
early public life of the city, recalling and rephrasing 
stories a third of a century old, illustrating the truth 
that a good story well told, like old wine, may improve 
with ago. 

The sympathy of the meeting becoming largely 
reminiscent in its attitude, all were ready to hear from 
Congressman Steenerson, who then addressed the 
meeting. Mr. Steenereon gave a review of the achieve- 
ments of the pioneers who came to the Red River 
Valley leaving old associations, old friends, and even 
civilization, hundreds of miles behind, to try their 
fortunes in an untried climate of long winters of storm 
and snow, and summers of rain and flood. "These 
men," said Mr. Steenerson, "are the heroes who have 
helped build the empire of the Red River Valley, and 
they are worthy of a place in its history." 

Judge William Watts, who has always taken an 
active interest in the earlj' settlement and develop- 
ment of the valley, having contributed quite largely 
to a " History of the Red River Valley, ' ' published in 
1909, next entertained the meeting for a short time, 
and closed with an endorsement of Mr. Steenerson 's 
suggestion. It being evident tliat the sentiment of all 
present was favorable to the proposed history, Mr. 
Steenerson moved that the Old Settlers' Association 
compile and print in book form a history of Polk 
County. The president declared a unanimous vote 
in favor of the motion, and it was so recorded. 

A few weeks later Mr. Bingham, of W. H. Bingham 
& Company, historical publishers, of Minneapolis, 
having become informed of the movement, came to 
Crookston and called on the officers of the association 
with a view to securing the publishing of the con- 
templated history. Later he met with the Old Settlers 
in session and made a proposition, in substance, that 
his firm would furnish material for the history, with 
such aid as the Old Settlers could give, and that his 
firm would furaish such history to the public at a 
price of $15 per copy. The Old Settlers ratified an 
agreement of this nature: this agreement being the 



■warrant under which the publishers have undertaken 
the work. 


Preliminary to the general historical features of 
this work, the writer desires to call the attention of 
the reader to certain conditions, physical and other- 
wise, peculiar to Polk County and differing vastly 
from those found elsewhere in the Red River Valley. 
If one hundred residents of this county were ques- 
tioned as to the location of Polk County, one hun- 
dred would answer, ' ' In the Red River Valley, ' ' and 
not one would give the correct answer. 

Polk County is geographically centrally located 
more largely and partieularlj' in the valley of the Red 
Lake River, than in the valley of the Red River of the 
North. Red Lake River is the outlet of Red Lake, 
the largest body of fresh water within the boundaries 
of any one of the United States of America. This lake 
is located centrally in a basin of about two million 
acres in the northwestern part of Minnesota, having 
a large number of small rivers entering the lake from 
various directions, and but one outlet, the Red Lake 
River. Red Lake River receives, in addition, the flow 
of two important rivers : the Clearwater, coming from 
the southeast and joining Red Lake River at Red Lake 
Falls, and the Thief River, coming from the north and 
joining the Red Lake River at Thief River Falls. 

The natural physical conditions of the Red Lake 
River Valley have no harmony with the conditions of 
the Red River of the North. Red Lake River, after 
reaching the prairie at Red Lake Falls, has a contin- 
uous average fall of four feet per mile, to within a 
few miles of Grand Forks. The Red River of the 
North, as shown by the records accepted as correct, 
has an average of only a major fraction of a one-foot 
incline per mile from Breckenridge to St. Vincent. A 
rapid current clarifies the stream, while a slow one 
tends to a sluggish and unwholesome condition. 

The occasional floods that have occurred in the Red 
River are mentioned in the "History of the Red River 
Valley, ' ' published in 1909, as follows : ' ' These floods 

attain a height of only a few feet below the level of 
the adjoining prairie where that is highest, and along 
the greater part of the distance between Fargo and 
Winnipeg, the banks are overflowed and the flat land 
on each side of the river to a distance of two to four 
miles from it, is covered with water one to five or more 
feet in depth." Compare the above with the condi- 
tions found in the valley of the Red Lake River. The 
Red Lake River flows through a well-defined valley 
ranging from one-quarter to three-quarters of a mile 
wide — from the prairie level on one side to that on 
the other. At Crookston the width is fully three- 
quarters of a mile. The business part and three- 
fourths of the residence portion of the city are located 
between these banks, upon the table lands somewhat 
peculiar to this river. These table lands vary in 
height, and generally slope gradually toward the 
river. The lowest portion of the city has a few resi- 
dences which have been troubled with the high waters, 
as had been anticipated at the time of building. The 
highest water known in Crookston has not risen to a 
point within twenty feet of the prairie level. 

For thirty years the pine logs cut upon the Red 
Lake Indian Reservation were floated down the Red 
Lake River to the T. B. Walker sawmill, at Crookston, 
and manufactured into lumber to be distributed 
through the Red River Valley for building purposes, 
furnishing employment to one hundred or more men 
during the process of manufacture. 

The first dam in Crookston was built in the early 
eighties, and later rebuilt by the Crookston Water- 
works, Power & Light Company. The power obtained 
from this dam was used for furnishing light, water, 
and power for the city. During the past year the 
Crookston Waterworks, Power & Light Company have, 
by the addition of another and much larger dam, re- 
harnessed the water power of the Red Lake River, 
giving it a capacity for service many times greater 
than before. This company has a wire already run- 
ning from their power plant near Crookston to Grand 
Forks, which will soon be in service furnishing power 
to that citv. Arrangements have also been made for 



lighting the town of Fisher from this wire. This com- 
pany has established two artesian wells in the City of 
Crookston, which supply an abundance of pure, whole- 
some water to the city. The general absence of any 
alkaline feature in the water is marked throughout 
the county, and it is possible to find pure artesian wa- 
ter of the finest kind in nearly all places where a well 
is drilled. 

It is a well-known fact that the best soil of the Red 
River Valley is along the river banks, produced by 
the deposits of silt and clay during the thousand or 
more years of valley formation. Polk County borders 
on the Red River a distance of 48 miles, and including 
the two sides of the Red Lake River, which runs cen- 
trally through Polk County a distance of forty miles, 
has a total frontage of timber of one hundred and 
twenty-eight miles length, and an equivalent larger 
breadth or length of the richest kind of soil. If the 
statements of the geologists are reliable, Polk County 
must excel in quality of soil all other counties in the 
Red River Valley. 

No more fitting recognition of the merits of Polk 
County, in its relations with the Red River Valley, 
could have been given than when James J. Hill offered 
four hundred and ninety-nine acres of land as site 
for the State Agricultural College centrally located at 
Crookston, and no more signal service was rendered 
the Valley than when Senator A. D. Stephens, then a 
member of the Legislature, through his active per- 
sonal effort and influence, secured the passage of a 
bill through the Legislature, establishing a school of 
agriculture at Crookston. The interest in the school 
has been of gradual but continuous growth, until to- 
day the college, as a Valley institution, has become a 
dominant feature in practical husbandry and kindred 
branches, with an enrollment of over two hundred 

The period of actual steamboating on the Red River 
extended from the time of the completion of the 
Northern Pacific Railroad to Moorhead in December, 
1871, to the time of the completion of the St. Paul & 
Pacific from Crookston to St. Vincent, making a con- 
tinuous all-rail line from St. Paul to Winnipeg, in 

1878. The largest number of boats plying the Red 
River of the North at one time was reported as twelve, 
according to the History of the Red River Valley, 
published in 1909. During these years, trafiic was 
frequently suspended owing to low water. After the 
establishment of all-rail service, steamboating gradu- 
ally disappeared, until the last boat went out of com- 
mission, and the sound of the steamboat whistle is 
heard no more. The commercial value of this river 
described in the above-mentioned history as one of the 
"two mighty rivers" (referring to the Mississippi and 
the Red River of the North), today is at zero. Its 
service to the world was short. It now is only a 
hazard. Every year of high flood-tide must bring dis- 
aster of greater or less degree. Red Lake River has a 
record for safety that can be trusted. Red Lake 
River still holds in reserve enough silent force, when 
added to that with which it has already been taxed, to 
amount in round numbers to ten thousand horsepower 
energy, thus demonstrating its capacity of service to 
Polk County. 

In the matter of railroad transportation and traffic 
Polk County is again most fortunate. Two trunk 
lines, the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific, 
including branch lines radiating from Crookston, num- 
bering eight lines of rail trackage in the city in all, 
furnish Crookston with an admirable service. A large 
number of traveling salesmen have made their homes 
in Crookston, finding it a most satisfactory point from 
which to reach the trade in their territory. The serv- 
ice given by this system reaches more advantageously 
to all sections of the county than the service found in 
any other county in the eastern half of the Valley. 

Nature has endowed Polk County not only with 
agricultural and commercial possibilities, but also 
with attraction in her physical beauty. In driving 
through the country, one enjoys both the free sweep 
of the rolling prairies, and the frequent groves and 
many beauty-spots discovered in the woods along the 
picturesque river banks. Down in the southeastern 
part of the county is situated an attractive group of 
lakes. Most of them are a little remote from the com- 



mon highway, and are sought out mostly by lovers of Joseph Sauve, Joseph Laframboise, Remi Fortier, Tel 

good fishing in the summer and sportsmen out for 
wild ducks in the fall. 

The largest of the group, however. Maple Lake, so 
named from the many maple trees growing about its 
shores, is only two miles from the town of Mentor, 
and has become a noted summer resort for this sec- 
tion of the country. Maple Lake is about seven miles 
long and varies in width from one and one-half miles 
at the "big end" to one-third of a mile at the other 
end. Maple Bay. It is a picturesque, homelike lake, 
■with its wooded banks and gracefully curving shores. 
It has good fishing and bathing, and being the only 
lake of its attraction and location near to that section 
of Minnesota to the west and north of it, has become a 
favorite spot in summer for that part of the country, 
even for many in Grand Forks and other towns in 
northern North Dakota. The great majority of the 
cottages, numbering from 75 to 100, are found along 
the northwestern shore, and some of them have been 
built as long ago as twenty-five or thirty years. There 
are two principal hotels : Buhn 's Hotel, familiar to the 
countryside for many years ; and the Lakeside Hotel, 
which was put up a few years ago, and which is also 
a popular spot with cottagers and transients in the 
summer time. 

This attempt of the writer to give Polk County its 
true "setting" in the history of the Red River Val- 
ley of the North is made in the hope that it will meet 
with the approval of the old settlers who have, with 
the true pioneer spirit, aided in redeeming the Valley 
from its wild nature and the tramp of the not-too- 
much-civilized American Indian. 




Gentilly is an inland town, situated seven miles east 
of Crookston, and was settled by French Canadians 
about 1878. Prominent among the first settlers were 
Joseph Beaudette, Edouard Lanetot, Chas. Rejimbal, 

Arel, Ces Cervais, Basille Dufault, J. B. Dufault, 
Joseph Martel, Frs. Pinsonnault and Labonte, and 
others. A majority of these are now dead. 

Rev. Father Champagne, during the years 1878- 
1879, and 1880, occasionally attended Gentilly from 
Red Lake Falls, offering up the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Mass in the little frame district school house of the 
village. The first resident priest was Rev. A. Bouch- 
ard, who was appointed pastor of the parish in 
June, 1881, by the Right Reverend Rupert Seidem- 
busch, D. D., then Vicar Apostolic of Northern Minne- 
sota. The first presbytery and the first church were 
erected by Father Bouchard at a cost of $1,200 ; they 
were simple frame structures of modest dimensions, 
suitable, however, for the condition of the settlement, 
which comprised some 63 families. 

The faithful services of Father Bouchard termin- 
ated in 1884, when he was succeeded by Rev. C. V. 
Gamache, who, during four years of pastorate, built 
an addition to the church for the accommodation of 
the increasing population and purchased the present 
cemetery in close proximity to the church. Father 
Gamache worked successfully in promoting the best 
interests of the parish, both spiritually and materi- 

In November, 1888, Rev. E. Theillon, the present 
pastor, assumed charge of the parish, having been 
promoted by Bishop Seidembusch from Terrebonne, 
Minn. At his advent into the parish. Father Theillon 
found the population, chiefly farmers, somewhat dis- 
couraged because of the partial failure of crops 
caused by their farming methods ; but knowing that 
the material progress would promote, ih no small 
measure, the spiritual advancement of the members 
of the congregation, who were already leaving in 
large numbers, he advised and exhorted them to 
adopt diversified farming and was mainly instru- 
mental in laying the foundation of the now famous 
cheese factory of Gentilly, which has been and is to- 
day the main source of the present remarkable pros- 
perity of Gentilly. The Gentilly cheese has fre- 
quently taken the first premium in inter-State and 



intra-State contests and is known, on the market, 
as the "First Premium" cheese throughout the 
country. Amid this new prosperity the Gentilly par- 
ish has, under the able supervision of Father Theil- 
lon, built the present large presbytery, known as 
"the White House of Gentilly," and erected during 
the past year (1915) the beautiful brick church of 
gothic architecture, with artistic stained glass win- 
dows and furnishings, to the value of $35,000, prac- 
tically free from all indebtedness. This indicates the 
good financial condition of the Gentilly people, due 
mainly to their loyalty to their old pastor and church. 
It is well known that the spiritual condition of the 
parish has far exceeded its material progress. 

from St. Cloud. Soon the Hudson's Bay Company es- 
tablished a post at the present city of Grand Forks, 
and thus eliminated many hardships. As a conse- 
quence of this, settlers streamed into the Northwest, 
and the real development of the country began. 




One of the very best districts in northwestern 
Minnesota is what is known as the ilarais Community. 
It is one of the oldest settled districts in Polk County 
and its local history is most interesting. It has been 
well described in an address by Peter Allan Gum- 
ming, a son of one of the first settlers of the Com- 
munity, before the Civics Club of the University of 
North Dakota and printed in the Grand Forks Herald 
of February 27, 1916. In part Mr. Gumming says : 

"In the year 1871 two middle aged Scotchmen, 
William Fleming and Robert Coulter, accompanied 
by T. L. McVeety, migrated to Northern Minnesota 
in search of government land. While camping one 
night upon the banks of the Red Lake river, seven 
miles from the present city of Grand Forks, they dis- 
cussed the possibilities of the district in which they 
were stopping. After examining the soil in the morn- 
ing and taking into consideration the possibilities of 
a nearby town and the prospects of good transporta- 
tion, they decided to settle there. These gentlemen 
formed the nucleus of the present Marais Community. 
For a few years they were the only settlers. During 
this time they underwent many hardships, for they 
were forced to draw all their provisions with oxen 


Perhaps there were temporary settlers on the 
Marais a hundred years ago, for the trappers and 
fur hunters were here at that time, but we are not 
cei'tain that this is true ; we are only certain that if 
white men lived here in "the long ago," they did 
not remain long and their occupation was unim- 
portant. Just across the river on the North Dakota 
side is the English Coulee, called by the early French- 
men in this quarter "La Coulee Anglais." Reliable 
accounts of the olden time say that this coulee was 
so named because, more than a hundred years ago, an 
English family, that of a trader or an employee of 
the Hudson's Bay Company, were murdered at this 
point, where the family were living. The names of 
these martyrs of civilization have not been preserved. 

The first permanent latter day settlers of the dis- 
trict, who have reclaimed it from wilderness and 
made it to "bloom and blossom as the rose," may be, 
in part at least, named here, according to so high an 
authority as Mr. James Gumming, who has long lived 
here. The very first were Wm. Fleming and Robert 
Coulter, who settled in what is now the Marais Com- 
munity in 1871. These are the "two middle-aged 
Scotchmen" previously referred to. Fleming was 
born in Glasgow; Coulter was a Scotch-Canadian, 
but his father was a native of Glasgow. Later in 
1871 came T. L. McVeety and David Nisbet, two 
other Caledonians. In 1872 came James McRae and 
Archie McRae ; in 1875, James Nisbet ; in 1876, Rob- 
ert Nisbet and Joseph Robertson ; in 1877, James Rob- 
ertson, David J\Iorrow, James McDonald, Donald Mc- 
Donald, and Duncan Bain ; in 1878, J. A. Hannah ; in 
1879, James Shanks. All these men were either 
Scotchmen themselves or the descendants of Scotch- 


cojmpendium of history and biography of polk county 

One of the first districts to become quickly settled 
was the present Marais community. It was not long 
until it commenced to organize. For many years this 
organization was crude, but since that time until the 
present day, development has been going on. This 
paper will not attempt to trace the developments, but 
rather will deal with this community in its present 
developed condition, although in a few instances a 
comparison will be made with conditions as they ex- 
isted ten years ago. 

This community, consisting of twenty-eight square 
miles, is situated in the west central part of Polk 
County, in the State of Minnesota. Its western 
boundary may be irregulai-ly drawn about one mile 
east of East Grand Forks ; the southern boiindary is 
formed by the Red Lake River ; while the northern 
and eastern boundaries are but imaginary lines a few 
miles north and east from the banks of the Marais. 
Meandering through this community and dividing it 
nearly in two is the Marais. This is an intermittent 
stream which is believed to have been once a river 
bed. This, together with the Red Lake River, pro- 
vided ample opportunities for proper drainage. The 
natural lay of the land, however, because of its gen- 
eral levelness did not give sufficient drainage, but 
the building of county ditches a few years ago along 
each highway running east and west and leading into 
either the Marais or the Red Lake River, completed 
a sufficient drainage. This situation, which gives the 
inhabitants easy access to the marketing towns of 
Crookston and Grand Forks, and which permitted the 
easy completion of an efficient drainage system, has 
been a great asset to the communit.y. 

In 1915 the approximate value of improved land 
in this community was $26 an acre ; to-day the aver- 
age value is about $85 per acre. This great increase 
in land is partly due to the complete drainage sys- 
tem ; partly to the improved conditions established 
by better building, and partly to the adoption of 
more scientific methods of farming, whereby the yield 
per acre has been greatly increased. The increase in 
the valuation of buildings is in part due to the in- 
crease in cost of lumber, but nevertheless, many new 

buildings have been erected, which bears testimony 
to the prosperity of the community. The increase in 
the value of live stock is in part due to the rise of the 
market price, but it is also due to an increase in the 
number of stock as a consequence of a realization of 
the value of live stock. In the case of live stock, 
when considering cattle, the increase was from six 
to twelve head for each farm. 

Perhaps a part of this thrift may be accounted for 
when we learn of the people who compose this com- 
munity. Of the two hundred and eighty-nine inhab- 
itants, six are Norwegians, twelve Germans, twenty- 
two Irish and two hundred and forty-nine Scotch. 
The village of Mallory boasts of eleven inhabitants. 
It also boasts of the only bachelors in the community 
— two carpenters. 

In this village also is situated the most important 
school. There are four schools in the community 
having a combined enrollment of sixty-eight pupils. 
The Mallory School, established in 1879, derives its 
importance chiefly by being the instigator in leading 
the schools of the community with the East Grand 
Forks school system. 


But the greatest institutions within this community 
are the churches. Of these there are two, one a Meth- 
odist church situated at Mallory, the other a Presby- 
terian church, situated on the banks of the Marais. 
The Methodist church was organized in 1885. It has 
but few members in the church, but they have man- 
aged to always help support a minister. Their strong- 
hold is in the Sunday school, in which they have 
fifty-one enrolled. Almost all this church's activities 
come through the young people's organization known 
as the Epworth League. « * • The chief church, 
however, is the Presbyterian. The activities of this 
church are felt far and wide. At the last meeting of 
the Presbytery it was shown that the Marais Church 
bested all of the other churches of Adams Presbytery 
in contributing to the various boards of both foreign 



and home missionaries. Of course a part of this 
comes through the Woman's Missionary Society. 

The church was organized in 1885, and the original 
members were Mrs. Wm. Fleming, Mrs. Tena Lee, 
Christopher Coulter, Mrs. Elizabeth Coulter, S. S. 
Davidson, Mrs. S. S. Davidson, John Bryson, Mrs. 
Isabelle Bryson, Mrs. R. Bryson, John Hannah, Mrs. 
Janet Hannah, Mrs. Barbara McDonald, Margaret 
Lee Coulter, Mrs. Margaret Durtell, Mrs. Elizabeth 
Gumming, Mrs. Annie Robertson, Mrs. Agnes Stew- 
art, James McVeety, Mrs. Janet McVeety, Donald 
McDonald and wife, Charles McDonald, Robert Nis- 
bet, and Stephen Sprague. The elder was Donald 
McDonald. The deacons were J. A. Hannah and S. 
S. Davidson. The trustees were Robert Nisbet, John 
Bryson, Christopher Coulter, also treasurer; Charles 
McDonald and Stephen Sprague. The present mem- 
bership is 75. At first services were held in private 
houses, and after 1878 in the school house. 

yield per acre and for the highest grade of 

« « # 


Besides the schools and churches there are several 
organizations. The first which we might mention is 
the Mallory Burns Club. This club was organized in 
1900, and James Nisbet was the first President. On 
the 25th of January of each year, this club gives a 
banquet, entertainment and dance in commemoration 
of Robert Burns. Because it is one of the strongest 
of its kind in the northwest, Scotchmen come from 
far and near. Gifted players on the bagpipe, old- 
time Scotch dancers and singers, coupled with the 
talents of the younger generation, never fail in giving 
a splendid entertainment. The 25th of January is 
always remembered for months afterwards. 

A recently organized club is the Boys' Corn Club. 
"With the East Grand Forks High School Agricultural 
Department at the head, all the boys under eighteen 
years of age throughout the community are leagued 
together to foster the growth of corn. Prizes are 
offered by various concerns, such as the First Na- 
tional Bank of East Grand Forks for the largest 


For purely economic benefits are the Equity League 
and Farmers' Insurance Company. When this or- 
ganization was first organized, it was an attempt to 
co-operate the farmers. Although the farmers have 
failed in co-operating for selling, nevertheless, they 
have co-operated for buying, and thus have derived 
many benefits from the organization. The insurance 
company likewise has aided the farmers in sav- 
ing. * * * 

But the most valuable organization socially, edu- 
cationally and financially, is the Farmers' Club. This 
club was organized about two years ago, and has 
proven a great success. Here the farmers and their 
families meet once a month, and enjoy a real sociable 
time. A part of each program is always given over to 

This district, like the rest of the Red River Valley, 
was blessed by nature at the close of the glacial 
period by the deposition of a rich deep alluvial loam 
upon a yellow clay subsoil. At one time, this district 
was covered with trees, which have been chopped 
down. These trees left the soil rich in organic mat- 
ter. No better soil for agricultural purposes can be 
found anywhere. Besides this gift of a wonderful 
soil, the district was blessed by having two railroads 
cross its territory. These railroads establish spurs 
at almost every mile, thus giving great advantages 
for transportation. Three lines of farmers ' telephones 
intersect the country, connecting them with the cities 
of Grand Forks and Crookston. Two rural free de- 
liveries leave the mail daily at almost every door. 
With the establishment of these facilities this district 
was brought into closer contact with the rest of the 
world. The consequence was a great upheaval in the 
methods of farming; a change of attitude toward 
higher learning, and a great change in crops. 

Well settled in a valuable, thickly populated com- 
munity, surrounded by the best environment which 
schools, churches, and other organizations can offer, 
and allowed ample opportunities for industrial ex- 


pansion, each individual of this community holds a ment, but that development has by no means been 

feeling of gratitude towards the rest of the com- completed. The citizens realize that the future holds 

munity. This community has made great progress much for them, and it is almost certain that thej will 

in the past, and today has a high stage of develop- keep pace with all progress and prosperity. 

I— I 

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By James A. Cathcart, Secretary op the Commerciaij Club. 


CrookstoD, Minnesota, known as the Queen City of 
the Red River Valley, is the County Seat of Polk 
County and the largest and most important city in 
northwestern Minnesota. In size, Crookston ranks 
fourteenth in the state, its population (from 1915 city 
directory), being about 8,500. Early histoiy shows 
the township of Crookston was organized March 28, 
1876. The town was incorporated in 1879 by a spe- 
cial law signed by Governor John S. Pillsbury. The 
name Crookston was given to both the town and town- 
ship in honor of Colonel William Crooks, of St. Paul, 
who was chief engineer in locating the first railroad 
in this section. This road was then known as the 
St. Paul & Pacific Railway, and during the year 1872 
was constructed from Glyndon through Crookston 
to the Snake River, where is now the city of Warren, 

Later the St. Paul & Pacific Railway was put in 
the hands of receivers, and for a number of years 
railroad construction work was at a standstill. In the 
fall of the year 1875 part of the rails north of Crooks- 
ton were taken up and used to turn the line to Fisher's 
Landing, a distance of eleven miles west of Crooks- 
ton. No other railroad extension work was attempted 
in this section vintil the year 1877, when the St. Paul 
& Pacific Railway, still in the hands of receivers, again 
took up the construction work of connecting certain 
portions of the road left unbuilt after the financial 

crisis of 1873. In 1878 the line from Crookston to 
Warren was reconstiiieted and the road extended to 
the Canadian boundaiy. During the following year, 
the road was also extended from Fisher's Landing to 
Grand Forks, North Dakota. In subsequent years 
the St. Paul & Pacific Railway was purchased by Mr. 
J. J. Hill and his associates, who rapidly increased 
the line by purchase and construction, building up 
what is now known as the Great Northern Railway 
System. Crookston is a Great Northern Railway Di- 
vision point, having the main lines to St. Paul, Winni- 
peg, and Duluth, connecting lines to the Pacific Coast, 
and branches to Fargo, Warroad, and St. Vincent. 

The Northern Pacific Railway was constructed from 
the south to Crookston and from Winnipeg to Grand 
Forks in the year 1889. It was not until 1890, how- 
ever, that, by the construction of the road from 
Crookston to Grand Forks, a through line was pro- 
vided from St. Paul to Winnipeg via Crookston. The 
year's delay in connecting the line was occasioned 
by right-of-way and crossing controversies between 
the Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railways. 

From the above facts, Crookston 's importance as 
a railroad center is quite evident, her transportation 
facilities including eight lines reaching directly to 
St. Paul and Minneapolis, to Duluth, to Winnipeg, to 
Fargo, to the Lake of the Woods country and across 
the State of North Dakota to the Pacific Coast. 




THE city's buildings AND OTHER PUBLIC 

Crookston takes just pride in its civic improve- 
ments. Its streets are clean and probably the best 
lighted of any city in the northwestern part of the 
State. It has thoroughly modern water and sewer 
systems, an efficient police department, a paid fire 
department, with modern equipment, a large and 
beautiful municipal park, and a children's play 
ground. The city engineer's report for 1915 shows 
the following improvements to December 31st : — 


Westiumite Paving 2.00 

Street Asphalt Paving 7 

Macadam Paving 7 

Gravel Paving 6.7 

Sewerage 11-2 

Cement Walks 23.7 

Water Mains 13.0 

No. of Hydrants 98.0 

Telephone Lines — Pole 9.5 

Underground 2.05 

Electric Line (C. W. W. P. & L. Co.) 17.0 

No. Arc Lights 66 

Blocks of White Way 10 

Gas Mains 8.0 

The city's public buildings are modern and up-to- 
date, among the most important of which are the fol- 
lowing : 

City Hall $ 30,000.00 

Polk County Court House 75,000.00 

U. S. Post Office 90,000.00 

Armory (Seats 1,500) 40,000.00 

Grand Theatre (Seats 850) 30,000.00 

Library (4,600 Volumes) 17,500.00 

High School 150,000.00 

The United States Land Office for the Crookston 
district, covering the territory of the Minnesota Red 
River Valley, is located here, offices being provided 
in the United States Postoffice Building. 

The city has a Charter form of government with 
power vested in its executive officer, the mayor, and 
members of the city Council consisting of Aldermen, 
elected one from each of the various wards of the 
city and one Alderman-at-Large. At the County 
Election in the spring of 1915 Polk County was voted 
"Dry" and from November 27, 1915, Crookston has 
been without saloons. 


For its population, Crookston has one of the strong- 
est and most active commercial organizations in the 
northwest. The membership numbers over 400 indi- 
viduals with a sufficient number of shares subscribed 
to provide an annual income of over ten thousand dol- 
lars ($10,000). A secretary is paid to devote all his 
time to looking after the Club's interests. Large and 
well-equipped club rooms are provided. The Club 
maintains the well-known Citizens Band of Crook- 
ston, one of the best municipal, musical organizations 
in the state. 

Crookston is a well built city with many handsome 
brick and stone business blocks and a beautiful resi- 
dential section. The splendid hotel and other facili- 
ties makes the city an excellent meeting place for 


The city has five banks representing a capital stock 
of Two Hundred and Eighty Thousand Dollars 
(.'j;280,000). The deposits in these banks, on Decem- 
ber 1, 1915, aggregated the sum of Three Million, 
Eight Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Dollars 
($3,885,000). The banks are as follows: 

Name Capital Stock 

Crookston State Bank $40,000 

First National Bank 75,000 

Merchants National Bank 75,000 

Polk County State Bank 40,000 

Scandia American Bank 50,000 


Crookston is rapidly assuming importance as a 
manufacturing center. Manufactured goods, to the 
amount of about five million dollars (.$5,000,000.00), 
are put out annually and hundreds of men are given 
steady employment in the various plants. Among 
the most important of Crookston 's manufacturing 
industries is that of the Crookston Milling Company, 
whose plant is valued at one hundred thousand dol- 
lars ($100,000.00), and who have just completed a new 
75,000 bushel capacity elevator at a cost of twenty-five 





thousand dollars ($25,000.00). This plant is being 
run at capacity (500 barrels per day) the year around 
and employs twenty-five men. The value of the 
Crookston Milling Company's products aggregates 
one million dollars (.$1,000,000.00) annually. The 
Bridgeman-Russell Company manufacture at its local 
plant over one million pounds of butter each year. 
Among the other manufacturing industries of the city 
are numbered bakers, two; blank book manufacturers 
and binders, one; bottlers, two; box and tank manu- 
facturer, one; brewery, one; brick and tile, two; 
cereal, one ; cigar manufacturers, four ; foundries, ma- 
chinists, and boiler makers, three ; ice cream and con- 
fection manufactures, five ; machinery manufacturers, 
two; marble and granite works, two; printers, four; 
sash and door manufacturers, two; sign and motor 
car enameling works, one; silo manufacturer, one; 
tannery, one ; tent and awning, one ; upholsterers' tow, 
one ; wagons and sleighs, two. The city also has two 
substantial wholesale gi-ocery houses and three grain 

Crookston is fortunate in having a big supply of 
water power (electrical). This is derived from the 
Red Lake River at two points, one station situated 
within the city limits and the other about four miles 
to the east. Cheap electrical power, excellent railroad 
facilities, and plenty of labor at reasonable wages 
make Crookston a desirable location for manufactur- 
ing industries. 


One of the chief problems to solve in any commun- 
ity is the provision of adequate educational facilities 
for its young people. Crookston believes that every 
child within its borders is entitled to a school environ- 
ment which is conducive to its highest development, 
mentally, morally, and physically. One will be con- 
vinced of this fact by a visit to the new $150,000 
Central High School, with its equipment for all de- 
partments of secondary education, which are in the 
hands of well trained and experienced instructors, 
and also note that another $150,000 is invested in five 

grade buildings located in various sections of the city, 
which care for the pupils below the seventh grades. 

The upper grades are organized on the junior- 
senior high school plan, which is now being followed 
in all the leading schools. Beginning with the 
seventh grade, three courses are offered — academic, 
industrial, and commercial, which afford the boy 
or girl an opportunity to select what will be of the 
greatest value to him or her, if it be not possible to 
complete the high school course. Other advantages 
are that promotion is made by subject instead of by 
grade, thus bridging over the gap between the eighth 
grade and the high school, which previously was the 
means of preventing many from continuing their 
work in the higher grades. In the Crookston schools 
last year only eleven per cent did not enter the senior 
high school from the eighth grade. 

The Senior High School is directed by a principal 
who has sixteen assistants. Complete courses are 
offered in the following: Academic subjects, teacher 
training, commercial, industrial, art, and public 
speaking. Specialists in music and drawing super- 
vise these subjects throughout the entire system. 

The following statistics will be of interest as indi- 
cating the extensiveness of our school system: Total 
enrollment is as follows: Senior High School, 300; 
Junior High School, 250 ; grades below the sixth, 
850. Fifty persons are on the faculty, whose annual 
salaries amount to $35,000. Adding to this money 
paid for janitor and office help, the total salary 
schedule for the year amounts to nearly $45,000. 
School property is valued as follows: Grounds, $35,- 
000; buildings, $300,000; furnishings, $10,000; 
equipment, $5,200, or a total of $350,000. 


In addition to the public schools, Crookston has 
also the Cathedral School, providing various grade 
work and full high-school courses. The high-school 
enrollment is forty and the grades one hundred sixty. 
The school is under the superintendence of the Bishop 
and directed by a principal who has eight assistants 
of the Sisters of St. Benedict, of Duluth. 



The Cathedral School building is a fine structure, 
erected and equipped at a cost of $75,000.00, and con- 
tains club rooms and gymnasium and an auditorium 
with a seating capacity of seven hundred. 

Another institution of education is the St. Joseph 
Academy, under the direction of the Sisters of St. 
Joseph. The courses provide, including high school 
work, gi-ade and kindergarten, the attendance in each 
being twenty-five, one hundred and forty, and thirty- 
five respectively. This school is housed in a beautiful 
structure, located on Houston Avenue, and erected 
and equipped at a cost of approximately one hundred 
thousand dollars. 

Other Crookston educational institutions include the 
Crookston College, providing commercial courses, 
shorthand, typewriting, and preparatory work; also 
automobile, gas and steam engineering. The faculty 
consists of the president and five assistants ; the enroll- 
ment is about two hundred and fifty. The Crookston 
College property and equipment are valued at forty 
thousand dollars. 

A branch of the University of Minnesota, the North- 
west School of Agriculture, is located at Crookston. 
Elsewhere in this volume a special chapter is given 
to this institution. 


The religious field of Crookston has not been 
neglected. Nearly every denomination is represented 
and the city has fourteen splendid church edifices, two 
Catholic, one Episcopal, and eleven other Protestant 
churches, divided as follows, one Congregational, 
seven Lutheran, two Methodists, and one Presbyterian. 
There is also a Christian Science society. 


Nearly all of the important secret societies, lodges, 
etc., are well represented in Crookston, among which 
are. Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons, Royal Arch 
Masons, Knights Templar, Order of Eastern Star, Odd 
Fellows, Rebecca Lodge, Knights of Columbus, 
Ancient Order United Workmen, Degree of Honor, 

Elks, Catholic Order of Foresters, Ladies of the 
Catholic Order of Foresters, Royal Arcanum, Modern 
Woodmen of America, Royal Neighbors of America, 
Knights and Ladies of the Maccabees, Modern Samari- 
tans, Moose, Modern Brotherhood of America, the 
Equitable Fraternal Union, Fraternal Order of 
Eagles, Independent Order of Foresters, Brotherhood 
of American Yeomen, Sons of Norway, Independent 
Scandinavian Workmen's Association, Sons of Her- 
mann, United Commercial Travelers, and Women's 
Christian Temperance Union. Among other associa- 
tions are numbered the Crookston Commercial Club, 
Germania Hall Association, Crookston Rod & Gun 
Club, Tennis Club, Citizens' Band of Crookston, Mer- 
chants' Association, Crookston Automobile Club, Vi- 
king Chorus, Red River Valley Medical Association, 
and the Northwestern Minnesota Agricultural As- 


The grounds of the Northwestern Minnesota Agri- 
cultural Association consisting of sixty -eight acres are 
located one half mile north of the city. The annual 
fairs are put on in July, and draw exhibits and 
patronage from all of northwestern Minnesota, parts 
of North and South Dakota and Wisconsin. Particu- 
lar attention has been given to the matter of exhibits 
and the institution has become a farmer's affair in the 
broadest sense. Good amusement features have also 
been provided and the excellent manner in which the 
yearly fairs and expositions have been handled has 
made the enterprise very beneficial and popular with 
the people. 


Three high class hospitals are located at Crookston, 
namely : The Bethesda Hospital, the St. Vincent Hos- 
pital, and the Polk and Norman County Tubercular 
Sanitarium. These hospitals are strictly modern and 
up-to-date. The Bethesda and St. Vincent are each 
equipped to handle about thirty -five patients and the 
Sanitarium thirty patients. The Bethesda Hospital is 

Built liy W. J. Murphy in 1914 


operated under the direction of the Bethesda Hospital grounds and equipment are valued at approximately 

Association, and the investment in building, ground $50,000. The Sanitarium is a Polk and Norman 

and fixtures is approximately $25,000. The St. Vin- County institution and their property is valued at 

cent Hospital is under the direction of the Benedictine about $70,000. 
Sisters' Benevolent Association and the buildings, 

By "W. E. McKenzie, Crookston Times. 







The history of Polk County newspapers is largely 
within the period of the personal experience and ob- 
servation of the writer. It is the period of the great- 
est evolution of the newspaper and publishing busi- 
ness of any similar lapse of time in the history of the 
world — the period of the perfecting press, and the 
linotype machine, of the big penny paper, and the 
rural free delivery, which has put the daily news- 
paper into the hands of the farmers and people liv- 
ing in outlying country villages all over the United 
States. It is a period coincident with the period of 
accomplishment in all lines of human endeavor in 
all climes and countries. 

To go back to the early history of Polk County 
newspaperdom — not the earliest history by a few 
years — is to go back to my boyliood, and, M'ith the aid 
of a halting memory, to recapture, so far as possible 
from the dim storehouse of things, half forgotten, the 
incidents connected with the propitious birth, the 
illustrious or inglorious career, and in many cases the 
untimely death, of Polk County newspapers. 

Thirty years ago Polk County supported twenty- 
one newspapers. To-day there are but nine in the 
county, and twelve in the territoiy composing Polk 
County at that time, but now divided into the coun- 

ties of Polk, Red Lake, and part of Pennington. The 
falling off in the number of papers is due to two main 
causes — the establishment of rural mail routes, and 
the loss of patronage derived from the publication of 
final proof and contest notices on Government Land. 


In the early history of Polk County newspapers 
the final proof and contest notices were the chief, and 
in some cases practically the entire, support upon 
which the pioneer publisher leaned. Wherever there 
was a postoffice, and considerable quantities of Gov- 
ernment land being proved up, there the intrepid edi- 
tor, with a big case of nonpareil type for setting land 
notices, and a cigarbox full of long primer for setting 
the two or three inches of news and the editorial, 
pitched his tent, and began to accumulate a fortune. 

Three dollars for final proof notices and five dol- 
lars for contest notices was the rate allowed by the 
Government. The notices had to be published in the 
paper nearest the land, so as to make no slashing of 
rates or dividing up with "the attorney in the case," 
which has taken many thousands of dollars in money 
which belonged to the newspapers and distributed the 
sum among the "poor and needy" in the legal pro- 




Some of the papers in those days carried as high 
as two or three pages of land notices, set in solid 
nonpareil, and their incomes from this source ran as 
high as $150 or $200 a week. No wonder those early 
publishers were optimists of the most virulent type! 
No wonder they were boosters of the brightest luster ! 
No wonder the publisher at Red Lake Falls saw in 
his town, of one store and two saloons, a "Second 
Minneapolis," and the editor at St. Ililaire, with two 
stores, three saloons, and a blacksmith shop, went his 
rival one better, and christened his town the ' ' Second 
Chicago," and in leaded long primer proved it, too, 
to his own satisfaction at least. 

But their dreams of future greatness, colored by 
the roseate hue of their present prosperity, were not 
to be for long. The country was rapidly settled. 
The public land passed from the Government to the 
pioneer farmer, and the fat pickings from final proof 
notices began to dwindle, until now the publisher of 
a Polk County paper would not recognize a laud no- 
tice, if he tripped over it. The rui'al mail cai'rier 
was the next shadow to be cast across the sunlit path 
of the early Polk County publisher. He pushed out 
daily into the highways and byways, where the local 
weekly had reigned supreme, and brought with him 
the daily papers of the neighboring towns and the big 
cities, and, with circulation decreasing and income 
diminishing, the life of the pioneer publisher began 
to be cast along hard lines. The big city papers, es- 
pecially the weekly editions, competed with the local 
journals to the latter 's great disadvantage. Many a 
Polk County man, disgracefully deficient in public 
spirit and local patriotism, cut off his home paper and 
subscribed for a city sheet instead. 

Some branched into other, and more profitable 
fields, others folded their tents and sought new pas- 
tures, and others hung on and on, and went down 
with their colors flying. Of the twenty-one papers 
that flourished in Polk County thirty years ago, but 
four are in existence today, and of the publishers 
of thirty years ago the writer of this article is the 
only one who survives in the business. 


E. M. Walsh was Polk County's first editor and 
publisher. In 1874 he established the Crookston 
Plaindealei". It was printed at Grand Forks in the 
office of the Grand Porks Plaindealer, which was es- 
tablished and then being conducted by his brother, 
George Walsh. The Crookston Plaindealer was con- 
ducted as a side issue to Mr. Walsh's other activities. 
He was postmaster, storekeeper, real estate dealer, 
land locator, and a few other things in those days, 
and when John McLean, now long since dead, but 
then in the hey-day of his youth, came up from Audu- 
bon to practice law and establish the Polk County 
Journal, Mr. Walsh gladly transferred the literary, 
social, and political burden to his shoulders, and the 
Plaindealer ceased to exist. 


The Journal, like the Plaindealer, was at that time 
a branch or offshot of another publication. It was 
the offspring of the Audubon Journal, published by 
Harvey E. Cooke, and was printed in Audubon for 
several months after it was established here. But 
about that time Crookston began to assume the airs 
of a civilized community. Settlers were coming in, 
the trees had been chopped out of the ground on Main 
Street, and one or two other stores had been estab- 
lished; the Pioneer Hotel had been erected, the tin 
horn gambler, the tent saloon, and the dance hall were 
established institutions. The Crookston offspring of 
the Journal soon reached a stature, where it over- 
topped its parent. It looked as if Crookston was to 
be "some town," and Mr. Cooke wisely decided to 
leave Audubon to rot in ignorance and folly, and to 
move his plant to Crookston. The Audubon Journal 
was accordingly discontinued, and in 1878 the Polk 
County Journal, the first paper to be published and 
printed in the County, was born. 

For over a quarter of a century Mr. Cooke was the 
guiding star in the Journal's destiny, and never was 
there an issue of that paper that was not made in- 



teresting to a large family of readers while he was its 
editor and publisher. He was a ready and entertain- 
ing writer, possessed a great fund of dry humor, com- 
bined with much common sense; he knew, better per- 
haps than any other man who had ever occupied an 
editorial chair in this County, how to shape his edi- 
torial expressions, and present the news most effect- 
ively. He was not as good a business manager as he 
was an editor, and while the Journal prospered fairly 
well, it did not make any big fortune for its ownei-. 
Mr. Cooke died in the harness in 1900, and Mrs. Cooke 
took charge of the Journal for a few months, when 
it was sold to N. S. Gordon. He began, shortly after 
his purchase, the publication of a daily edition, which 
was continued with many ups and downs, and under 
various managements, until 1910, when it was finally 
discontinued and the plant was purchased and the 
paper merged with the Times. 


The next paper to embark upon the treacherous 
sea of Polk County journalism was the Broadaxe. 
"Broadaxe Brown" is the only name which the editor 
was ever known by. He was an itinerant printer of 
the tramp variety. The motto of the Broadaxe was 
"Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may." 
The line was rather a crooked one in Brown's case; 
but the chips were plentiful, and manj' was the good 
citizen who was banged in the neck with one of them. 
The Broadaxe, under those circumstances, had a short 
and exciting career. It was started one bright, sun- 
lit day in the spring of 1880; but before the frosts 
had nipped the foliage in the fall the Broadaxe had 
ceased to hew. In the last issue, which was printed on 
butcher's straw wrapping paper. Brown — in delight- 
fully frank, if not overly elegant, language — expressed 
his opinion of the town, and of a lot of the leading 
citizens, and he then quietly disappeared. He left 
in the night, a proceeding which showed his com- 
prehensive conception of the axiom that "discretion 
is the better part of valor. ' ' There were many look- 
ing for Broadaxe Brown the next day — those with 

bills to collect, as well as those with grievances to 
avenge ; but Broadaxe Brown has been but a troubled 
memory from that day to this. There are people still 
living here who do not like the name of Brown. 


Captain Arnold was the next soldier of fortune to 
tilt a lance against the windmill of early day journal- 
ism. His paper was the Northern Tier, named for 
the four counties of large proportions, though limited 
population, that constituted the territory along the 
northern boundary of the State. The Northern Tier 
was started at the same time the Broadaxe was cut- 
ting the deepest gashes into the characters of leading 
citizens. Its life was also fleeting. Captain Arnold 
was a man of distinguished military appearance, and 
brilliant attainments. He was a good mixer, but a 
poor financier. The local columns of the paper were 
crowded with personal "jollies" for Tom, Dick, and 
Harry. Every citizen was mentioned by his or her 
Christian name, and they were all smilingly present 
when the roll was called in the local items each week. 
There was no room left for advertising, and the ghost 
failed to walk after the first few weeks — and then the 
Northern Tier's light went out. 

A year or two later (in the year of 1883 to be exact), 
Captain Arnold came back. He had found a financier 
in the pereon of H. W. McCall. McCall was also a 
capitalist, in a limited way, but made no claims to 
being a newspaper man. Arnold and McCall had 
also gathered together a number of brilliant young 
fellows, whom they had induced to cast their lot with 
them and gather riches and renown in the revival of 
the Northern Tier and its publication as a daily. 

There was Billy Stark, a live wire reporter ; J. A. 
McNair, an up-to-date advertising manager ; an Eng- 
lishman of studious mien, and Cockney accent whose 
name I have forgotten, who was to be city editor, and 
Albert Kaiser and E. U. Hauser, who were just print- 
ers. Biit the craft was too heavy — too many officers 
on the bridge, and too few seamen before the mast. 
When the waves of financial disaster began to roll 



over its decks Captain Arnold was the first to be 
tossed overboard. He drifted to St. Paul, and from 
there to the Soldiers Home, where he remained until 
he died. The others hung on a month or two longer. 
Then came the crash. 

A fact worthy of mention in connection with the 
passing of the Northern Tier is, that the only two men 
whose whereabouts are known are the two who acted 
as deck hands on the wreck — Albert Kaiser and E. U. 
Hauser. The former is the wealthy president of the 
First National Bank of Bagley, and the latter is a 
millionaire member of the firm of the Grant Smith 
Company, one of the largest firms of railroad con- 
tractors in the United States. 


Previous to the revival of the Northern Tier, or in 
1881, W. R. Dunn, a young newspaper man in search 
of a location, drifted in this direction. He found 
Crookston a thriving town of over 1,000 people, the 
county seat of a county big enough, and rich enough 
in natural resources, to support a nation. Brother 
Crooke, with his Journal, was fighting the battle for 
education and reform all alone. Mr. Dunn was not 
deaf, or near sighted. He heard the call of duty and 
rushed forward and dug himself in with the Crooks- 
ton Chronicle. 

The Chronicle was a good newspaper, as newspapers 
went in those days — newsy, well edited, clean and 
able. Mr. Dunn was a lovable, upstanding, kindly 
man, an able writer, honest and straightforward in 
his convictions, and in his business methods. The 
Chronicle prospered, and in a short time became the 
leading paper in Northern Minnesota. Owing to the 
ill health of the editor the Chronicle was sold in 1884 
to J. G. McGrew, and Mr. Dunn went to Washington, 
D. C, where he secured a government appointment 
in the census department, which he held until his 
death a couple of years later. 

Mr. McGrew, who succeeded Mr. Dunn, was a law- 
yer. He had been practicing in Crookston for sev- 
eral years previous, and continued to practice for a 

year after making the purchase. The writer was then 
put in charge of the Chronicle until Mr. McGrew 
closed up his legal practice, and assumed personal 
control. Mr. McGrew was not a success as a news- 
paper man. He was a profound and able editorial 
writer ; but not a good news gatherer or business man- 
ager. He soon realized this, and turned the paper 
over to a nephew, who was even more proficient in his 
inability to make ends meet in a financial way. W. H. 
Palmer and his son, Harry Palmei', were the next to 
try to rejuvenate the paper. They tried it as a 
daily ; but it would not go somehow, and in a month 
or two they discontinued it for good — with numerous 
creditors bewailing its loss. 

In the meantime the County was filling up rapidly 
with new settlers. Towns were springing up, and 
what perhaps Avas the nearest approach to a boom 
ever known in this section was on. 


In 1882 the Fisher Bulletin was started, by A. 
Dewey. He was a product of the celebrated Kindred- 
Nelson Congressional fight inaugurated that year. A 
politician, a political writer, stump speaker, and a 
man of recognized ability, but of questionable finan- 
cial strength, he existed for a time on the returns from 
the plethoric Kindred coffers and then drifted back 
to a place on the staff of a Metropolitan paper from 
which he had emanated. He was succeeded by C. C. 
Knappen, and he by a son of Erin, named Shaugh- 
nessy, who conducted the last wake over the remains 
of the Bulletin. Fisher has not had a paper since. 


The Red Lake Falls Gazette, the St. Hilaire Spec- 
tator, the East Grand Forks Courier, and the Fertile 
Journal were all started during the year 1882, and all 
are still in existence. The Red Lake Falls Courier, 
and the Fertile Journal, if my memory serves me, were 
founded by Fred Puhler, long since dead. The East 
Grand Forks Courier was started and conducted for 
many years by F. J. Duffy, who, by combining it with 
other business interests, made a fortune upon which 



he is now living. The writer was responsible for the 
St. Hilaire Spectator. 


In the year 1883 Albert Kaiser went to Fosston, 
and founded the well known journal called the Thir- 
teen Towns. He possessed the rare combination of 
a good newspaper man and a good business man. In 
a year or two he had saved enough money to go into 
the banking business at Fosston, and sold the Thir- 
teen Towns to W. A. Foss, who is still conducting it 



The same year F. J. Rothpletz, a Southern fire- 
eating Democrat, started the Red Lake Falls Demo- 
crat, but the surroundings were not congenial to one 
of his fiery temperament. The Chronicle was then 
started on its downward journey to oblivion, and he 
came to Crookstou, and engaged the distinguished 
services of the writer to help launch a Democratic 
paper, which was named the Times. 

This was in the summer of 1885. Things went 
swimmingly until the icy blasts of winter began to 
howl upon us. Then Mr. Rothpletz began to pine for 
his sunny Southern clime, and I nursed a lusty ambi- 
tion to be the sole owner, and publisher of the Times. 
Mr. Rothpletz went to Tennessee, I went to work, 
and I also went into debt. In 1887 the Daily Times 
was launched. Both Daily and Weekly are still pub- 
lished at the old stand. Subscription prices on appli- 


In the year 1886 there was a demand for a paper 
at Mcintosh, and I joined with C. F. Lommen in es- 
tablishing the Mcintosh Times. After a year or two 
Mr. Lomman became obsessed with the idea that he 
was healthy and wealthy enough to monopolize the 
whole business, and I, in turn was magnanimous 
enough to let him — after I had gotten a good price 

for my interest. He conducted the paper success- 
fully for ten or twelve years when he, aided and 
abetted by a frugal wife, and a growing family of 
boys, had gained sufficient intelligence and filthy 
lucre to own and stock a dairy farm, which he is now 
conducting with ability and profit. Since then the 
Mcintosh Times has passed through various hands; 
but, though ancient, is not yet extinct. 


The Crookston Tribune — first a weekly, then a daily, 
and then a memory — was a later Crookston venture. 
It was published by Hammond & Allen, the former 
a good practical printer, but not a trained newspaper 
man; the latter a humorist, whose forte was on the 
vaudeville stage instead of the editorial sanctum. 
After its demise Hammond went back to setting type, 
and at last accounts Allen was doing a monologue 
stunt in tank towns. 

Then there was the Gully Sunbeam, established by 
Mr. Hunt, and noted for its phonetic spelling, and 
athletic English. It is still running, but under new 
management, and is to-day a well balanced and suc- 
cessful local paper. 


The Vastesheimen is a Scandinavian paper, started 
in Crookston in the early nineties, by Adolph Bydal, 
and continued later by A. J. Johnson, and is now 
being published by G. T. Hagen. It is a paper of 
extensive circulation and much influence among the 
Scandinavian readers. 


When the Crookston Chronicle gave up the ghost, 
the plant was taken over by C. C. and Harry Knappin 
— the latter a well known political writer connected 
with the Twin City papers for many years — and was 
used in publishing the People's Press. This was in 
the days when Populism was rampant in the political 
bull ring. From them it passed to A. R. Holston, an 
attorney with Socialistic tendencies, now of Los An- 



geles, California. He was succeeded by Mr. Hagen, 
the present publisher of the Vastesheimeu who added 
a prohibition hue to its editorial policy. Elias Steen- 
erson, then Postmaster, had it wished on him, and it 
became the distinguished exponent of pure and unde- 
filed Republicanism. Three years ago Crawford and 
Egley purchased the Press, and are now conducting 
it successfully as a semi-weekly. 


The Erskine Echo, and the Climax Chronicle are the 
only two of the later-day weeklies not previously 
mentioned that are still in existence. There are sev- 
eral others, like the Mcintosh Tribune, the Euclid 
Eagle, the Beltrami Chronicle, most of which died 

"aborning," and left hardly a scratch, on the tablets 
of fame. 

There are many side lights and incidents connected 
with the history of Polk County journalism, proclaim- 
ing the joys of temporary victories or the sorrows of 
disastrous defeats, which would make a long and inter- 
esting chapter; but they cannot be recorded here. 
Sufficient to say that the newspaper history of Polk 
County is coincident with the material progress of 
the County itself. In every instance, in every sec- 
tion, the newspapers have been the advance guard in 
the march toward a higher and better order of things. 
They have had their ups and downs, their trials, 
temptations, and disasters; but their tendencies have 
always been cast on the side of better living, and better 
citizenship, for greater striving and bigger ideals. 



By N. a. Thorson. 

basis for school development — tbe coming of the county's schools — county schools in 1877 and in 
1878 — first public school teacher, luella may thompson — other early teachers — the county su- 
perintendents — ^reports of school years from 1882 to 1908 — the conditions in 1910 — sources op 
school support — apportionment — statistics op state and other aids — present conditions of polk 
county schools. 


The State school system embraces the schools of 
each individual county, and one cannot be considered 
without the other. In order to understand better why 
the schools in Polk County have developed thus, we 
need to call to mind some of the factors in education 
in Minnesota. 

The Federal Government gave to the people of Min- 
nesota certain tracts of land, the benefits from which 
were to go to the common schools, the University and 
other public institutions. No grants were made to 
normal schools. The people were given these lands 
in trust, and, as trustees of a great wealth, it was their 
duty to increase the same for the benefit of themselves 
and the generations yet unborn. No restrictions were 
placed upon the State as to the disposition and use 
of school lands, and as a result, through the wise plan- 
ning of our early law-makers, we own a permanent 
school fund excelling that of every other state. 
Amounting to $3,191,042 in 1875, shortly after Polk 
County was organized, it had grown to $24,668,248 in 
1914, and is now increasing at the rate of nearly a 
million dollars yearly. Sections 16 and 36 in every 
congressional township were designated as "school 
lands," as the result of an act of Congress of 1849, 

when Minnesota was formed into a Territory. In 
1851, by a similar act, grants for the State University 
were made. These were doubled in 1857. 

To one man more than to any other perhaps, must 
be given credit for the satisfactory condition of our 
pei'manent school fund, and that man was Governor 
Alexander Ramsey. In Minnesota history he is styled, 
' ' the Father of the School Fund, ' ' which title he justly 
earned in bringing before the people the question as 
to whether the school fund should be one with deferred 
blessings and administered along the sanest and safest 
lines, or if we should look for immediate benefits which 
would prove to be premature before long. In his mes- 
sage to the Legislature in 1861 he said: " » * • 
Of this magnificent grant, the gift of the nation to 
all the millions who are to inhabit the soil of Minne- 
sota, you are the stewards in their behalf, and it de- 
volves upon you to see that the sacred trusts involved 
are faithfully executed." When some held that the 
administration of the school lands was too great a 
task for a central State authority to perform, and that 
it had better be left to each county to use the school 
lands within its boundaries as seemed best to that 
county, Gov. Ramsey's idea again won the day and 
the result is the administration by State authority of 























3 '/- 

2. H 














2- 1-^ 











all school lands. That this was the wisest policy may 
be concluded from the fact that not one dollar of the 
public school fund has been lost through investment. 
A minimum price was placed upon school lands and 
the disposal of the same was to be at public auction. 

Timber school lands proved very valuable and soon 
the sale on such lands was discontinued until the tim- 
ber had been cut and sold. The Legislature of 1855 
provided that, except when in danger of waste or in- 
jury, timber lands should not be sold. There remain, 
therefore, today^ school lands whose maturing timber 
accrues to the general fund. 

The discovery of iron ore on some of the school 
lands added a new chapter to the story of the almost 
fabulous fund. No more ore lands were sold as be- 
fore, but instead they were leased for twenty-five cents 
on each ton of iron ore mined. Mineral rights are now 
reserved for the State on all lands sold in the future. 
The funds obtained from the direct sale of school 
lands, timber sale, and ore revenue invested in good 
securities yields the money which together with the 
State one-mill tax is paid to school districts as appor- 
tionment on the basis of the number of pupils who 
have attended forty days or more in a school year. 
Here then is the material basis for our public school 
system. The following table is a vivid representa- 
tion of growth of the school fund : 
















It is not likely that this fund will ever be large 
enough to support the school sj'stem without the local 
district tax and State aid, but it will always guaran- 
tee free education to all. 


As has already been alluded to, Polk County was 
ofiScially organized in 1873. The nation at large would 
soon celebrate the centennial anniversary of its birth. 
Minnesota had existed as a Territory since 1849 and 
as a State since 1858. The superintendent of public 

instruction had already issued his thirteenth annual 
report which would seem to indicate that the school 
system had progressed to a considerable degree. 
Things governmental were in the very beginning, how- 
ever, in the vast region of northwestern Minnesota 
which then bore the name of Polk County, almost a 
veritable empire in extent, or at least several times 
larger than the present county. The U. S. census 
showed no returns for 1870 from Polk County. Im- 
migi-ation from neighboring' States and Canada soon 
resulted in early settlements, mainly along the Red 
River and in the vicinity of Crookston and Fisher. 

Despite the five years of hard times, the population 
had grown to nearly 1,000 in 1875. It was here that 
hopeful and courageous people were to work out a 
future. With the early settler came also the country 
school, to keep open the channels of literacy by teach- 
ing mainly reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic, the time- 
honored "3 R's." The rural school — there was no 
other — arose originally as essentially a local com- 
munity affair. Apportionment and other financial 
aids from the State were almost nil, but the school 
district and the district school arose in response to 
community needs. While the organization of school 
districts took place under the provisions of State law, 
much local concern and control of the most detailed 
kind characterized school-building in the early days. 
Here was a form of "extended democracy." When 
a school had once been decided upon, it became the 
concern of the community in a marked degree. The 
construction of the furniture ; the length of the school 
term, if it can be said to have had length ; the choice 
of teacher and how much to pay her ; the itinerary in 
the now obsolete "boarding-around" plan, — these and 
other details were the direct concern of parents. The 
extreme simplicity of the country school made it well 
adapted to pioneer days. State control existed, but 
manifested itself in a lesser degree than now. 


Under proceedings in 1872 which were not legalized 
until the creation of the county the following year. 



Richard J. Reis was appointed County Superintend- 
ent of Schools for Polk County. The real beginning 
of the schools, however, came in 1876, when District 
No. 1 was organized at Crookston. The same year, 
by action of the county board, Christopher Steenerson, 
who now resides at Climax, this county, was duly ap- 
pointed Superintendent of Schools with a salary of 
fifty dollars the first year. He served in that capacity 
until the next election, when he was chosen by the 
people to serve two more years. In view of the un- 
authorized proceedings mentioned above before the 
county was duly formed, and in view of the fact that 
Mr. Steenerson was the first person that was either 
appointed or elected to the office under authorized 
proceedings, he too, has been termed the first County 
Superintendent of Schools in Polk County. He served 
until the close of the year 1879. 

The following are the first educational reports sent 
to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction 
from Polk County. They are reproduced here, as we 
may gather from them the first intimate knowledge 
of the beginnings of the Polk County schools. 


"Of the fourteen organized school districts in this 
county, seven have had school during the past year. 

"District No. 1, Crookston, had four months of sum- 
mer school. This district also voted bonds in the 
amount of $2,000 for the erection of a schoolhouse. 
One new schoolhouse has been built and one is in 
course of construction. The Norwegian Evangelical 
Lutheran Synod has a schoolhouse in District 4 and 
the North Dakota Conference one in District No. 6. 
Portions of this county are settled by Scandinavians, 
many of them coming direct from the old countiy, 
wholly unacquainted with the English language. 
These I have tried to assist in organizing districts and 
in conducting school meetings. 

"A great obstacle to the progress of English educa- 
tion among the Scandinavians is the indiiiferent, and 
in many cases hostile, attitude toward our schools of 
many of the better educated among them, particularly 
among the clergy. These enemies of secular educa- 
tion have for some time been crowding the Scandi- 
navian press with the most virulent and heedless at- 
tacks on the public schools of this country. But these 
enemies of the public schools are perhaps not very 
numerous and they have many able opponents among 
the more enlightened and liberal-minded Scandi- 

navians, which probably accounts for the fact that the 
violent discussions of the former do not seem to have 
very serious eflfects upon the mass of the people. 

' ' This county is increasing in population very rap- 
idly, and we hope next year to be able to report simi- 
lar progress in educational matters. — C. Steenerson, 
County Superintendent. ' ' 


"There are in this county at present seventeen or- 
ganized districts, eleven of which had school during 
the past year. 

' ' Competent teachers have hitherto been very scarce, 
but the rapid influx of intelligent immigration has 
partially supplied the deficiency. 

"There are only five sehoolhouses in this county. 
One of the reasons for this neglect of erecting suitable 
school buildings, is the size of the districts. Many of 
them comprise a whole township, and in some cases 
districts are twelve miles in length, these having been 
organized by the first settlers who took the timbered 
claims along the streams. Some of the inhabitants of 
such districts are in favor of dividing the district ; 
others think it wiser to build two or three school- 
houses in one district and others think that one good 
school is all they can afford, but they cannot agree 
on the location. Many of the residents of the county 
have settled on railroad lands which are not yet in 
the market, and the settlers feel unsafe to incur heavy 
expenses until they can obtain title to their lands. 

"The Scandinavians, who constitute the majority 
of the population of the county, have also parochial 
schools, and I think nearly all their children attend 
these from four to eight weeks during the year. These 
schools are, however, not taught in the English lan- 
guage and but little instruction is given in secular 
branches. Crookston has nearly completed its new 
school building, pleasantly situated, and will cost 
when completed nearly $4,000. — C. Steenerson, 
County Superintendent; P. 0. Address, Frog Point, 
Dakota Territory. 

The year 1876 saw the formation of not only the 
first district in the county, but also five other districts, 
as follows : Districts No. 2 and No. 3, embracing East 
Grand Forks and some of the surrounding country; 
District No. 4, in Bygland Township; District No. 5, 
in Hubbard Township, and District No. 6, in Vine- 
land Township. 

Just as Miss Harriet E. Bishop, a teacher from the 
far-off East, came, under a commission from the Board 
of Popular Education, to teach the first school in Min- 
nesota, in 1847, so came a young lady from Wiscon- 



sin to teach tlie first scliool in this county. The first 
school at St. Paul was conducted in an unused black- 
smith sliop, fitted with the standard school equip- 
ment of that day, consisting mainly of bench seats, 
desks supported by pegs driven into the walls, and a 
home-made teacher's desk. The first school in Polk 
County was held in a shanty, built from coarse lum- 
ber and tar paper, near the edge of the timber at 
Crookston. The first teacher of this school soon gave 
up teaching and became Mrs. Luella May Thompson, 
as a result of her marriage to Mr. Hugh Thompson, 
one of the leading merchants in the county. She was 
succeeded in succession by Mrs. Kelsey D. Chase. 
Ellery C. Davis, E. M. Walsh, and Robert Houston 
constituted the first school board at Crookston and 
first in Polk County. 

Schools soon sprang up in other parts of the county, 
and the first district created in the extreme eastern 
part of the present Polk County was District No. 8, 
northeast of Lengby, in the Township of Columbia. 
Miss Krankie Beams (later Mi-s. Bernt Anderson), 
Atty. A. ]\Iarin, and Mr. John P. Kirsch were among 
the earliest teachers in this district. In describing 
some of his early experiences as a teacher in the 
county, Mr. Kirsch writes as follows : 

I believe I was teaching in Dist. No. 18 in 1887. This school 
was on what was then known as the "tote road" between 
Fosston and the Bagley Dam Liunber Company. I did not find 
it necessary to board around, as was the custom for teachers 
in those days, for the reason that I was taken in by Mr. E. H. 
Noel, who kept a stopping-place for teamsters and lumber- 
jacks. For a school house we used a log shack on a bachelor 's 
claim. One side of the room was so low that one found it 
necessary to stoop down while passing along that wall. We 
had every conceivable kind of a chair, bench and church pew 
for desks and seats. The country was quite wild and my first 
real experience with the woods was getting lost in them, be- 
tween the homes of Director Lillo and Clerk Aspelie. Once, 
when I lost my watch, we unintentionally dismissed school at 
noon, and another time, the children were kept till nearly dark. 
We then took to marking the sun light on the wall until some 
one went to town to "get the time" for the school. The 
children gave their names as "Anderson," "Larson," "John- 
son," etc., and we had them take family names as " Scabebo, " 
' ' Aspelie, ' ' etc. The boys came to school on skis, usually 
carrying a rifle, and they often reported a deer hung up for the 
homeward trip. Most of the families were very poor. We 
kept a hair clipper in the school and the teacher especially 
received practical training in hair-trimming, which was con- 
sidered one of the school's distinctive services to the com- 
munity. The children's clothing and footwear were as varied 
as the school furniture. One family had footwear made from 
a green and untanned brindle cow hide, hair out, which, when 
they entered the school, often was frozen and ' ' clumped ' ' like 

wooden shoes. As was common in those days, the bachelors 
were in the majority and several school meetings were held 
before a school building was voted, and this not until we had 
the bachelors befuddled in parliamentary practice. It did not 
take long however before all were satisfied with the prospects 
for a better school home. 


Polk County has had ten county superintendents of 
schools which follow in chronological order : Richard 
J. Reis, appointed in 1872, before the county was duly 
organized; Christopher Steenerson, 1877-79; V. D. 
Carruth, 1880-87; E. F. Elliot, 1887-89; Thomas 
Casey, 1889-1891; E. J. Grefthen, 1891-93; Andrew 
Lommen, 1893-95 ; 0. McCrillis, 1895-97 ; I. I. Kassa, 
1897-1901 ; Thomas Casey, 1901-9, and N. A. Thorson, 
1909, present term expiring 1919. One of the special 
duties of the early superintendents was the examina- 
tion of teachers and issuing certificates to teach. The 
result was that a very indefinite standard existed for 
the grading of teachers. Later the examining of 
teachers was taken over by the State. 

The following, based upon excerpts from some of 
the special reports made by the county superintend- 
ents of schools to the State Superintendent of Public 
Instruction, indicates certain developments: 

1882 — Superintendent Carruth. When Norman 
County was set off, nineteen school districts were also 
taken from the county. The following remarkable 
growth is noteworthy: 



Organized School 





$ 7,000 



Twenty new schoolhouses, at a cost of $18,000, were 
built in the year 1884. The greatest needs were school 
buildings and teaching facilities. 

1888 — Superintendent Elliot. Low wages and short 
school terms combine to keep out many good teachers. 
The Crookston School was commended for good teach- 
ing work. The professional study by teachers has 
grown and some efforts have been made to grade and 
systematize the school work. ' ' The law on temperance- 
hygiene has produced some good results, but the use 
of intoxicants and cigarettes still exists, ' ' adds Super- 



intendent Elliot. The county sj'stem of examining 
teachers is not satisfactory. 

1894 — Superintendent Lommen. Both a training 
school and an institute for teachers have been held in 
the county. The uniform text-book plan is in vogue, 
and the number of school libraries is increasing. A 
fine new school building has been erected at East 
Grand Forks. 

1898— Superintendent Kassa. Thirteen new school 
districts and fourteen new schoolhouses are the prod- 
uct of one year. Little attention is given to ventila- 
tion in school building construction. There is a 
greater demand for efficient teachers. 

1902 — Superintendent Casey. The supply of teach- 
ers is insufficient. Agitation for school consolidation 
appears to be growing. ' ' General prosperity ' ' is said 
to exist. 

1908 — Superintendent Casey. The number of 
school districts has now reached 215. Nearly every 
school has free text-books. One hundred and nine dis- 
tricts have libraries. No schools have been closed in 
connection with transporting children, but some par- 
ents haul their children to neighboring towns to at- 
tend school. It is claimed that school consolidation 
is better on both economic and pedagogical gi'ounds, 
and the objections to this foi-m of school merger are 
overbalanced by the advantages. The yearly meetings 
of school officers have bad a salutary effect upon the 
schools. Many schools have installed special sj'stems 
of heating and ventilation. The depression always 
noted in the unventilated school disappears where 
these devices are used. 


The varying conditions, ranging from the very best 
to the very poorest schools in the county, present an 
almost true picture of the evolution of the rural school. 
An occasional brick-supported stove still remains, but 
up-to-date heating and ventilating systems are going 
in at a rapid rate. Fifteen schools added libraries. 
Antiquated text-books are being replaced by new ones. 
The progressive teacher is in growing demand. In- 

quiries relative to the establishing of consolidated 
schools are increasing in number. Four special par- 
ents' and officers' meetings for the consideration of 
consolidation were conducted. In view of the fact 
tliat the compulsory law defines the duties of parents 
and children with respect to school attendance, it 
would be only right that the State should guarantee a 
term of stated length, a course well-defined and suit- 
able, a school building commodious and sanitary, a 
complete and useful equipment, and teachers that are 
professionally and academically trained. A special 
state aid for transportation is urged. Several school 
stables have been erected. 

Two teacher-training departments, one at Crooks- 
ton and the other at ilclntosh, working in the interest 
of the rural schools, are turning out teachers some- 
what professionally trained. These activities prove a 
boon to the country school. Educational literature 
receives more attention. The use of a course of study 
is becoming more general. The number of State-aided 
schools has increased one hundred per cent, and these 
schools are the most prosperous in the county. School 
officers' meetings, with practical programs, continue 
to attract large numbers. Many teachers are volun- 
tarily preparing them.selves to teach agriculture. In- 
dustrial contests have been started and promise to 
foster activities of special interest to the home and 
the school. Many schools offer systematic work in ag- 
riculture and sewing. Such subjects tend to ward off 
a dislike for agricultural pursuits. Two hundred and 
one schools have free libraries. In 1910 there were 778 
trees planted on school grounds. The Crookston 
School of Agi'iculture and the special departments in 
the high schools offer excellent opportunities for our 
people along the lines of industrial education. 


The common schools in Polk County, as elsewhere 
in the State, have derived their support from (a) ap- 
portionment, (b) special State aid voted by the Legis- 
lature out of the general tax fund of the State, (c> 
certain small fines, and (d) the local district tax. 




APPORTIONMENT. cach county is small, and ou each district only a trifle, 

This support has been paid to districts where school 

, , • ■ c i-i J ■ 4.U „ ii. State aid to the schools in Polk County has grown to 

has been m session five months during the year, on the j e> 

, . n ,, , e -1 1, 1, ti. J J e i considerable proportions of late. The five high schools, 

basis of the number of pupils who have attended forty . & > 

, . T- J i.1 1 i!inir which in 1908 received altogether $6,895, received $18,- 

days or more m any year. Under the new law of 1915, ° ' ' 

, .„ , -1 1 T i • A 1 11- 070 in 1915, distributed as follows: 

apportioniuent will be paid to districts where school is ' 

. , . . ii 1 • ii • Regular Industrial Associated Training 

in session at least six months during the year, in pro- ^^^ ^i^ ^j^ P^p^ ^^^ 

portion to the number of pupils that attended school V''°w*°" i r •, ' ' ^j'^nn -4:oa;,a iiun ^I'Td^^ 
'^ ^ ^ East Grand Forks. 1,700 $2,000 $480 1,000 

at least forty days during the preceding year. In Fertile 1,700 — 

I'osston 1,700 1,440 .... 

recent years apportionment has been paid out of a Mcintosh 1,700 2,000 312 998 

fund consisting of the interest on the permanent school „, ,-,,,, t-,- , -r-, i • <-< i 

The graded schools at Fisher, Erskine, Carman, and 
fund and the State one-mill tax. Under the new law, tiu i ■ j i A^-nr. ex i. -i- inic 

Eldred received each $600 State aid m 1915. 
the only source of apportionment will be the perma- ^ . ^, • i . , i , i. i • i i , ^i 

•^ During the period stated above for high schools, the 

nent school fund, and will be known as the endow- r,, ^ • t . i , ^ i i i • ^i 

State aid to one and two-teacher schools in the county 
ment fund. The state one-mill tax for schools will be . _. Ao-iin • ^ on i i x j.ioooa 

increased from $3,110, given to 29 schools, to $13,380, 
known as the current school fund. This fund is in- .^, ,„„ , , ^- ■ ^■ 

with 127 schools participating, 
tended to assist districts in which a fifteen-mill levy _,, i-, ^ j i i • ^i i. • j 

The consolidated schools in the county received 
will not produce $500 for such school, in session seven ^,^ ^ ., „ ,, . ,_^_ . ,-.^. , ^, 

State aid as follows in 1915 in addition to the regu- 

months. It will also be used to make up deficits in . t-h i j ai nnn m -i Amr, 

lar aid: Eldred, $1,200; Trail, $600. 

State aid and for tuition for non-resident pupils in t-. i ^ ^i i i • j i, -u- -i ^ l 

Each or the schools received building aid equal to 

industrial departments of high, graded, and consoli- „ ^, „ ^, ,»,,,-,,• ^ ^ -, 

one-fourth of the cost of the building, not to exceed 

dated schools. ,, _.. _, i n i -it -j x 

$1,500. The new law allows a building aid up to 
Out of the 8,653 pupils enrolled in all the schools of .„ .„„ ,, , . 

$2,000 on the same basis. 
Polk County in 1914, 7,720 were counted for appor- 
tionment at the rate of $5.80 per pupil. present polk county schools — the high schools. 

The high school is a part of our common school sys- 
st.\te aid. . . , , , , , , , 

tern ; it IS under no separate control or tax levy, and 

A child residing in the poorest section of Minnesota is maintained by public tax and governed by a Board 

is as valuable to the State as the child whose of Education, through its administrative officer, the 

home is on "Millionaire Street" in our large cities. City Superintendent. 

The State tries to equalize educational opportunities The first high school in Polk County was organized 

for all the children by a system of State aid, which under Superintendent S. A. Farnsworth, who was 

it takes out of the general taxes of the State and pays succeeded by Supt. John Moore. The latter served for 

to school districts. This question has often been fifteen years. Others who headed the Crookston 

asked : "Of what good is State aid? We take it out schools previous to the present incumbent were Super- 

of one pocket and put it in another." But this is not intendents Hitchcock, Sellek, Melntire, and Hess. 

so. Over half of all the State aid money is paid by There are now five high schools in Polk County lo- 

the three large cities, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Du- cated in the larger towns and superintended as fol- 

luth, and the counties in which they are situated. The lows : Crookston, Superintendent G. Sanberg ; East 

other portion, less than half of the State aid, is there- Grand Forks, Superintendent F. E. Lurton; Fertile, 

fore paid by over eighty counties. The amount on Superintendent E. M. Hauge; Fosston, Superintend- 



ent, L. G. Mustain; Mcintosh, Superintendent E. E. 
Hanson. The comhined value of their schoolhouses 
and sites is over a half million dollars. All of them 
maintain departments of domestic science and manual 
training. Crookston and East Grand Forks have spe- 
cial departments in school music (under separate su- 
pervisors), art, commercial subjects, and normal train- 
ing, in addition to those named. Mcintosh, also, main- 
tains a normal training department. East Grand 
Forks, Fosston, and Mcintosh also have strong depart- 
ments in agriculture. The activities in this subject 
extend also to associated rural schools at Mcintosh and 
East Grand Forks, affiliated for instruction in indus- 
trial subjects. 

In connection with the normal training departments 
at Mcintosh and Crookston, a special rural practice 
school at each place is arranged for, where the prospec- 
tive teachers, through actual school room practice, 
may gain valuable experience before they are licensed 
to teach. These are real rural schools, in charge of the 
regular teachers, and are located about five miles from 
the central school. Students in training for teaching 
are required to spend a stated time in the practice 

A definite plan for vocational guidance has been in- 
augurated at Crookston recently. 

Departmental vpork for the upper grades below the 
high school is established in the larger places. Under 
this arrangement pupils are taught by several teachers 
in any one term. Each instruction teaches a lesser 
number of subjects, but more grades. The Junior 
High School involves this plan. 

The generous State aid to high schools is a trust 
fund given them to maintain certain departments and 
courses which shall be open to any person of school 
age in the state. Tuition in the high school is free. 


The smaller villages of the county have a problem 
of their own. Here we find pupils ready for nearly 
all grades, from the primary \ip through the high 
school. The number of teachers and the housing facil- 

ities are naturally somewhat limited. The definite 
control by the State Board, as to certain definite stand- 
ards — such as the quality of the teachers and their 
certification, the material equipment of the school, the 
course of study, adecjuate provision for light and heat- 
ing, books, etc., has been the result of the State's great 
concern for the schools in such places. 

Our graded schools — which, together with sites, are 
valued at nearly .$45,000 — are located at Carman, 
Fisher, Erskine, and Eldred. Classes covering sub- 
jects belonging to the first two years of high school 
usually are offered in most of these places. At 
Erskine, five teachers are employed, while the other 
schools each have four. The Eldred School is of the 
consolidated type and offers courses in domestic 
science, manual training and agriculture. Here the 
people have realized and crystallized into a living 
reality the theory that pure academic knowledge alone 
does not spell achievement, as of old. Eldred has a 
school auditorium where the people of the community 
frequently come together. 


A school system must be all-containing. To accom- 
plish this we have retained very largely the historic 
one-room school in the open country. Its numbers 
have continued to increase as new lands have become 
occupied. In the 216 districts, outside of those main- 
taining high and graded schools, there are now three 
schools having three teachers each ; nine two-teacher 
schools and 220 one-room one-teacher schools. The 
three-teacher schools in the county are at Beltrami, 
Mentor and Trail. The last named is of the con- 
solidation type and offers industrial courses. 

Two-room schools are found at Angus, Climax, Dug- 
dale, District No. 69, Euclid, Gully, Lengby, Niels- 
ville, and Winger. At the last named place, evening 
classes for adults are organized under the supervision 
of the day school teachers. 

Schools with two or three teachers are classified as 
semi-graded schools. Some of them offer work in the 
ninth and even the tenth grade. Recitation periods 



are naturally crowded and these schools are vei'y lim- 
ited in earing for school needs of the oldest pupils. 
Most of our semi-graded schools offer good nuclei for 

About 60 per cent of the children enrolled in the 
public schools of the county attend schools having only 
one teacher. The average attendance in days by each 
pupil, which is nearly 95, is 57 days less than the 
average for pupils enrolled in the high and graded 
schools, despite the fact that the avei'age has been ad- 
vancing steadily. Two hundred and seven of these 
districts have free text books; 66 districts have more 
than 10 pupils enrolled, but less than 20, while in 15 
districts less than ten are enrolled. Among the com- 
mon schools, eighteen have had some form of trans- 
portation for pupils. 

We have over 125 State aided rural schools which 
are really standardized schools that have met certain 
requirements in equipment, school buildings, school 
term, librai-y, heating and ventilation, school grounds, 
and outbuildings. These schools must employ teachers 
with special training or actual experience for at least 
seven months during the year. Such schools will here- 
after be known as Class B schools. Class A schools 
must maintain school for at least eight months. 

A plan of giving school credit for work at home is 
practiced in some districts. This ties the school up 
closer to the parents, who are glad to have their chil- 
dren consider the chores and smaller jobs about the 
home as something worthy of recognition which ap- 
peals to the children's pride in performing. 


At the present time Polk County has two consoli- 
dated schools, one at Eldred organized in 1912 and one 
at Trail organized in 1914. Both these schools have 
modem buildings, equipped with fan ventilating sys- 
tems, indoor flush toilets, and pressure water foun- 
tains. In addition to these modern appliances the 
school at Eldred has an electric lighting system. Both 
schools offer courses with regular and systematic in- 
struction in agriculture, manual training and domestic 

arts. The Eldred school is a graded school with four 
teachers. The Trail school is a semi-graded school 
with three teachers. 

The advent of these schools marks a new epoch in 
rural education in Polk County. In addition to fur- 
nishing better teaching facilities and an opportunity 
for country children to pursue advanced studies and 
industrial subjects while living at home, these schools 
are reaching out to the community at large, and as a 
result we find literary societies, choral clubs, lecture 
courses and other notable community enterprises 
springing up. 

The consolidated school at Trail was the first one in 
the state to be organized by unanimous vote. The 
school at Eldred Avas organized under bitter opposi- 
tion, and not until more than one legal battle had been 
fought did some of the opposition subside. In both 
these schools, transportation under state control is sup- 
plied by the district. It has been safe and regular. 

People in general concede the advantages of the 
consolidated school over the old plan. That consolida- 
tion is coming soon in different parts of the county, 
can be gathered from the fact that at least four com- 
munities are now considering the formation of con- 
solidated districts, which will make full high school 
courses possible, with six or more teachers. Several 
other consolidation projects are under consideration. 

The success of consolidation where tried has laid 
its claim to the attention of our people, and each new 
year finds a larger number giving serious thought to 
this all-important school problem — the most important 
which the countryside has yet to solve in the secular 
education of the children. 


By means of a system of monthly reports to the 
county superintendent, which recently inaugurated in 
this county the work of the schools, is more closely 
supervised. This has resulted in a more thorough and 
systematic preparation of the work by many of the 
teachers. The condition of the attendance each month 
is watched. The keeping-up of records is constantly 


compendiu:m of history and biography of polk county 

before the teacher. The material needs of the school 
reported in duplicate to the clei'k, can now receive the 
speedier action of the board. The scope of work cov- 
ered in each subject and class and the monthly stand- 
ings of pupils go into the records of the county super- 
intendent. This system, while it requires additional 
time for checking up on the reports, and the making 
of the same once a month, has proved to be fruitful of 
many good results. Time used in systematizing school 
work is not in vain. 


The common schools are inspected by the county 
superintendent and his assistant. While the time 
spent at any one school is not great, yet the occa- 
sional "dropping in" by an official visitor has a 
salutary effect. Four hundred and twenty-five school 
visits were made in the county last year. Close 
supervision like that in a city school system is not 
possible under the present plan. More and closer 
supervision is the crying need of the country school 

teachers' clubs. 

In the fall of 1915 a plan of teachers' study clubs 
was launched in the county, with the result that 
twenty clubs of small groups of teachers have met 
at various times. Some of the clubs, at their pres- 
ent rate of holding meetings, will register about 
ten meetings by the close of the school year. The 
number of members in these clubs varies, ranging 
from three or four to ten. Reading circle books 
with a plan for giving credit, and other topics of 
special interest to teachers, are discussed. These 
clubs a^'e proving popular and helpful. 


The practice of catering to the physical welfare 
of the children by serving waimi dishes to them dur- 
ing the noon hour is not confined to the high schools 
— alone, where the practice is quite general, but is to 
be found in many of the country schools that are 

fitted up with special equipment for this purpose. 
The teacher usually appoints from among the larger 
pupils those who are to look after the serving of the 
lunch each day. A general pantry supply is often 
kept at the school to supplement the eatables 
brought from the homes for cooking. Several plans 
for furnishing the materials are in vogue. The 
parents generally favor this innovation. The rural 
schools associated with Mcintosh and East Grand 
Forks, or most of them, have good lunch outfits. 

boys' and girls' clubs. 

A practical form of club work, closely affiliated 
with the school, includes such projects as corn-grow- 
ing, bread-making, and pig-raising. Through the 
special efforts of the high school agriculturists and 
the county agent, instructions from the State Agricul- 
tural School, the office of the county superintendent, 
and a number of enterprising private citizens the 
club work in Polk County has become well estab- 
lished. No less than ten boys' corn clubs existed in 
1915. A number of bread clubs sent representatives 
to a county bread-making contest held at Crookston 
in July, and they competed for the right to represent 
Polk County at the State Fair. The pig clubs at East 
Grand Forks and Fosston figured prominently in the 
State pig-contest last year. 

crookston school op AGRICULTURE. 

This branch of the State University, located at 
Crookston, while naturally established to serve the 
State at large, is, by virtue of location, an educational 
asset of special benefit to us. Many of the graduates 
of this school are carrying on extensive and up-to-date 
farming in this county. Summer training courses 
for teachers, with special inducements for the pur- 
suit of industrial subjects, are maintained. 

In connection with the regular school year, a spe- 
cial course for rural teachers is offered. One of the 
aims of this course is to fit young persons for work 
in consolidated schools. 


FROM 1876 TO 1916. eational systems far in advance of what we have 

We have lived through forty years of school-build- attained. Education which is a business of universal 

ing in Polk County. The past has seen many school concern must continue to engage our people even 

laws and administrative regulations come and go. more in the future, to the end that the paramount 

The last word in education has not yet been spoken, issues shall be wisely solved and the purposes of 

and forty years more will find our schools and edu- schools better understood. 

By C. G. Selvig. 
a red river valley institution new building dedicated death op superintendent vfm. robertson the 



The Crookston School of Agriculture must be con- 
sidered separately from the Northwest Experimeut 
Station, although they are located at one and the 
same place, and their work is carried on together. 
The Experiment Station had been organized and in 
operation for ten years before the School came into 

The Crookston School of Agriculture is also a part 
of the Agricultural Department of the University of 
Minnesota. It was created by an act of the Legisla- 
ture in the session of 1905. An appropriation of $15,- 
000 was provided for the building known as the 
School Building (now named the Home Economics 
Building), which was completed in 1906. No funds 
for maintenance were voted. In order to have school 
open that fall it was necessary to secure funds for 
salaries and expenses. A sum of $2,500 was privately 
subscribed by patriotic citizens of Crookston and 
vicinity. This fund, and assistance from the North- 
west Experiment Station funds, made it possible to 
begin in 1906. Thirty-one students, all the school 
could accommodate in its cramped quarters, were en- 
rolled. Their names were as follows : Emma Agusta 
Anderson, Hallock; Agnes Bjoin, Crook^on; Henry 
L. Blackmore, Baggs, Wyoming; Carl Carlson, Ken- 
nedy; "William Dewar, Crookston; "Walter Dewar, 
Crookston; John Distad, Perley; Hans Forseth, Cli- 
max ; Christopher, Lewis, and Molly Fossbakken, Foss- 

ton ; Clara Hagan, Hendrum ; Christian Hanson, Bel- 
trami ; Floy Ingersoll, Crookston ; Thor Lonne, Crooks- 
ton; Christian Lindberg, Beltrami; Leroy Lytle, 
Crookston; Gustaf Nelson, Northland; Olaf F. Nel- 
son, St. Hilaire ; Simon Nelson, Climax ; Carl Nord- 
lum, Beltrami ; Lena Opdahl, Beltrami ; Elmer Ols- 
lund, Beltrami; Albert Petterson, Crookston; "Wil- 
liam H. Rager, Crookston; Lewis Regeimbal, Crooks- 
ton ; Carl Seeger, Red Lake Falls ; Joseph Skala, 
Red Lake Falls; Julie Swisse, Faribault; Nels A. 
Thompson, Birkholz, and Ida Thompson, Beltrami^ 

The school building was a combination dormitory, 
dining hall, office, and class room building. The 
boys had rooms on the third floor, while the farm 
house was improvised into a ladies' hall. On the 
second floor were located the class rooms, the adminis- 
trative office, and the library, while on the first floor 
were the kitchen and dining room. Many interesting 
experiences happened during the first two years of 
the school. Both the faculty and the student body 
acquired an enthusiasm for the aims and work of 
the institution and a loyalty to it that counted greatly 
in its influence upon the community. By the time 
the 1907 Legislature had convened and sent commit- 
tees to inspect the school, it was found that a full- 
fledged institution had sprung into being. Two new 
buildings were provided at that session, Stephens 


O 03 

<^ 2 









Hall, a dormitory for boys, and the Industrial Build- 
ing (later named S. M. Owen Hall). A modest sum 
was provided for annual maintenance, and the sum 
of $2,500 was appropriated to reimburse the private 
contributors who made the first year of the school 

The school is what might be classed as a technical 
agricultural school, and is intended to round out the 
education of the farm boys and girls after they have 
left the rural schools, fitting them either to go back 
to the farm or to enter the University, should they 
desire to take up professional work in the line of 
agriculture. Students attending the institution are 
boarded at the School, and are thus in a continual 
agricultural atmosphere, expenses being only the 
actual cost of living. The course of study includes 
farm botany, mechanical drawing, music, farm mathe- 
matics, poultry, English, agriculture, blacksmithing, 
carpentry, military drill, cooking, physical training, 
sewing, study of breeds, laundering, agricultural 
physics, dairying, fruit growing, farm accounts, stock 
judging, breeding, household art, agricultural chem- 
istry, vegetable gardening, field crops, forestry, en- 
tomology, algebra, handling grain and machinery, 
veterinary science, civics, geometry, ' plant propaga- 
tion, dressing and curing meats, feeding soils and 
fertilizers, home economy, domestic chemistry, domes- 
tic hygiene and meats, rural economics and sociology, 
and teachers' training subjects. 

As a result of the loyal support of the people of 
the Red River Valley, the school, early in its life, 
was well cared for in the way of current expenses, 
and in buildings. It was not long before, with its 
numerous attractive buildings and pleasant surround- 
ings, and the practical work which it was doing, that 
the institution became a source of pride to the people 
of the Red River Valley. 


llany questions were raised as to the advisability 
of creating a school in the Red River Valley, or any- 
where for that matter, when there was a great cen- 

tral school and experiment station at St. Anthony 
Park, between Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was not 
possible those days to prophesy just what work such 
an institution would find to do. Its justification lies 
in the fact that the agricultural problems of one part 
of the State differ from those of another part. The 
problems of the timbered country of the North are 
certainly not those of the prairies of the West. Like- 
wise, the problems of the Red River Valley are not 
those of that part of the Mississippi Valley adjacent 
to the Twin Cities. Naturally, too, the problems of 
the Red River Valley cannot be worked out under the 
different conditions which prevail in the part of the 
Mississippi Valley named. The physical factors of 
farming are not portable. 

Furthermore, the object of a technical agricultural 
school is to train young men so that they may go 
back to the laud and cultivate it with success. Obvi- 
ously, the thing to do is to train them on the kind 
of farm to which they are to return, or as nearly that 
as possible, and not on some other kind, where dif- 
ferent conditions rule and different problems have to 
be worked out. 

The Experimental Station, then, was established in 
the first place to work out the agricultural problems 
of the Red River Valley, and the school came later 
as a means of training young men from the Red 
River Valley farms, on a Red River Valley farm, in 
order that they might go back to Red River Valley 
farms to build them on sounder principles. This and 
more fundamental problems of agriculture are not 
at all neglected at the Crookston School, but it is 
simply to say that the special problems of the region 
receive the special attention they demand. 


The fall of 1908 was an auspicious one for the new 
institution. Two magnificent buildings were ready 
for occupancy, and the School had gained a reputa- 
tion for earnest efficient effort, and was rapidly forg- 
ing ahead. At the time of the dedication of the 
boys ' dormitory, it was named Stephens Hall, in honor 



of Senator A. D. Stephens, of Crookston, who repre- 
sented Polk County in the State Senate during these 
years, and to whose successful efforts to secure funds 
for the school building and equipment, as well as ade- 
quate provision for its support, much credit is due. 
James J. Hill was present at the dedication exercises, 
and delivered a prophetic address. 

Stephens Hall is a beautiful three-story brick build- 
ing, a model of comfort and convenience. The two 
upper floors are used as a boys' dormitory, and the 
first floor for the dining club, with its dining room, 
kitchen, bakeshop, and other necessary quarters. The 
dining club quarters were installed temporarily, as a 
separate building is planned eventuallj' to accommo- 
date that department. Stephens Hall will then provide 
comfortable rooms for 150 young men. The in- 
dustrial building provided the same year, now named 
S. M. Owen Hall, contains the blacksmith and carpen- 
try shops, stock judging room, dairy room, mechanical 
drawing room, and a large addition constructed in 
1911 provides commodious quarters for the farm en- 
gineering department. 

One hundred and one students attended during 
the third year of the school (1908-1909), more than 
double the second year's enrollment of 41. 


The year 1910 was one of many changes. Early in 
January occurred the very sudden and deeply re- 
gretted death of the first superintendent of the 
School, William Robertson. His death cast a pall of 
gloom over the entire School that could not be re- 
moved. His services and enthusiasm had been 
mighty factors in establishing the School and in out- 
lining policies and plans. The School's pioneer days 
were passed under the direction of Prof. Robertson 
and his estimable wife, who was also his co-worker 
in all the numerous activities necessary during these 
early days. 


The Legislative session of 1909 fairly outdid its pre- 
vious record in the matter of having a larger vision 

regarding the School's future work and usefulness, 
both in the matter of providing buildings and equip- 
ment, and also in the very important matter of es- 
tablishing an annual maintenance fund sufficient to 
permit the School to increase the faculty and extend 
the work. These buildings were under construction 
when the new superintendent came to Crookston. For 
this position the Board of Regents selected Mr. C. G. 
Selvig, whose work began August 1, 1910. 

Two new buildings were completed in the fall of 
that year, viz. : Robertson Hall, named in honor of 
William Robertson, the first superintendent of Crooks- 
ton School of Agriculture, and a girls' dormitory, 
which provides accommodations for 75 young ladies, 
and is a model home for girls attending the school. 
It is a three-story brick building, with beautifully 
tinted interior walls and with good architectural lines 
exteriorly. Climbing vines which eventually will 
cover the outside walls greatly add to its homelike 
appearance. The other building, the David L. Kiehle 
Building, was named in honor of former State 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Regent, and 
University Professor, Dr. David L. Kiehle. This, the 
fifth of the school buildings, and one of the largest, 
is also one of the most useful on the campus. It con- 
tains a well equipped gymnasium and a beautiful au- 
ditorium (which is pronounced by all as one of the 
most beautiful rooms in the State, seating about 500), 
administrative offices, and the library. 


The Experiment Station buildings were located on 
a tract of slightly elevated land near the northwest 
corner of the farm. It was found that the school 
campus required more room. During 1911, therefore, 
numerous changes were made. A class room building 
and minor station buildings had been provided by the 
1911 session of the Legislature. In order to find a 
suitable location for this structure and others that the 
School would soon require, due to its rapidly increas- 
ing attendance, it became necessary to remove the 
horse barn, dairy barn, poultry house, and the fann 



house to uew locations on a permanent campus plan. 
Four cottages for married members of the station 
and School faculty were also built that year. The 
class room building, which was completed iu 1912, 
was named the Hill Building, in honor of James J. 
Hill, who was present at the dedicatory exercises. 
It is a fine three-story structure, beautifully finished 
in oak throughout, and admirably arranged to accom- 
modate the various departments. With the horticul- 
ture and botany departments on the first floor, 
agronomy on the second, and English, agricultui'al 
-chemistry, and physics, and normal training depart- 
ments on the third floor, it made possible a degree of 
efficiency in actual school room work hitherto impos- 
sible at the Crookston School. 


The policy of building up the departments of the 
Agricultural School and Experiment Station by se- 
curing well trained and able specialists for each was 
given prominence by the new administration. Prof. 
C. E. Brown, in charge of poultry investigations and 
teaching, continued in his position. Prof. J. D. Bils- 
borrow became the Station 's first agronomist, followed 
by Prof. 0. I. Bergh, who in turn was succeeded by 
Prof. F. L. Keunard, the first two leaving to accept 
positions which lack of means and opportunity pre- 
cluded the Northwest's station from offering them. 
In 1911, Prof. T. M. McCall came from Iowa State 
College, at Ames, to take charge of the horticultural 
and botany departments, a position he still holds and 
in which he has rendered very efficient services to the 
State. Professors F. H. Sargent and Robert B. Bax- 
ter carried on the dairy and animal husbandrv work 
until 1913, when these departments were merged 
and put in charge of Prof. Wm. Dietrich, formerly of 
the Illinois Experiment Station, an able teacher and 
investigator. Prof. T. R. Sewall, the present head of 
the farm engineering department, came from the Cen- 
tral School at St. Anthony Park, in 1911. Prof. J. P. 
Bengston, now in charge of the boys' dormitories and 
who is also an instructor, resigned his position as su- 

perintendent of the Roseau City" Schools, in 1913, to 
accept a position with this institution. 

Miss Bess M. Rowe, Miss Laura Franklin, Miss 
Mabel H. Olsen, Miss Faith S. Brown, and Miss Grace 
B. Sherwood occupied responsible positions at the 
school, the latter having charge of the teachers' train- 
ing department. The progress that the School and 
Station has made is due to the strong, earnest efforts 
of the faculty members and station workers. In this 
brief sketch it is impossible to state more fully an 
account of their services. 


The Legislature in 1913 continued its interest in 
the Crookston School, providing two major additions 
to the buildings, besides placing the annual suppoi't 
fund on a more substantial basis. A central heating 
plant was constructed in 1913, and a second dormitory 
for young men, in 1914. A greenhouse and a grain 
storage equipment, as well as other minor buildings, 
completed the station group on present basis of work. 
A spur track was constructed in 1911 which, with the 
completion of the new heating plant, produced decided 
economics in annual maintenance. 

THE school's growth. 

We can look to the buildings and equipment, the 
school campus and grounds, class rooms, and other 
outward evidences which indicate increasing prepar- 
edness and efficiency, but no institution must be pei'- 
mitted to gauge its service by these things. The 
students of a school and its graduates must be sought 
out if a school's real history is to be written. The 
State Institution at Crookston is closing its tenth year 
at this time. Six hundred and eighty-one students 
have enrolled during the regular school terms, with 
181 in its junior course, 835 in its summer course for 
teachers, and many thousands at its farmers' short 
courses and farmers' week meetings, which are held in 
Crookston every February. Twenty Northwestern 
Minnesota counties have learned of the school and 
the work of its students, not only in the class rooms, 



laboratories, and shops, but of its work in creating 
power, in adapting itself to the social life one is to 
live, in meeting the fuller requirements of citizenship 
and of co-operative community life which must char- 
acterize the bountiful and full countrj^ life which all 
recognize is desired. The school is a dormitory insti- 
tution whereunder men and women of poise, integrity, 
lofty aims, and high visions, the young men and 
women, acquire ideals of conduct that shall last as 
long as there is life. Sports, indoor and outdoor, 
social activities; music, in band, orchestra, glee club 
and chorus, piano and voice, — all contribute to the 
upbuilding of the individual and to increasing the 
joys and happiness of the group. Public speaking 
and debates are recognized as essentials in the courses 
and are required of all. At an agricultural school, 
where farmers ai'e to be trained, the ability to think 
clearly, to write or speak easily, is an important work 
to do. Nothing can be said about the extensive courses 
in agriculture and home training, nor about the more 
recently organized courses in teacher training. Bul- 
letins and circulars describe this work in detail. 


The history up to the present time of the North- 
west School of Agi'iculture and Experiment Station 
would not be complete without a statement regarding 
its work and influence outside of the class rooms and 
experimental plots. Reference has been made to the 
organization, in 1903, of the Red River Valley Dairy- 
men's Association, of which Superintendent T. A. 
Hoverstad was the guiding spirit. Prof. Robertson 
continued the interest of the station in this organiza- 
tion, and was followed by Superintendent C. G. Selvig, 
who is the present president. This organization has 

accomplished much in the interest of daiiy farming 
and manufacturing. The Red River Valley Horti- 
cultural Society, under the leadership of Station men, 
is an active organization, its members being interested 
in tree and fruit growing. In these various organiza- 
tions, the Station and School workers are simply the 
means which various committees may use in accom- 
pli.shing certain things. The Farmers' Short Course 
and Agricultural Exhibit, begun at the Agricultural 
School in 1911, was branched out and increased so 
much in magnitude that in 1913 it was necessary to 
hold the meetings at Crookston. The Farm Crops 
Show and Meetings have come to be annual clearing 
house for ideas and plans to make the Red River Val- 
ley not only more productive, but to make home and 
school, city and country, better and more fit to live in. 

The Northern Minnesota Poultry Association, the 
Red River Valley Live Stock Breeders' Association, 
and the Red River Valley Seed Growers' Association 
are all bi-oadly educational. They serve to increase 
the spirit of co-operation, to break down community 
distrusts and to realize more fully the possibilities 
and potentialities of that full and abundant life which 
is vouchsafed every one, in city or country. 

This brief sketch of the Northwest School of Agri- 
culture and Experiment Station can well close in 
testifying to the influence and service of farmers' 
clubs and of community centers in consolidated 
schools of this great section of the State. The exten- 
sion service of the institution sprang into existence 
in helping to organize clubs and to promote the or- 
ganization of such schools. This service is justifying 
itself and those gi'oups are increasingly finding their 
full value as agencies for action and service. 

w^ w ^ ^ ^ 



T)---— !:^?!SS 


^SS €g/lBBj 




By Superintendent C. G. Selvig. 

origin and early history securing the land for a site — beginnings in 1895 the soil at the station 

plans outlined the work op early years drainage installed drainage work begun a new ad- 
ministration experiments in crop production — field crop work the horticultural division 

live stock departments, etc. 


Sometime before 1894 Prof. Willet M. Hays, of 
Minnesota Experiment Station, St. Anthony Park, 
had made a study regarding the best location for two 
other experiment farms in Minnesota besides the one 
at St. Anthony Park. There were two great areas 
of the State considered in this survey, viz : the Red 
River Valley and the adjacent parts of the northwest 
part of the State, and the lighter soils of the great 
north central timbered section. By consulting the 
State geological surveys, and doing some traveling, he 
had formulated a general plan as to where these 
farms should be located. 

There had been some agitation of this question 
among the citizens of the Red River Valley, resulting 
in a delegation being sent to urge the establishment of 
an experiment farm before the Legislative committee 
to whom a bill had been referred. Favorable action 
resulted, for at the Legislative session of 1895, $30,000 
was appropriated with which to procure equipment, 
and for the two following years to conduct two sub- 
experiment farms. They were placed under the direc- 
tion of the Board of Regents of the University of 

Several tracts of land were considered for the loca- 
tion of the Northwest Experiment Farm by the Agri- 
cultural Committee of the Board of Regents, consist- 

ing of Wm. "W. Liggett, Chairman ; J. S. Pillsbury, 
S. M. Owen, and W. W. Pendergast, and by Prof. 
W. M. Hays who had made a study of the northern 
half of the State. It was finally located by the Board 
of Regents at Crookston, Polk County, on land do- 
nated by the Great Northern Railway, through the 
generosity and liberal mindedness of President J. J. 
Hill and Samuel Hill. It was considered that prob- 
lems to be solved upon this area were the problems 
of many communities in the Red River Valley, espe- 
cially the problem of drainage. This reason weighed 
largely in the minds of the Committee, for the land 
selected was extremely low, there being higher land 
on the north, east, south, and southwest. A shallow 
coulee drained a part of the waters to the northwest. 
The ditch established later followed this natural out- 
let. It was regarded as advantageous to have such 
a tract of land for experimental purposes and for 
investigational use. 

The tract donated to be used for the Northwest Ex- 
periment Farm contains 476.61 acres, according to a 
United States Government survey which was made 
in 1872. It comprises the north half and southeast 
quarter of Section 19, Crookston Township. Its south 
line is the northern limit of the city of Crookston. 
The farm buildings were located in the northwest 
corner of the section, approximately two miles from 
the center of the city. 





This tract of land remained in the possession of 
the General Government until March, 1878, when 
the ownership of this tract was transferred to the 
State of Minnesota, which in turn transferred it on 
the same date, to the St. Paul & Pacific Railway Com- 
pany, now a part of the Great Northern Railway 
system. All of it had remained unimproved in the 
possession of the railway, excepting about fifty acres 
which had been broken, cropped, and filled with mus- 
tard and other weeds by trespassers, until 1895, when 
the University of Minnesota was given permission to 
use it for an experimental farm. In 1903 an agree- 
ment was made with the railway by which the Uni- 
versity could become the purchaser of the land at 
any time at $25 per acre, but could have the posses- 
sion of it free of charge so long as it was used for 
educational or experimental purposes. 


Work at the experiment farm began in 1895, when 
the city of Crookston and the County of Polk each 
gave $1,000, which was utilized for drainage and mak- 
ing of roads around and through the Northwest Farm. 
Prof. W. M. Hays was placed in general charge of 
the equipment and plans for experimental work, and 
Mr. T. A. Hoverstad was chosen assistant agricul- 
turist, and was given the local management of this 
Northwest Farm, at Crookston, as Superintendent. 


The surface soil at the Northwest Experiment Farm 
is a blackish color, usually about twelve inches in 
depth, although at places it becomes very thin, while 
at others the dark material extends in slender streaks 
for 18 to 30 inches down into the lighter subsoil. Two 
distinct types of soil were mapped on the farm. The 
larger portion is of Fargo clay loam soil, which con- 
tains a very large per cent of organic matter. This 
renders the soil loamy and easily cultivated, when 
in a dry condition; but when wet, it is sticky and 
tenacious, clods badly, and does not scour well, mak- 

ing plowing almost impossible. The other type of soil, 
called the Fargo fine sandy loam, is easily cultivated, 
and can be plowed much earlier in the spring and 
summer after heavy rains, than the heavy type of soil. 


The plans outlined for the Northwest Farm in- 
cluded the production for dissemination of the best 
grains produced by the station; the testing of varie- 
ties of grains, roots, trees, and fruits; field manage- 
ment ; tillage and weeds ; pastures and meadows ; for- 
age and pastures from annual crops; prairie fores- 
try; road making; feeding work horses and other 
stock; breeding animals; and dairying. All of these 
were to be studied with reference to conditions in 
this part of the State. These plans involved extended 
investigations to answer questions which could be 
properly studied only in this peculiar part of the 


The work from 1896 up to the installation of the 
drainage ditch, iu 1909, was difficult and the results 
uncertain, on account of excessive rainfall and lack 
of drainage during the greater time of this period. 
The reports of the Northwest Experiment Farm 
present these difficulties very vividly. In the spring 
of 1896 the rainfall was so constant and excessive that 
the season for planting grain crops had practically 
passed before the seed could be planted. In 1897, 
floods just before harvest nearly ruined the wheat and 
oats. The need of an adequate drainage system was 
early recognized; but the problem was one requiring 
a considerable expenditure of money and the co-op- 
eration of several agencies, which it took some time to 
secure. A yield of 23 bushels of wheat to the acre 
is reported for 1897, with an average of 20.9 for three- 
year period. Oats averaged 47 bushels to the acre 
in a three year test, and barley varieties averaged 
from 26.6 bushels to 31.7 bushels to an acre. A con- 
siderable number of trees were planted which aflfoi'd 
at the present time both windbreak and shade. 



July 25, 1897, liglitning caused a fire which de- 
stroyed the barn with several horses aud a larger por- 
tion of the collection of farm tools and conveyances. 
The total loss was $6,000. A new barn was con- 
structed for the $3,000 received from insurance on 
the one ' destroyed. 

The season of 1899 was somewhat unfavorable for 
field experiments at the Northwest Farm, as seeding 
was delayed until the latter part of May and the first 
part of June. A heavy hail storm came just before 
harvest. Successful work was done with clover and 
with cultivated forage crops. Corn tests were begun. 
The forestry planting was considerably increased. In 
1900, excessive rainfalls and inadequate drainage 
again feature the reports, interfering with the small 
grains. Tests in growing fodder corn proved suc- 
cessful ; seedling plums fruited ; six thousand trees 
were planted in the nursery ; and a poultrj' plant was 
successfully started. A cattle baru was authorized 
by the Legislature in 1901. During these years, con- 
siderable work was done in preparing for a complete 
system of drainage, which it was hoped could be put 
into operation in 1905. 


William Robertson was appointed superintendent 
of the Northwest Farm in 1904, entering upon his 
work in 1905. The three years preceding 1905, he 
reported as having been unusually wet in the Red 
River Valley. Most of his energy was devoted to the 
matter of securing suitable drainage for the farm. 

In 1903, an appropriation of $5,000 was made by 
the State Legislature for drainage, and in the follow- 
ing summer the highway and railway ditches which 
had been opened up were supplemented by 1,285 rods 
of capstan plow ditch. This ditch extended east and 
west across the farm, thence northwest through a shal- 
low coulee to Lowell Ditch No. 1. These ditches re- 
moved some of the surface water, but were not of suffi- 
cient capacity to remove the water quicklj' at the 
spring thaws, or after heavy rains. The Legislature 
of 1905 made an additional appropriation of $4,000 

to be used in drainage and experimenting with tile 


A district survey was made by the Department of 
Agriculture in the fall of 1895, and a petition was 
circulated for a county ditch passing the north side 
of the farm which would also furnish drainage to con- 
siderable territory north and east of the farm. In 
April, 1906, this petition was granted, and Polk 
County Ditch No. 60 was established. The office of 
Experiment Stations at Washington, D. C, was in- 
vited to co-operate, and John T. Stewart was ap- 
pointed to supervise the work for the department. 
Plans were di'awu for laying about 50,000 feet of tile 
and digging of one aud one-half miles of open ditch. 
A portion of the farm was to be supplied with sur- 
face drainage for comparison of results. The tiles 
Mere laid at different distances apart, and at different 
depths, and wells were established at different dis- 
tances from the tiles to determine the effect of tiles 
upon the water level. Tests were to be made of the 
alkali content of both the water and the soil at times 
before and after the drainage was installed, in order 
to determine the effect of drainage upon this feature. 
Expense data on the installation was kept. 

The seasons of 1906, 1907, and 1908 were given' 
up to the woi-k on ditching and laying tile. Bulletin 
No. 110 was written describing this work. The year 
1908 was one of the driest years on record. Experi- 
ments with clover and alfalfa showed favorable re- 
sults. Five additional varieties of alfalfa were seeded 
that .year, selected as to hardiness and yield. 


Superintendent William Robertson died in Jan- 
uary, 1910. He was succeeded by Mr. Selvig. A 
fuller account of Mr. Robertson's work and services 
is to be found in the school section of this liistory. In 
1911, the woi'k at the Northwest Station became 
largely experimental and investigational work was 
conducted under station specialists in direct charge 



of departmental projects. The superintendent was 
in direct charge of both the Agricultural school and ex- 
periment station, and assumed specific charge of the 
drainage work and of co-operative work with school 
students and farmers in the Red River VaUey. This 
plan brought extensive additions to the station work, 
and has already succeeded in making the station a 
clearing house for the solution of vexed questions that 
arise in connection with farming in Northwestern Min- 
nesota, which it was originally intended the experiment 
station should become. With the completion of the 
drainage system, this new work was made possible 
although many handicaps and drawbacks still had 
to be met. The problems of lack of surface drainage, 
of foul weeds, or general adaptation to the new work 
were met, however, and the station has taken forward 
steps which are increasing every year. 


At the present time, the experimental work em- 
braces, besides the drainage investigations which 
have been outlined, the following lines of work: In 
the agronomy section, there is work in cultural meth- 
ods with farm crops, including rate of seeding wheat, 
oats, and barley, using six rates for each; date of 
seeding winter wheat, alfalfa, winter rye, and barley, 
using four dates for each ; and plowing and sub-soiling, 
packing subsoil, a comparison of tractor and horse 
plowing and disking, dates of plowing and disking 
stubble before plowing. 

The work in varietal tests of farm crops includes 
variety tests of all farm crops, with the object of 
getting the varieties best adapted to northwestern 
Minnesota conditions, and co-operative tests, with 
various divisions of the College of Agriculture, Uni- 
versity of Minnesota, St. Paul, and the United States 
Department of Agriculture in testing wheat, for mill- 
ing purposes ; flax, for fiber ; wheat hybrids, for rust 
resistance; and corn varieties. 


The results of the season of 1915 at the Northwest 
Experiment Station indicate what is being done there 

along crop production lines. The station has been 
drained since 1909, and each year's results are more 
and more indicative of the improved conditions re- 
garding plant growth. 

In 1915, the highest yield per acre of oats was 98.7 
bushels in a rate of seeding plot. The lowest in this 
series was 80 bushels. The next highest was 95.3 
bushels per acre in a fertilizer plot series, with the 
lowest yield in that series of 70.3 bushels to the acre. 

A 16.3 acre field averaged 77 bushels, and a 28.5 
acre field averaged 75.5 bushels, and a field of Early 
Roosevelt oats yielded 82.2 bushels per acre. 

The highest yield of barley per acre, was 65.2 
bushels in the fertilizer plot series. A field of 19.7 
acres averaged 43.4 bushels per acre, and a field of 
44.85 acres averaged 42.5 bushels per acre. 

The highest yield of wheat per acre was 40.8 bush- 
els per acre, and in the rotation series the highest 
yield was 32.46 bushels, and in the variety series the 
highest was 40.8 bushels per acre. These yields are 
the result of improved strains of seed, drainage, man- 
agement, and soil condition. 

Seeds and trees are distributed to co-operators, in 
order to determine the varieties of farm crops and 
trees best adapted to Northwestern Minnesota. In 
this work it wiU be necessary to distribute improved 
strains of seeds of cereals, forage, root, and vegetable 
crops, and hardy varieties of trees, grown at this Sta- 
tion, to test them on farms located where soil and 
moisture conditions are different. The sale of pure 
bred seeds and of nursery stock is included in this 
project. Tests on fifty farms were in progress in 1915. 
This number will be materially increased. 

The corn breeding work has for its object the secur- 
ing of corn with early maturity. 

Several crop rotation plans are being followed, and 
a study made of resulting crop yields, soil fertility, 
and weed conditions. 

Extensive fertilizer tests are being made in co-op- 
eration with Division of Soils, University Farm, St. 
Paul. These tests comprise an investigation of the 
effects of commercial fertilizers, with and without 




majiure, for ordinary farm crops grown in rotation. 
This work is to be extended for tests of typical soils 
of Northwestern Minnesota, including peat lands. 

The weed eradication work is planned so as to de- 
termine and test methods of eradicating noxious 
weeds common to Northwestern Minnesota. This 
work is to be done on Northwestern Minnesota farms 
in typical areas. This project will be greatly 


In the Horticultural Division, one of the principal 
lines of work is with the potato plant, including va- 
riety testing, to determine the varieties best adapted 
to Northwestern Minnesota ; a study of tuber and leaf 
diseases, to determine the best methods of handling 
these diseases; a test of several methods of planting, 
to determine the method giving most profitable yield ; 
and seed selection of potato seed, to determine relation 
to yield, vigor, and resistance to disease. 

Extensive fruit, tree, and shrub investigations em- 
bracing variety and hardiness tests of tree fruits, 
small fruits, trees, shrubs and vines are in progress. 

Garden crops and field root crops are being grown 

to determine the best varieties for Northwestern 


In the animal and dairy husbandry work, feeding 
experiments with horses, cattle, swine, and sheep are 
in progress. The station herds include animals of 
the different breeds which are used, in addition, for 
school stock judging work. 

In the poultry department extensive trials com- 
paring artificial with the natural incubation of chick- 
ens have been conducted. Cockerel fattening work, 
egg preservation, goose feeding, wet versus dry mash 
feeding, the influence of various plans and methods 
of poultry house construction, have been tested. Sev- 
eral bulletins have been published dealing with poul- 
try raising. 

The experiment work at the Northwest Station can 
now be said to be well organized. A report published 
early in 1916 dealing with the preceding five years, 
showed an extensive program of work, much of which 
gave immediate results, but many projects seemed to 
require longer periods of time for results to be of 
any value. 


By Prof. C. G. Selvig. 

location of the county early geological history soils — temperature settlement and first set- 
tlers red river carts immigration after 1876 — pioneer wheat farming agricultural devel- 
opments and production statistics — present farming conditions corn. — potatoes fructs live 

stock industry dairying poultry raising live stock farming cattle statistics growth op 

live stock raising statistics of farm products and live stock — drainage work in polk county, by 

george a. ralph, c. e. 

Polk County, Minnesota, is located in the heart of 
the Red River Valley of the North. When tirst estab- 
lished, it extended from the Red River on the west 
to Lake Itasca and the Mississippi River on the east. 
In 1866, all east of the line between ranges 38 and 39 
was taken to form part of the new county of Beltrami. 
In 1881, Norman County was created by taking the 
four southern tiers of townships from the county of 
Polk, and, in 1897, the county of Red Lake was or- 
ganized by taking twenty-four full and seven frac- 
tional townships in a somewhat irregular form from 
its northeastern part. Polk County, as it is today, is 
forty-six miles from east to west in its main part, and 
about thirty miles from north to south. It has several 
streams and in the eastern part there are innumerable 
lakes. The average elevation of the western half 
of the county is between 750 and 1,000 feet. The 
south half has an elevation of between 1,000 and 1,200 
feet, while in the south-eastern corner, the elevation 
is between 1,250 and 1,500 feet. 


The Kewatin ice sheet, advancing from the north- 
west and entering Minnesota through the Red River 

Valley, spread a gray drift over most of the westera 
and southern parts of the State. This gray drift, de- 
rived in larger part from shale and limestone, has 
proved to be intensely fertile. Polk County is located 
on this gray drift area, and in that part of it that 
was covered by the ancient glacial Lake Agassiz. This 
lake was formed during the recession of the ice sheet. 
At its maximum development, it exceeded in size the 
five Great Lakes of today. The finest parts of the soil 
carried by the ice, or carried from the surrounding 
land were deposited towards the center of the lake 
where the water was deepest. This was the origin 
of the heavy clay soils which have made the Red River 
Valley one of the greatest grain growing regions in 
the world. 

There are patches of sand and gravel in this area 
where glacial streams formerly reached the lake, and 
long ridges of sand, flanked on either side by sandy 
loam, which mark its early shore lines. In Polk 
County these shore lines cross through the center 
from north to south. 

This glacial formation of the Red River Valley cre- 
ated a problem in securing adequate drainage, but a 




great deal of work has been done which is proving 
satisfactory for the successful production of crops. 


The soils of Polk County may be divided into three 
distinct areas as follows : First. The Eastern area of 
glacial-till, of a clayey nature, with a marked undu- 
lation to a hilly topography dotted with lakes, and 
which was originally wooded with hardwood timber. 

Second. The "sandy ridge" area, a strip of land 
several miles wide and running north and south across 
the middle portion of the county. 

Third. The prairie flats to the west of the "sandy 
ridge" area which extends in a magnificent plain to 
the Red River of the North, and which has a soil won- 
derful in its richness and fertility. It is of a lacus- 
trine and alluvial origin, being deposited there by the 
waters of Lake Agassiz and the flood waters of the 
streams that emptied into the plain at a later day. 
The top soil varies from a sandy loam to a heavy 
clay loam. This dark rich loam varies from a depth 
of 12 inches to 30 inches. It is underlaid by a silty 
clay, which, in most cases, is almost impervious to 

The plain has been cut through by numerous 
streams and rivers whose beds lie from ten to forty 
feet below the level of the prairie, affording excellent 
outlets for the numerous drainage ditches that have 
been constructed by the state and county. These 
ditches have a fall of several feet per mile and where 
these ditches have been made, drainage forms a simple 
problem to the farmer, which can be easily and 
cheaply effected by .shallow surface ditches. 


The mean annual temperature of Polk County is 
between 37° and 38° Pahrenheit. The mean annual 
temperature during the months of April to September 
is between 57° and 58°, and during June, July, and 
August between 65° to 66°. The average date of the 
last frost in Polk County is between the dates of May 

15 and May 20. The average date of the first fall 
frost is September 22. This gives an average grow- 
ing season for the county of between 120 and 130 

The average annual precipitation of the county 
is 22 inches, being greater in the eastern two-thirds 
of the county, where the average is 24 inches. The 
average of precipitation from October to March 
varies from 3.73 inches in the northwestern part to 
5.31 inches in the eastern two-thirds of the county. 
The precipitation from April to September is 15.37 
inches in the northwestern part of the county, and 
17.07 inches in the eastern section. The evaporation 
varies directly with the temperature, and is, there- 
fore, less rapid in northwestern Minnesota than in 
regions farther south. A rainfall of 24 inches in 
Polk County is equal in crop producing power to 40 
or even 50 inches in lower latutudes. In the north- 
ern Red River Valley as much as 77 per cent, of the 
precipitation occurs in the growing season. This, 
and the fact that the average annual depth of evapora- 
tion from a free water surface in Polk County is 
from 20 to 30 inches, makes conditions that are favor- 
able for crop producing and, particularly, for rais- 
ing of small grains. 


The settlement of Polk County was a part of the 
general movement that occurred in the late years 
of the decade of 1860 and the early years of that 
of 1870. In 1843, Norman Kittson established a 
trading post at Pembina, in the Red River Valley, 
which later became the location of a Hudson's Bay 
Company's post. In 1823, Major Long had ascended 
to the Minnesota portage through to the Red River, 
returning later by way of Rainy River and Lake 
Superior. This indicated the means of entry into 
Polk County, located in the center of the Red River 
Valley. Between the Mississippi and the Red River, 
the principal water route led up the Minnesota River, 
and over the portage at Browns Valley, from Big 



Stone Lake iuto Lake Traverse, and thence north ou 
the Red River. The distance by this route from St. 
Paul to Pembina was said to be 448 miles, and the 
time taken by carts was 30 to 40 days. The stage 
route over which the early settlers in Polk County 
arrived was laid out in 1859, following an inter- 
mediate course along the border of the hardwood belt 
by way of Sauk Rapids, Osakis, Alexandria, Pomme 
de Terre (near Ashby), and Breckenridge. It is esti- 
mated that during 1869, 2,500 river carts passed up 
and down the valley. 

The first steamboat was called the Anson Northup 
and was launched on the Red River in 1859. Funds 
for its construction had been obtained in part by pub- 
lic subscriptions in St. Paul, the purpose being to 
secure the trade for that city of Fort Garry (Winni- 
peg) and the Red River Region. The period of most 
active navigation in the Red River Valley was dur- 
ing the years following 1871, when the Northern 
Pacific Railroad had reached Moorhead, the usual 
head of navigation, and while the river north of 
that point was not yet paralleled by railroads. Dur- 
ing this period, there were four or five boats on the 
river which made from 35 to 65 round trips an- 
nually, depending largely on the stage of the water 
and the length of the season. 

POLK county's first SETTLERS. 

It was during this period that Polk County received 
its first settlers. The following is from an article by 
Judge Watts in the "History of the Red River Val- 

"In 1871, there came from southeastern Minnesota 
some Norwegian families that settled along the Red 
River and near it, in what are now the towns of Hub- 
bard, Vineland, Tynsid, and Bygland. Farther north, 
at, and near the place where the Red Lake River joins 
the Red, and along the Marais, at this time also came 
a considerable number of Scotch and Canadian people, 
who had been attracted by accounts of the lower part 
of the Valley in the Dominion of Canada, but finding 
the desirable lands there already taken or reserved, 
returned to this place, one of the garden spots of the 
Northwest, to make fine homes for themselves and 
their families. A line of boats had been established 

by Norman Kittson plying the waters of the river be- 
tween Moorhead and Winnipeg, and upon them, most 
of these settlers reached their new homes. Among 
those who came thus, and made the deepest impres- 
sion upon the future of the county, were Robert Coul- 
ter, John Coulter, and William Fleming." 


These Red River carts and steamboats — and es- 
pecially the steamboats — were, undoubtedly, great 
factors in promoting immigration, and in developing 
agriculture in the Red River Valley. Owing to the 
earlier establishment of agriculture by the Selkirk 
settlers, more immigrants seemed to have come into 
Canada by this route, than stopped off in the Minne- 
sota part of the Valley. The railroad was constructed 
from Glyndon to Snake River in 1872 and, in 1875, 
from Crookstou to Fisher's Landing. Interesting in- 
cidents are told of the early traffic on the railroad 
between Crookston and Glyndon. The people at 
Crookston built a platform on two pairs of railway 
trucks, and attached sails, and used them in making 
trips down to Glyndon, bringing back supplies. 

Polk County was declared to be a legally organized 
county by an act of the Legislature approved March 
3, 1873. 

Within the space of ten years, and for the most 
part within five years, the development of settlement 
in Polk County dependent upon Red River carts, stage 
lines, and river navigation for intercourse with the 
outside world, came to an end, and a way was opened 
for the rapid settlement of the agricultural develop- 
ment of the country. 


The population in 1876 was 937, of mixed nation- 
alities, but largely Norwegians. In 1877 lands sold 
for $2.50 per acre. The immigration during this 
period was largely from Norway and Sweden, and 
about one-half the population were Scandinavians or 
of Scandinavian descent. In 1878, a large immigra- 
tion of French Canadians and their descendants set 
in. In 1877 the railroad had been extended to St. 




The period of wheat farming in the Red River Val- 
ley began in 1870. In 1872 the average production 
per acre was 17.4 bushels as against 12.28 bushels in 
1871. The use of middlings, through the invention of 
a middling purifier, in 1870, greatly increased wheat 
production. This invention was in general use by 
1876. The invention of iron or porcelain rollers, re- 
placing the old mill stones, added another strong 
factor in increasing wheat production. These inven- 
tions resulted in increased prices for wheat. During 
the years 1877 to 1884 there was a boom period in 
Polk County. This was followed by additional rail- 
roads tapping the county. In 1884, the railroad was 
laid from Shirley to St. Hilaire. In 1886 the D. & M. 
road was built from Fertile to Red Lake Falls, and 
west through to Grand Forks. In 1898 the Great 
Northern line was built from Duluth to Grand Forks 

The territory included in Polk County at that time 
comprised the present counties of Polk, Red Lake, 
Norman, and Mahnomen, with a population of 11,400 
persons. In the same year, only 4.3 per cent of the 
land area of Polk County was improved. The acreage 
of wheat in 1879 in Polk County was 31,000 acres, 
producing 535,000 bushels of wheat, or an average of 
seventeen bushels to the acre. Wheat farming con- 
tinued up to 1895, when diversified farming began to 
be practiced. The population of Polk County in- 
creased to 30,192 in 1890, and to 39,209 in 1895, and 
with Red Lake County taken out, to 35,499 in 1900 ; 
37,212 in 1905 ; and 36,001 in 1910. 


The same condition of agricultural depression ex- 
isted in Minnesota during the decade of 1870 as in 
other Western States, though apparently in a less 
extreme form. As a result, farmers, on the average, 
found themselves able to accumulate little except 
through the rise in value of their lands. The infer- 
ence seems warranted that it was this relative un- 
profitableness of agriculture which started the rush to 

the cities and likewise furnished the motive power both 
of the Grange movement to regulate railroad rates, 
and of the several cheap money campaigns designed 
to check the fall of prices. 

There were no noticeable changes in the average 
size, value, and tenure of farms in Polk County from 
1860 to 1910, as shown by census figures. The larger 
increase in the average value per acre of land and 
buildings between the years of 1900 and 1910 indi- 
cates one important result of the transition from 
specialized wheat farming to diversified farming. 

FROM 1860 TO 1910. 

Val. of 

Av. val. per 

Per cent 


acre laud 



Av. Size. 

and bldgs. 

and bldgs. 

by owners. 


. 356.7 Acres 

$ 16,000 

$ 7.48 


. . 215.4 Acres 





. 193.2 Acres 





, . 224.3 Acres 





. . 252.2 Acres 




Polk County early became one of the foremost coun- 
ties in the Red River Valley group. The rapid ad- 
vancement made in production of the principal crops 
is here given: 

In 1880 there were 7,000 acres of oats with a pro- 
duction of 240,000 bushels ; 1,000 acres of barley with 
20,000 bushels; 11,000 acres of hay with 7,000 tons. 
No statistics for wheat, rye, corn, and potatoes are 

In 1890 there were 237,439 acres of wheat with 
3,013,361 bushels; 44,215 acres of oats with 226,221 
bushels; 16,474 acres of barley with 300,439 bushels; 
153 acres of corn with 4,100 bushels; 2,393 acres of 
potatoes with 283,382 bushels. 

In 1900 there were 305,807 acres of wheat with a 
production of 4,128,620 bushels; 65,267 acres of oats 
with 1,873,450 bushels ; 28,194 acres of barley with a 
yield of 682,230 bushels; 575 acres of corn, with 15,- 
030 bushels; 1,651 acres of potatoes with 252,965 

In 1910 the wheat area had shrunk to 164,229 acres 
with 2,621,256 bushels; 96,774 acres of oats with 2,747,- 
228 bushels; 53,268 acres of barley with 1,173,579 


bushels; 2,903 acres of corn with 96,890 bushels, and 
3,900 acres of potatoes with 524,374 bushels. 


The results of numerous chemical analyses of the 
soils of Polk County show them to contain all the 
plant food elements in abundance. Their high lime- 
stone content would class them with the best lime- 
stone soils in the world. They are, also, exception- 
aUy rich in organic matter and potash. Many of 
these soils which have known no other than grain 
crops since first they Were broken in the "eighties" 
still produce in a normal season, with good tillage, 
from 15 to 25 bushels of wheat to the acre. Where 
a rotation of crops has been followed, good plowing 
done, some manure applied, and good seed used, with 
proper preparation of the seed bed and adequate 
drainage, this soil will produce from 40 to 80 bushels 
of oats ; 20 to 35 bushels of wheat of the finest qual- 
ity; 30 to 50 bushels of barley; 15 to 25 bushels of 
flax; 18 to 20 bushels of winter rye; 30 to 50 bushels 
of corn, or when cut for silage, 10 to 15 tons per acre. 
Timothy and clover yield from one and one-half to 
three tons per acre; alfalfa from two to four tons; 
potatoes from 200 to 300 bushels on clover land, 
where manure has been used, and from 100 to 200 
bushels following grain, without manure. Maximum 
yields are often reported doubling the minimum of 
those stated above. 


Com, it may be said, has completed the conquest 
of the State, since, according to the census of 1910, 
com of some sort was grown in every county but two. 
Polk County has shared greatly in this development, 
as it is gradually becoming a standard crop. 


The opportunities for successful potato growing in 
Polk County are unsurpassed. The soil and climatic 
conditions are such as produce potatoes of excellent 
flavor, splendid keeping qualities, and high yielding 


power. The counties of the Red River Valley have 
long been known as the home of the Early Ohio seed 
potato; however, both early and late varieties grow 
here to great perfection. This region is not subject 
to many of the serious diseases of other potato re- 
gions of the United States. It is because of their 
great constitutional vigor that the Red River Valley 
seed potatoes are much sought for in the seed potato 
markets of the middle west. 


Contrary to the view of those not acquainted with 
Polk County conditions, tree and small fruits are 
easily and profitably grown here. Native fruits, such 
as plums, grapes, blueberries, high-bush cranberries, 
gooseberries, and many others grow in great abun- 
dance in the woods along the watercourses. 

The standard varieties of plums, gooseberries, cur- 
rants, and crab apples grow with but little care, and 
produce large crops of fruit. Hardy varieties of ap- 
ples given intelligent care and attention yield abun- 
dantly, as has been proved by the many bearing trees 
and orchards of Polk County. The same as in any 
other region, the successful growing of fruits is more 
dependent upon the man than it is upon the climate, 
and an increasing number of persons are proving that 
there are no handicaps of note to prevent success 
along this line, here. 


Beginning in 1890, live stock came to be gradu- 
ally introduced into Polk County. It had been recog- 
nized all the time that the county possessed excep- 
tional advantages for the growing of beef cattle, 
horses, sheep and hogs, as well as for dairying. 

The fundamental conditions which are necessary 
for live stock raising are amply filled here. There 
are many varieties of cheap feeds which will furnish 
the different food nutrients for growth and fatten- 
ing, such as are found in home grown feeds, as al- 
falfa, shock corn, or corn silage, barley, oats, and 
flax. Another great advantage is found in the dry 



climate, free from suddeu and extreme changes. This 
fact regarding the climate is of greatest importance. 
The temperature in the winter is somewhat low but 
with the dryness of the atmosphere, this is not a seri- 
ous matter with beef cattle, and especially those that 
are being fattened. Sufficient shelter can be pro- 
vided at a wevy small cost, as, for example, simply a 
straw shed with openings at the south side. Beef 
cattle are different from dairy cattle in this respect, 
because they retain all the body heat, a large propor- 
tion of which, in the dairy cow, is withdrawn when 
the milk is removed twice each day. 

Live stock raising with beef cattle production as 
the main object can be operated with probably the 
smallest amount of labor of all the different classes 
of farming. Polk County has the farms and the 
labor can be secured. The general conditions apply- 
ing to beef cattle also apply to sheep and swine. 
Great success has followed in this work. In raising 
beef, mutton, and pork, the good water, the dry cli- 
mate, and the easil.y grown feeds present unusually 
favorable conditions for the man of even moderate 
means. Many splendid herds are here now, with 
increasing mimbers each year. 


It has been demonstrated year after year, that corn, 
clover, and alfalfa can be depended upon for a good 
crop in Polk County. With these crops, dairying is 
assured of its proper place in the front rank. Dairy- 
ing means a constant monthly income from the sale 
of the products, the utilization of the farm help dur- 
ing the winter months, when labor is comparatively 
cheap, and above all, the use of the home grown feeds 
upon the farm and the return of the fertility to the 

Polk Couuty has all the elements of a dairying 
section. Dairy herds are springing up around every 
town. A co-operative creamery is the proud boast of 
nearly every community in the countJ^ There are 
21 creameries in the county, 19 of which are co-oper- 
ative. This can be said of only four other counties 

of the state. These 20 creameries paid to the farmers 
of this county, $492,316.12, in 1912, for butterfat 
alone. There is room for many times as many 
dairy cows as there are at present. The earning ca- 
pacity of Minnesota cows has grown from $15.40 each 
in 1890 to $53.10 each in 1912. With such a showing 
the prospects are favorable. 


There is no section of the country that presents 
greater opportunities in poultry raising than Polk 
County. The markets are at its door, the Twin Cities 
to the south, Duluth and the Iron Range cities to 
the east; and numerous summer resorts, scattered 
over a wide area, give access to the greatest markets 
in the Northwest. 

The climate of this part of the State is extremely 
favorable to poultry raising. The steady, imvariable 
winter weather insures the best of health and vigor 
in the flocks, while the long cool summer days are 
conducive to the most rapid and steady growth of its 
.young stock. Indeed, it is freely admitted by buyers 
of national reputation, that nowhere in the United 
States can be found yovang stock of chickens, ducks, 
and turkeys, that exhibit sueli marked indications of 
rapid growth and freedom from disease as are pro- 
duced in this part of the state. 


The greatest asset of any county is the number of 
farmers that are using the natural advantages sur- 
rounding them to the best advantage. Live stock 
farming, be it with beef cattle, sheep, dairy cows, 
brood mares, or poultry, is profitable every year, and 
annually leaves the farm in better shape. This is 
what the Red River Valley counties are going into, 
and Polk County is going with the rest. The move- 
ment is strongly in evidence in every community. 

The following table shows the total number of cat- 
tle and per cent of dairy cows in Polk County for 
1860 to 1910. with the exception of 1870. The table 
following shows the dairy production of Polk County 
for the same period: 




Total No. Dairy Other 

Year. Cattle. Cows. Cattle. 

1860 114 15 99 

1880 7,304 2,774 4,530 

1890 39,397 14,413 24,984 

1900 41,015 16,021 24,994 

1910 53,491 24,6.50 28,841 

Per cent 


Milk pro- Butter 

duced on Jlilk, Cream. made on 

farms, gallons gallons farms. 

gallons. sold. sold. poxuids. 

. 1,450 

1,565 110,253 



made on Cheese, 

farms, pounds 

pounds, sold. 


1880 1,565 110,253 738 

1890.. 4,157,202 981,314 16,162 

1900.. 7,494,300 314,389 3,000 1,438,801 676,660 33,272 30,714 
1910.. 8,039,937 338,421 127,238 1,377,339 665,911 466 


Total value 

Per capita 

of aU farm 

Per square 

Per acre 

of county's 







.. $ 615,304 

$ 138.27 

$ 5.02 

$ 63.03 


. . 2,223,310 





. . 3,662,269 





. . 7,216,630 




The number of farms at present, 3,500. 

The number and value of live stock in Polk County 
from the years 1860 to 1910 with the exception of 1870 
is given in the following table : 


Year. Number. Value. 

1860 139 $ 5,450 

1880 12,653 549,002 

1890 76,214 1,838,973 

1900 91,686 2,435,827 

1910 95,989 3,704,380 

There were two creameries in 1890. The number 
increased to three creameries and five cheese factories 
in 1896. In 1910 these increased to thirteen cream- 
eries and seven cheese factories, and in 1915 to twenty- 
one creameries and one cheese factory. 


The western half of Polk County is in the Red 
River Valley, and, to a casual observer, has the ap- 
pearance of very level prairie land. In reality it has 
a good general slope toward.s the northwest ranging 
from three to six feet to the mile. The eastern half 

of the county consists of high rolling land, partly tim- 

The following elevations of land and water surfaces 
at various places in the county will show at a glance 
the practicabilitjf of drainage : 

Eler. above sea. 
(water surface) 

Elev. above sea, 
(land surface) 

Fosston 1,290 1,275 Lake surface 

Mcintosh 1,220 1,200 Sand Hill River 

Fertile 1,144 1,120 Sand Hill River 

Mentor 1,168 1,156 Maple Lake 

Crookston 890 848 Red Lake River 

Beltrami 902 882 Sand Hill River 

East Grand Forks 835 790 Red Lake River 

Mouth Sand Hill River . . 865 801 Red River 

N. W. corner of county.. 810 770 Red River 

The valley portion of the county is separated from 
the rolling land to the east by a well defined gravel 
ridge claimed by geologists to be the eastern beach of 
ancient Lake Agassiz, which at one time covered the 
entire Red River Valley. The old Pembina Trail be- 
tween Port Garry and St. Anthony Falls followed this 

Polk County has always been in the front rank in 
any movement having for its object the reclamation 
of the wet lands of the state. Her citizens have 
reached drainage in season and out of season, and 
were the first to take decisive action. 


The first drainage convention in Minnesota was held 
in Crookston July 1 and 2, 1886. The subject of 
draining the Red River Valley had long been dis- 
cussed by the citizens, but public attention was drawn 
toward its investigation by a newspaper article writ- 
ten by Hon. Pi'ank Ives, of Crookston, and published 
in the Crookston press in the spring of 1886. Fol- 
lowing the publication of Judge Ives' article, there 
was an outburst of comment and approval throughout 
the Valley, and the result was a call for a convention 
of the citizens at Crookston on the dates heretofore 

There was a large attendance of farmers and busi- 
ness men, fully representative of the interests in- 
volved. Mr. Springer Harbaugh, of St. Paul, pre- 
sided ; Fred Puhler and H. E. Cook were secretaries. 



The convention lasted two days; and during its ses- 
sions the necessity, practicability, and advantages of 
a general drainage of the low lauds of the county 
were thoroughly discussed. Near the close James J. 
Hill, president of the St. Paul, ilinneapolis & Mani- 
toba Railway (now the Great Northern) proposed 
that a drainage survey of the Valley be made. He 
further promised that if the several counties inter- 
ested would pay one-half of the expenses of such a 
survey, the railroad company which he represented 
would pay the other half. An executive committee 
was created consisting of one member from each 
county interested in drainage and three members ap- 
pointed by Mr. Hill. There were six counties that 
had declared themselves interested and the original 
members of the committee from these counties were : 

E. D. Childs, of Polk ; S. A. Farnsworth, of Norman ; 

F. J. Bumham, of Clay; D. McCauley, of Wilkin; 
C. W. Culbertson, of Marshall, and H. W. Donaldson, 
of Kittson. Mr. Hill appointed M. R. Brown, of 
Crookston ; J. T. Fanning, of Minneapolis, and C. E. 
Page, then- of Ada, afterwards of Fergus Falls. Upon 
organizing, jM. R. Brown was chosen president, S. A. 
Farnsworth, secretary, and E. D. Childs, treasurer. 
Mr. Farnsworth removed to St. Paul (where he still 
resides), and C. E. Page was elected to succeed him. 


Thus was constituted the organization called the 
Red River Valley Drainage Commission so well known 
in northwestern Minnesota. It was largely a Polk 
County organization. The headquarters of the com- 
mission were at Crookston and two of its most active 
members were Polk County men. 

The purpose of this commission was to take charge 
of the work of making a complete drainage survey of 
the Red River Valley. Mr. Hill, on behalf of his 
company, agreed to and did contribute one-half the 
cost of the survey, besides furnishing free transporta- 
tion to those engaged in doing the work. The several 
counties affected furnished the other half. The head- 
quarters of this commission was in Crookston. The 

survey was completed and maps and repoi'ts compiled 
and published early in the year 1887. This survey 
was in charge of C. G. Elliott, of Illinois, chief engi- 
neer of the commis.sion, who had twelve assistant engi- 
neers employed. The writer was one of the engineers 
employed on this work. J. T. Fanning was chosen as 
consulting engineer of the commission. 

This survey proved very conclusively that the Red 
River Valley lands were not as level as generally be- 
lieved to be, but had a slope of from three to six feet 
to the mile, and that complete and effective drainage 
was not only practicable, but could be secured at com- 
paratively small <:ost. 


The members of tlie Legislature from Polk and other 
Red River Valley counties fortified with this drain- 
age report and backed by a strong delegation from 
Polk County tried, for several sessions of the Legis- 
lature, to secure the passage of drainage laws and 
appropriations for reclaiming swamp lands, but not 
until the legislative session of 1893 were they success- 
ful in securing the desired legislation. At this session 
an act was passed creating the Red River Valley 
Drainage Commi.ssion, and appropriating $100,000 
for drainage work; also an act which provided for a 
general state law for the drainage of wet lands under 
county management, and assessing the cost of doing 
the work against lands benefited thereby. The first 
ditch constructed under this law was County Ditch 
No. 1, Polk County, about six miles in length and run- 
ning south and emptying into Red Lake River two 
miles west of Crookston. The first state ditch com- 
pleted by the Red River Valley Drainage Commission 
was the Sand Hill River State Ditch, Polk County, 
extending from Beltrami along the Sand Hill and 
emptying into that stream nine miles west of the vil- 

Drainage work has progressed without interruption 
since 1893. There is, at the present time, approxi- 
mately 800 miles of public drainage ditches in Polk 
County which have been constructed at a cost of a 



little over $1,000,000. Tliis expenditure, while it may 
seem large, represents a little over $1 per aere for the 
lands benefited. 


The rise in farm land values from $25 per aere 
in 1900 to $60 and $75 per acre in 1915 is, in a large 
measure, due to the extensive drainage work which 
had been carried on during this period. Nearly all 
of the drainage work done in Polk County consists 
of open ditches. Tile drainage has just begun. The 
tile drains that have been constructed fully demon- 
strate the practicability as well as the great benefits 
that will result from this kind of drainage. 

I am convinced that tile drainage will now .supple- 
ment open ditches wherever additional drainage is re- 
quired. The open ditch was necessary, not only for 
the purpose of removing storm water, but also to fur- 
nish an outlet for under drainage, and under drainage 
is necessary in order to get the greatest returns from 
the land. The effect of tile drainage on the lands of 
Polk County is just as marked as on lands in other 
States. A well-drained, well-cultivated farm in Polk 
County should give fully as good returns to the farmer 
as the best lands of Iowa or Illinois. 


Among the most important county and judicial 
ditches are the judicial ditches numbered 1, 3, 4, and 
60, and the county ditches numbered 2, 9, 12, and 66. 

Judicial Ditch No. 1 is one of the largest ditches in 
the county. It ha.s an average width of 50 feet, an 
average depth of 10 feet and is 12 miles long. It 
drains the northwestern part of the county. Judicial 
Ditch No. 3 drains the southwestern part of the 
county. It is 16 miles long, has an average width of 
30 feet, and an average depth of 9 feet. Judicial 
Ditch No. 4 drains a large area in the eastern part of 
the county. It is 18 miles long, has an average width 
of 35 feet and an average depth of 8 feet. Judicial 
Ditch No. 60 drains the territory northeast of Crooks- 

ton. It is 16 miles long, has an average width of 30 
feet and depth of 8 feet. 

County Ditch No. 2 drains the territory between 
Angus and the Red River. It is 12 miles long, has an 
average width of 35 feet and depth of 8 feet. County 
Ditch No. 9 drains the territory south of Russia village 
extending west to Sand Hill River. It is 11 miles 
long, 30 feet wide and 7 feet deep. County Ditch 
No. 12 drains the territory north and west of Bel- 
trami. It is 16 miles long, 26 feet wide and 7 feet 
deep. County Ditch No. 66 drains a large area north 
and northeast of Crookston. It is 8 miles long, 25 feet 
wide and 6 feet deep. 

State Ditches numbered 6, 23, and 61 are in Polk 
County. No. 6 is known as the Sand Hill River Ditch. 
It is 12 miles long, 6 to 8 feet deep and 40 feet wide. 
No. 23, known as the Grand Marais State Ditch, is 5 
miles long, from 5 to 15 feet deep, and 40 feet wide. 
It consists of opening the outlet of this old river bed 
No. 60, known as Lost River State Ditch, and is an 
imjirovenient consisting of opening up and straighten- 
ing the channel of Lost River. It is 21 miles long, 
from 5 to 8 feet deep and 36 feet wide. 

The work done by the Drainage Commission is and 
has been of incalculable value, especially to the lands 
on the west side of Polk County. The reclamation of 
so many thousands of acres of these lands from watery 
and swampy conditions, forbidding cultivation,to areas 
of fine, fertile, and highly productive fields, has been 
a work of the greatest benefit to the county, the region, 
and the State. In its scientific character it is a very 
rare and unsurpassed piece of drainage engineering, 
and the best proof of this assertion is that the ditches 
have done the work assigned to them and expected of 
them. In some instances the sandy nature of the soil 
forming the sides and bottom of the ditch has been 
responsible for its washing away and its enlargement, 
but there is no danger of destruction, or even great 
damage from this cause. The damages to the entire 
ditch system will not be serious or consequential ; the 
benefits from the great enterprise will be magnificent 
and perpetual. 



By Charles L. Congee. 

some proceedings of the board business done regularly and in order defeat and disaster after all 

the new county fight op 1896 — the leaders of columbia's fight for existence. 

For some years after the year 1890 certain citizens 
of what are commonly called the Thirteen Towns — 
being the thirteen Congressional townships in the 
southeastern part of Polk County — had agitated and 
promoted the project of the formation of a new 
county to be composed of the townships named. The 
grounds assigned for the change in the composition 
of the original Polk County were various. Some 
persons said the district was too far from the county 
seat (Crookston) and that the people could not at 
tend court or transact other county business without 
trouble and difficulty. Others were prohibitionists, 
or zealous temperance advocates, and feared that the 
western part of the county would some day become 
so strongly "wet" that Polk County, as a whole, 
would allow liquor selling throughout its borders. 
There were of course other reasons which were not 
either strong or attractive. There was a large ele- 
ment in the western part of the county which favored 
a new county that would be "dry" and allow the old 
county to remain "wet." 

Those opposed to a new county favored keeping 
Polk undivided and undisturbed, in symmetrical 
shape, and strong and influential as a political divi- 
sion, which, they argued, would be better for the 
whole people. The area of the county with its 3,030 
square miles, was larger than either the States of 
Rhode Island or Delaware, with their 1,248 and 2,376 
square miles, respectively, and that Polk and its big 
sister county. Otter Tail, might, if not dismembered 
or mutilated, become powerful factors in State legis- 

lation and controlling influences in northwestern 
Minnesota's business and commercial affairs. They 
denied that there was any necessity for a new county 
to be taken by a sort of Caesarian operation from 
the body of the mother organization. They also 
charged that the advocates of the new scheme only 
desired that the towns or villages in which they were 
interested should become county seats, or that they 
should become county officers. 

Late in 1900 the partisans of a new county in the 
Thirteen Towns took decided action. December 13 
a petition was filed with the Secretary of State, pray- 
ing for the creation of the proposed new division, 
which was to cover the area of the Thirteen Towns 
and called Nelson County (in honor of Ex-Governor 
and then Senator Knute Nelson), with its county seat 
at the village of Fosston, five legal voters were also 
named to constitute the first board of county commis- 
sioners. The next day, December 14, another and sim- 
ilar petition, describing the same territory precisely, 
was presented and filed with the Secretary of State. 
In this petition it was proposed to call the new county 
Columbia, with Mcintosh as the county seat and five 
other and different legal voters to constitute the 
board of county commissioners. More than a year 
later, or July 22, 1902, a third petition was presented 
and filed asking for a new county with identically 
the same territory as named in the petitions for 
Nelson and Columbia. It was proposed to call this 
county Star, and its county seat was to be at Erskine. 

These several petitions were duly considered by 




Governor Hon. John Lind, Secretary Peter E. Han- 
son, and Auditor R. C. Dunn, and December 17 the 
Governor issued his proclamation declaring that fact. 
The Governor further proclaimed that the question 
of the creation of the proposed new county was sub- 
mitted to the voters of Polk County to be voted upon 
at the next general election, November 4, 1902. All 
these proceedings were under Chapter 143 of the 
Laws of 1893, as amended by Chapter 124 of the Laws 
of 1895. Later a proposition to create the county of 
Valley was made and ordered voted upon. 

There wa.s a very earnest and heated canvass over 
the new county question by the respective rivals. 
The newspapers of Fosston and Mcintosh conducted 
a spirited discussion of the question, each editor argu- 
ing plausibly if not convincingly for his own town. 
As the canvass progressed the rival villages made 
what they considered liberal offers to the voters. 
Each said that if its county with the favored name 
should be created, then the town would not only 
give the site for the public buildings but would build 
factories and mills which should furnish employment 
to many and add to the development and prosperity 
of the old Polk County. 

At the election November 4, 1902, the vote on 
the new county question was : 

For Columbia County : Yes, 1,513 ; no, 813. 

For Nelson County: Yes, 1,381 ; no, 112. 

For Star County : Yes, 132 ; no, 18. 

For Valley County : Yes,. 135 ; no, 918. 

It seemed, on the face of the returns, that ' ' Colum- 
bia County," with Mcintosh as the county seat, had 
won, and great was the rejoicing in Mcintosh ! But 
the partisans of Fosston and "Nelson County" pro- 
tested that they had won the fight, and Star County 
had hopes; only "Valley County" was out of the 
running. The Nelson County forces set up the claim 
that under the Red Lake County decision (State ex 
rel. Atty. Childs vs. Comrs. Red Lake Co., 67 IMinn., 
352) it was entitled to be the county, since on its 
proposition it had received a majority vote, and more- 
over its petition was the first filed, preceding that of 

Columbia County by one day. Chief Justice Start 
and Associate Judge Buck had said that the law did 
not authorize the submission of conflicting or com- 
peting petitions, and that the one first legally filed 
was the only one that ought to be submitted to a vote, 
"Columbia County" stood upon the decided majority 
it had received, and that all its proceedings had been 
regular and legal, and contended that it made no 
difference whether its petition had been the second 
filed — or the first or the fourth — because all four 

The result of the vote having been canvassed and 
announced. Governor Van Sant, following the rule 
announced hy the Supreme Court in the Red Lake 
County case, issued his proclamation declaring the 
proposition for the creation and organization of Co- 
lumbia County carried. 

Thereupon the County Commissioners of the now 
county— who were named in the petition and the 
proclamation, and who were Lawrence O'Neill, Henry 
6. Mitchell, lugebret Larson, Ilalvor Off, and Olaf 
Stardig — met at the temporary courthouse in Mc- 
intosh December 23, 1902, and organized according 
to the forms of law and proceeded in the usual man- 
ner of Coiinty Commissioners. There was great satis- 
faction and even jubilation among the new county's 
people. For years they had labored for the creation 
of a county all their own and now they rejoiced that 
they had lived until their eyes had seen the glory. 


The Board chose Commissioner Mitchell as Presi- 
dent and Commissioner O'Neill as Clerk. The first 
business was the division of the county into five dis- 
tricts, as follows: District No. 1 was composed of 
the townships (or towns*) of Garden, Winger, and 
Knute and the village of Erskine. District No. 2, 
townships of Woodside, Grove Park, Badger, Lessor, 
and the village of Mentor. District No. 3, townships 

' Political divisions of eountiea in the Eastern States are 
called towns; in Western and Southern States they are called 
townships. In the West and South a town is either a village or 
a small city. 



of Sletten, Brandsvold, King, aud the village of Me- 
Intosli. District No. 4, townships of Johnson, Gully, 
Chester, Hill River, and Eden. District No. 5, town- 
ships of Queen, Rosebud, Columbia, and the village 
of Fosston. Thus the countj^ was composed of eigh- 
teen Congressional aud civil townships, every Con- 
gressional being a civil township. 

The Commissioners also elected a full list of county 
officers, who were: Auditor, Charles MeCarty; 
Treasurer, F. E. Le Page ; Register of Deeds, Andrew 
Trovaaten ; Sheriff, Edward L. Stowe ; Judge of Pro- 
bate, Anton I. Solberg; Surveyor, J. E. Beime, of 
Fosston; Attorney, Harvey W. Stark; Clerk of the 
Courts, George E. Flatten; School Superintendent, 
Gunstein D. Aakhus ; Court Commissioner, Thomas 
R. Brownlee; Coroner, Dr. Archibald McEachren. 
At the second meeting of the Board it was announced 
that Geo. E. Flatten, who had been chosen Court's 
Clerk, had failed and refused to qualify for the posi- 
tion, and Charles Hanson was elected in his stead. 
The annual salaries were fixed at a subsequent meet- 
ing and the County Auditor was to receive $1,200, 
the Treasurer $360, the County Attorney $1,200, the 
Judge of Probate $825, and the Superintendent of 
Schools $10 per district. 

At the first meeting, December 23, it was announced 
that Attorney General Douglas had brought an action 
in the name of the State, which would bring up and 
determine the legality of Columbia County. The case 
was entitled "the State of Minnesota on the relation 
of Wallace B. Douglas vs. Ingebret Larson." When 
the votes were canvassed at St. Paul, the Attorney 
General had said that, as to the election over the new 
county proposition Columbia County had won over 
Nelson and the other counties. But he said he was 
not certain as to the validity of the law under which 
the election was held, because it permitted four prop- 
ositions to be submitted to the individual voter, who, 
however, was restricted to voting only upon one. In 
his formal opinion he said, among other things, that 
to deprive the voter from voting upon each of the 
propositions submitted, where there is no question 

but that he has the right to have his vote counted and 
given force and effect, "seems to me," he said, "to 
be beyond the power of the Legislature." A fort- 
night or so later, he brought the action to test the 
law. He named Mr. Larson and the other Commis- 
sioners who alleged themselves to be officials of Col- 
umbia County and sought to have them ousted as 
one having no official authority. The Board granted 
the County Attorney assistance in defending the case, 
and Columbia's lawyers were County Attorney Stark, 
Gideon S. Ives, of St. Peter, and A. A. Miller, of 
Crookston. Representing the State were De Forest 
Bucklin, Martin O'Brien, J. H. Hendricks, and the 
strong St. Paul firm of Childs, Edgerton & Wick- 
wire. The writ of quo warrants were served on the 
Board January 6. 

But until the election was declared invalid, and 
"Columbia County" declared to have never legally 
existed, the County Board went ahead with its as- 
sumed duties. A transcript of its records* shows that 
on December 30 the Commissioners conferred with 
the Mcintosh Village Council in regard to providing 
a suitable room or rooms to be used as a sort of tem- 
porary court house, and that Chas. L. Conger, the 
President of the Council, agreed to have partitions 
put up in the village hall and the building wired for 
electric lights in order to accommodate the Board and 
the public business. Later the Council proposed to 
lease the city hall to the Commissioners for the use 
of the several county officers; to build a good and 
substantial vault, of sufficient size and security, in 
which to keep all records of the county, and to fur- 
nish a hall room for court purposes. The propositions 
were accepted and the County Attorney was in- 
structed to procure a lease from the proper village 

Among other proceedings of the Board were the 
letting of contracts for the public printing for 1903 
to the Mcintosh Times and the Thirteen Towns ; the 
owners and conductors of these papers — respectively, 

* Kindly furnished for this history by Chas. L. Conger, Esq., 
of Mcintosh. 



Charles T. Lanmau and Arthur W. Foss— were to 
publish the county financial statement, delinquent tax 
list, Commissioners' proceedings and other official 
notices, and to do the job printing. 

The First National Bank of Mcintosh, the Citizens' 
Bank of Mcintosh, and the Bank of Mentor were des- 
ignated the official depositories of the county. Geo. 
D. Barnard & Company agreed to furnish the county 
a $600 steel vault for the preservation of the public 
records. This company had already agreed to do 
$1,975 worth of printing for the county, and now the 
steel vault was to cost $600 more. But how it turned 
out that Barnard & Co. were the victims of misplaced 
confidence, and never received a cent for their con- 
tract, will be explained on another page. 


The officials of Cook County upon appointment im- 
mediately organized their respective offices and be- 
gan the transaction of appropriate business. The 
Register of Deeds began transcribing the records at 
Crookston so far as they pertained to Columbia 
County, and new deeds, mortgages, and other trans- 
fers were recorded as fast as offered. The Polk 
County officials relinquished all claim to any deeds or 
mortgages sent to the Register of Deeds of that 
county and sent them to the proper officers of Colum- 
bia County. The Clerk of the Courts transcribed 
from the Polk County records all judgments recorded 
therein which affected lands in Columbia County and 
recorded them in the latter county's books. His of- 
fice at Mcintosh was open every day. 

The County Treasurer received all fees and pay- 
ments due to Columbia County and deposited all 
sums in the county's name. At the spring election of 
1903 a full complement of justices of the peace and 
constables was elected and they filed their official 
bonds with the Columbia officers; bills from justices' 
courts were duly allowed by the Columbia authorities. 
All former Polk County notaries residing within Col- 
umbia were re-appointed in the new county. 

The Judge of Probate committed a number of per- 

sons to the insane asylum and the bills for their trans- 
portation were audited and paid. He also probated 
a number of estates. His office, too, was open every 

In the Clerk of Court's office Joseph Ekstadt, Mrs. 
Samuel Hanson, and Guro Anderson, aliens, made 
their proper declarations to become U. S. citizens. 
The following named couples were licensed to marry : 
Lars Engester and Ingeborg R. Oppegaard. both of 
Mciiilosh; Carl A. Johnson and Anna Sophia John- 
sou, both of Gully ; Olaf Axel Engdahl, of Park Rapids, 
and Abigail M. Olsen, of Mcintosh ; Ingval E. Solberg, 
of Winsor, and Florence Coon, of Mcintosh; John N. 
Sanden and Anna W. Ahman, both of Mcintosh ; 
Thomas Oystad, of Winnipeg, Man., and Inga Ander- 
son, of Fosston ; Ole Kamplien, of Gossen, and Emma 
Josephine Faylestda, of Fosston; Ole Mykleby and 
Krestene Lokken. 

Thus the county of Columbia, while it existed, was 
a de facto county and as such was recognized by the 
State and sister county authorities. A subsequent 
Legislature passed a special act legalizing all the acts 
of the de facto officials of the county, thus preventing 
much confusion and embarrassment. 


But all the while officials and common citizens were 
apprehensive and uneasy. The result of the Attorney 
General's action to have the proceedings, the elec- 
tion, etc., leading to the county's organization de- 
clared illegal was uncertain. There were devout 
wishes that the Supreme Court would decide in favor 
of Columbia, and there were fond hopes in certain 
quarters — yet there were many doubts and misgiv- 

At last, on April 16 (1903) the Supreme Court 
handed down its decision in the Attorney General 
against Larsen and Others case, and that decision was 
that the pretended organization Avas invalid and of 
no effect and its pretended officials were ousted from 
the offices which they claimed to hold. In brief, the 
Court's decision was (and it is still the law) that 



under Chapter 143 of the Laws of 1893, but one propo- 
sition for creating a new county involving the same 
territory can be submitted at the same election. In 
Columbia County's case there had been four proposi- 
tions at the same election. It was also decided that 
the first petition presented to the State officials for 
the organization of a new county must be given pri- 
ority by them in deciding which petition should be 
acted upon in calling an election. The late Judge 
Loren W. Collins, who wrote the opinion of the Court, 
declared : 

"It is impossible to believe that the Legislature 
intended by the act to permit and authorize an un- 
limited number of petitions to be filed for one county 
— that is to say, several petitions describing the same 
territory. * * * With three petitions, each de- 
scribing the same territory, there could be but one 
main proposition to be submitted, namely, the crea- 
tion of one new county, and but one. The petition 
first filed complied in form with the statute and de- 
manded that the creation of certain described terri- 
tory into a new county be submitted to the electors 
of Polk County. The subsequently filed petitions 
were mere repetitions as to this essential question, 
<md invalid." (Italics Compiler's.) For the full de- 
cision, see Vol. 89 of the Minnesota Reports, pp. 123- 
131. The Revised Laws of 1905 changed the wording 
of the law to conform to the decision. 

THE "new county" FIGHT OF 1896. 

In the contest before the Supreme Court in 1905 
Columbia County's attorneys relied upon a former 
decision of the Court in 1896, in what is known as the 
Red Lake County case. The main facts in that case 
were these : 

May 8, 1896, four petitions for the organization and 
location of four new counties, to be formed out of a 
portion of Polk County, were filed with the Secretai'y 
of State. These proposed counties were to be called 
respectively "Nelson," for Hon. Knute Nelson; 
' ' Hill, ' ' for James J. Hill ; ' ' Garfield, ' ' for the former 
President; "Red Lake," for the lake itself. The 
propositions for the creation of these counties were 
not inconsistent or competing, because no territory 
included in any one of the proposed counties was in- 
eluded in any one or more of the other. In the Co- 

lumbia County case of 1903 the territory was the 
same in each of the proposed counties. 

July 14, 1896, two other petitions were filed for the 
creation of two more new counties out of Polk County, 
to be called "Mills County," for Hon. Ira B. Mills, 
and "Columbia County," for the "Gem of the 
Ocean." Each of these two propositions were com- 
peting ones with the previous Red Lake and Nelson. 
Columbia competed with Garfield, each having part 
of the other's territory. More than half of the pio- 
posed Red Lake and part of Nelson were included in 
Mills. A part of Red Lake was also included in Col- 
umbia, and Columbia included part of Garfield. At 
the general election of 1896 the propositions were 
voted upon and the vote resulted : 

Nelson County : For creation, 765 ; against, 1,050. 

Garfield County : For creation, 603 ; against, 608. 

Hill County : For creation, 553 ; against, 1,574. 

Red Lake County : For creation, 992 ; against, 449. 

Mills County : For creation, 334 ; against, 56. 

Columbia County : For creation, 575, against, 107. 

The Governor proclaimed that, as a result of the 
election, the proposition for the creation of Red Lake 
County had been adopted. In a case brought by At- 
torney General Childs {(gainst the Commissioners and 
other officials of Red Lake County the Supreme Court 
sustained the Governor's proclamation and the crea- 
tion. It decided that, "an elector may sign two or 
more non-competing petitions for the creation of 
new counties, but that only one of the competing 
propositions can be adopted at the same election, and 
to secure this result it must receive a majority of all 
the votes cast thereon, and also a plurality of the 
votes cast on the propositions with which it is com- 
peting." (State ex rel. Childs vs. Comrs., 67 Minn., 
pp. 352-360.) A comparison of the two decisions is 
both instructive and interesting. 


The prominent men of Mcintosh who fought for 
and led the movement to organize Columbia County 
were John P. Johnson, who is considered to have been 


co:mpendium of history and biography of polk county 

the leader, and his principal lieutenants were C. T. 
Lanman, of the Mcintosh Times ; Dr. Archibald Me- 
Eachren, Charles L. Conger, S. H. Drew, 0. E. Sto- 
vern, Anton Jensen, W. G. Hunt, and C. P. Page. 
These men started and led the movement originally. 

In the contest of 1902 the leading fighters were 
Johnson, Lanman, Conger, Drew, Jensen, and Hunt, 
and they were re-enforced by Thomas Lawrence, 
Wells S. Short, Paul W. Carpenter, E. A. Webster, 
Andrew Trovaaten, T. N. J. Reese, John L. Hagen, 
Thomas R. Brownlee, and Leslie Shadduck. 

A prominent former Columbia County partisan, 
who has furnished much information for this article, 
writes the compiler on the subject and says: "The 
separation of the Thirteen Towns from Polk County 
and the creation of Columbia could yet be made at 
any general election were it possible for the villages 
of Fosston, Mcintosh, and Erskine to agree upon a 
county seat. But as each village will vote against 
any proposition that will locate the county seat in 

any other village, all hope of dividing the county has 
been abandoned. 

The only loser of a claim for money against Colum- 
bia is Barnard & Co., the St. Louis printers, who 
furnished the blank books and other stationery, 
amounting to over $2,500. When Columbia County 
vanished they brought suit against Polk County as 
"the successor" of Columbia. But Polk County de- 
nied that it was anybody 's ' ' successor. ' ' It declared 
it had no sort of responsibility for Barnard & Co.'s 
claim, and eventually the Supreme Court (98 Minn., 
p. 289) sustained this county's contention. The 
Court's decision declared that when the attempt to 
create a new county out of the territory of an ex- 
isting county results in a de facto county, which is 
subsequently dissolved the original county is not 
liable for debts contracted by the de facto county. 
The old county is not the successor of the de facto 


C K 
>. C 


o ?: 

. > 









The Crookston State Bank is one of the important 
financial institutions of the county and was organized 
May 1, 1909. It had operated for a number of years 
as a private bank, having been incorporated as such, 
May 1, 1902, with a capital of $20,000. L. E. Jones 
was elected president, J. A. Northrop, vice president 
and L. D. Poskett, cashier. E. S. Ellsworth was also 
interested in the enterprise. Upon its re-organization 
into the Crookston State Bank, the capital stock was 
increased to $40,000 and J. A. Northrop chosen presi- 
dent with S. C. Johnson as vice president and Mr. 
Foskett retained as cashier. These officers with E. A. 
Mills and L. Sargent are the directors of the bank. 
This institution is justly popular in all its business 
relations and all its interests have been attended with 
steady prosperity. It is widely known in the north- 
west, its activities being identified with the associate 
banks, the Farmers State Bank at Fosston ; the Secur- 
ity State Bank of Borup, Minn., the Ulen State Bank 
at Ulen, Minn., and Ellsworth & Jones at Iowa Falls, 


The First National Bank of Mcintosh was founded 
on January 1, 1903, and was the outgrowth of the 

State Bank of Mcintosh, which had succeeded the 
old Bank of Mcintosh, which was founded in 1889 
and was owned by James and Sol. H. Drew, and 
who continued in the banking business until 1901. 

The First National Bank has a capital stock of 
$25,000, with a surplus of $5,000, undivided profits 
of $6,000 and deposits of $200,000. 

The bank building is a beautiful pressed brick, 
23x52, with offices in second story. Present officers 
are: C. M. Berg, president; K. K. Hofford, vice 
president, and Geo. A. Beito, cashier. The majority 
of the stock is owned by the people of Mcintosh. The 
bank is modem with safety boxes, vaults, etc. 


The First National Bank, of Crookston, is one of 
the oldest and best known financial institutions in 
northern Minnesota and during the many years of 
its successful and extensive transactions, has been 
instrumental in promoting the development of this 
region. The bank was founded in 1881, with a cap- 
ital stock of $50,000. The directors were, Ansell 
Bates, "William Anglin, Conrad Utzimer, Morris 
Brown, J. I. Case and R. H. Baker. Mr. Baker was 
made the first president, Morris Brown, vice president 
and Ansell Bates, cashier, serving in that position 




for a number of years. George Q. Erskine succeeded 
Mr. Baker as president with K. D. Chase as vice 
president and in 1883 the capital stock was doubled. 
In 1895 Jerome W. Wheeler became cashier of the 
bank and has continued to be prominently identified 
with the administrations of its aifairs and in 1905 was 
made president. The capital stock was reduced from 
$100,000 to $75,000, which is the present capital, with 
a surplus of $50,000 and deposits exceeding one mil- 
lion dollars. It is an institution whose substantial 
prosperity has been founded upon capable manage- 
ment and the natural resources of the countiy and has 
advanced steadily with the latter 's growth and devel- 
opment. The present directors are: J. W. Wheeler, 
Edmund M. Walsh, John R. McKinnon, Samuel A. 
Wallace, Ole 0. Christianson, Harry L. Mai-sh and 
Sam A. Erickson. Mr. Wheeler continues as presi- 
dent and Edmund M. Walsh, vice president, Harry 
L. Marsh, vice president. C. F. Mix holds the office 
of ea.shier with Sam A. Erick.sou as assistant cashier. 


The Polk County State Bank, of Crookston, is one 
of the leading banking institutions of the county and 
since its first business transactions on September 2, 
1913, has met with unusual success and wide favor 
among the depositors of the county and in the finan- 
cial world. The bank was organized August 27, 1913, 
with a capital stock of $40,000 and a surplus of 
$10,000. Peter M. Ringdal was elected president, L. 
W. Larson, vice president, G. 0. Hage, cashier, and 
these officers with G. A. Anbal and Henry O'Neil 
formed the board of directors. These men continue 
to direct the affairs of the bank which under their 
capable management has rapidly won its way to a 
substantial and prominent position in the banking 
circles of northern Minnesota. 


This bank was organized in the summer and fall of 
1887, and opened its doors for business on the first 
day of December, 1887, at the corner of Robert and 

Main Streets, in what was tlien the new McKinnon 
Block, with the following ofiScers: Carl Hendrick- 
son, of Grafton, North Dakota, president ; G. M. Bar- 
bel-, of Crookston, vice president; A. G. Gallasch, of 
Crookston, cashier, and L. Ellington, of Crookston, 
assistant cashier. The paid in capital of the bank was 

The bank continued in busness at this location until 
about three years ago when it purchased the building 
upon the opposite corner and remodeled the same and 
moved into it, where it has since continued business. 

The personnel of the Board of Directors and of the 
officers changed but slightly for several years. The 
only one of the original officers who now has any con- 
nection with the bank is Mr. L. Ellington who has 
always been connected with the bank in some official 
capacity from its organization to the present time. 
Carl Hendrickson, the original president, continued 
with the bank until the year 1904. At this time a 
controlling interest in the bank was purchased by the 
firm of Miller & Foote, at which time Mr. J. P. Foote 
became president of the bank and Mr. Ellington 

Under the new arrangement the bank was conducted 
for six years at which time Messrs. Miller & Foote 
sold their stock to Mr. L. Ellington who thereupon 
became president of the bank, with H. D. Reed, now 
of Comfrey, Minnesota, as cashier. 

In February, 1913, Miller & Foote again purchased 
a controlling interest in the stock and the official 
board was reorganized with J. P. Foote as president, 
H. Steenerson, vice president; C. C. Strauder, vice 
president; Oscar Fredericks, cashier; George F. Van 
Pelt and H. H. Clapp, assistant cashiers, which or- 
ganization continues at the present time. 

The business of the bank has steadily grown from 
the time of its organization until the present time. 
The statement of its resources and liabilities as re- 
turned to the Superintendent of Banks on November 
10, 1915, is as follows : 




Loans and discounts $534,205.23 

Overdrafts 905.40 

Bonds and securities 4,000.00 

Banking house 15,000.00 

Furniture and fixtures 9,055.20 

Other real estate 34,450.90 

Cash and due from banks 205,765.07 



Capital stock $ 50,000.00 

Surplus 10,000.00 

Undivided profits 4,238.17 

Deposits 739,143.63 


The present Board of Directors is as follows : J. P. 
Foote, president ; A. A. Miller, attorney ; H. Holte, 
physician and surgeon ; L. Ellington, city clerk ; 
Charles Loring, attorney; C. C. Strander, president 
Strander Abstract & Investment Co. ; J. H. RuetteU, 
president Euettell Clothing Co. ; H. Steenerson, mem- 
ber of Congress; R. C. Ruettell, manager RuetteU 
Clothing Co. 


The First State Bank of Fertile was the first bank 
established in that locality and has ever furnished the 
sound financial backing and co-operation which has 
so materially advanced the growth of Fertile and the 
surrounding territory to one of the most progressive 
and prosperous centers in Polk County. It was or- 
ganized in 1887, the first year of Fertile 's existence, 
as a private bank, owned by W. H. Matthews, E. L. 
Matthews and Frank F. S. Miller, who comprised the 
firm of Matthews & Company, and Norman Hanson. 
Re-organization as a State bank was eflfected in 1892 
and the capitalization increased from $10,000 to $25,- 
000, with W. H. Matthews, president, Otto Kankel, 
vice president and Mr. Hanson continued in the posi- 
tion of cashier, which office he had held from the 
initial movement of organization. After nine years' 
operations under this incorporation, the bank was 
changed to the First National and six years later, in 

1907, again became a state bank and has since con- 
tinued as the First State Bank of Fertile. No change 
in the capital was made and a surplus of $7,500 was 
set aside. The same officers remained in charge until 
1912 when Norman Hanson, after twenty-five years' 
able service as cashier, became president and the for- 
mer president, \V. H. Matthews, who is now a resi- 
dent of Spokane, Wash., was made vice president. Two 
years later Mr. Hanson bought out the interests of 
Matthews & Company and secured controlling interest, 
owning one hundred and fifty-eight of the two hun- 
dred and fifty shares of bank stock. All the stock is 
owned by local shareholders. In June, 1915, the pros- 
perous conditions of that section advanced the com- 
bined deposits of the three banks of Fertile to $650,- 
000, an increase of $60,000 in three months and 
$25,000 of that amount was placed Avith the First 
State Bank. The bank operates with a cash reserve 
fund of $30,000 and has loans of $240,000. The 
officers are Norman Hanson, president ; Brown Duck- 
stad, vice president; and Elmer B. Hanson, cashier, 
and these with C. F. Kankel, Nels Vasenden, Odd Eide 
and George Kronschnabel comprise the board of di- 
rectors. The bank was housed for twenty years in 
the two-story brick building which had replaced the 
original frame structure in 1894, but in 1914 was 
moved into its present sumptuous quarters in the 
splendidly equipped building erected for its use. This 
is furnished with every thought for the convenience of 
patrons and the facility of banking operations, be- 
sides appealing, in its rich appointments, to the ad- 
mirer of architectural considerations. 

Statement of the condition of First State Bank of 
Fertile at the close of business December 31, 1915 : 


Loans $213,467.92 

Bonds, etc 8,235.57 

Banking house 7,500.00 

Furniture and fixtures 3,500.00 

Overdrafts 166.44 

Cash and due from banks 84,827.16 

Total $317,697.09 


LIABILITIES. former of Climax, Polk County. The bank was started 

Capital .$ 25,000.00 as a private institution with a capital of .^10,000 and 

SvSed'pJofits.- :: .■;:::;:::::::::::: : '^Zi' ^""''^ ''''""p^"" '' ''''''''■ ''" ''^""p^^" ^''' ""^ 

(Now, Jan. 26, $7,500.00) in August, 1908, to T. E. Johnson, who has served as 

Deposits 281,848.52 cashier of the bank ever since. Other banks belong- 

ipojaj 43-^^ ggY 09 '°S ^" Messrs. Rosholt and Larson are located at Hal- 

sted. Climax and Neilsville. 

Directors: Norman Hanson, B. Duekstad, Nels The banking house used by the bank was erected 

Vasenden, C. P. Kankel, Geo. Kronschnabel, Odd in 1908. Deposits in the institution now (1916) ag- 

Eide, E. B. Hanson. gregate $86,000. Its loans total $85,000, and its sur- 
plus is $2,500. These sums are steadily increasing and 


dividends are paid regularly and promptly by the 

The First State Bank of East Grand Porks is one bank, which is one of the progressive and enterprising 

of the most aggressive and efficient financial institu- ones of its rank in this part of the country, and is 

tions in Polk County and thoroughly identified with continuously strengthening its resources, augmenting 

the development of the resources of the region and the jts business in volume and intensifying its hold on the 

prosperity of the community. This bank was organ- confidence and regard of the public throughout the 

ized in 1906 by N. J. Nelson, who has since directed territory subject to its operations. 

its affairs as cashier, with a policy which extends most mi i 1 i, 4. 1 1 -4.1 i. -^ 

^ •' The bank has not, however, been without its experi- 

liberal accommodations to local enterprise, which with ^^^^ .^ ^^^^^j^ 0^ (j^^^^^^. 33^ ^^^^^ .^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ 

well known financial responsibility has won the eon- dynamited and robbed of $1,400, but the loss was fully 

fidence of its patrons and a wide popularity. The i u • mi .. .^1 1 j ^ ^i 

^ i" J covered by insurance. The men at the head of the 

bank is capitalized at $25,000 with a surplus and un- , , i tit t 1 +u i, • i 

^ bank and Mr. Johnson, the cashier, are enterprising 

divided profits of $12,000 and its deposits are ap- ■■ • 1, • *u- i, 1 j j 

' ^ and progressive business men 01 high rank and demon- 

proaehing the half million mark. The men associated + * j i -i-t ^ *i, • v <.vi *i, • * n 

strated ability, and their merit entitles them in full 

with its management as officers are C. J. Loggren, pres- * ..i 1, • ^i. 1 /• 

"^ ' ^ measure to the business success they have won for 

ideiit ; Frank J. Zejdlik and H. A. Bronson, vice pres- 4.1, • ■ .-^^ i- t^. • j i. 4, 1 1 

' •• ! 1^ their institution. It was reorganized as a state bank 

idents; N. J. Nelson, cashier and Paul Johnson, as- j ■. 

' under its present name. 

sistant cashiei*. The board of directors comprise the 

first four named above with J. W. Wheeler, C. M. the state bank of erskine. 
Sprague and F. W. Sprague. The bank is located in 

a fine building equipped with every modern facility ^^°^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ institution has been one of the 
for efficient banking and which stands as a credit to ^naiicial bulwarks and sources of strength and con- 
civic pride as well as to the enterprise of the bank ^'"lieuce to the village of Erskine and the several 
directors. townships of Polk County lying around it. The bank 

was organized and started on its useful and prosperous 

state bank of ELDRED. • ii, 4. 1 TT 1 C14. TT T Ti/r i 

career in that year by Halvor Steenerson, H. L. Mel- 

This sound and flourishing financial institution, gaard, Carl Ilendrickson, and Louis Ellington, and 

which was the first regularly organized banking house A. F. Cronquist was chosen cashier. It was a private 

in the town of Eldred, this county, was founded on institution until 1903, when it was incorporated as 

February 29, 1908, by Messrs. Rosholt & Larson, the a state bank under its present name with a capital 

latter of whom is now a resident of Halsted and the stock of $10,000, Louis Ellington as president, Halvor 



Steeiierson as vice president and A. F. Cronquist as 

The history of the bank was the same as that of 
many similar institutions — a steady growth of busi- 
ness, an increasing hold on public confidence and re- 
gard, and a firm standing in financial and banking 
circles — until December, 1912, when some forty-six 
merchants and farmers bought it. The surplus at 
that time amounted to $3,000 and the deposits to 
$140,000. Under its new ownership A. D. Stephens 
was chosen president, Gilbert K. Espeseth vice presi- 
dent and Theodore Nelson cashier. He had been the 
assistant cashier of the bank for ten years. The other 
directors are John Clementson, A. J. Haugen and 0. T. 
Rovang, all farmers living near Erskine. Mr. Stephens 
has since been succeeded as president by 6. K. Es- 
peseth and T. K. Berg chosen vice president, but none 
of the other officials have been changed since the pur- 
chase was made. 

The surplus of the bank at the time of this writing 
(October, 1915) is increased to $5,000, and the de- 
posits have increased to $210,000. In 1903 the fine 
modern building in which the bank now conducts its 
business was erected. The bank makes loans, does 
insurance and carries on all other departments of 
banking according to the most approved present-day 
methods, and is one of the soundest and best managed 
institutions of its rank in the Northwest. 


This popular financial institution, which is render- 
ing great and appreciated service to the community, 
was founded September 1, 1904, as the First State 
Bank of Winger, Math a capital stock of $10,000, A. N. 
Eckman as president and Gilbert Bratland as cashier. 

In 1908 Messrs. Simons & Bourdon became the own- 
ers but continued under the old name and with only 
minor changes in its management until May, 1912, 
L. C. Simons being the president, Chas. N. Bourdon, 
vice president, and Edward Randklev, cashier. 

May 27, 1912, the bank was purchased by local men, 
some fifty-five of them, nearly all farmers, becoming 

stockholders. They elected J. 0. Hovland president, 
H. A. Loitten vice president, and A. I. Solberg cashier, 
and in December following the name was changed to 
the Farmers State Bank of Winger, the capital stock 
being increased to $12,500. At that time the bank had 
a surplus of $2,500 and deposits amounting to $50,000. 
At the present time (1915) the officers and the capital 
stock are the same as in 1912, the surplus is $3,500 and 
the deposits are $150,000. Loans and discounts 
amount to $140,000. The bank building was erected 
in 1905. 


The First State Bank of Mentor was established in 
1901, as a private bank, by A. D. Stephens and Joseph 
Tagley and operated as such until 1908, when it was 
incorporated as the First State Bank of Mentor, with 
a capital of $10,000. The president, A. D. Stephens, 
Joseph Tagley as cashier, M. Tagley, vice president, 
and Nels Paulsberg, assistant cashier, the first three 
comprise the board of directors and are the owners 
of the stock. Mr. Tagley, in the capacity of cashier, 
has directed the management of the bank in its pros- 
perous activities as the financial center of business 
enterprise in Mentor. The present capitalization of 
the bank is the original amount, with a surplus of 
$2,000 and deposits of about ninety thousand dollars. 
Aside from general banking interests, the State Bank 
maintains a real estate agency and deals in insurance. 
The brick structure which it occupies was erected in 
1901 and is equipped with modern banking facilities. 


The Citizens State Bank of Fertile, one of the most 
prosperous banking institutions of northwestern Min- 
nesota, was organized on December 7, 1904, as the 
successor of the Citizens National Bank, which, in turn 
had succeeded the Citizens Bank in 1901. The latter 
corporation had been effected in 1897 by Lewis Lar- 
son, of Britt, Iowa, M. B. Dahlquist, and B. E. Dahl- 
quist of Forest City, Iowa, Louis Ellington, of Crooks- 
ton and M. J. Pihl, of Wells, Minn., and these men 



continued their association with the institution upon 
its reorganization into a National bank, merging their 
interests with several others. The Citizens National 
was incorporated with a capital of $25,000 and Lewis 
Larson became pi'csident of the board of directors, 
Mr. Ellington and Mr. Pihl, vice presidents and Mr. 
M. B. Dalilquist, cashier, and B. E. Dahhinist assist- 
ant cashier. In 1904 K. J. Taralseth and 0. H. Taral- 
seth, of Wan-en, Minn., Mr. Ellington, and Ed Mosse- 
fin and A. P. Hanson, of Fertile, took over all the 
assets and the building of the Citizens National and 
organized the Citizens State Bank, with a capital of 
$15,000. The able direction of its affairs, which has 
resulted in unusual benefit to the stockholders and 
a wide popularitj' in financial circles, has been under 
the management of Mr. Mossefin and Mr. Hanson, as 
resident stockholders and officers. Mr. Mossefin be- 
came president of the bank in 1911 and Mr. Hanson 
has served as cashier from the start. 0. H. Taralseth 
is the present vice president. The bank 's interests are 
housed in a fine modern brick building of two stories, 
which was erected in 1901 and is splendidly furnished 
with all modern conveniences, including reinforced 
concrete vaults and safety deposit boxes for individual 
use. The second floor is utilized for office room. The 
bank engages in general banking business, making 
loans on real estate and also are writers for several 
lines of fire and cyclone insurance. The substantial 
condition of its affairs appears in the recent statement 
is-sued of a surplus and undivided profits of $9,000 
and deposits of $180,000. 


The Farmers State Bank of Fertile was organized 
September 6, 1912, through the co-operation of a num- 
ber of prominent business men and farmers and has 
enjoyed a steady prosperity in all its activities, con- 
tributing notably to the accommodations afforded by 
the splendid financial institutions of Polk County. 
The men who were associated in the establishment of 
the bank and who composed the first board of direct- 
ors were James F. Hanson, Martin G. Peterson, An- 

ders 0. Morvig, Ole II. Vidden, Nels Clementsen, 
Albert 0. Gullickson, E. G. 0. Hoglund, A. L. Hov- 
land and Hans Paulsrud. The latter, who had been 
the assistant cashier in the First State Bank for a 
number of years, was made cashier of the new bank 
and in that position has continued to capably direct 
its affairs. The bank was incorporated with a capital 
of $25,000, with James F. Hanson as president and 
Nels Clementsen, vice president. In 1913 the present 
fine modern banking building was erected and excel- 
lent fixtui-es installed, making it a worthy addition to 
the business district of Fertile. The stock in this 
corporation is owned by the above-mentioned direct- 
ors, which is the present executive body with the 
exception of Andrew Hoffe who has been elected in 
place of E. G. Hoglund and Andrew Peterson, in 
place of James F. Hanson, and some ninety share- 
holders, most of whom are local farmers. Nels 
Clementsen lias succeeded Mr. Hanson as president 
and Albert 0. Gullickson is vice president, with Mr. 
Paulsrud retaining his position as cashier, with Ole 
Lutnes as as.sistaut. The latest statement issued by the 
bank reports a surplus of $5,000, with the original 
capital of $25,000, deposits aggregating $232,000 and 
loans of $210,000. 


The First National Bank of East Grand Forks, an 
important banking house of which Polk County is 
justly proud, has been materially identified in all its 
activities with home industries and development, its 
record of noteworthy prosperity having advanced 
steadily with the growth of the country. It was or- 
ganized in 1890 as the Bank of East Grand Forks 
with a capital of $25,000 and its first officers were 
William Busge, president; Alex Griggs, vice presi- 
dent; and E. R. Jaeobi, cashier. In the following year 
reorganization into a national bank was effected and 
the capital stock doubled. Alex Griggs was made pres- 
ident of the board of directors, E. R. Jaeobi, vice 
president, and W. H. Pringle, cashier. The other 
members of the board were Ole Lukkason, C. Madson, 



B. A. Griggs, Paul Hagen and Robert Jarvis. The 
excellently equipped and modern banking building 
which houses its interests was erected in 1893 at the 
cost of $15,000 and aside from the commodious quar- 
ters provided the bank, furnishes office space in the 
basement and second story. The present board of 
^..xcctors was elected in 1905, with E. Arneson as pres- 
ident, J. R. Johnson, vice president, and G. R. Jacobi, 
cashier and the other members, J. H. McNicol and 
August Nelson. The stockholders of this institution 
include many of the influential citizens of East Grand 
Porks, men whose successful careers have been identi- 
fied with the interests of the community and its policy 
of administration has always rendered it a strong 
financial support to local enterprise. During the 
twenty-three years of its operations this bank has not 
foreclosed a mortgage and pays four per cent interest 
on savings deposits, a record which is loyally rewarded 
by the extensive patronage extended it by the farmers 
and business men of the district and which is one of 
the ways in which its management has demonstrated 
its keen interest in the development of the farming 
community tributary to East Grand Porks. The Pirst 
National is a member of the Federal Reserve Banks 
and is allied with the important banking activities of 
the country, selling drafts payable in all the principal 
cities of the world. Its present substantial standing 
is attested to with deposits of some three hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars and surplus of $10,000. 

Condensed report of the condition of the Pirst 
National Bank, East Grand Porks, Minnesota, at close 
of business, November 10, 1915 : 


Loans $303,419.89 

Overdrafts 2,219.68 

U. S. Bonds 37,500.00 

Stock, Pederal Reserve Bank 1,800.00 

Real estate 24,800.00 

Banking house 14,500.00 

Redemption fund 1,875.00 

Cash 149,602.87 


Capital $ 50,000.00 

Surplus and profits 10,906.36 

Circulation 37,500.00 

Deposits 437,311.08 

Total $535,717.44 


Total $535,717.44 

They pay 4 per cent on savings, 4 per cent for six 
months and 5 per cent for twelve months on time cer- 
tificates. E. Arneson, president; J. R. Johnson, vice 
president ; G. R. Jacobi, cashier. 


The State Bank of Fisher is one of the pioneer 
banking institutions of that region and has been iden- 
tified for many years with the prosperity and the 
more substantial progress in Polk County, the history 
of its activities being marked with notable success and 
able management and a large and steadily increasing 
patronage among the citizens of that district. The 
bank was first organized as a private bank, in 1879, 
by Hugh Thompson and Prank DeMers. Subse- 
quently Marcus Johnson bought out the interests of 
the other stockholders and he has continued to main- 
tain a prominent and active interest in the bank. In 
1896 after the unfortunate death of the cashier, Mar- 
tin Sanaker, by suicide, the bank was reorganized aa 
a State bank, with a capital of $10,000. Gunder Kros- 
tue was made president and Marcus Johnson and S. 
Torrison were the stockholders and directors. The 
first cashier of the new state bank was Ed Kingsland, 
who served in that capacity until his removal west, 
when he was succeeded by Andrew 0. Stortroen, the 
present occupant of the position, who is also a stock- 
holder and a member of the board of directors. Upon 
the death of Mr. Krostue in 1912, Marcus Johnson 
succeeded to the office of president and has since 
capably directed the administration of its affairs, 
which include the many interests accruing to the $200,- 
000 of deposits and loans of some one hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars. The bank occupies the build- 
ing which was erected for its use in 1879. 




The Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, with 
office at Fertile, is one of the co-operative enterprises 
of this section which attests to the enterprise of its 
citizens and has proved of benefit to local interests. 
The company has met with an extensive patronage 
in Polk and Norman Counties, the territory cov- 
ered by its operations, and has over nine hundred 
policy holders with $1,677,629 insurance in force. 
Through the disinterested service of the men who 
have been identified with the organization as officers, 
the expense of operation has always been small, a 
fact which has contributed to the rapid gi'owth and 
prosperity of the company. It was incorporated in 
1891 by 0. P. Renne, Hans Juelson, T. H. Nesseth and 
Martin G. Peterson. The articles of incorporation 
were drafted by Mr. Peterson, who has been active 
in the direction of company 's affairs as treasurer and 


The First State Bank of Beltrami, one of the most 
substantial banking houses in the county, wa.s organ- 
ized in 1905, as the successor of the Bank of Beltrami, 
a private bank which had been in operation since 
1901, when it was established by "William Mathews, 
with D. E. Fulton as cashier. In 1903 C. C. Heath 
and H. H. Reed became the owners and continued for 
two years when it was organized as a State bank with 
a capital of $10,000. J. W. Wheeler, president ; E. M. 
Walsh, vice president; and C. C. Heath, cashier, com- 
posed the first board of directors, which was replaced 
in 1914 by the present board, with J. W. Wheeler as 
president, C. C. Heath, first vice president, E. M. 
Walsh, second vice president, and T. 0. Hafdahl, cash- 

ier, with H. A. Wilson as assistant. This bank ranks 
high among the financial institutions of northern Min- 
nesota and handles an important share of Polk County 
business. It occupies one of the most handsome and 
finely appointed country bank buildings in the county, 
a brick structui-e, equipped with modern banking con- 
veniences, with time-locked vaults and safes, which 
was erected in 1914 at an expenditure of $10,000. The 
bank receives deposits amounting to $160,000 and car- 
ries a surplus of $5,000 and undivided profits, $4,000. 
The man most thoroughly identified with prosperous 
transactions of this institution is C. C. Heath, who 
has directed its management as owner, cashier and 
vice president during the last twelve years. Mr. 
Heath came to Beltrami in 1903, when he became an 
owner of the bank and is widely known in financial 
circles through the eminent success of his able and 
enterprising cai'eer and enjoys the respect and confi- 
dence of his associates, who are among the leading 
financiers of northern Minnesota. Mr. Heath is that 
type of aggressive and broad-minded citizen, whose 
influence and efl'orts extend beyond his private inter- 
ests to the public progress and the prospei'ity of the 
commonwealth. Another flourishing enterprise of ex- 
tensive operations with which he is prominently asso- 
ciated as organizer, president and manager is the 
Heath Investment Company, a corporation organized 
in 1914, with' a capitalization of $50,000, which en- 
gages in the buying and selling of real estate and com- 
mercial interests and owns and operates some three 
thousand acres of farm land near Beltrami. J. W. 
Wheeler and E. M. Walsh are associated with him in 
this successful activity also, Mr. Wlieeler being vice 
president and Mr. Walsh, secretary. Mr. Heath is a 
native of Delaware County, Indiana. 



The subject of this sketch has been judge of the 
District Court for the last seventeen years, having 
been elected to that position in 1898 and twice since 
that time without opposition. lie ranks among the 
ablest of the district judges in Minnesota. Before 
becoming judge he was county attorney of Polk 
county, city attorney of Crookston, a member of its 
city eouneil twelve years, member of the school board 
and referee in bankruptcy. He was bom June 9, 
1850, in Stanley, Huron county, Ontario. His father 
was Matthew Watts, a native of Yorkshire, England, 
Avho came to Canada in 1842 and his mother, Haunali 
(Simpson) Watts of Cumberlandshire, England, who 
came in 1832 at the age of six years. They settled 
in the backwoods near the shore of Lake Huron in 
1848, enduring the hardships of pioneers who make 
farms from heavily timbered lands with their own 
hands, and there they are buried, the father dying in 
1854 at the age of thirty-four years and his wife iu 
1912 at the age of eighty-six. 

Judge Watts received his education in the common 

schools and worked at farming, lumbering and teach- 
ing school in Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Min- 
nesota until 1875 when he entered the law department 
of the University of Michigan, gi-aduating therefrom 
in 1877 with the degree of bachelor of laws, and was 
admitted to the bar of Michigan. He came to Crooks- 
ton in January, 1878, and has lived there contin- 
uously since that time, making him the first lawyer 
now living to locate in what is now the Fourteenth 
Judicial District of Minnesota. He soon became a 
good trial lawyer and had a fair share of the law 
business of the region tributary to Crookston while 
at the bar and has also done considerable farming in 
the Red River valley. 

Judge Watts was united in marriage with Edith E. 
Webb whose father. Rice Webb was one of the pio- 
neers of Polk county and who is a descendant of 
John Alden and Priscilla, immortalized in the verse 
of Longfellow. They have four children, William 
A., lawyer, residing at Duluth, and Mary Ella, Anna 
M. and Matthew S., at home. 


Hugh Thompson, of East Grand Forks, an eminent 
citizen of Polk county, is widely known as a pioneer, 
whose career has been significantly associated with 
the development of the various important interests of 
northern Minnesota. He was born in Huntington 
county, Canada, July 4, 1850, the son of John L. 
Thompson, a well known farmer of that region, ^vlio 
continued to reside in Huntington county until his 
death. His son, Hugh Thompson, spent his early 
youth on the Canadian homestead and came to this 
country when sixteen years of age, securing a posi- 
tion as a clerk in a store owned by his brothers, at St. 

Croix Palls, Wisconsin. Two years later he left St. 
Croix for Menominee, where he engaged in similar 
employment. In 1873 he came to Crookston, then in 
the earliest days of its settlement and has since been 
actively identified with growth and pi'ogi'ess of Polk 
county. For a few years he was employed in the 
store operated by W. D. Bailey but in October, 1875, 
he embarked upon his independent commercial career, 
opening a general store at Fisher's Landing. This 
proved a successful venture and in 1879 he extended 
his activities to the milling business, erecting a flour- 
ing mill which was destroyed by fire some three years 




later. In 1879 Mr. Thompson organized the Fisher 
bank as a private banking house and as president, 
capably directed its affairs during the first years of 
its operations. This bank became a State bank in 
1896 and is one of the most substantial and pros- 
perous financial institutions of the county. In 1885 
Mr. Thompson became associated in his various busi- 
ness interests with Marcus Johnson, buying the mer- 
cantile business owned by Andrew D. Stephens and 
erecting a flour mill which they operated for nine 
years when it was merged with the North Dakota 
Milling Association, of which Mr. Thompson became 
president. This corporation had extensive milling 
interests in North Dakota and Minnesota and Mr. 
Thompson remained at the head of its board of di- 
rectors for several years. During these busy years 
of commercial enterprise, he found time for active 
co-operation in public affairs and gave his services 
in public offices, as county commissioner, and was 
the first postmaster api^ointed at Fisher. In 1891 he 
was appointed registrar of the United States land 
office at Crookston and during the four yeai-s of his 
incumbency of that position, resided in Crookston. 
He removed to East Grand Forks in 1896 and since 
that time has given his attention largely to the direct 
service of public interests in the various official posi- 

tions to which the confidence and regard of his fellow 
citizens have called Mm. Aside from the local offices 
which he has held, Mr. Thompson was also an able 
member of the State board of Equalization for ten 
years, being first appointed to the board in 1882. He 
has been prominently identified with civic affairs as 
mayor and president of the town council and for 
four years was county commissioner from the fifth 
district. As a pioneer citizen, merchant and banker, 
his career has been notably marked with that intelli- 
gent and constructive citizenship which lays the foun- 
dation for the steady prosperity and rapid develop- 
ment of all commercial and social activity. Mr. 
Thompson has been twice married, his first union 
was with Luella Alay Thompson in 1875. She was 
born in St. Paul and was a teacher in the first school 
of Polk county, at Crookston. Three children were 
born to them, two of whom died in infancy. The 
death of the mother occurred at Fisher in 1888 and 
.she was survived by one daughter, Luella M., who is 
the wife of Bert Towaisend. Mr. Thompson's mar- 
riage to Lees McMaster, a native of Olmstead county, 
Minnesota, and a teacher in the Fisher schools at 
the time of her marriage was solemnized in 1891 and 
they have two children, Charlotte H. and June. 


Reverend J. B. A. Dale, pastor of the United Lu- 
theran church at Mcintosh, was born at Avue Bergen, 
Stift, Noi-way, June 29, 1854. He remained in his 
native land until his seventeenth year, coming to the 
United States in June, 1871. For several months he 
made his home in Columbus, Wisconsin, and then lo- 
cated in Chicago, where he spent three years and then 
returned to Wisconsin, living for a time in Eau Claire. 
Being ambitious to secure an education and prepare 
himself for the ministry, in the fall of 1875 he went 
to Minneapolis and enrolled in the Augsburg Semi- 
nary. He completed a four years ' course of study in 
that institution, meanwhile working during the vaca- 

tion mouths and finding further employment as a 
teacher in parochial schools. He then attended the Nor- 
mal school at Winona, Minnesota, during one winter 
and subsequently entered the University at Columbus, 
Ohio. In 1882 he became a student in the Red Wing 
Seminary and completed his studies in the following 
two years, receiving his degree in June, 1884. He was 
ordained in Lee county, Illinois, and his first pastorate 
was in Newman Gi'ove, Nebraska, remaining with that 
congregation for some fourteen years. On leaving he 
came to Minnesota to accept the charge at Twin Val- 
ley in Norman county, where he served for six years. 
In July, 1904, he removed to Mcintosh, as pastor 



of the United Lutheran church, with eight churches 
in Polk county in his circuit, which has since been 
divided into two pastorates. Mr. Dale has devoted 
his life to his ministerial labors and enjoys the high 
regard of his many warm friends through his faithful 
service during the many years spent as a leader in 
religious interests. He was married at Roland, Iowa, 
in July, 1882, to Julia Olson, who was born at Leland, 
Illinois, November 23, 1865. Fourteen children were 

born to this union, twelve of whom are living. Mar- 
celius A. Dale died at Mcintosh, in his twentieth 
year and the death of Melvin Dale occurred when 
he was fourteen years of age. The surviving children 
are, Jeanette, who married E. G. Schlanbusch; Cas- 
par, Erwin, Christina, the wife of Reverend A. B. 
Hiuderlie, Clara, Elnora, Andora, Ingeborg, Bea- 
trice, Marcellus, Marguerite and Jens. 


WiUiam J. Rasmussen, municipal judge at East 
Grand Forks and one of the leading members of the 
Polk county bar, was bom in Duck Creek township, 
Taylor county, Wisconsin, June 22, 1885, the son of 
Jacob and Caroline (Olson) Rasmussen, who were 
natives of Norway. Jacob Rasmussen continues to 
make his home at Phillips, Wisconsin, where the 
death of his wife occurred in her sixty-ninth year. 
William Rasmussen spent his youth in Phillips and 
there received his early education, later entering the 
University of Wisconsin. Subsequently he matricu- 
lated in the state university of Minnesota and there 
prepared liimself for his professional career, grad- 
uating from tlie law school of that institution in 1909. 

He immediately engaged in the practice of law in 
East Grand Forks and rapidly won recognition as 
one of the able young attorneys of that section. In 
1911 he was elected municipal judge and has since 
given most efficient and zealous service in discharg- 
ing the responsibilities of his position. As public 
official or private citizen, Mr. Rasmussen is that type 
of broad minded and progressive citizen, whose in- 
fluence is felt in every phase of community develop- 
ment. His political affiliations are with the Republi- 
can party. In fraternal orders, he is a well known 
member of the Masonic fraternity and a Knight 


John J. Vaatveit, a prominent merchant of Mcin- 
tosh and well known citizen of King township, is a 
native of Norway, born in Village of Voss, on August 
13, 1856. He was reared on a pioneer farm home in 
Dodge county, Minnesota, the family emigi-ating to the 
United States in spring of 1857, and spent his early 
manhood in Dodge county. In 1856 he went to Grand 
Porks, North Dakota, and began his career in the com- 
mercial world as a clerk in a general store. After 
spending seven years in that employment, he made his 
first independent venture in the mercantile business 
and for five years continued his suece.ssful operations, 
establishing a store at Northland, North Dakota, and 

was appointed the first postmaster at that place. In 
1895 he sold his interests, resigned from the office of 
postmaster and transferred his attention to farming, 
removing to Polk county and buying a quarter section 
of land in King township, where he engaged in agri- 
cultural pursuits for some twelve years. In 1907 he 
i-esumed his commercial activities, opening a general 
store at Mcintosh, where he has since conducted a 
prosperous and steadily growing trade. During the 
many years of his re.sidence in King township, Mr. 
Vaatveit has won the respect and confidence of all 
his associates through his ability as a business man 
and his public spirited citizenship. He has been 



promineutly associate with township affairs and has 
capably discharged the duties of various public offices, 
as chairman and member of the township board, a 
member of the school board of I\IcIntosh and in sev- 
eral minor offices. He has been further identified 
with public interests as the president of the Fanners 
Mutual Insurance Company, serving for a terra of 

nine years. He was married in Dodge county, Minne- 
sota, to Martha Alrick, who is a native of Norway and 
they have reared a family of four children, Engvold, 
George, Minnie, who is the wife of Oliver Hen.son, 
and Mabel. Mr. "\^aatveit and his family are faithful 
supporters of the Synod Lutheran church and are 
actively identified with all its interests. 


Emil Jorgenson, of Mcintosh, local agent for the 
St. Anthony and Dakota Lumber Company, is a na- 
tive of Polk county, born in Kuute township, June 
15, 1885, the son of Marcus and Hedda Jorgenson, na- 
tives of Norway, who settled in Polk county in 1884; 
the father becoming a well known farmer of the 
county, where they continue to make their home. Emil 
Jorgenson was reared on the Knute township home- 
stead and received his education in the countrj' 
schools. He remained on the farm until he was twenty- 
two years of age and then entered upon his connuer- 
cial career, his first activity being in the lumber busi- 

ness and with the exception of two years spent in the 
employment of a telephone company, has continued 
to devote his attention to the lumber interests, where 
his ability and successful experience have won him 
rapid promotion and wide recognition. In July, 1913, 
he located in Mcintosh, as the local manager for the 
St. Anthony & Dakota Lumber Co. Mr. Jorgenson 
is one of the progressive and enterprising business 
men and citizens of the town in which he lives and 
is actively interested in matters of public moment and 
in the promotion of the general welfare and gi-owth. 
He is a member of the St Johns Lutheran church. 


One of the leading merchants and the capable and 
popular postmaster of the village of Climax, this 
county, where he has lived and been well and favor- 
ably known by the people for many years, Jacob 
P. Soes is a very useful citizen and is universally 
esteemed in accordance with his demonstrated merits 
as a business man, public official and enterpribing 
and progressive citizen of public spirit and breadth 
of view. 

Mr. Soes is a native of Denmark, where he was 
bom Feb. 14, 1871, and where he lived until he 
reached the age of seventeen years. He then emi- 
grated to the United States in May, 1888, and came 
direct to Crookston. During the first two years of 
his residence in this county he was employed at the 
Artesian "Water Works, selling the water all over 
Crookston. But he was frugal and thrifty, and had 

ambition for a higher sphere in life. So he saved 
his earnings and applied them in prepai-ing himself 
for a business career. He attended the Crookston 
Business college nights, and when he had completed its 
course of instruction he entered the employ of A. 
G. Anderson in the drug business. 

Mr. Soes remained with Sir. Anderson nine years, 
and during that period he pursued a course of tlior- 
ough training at the School of Pharmacy in Minne- 
apolis, thereby becoming a registered pharmacist and 
a complete master of his business. After leaving the 
employ of Mr. Anderson Mr. Soes made a visit of 
several months to his native land, and on his return 
to Minnesota in the fall of 1901 he located at Climax 
and engaged in the drug business, also serving as as- 
sistant postmaster under C. Steenerson for about 
twelve years. 



At Christmas, 1914, he was appointed postmastei' 
of Climax, and this office he has held ever since. He 
has also been president of the village and a justice of 
the peace for a j^ear. In these positions of trust and 
responsibility he has been able to put into practical 
operation the deep and intelligent interest in the 
welfare of the community which he has always felt 
and shown by active participation in every imder- 

taking for the good of the people. He was married 
in Crookston in 1904 to Miss Emma Oieren, who is 
a native of Minnesota but of Norwegian parentage. 
They have two children, their daughters Myrtle and 
Evelyn. In addition to his business and other hold- 
ings in Climax IMr. Soes owns 160 acres of land near 
the village of Erskine. 


Gunner Husby, a retired farmer and well known 
citizen of King town.ship, now residing at Mcintosh, 
was bom in Norway, April 13, 1852. He remained 
in his native land until thirty-one years of age, when 
he came to the United States and in the spring of 
1882 took a homestead claim on section eight of King 
township in Polk county. He immediately engaged 
in the development of his land and devoted the efforts 
and interests of his successful fai*ming career to this 
farm, building up one of the most pro.sperous prop- 
erties of the section. In 1914, after many years of 
business activity, he sold the homestead and has since 

made his home at Mcintosh. As one of the early set- 
tlers of the township he has been prominently iden- 
tified with public affairs and has taken an active 
interest in the promotion of the general welfare. He 
has capably discharged the duties of various local 
offices to which he has been elected and has served as 
a member of the school board and township board. 
Mr. Husby is a member of the St. Johns Lutheran 
church. He was married in Norway, to Marit Haavon 
and they have seven children, Magnhild, Louis, Peter, 
John, Ingvar, Gertrude and Gottfried. 


During the last fourteen years this prominent and 
enterprising young business man of Polk county has 
been a resident of Fertile and activelj^ engaged in 
helping to build ui^ and improve the village and min- 
ister to the enduring welfare and comfort of its 
inhabitants. He is now only thirtj'-two years old, Init 
he has already established himself in the confidence 
and regard of the community around him as a good 
business man and a progres.sive, enterprising and pub- 
lic-spirited citizen with the welfare of the town al- 
ways foremost in his mind. 

Mr. Eide is a native of Norway, where his life 
began Feb. 16, 1883, and where he lived until 1899, 
when he came to the United States. In 1901 he 
located at Fertile and began his business career as a 
clerk for his uncle, Andrew Opheim, with whom he 

remained until death ended the uncle's laboi's on 
April 5, 1915. Mr. Opheim was one of Fertile 's hon- 
ored pioneers. He was bom and reared in Norway 
and became a resident of the United States in 1871. 
In 1882 he located in Polk county and opened a drug 
store one mile east of Fertile, where he remained 
until 1887, then moved his store to Fertile, forming 
a partnership in the drug trade and general mer- 
chandising with Dr. Arne Nelson, which lasted from 
1882 until 1893. AVlien he died Mr. Opheim owned 
600 acres of land in Polk county, and throughoiit 
his residence here he took an earnest interest and 
an active part in pushing forward the growth and 
improvement of the county. 

Mr. Eide was appointed administrator of his uncle's 
estate and succeeded him in the management of the 



store and the luicle's other business. He was mar- 
ried in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, November 30, 
]910, to Miss Clara Nelson, who was born in Fertile 

and is a daughter of the late Dr. Arne Nelson. They 
have two children, their son Knute Arne and their 
daughter Anna Bessie. 


Harvey Chase Misner, pioneer business man of the 
state and for a number of years prominently identi- 
fied with the business interests of Crookston as vice 
president of the First National bank and president 
of the Wheeler-Misuer Loan company, was a native 
of Wisconsin, born near Batavia, January 9, 1854-, 
the son of Ira P. and Arvilla (Chapin) Misner. The 
latter was a native of Michigan. His father, Ira P. 
Misner was born in Pennsylvania, went to Wisconsin 
in his early manhood and there spent the many years 
of his active and useful career as a farmer and citizen. 
In 1861 he enlisted in a Wisconsin regiment and gave 
gallant service in defence of the Union throughout 
the four years of the great struggle and was thrice 
wounded. His death occurred in 1905, at Fond du 
Lac, Wisconsin. He was survived by the wife of his 
second marriage and three sons by his first wife. 
Harvey C. Misner was reared on the Wisconsin farm 
and attended the schools at Fond du Lac. After being 
employed for a time as clerk in a feed store, he made 
his first independent business venture and engaged 
in the tea and coffee business in Fond du Lac. In 
1879 he came to Minnesota and located in Euclid 
where he opened a general store under the firm name 
of Misner & Lindsley. This business was later reor- 
ganized as E. Taylor & Company and was still later 
known as H. C. Misner & Company and was most 
successfully and profitably conducted by Mr. ]\Iisner 
for a number of years. In 1904 he removed to Crooks- 
ton and founded one of the important business organi- 
zations of the city, the Wheeler-Misner Loan company 
and was actively identified with the substantial pros- 
perity of this corporation as secretary and treasurer 
and for the last two years of his life, as president, 
having been elected to that position in 1912. He was 
also prominently associated with the financial inter- 

ests of the county as vice president and manager of 
the First National bank, one of the largest banking 
institutions in this section. From January, 1912, to 
Jauuarjr, 1914, he was extensively interested in farm 
lands and in the agricultural development of the 
northwest. After many years of indefatigable effort 
and achievement but with a future bright with pros- 
pects of larger activities, failing health necessitated 
his withdrawal from the business world. This was 
in January, 1914, and his death occurred on June 1 
of that year. He had a long and successful experi- 
ence in his chosen occupations and in every phase of 
his busy life demonstrated his peculiar adaptation 
to business and his sterling integritj' as a progressive 
citizen, and enjoyed the esteem and confidence of all 
who knew him. Mr. Misner was married, June 15, 
1881, to Ida May Taylor of Lyons, Iowa, who sur- 
vives him, retaining her I'esidence in Crookston. She 
is the daughter of Alfred C. Taylor, one of the early 
settlers of Iowa, a worthy pioneer citizen who gave 
his sei-vices to his country in the war of the rebellion, 
with an Iowa regiment. Three children were born to 
Mr. Misner and his wife, two of whom died in in- 
fancy. Harvey W. Misner, one of the leading young 
business men of Crookston, has succeeded to his 
father's interests in the firm of Wheeler & Misner. 
Mr. Misner was a faithful supporter of the princi- 
ples of the Republican party and took an active part 
in the direction of the political affairs of the state as 
a member of the county and state central committees. 
In fraternal orders he was widely known and was a 
prominent member of the Masonic order, a thirty- 
second degree I\Iason, a member of the Scottish and 
York Rites, and served in 1908 as the eminent 
commander of the Crookston commandery. He was 
also an Elk and a charter member of the Modern 

^, £,. 



Woodmen of America. Although not a membex* of 
any religious organization, he was interested in the 
church and its purpose and gave his generous support 

and sei'vices as trustee and ti'easurer to the First 
Presbyterian church of Crookston. 


This enterprising, progressive and broad-minded 
business man of Fertile is engaged in several under- 
takings which minister to the service, enjoyment and 
improvement of the people of his home community 
and help to make life more tolerable and comfortable 
for them, as well as to add to their facilities for 
carrying on their several occupations and pursuing 
their chosen pathways of advancement in business 
or social activity. 

Mr. Hoglund is a native and wholly a product of 
Polk county, having been born on his father's farm 
in Garfield township July 23, 1885, and having been 
reared on that farm and educated in the school in the 
neighborhood. He is a son of Eric and Christina 
(Johnson) Hoglund, natives of Sweden, and 
residents of this county for thirty-five years. 
The son remained at home with his pai'ents and 
worked on the farm until he reached the age of twen- 
ty-one years. He then turned his attention to tele- 

phone work, in which he was employed for six years. 
At the end of that period he installed an electric light 
plant at Fei'tile, which he began operating March 15, 
1910. He erected the building in which the plant 
is located and he now has in the neighborhood of 100 
patrons, and the number is steadily increasing. 

For two years Mr. Hoglund was superintendent 
of the Gordon Valley Telephone company, and his 
experience in that position has been very valuable 
to him in his own business. He owns 160 acres of well 
improved land in Columbia township, and is also pro- 
prietor of the Picture theater at Fertile. Every 
branch of his business seems to be in direct line with 
his tastes and mental trend, and he is making the 
utmost of his opportunities in eaich, using every 
gain in his progress as a step to something higlier 
and more advanced, for he is enterprising and far- 
seeing, and knows his business thoroughly to date 
and is always studious of its further possibilities. 


Having come to this country at the age of twenty- 
two years with no capital but his resolute spirit, 
strong physique and well-balanced mind, and having 
won from the soil of Polk county a substantial com- 
petence, Antone M. Gamme, a prominent fanner now 
living retired from active work in the village of Fer- 
tile, has shown that he chose wisely when he sought 
the United States as a land of opportunity in which 
industry, thrift and good management were bound 
to win success and prosperity. By his activity in 
public affairs as a good citizen but not as an office 
seeker, he has also shown that the country gained in 
sturdy and sterling manhood when he became a resi- 
dent of it. 

Mr. Gamme was born in Nonvay April 23, 1861, 
and remained in his native land until 1883. He was 
reared on a farm and obtained a common school edu- 
cation. Late in the spring of 1883 he emigrated to 
America, landing at New York and coming direct 
to Polk county, Minnesota. During the first eight 
years of his residence in this country he worked as 
a fann laborer. At the end of that period he pre- 
empted eighty acres of land in Godfrey township 
which he proved up on, owned and improved for a 
number of years, then sold it. 

In the spring of 1891 Mr. Gamme took xip a home- 
stead in Rice township and subsequently purchased 
an additional tract of 160 acres. On this land he had 



Jiis home and expended his labors, improving it with 
good buildings and bringing the greater part of it 
to advanced productiveness, and occupying it until 
the spring of 1915, when he gave up all active work 
and moved to Fertile. His land is all in Rice town- 
ship, and, during the years of his activity, he carried 
on a general farming enterprise with vigor, pro- 
gressiveness and success, making his farm one of the 
best in the township in fruitfulness and an attractive 
one in appearance. 

On July 15, 1891, Mr. Gamme was married to Mrs. 
Baroline Shefloe, the widow of Isaac Shefloe. She, 

also, waa born in Norway, her life beginning on June 
23, 1856, and was thirteen years old wlien she came 
to the United States. In 1882 she became a resident 
of Polk county, and here her first husband died, pass- 
ing away at Beltrami when he was at the age of fifty- 
two. By her first marriage she had three children, 
Mortimer, Amelia and Florence. She and her present 
husband are the parents of four children, Elmer and 
Joseph, twins, and Jessie and Orlie. The father and 
)nother are zealous members of the Lutheran church 
and devoted to the welfare of the congregation they 
are in. 


When Kuute Nelson, the present capable and oblig- 
ing postma.ster at Fertile, this county, was appointed 
to that office by President Wilson on August 25, 1914, 
he was well prepared for the duties he had been 
selected to perform, for he had already performed 
similar duties in other places at different times, had 
served as assistant postmaster at Fertile, and had 
rendered the public good service in other positions 
of trust and responsibility. Moreover, he is a man 
of extensive general intelligence, good .judginent and 
a resourcefulness that makes him equal to any re- 

Mr. Nelson was born in Norway Februaiy 28, 1857, 
the son of Nels A. Nelson, who died in that country 
May 16, 1915, at the age of eighty-nine years. His 
son Knute was the fourth of his eight children in the 
order of birth. He remained in his native land until 
he reached the age of sixteen, then came to the United 
States, arriving in 1873. In June of that year he 
located in Dodge county, Minnesota, and for two 
years thereafter he devoted himself wholly to hard 
labor as a farm hand. During the next two years 
he worked on a farm and attended school, and in 
1877 and 1878 he was clerk in a general store in 
Vernon Dodge county, in which the postoffice was 
kept, and he also acted as assistant postmaster in 
that town while clerking in the store. 

On May 1, 1879, he started driving a "prairie 
schooner" across the state to the Red river valley 
and reached Crookston on May 15. He at once took 
up a homestead in Garfield township, this county, on 
which he filed on May 19, and at that time he, his 
brother Ener and his uncle, Lars Bolstad, were the 
only white settlers in that township. During the 
summer and spring of 1879 he worked on his home- 
stead, and in the winter of 1880 began clerking in a 
store in Crookston, and after doing that for about 
five montlis he returned to his claim and went on 
improving it and making it productive. 

By this time Mr. Nelson's ability had become 
known to his neighbors, and they looked upon him 
as one of the men among them best fitted for public 
office. In June of that year he was appoiuted as- 
sessor for the townships of Garfield, Gordon, Bear 
Park and Sundahl, and in the fall he became a.ssistant 
grain buyer at Edna station, a position which he 
filled for two months, after which he again turned 
his attention to clerking in a store and looked after 
the Edna postoffice until April, 1881. 

Soon afterward he opened a store at a small place 
named Aldal, and there he was appointed postmaster 
during President Garfield 's administration and served 
until the office was discontinued in August, 1887. He 
was also in the luml)er business at Fosston and in 



Columbia township, Polk county, until 1889, and from 
then until 1908 he gave his whole attention to his farm- 
ing operations, which he had continued at intervals 
all the time. In 1910 and 1911 he kept a store at 
Rindal, Polk county, and during the next three years 
ha clerked in a store in Clearwater county. Through- 
out a large part of this time his family was living 
at Fertile, and when he was appointed postmaster 
there he was reunited with it, and he also returned 
to an old job, for he had been assistant postmaster 
under his brother. Dr. A. Nelson, who died in 1909, 
and also under Brown Duckstad from May 1, 1898, 
to January 15, 1899. 

Mr. Nelson was elected county commissioner in the 
fall of 1882. He has also been a justice of the peace 
and filled other local offices. Always enterprising and 
progressive, he has been an important factor in build- 
ing up and improving his township and county, help- 
ing to organize the Fanners' Elevator company in 

June, 1893, and serving as its secretary for eleven 
j'ears. In political affiliation he has been a Democrat 
since 1890, taking an active part in all campaigns 
and frequently serving as a delegate to county con- 
ventions of his party. His religious connection is 
with the Lutheran Synod church, and he has been 
zealous and energetic in its service also. 

Mr. Nelson was married in Garfield township June 
24, 1882, to Miss Martha Brunberg, who was born in 
Wisconsin March 2, 1863. They have nine children: 
Norman 0., Richard A., Edd R., Luella, Leonora, 
Knute M., Olga I., Arthur and Thea L. The parents 
own a good farm of 160 acres in Garfield township, 
on which the father has expended a great deal of labor 
to good advantage, making it productive and improv- 
ing it according to present day ideas. The farm is 
located in Section 16, and was all wild land when he 
took possession of it. It is wholly the product of his 
skill and industry, and is highly creditable to him. 


The late Sven Philip Swenson, a leading farmer 
of Vineland township for many years, was a pioneer 
of Polk county, having become a resident of it about 
1874. He located on a homestead in section 20 which 
he took up soon after his arrival in the county, and 
on which he passed the remainder of his days. "When 
he located in that tovniship it was yet almost wholly 
a wilderness, and his own land was virgin to the 
plow and yielding nothing for his sustenance. But 
he made a good farm of it and added to it until, at 
the time of his death he owned 340 acres, all of which 
he had under cultivation. 

Mr. Swenson was born in what is now the city 
of Manitowoc, "Wisconsin, on November 21, 1845, and 
came to Houston comity, Minnesota, about 1860. A 
sHort time after reaching this state he moved on up 
into the northwestern part of it and for two years 
was employed on the Red river. In 1874 he became a 
resident of Polk county, taking up the homestead al- 
ready mentioned. He worked on his place when he 

had opportunity and followed other pursuits for a 
living for several years, but always looked forward 
to having his home on the farm which he was grad- 
ually bringing to productiveness. 

On July 3, 1882, Mr. Swenson was married to Miss 
Elizabeth Aasmork, a native of Norway, and they 
at once took up their residence on the Vineland town- 
ship farm. From then until his death, which occurred 
on April 20, 1903, he continued to improve and cul- 
tivate his land, and when he was able put up good 
buildings on it. He and his wife were the parents 
of six children all of whom are living. They are 
Knute, Olianna, Lena, Annie, Ole and Carl. Olianna 
is the wife of Edward Opsahl and Lena is the wife 
of Henry B. Hanson. The father was well esteemed 
as a sturdy and upright citizen and an industrious 
and progressive farmer. He took a good citizen's 
helpful part in local public affairs, although he never 
sought or desired prominence or influence as an office 
holder or active partisan politician. 



Knute Swenson, the oldest son and child of Sven 
P. and Elizabeth (Aasmork) Swenson, who is now 
one of the leading citizens of Climax, and a courteous 
and companionable gentleman, has followed in his 
father's footsteps as an active force in the affairs 
of his township, but in a more direct and energetic 
way. He has served the public well as a constable 
and as village recorder, and has had an influential 

voice in reference to all matters connected with the 
government of the tovmship. He was bom and reared 
on his father's farm in Vineland township, and was 
educated at the country school near it. On July S, 
1912, he was united in marriage with Miss Nora 
Louisa Poulson. They have one child, their son 
Earl N. 


Martin Hoogenson, of Mcintosh, a well known 
farmer and real estate dealer, has been a resident of 
King township since early infancy. He was bom in 
Otter Tail county, Minnesota, July 12, 1883, the son 
of Lauris and Kjestine (Rudshaugen) Hoogenson, na- 
tives of Noi'way. On coming to the United States, 
Lauris Hoogenson located in Otter Tail county and 
later removed to Polk county and took a homestead 
in King township, where he made his home until his 
death in 1900. Martin Hoogenson was the eldest of 
three children and grew to manhood on the faiij' in 
King township and received his education in the 
common schools. His interests have always been 
identified with that township, where he is extensively 

associated with the fanning activities, owning two 
hundred acres of land. Since 1913 he has resided at 
Mcintosh and has established a prosperous real estate 
business at that place. Mr. Hoogenson has always 
faithfully discharged the duties of citizenship, taking 
an active interest in township affairs and has given 
able service in official capacity, as justice of peace 
and assessor. He is a member and a faithful sup- 
porter of the United Norwegian Lutheran church. 
Mr. Hoogenson was married in King township, March 
1, 1906 to Anne Tronby, the widow of Peter Trouby, 
and they have three children, Berthur, Melvin and 


Revered as a pioneer of Polk county, successful in 
business and enterprising and broad-minded in re- 
gard to public affairs, the late Andrew Steenerson 
of Climax was esteemed during his life as one of the 
county's useful and progressive citizens, and he is 
remembered since his death with cordial appreciation 
as a man of sterling worth, steadfast integrity and a 
citizenship that was elevated in itself and elevating 
in its influence on others. 

Mr. Steenerson was native to the soil of Minnesota 
and from it drew the invigorating forces that gave 
him his stature and his strength. He was born in 
Houston county February 9, 1855, and became a resi- 
dent of Polk county in 1875, when he was about 

twenty years old. Soon after his arrival in this county 
he took lip a homestead of 160 acres near Climax, 
and this he increased by purchases made later until 
he became the owner of 480 acres, of which he was 
the possessor at the time of his death, which occurred 
in Climax, at the attractive home he had built there, 
on May 18, 1908. Mr. Steenerson was a brother of 
Elias Steenerson, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere 
and in which a full history of the family is given. 

After living on his homestead for a number of 
years Mr. Steenerson moved to Crookston and became 
a dealer in farm machinery. He adhered to this 
line of mercantile life for five or six years, then re- 
turned to his farm and continued to live on it until 



1901, when he changed his residence to Climax, where 
he passed the remainder of his days. He was always 
public-spirited and progressive in the affairs of the 
locality of his home, wherever it was, and among 
the public positions he held was the ofSce of sheriff 
of Polk county, which he filled with great accepta- 
bility for two years. His untimely death at the early 
age of fifty-three, when he was at the height of his 
vigor and the full measure of his usefulness, was 
universally lamented. 

On October 10, 1881, Mr. Steenerson was united 
in marriage with Miss Bertha Flang, who was born 
in Norway and came with her parents to the United 
States when she was about twelve years of age. The 

family located in Ottertail county, Minnesota, and 
there Mrs. Steenerson lived ten years, changing her 
residence to Polk county about 1879. She and her 
husband became the parents of seven children, four 
of whom are living: Steener, who is a resident of 
Crookston ; Arne, who has his home at Climax ; Nora, 
who is a school teacher, and Oretta, who is still liv- 
ing at home. The other three children died when 
they were very young. Mrs. Steenerson is a Lutheran 
in religious affiliation, and is earnestly interested in 
church work. She takes an active part in the activi- 
ties of several of the agencies at work in the commun- 
ity for the good of its people, and is highly respected 
by all classes of them. 


Beginning life for himself as a blacksmith and 
working his way up by his native ability, good busi- 
ness capacity and persistent industi-y and good man- 
agement to the position of a leading merchant and 
business man, August Lindblad, one of the wide- 
awake and progressive residents of Climax, this 
county, furnishes in his successful career a fine illus- 
tration of the value of strong personality, determined 
perseverance and resolute self-reliance in a land of 
many exactions and keen competition in all the activi- 
ties of life, but, nevertheless, abundant in opportuni- 
ties for advancement. 

Mr. Lindblad is a native of Sweden, where his life 
began July 12, 1871, and where he lived until he 
reached the age of twenty and learned the trade of 
blacksmith. In 1891 he emigrated to the United 
States and at once came West, locating at Mar- 
quette, Michigan, and there finding employment in 
building bridges for a railroad company for two years. 
From Marquette he moved to Norman county, Minne- 
sota, and during the next two years worked at the 
forge in that county. He became a resident of Polk 
county in 1895, and for something over a year op- 
erated a blacksmith shop on the farm of Christian 
Steenerson in Vineland township, Polk county. 

About the time when he was ready to give up his 
shop on the farm to seek a better opening he saw 
one in the village of Climax, and he at once opened 
a shop there. This shop he continued to conduct until 
1905, when he sold it and began handling agricultural 
implements, a line of trade in which he is still engaged. 
He is also manager of the Climax Shipping associa- 
tion, which includes live stock and farm produce 
among the commodities it handles, and has been sec- 
retary of the Climax Co-operative Mercantile com- 
pany from the beginning of its activity in the com- 

The public affairs of Climax have always deeply 
interested Mr. Lindblad, and he has taken an active 
and serviceable part in helping to administer them 
wisely, serving for many years as a member of the 
village council and three terms as mayor. In addi- 
tion to his other pursuits he assists in superintending 
the cultivation of 120 acres of land in Vineland tovra- 
ship, in which he owns a one-half interest. 

Mr. Lindblad was married December 30, 1895, in 
Ada, the county seat of Norman county, to Miss Hilda 
Kirkevold, a native of Norway. They have six chil- 
dren, Esther, Hardin, Pearl, Alvin, Russell and Ira. 
The parents are held in the highest esteem by every- 



body who knows them, and throughout the North- 
west Mr. Lindblad is regarded as a first class business 
man and a public-spirited and progressive citizen. He 
is genial, sociable and companionable, and enjoys 

genuine and well-founded popularity in his home 
town as a man, as a merchant, as an influential force 
for good and as a social potency. 


John J. Alrick, a well known citizen of Mcintosh, 
was born at Vernon, Dodge county, Minnesota, Sep- 
tember 13, 1872. His parents, John and Mary (Ten- 
nefos) Alrick, were natives of Norway and came to 
this country in the spring of 1872, settling in Dodge 
county, where they made their home until 1898, when 
they removed to Mcintosh and have since continued 
to reside in that place. They reared a family of ten 
children, of whom John J. Alrick is next to the young- 
est. He grew to manhood on the homestead in Dodge 
county and attended the common schools. On remo\'- 
ing to Polk county, he located in Winger township 
and spent seven years in successful farming activi- 
ties in that townshijj. Subsequently he engaged in 

the restaurant business but since 1907, has given his 
attention chiefly to his service as a rural mail carrier, 
which position he holds at present. Mr. Alrick has 
given able service to the public interests as citizen and 
official and has ever been influential in promoting the 
best interests of the community. He is a member of 
the Synod Lutheran church and in fraternal organiza- 
tions is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and the 
Independent Scandinavian Workingmen of America. 
Mr. Alrick was married in Dodge county, Minnesota, 
March 3, 1897, to Mary Thorsness, who is a native 
of that county. Three childi'en have been bom to 
this union, Landor 0., Milo B., and Eunice N. 


After passing many years in active pursuit of vari- 
ous kinds in a number of different places, making 
each occupation minister to his advancement in life 
by his industry, constant attention to duty and good 
management, Hans Samuelson, formerly one of the 
leading farmers of Vineland township, is now living 
retired from hard labor, maintaining his residence 
in the village of Climax but still exercising active 
personal supervision over the management and op- 
eration of his fine farm of 160 acres, all of which 
is under cultivation and yielding good returns for 
the labor spent upon it. 

Mr. Samuelson was born in Norway November 6, 
1864, and emigi'ated to the United States in the sum- 
mer of 1882. He landed in New York and from there 
came direct to Minnesota, locating in Grant county 
and there working at farm labor for two years. He 
then went to North Dakota and during the summer 

months found employment on a large farm in that 
territory. The following winter he passed working 
in the lumber woods of Michigan, and when spring 
came he took up a timber claim in the neighborhood 
of Bemidji, on which he passed the next three years. 
Early in the nineties Mr. Samuelson moved to 
Polk county and boiight 160 acres of land in Vineland 
township. On this land he lived until the Great 
Northern railroad was built through from Halstad 
to Crookston. He next kept a hotel and saloon in 
Climax until 1905, when he sold his business in the 
village and resumed his farming operations, but 
continued to live in Climax, where he o^vns an at- 
tractive residence. He has always taken an active 
interest in the public affairs of Climax and Vineland 
township, serving as constable in the township and 
president of the council in the village, filling the latter 
office three terms. He has also been a member of the 




board of school directors for some j'ears aiid is now 
its chairman. Being a strong advocate of temperance, 
he has rendered important service to the cause as a 
member of the County Option League. 

On October 20, 1890, Mr. Samuelson was married 
in Polk county to Miss Anne Steenerson, who was 
born in Houston county, Minnesota, May 1, 1860. She 
is the daughter of Steener and Bergit (Rohalt) Knut- 
son, and lived with them in Houston county until 
the fall of 1876, when she came to Polk county and 
began a useful career as a school teacher, her first 
school being in Traill county, North Dakota, which 
she taught dui'ing the winter of 1876-7. She con- 

tinued to teach in that state and Minnesota for about 
five years and was then assistant postmistress at 
Fisher, this countj^, for three years. After that she 
attended the University of North Dakota two years 
and then again taught school in this county five 

Mr. and Mrs. Samuelson have two children living, 
their daughter Bergit and their son Stanley. Bergit 
is a gi'aduate of the State Normal School at Moor- 
head, Minnesota, and Stanley is a student in the 
Crookston High School. Their first born child, Hans 
A., died at the age of seventeen, and another son, 
named Stanley B., at the age of two years. 


Mads W. Jensen, postmaster at Mcintosh, has been 
identified with interests of the region of the Thirteen 
Towns since 1880, when he settled on land in Gar- 
den township. He is a native of Denmark, born 
August 15, 1854, and came with his parents to Wau- 
paca county, Wisconsin, in 1863. There he attended 
the country schools and made his home on the Wis- 
consin farm imtil 1879 when he went to Goodhue 
county, Minnesota, and in the spring of the follow- 
ing year, removed to Polk county and took a home- 
stead in Garden township. He was one of the first 
settlers in that section and was prominent in the or- 
ganization of the township and the early adminis- 
tration of its affairs. He remained on the farm until 
1889 when he came to Mcintosh and engaged in the 
milling business, in partnership with Anton Jensen, 
J. P. Johnson and 0. P. Johnson, under the firm name 
of M. W. Jensen & Co. After several years of suc- 
cessful operation as a miller, Mr. Jensen sold his in- 
terest in the company and has since given his atten- 

tion to various business activities. For ten years he 
was employed as a i-ural mail carrier and in 1915 was 
appointed postmaster at Mcintosh, an appointment 
which met the hearty commendation of the citizens 
of the town. He has given able service in official 
capacity as village assessor and has held the office of 
justice of peace for sixteen years. As a public spirited 
and progressive citizen, Mr. Jensen has been actively 
influential in promoting the best interests of the com- 
munity and has put his interest and service into every 
project to advance the growth and prosperity of the 
village. He was married in 1879, at Red Wing, 
Minnesota, to Hannah Johnson. She is of Norwegian 
parentage and was born in Goodhue county, Minne- 
sota. They have a family of three daughters and 
one son, Marie L., who married A. K. Anderson, Wil- 
lie A., Florence, the wife of J. H. Espeseth and Mabel. 
Mr. Jensen is a member of Modern Woodmen of 


Tom Morris, mayor of Crookston and a pioneer 
business man of that city, is a native of Canada, 

1857. He is the son of Mark and Ann C. (Stoddard) 
Morris, the latter a native of Scotland. Mark Morris 

horn at Goderich, Huron county, Ontario, June 22, was born in Waltshire, England, and came to Canada 



in 1831, where he engaged in farming and worked at 
his trade of millwright, erecting many of the small 
saw mills in the region where he lived. He died in 
1866, the victim of an accidental death by drown- 
ing. His wife survived him for many years, living 
to the age of seventy-seven. Tom Morris spent the 
early years of his life in his native town and there 
attended the public schools. In 1873 he came to 
Waupun, Wis., and as a lad of twelve began to fit 
himself for an efficient career in the business world, 
apprenticing himself to the jewelry trade. He re- 
mained in Waupun for three years and then removed 
to Milwaukee. Two years later, in 1878, he came to 
Crookston and in partnership with Mr. W. W. Hough- 
ton established the pioneer jewelry firm of this city. 
The firm was dissolved the following year, Mr. Mor- 
ris having owned and conducted the business from 
that time. Aside from this prosperous enterprise 
and his private interests, he has been notably asso- 
ciated with public affairs and the history of the devel- 
opment and rapid expansion of Crookston. As a 
wide-awake citizen and merchant he merits the re- 
spect and popularity which is his. It is his privilege 
to compare the little hamlet surrounded by the primi- 
tive forest with the city of today and to know that 
his zealous services were freely given to promote its 

welfare and prosperity. He is particularly identified 
with organization of the city fire department. His 
efforts in this part of civic service became state- 
wide and he was made president of the state asso- 
ciation and has been elected a life member of that 
body. It was after the first big fire in Crookston, in 
1880, that he instigated the organization of the first 
fire company. He was chief of the department until 
1883, when it was reorganized into its present form. 
Although the period of his most active service is past, 
he continues his connection with the department. 
Several ofBces of public trust have been conferred 
upon Mr. Morris by his fellow citizens. In 1881 he 
was elected alderman and has served in the office of 
mayor since 1912. On January 22, 1890, he was mai'- 
ried to Nellie Heith, who is a native of Wisconsin. 
In fraternal orders, Mr. Morris is prominently and 
widely known throughout the state. He has been 
affiliated with Masonry since 1883 and has filled all 
the chairs, occupying that of Ma-ster for thirteen 
years. In 1906 he was elected the Grand Master of 
Minnesota and is the present Grand Captain General 
of the Commandery. He is a charter member of the 
Elks lodge and was chosen the second Exalted Ruler. 
He is a member of the Republican party. 


Prominent and successful in business; a man of 
commanding influence in local public affairs; every- 
wihere recognized as an upright, progressive and 
highly serviceable citizen, and a forceful factor in 
all undertakings for the farther development and im- 
provement of his home town and county, Eddy Bol- 
stad, the pi'esent mayor of Fertile, has reached an 
elevated place in the regard of the people around 
him, but he richly deserves his standing and has won 
it wholly by his own efforts and genuine merit. 

Mr. Bolstad was born in Dodge county, Minne- 
sota, May 3, 1872, the third eliild of Knute and Inge- 
borg (Olsen) Bolstad, natives of Norway. The family 

moved to Polk county in 1880, when the future mayor 
was but eight years old, and settled on a homestead 
which, the father entered in Gai-field township and 
on which he is still living. He and his wife are 
the parents of twelve children. They are industrious 
and thrifty farmers and are held in esteem by all 
classes of the people wherever they are known. 

Their son Eddy gi-ew to manhood in Polk county 
and obtained his education in its schools. At the age 
of sixteen he left home and began his business career 
as a clerk in the store of Messrs. Nelson & Opheim at 
Fertile. When the partnership was dissolved two 
years later and Mr. Opheim became the sole proprie- 



tor of the store Mr. Bolstad remained in his employ 
and continued to clerk for him seven years longer. 
At the end of that period he became a clerk in the 
clothing store of Leo Baer, with whom he was asso- 
ciated in that capacity for eight years. In 1907 he 
bought the business of Mr. Baer, and he has conducted 
it himself ever since. 

Throughout his manhood Mr. Bolstad has taken 
an earnest interest and an active part in the civil 
affairs of his community, and has been very helpful 
to it. He has served as village assessor, and in that 
ofiBee he gave the people service so entirely satis- 
factory that in the spring of 1915 he was elected 
mayor of the village. As the chief village executive 

he is performing his duties with the same zeal, in- 
telligence and fidelity that he exhibited in the office 
of assessor and has always shown in the management 
of his private business and personal affaii-s. 

In religious affiliation Mr. Bolstad is connected 
with the Synod Lutheran church, and in fraternal 
relations he is a member of the Ancient Order of 
United Workmen. On August 31, 1895, he was united 
in marriage with Miss Tina Westad, the marriage 
being solemnized in Crookston, this county. They 
have one child, their daughter Edith Thelma. Mrs. 
Bolstad is a Norwegian by nativity but has been a 
resident of this state and county for many years. 


While he has sought nothing of renown or spectacu- 
lar display in his life to the present time, but has 
been content to live as a plain, industrious, frugal, 
upright and useful citizen, Lewis M. Hesseldahl, a 
retired farmer now residing at Fertile, this county, 
has, nevertheless, had some exciting experiences in 
the service of his adopted country and seen the other 
side of the world from here while rendering that serv- 
ice. He was a United States soldier in the Spanish- 
American war and as such was assigned to duty in the 
Philippines during that short but decisive contest. 

Mr. Hesseldahl is a native of Denmark, where his 
life began February 24, 1874. When he was but one 
year and a half old his parents brought him to this 
country and took up their residence in Kendall 
county, Illinois. Some time afterward they moved 
to Minnesota and located in Faribault county, and 
there their son Lewis remained until 1901, when he 
came to Polk county and located on a fann near Fer- 

tile. His fai'm is in Garfield township and contains 
240 acres. It is well improved and by his skill and 
industry in cultivating it he has brought it to a high 
state of productiveness. A few years ago he gave up 
active work on the farm and moved to Fertile, where 
he has since had his home, but he has continued to 
superintend the operations of his farm industry. 

On March 4, 1905, Mr. Hesseldahl was united in 
marriage with Mrs. Anna (Frandahl) Underdahl, for- 
merly the wife of Reginald Underdahl, who was born 
in Norway. They also moved from Faribault county, 
Minnesota, to Polk county in 1901, and settled on a 
fann in Garfield township. Mrs. Hesseldahl was bom 
near Madison, Wisconsin, November 28, 1856, and was 
man-ied to Mr. Underdahl in Faribault county. She 
has six childi'cn living, the fruits of her first marriage. 
They are : John, Julius, Ole, Christina, Ada and 


While he has been a resident of Fertile but five 
years Joseph Melaas, manager of the Monarch Ele- 
vator company, has made his mark on the business 

activities of the village and established a reputation 
for good judgment, enterprise and determined per- 
sistency in whatever he undertakes and has risen to 



a high rank in the estimation and regard of the people 
as a business man and a wide-awake and progressive 
citizen, keenly alive to the general welfare of the com- 
munity along all wholesome lines of development. 

Mr. Melaas was born and reared on a farm in Win- 
neshiek county, Iowa, one of the younger of the fif- 
teen children of A. John and Gmxnhild (Blegeberg) 
Melaas, natives of Norway. He obtained a good com- 
mon school education in his native county, and after 
attaining the age of twenty-one years clerked in a 
store at Ridgeway, in that county, for a period of five 
years. In 1902 he went to North Dakota and took up 
a homestead on which he lived until the spring of 
1906. He then sold his claim and moved to Clearwater 
county, Minnesota, where he was occupied in the liv- 
ery business for two years, and also served as census 
enumerator of four townshiiss in Clearwater county, 
and in addition he was a member of the Shevlin school 
board and the village council. 

In November, 1910, he located at Fei'tile and again 
entered the livery business, which lie followed here 

for one year. During the next year he was employed 
by the Thorpe Elevator company at Milnor, North 
Dakota, and at the end of that period was appointed 
manager of the Monarch Elevator company at Fer- 
tile, which position he has held continuously since, 
and since he came to Fertile he has held the office 
of village assessor here. His farm of 160 acres in 
Godfrey township, this county, is well improved and 
nearly all under cultivation. It is very productive 
and steadily increasing in value, for he gives it in- 
telligent attention and conducts its operations accord- 
ing to the most approved methods of present-day 

Mr. Melaas was married June 6, 1903, in Wild Rice 
church at Twin Valley, Norman county, Minnesota, to 
Miss Louise Ask, a native of that county. Thej- have 
two children living, Beatrice J. and Vera E. The 
pai'ents are members of Synod Lutheran church and 
take an active part in all its good woi-ks for the im- 
provement of the communit.v, throughout which they 
are well esteemed as they richly deseiwe to be. 


Having come to the United States a boy of thirteen 
years of age and successively worked as farm hand, 
as a farmer on his own account, as a merchant and 
again as a farmer, Steen A. Hofto, one of tlie best 
known and most highly esteemed residents of the vil- 
lage of Mcintosh, this county, has had a varied experi- 
ence in life and borne liis share of trials and priva- 
tions. But througli every part of his career he has 
made steady progress financially and in the good will 
and regard of his fellow men. 

Mr. Hofto was born in Valle, Norway, Febraary 13, 
1855, and is the son of Ame and Gunnel (Aakre) 
Hofto, who were also natives of Norway. They emi- 
grated to the United States in 1868 and located on a 
farm in Waseca county, Minnesota, on which tliey 
lived about twelve j^ears. In the spring of 1880 the 
family moved to Grand Forks county. North Dakota, 
where the father died when he was seventy-three years 

old. The mother di6d at the home of her son Steen 
after she had passed the age of eighty. They were 
the parents of nine children, of whom Steen A. was 
the fifth in the order of birth. 

He came to this country with his parents in 1868 
and lived with them in Waseca county, Minnesota, 
until 1878. He then accompanied them to Grand 
Forks county, North Dakota, and there took up a 
homestead of 160 acres and a tree claim of 160 acres in 
Americus township. He lived on his land until 1891, 
breaking and cultivating it and putting up good build- 
ings for the shelter of his family and himself and the 
protection of his crops and his live stock. 

In the fall of 1891 Mr. Hofto moved to Polk county 
and entered the hardware business in Mcintosh in 
partnership with his brother, Knute Hofto, and during 
the next five years they conducted the business to- 
gether under the firm name of Hofto Bros. At the 



end of five years he bought his brother's interest in 
the business and became its sole proprietor. After- 
ward he again turned his attention to farming and 
followed that occupation for about ten years in King 
township, this county, and at the expiration of that 
period rented his fann and took up his residence in 
Mcintosh, where he has since had his home. He still 
owns his farm of 160 acres just east of Mcintosh, 
which he has improved with commodious and comfort- 
able buildings. He also erected the block just north 
of the West Hotel in Jlclntosh. 

While living in North Dakota Mr. Hofto held sev- 
eral township offices, among them that of towTiship 
assessor, of which he was the first incumbent, and 
since locating in Polk county he has served as a mem- 
ber of the village council of Mcintosh and township 
assessor of King township. In the autumn of 1883 
he was married in Grand Forks county. North Dakota, 
to Miss Gyro S. Jora, who was born in Norway August 
23, 1863. They have three children, Anie, Samuel 
and Knute. The parents are active members of the 
Norwegian Lutheran church. 


Having come to this country and settled in Polk 
county in the full maturity of his manhood and with 
his ambition for his own advancement and the im- 
provement of the laud of his adoption in full vigor, 
and having devoted all his time and energy to the 
accomplishment of his desires, Eric J. Erikson, one 
of the leading business men of Fertile, has proven 
himself to be a very useful citizen and a productive 
power for good in the community of his home. 

Mr. Erikson was born in Sweden June 28, 1852, and 
was reared and educated in that country, whei-e he 
remained until he reached the age of twenty-nine, en- 
gaged principally in farming. In 1881 he came to the 
United States and in the autumn of that year took up 
his residence in Polk county. He entered a claim for 
160 acres of land in Bear Park township, and on this 
tract he lived and made improvements for about ten 
years. At the end of that period he sold the home- 
stead and bought another farm, Miiich is located in 

Garfield township, and also contains 160 acres. This 
farm was his home and employed his energies for 
five years. He then sold it and moved into the vil- 
lage of Fertile. 

After locating in Fertile Mr. Erikson first engaged 
in keeping a restaurant, but soon abandoned this line 
of trade and became a dealer in farm produce. He 
is now also largely interested in real estate in the 
village and the surrounding country. He has served 
several terms as a member of the village council, and 
in many other ways has contributed to the develop- 
ment, improvement and growth of the town, and has 
taken an active and helpful interest in the United 
Lutheran church, of which he has long been a mem- 
ber. He was married in Sweden to Miss Johanna 
Anderson, a native of that country. They have six 
children, Hannah, Hulda, Hjalmar, Julia, Lillie and 


Reverend L. J. Njus, of Mcintosh, pastor of the 
Synod Lutheran church at that place and a well 
known clergyman of the county, has given able serv- 
ices in the ministerial field of Minnesota for the past 
fourteen years. He was bom in Norway, December 
6, 1870 and there received his early education, com- 

pleting an academic course of study before coming to 
this country in June, 1888, at the age of eighteen 
years. For two years he engaged in farm labor in 
Minnehaha county, South Dakota and was then 
enabled to pursue his educational ambitions and en- 
tered the Lutheran Normal school at Sioux Falls. On 



leaving this school he secured a position as a teacher 
in a parochial school and for three years continued to 
be occupied in that profession, teaching in southern 
Wisconsin and in other places and then enrolled in 
the Luther Theological Seminary at St. Paul where 
he prepared himself for the clergy. He was gradu- 
ated in 1901 and received his first pastorate at Lake- 
field, Minnesota, where he served for over a year and 
was then transferred to Grove City, Minnesota. In 
1905 he was appointed to the Synod Lutheran church 
at Mcintosh, where his charge includes four Polk 
county congregations. During the years of his pas- 
toral labors in that vicinity, Mr. Njus has won the 

respect and esteem of all through his able and sincere 
service to the community. He has given his influence 
and active interest freely in the promotion of matters 
of public betterment and, as a member for several 
years of the school board and president of that body, 
has been prominently associated with the educational 
affairs of the town. Mr. Njus was married in Rock 
county, Wisconsin, October, 1892, to Susan Johnson, a 
native of that state, whose death occurred at Mcintosh, 
in January, 1910. His second marriage was solemnized 
in June, 1912, with Ingeborg Sime, who was bom in 
Norway. Two children have been boni to this union, 
Ingemar J. and Martha Matilda. 


This gentleman, who has contributed a great deal 
to the enjoyment of a large number of persons for 
nearly twenty years in a specific way, and at the same 
time aided in building up and improving the locality 
in which he lives, is the founder and sole proprietor 
of the popular Maple Lake summer resort in Woodside 
township, this county, where he has a completely 
equipped modern hotel and other facilities for the en- 
tertainment of patrons and pleasure seekers and has 
built up a flourishing, extensive and profitable busi- 

Mr. Buhn was born in Norway July 5, 1861, and 
came to the United States with his parents in 1869. 
They were Ole and Elsie (Peterson) Buhn, and both 
of the same nativity as himself. Wlieu they reached 
this country in 1869 they located in Jackson county, 
Wisconsin, and there the father died before the end 
of the year. After the death of her husband the 
mother took up a homestead in Jackson county, and 
on this tract of land, which she developed into a fruit- 
ful and valuable farm, she passed the remainder of 
her days, dying in 1894. Of the five children born in 
the family John 0. was the youngest. 

Orphaned by the death of his father when the son 
was but eight years old, John 0. Buhn passed his boy- 
hood and youth in hard labor and under severe priva- 

tions. But he accej^ted his lot with a resolute spirit 
and faithfully met the requirements of his duty from 
the first. He remained at home with his mother until 
he reached the age of seventeen years, then went to 
Prescott, Wisconsin, where he lived and worked two 
or three years. In December, 1881, he came to Crooks- 
ton and began learning the blacksmith trade under 
the instruction of liis brother George. He finished 
liis apprenticeship of four years but realized before 
the end of it that the work of his trade was too hard 
for him and when he completed learning it he aban- 
doned it. 

In order to prepare himself for a new career in life 
Mr. Buhn attended the Northwestern College of Com- 
merce for two seasons, and in the fall of 1887 he 
located at Mentor and opened the first store at that 
place and also became its first postmaster. For six 
years he continued merchandizing at Mentor, then sold 
his business and began improving the summer resort 
of which he is the proprietor. In connection with his 
enterprise as a resort keeper he ships large quantities 
of ice to points in North Dakota during the winter 
months and has been doing so since 1903. He also 
owns a quarter section of land in Grove Park town- 
ship, which he has improved and has under skillful 
cultivation. He takes an active part in public town- 



ship affairs and has been school treasurer of Mentor 
for a long time. 

On June 24, 1888, Mr. Buhn was married at Mentor 
to Miss Ella Anderson, a native of Saint Ansgar, Iowa, 
and the daughter of Thor Anderson, who was a Polk 
county pioneer and died on his farm in Godfrey town- 

ship in 1905. He took up this farm when it was in 
the wilderness and made it productive and a valuable 
home. Mr. and Mrs. Buhn have eight children. Lil- 
lian is the wife of George Kitman. Emma is the wife 
of Elmer Knutson. The others are Raymond, Arthur, 
Dora, Elmer, Elba and Claris. 


Having come to this country from his native land 
of Norway when he was but eight years old, and hav- 
ing met all the requirements of his situation in various 
places and amid differing surroundings, Henry Ander- 
son, now one of the enterprising and successful farm- 
ers of Badger township, this county, has shown him- 
self to be a person of sturdy qualities of head and 
heart and of sterling worth as a citizen. He was bom 
August 12, 1852, and in 1860 accompanied his parents, 
Andrew and Anna Anderson, to the United States. 

They first located in Wisconsin, where they lived 
for some years, and where the mother died. Prom 
"Wisconsin the father and his children moved to Nor- 
man county, Minnesota, and a short time afterward 
to Walsh county, North Dakota. In 1888 they came 
to Polk county and settled in Badger township, and 
here the son took up a homestead on which he has 
ever since made his home. The father died in that 
township in about 1900 when he was eighty-two years 
of age. 

Henry Anderson's land was all wild and unbroken 
to the plow when he took possession of it, and all that 
it is now in the way of improvement and productive- 

ness he has made it by his enterprise and skillful cul- 
tivation. The attractive and comfortable buildings 
with which it is enriched are also the products of his 
labor, and in this he has been so successful and man- 
aged so judiciously that he has been able to add an- 
other 160 acres to his holdings and put a considerable 
quantity of the new tract under cultivation also. 

On January 19, 1886, Mr. Anderson was married in 
Walsh county. North Dakota, to Miss Sarah Amend- 
son, whose life began in Norway June 15, 1854. She 
came to America at the age of sixteen and grew to 
womanhood in Wisconsin. She and her husband are 
members of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod church. 
They have four children. Aimer, Tillie A., Almon S. 
and Ingval. Mr. Anderson has been active and help- 
ful in his efforts to build up his township and quicken 
the development of its resources. While he has never 
held a public oiBce or taken a very active part in party 
political affairs, he has been earnest and prudent in his 
attention to the interests of his locality, and is held in 
general esteem as one of its progressive and public- 
spirited citizens. 


The subject of this brief review is one of the lead- 
ing farmers and most public-spirited men in Park 
Grove township, Polk county, and has reached his 
position of prominence and influence solely through 
his own merit and his unaided, individual efforts. 
He lives on his fine farm near the village of Mentor, 
but is known throughout the county as one of the 

substantial and progressive farmers and most repre- 
sentative citizens of his township. 

Mr. Sykes was bom in Monticello, Wright county, 
Minnesota, October 9, 1876, the son of William E. 
and Luzerna (Mitchell) Sykes, the former a native 
of Montreal, Canada, and the latter of Wright county, 
where they were old settlers. Their son Herbert was 



the first born of their seven children, and remained 
at home with them until he reached the age of twenty- 
ty-four. He was reared on the farm, and from his 
boyhood bore his part of the labor of cultivating it, 
which interfered with the full use of his opportunity 
to obtain even the limited common school education 
that was available to him. 

On September 20, 1898, Mr. Sykes was married 
to Miss Lois Canfield, a native of Lyon county, Minne- 
sota, and a daughter of Frank L. and Flora (Hall) 
Canfield. The marriage took place in Wright county, 
where Miss Canfield was living at tlie time. After 
their marriage they continued to live in that county 
for two years, Mr. Sykes being engaged in bu.ying 
and shipping live stock. In 1890 they moved to Itasca 
county, this state, taking up a homestead 125 miles 
distant from a railroad. On this tract they located 
and lived for about seven years, during which Mi*. 
Sykes worked at logging during the winters. 

In the spring of 1908 the family moved to Polk 
county. During the two years following his arrival 
in this county Mr. Sykes lived on land which he rented 
and farmed in Park Grove township. He then bought 

eighty acres, on which lie now has his home, but he 
farms a much more extensive tract, directing the 
operations on 560 acres in all. His farming is of a 
general nature in the main, but he makes a specialty 
of raising potatoes on a large scale, and shipped the 
first full carload sent out from Mentor. 

In the public affairs of his township Mr. Sykes has 
always taken an earnest interest and an active part. 
He has served as chairman of the township board and 
as school clerk. He is now one of the directors of 
the creameiy in Mentor and also a director of the 
co-operative store at that village. No movement for 
the good of the township or the benefit of its resi- 
dents ever goes without his energetic support, and 
all his efforts in this behalf are guided by good .judg- 
ment and public spirit and governed by prudence 
and enterprise. He is vice president of the Park 
Farm club and in fraternal relations holds mem- 
bership in Camp No. 5288, Modern Woodmen of 
America, in which he has held all the important offices. 
He and his wife are the parents of six children, Mil- 
dred E., Milton F., Hazel L., Mabel M., Roy E. and 
Earl H. 


Now prosperous and well established as a success- 
ful farmer, with a progressively cultivated and highly 
improved farm of nearly 400 acres in Badger and 
Knute townshiiDS, Ole T. Rovang is one of the leading 
citizens of his part of Polk county, and enjoys in a 
marked degree the esteem and good will of its people 
and all others who know him. He has made a good 
record for work and good citizenship in several places 
in the Northwest since he came to the United States 
in 1876 from his native land of Norway, where he 
was born September 4, 1854, and where he was reared 
and educated. 

On his arrival in this country at the age of twenty- 
one and one-half years he located in Rock county, 
Minnesota, and there found employment for one sea- 
son as a farm hand. He then changed his base of 

operations to Decorah, Iowa, and until early in the 
eighties he worked out on farms in the neighborhood 
of that city. From Decorah, Iowa, he came to Polk 
county and preempted 160 acres of land on Badger 
creek in Badger township, but two years later he 
moved to Sletten township, where he lived for a num- 
ber of years. 

Mr. Rovang 's next home was at Erskine, and there 
he carried on a hotel and livery business for some 
years. While living at Erskine he bought the farm 
on which he now lives and sold his hotel and livery 
business. He has improved his farm with good build- 
ings and has on it two flowing wells and a modern 
well house. These are of great advantage to him in 
his operations, all of which are conducted according 
to up-to-date methods and with studious attention 




to making every day of his labor aud every element 
of his entei'prise and intelligence tell to his advantage 
aud promote his progress. 

In the mercantile and other business and public 
affairs of his township and county Mr. Rovang has 
always taken an active part. He was one of the foun- 
ders and is now a director of the State Bank of 
Erskine and also owns a one-fourth interest in the 

Oslo Trading company of Oslo, Minnesota. He was 
married in 1884 in Badger township to Miss Christina 
Espeseth, a sister of G. K. Espeseth and the daughter 
of Knute Espeseth. They have reared four adopted 
children, Ida 0., Peter, Albert and Lydia. The pa- 
rents are zealous and serviceable members of the 
United Lutheran church. 


Charles L. Conger, cashier of the Citizens State 
bank at Mcintosh, was boi'n at Eau Claire, Wis- 
consin, January 17, 1869, the son of "William and 
Susan (Wright) Conger. He is the descendant of 
I'evolutionary and colonial stock, the Congers having 
been soldiers and patriots since the settling of the 
colonies by England, the residence of the family 
dating from 16'10. In 1667 a John Conger located 
on land in New Jersey, near Woodbridge, and about 
a century later, in 1770, Gersham Conger, the great- 
.grandfather of Charles L. Conger, removed from that 
state to Vermont. He was one of the followers of the 
Quaker faith who by their sturdy qualities played 
such an important part in the building of the nation, 
but despite his religious belief gave valiant service 
during the war for independence and died in Vermont 
in 1835. His son, Asher Conger, was born at Danby, 
Vermont, in 1799 and his death occurred in 1852, in 
his native town, which was also the birthplace of his 
son, William Conger, who was born November 10, 
1819. The latter went to Wisconsin in 1867, two 
years before the birth of his son, Charles Conger, 
and later removed to Northwood, Iowa, where he 
died on August 16, 1898. He is survived by his wife, 
a native of Utica, New York, born May 19, 1835. She 
now makes her home with J. P. Foote of Crookston, 
who is her son by a previous marriage. Charles L. 
Conger was two years of age when the family removed 
to Northwood, Iowa, and was reared and educated in 
that place. In September, 1891, he came to Crooks- 
ton, where his half-brother, Mr. Foote, resided, and 

in the same month secured the position of assistant 
cashier in the Citizens State bank at Mcintosh, of 
which Mr. Foote is president. Mr. Conger has since 
devoted his business career to the able discharge of 
his duties as cashier, his successful association with 
this institution winning him recognition in the finan- 
cial circles of this section. The position of assistant 
cashier of the Citizens State bank has fitted a num- 
ber of the infiuential bankers of the state for more 
important positions; among the former occupants of 
these positions are, Alfred Hoel, now vice president 
of the First National bank at Gilbert ; First National 
of Biwabik, Minnesota, and State Bank of Arura, 
Minnesota; Charles Hoel, cashier of the Miners' Na- 
tional bank at Eveleth; A. J. Hoel, assistant cashier 
of the First National bank at Cass Lake; A. I. Sol- 
berg, cashier of the Farmers State bank at Winger, 
and T. A. Thompson, who was the first assistant 
cashier appointed in the Mcintosh bank and has held 
the office of registrar of deeds of Polk county for ten 
years. Mr. Conger is further identified with the busi- 
ness interests of the county as a landowner and 
farmer and is the proprietor of two farms, of 240 
and 160 acres, and several tracts of land, and has 
also made investments in timber land in St. Louis and 
farm lands in Pennington counties. He takes great 
interest in the management and the direction of the 
work of improvement of his farms, which are occu- 
pied by tenants. He is a member of the Democratic 
party and is widely known for his .services in the 
political field and is active in conventions and in the 



direction of party affairs, he has never sought the 
honors of office, but has served as mayor for the past 
seven years and as treasurer for the past fourteen 
years, and has also served on the school board. He 
was appointed by Governor Hammond to the board 
of visitors to the state institutions but recently re- 
signed from his membership in that body. Mr. Con- 
ger's favorite recreation is a good game of the national 
diversion of baseball, which he enjoys from the stand- 
point of a former player, and he has given his support 
and influence to the encoui-agement of local enthu- 
siasm and the home team. In fraternal circles he was 
one of the organizers of the local lodge of the Knights 
of Pythias and is Past Chancellor and a member of 
the Grand Lodge. He is a Royal Arch Mason and 
a member of the Elks lodge at Crookston. Mr. Conger 

was married at Litchfield, to Leona Halvoi*son, and 
her death occurred on September 14, 1902. His sec- 
ond maridage was solemnized with Louise A. Heiser 
of Albert Lea, Minnesota, December 8, 1903. He has 
one child, William L. Conger, who was bom in 1901 
and is a student in the junior year of the Mcintosh 
high school. 

Mr. Conger is a member of the board of managers 
of the Minnesota Society of the Sons of the Revolu- 
tion. He is also a member of the executive council 
of the State Bankers association from the Ninth con- 
gressional district, and has served as president of tlie 
Ninth district group of bankers. He also served as 
vice president and director of the Northern Minne- 
sota Development association and as president of the 
Commercial club. 


Having reached a position of substantial wordly 
comfort and consequence, good social standing and 
influence in local public affairs wholly through his 
own efforts and by perseverance and industry and 
good management, although encountering many diffi- 
culties and being called on to endure many privations, 
Martin Bensen, one of the successful, progressive and 
prosperous farmers of Knute township, Polk county, 
is entitled to great credit for his steady advancement 
in every part of his career, and justly enjoys in 
full measure the esteem and good will of all who know 

Mr. Bensen is a native of Norway, where his life 
began December 28, 1859. He is a son of Bearnt L. 
and Bertha Mary (Christianson) Bensen, also Norwe- 
gians by nativity and parentage. The father came 
to the United States in 1867 and located in Dakota 
county, Minnesota. In 1869 the mother brought the 
children then living in the family over and the resi- 
dence in Dakota county was maintained until 1883. 
But in 1882 the father came to Polk county and took 
a homestead in Woodside township, and the next 
spring the family moved to that tract of land in the 

mlderness. The parents remained on it until old 
age compelled their retirement from active pursuits. 
They then made their home with their children, liv- 
ing awhile with their son Martin and afterward with 
their daughter, Mrs. M. B. Nelson, in Knute township, 
where they died, the mother on October 11, 1909, at 
the age of eighty-five years and the father on Sep- 
tember 9, 1912, aged nearly ninety-three. 

Martin Bensen was the fifth of the eight children 
born to his parents. He was reared on the parental 
homestead and obtained a common school education. 
Being a farmer's son he naturally took to the occupa- 
tion of his father, and to this he has ever since stead- 
fastly adhered. In the spring of 1883 he took up a 
homestead in section 22, Knute township, and on the 
160 acres of good land of which he thereby became 
possessed he has passed all of his subsequent years. 
But he has added to his estate as he has made head- 
way, and now owns 600 acres, improved with good 
buildings and other necessary structures and nearly 
all under systematic and skillful cultivation. He has 
taken an active part in the public affairs of his town- 



ship and has served it wisely aud faithfully as con- 
stable aud supervisor. 

On April 14, 1886, Mr. Bensen was married in Da- 
kota county to Miss Mary Sjolie, who was bom in 
that county December 27, 1865, a daughter of Mar- 
tin and Engebord Sjolie, natives of Norway who came 
to this country in 1864 or 1865 and settled in Dakota 
county, where the father died when he was about fifty- 
five years of age. The mother is still living. Mr. and 

Mrs. Bensen have had eleven children, ten of whom 
are living. They are Benjamin, Ida, Guida, Louis, 
Malton, Minnie, Joseph, Martha, Myrtle and Georgia. 
The other child, a daughter named Lavine, strayed 
away from home in the early spring of 1892 and was 
found frozen to death about a mile distant. She was 
two years old at the time. The parents are members 
of the United Lutheran church and active in all its 
work for the improvement of the community. 


Conducting his fanning operations and other lines 
of business with enterprise, vigor and judgment, and 
rendering the people excellent service as clerk of 
Badger township, Einar 0. Melsness, whose fine farm 
of 240 acres near the village of Erskine is almost 
wholly the product of his own industry, skill and good 
management, is a highly useful and esteemed resi- 
dent of Polk county aud one of its representative 

Mr. Melsness is a native of Dakota county, Minne- 
sota, where his life began March 23, 1872. He lived 
there with his parents until he reached the age of 
twelve, and then passed one year with them in Walsh 
county. North Dakota. In 1885 the family moved to 
Polk county and located on a farm in Badger town- 
ship. The parents, Christian 0. and Olia (Enersdat- 
ter) Melsness, were natives of Norway. The mother 
died at their Badger township home Pebruary 9, 1915, 
aged seventy-five years. The father is still living. 

Einar 0. Melsness was educated in the common 

schools and at a private college in Crookston. Por 
seven years he taught school in Polk county, but his 
principal occupation in life has been that of farming. 
During three seasons, however, he was also occupied 
in buying and shipping grain, and throughout one 
summer he was employed in the State Bank at Er- 
skine. He has always taken an earnest interest and 
an active part in township afi'airs of a public nature, 
and has rendered his full share of service in their 
proper administration, having served during the last 
fifteen years as township clerk. He was also secretary 
and manager of the Erskine creamery several years. 

On April 10, 1912, Mr. Melsness was united in mar- 
riage with Miss Christine Jorgenson, a native of Bad- 
ger township and a daughter of Peter Jorgenson, of 
Erskine. They have one child, their son Martin 0. 
Mr. and Mrs. Melsness stand high in their home local- 
ity and well deserve the universal esteem in which 
they are held. 


Gilbert K. Espeseth, of Erskine, president of the 
State Bank of Erskine and prominent merchant, has 
been notably identified with the business activities of 
that place since the days of its settlement. He was 
bom in Norway, Pebruary 27, 1863, and was reared 
in his native land. In 1882 he accompanied his 
parents to this country, and after a short time spent 

in Grand Porks, North Dakota, removed to Polk 
county, Minnesota, where his father, Knute Espeseth, 
took a homestead claim, being one of the pioneer set- 
tlers of Badger township. Gilbert Espeseth remained 
on the farm until 1889, when he embarked upon his 
commercial career, and in partnership with Henry T. 
Gilbertson, opened a store on the town site of Erskine, 



which had been but recently platted, and engaged in 
the hardware and agi'icultural implement business. 
This firm has enjoyed a prosperous and steadily grow- 
ing patronage and is one of the leading establishments 
of that region, handling furniture in addition to 
their original lines. As a business man and citizen, 
Mr. Espeseth has been widely identified with the 
growth and success of the various interests of Er- 
skine and has actively promoted every project which 
would advance its prosperity. Both he and Mr. Gil- 
bertson are shai'eholders in the Erskine Elevator 
company and have extensive land interests in Polk 
county and elsewhere. Their commercial activities 
include the Oslo Trading company, at Oslo, Marshall 

county, Minnesota, in which they own a quarter in- 
terest each, Mr. Espeseth has been associated with 
the State Bank of Erskine, one of the flourishing 
financial institutions of the county, since 1913 and 
in 1915, succeeded A. D. Stephens as president of 
the board of directors. Mr. Espeseth enjoys the 
confidence and esteem of his as.sociates, his many 
activities indicating his enterprise and ability in 
all phases of his successful career. He is a member 
and an active and faithful supporter of the United 
Lutheran church. His marriage to Annie Ramseth 
occurred in 1898. She was born in Norway and has 
made her home in Polk county since childhood. They 
have three children, Cora, Phillip and Fritjof. 


The resolute and heroic mother and the filial, serv- 
iceable and praiseworthy son are presented working 
together in the life story of Knute Ryggen, one of tlie 
enterprising, progressive and successful farmers of 
Badger township, this county. He was born in Nor- 
way February 3, 1869, and oi-phaned in his boyhood 
by the death of his father, Jacob Ryggen, in that 
country. After the death of her husband the mother, 
whose maiden name was Engebord Hagdeu, brought 
her five children to the United States with the hope 
of bettering conditions for herself and them in this 
land of rich promise and abounding opportunities. 
They came over in 1882, and, after living one year 
in Grand Forks, North Dakota, moved to Polk county, 
Minnesota, where the son took up a homestead of 160 
acres of government land on which the family has 
since resided. Mr. Ryggen and his brother Arne 
worked hard improving this new home in the wilder- 

ness, and so well applied have been their labors and so 
wisely have they managed their aft'airs that they 
now together o\\ti and have under cultivation 500 
acres improved with good buildings and equipped 
with all the requisites for advanced and systematic 
fanning according to the most approved present-day 
methods. The mother is still living and she, also, 
still has her home in Badger township, this county. 
Her fidelity to her children has been rewarded l)y 
the realization of all her hopes of good fortune in the 
New World, and she furnishes in her career a shining 
proof that devotion to duty brings its own reward, 
and sometimes, at least, in a substantial, tangible way 
that is patent to all observers. All the members of the 
family belong to the United Lutheran church and take 
an active part in the affairs of the congi-egation in 
which they are enrolled. 


This progressive and prosperous Knute township 
farmer is one of the substantial and enterprising 
citizens of Polk county, and for thirty-two years he 
has been active in helping to build up, develop and 

improve it in a judicious and commendable way, add- 
ing to its material wealth and aiding in directing 
its public affairs along lines of wholesome progress. 
He is a native of Norway, where his life began 



MaiX'h 30, 1857, and where lie lived imtil ISSO, 
when he determined to seek his fortune in the New 
World. He lauded at Quebec, Canada, but soon 
afterward came over into "the States" and took up 
his residence in "Wisconsin. About a year later he 
changed his base of operations to Northfield, Minne- 
sota, and in 1883 he moved to Polk county, 
Minnesota, and took up a homestead in sections 10 
and 15, Knute township, on which he has since made 
his home and expended his energies to good purpose. 

Mr. Nelson now owns 310 acres of choice laud 
improved with good buildings and funiished with 
all the most approved appliances for systematic and 
advanced farming. His land lies partly in Knute 
and partly in Badger township, and he has brought 
it all to a high state of productiveness and made his 
home attractive in appearance as well as comfort- 
able in equipment and a model in scientific and up- 
to-date tillage. 

On December 12, 1883, Mr. Nelson was married in 
Crookston to Miss Maiy Benson, who was born in 
Norway February 25, 1865, the daughter of B. L. 
and Bertha Mary Benson, also natives of Norway. 
The father came to this country in 1867 and located 
in Dakota county, Minnesota, and in 1869 the mother 
came over with her children and joined him. They 

lived in Dakota county until 1883. In 1882 the 
father came to Polk county and took up a home- 
stead in Woodside township to which the family 
moved the next spring. The parents occupied and 
improved this homestead until they retired from 
active work, when they made their home with their 
daughter, Mrs. Nelson. The mother died on Mr. 
Nelson's farm October 11, 1909, when she was eighty- 
five years old, and the father September 9, 1912, 
in his ninety-third year. 

These venerable pioneers were the parents of eight 
children. Anna M. became the wife of Nels Lillemoe 
and died in 1907. Louis lived in the village of Er- 
skine. Christian died a number of years ago. Martha 
is the wife of Julius Bradley. Martin and Bernt are 
residents of Knute township. Mary is the wife of 
ilr. Nelson and Gida died when twelve years of age. 

Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have ten children, Bemhard, 
Melvin, Bertha (the wife of Melvin Peterson), Gilbert., 
Nicalie B., Alfred, Moses, Oscar Robert, Martin L. 
and Eunice M. The parents are members of the 
United Lutheran church. They take an active part 
in all its undertakings and also manifest an earnest 
and serviceable interest in all good agencies working 
for the general welfare and happiness of their home 


Having come to Polk county in the early dnys of 
its history, while a large part of it was still a wil- 
derness, sparsely settled and almost without the ordi- 
nary conveniences of life and destitute of all the 
advantages brought about by civilization, Olof Star- 
dig, now one of the prosperous and substantial farm- 
ers of Knute township, saw all the hardships and 
privations of frontier life and met them with the 
heroic courage of a hardy and resolute pioneer, 
daunted by no danger and deterred by no difficult.y 
in his determination to win a home and a position of 
comfort and standing in the New World. 

Mr. Stardig was bora in Sweden May 4, 18-48, and 

remained in his native land until 1882. In Decem- 
ber of that year he emigrated to America and located 
in Douglas county, Minnesota. In August, 1883, he 
came to Polk county and filed on 160 acres of land 
in Knute township, but i-eturned to Douglas county 
and remained there until January, 1884. At that 
time he took up his residence on his Polk county claim, 
after building a log cabin, the logs for which he car- 
ried on his shoulder through about three feet of snow. 
He had left his family in Sweden and, as he had but 
$3 in money, he was unable to send for his wife and 
children until spring. In the meantime he worked 
out at whatever he could get to do, and was thankful 



for any employment that was given him. He saved 
his earnings with scrupulous care and in the spring 
of 1884 was able to bring his family to his new home 
in the wilds. 

From that time until now Mr. Stardig has con- 
tinued to improve his farm, and by his steady and 
well applied industiy he has made it one of the best 
in his township. The log cabin has been replaced by 
a comfortable modem dwelling house and other build- 
ings have been erected as need required and the finan- 
cial progress of the family permitted, and during all 
the passing years close and studious attention has 
been given to the cultivation of the land and the ap- 
plication of new discoveries in agricultural science 

for its improvement and the expansion of its fruit- 

Mr. Stardig was married in Sweden to Miss Marina 
Ostenson, who was bom in that country October 1, 
1846. They have had nine children, seven of whom 
are living: Otto, Selmer, Anton, Ida, Albert W., Min- 
nie and Emily. A daughter named Anna died when 
she was eleven years old and a son named Mortin 
passed away at Grand Rapids, Minnesota, when he 
Avas about thirty. The parents are members of the 
Swedish Lutheran church. The father has held the 
office of supervisor in Knute township for a number 
of years and that of school treasurer for a much larger 


Levor A. Bjella, a well known contractor and 
builder of Mcintosh, is a native of Norway, where he 
was bom March 31, 1876. He grew to manhood in 
his native land and came to the United States when 
nineteen years of age. He came directly to Minne- 
sota and for two years was employed in farm labor 
in Norman county. In 1897 he entered the carpenter 
business and during the three years of his operations 
in that trade, became an efficient and successful work- 
man. He located in Mcintosh in July, 1900, and for 
two years was employed witli his ])rotlier in black- 

smith work and then engaged in the contracting and 
building business and has since given his attention to 
his rapidly gi-owing trade; his thorough technical 
training and business ability marking him as the 
leading contractor in Mcintosh. Mr. B.jella is a 
member of the Synod Lutheran church. His man-iage 
to Amelia Erickson occun-ed July 10, 1903, at Mcin- 
tosh. She was born in Freeborn county, Minnesota, 
and is of Norwegian parentage. Mr. Bjella and his 
wife have six children, Anna, Oscar, Laura, Oliver, 
Kalmer, aud Mabel. 


This gentleman, who is one of the enterprising and 
successful farmers of King township, this county, 
came to the United States in his youth in search of 
better opportunities than he thought his native 
land of Norway promised. He has been successful 
in his quest, having won a good estate and prom- 
inence among the people by his industry, frugality 
and good management and his abiding and ser^'ice- 
able interest in the welfare of the land of his adop- 
tion, and especially the section of it in which he lives. 
He was born October 9, 1864, and emigrated to Amer- 
ica in 1881. 


Landing at New York when he arrived on this side 
of the Atlantic, he found the East unattractive to 
him and came at once to Polk county, IMinuesota, lo- 
cating at Fisher's Landing. He lived there about a 
year and a half, working out at farm labor. He then 
went to the Pacific coast and passed six years in the 
states of Wa-shington and Oregon. Returning to Polk 
county at the end of that period, he purchased 160 
acres of land adjacent to the village of Mcintosh, and 
on this tract he is still living. 

Mr. Aakhus has improved his farm with good build- 
ings and has it all under cultivation. He has taken 




an earnest interest and an active part in local public 
affairs and has filled the offices of constable, town- 
ship treasurer, supervisor and township clerk, holding 
the last named several years. He is also chairman of 
the board of supervisors of King to^vnship for a num- 
ber of years, and has long been one of the leading 
promoters of educational interests and activities in 
that township. 

Mr. Aakhus has been married three times. His first 
man-iage was with Miss Anna Torbinson and took 
place in Grand Forks. She was born in Minnesota 
but of Norwegian parentage. Five children were born 
of the imion, Halvor, Torbjor, Theo, Olaf and Ben- 
jamin. Torbjor is now the wife of N. W. PhiUips. 
The mother of these children died in King township 

May 11, 1904, and the father was married some time 
afterward to Miss Anna Nornes, a native of King 
towTiship, this county, and the daughter of Gunsten 
Nornes, who was one of the first settlers in that town- 
ship, where he died upward of fifty years of age. 

By his second marriage ]\Ir. Aakhus became the 
father of one child, his son Carl. Carl's mother died 
January- 28, 1907, and afterward his father married 
his present wife, who was Miss Engeborg Nornes, a 
sister of his second wife. The offspring of this union 
numbers five, Andy, Arnold, Melvin, Harold and 
Thelma. All the members of the family belong to 
and are active in the work of the United Lutheran 


This gentleman, who is the present capable and 
obliging postmaster of the thriving village of Bel- 
trami, Polk county, has had a somcAvhat varied and 
interesting career, through which he has worked his 
way by his own pluck and ability, making every ad- 
vance in his progress a stepping stone to something 
better. He is a native of Norway, where his life be- 
gan March 27, 1871, and where he lived until 1882, 
when he emigrated with his parents to the United 
States and found a new home in the New World in 
Ottertail county, Minnesota. The next year the fam- 
ily moved to Polk county, and for a few succeeding 
years lived in Garfield township. 

In 1892, when Mr. Johnson was just twenty-one 
years old, he took up his residence in the village of 
Beltrami, axid there he was employed as a clerk in a 
store for about four j^ears. At the end of that time 

he attended the Grand Forks college for a year, and 
on his return to Beltrami he engaged in mercantile 
business on his ow^i account. In the spring of 1904 
he was appointed postmaster of Beltrami, and this 
office he has filled with acceptability to the people 
ever since. He has always tauen a warm interest in 
the welfare of the village, and has given it excellent 
service as village recorder, and the township the same 
in the capacity of township clerk and justice of the 
peace. In addition to his business and other holdings 
in Beltrami he owns fifty-five acres of good land in 
Reis township, which is close to the village and stead- 
ily increasing in value. On February 9, 1907, Mr. 
Johnson was married to Miss JIatilda Agneberg. They 
have four children living, Norman J., Ignatius M., 
Constance B. and Katharine M. The religious affilia- 
tion of the family is with the Lutheran church. 


Eliaa Steeneraon was bom in Houston county, Rushford, Minnesota. In the spring of 1876, he 

Minnesota, November 4, 1856. He worked on his took a teacher's examination, securing a certificate 

father's farm and attended the district school in the to teach ; but he did not then take up that line of 

town of Sheldon and a term in the graded school at work, as different plans were in progress, his parents 



having decided to move to the Red River Valley, and 
Elias was eager to follow Gi'eeley's advice to "go 
West aud grow up with the country." 

In September, 1876, he started for the Red River 
Valley with a team and a covered wagon, several 
head of horses, cattle, and sheep, belonging to his 
father, who had taken a homestead in the town of 
Vineland in 1875, and who was establishing a new 
home in the west where all his sons and daughters 
could become land o\vners if they wished to. He 
arrived at Sand Hill River, town of Vineland, 
November 3, 1876, after a six weeks' journey in the 
then modern prairie schooner. Few men are more 
intimately identified with the settlement and develop- 
ment of Polk county than the subject of this sketch. 

In the winter of 1876-1877 he taught school in 
District No. 5, Polk county, a territoiy embracing 
nearly two townships. The school was held at the 
homes of the scattered settlers along the Red river, 
between Marsh and Sand Hill rivers, at periods of 
two weeks at each place, so as to get all children of 
school age enrolled. 

He applied to purchase the east half of the south- 
east quarter aud the east half of the northeast quar- 
ter, section twentj'-five, township one hundred forty- 
eight, range forty-nine, from the railroad company, 
and also pre-empted the southeast quarter, section 
six, township one hundred forty-seven, range forty- 
eight. He secui'ed the title to these lands by purchase 
from the railroad company and by homestead from 
the Government. He still owns these lands and takes 
pride in the fact that there is no mortgage on them. 
He has added some to this acreage, and through a 
renter farms six hundred acres near Climax; he 
calls his farm Walhalla. 

In 1879 he was selling machinery in Caledonia, 
North Dakota, and in 1880 in Grand Forks. In 1881 
he established himself with his brother as the firm of 
Steenerson Brothers at Fisher and Crookston, deal- 
ing in Walter A. Wood's harvesting and other ma- 
chinery. He claims the distinction of selling and 
delivering the first twine binder in Polk county. The 

firm distributed forty-two twine binders from Fisher, 
and forty from Crookston in that year. The same 
year the finn opened a general store at Fisher. He 
was mayor and postmaster of Fisher for several years. 

In 1887 the finn retired from machinery and mer- 
cantile business and our subject moved to Crookston, 
where he opened a real estate and insurance office, 
devoting a large portion of his time to farm insur- 
ance, which carried him all over the county and gave 
him an intimate acquaintance with the farmers such 
as few others enjoj'. 

He has been identified with the farmers' movement 
in many ways. In 1892 he instituted the famous 
Steenerson Grain Rate Case which established the 
principal of State control of Raihvaj-s. He has been 
delegate to various farmers' and marketing conven- 
tions. He helped to create the sentiment which 
brought about legislation for the Railway and Ware 
House Commission; for grain inspection and grad- 
ing; for the reclaiming of swamp and over-flow lands 
by a system of state drainage ; and for extending the 
College of Agi'iculture by establishing branch agri- 
cultural schools throughout the state as part of the 
University — in particular in the Northwest School of 
Agriculture, located at Crookston. He is an advo- 
cate of placing boards of trade and chambers of com- 
merce under control of the state. 

In 1900 he traveled over the Northwest as special 
agent for the Connecticut Fire Insurance Company. 
In 1901 he was interested in lumbering near Black- 
duck, Beltrami county, aud furnished the lumber that 
built the first houses in that village. In 1904 be was 
appointed postmaster at Crookston by President 
Roosevelt, and was re-appointed in 1909 and served 
with distinction until succeeded by a Democrat, in 
July, 1913. During his incumbency the Crookston 
postoffiee was raised to a high standard of efficiency 
and cleanliness. The rural delivery system was in- 
creased from two earriei"s to six, giving service to 
within a mile of every fanner within a radius of 
sixteen miles from Crookston. A Federal building 
was built during his term, the furnishing of which 


be well knew how to ijrovide, and where he presided 
for several years with dignity and decorum. 

In 1914 he resided paii; of the time in Minneapolis, 
and at the solicitation of his farmer friends, he filed on 
the Republican ticket for Lieutenant Governor, and, 
although scarcely making an effort worth mentioning, 
he made a run that threw the scare into bis opponent 
and the machine politicians who supported him, i-e- 
ceiving a total vote of nearly seventy-eight thousand 
(78,000), and cariying every county in the Ninth 
Congressional District with big majorities. 

In the spring of 1915 he returned to Crookston to 
live where he has a neat and cozy home, and is again 
to be found at his desk in his office, on Main Street, 
•where he conducts a real estate and insurance busi- 
ness, and looks after his farming interests through- 


out the county. He is a member of the Crookston 
Lodge of Elks No. 342, and the Native Sons of Min- 
nesota. He is a liberal contributor to all public 

Mr. Steenerson was married in 1884 to Oliama 
Iloug. They have had one son, Vivian, a promising 
young man who died at the age of twenty-one years. 
Mr. and Mrs. Steenerson enjoy traveling, and spend 
part of their time in that manner, having visited 
nearly aU points of interest in North America, in- 
eluding Mexico and Cuba. Their next trip wu'l be 
to Europe, and were it not for the great war they 
would be there at this writing. Mr. and Mrs. Steener- 
son hold membership in the Lutheran church, where 
Mrs. Steenerson takes an active part. 


This useful citizen of Polk county and resident of 
the village of Fertile for years met the requirements 
of duty as an industrious and successful home-steader 
and farmer, redeeming a tract of virgin land from 
the wilderness and making it fruitful with the prod- 
ucts of systematic cultivation, and he is now engaged 
in ministering to the comfort and general welfare of 
a lai'ge number of persons as the United States mail 
cai-rier on Rural Route No. 2 running out of Fertile. 
He was bom in Norway December 27, 1859, the son 
of Thorsten and Guro (Hanson) Hogenson, and 
passed the first thirteen years of his life in his native 

His mother died in Norway, and in 1872 he came 
with his father to the United States. They located 
in Olmsted county, Minnesota, where the son lived 
until he reached the age of twenty-two. He then 
changed his residence to Polk county and entered a 
homestead in Garden township. On this homestead 
he continued to live and labor, breaking up and cul- 
tivating his land and making needed improvements 
year after year, until August, 1905, transforming his 
wild claim into a good farm and a comfortable home 

in his twenty-two years of residence and well applied 
industry on it. 

In August, 1905, he moved to Fertile and was ap- 
pointed rural mail carrier on Route No. 2, in which 
capacity he has ever since rendered excellent service 
to the public. His farm comprises 200 acres and is 
well developed and improved. While living on it 
Mr. Hogenson filled several township offices with 
credit to himself and benefit to his township. He 
served as assessor, justice of the peace, chairman of 
the board of supervisors and member of the school 
board, taking an active part in all township affairs 
and helping to develop and advance the locality by 
aU the means available to him. His work in the town- 
ship is appreciated and the people there have high 
regard for him because of his genuine worth and the 
service he rendered them. 

In church connection Mr. Hogenson is a Lutheran. 
He was married in Olmsted county, Minnesota, June 
3, 1882, to Miss Gunnild Gunnufson, who was born 
and reared in this state. She died September 8, 1914, 
at the age of fifty-four years leaving eight children : 
Anna, Thomas, John, Christine, Ida, Clara, Helmar 



and Gladys. A sou named Hogen died when he was 
live years old. Anna became the wife of Albert Holm 
and died June 20, 1908. Christine is the wife of Wil- 

liam Olson, who is a farmer and lives in Garden town- 


Although a native of the state of Wisconsin, John 
A. Eriksou, a prominent hardware and farming imple- 
ments merchant of Fertile has been a resident of Polk 
county, Mhinesota, for thirty-three years and of the 
village of Fei-tile for twenty-eight. He is therefore 
fully in touch with the people of this county and has 
an earnest interest in all their aspirations and under- 
takings for advancement and elevation in their stand- 
ards of living, and he has contributed his full portion 
of the effort necessary to promote their welfare. 

Mr. Erikson is the son of Hemming and Elizabeth 
(Johnson) Erikson. They were both Norwegian by 
birth. The father came to the United States in 1854 
and took up liis residence on a homestead he entered 
in Waushara county, Wisconsin, near the village of 
Mount Morris. There his son John A. was bom 
June 19, 1867, and there the family lived until April 
26, 1882, when the family home was changed to Lib- 
erty township in this county. In 1904 the father sold 
his Polk county farm, and since then he has made his 
home in Minneapolis. 

John A. Erikson remained on his father's farm in 
Liberty township until September 1, 1887, when he 
changed his residence to the village of Fertile and took 
a position in the employ of George Kronschnabel, who 
was then conducting the leading hardware store in 
the village. Mr. Erikson later became his partner in 

this business and they were associated in the manage- 
ment of it until June, 1896, when Mr. Kronschnabel 
sold his interest in the firm to W. L. Vannet, with 
whom JMr. Erikson was in partnership until 1906. 
Since then he has carried on the business alone, carry- 
ing an extensive stock of hardware and farming im- 
plements and building up a large and active trade 
throughout a considerable scope of country. 

By his activity in behalf of every project designed 
to build up and improve his home community Mr. 
Erikson has made himself an important factor in pro- 
moting the progress of this region and won the esteem 
of its residents as one of its most enterprising, public- 
spirited and serviceable citizens. He has served as 
assistant postmaster and for over four years has been 
secretary of the Commercial club. Fi-atemally he be- 
longs to the Woodmen of the World and in religious 
affiliation to the United Lutheran church. 

Feeling that his education was deficient when near- 
ing the dawn of his manhood, Mr. Erikson attended 
the Central school in Crookston in the winter of 1886- 
87, and for a short time in the late summer of 1887 
he was employed as a clerk by Charles M. Old at Bel- 
trami. He was married in Faribault, Minnesota, in 
1902, to Miss Carrie Oehler, who was born in Iowa. 
They have two children, their sons Earl and Luther. 


Although he was bom and reared on a farm and 
has himself followed farming, Hari'y M. Halvorson's 
taste and inclination have always been toward busi- 
ness, and the greater part of his life since reaching 
maturity has been passed in business operations, 
chiefly as a liveryman, which he is at present, and 

one of the leadei-s in his line in Polk county. He is 
studious of his calling and makes every effort to keep 
his equipment for it strictly up to date, and he also 
studies his trade and strives with all his resources to 
meet every requirement of his patrons. 

Mr. Halvorson is wholly a product of Polk county 



and a representative man among its people. His life 
began on his father's farm in Liberty township June 
23, 1891, and he continued to live there until he 
reached the age of twenty years, obtaining a common 
school education at the school in the neighborhood of 
his home. He also woi'ked on the farm from the time 
when he was big and strong enough to do it until he 
left the parental rooftree and started out in life to 
make his own way in the world. 

Mr. Halvoreon is a son of Hans and Hannah 
(Gulickson) Halvorson, the former a native of Nor- 
way and the latter of Iowa but of Norwegian parent- 
age. They were among the early settlers of Liberty 

township, this county, where the father entered a 
homestead in the early days and has since been en- 
gaged in farming. Seven children Avere born of tlieir 
union, and of these their son Harry was the fifth in 
the order of birth. When he left home he rented a 
farm for a year in Scandia township and then took 
charge of one in Rice township for a few months. In 
December, 1913, he purchased the livery business and 
outfit of J. I. Hamre in Fertile, and to the manage- 
ment of that business he has since devoted himself 
with constant industry, good ability and profitable 
results. He is an excellent citizen and esteemed as 
such throughout the community. 


Thorvald A. Bydal, of East Grand Forks, a well 
known citizen and leading merchant of that place, 
was born in Norway, May 8, 1865. He remained in 
his native land until twenty years of age, when he 
came to the United States and for a year resided in 
Portage county, Wisconsin. In 1886 he removed to 
Polk county and became associated with the grocery 
trade as a clerk in a store in East Grand Forks and 
continued in that employment for a number of years, 
making his independent venture in the commercial 
world in 1907. In May of that year he opened a gro- 
cery store under the firm name of Bydal & Bydal and 
has since devoted his attention to the successful man- 
agement of that business. This store is one of the 
largest and most attractive in that locality, furnishing 
the town with excellent trading facilities and enjoys 

a steady prosperity and lucrative patronage which 
attests to the ability and integi-ity of its management. 
Aside from his commercial activities, Mr. Bydal is 
interested in farm lands, owning three hundred and 
twenty acres of North Dakota land. During the many 
yeai-s of his residence in the county, he has given his 
ready support to every project which tends to public 
betterment and has taken an active interest in the 
affairs of the community. He is an influential mem- 
ber of the Commercial club and one of its directors. 
Also vice president of the Retail Merchants association 
of East Grand Forks and Grand Forks. Mr. Bydal 
was married in Minneapolis, October 12, 1903, to 
Anna Leewy, who, like her husband, is a native of 
Norway. They have one child, Laila. 


B^ng one of the extensive, progressive and success- 
ful farmers of Reis township, this county, William 
Street is a useful and stimulating force in the part 
of the county in which he lives and has done a great 
deal toward helping it to progress to its full develop- 
ment and most advanced improvement. He also han- 
dles live stock extensively, and in this branch of iiis 

industry he is an additional help to the industrial 
and commercial activities of his township and the 
Northwest in general. 

Mr. Street was bom near the town of Ringwood, 
Hampshire, England, November 6, 1845, and was 
reared on his fatlier's farm there and educated at the 
school in the neighborhood. From his boyhood he 



looked forward to fai-ming as his chosen occupation 
for life, and through all his subsequent years he has 
largely adliered to this choice. In 1873 he emigrated 
to the United States and took up his residence at 
Glyndon, Clay county, Minnesota, and there, for a 
few months, was employed by the Northern Pacific 
Railroad. "While railroad work was not entirely to 
his liking it pleased him well enough to hold him for 
the next five years, during which he was in the employ 
of the Great Northern company, earning fair wages 
and saving them for future use. 

At the end of the period named he once more turned 
his attention to farming, becoming foreman on the 
large W. H. Fisher farm in Norman county, and serv- 
ing there in that capacity thirteen years. In 1891 he 
engaged in farming for himself, taking up a home- 
stead in Section 22, Reis township, this county, which 
he lived on and improved as his home until 1897. He 
then took school land on Section 16 of the same town- 

ship, and on this he has ever since resided. But he 
has added to his holdings until he now owns 640 acres, 
all of which he has improved and brought to a high 
state of productiveness. In addition to his farming 
operations, which are of a general character, he han- 
dles live stock in considerable numbers, having at the 
time of this writing (Nov. 1, 1915), some 22 head of 
horses, 90 of cattle and 50 of hogs. 

Mr. Street has always taken an earnest interest and 
an active part in the public affairs of his township 
and county. He has acceptably filled several local 
offices and was one of the principal men in organiz- 
ing the Beltrami Co-operative Creamery company, in 
which he is still largely interested. In the spring of 
1892 he was married in Crookstou to Miss Lizzie Sav- 
age, who is a native of Faribault, Minnesota. They 
have six children, Emma, "William, "Walter, Mabel, 
Clara and Herbert. Emma is now the wife of Dr. 
Fred Lyman. 


Ole A. Thoreson, a former postmaster at East Grand 
Forks and a well known citizen of Polk county, was 
bom in the northern part of Norway, in the parish of 
Bardo, December 26, 1845. The early years of his 
life were spent in his native land, where he lived until 
he was sixteen years of age, when in the spring of 
1862, his parents brought their family to the United 
States, making St. Croix Falls, "Wisconsin their des- 
tination. Shortly afterwards they took homesteads 
north of St. Croix Palls in Burnett county, which 
was the home of Ole Thoreson for a number of years 
during which he engaged in farming and was actively 
associated vidth the public interests and political af- 
fairs and was elected to the offices of county auditor 
and county commissioner. After spending about fif- 
teen years in "Wisconsin he became desirous of remov- 
ing westward and in 1877 visited Polk county, look- 
ing for a new location for his agricultural activities. 
About one year later he came to Polk county and took 
a preemption claim of one hundred and sixty acres 

in Sullivan township. He devoted his attention to 
the development and improvement of the farm until 
1889 when he was appointed postmaster of East Grand 
Forks by President Hai-rison and served in that office 
for four years. In 1902 he was again called to public 
service, being elected probate judge of Polk county 
and in 1904 was returned to the office but resigned 
before the end of his term to accept his second appoint- 
ment as postmaster of East Grand Forks, and con- 
tinued in office through the administrations of Roose- 
velt and Taft. Through the many years of public 
service which have marked his career with honor and 
merit, Mr. Thoreson has met all the demands of his 
position with an efficiency and diligence that have 
brought him the confidence and unfailing support of 
his constituents. As a public spirited citizen and 
successful farmer, his influence has been exerted in 
all phases of the rapid development of the country 
which he entered as a pioneer. He is a member of 
the Lutheran church, of which he has always been a 



faithful aud generous supporter and has been actively 
interested in the extension of its activities, having 
been prominently associated with the erection of two 
churches, one in Wisconsin and in the First Lutheran 
church in Grand Porks. Mr. Thoreson was married 
at Grantsburg, Burnett county, Wisconsin, December 
31, 1876, to Albertina Hilman, who like her husband 
is a native of Norway, bom at Frederickshald, Novem- 
ber 25, 1855. She came to the United States with her 
parents when ten years of age and after residing for 

several years in Lafayette and Green counties, the 
family settled in Burnett county, which remained the 
home of Mrs. Thoreson until shortly after her mar- 
riage. Seven children were born to Mr. Thoreson and 
his wife, of whom five are now living. The death of 
a daughter. Alma Thoreson, occurred November 11, 
1911, in her thirtieth year and that of another daugh- 
ter in her infancy. The surviving members of the 
family are, Ida H., Theresa E., Olaf A., Hannah M. 
and Elmer T. 


This enterprising and successful farmer of Reis 
township, this county, is a younger brother of William 
Street, a sketch of whom will be found in this volume, 
and is living on the old homestead taken up by his 
brother William in Section 22, which was the first 
home of the latter in Polk county. Charles was born 
near the town of Ringwood, in Hampshire, England, 
December 18, 1858, and was reared, like his brother 
William, on his father's farm, obtaining his education 
at the country school in the vicinity of his home. In 
August, 1884, he emigrated to the United States, and 
during the next eight years he lived in different 
places in this country and was employed at various 
occupations, doing with interest and energy whatever 
he found to do. 

In 1893 he became a resident of Polk county, and 
for six years thereafter he was in the employ of his 
brother William. He then bought his brother's old 

homestead of 160 acres in Section 22, Reis township, 
and on this he has expended his time and energies iu 
a general farming enterprise ever since. He is a pro- 
gressive and studious man, and has brought to bear 
on his farming operations whatever he has been able 
to learn by study and obsen'atiou that has seemed 
likely to improve his methods and accelerate his prog- 
ress. His farm is an example of the good results of 
forethought and intelligence as applied to modern 
agriculture, and he is, besides, an excellent citizen 
with a broad-minded and public-spirited interest in 
all the public affairs of his township aud county. He 
has found good opportunities for his industry and 
enterprise in this country, and has profited by them. 
The countiy has also been the gainer by his having 
selected it as the seat of his operations, and he is 
highly respected as a thrifty and upright man by 
all who know him. 


Having given up active pursuits of a laborious kind 
and taken up his residence in Crookston, where he 
is living retired, Wilbur G. Lytic, formerly one of 
the enterprising and progressive farmers of Polk 
county, is enjoying in the quiet way agreeable to him 
the fruits of his long and arduous labors during the 
years of his greater activity. He was born at Lisbon, 
St. Lawrence county. New York, August 10, 1845, the 

son of John A. and Lucinda (Scripture) Lawrence; 
the former a native of the state of New York and the 
latter of Vermont. They were farmers and both died 
in St. Lawrence county. New York, where they passed 
the greater part of their lives. 

Wilbur G. Lytle remained at home assisting his 
father on the farm until he reached the age of eight- 
een. He then came West and located at Bronson, 



Branch county, Michigan, where he followed farm- 
ing and lumbering for nearlj' four years. At the end 
of the period named he returned to his native county 
and again devoted his energies to farming there for 
a number of years. But the West still wore a winning 
smile for him and he came to St. Croix county, Wis- 
consin, where he operated a gi-ain elevator and also 
farmed until 1877. In June of that year he changed 
his base of operations to Polk county, Minnesota, and 
located on a farm in Andover township. This farm 
he sold in 1908, but has lived in Crookston since 1888, 
and for some years has been nearly free from business 

Mr. Lytle has always taken an active interest in 
public affairs and has filled several local offices in 
Andover township with credit to himself and benefit 
to the township. He has been the owner of a consider- 
able amount of real estate in this county. On Decem- 

ber 20, 1876, he was married at Richville, New York, 
to Miss Mary Fisk, a native of the same county as 
himself and born August 10, 1855. She is the daugh- 
ter of Edwin R. and Ruth A. (Brown) Fisk, the for- 
mer born in the city of Rutland, Vermont, and the 
latter in St. Lawrence county, New York. They came 
to Polk county, IVIinnesota, in 1882, and here they 
passed the remainder of their lives, dying well ad- 
vanced in years and high in general esteem. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lytle are cordial supporters of the 
Congregational church and all its work for the im- 
provement of the community. Mr. Lytle is a member 
of the Masonic Order, in which he has reached the 
rank of Knight Templar. He has served as warden 
of Constantine Commandery No. 20 for more than 
twenty years and still fills that ofSce. Has been a 
member of Blue Lodge for forty-eight years. 


Starting in life for himself at the age of twenty-one, 
with nothing l)ut his strong arm, clear head and de- 
termined spirit as capital, the late John Heldstab, one 
of the enterprising and successful business men of 
Crookston, steadily pursued his way through a variety 
of trials and occupations to consequence in a worldly 
way and a position of high esteem and regard among 
the people of the city in which the greater part of 
his activities were shown. 

Mr. Heldstab was a native of Switzerland, born in 
the city of Davos, December 2, 1860, where he was 
reared on a farm and remained until he reached the 
age of twenty-one. He w^as the son of Honus and 
Anna (Travaner) Heldstab. Botli parents died in 
Switzerland. In the spring of 1882 he came to the 
United States in company with his brothers, Chris- 
tian and Martin, and located at Alma, Buffalo county, 
Wisconsin. In that locality he worked for about one 
year at farm labor. Early in 1883 he changed his 
residence to Crookston, Minnesota, and here also he 
worked out on farms for a few years, but passed most 

of the time in the neighborhood of Warren, in Mar- 
shal county, during this period. 

Mr. Heldstab 's next move was to form a partner- 
ship with Matthew Ridi for carrying on an active 
business in the ice trade. The partnership lasted 
only a few years, as Mr. Heldstab saw a more favor- 
able opening for his energies in a short time and sold 
his interest in the ice firm. He then turned his atten- 
tion to the draying industry and also occupied him- 
self to a considerable extent in collecting buffalo bones 
and shipping them to markets where they were in 
demand. He contuiued his draying business for a 
number of years and then sold it to advantage. In 
1896 he purchased the ice business of John Schantzen, 
which he conducted with increasing trade and pros- 
perity until his death at his home in Crookston, 420 
North Main street, on September 8, 1915. He was 
fifty-four years of age when he died, and twenty-two 
years of his industrious and useful life were passed in 
Northwestern Minnesota. 

During the whole of his residence in this countrv 



Mr. Heldstab took an earnest interest and an active 
part in the affairs of the community of his home and 
contributed essentially to its progress and develop- 
ment. He was not, however, an active political par- 
tisan and never sought or desired a public office of 
any kind. His work for the advancement of his city 
and county was that of a good citizen outside of 
political contentions and hopes of direct personal 
reward except what came from the improvement of 
his locality. He belonged to the German Lutheran 
church and was one of the earliest and most active 
members of St. Paul's congregation of that sect in 

On December 20, 1891, Mr. Heldstab was married 
in Crookston to Miss Lena Weber, who was bom in 
Oberstein, Germany, November 12, 1871, and came to 
this country in 1888, when she was seventeen years 
old. Seven sons were born of their union, one of 
whom, Paul Walter, died when he was about one year 
old. The mother and six of the sons are living and 
have their homes in Polk county. The living sons 
are : John W., Gustav M., Christian R., Theodore E., 
Harold D. and Willard A. At the time of his death 
the father owned a fine farm of 320 acres, which was 
well improved and under good cultivation. 


As a large landholder, an enterprising and success- 
ful merchant, a member of the state legislature, the 
postmaster for many years of the town of Fisher and a 
prominent, influential and highly esteemed citizen, the 
late Hon. Gunder Krostue dignified, adorned and ad- 
mirably represented the best manhood and citizenship 
of Polk county in many lines of usefulness and bene- 
ficial labor and example to the locality of his home. 

Mr. Krostue was bom June 10, 1851, on a farm 
named Krostue in Saetersdahl, Norway, and was 
brought to the United States by his parents when he 
was but ten yeai-s old. The family located in Waupaca 
county, Wisconsin, whei*e the son grew to mEiuhood 
and obtained a limited education in the country 
schools. At an early age he began to work at farm 
labor and later was employed as a lumberman, driv- 
ing logs down the Mississippi river to St. Louis. These 
occupations, however, were too precarious and un- 
promising to satisfy his ambition, and he determined 
to do something more in line with his tastes and em- 
bodying better prospects for him. 

In 1880 Mr. Krostue took up his residence in Polk 
county, and here for a time he served as engineer with 
a threshing crew and then worked on the survey of the 
Great Northern railroad between Grand Forks and 
Crookston. Later he proved up on a homestead claim 

in Grand Forks county, North Dakota, which he then 
sold. He at once located in the town of Fisher, this 
county, and for four years thereafter was employed 
as a clerk in the store kept by Messrs. Thompson & 
Johnson. At the end of that period he entered upon 
an independent mercantile career, opening a store in 
Fisher for general merchandise and farming imple- 
ments. This proved to be one of the most successful 
of his many activities, and carried him to a promi- 
nent place in connection with the business interests 
of the county. He became an extensive landholder, 
owning some 2,100 acres of farm land near Fisher, and 
was also president of the Fisher Bank from the time 
of its organization until his death. In addition he 
served as postmaster of Fisher for many years until 
the pressure of other engagements compelled him to 
retire from the office. 

Mr. Krostue continued to live in Fisher until his 
death on July 7, 1912, when he was in his sixty-first 
year. He belonged to the class of men who rise to 
success and influence through their native ability and 
industry and win the regard of all who know them 
by their sterling worth and admirable manhood. He 
freely bestowed the gifts of his strong personality 
in the service of his fellow men and left the memory 
of many commendable accomplishments as a citizen. 



many noble traits as a friend and many wise and 
fruitful achievements through his enterprise and pub- 
lie spirit, as well as that of his eminent success as a 
business man. 

In the public life of his community this far-seeing 
gentleman always was a trusted leader, and in the 
fall of 1902 his fellow citizens selected him as their 
representative in the lower house of the state legis- 
lature. In the session of 1903 he was chairman of the 
House committee on drainage and a member of the 
committees on grain and warehouse and roads, bridges 
and navigable streams. He was re-elected in the fall 
of 1904, and in the session of 1905 he was again chair- 
man of the committee on drainage and was also as- 
signed to duty on the committees on binding twine, 
public health, dairy and food products and temper- 
ance legislation. 

In his religious affiliation Mr. Krostue was connected 
with the United Lutheran church, of which his widow 
is also an active member and earnest supporter. Her 
maiden name was Christine Benson and she is the 
daughter of Lars Benson. She was born in Waupaca 
county, Wisconsin, and at an early age removed with 
her parents to Goodhue county, ]\Iinnesota, where the 
family resided until the accidental death of the father 
by drowning at Red Wing. After that sad event the 
mother and her eight children changed their residence 
to Pope county, Minnesota, and there Miss Christine 
lived until her marriage to Mr. Krostue, which took 
place on December 2, 1882. Of the children born of 
their marriage seven are living: Lawrence, who is 
a farmer, and Clara, Lottie, Myron, Theresa, Clayton 
and Glendora. Since the death of her husband Mrs. 
Krostue has continued to make her home at Fisher. 


Having borne faithfully and with good results for 
himself and the localities in which he lived the heat 
and burden of a long day of toil, in which he experi- 
enced many privations and hardships, Jidius Wentzel 
of Crookston, one of the former prosperous and pro- 
gressive farmers of Polk county, has retired from ac- 
tive pursuits and is passing the evening of his life in 
comfortable leisure and enjoying in a sensible and 

The land taken up by Mr. Wentzel was wholly un- 
cultivated and unimproved, and he began to devote 
himself at once to transforming it into a farm and 
a good home for himself and his family. He con- 
tinued to live on it and develop and improve it until 
the fall of 1909, making it over into a highly produc- 
tive and valuable raral estate and an attractive coun- 
try home. In the fall of 1909 he decided to quit farm- 

useful way the fruits of his former well-applied in- ing and all active work of a laborious character, and 

dustry and good management. moved to Crookston, where he has since resided. 

Mr. Wentzel was bom in Prussia August 28, 1847, After taking up his residence in Crookston he sold 

and remained there until he reached the age of six- his farm. 

teen. He then came to the New World and took up 
his residence for a year in the province of Quebec, 
Canada, where he was variously employed. From 
Canada he moved to Detroit, Michigan, and there he 
also passed a year in work of different kinds. After 
that he lived in Manitowoc county, Wisconsin, until 
January, 1878, when he came to Polk county, Minne- 
sota, and pre-empted a tract of 160 acres of land in 
Lowell township. 

On December 11, 1873, Mr. Wentzel was united 
in marriage with Miss Caroline Radi, who was born 
in Prussia March 19, 1858, and came to tlie United 
States with her parents in 1863, when she was about 
five years old. The family located in Manitowoc 
county, Wisconsin, where Mrs. Wentzel was reared 
and where she was living at the time of her marriage. 
She and her husband became the parents of twelve 
children, eleven of whom are living. They are 



Charles, William, August, Julius, Minnie, Anna, 
Fred, Alvina, Ida, Freda, John and Pauline, the 
youngest child, was drowned in Red Lake river at the 

village of Fisher July 22, 1910, when she was twelve 
years old. 


Approaching now the evening of his life in peace 
and prosperity after many years of arduous labor, 
care and the usual difficulties incident to the exist- 
ence of a farmer in the Northwest of this country, 
Robert Andei-son, of East Grand Porks, has retired 
from active pursuits with an unstained record of 
clean, good and serviceable citizenship to his credit 
and favored witli the esteem and good will of every- 
body who knows him. He was born in Aberdeenshire, 
Scotland, January 28, 1847, and in June, 1874, came 
to the United States, locating temporarily at Grand 
Porks. On July 2, of the year last named he took 
up a liomestead in Grand Porks township, Polk county, 
and on this he lived until the spring of 1913, when 
he gave up farming and moved to the city of East 
Grand Porks. He has sold his farm and is living 
retired and free from all business cares. 

Mr. Anderson has, however, taken a veiy active 
and helpful part in the public affairs of Polk county 
in times past and has never lost any degree of his 
cordial and judicious interest in the county's growth 
and improvement. He was the first township clerk 

of Grand Forks, Huntsville and Rhinehart townships, 
his jurisdiction extending over the present city of 
East Grand Porks, and he held the office of clerk of 
Grand Porks towaship continuously until 191.3 and 
that of school director of District No. 2 in that town- 
ship for thirty-six years. He was also a charter mem- 
ber of the Fii-st Presbyterian church of Grand Forks, 
and is now an elder of the Mendahall Presbyterian 
church in East Grand Forks. 

Jlr. Anderson was first married April 8, 1874, to 
Miss Mai-y Patterson. They had four children, 
Charles H., Margaret J., Aaron L. and John H. The 
mother of these children died in Grand Porks town- 
ship August 4, 1898, and on December 19, 1906, the 
father contracted a second marriage which united 
him with Miss Jennie Rintoul, a native of Glasgow, 
Scotland, but long resident in this country. Like her 
husband, Mrs. Anderson is held in high esteem for 
her genuine worth and her warm and sei'viceable in- 
terest in everything that contributes to the welfare of 
Polk county and tlie Northwest in general. 


Since March 18, 1879, August Akerlund has lived 
in Crookston and been actively and profitably engaged 
in contracting and building and general carpenter and 
cabinetmaking work. He has done his part in help- 
ing to develop and improve the city and surrounding 
country, and many of the substantial buildings now 
standing in this part of the state are monuments to 
his industry and ability as a builder. He was bom in 
Sweden August 8, 1845, and learned the trade of a 
cabinetmaker in that country, where he remained 

until 1869, when he emigrated to this country, reach- 
ing New York November 23. 

With his arrival in this country began a new era 
in the life of Mr. Akerlund. The West attracted him 
and he located at Wliitehall, Illinois, and there worked 
at bridge building for about three years. He then 
changed his base of operations to Dubuque, Iowa, 
where he passed one year building bridges for the 
railroads. From Dubuque he moved to Bellevue, 
Iowa, and in that locality he turned his attention to 



factory work and house building and followed these 
lines until he came to Crookstou, arriving March 18, 

Mr. Akerlund was married at Bellevue, Iowa, May 
4, 1874, to Miss Anna Louisa Turneblad, whose life 
began in Sweden July 24, 1855. They have three chil- 
dren, Augusta, Charles and Aimer. Charles is a mail 
carrier in Crookston, and Aimer is working with and 

under the instructions of his father. The father owns 
160 acres of land in Pennington county, Minnesota, 
and the building in which he carries on his business 
was erected by himself. He has always taken a cor- 
dial interest in the welfai-e of the city and county of 
his home, and the people respect him highly for his 
upright life, public spirit and sterling manhood. 


Through many trials and difficulties and a variety 
of occupations Medric Collin, who is now one of the 
successful and prosperous merchants of Crookston, 
has made his way by persistent industi-y, frugality, 
pluck and good management to his present condition 
of prominence in business and substantial comfort in 
a worldly way. He is the proprietor of the well 
known and popular Crookston Supply house, with 
which he has been connected about twenty-three years 
and which he has owoied and conducted for about 
three years. 

Mr. Collin is a native of the Province of Quebec, 
Canada, where he was bom August 9, 1860, and where 
he lived until he reached the age of twenty-eight, and 
was engaged in farming during the greater part of 
the time. When he left his native land he took up his 
residence in Minneapolis, and there he lived and was 
variously employed until the autumn of 1892. In No- 
vember of that year he came to Crookston and entered 

into partnership with liis brother, F. X. Collin, and 
together they carried on an active mercantile business 
for about twelve years under the firm name of Collin 

At the end of the period named the partnership 
was dissolved and the brother retired from the busi- 
ness. Since then it has been wholly owned and car- 
ried on by Mr. Collin of this sketch. 

Mr. Collin's store is widely and favorably known 
through this part of Minnesota as the Crookston Sup- 
ply house, and is especially well esteemed for the ex- 
tensive stock of general merchandise which it carries, 
the superior quality of its goods, the upright and pro- 
gressive manner in which its operations are conducted 
and tlie enterprise which keeps it always up to date in 
the style, quality and general excellence of its mer- 
chandise. Mr. Collin stands well in the community 
and deserves the esteem bestowed upon him. 


The dairy business has grown to great proportions 
in the Northwest and become very active. It sup- 
plies some of the wants and meets several of the 
requirements of a vast number of persons, increasing 
with the growth of the country and keeping pace with 
the ever expanding demands for its service. One of 
its enterprising and progressive representatives in 
this part of the country is Christian T. Brown, of 

Crookston, who has been engaged in it in that city 
since the fall of 1886. 

Mr. Bro\\Ti was born in Norwaj', July 31, 1845, and 
was reared and educated in his native land, where he 
remained until 1882, following farming as his prin- 
cipal occupation. In August of the year last men- 
tioned he emigrated to the United States, landing at 
New York. He came at once to Crookston, and during 



the next three years he was employed in various ways 
to his advantage. In 1886 he started a mercantile 
career in the daiiy trade, and in this he has ever since 
been actively and profitably engaged. 

Some years before leaving his native land Mr. 
Brown was married there to Miss Mary S. Johanason, 
the marriage being solemnized in 1874 in Christiania, 
the capital city of the country. Mrs. Brown was also 
a Norwegian by nativity and was born in 1851. They 
have had eleven children, four of whom have died. 

Three passed away in infancy, and a daughter named 
Josephine died February 17, 1904, when she was 
twenty-six years old. The children who are living 
are: Anna, who is the wife of Jacob Knudson, of 
Minneapolis; Julia, whose home is in Montana; Thea 
and Carl J., who are living at home; Sophia, who is 
the wife of James Calverwell, of the state of Wash- 
ington; Mary, who is a teacher in Polk county, and 
JMinnie, who is also living at home. 


The city of Crookston, which is the home of John 
A. Johnson, one of the leading carpenters of Pclk 
county, and the country surrounding that city contain 
many evidences of the most substantial character of 
the productive usefulness of his life and his skill as a 
mechanic. For he has erected a large number of 
houses in the citj' and its vicinity, and they all stand 
forth visibly and tangibly to his credit. He was born 
at Smolands, Sweden, December 18, 1855, and re- 
mained in that country until 1882, growing to man- 
hood on his father's farm and then learning his trade 
as a carpenter and working for some years in a sash 
and door factory. 

In the summer of 1882 Mr. Johnson emigrated to 
the United States, landing at New York and coming 
at once to Polk county. He took up his residence 
at Fisher's Landing, but moved to Crookston at once, 
and in this eity he has since resided. He has made 

working at his trade and contracting in the erection 
of buildings his principal occupation throughout his 
residence in this county, and he has reached a high 
rank in his business. He is also esteemed as a pro- 
gressive and public-spirited citizen deeply interested 
in the welfare of his home community. 

Mr. Johnson was married in his native place Sep- 
tember 27, 1875, to Miss Augusta Johnson, who was 
of the same nativity as himself and born April 19, 
1856. They have had twelve children, one of whom 
died in infancy. Those living are Mary, Pauline, 
Ida, Amelia, Albert, Gustav, Louisa, Esther, Eliza- 
beth, Ella and Elmer. The parents are active mem- 
bers of the Swedish Lutheran church, and the chil- 
dren have been reared in the same faith. All the 
members of the family stand well in popular esteem 
and are deservedly respected. 

Having followed the vocation of a farmer in his 
native land of Norway, where his life began Decem- 
ber 16, 1836, and in two counties of this state in suc- 
cession, through a long career of useful and pro- 
ductive labor, Knute E. Messelt of Winger, this 
county, has rendered good sei-vice to two of the pro- 
gressive countries of the world and has lived in each 
according to the requirements of upright and manly 


Mr. Messelt remained in his native land until 1869 
and was married there November 25, 1860, to Miss 
Gertrude Halvordater Evenstad, also a native of Nor- 
way and bom May 3, 1841. 

In 1869 Mr. Messelt brought his wife and the two 
children they then had to the United States and lo- 
cated in Goodhue county, Minnesota, where he lived 
for about fifteen years. In November, 1883, he came 
to Polk county and took up a homestead in Winger 



township. On this tract of land he lived and labored, 
cultivating and improving his farm and erecting good 
buildings on it, until the fall of 1914, when he re- 
tired from active work and moved to Winger. He 
and his wife have had three children, Herman K., 
Ingmar K. and Carl G. Ingmar died at Mentor, Polk 
county, November 26, 1902. The other two are living. 
Carl G. Messelt was married at Winger Decem- 
ber 18, 1912, to IMiss Ellen Stai, a native of Winger 

and the daughter of Engebret Stai of Winger town- 
ship. They have one child, their son Conrad E. Carl 
has filled school and other offices in the township, and 
has won the esteem of the people by his sturdy and 
sterling citizenship and devotion to the welfai-e of his 
locality. He and his wife are zealous and consistent 
members of the Synod Lutheran church. A separate 
sketch of Mrs. Carl Messelt will be found in this 


Orin Daniels, of Crookston, ex-sheriff of Polk county 
and a retired farmer, was born August 17, 1874, iu 
Dane county, Wisconsiu, and came to Minnesota with 
his parents when eight years of age. He is the son of 
Anun and Tone (Bergland) Daniels, the latter a 
native of Dane county, Wisconsiu. Anun Daniels was 
born in Illinois and engaged in farming in Wisconsin, 
where he enlisted in the service of his counti-y during 
the Civil war and was an officer in his company. In 
1882 he came to Polk county and located on govern- 
ment land near Crookston, which he developed into 
a prosperous farm property and sold in 1891. He is 
now living, at the close of a useful and active careei', 
in Spokane, Washington. Orin Daniels is the only 
one of the family of eight sons and a daughter, who 
resides in Minnesota. He was reared on his father's 
homestead and received his education in the public 
schools of the county and for a numl)er of years de- 

voted his attention to farming activities, his first 
association with official service being in 1901, when he 
was appointed deputy sheriff under Mi*. Sullivan. 
He continued to hold this position for eight years, 
through the terms of office of Mr. Sullivan and his 
successor, Mr. Gon.yea, becoming well known through 
the county during these years of able service and in 
1908 was elected sheriff and capably discharged the 
responsibilities of this office for two terms, being re- 
elected in 1910. Beside his official duties and public 
services, Mr. Daniels has always been actively in- 
terested in agricultural enterprises and gives some 
time to the successful management of his farm of 
two hundred and four acres. He has always been a 
loyal supporter of the Republican party and is a 
member of the Elk lodge. His marriage to Sadie 
Reindahl, of Dane county, Wisconsiu, occurred in 
1903 and they have one son, Truman. 


The late Thore H. Bang, whose death occuri'cd iu 
Crookston August 14, 1905, was an early settler in the 
city and helped materially to build and develop it 
from its small beginning to something near its present 
magnitude and importance as a trading, manufactur- 
ing and commercial center. He was born in Valberg, 
Norway, in 1843, and was reared and educated in that 
country, where he followed farming for some years 
after reaching his maturity. 

In 1882 Mr. Bang came to the United States and 
located in Polk county, Minnesota, on a homestead 
which he entered east of Crookston, and which he 
partially improved and then sold. After selling his 
farm he took up his residence in Crookston and be- 
came a member of the city police force, on which he 
served five years. He was afterward variously em- 
ployed in Crookston until his death. 

Mr. Bang was married in his native land to Miss 




Anua Larson. Four of the children born of their 
union are living: Gilbert H., Charles L., Carrie (now 
Mrs. Simpson, a widow) and Laura, who is unmar- 
ried. The mother died in 1913. The father was a 
Republican in political allegiance and took an active 
part in the affairs of his party. He was well known 
throughout Polk county, and was held in esteem by 
all classes of its people. 

Gilbert and Charles Bang, the two sons of the 
household, are now operating the Crookston Bottling 
AVorks, which they purchased in 1908. They sell their 
products all over Northern Minnesota and in parts 
of the adjoining states, and have a large and active 
trade. They are good business men and are enterpris- 

ing and progressive in looing after the needs of the 
territory tributary to their establishment. 

Gilbert H. Bang was married in 1899 to Miss 
Thora Griebrok. They have six children, George, 
Charles, Edmund, Irene, Edna and Florence. Gil- 
bert's brother Charles was married January 6, 1906, 
to Miss Pearl Fox. Their children number two, Ken- 
neth and Lillian. The brothers were both born in 
Norway, but they were brought to this county at 
early ages and here they grew to manhood and were 
educated, the greater part of their lives to the present 
time having been passed in Crookston. They are men 
of sterling worth and zealous in the performance of 
all the duties of citizenship. 


A New Englander by nativity but having passed 
more than four-fifths of his life to the present time 
(1916) in the northwest, Nathan P. Stone, a retired 
business man of Crookston and a valued citizen of 
Polk county, has been able to acquire an accurate 
knowledge of the tendencies and aspirations of two 
widely different sections of the country and become 
well acquainted with the institutions and methods of 
thought of each, and he has profited by this sweep of 
vision and made it of advantage to the locality of his 
present home in business, in citizenship and in social 

Mr. Stone was born in Bristol county, Massachu- 
setts, January 21, 1838, the son of Mason and Abigail 
(Patten) Stone, both of the same nativity as himself. 
The father operated a cotton mill and kept a general 
store at Norton, in his native county. He also took a 
leading part in local public affairs, and was the colonel 
in command of the state militia which escorted Presi- 
dent Jackson when he made his tour through the New 
England states. The mother died in 1842, and the 
father afterward married Miss Mary Holman. He 
died in Pierce county, Wisconsin, in 1888. He was 
the father of three sons and two daughters who grew 
to maturity, and one of the sons is still living in Mas- 

Nathan P. Stone remained in his native county until 
1853, when the family moved to Pierce county, Wis- 
consin. There the father engaged in farming until 
he was elected probate judge. He afterward was 
active in the grain trade until his death. The son 
began his education at the district school in Norton 
in his native county and completed it at the academy 
in River Palls, Wisconsin. After leaving school he 
followed farming four years, then changed his resi- 
dence to Prescott, Wisconsin, and engaged in mer- 
cantile business. 

In 1879 Mr. Stone became a resident of Crookston 
and a merchant in the farm implement trade, which 
he carried on alone until 1900, when his sons, William 
M. and Walter P., were taken into partnership by him. 
Recently the father has retired from active control 
of the business and it is now conducted by the sons 
under the firm name of N. P. Stone & Co. 

Mr. Stone was married at River Palls, Wisconsin, 
in 1873, to Miss Ada L. Powell, a native of the state 
of New York and a daughter of Lyman and Lucinda 
(Taylor) Powell, who were pioneers of that state, 
locating in it in 1854. Mr. and Mi-s. Stone are the 
parents of five children : William M. and Walter P., 
who are in buisness with their father; Ida P., who is 
a school teacher in Helena, Montana; Gertrude L., 



who is the wife of Thayer C. Bailey, of Bemidji, Min- 
nesota, and Lucia, who is living at home. 

In the public affairs of Crookston Mr. Stone has 
taken an active part from the time of his arrival in 
the city. He served as alderman five terms and as a 
member of the school board and its official treasur- 
er two term.s. He is also a member of the charter 
commission of the city. In political faith and alle- 

giance he is a Republican, in fraternal relations a 
Freemason and in religious connection a Congrega- 
tionalist, being a trustee of the congregation of that 
sect. He also belongs to the Old Settlers' association 
of Polk county and is its official historian. When he 
became a resident of Crookston it was a straggling 
hamlet, and he has witnessed and taken part in all the 
phases of its growth to a city of 8,000 people. 


A. M. Sivertson, of Crookston, a pioneer business 
man and prominent citizen, was bora in Norway, in 
1855, the son of Sivert and Ilanna (Halsteson) Sivert- 
son. His parents spent their lives in their native land 
and A. M. Sivertson remained there until his twenty- 
fifth year, employed in farm work and for five years 
was in the military service, in the regular army dur- 
ing the fii'st two years and later with the resei'ves. In 
1880 he came to the United States and located at 
Crookston, where he learned the carpenter trade and 
engaged in this work for some time and then advanced 
to the larger activities of the contracting business 
and also conducted a successful trade as a lumber 
dealer. During the fifteen years of his extensive 
operations as building contractor, Mr. Sivertson 
erected many of the best buildings in Crookston and 
has been actively associated with the growth and 
progress of the city througli the creditable achieve- 
ments of his industrial career as well as by his public 

spirited support of eveiy enterprise. He is now 
I'etired from the contracting business and devotes 
his attention to his real estate interests, in which he 
has made many investments, owning the opera house 
block and a number of residence properties and 
farms. He has given able service to his fellow citizens 
as a member of the city council and has been a member 
of the librarj' board for seven years. Mr. Sivertson 
is widely known throughout the State and county as 
a successful business man and highly respected citi- 
zen of Polk county. He is a member of the Repub- 
lican party and of the Sons of Norway. He was 
married in 1855 to Dora Sockem, who was a native 
of Norway. She died in 1911, leaving five children, 
Hanna, the wife of Mr. R. Tetley; Sophia, who is a 
teacher in the Crookston high school ; Herman, Albert 
and Margaret. In 1914 Mr. Sivertson was married 
to Mrs. Hillman, who was a widow. He is a member 
of the United Lutheran church. 


Although born and reared on a farm and beginning 
his life work as a tiller of the soil, Julius Spokely 
has such natural adaptability to and capacity for 
merchandising, that in eleven years of active and 
enterprising devotion to this line of business he has 
made himself one of the leading merchants in the 
city of Crookston, a field in which there is strong 
competition and rivals of ability are numerous. 

Mr. Spokely is a native and wholly a product of 

Polk county whose life began in Hubbard township 
in 1877. His parents, Gulliek and Gonvor (Simon) 
Spokely, were born and reared in Norway, and came 
to the United States in the sixties. They were married 
in Houston county, Minnesota. They located in 
Houston county, Minnesota, and entered a tract of 
government land in Chippewa county, but in 1871 
took up their residence in Polk county when it was 
nearly all still a wilderness, being among the very 



earliest settlers in that part of it where they live. 
The father took up homestead, pre-emption and tree 
claim, and on the land which he thus acquired he is 
still residing at the age of seventy-three, the mother 
being sixty-eight. They made the trip to their new 
home through the wilds in a "prairie schooner," 
patiently enduring the privations, hardships and 
dangers of the journey buoyed up with the hope of 
obtaining a good reward for their enterprise and 

These hardy and resolute pioneers have four sons 
and two daughters living: Albert, a farmer; Julius 
and Adolph, twins; Alexander, a fanner, and Annie 
and Sophia, who are living at home with their par- 
ents. Julius grew to manhood on his father's farm 
and obtained his education at the school in the neigh- 
borhood. After farming a short time he began his 
mercantile career as a clerk in a store at Nielsville. 
In 1899 he moved to Crookston, and during the next 

five years he clerked in stores in this city. At the 
end of this period he opened a store of his own, and 
this he has since conducted with a steadily increas- 
ing trade and strengthening hold on the confidence 
and regard of the people of the city and county. He 
was also associated with his brothers in keeping a store 
in Fargo, North Dakota. 

Mr. Spokely is a citizen of public spirit and pro- 
gressiveness, and takes an active and helpful part in 
the public affairs of his community. He was a mem- 
ber of the local school board, and was its treasurer 
at the time when the new school house was erected. 
Fraternally he is a Freemason and a member of thfe 
Order of Elks, the Sons of Norway and the Scandi- 
navian Workmen. In 1907 he was united in mar- 
riage with Miss Minnie Tisdel, who was bom in Aus- 
tin, Minnesota. They have one child, their son 


Having become a resident of Crookston in 1879, 
Mark Rauenbuehler is one of the pioneer residents 
of Polk county; and having been the first harness 
maker in Crookston, he is also one of the pioneer 
manufacturers and merchants of that city. More- 
over, having borne his share of the privations and 
hardships of the early days, and helped to build the 
town to its present state of advancement and import- 
ance, and having, at the same time, made his own 
advancement in business and material gains keep 
pace with the progress of the community, he is en- 
titled and prepared to enjoy his share of the pleasures 
and prosperity of the present period and look with 
pride upon the structure his hands have helped to 
build and improve. 

Mr. Rauenbuehler was born in Baden, Germany, 
July 5, 1852, a son of Alois and Mary A. (Stahlberger) 
Rauenbeuhler, who were natives of the same province 
as himself, and passed their lives in it, profitably 
engaged in farming. They were the parents of three 

sons and five daughters, of whom all of the sons and 
one of the daughters are now living in the United 
States. The father took an active part in the public 
affairs of his native land and served as a soldier in 
the Revolution of 1848 in that country. 

His son Mark remained at home until he reached 
the age of seventeen, then, in 1869, came to this coun- 
try and located at Fort Madison, Iowa, where he 
learned his trade as a harness maker. He next 
passed four years in Wisconsin, and then moved to 
Anoka, Minnesota. In 1879 he located at Crookston 
and opened a small harness shop on Second street, in 
front of which he planted the first hitching post in 
Crookston. During the first three days of his venture 
his cash receipts amounted to ten cents, but as the 
town grew his trade increased until it reached a con- 
siderable magnitude, and for many years it has kept 
him busy all the working hours of the day. 

Mr. Rauenbuehler was married in 1881 to Miss 
Emily J. Martin, a daughter of Swiss and German 



parents, and was born on the Atlantic ocean while 
they were on their way to America. Five children 
were born of the union, three of whom are living, 
Louisa, Paulina and George. Their mother died in 
1889 and in November, 1890, the father contracted a 

second marriage in which he was united with Mrs. 
Johanna Netzer, a widow. They have two children, 
iladonna and Eugene. The parents are members of 
the Catholic church. 


Harry L. Marsh, vice president and manager of 
the First National bank of Crookston, is a native of 
New York, born at Bridgewater in 1881. He was 
reared in that village and there received his early 
education. After completing his preparatory studies, 
he entered Oberlin college and graduated from that 
institution in 1903. During the following year he 
held a position with the Citizens' Trust company at 
Utica, New York, and then came to Crookston, accept- 
ing the position of book keeper in the First National 

bank. Here his able and eflScient services have won 
him rapid promotion and as vice president and man- 
ager of the First National bank, he is prominently 
associated with the financial interests of the North- 
west. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and 
of the Crookston commandery. He was married to 
Annie Miller, the daughter of A. A. Miller, a well 
knowm attorney and financier of Crookston. Mr. 
Marsh and his wife are members of the First Congre- 
gational church. 


This pioneer shoe merchant of Crookston has a fun- 
damental knowledge of his business not possessed by 
every man who is engaged in it by reason of his hav- 
ing learned the trade of shoemaking in all its features 
and requirements under competent instructors in his 
native land of Germany, and he makes this knowl- 
edge tell to hLs own advantage and that of his cus- 
tomers, because he is able to distinguish between good 
and poor material and workmanship in the manu- 
facture of tlie goods he handles. His judgment in 
this respect is considered first rate and his work in 
reference to the quality of foot gear always carries 
great weight with the purchasing public. 

Mr. Riedesel was born in Westfallen, Erndtebrueck, 
Germany, in 1854, where his parents, Henry and 
Louisa (Wiekel) Riedesel, passed the whole of their 
lives. The father was a shoemaker, a sturdy and ster- 
ling citizen, and devoted to the welfare of the working 
people. He rendered his country good service in the 
Revolution of 1848 in Germany, through which many 
men of prominence in the Fatherland were driven to 

seek safety in foreign lands, some of the most eminent 
of them becoming residents of this country. Six 
sons and five daughters were born to the parents, but 
only two of the number are residents of the United 
States, Carl and one of his sisters, Louisa. 

Carl Riedesel remained in his native land until he 
reached the age of twenty-six and there learned his 
trade as a shoemaker. In 1880 he came to America, 
locating in Carver county, Minnesota, and finding 
employment on farms in the neighborhood of 
Waconia. On December 29, 1882, he became a resi- 
dent of Crookston, and here he worked at his trade 
for four years in the employ of Mr. Schwark, who 
carried on a harness and shoe business. In 1889 Mr. 
Riedesel purchased the shoe department of the busi- 
ness and this he has since conducted continuously, 
which makes him one of the oldest merchants in the 
city in unbroken connection with the same line of 

Mr. Riedesel has given the city valuable and ap- 
preciated service as a member of the city council and 



the school board. He is a Republican in party alle- 
giance but not an active partisan, although he is 
always deeply interested in the welfare of his county, 
state and adopted country. Fraternally he is a Free- 
mason, and also belongs to the Ancient Order of 
United Workmen, the Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. In 
each of these organizations he has held important 
offices and of the Camp to which he belongs in the 
AVoodmen he has been secretaiy for twenty years. 

In 1883 Mr. Riedesel was united in marriage with 
Miss Margaret Reinhardt, like himself a native of 
Germany, and by this marriage he has become the 
father of seven children, Frederick C, William E., 
Helen (now Mrs. Misner), Louisa, who is a school 
teacher, George M., Lillian and Anorma. The par- 
ents are members of the German Lutheran church. 
They are well and favoral^ly known throughout Polk 
county and in other localities, and are everywhere 
held in high esteem. 


Frank A. Grady, a well known attorney of Crooks- 
ton, was born in Olmsted county, Minnesota, March 
2, 1870, the sou of James and Bridget (Towhey) 
Grady. The latter were natives of Ireland. They 
were married after coming to the United States and 
located in Olmsted county about 1854, in the early 
days of the settlement of the new territory. After 
living here for many years, in 1878 they removed 
to Brookings county. South Dakota, where they con- 
tinue to make their home. Frank Grady received 
his early education in the country schools of Minne- 
sota and of Brookings county. He then entered the 
South Dakota State college where he received the 
degree of B. S. in 1889. The following four years 
he spent teaching school in Iowa and Montana. On 
returning to Minnesota, he began to prepare himself 
for the legal profession in the law department of the 

state university. He graduated in 1894, was ad- 
mitted to the bar and on June 8 of that j^ear, began 
the practice of law at Anoka where he remained for 
a .year and then went to Thief River Falls. In 1897 
he located in Red Lake Falls, where for fifteen years 
he wa.s a prominent member of the bar. During the 
years of his able and successful practice in Red Lake 
Falls, Mr. Grady became widely known in northern 
Minnesota and made many friends in Polk county. 
He served as county attorney for Red Lake county 
for four yeare and was a member of the school board. 
In 1912 he came to Crookston and is one of the lead- 
ing attorneys in that city. His marriage to Harriet 
E. Ryan occurred December 29, 1897. Three sons 
have been bom to this union. Clarion, Willard and 
Lowell. Mr. Grady and his family are communicants 
of the Catholic church. 


Charles Loring, a lawyer of Crookston, was 

born in St. Croix county, Wisconsin, in 1873. 

His parents were Lyman and Eugenie (Hutchinson) 

Loring, the former a native of Maine and his wife of 

Vermont. Lyman Loring was a farmer, one of the 

sturdy pioneers who pushed steadily westward as 

more and more land was opened for settlement and 

cultivation. He located in Wisconsin in the fifties 

and in 1877 came to Clav county, Minnesota, and re- 

sided here until 1890. He then removed to Missoula 
county, Montana, where he engaged in ranching until 
his death in 1898. His wife survived him several 
years and died in Crookston. He rendered his coun- 
try valuable service in the Civil war, enlisting in 
Company G, Fourth Wisconsin volunteer cavalry, 
in 1861 and serving throughout the war. This regi- 
ment was with the army of the Potomac in its cam- 
paign. For a time he was transferred to naval duty 



and later accompanied his i-egiment on its western 
maneuvers, receiving his honorable discharge at 
the close of the war. Charles Loring was the only 
child and was reared from early childhood in Min- 
nesota. He was educated in the Moorhead Normal 
school and in the Phillip's Exeter Academy. After 
completing his preparatory studies, he entered the 
law school of the State University and graduated in 
1898. In the same year he was admitted to the bar 
in Montana by the supreme court of that state and 
practiced there for one year. He then returned to 
Minnesota to be associated for a year with Judge 
Nye of Moorhead. In 1900 he located in Crookston 
where he enjoj's a large practice. For several j'ears 

he was associated in his professional interests with 
Halvor Steenerson. This firm was dissolved in 1905 
and he formed his present partnership with Mr. G. A. 
Youngquist. Mr. Loring gives some attention to the 
management of his farm in which he takes great 
interest. He is also a director of the Scandinavian 
American bank. His political affiliations are with 
the Republican party. He has never sought political 
prominence nor run for any political office. Mr. Lor- 
ing was married in 1900 to Bertha Darrow, the daugh- 
ter of Dr. Darrow of Moorhead. They have two 
daughters, Helen and Genevieve. Mr. Loring is a 
member of the Masonic order and of the Elks lodge. 


Diligent and enterprising in attention to one of 
the pursuits of peaceful industry, yet ever ready to 
move at his country's call in anned resistance to its 
enemies, Capt. Peter J. Eide of Crookston, is a fine 
example of the citizen soldieiy of the United States, 
and in all the relations of life he maintains the ster- 
ling and elevated manhood of the military spirit, ex- 
emplifying in private life all the devotion to the 
interests of his country that men exhibit on the 

The captain, who is now one of the leading busi- 
ness men of Crookston, was bom in this county in 
1878. He is a son of John P. and Albertina (John- 
son) Eide, who were born and reared, educated and 
married, and began their career of domestic life in 
Norway, but emigi'ated to the United States in 1877 
and located on a homestead in the township of Roome, 
this county. They made their virgin land over into a 
good farm, and the mother died on it in 1898. The 
father remained on the farm until 1908, when he re- 
tired from active work and changed his residence to 
Crookston, where he died in 1913. They had two 
children, the captain and his sister, who is now the 
wife of J. E. Michael and has her home iu the state 
of Oregon. The parents were zealous and serviceable 

members of the Norwegian Lutheran church and took 
an active part in promoting all good agencies working 
for the benefit of the people around them. They were 
warmly esteemed wherever they were known. 

Captain Eide grew to manhood in this county and 
obtained his education in the public school in Crooks- 
ton, a business college and the State Agricultural Col- 
lege at St. Anthony Park in St. Paul. For some years 
after leaving school he was employed as a clerk in 
Crookston. In 1905 he began business for himself 
as a manufacturer of ice cream and proprietor of a 
confectionery store in Crookston. He has continued 
his enterprise in these lines until now, and his business 
has grown to considerable magnitude. He ships ice 
cream all over this section, and his product has a high 
rank wherever it is known, for it is made with intelli- 
gence and skill and of the best materials for the 
purpose which can be obtained. 

On May 15, 1903, Captain Eide became a private in 
Company I, Third Minnesota National Guard. He 
has been constant and .studious in attention to his 
duties as a member of the company from the time of 
his enlistment, and has risen by successive promotions 
on merit to his present rank as the head officer of his 
company, having been elected its captain on Februaiy 




22, 1911. He was the prime promoter of the move- 
ment for the erection of an armoi*y at Crookston, and 
by persistent effort in spite of many discouragements 
and difficulties, he succeeded in obtaining the object 
of his desire in this respect in the erection of a build- 
ing that cost $40,000, and is a model structure for the 
purpose for which it was designed. It is a source of 
great pride to the community and he is entitled to the 
credit of having obtained it. 

Captain Eide 's company has never been called into 
active service, but on several occasions it has been put 

in readiness for calls to suppress riots and was also 
prepared for an order to the Mexican border in 1914. 
The captain is a member of the Masonic Order, the 
Order of Elks and the Modem Woodmen of America 
iu fraternal relations. His church affiliation is with 
the English Lutheran sect. He has lived in Crookston 
from the time when it was an uncomely village of log 
shacks until now, and has aided materially in promot- 
ing its growth and improvement to its present condi- 
tion. The people of Polk county value his services 
and esteem him highly for his genuine worth. 


G. A. Youngquist, of Crookston, county attorney' 
and a prominent member of the bar in Polk county, 
was born in 1885, near Gothenburg, Sweden, and was 
brought to tliis country in his infancy by his parents, 
Andrew and Margareta (Abrahamson) Youngquist, 
natives of the same locality as their son. Andrew 
Youngquist brought his family to Bureau county, 
Illinois, in 1887 and worked at his trade of blacksmith 
in that place for two j'ears and then removed to St. 
Paul, Minnesota, and with the exception of several 
years spent in Carver county, made his home in that 
city until his death in 1907. He is siirvived by his 
wife and seven children, of whom G. A. Youngquist 
is the only one not residing in St. Paul. He was 
reared there and received his early education in the 
city schools and in the schools of Carver county. He 
entered the St. Paul college of law in 1906 and com- 
pleted his professional studies in 1909, received his 
degree from that institution and was admitted to 

practice before the supreme and federal courts. In 
the same year he opened a law office at Thief River 
Falls and in the following year located in Crookston 
where he has since been associated with Mr. Charles 
Loring in his professional interests. Mr. Youngquist 
is one of the younger attorneys of the county and has 
already attained a high reputation as an able and 
successful barrister and has earned the respect and 
confidence of the courts. He was elected county at- 
torney in 1914. He is widely known through his 
active interest in political activities and was a mem- 
ber of the state central committee of the Republican 
party during the campaign of 1912. He is a member 
of the Swedish Lutheran church and iu fraternal cir- 
cles is affiliated with the Masonic order, Vasa Orden 
and Independent Order of Scandinavian "Workmen. 
Mr. Youngquist was married June 29, 1915, to 
Scharlie M. Robertson, who is a native of Crookston. 


Long known as one of the most capable, enterpris- 
ing and sagacious bankers of Minnesota, Jerome Win- 
throp Wheeler, president of the First National Bank 
of Crookston since 1905, has a record in his chosen 
line of business which justly entitles him to the rank 
he holds and is a firm foundation for his high and 

widespread reputation in financial circles in Minne- 
sota and all other parts of the Northwest. He has 
been a man of action and done things, leaving to 
others the pleasant task of talking about achievements. 
Mr. Wheeler was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Jan- 
uary 15, 1863, and is a son of J. B. and Kate (Dem- 



ing) "Wheeler. He began his education in the jiublic 
schools of his native town and was graduated from 
McMyun Academy, Racine, AVisconsiu, in 1880. On 
leaving the academy he entered the emploj' of the 
Kenosha Bank and remained in its service for five 
years. From 1885 to 1892 he was bookkeeper and 
teller of the First National Bank of Crookston, and 
during the next three years was cashier of the Scan- 
dinavian-American Bank of that city. From 1895 to 
1905 he served as cashier of the First National Bank 
of Crookston, and since 1905 he has been the president 
of that institution. 

In addition to his close and serviceable connection 
with banks already mentioned Mr. Wheeler has been 
president of the First State Bank of Humboldt, also 
Beltrami, Minnesota, and a director of the State Bank 
of Stephen, also in this state. He has been president 
of the Wheeler-Misner Loan company of Crooks- 
ton, Minnesota, and to each of these enterprises he has 
given the same careful and productive attention that 

has distinguished him in all his business undertakings 
and everytiiing else in which he takes an interest. 

In 1912 Mr. "Wheeler was chosen president of the 
Capitol Trust company of St. Paul, and since taking 
his place at the head of that enterprising and pro- 
gressive institution he has given every detail of its 
management his studious personal supervision, there- 
liy promoting its welfare and quickening its progress 
toward the great development and impressive financial 
influence it has attained with an impetus that keeps 
it ever on the move for the accomplishment of still 
greater results. 

Mr. "Wheeler has taken a sympathetic interest and 
an active part in the fraternal life of Minnesota as a 
member of the Masonic Order, the Order of Elks, the 
Knights of Pythias and the Modern "Woodmen of 
America. \Yhile earnestly and loyally devoted to the 
abiding welfare of his state and country, political con- 
tests have had no attraction for him, and he has never 
sought or desired a political office of any kind. He 
was married August 24, 1886, to Miss Eva J. Hill. 


Edwin F. Kelley, sheriff of Polk county, was born 
at Jackson, Michigan, November 22, 1872, and was 
brought to Minnesota in his early infancy by his 
parents, Andrew J. and Ella (Fleming) Kelley, na- 
tives of Indiana and Michigan. The father of Andrew 
Kelley was bom in New York state and served in 
the War of 1812, later removing to Kelleys Ford, 
"Virginia, and from there to Ohio. Andrew Kelley is 
a cabinet maker b.y trade aiul was employed in this 
work until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he 
enlisted in the defense of the Union in the Seven- 
teenth Michigan volunteer infantry and served with 
distinction during the great conflict, his valiant serv- 
ices being acknowledged by congress in the awarding 
of a medal. After the close of the war, he was ap- 
pointed a keeper in the penitentiary and made his 
home in Jackson, Michigan, for some time. In 1873 
he came to Minnesota and was the first settler in the 
vicinity of Crookston, locating on government land, 

one mile and a half east of the town, and this home- 
stead farm continues to be the home of Andrew Kel- 
ley and his wife. Edwin Kelley 's earliest recollec- 
tions are of the pioneer life of the county and he ha-s 
witnessed the rapid growth and the evolution of the 
wild frontier country into the modern agricultural 
and civic commimities and the interests and successes 
of his career have been identified with its historj\ 
Among the first playmates of his childhood were the 
children of the Indian tribes, before the increasing 
activities of civilization left no room for their wan- 
dering bands. He received his education in the county 
schools and engaged in farming, later removing to 
the coast where he owned a stone and timber claim 
for some time. In 1898 he enlisted in Company L 
of the Fourteenth Minnesota regiment and served in 
the Spanish war from April to November of that 
year, completing the honorable militarj' record of the 
services of three generations. On returning to Polk 



county, he again engaged in farming and for four 
years was deputy' sheriff of the county. In 1911 he 
was elected to the office of sheriff and reelected in 
1913 and has discharged the duties of his position 
with commendable ability, his services incurring a 

has always been a faithful supporter of the principles 
of the Republican party and is a member of the Pres- 
byterian church. In fraternal circles, he is affiliated 
with the Elk lodge. Mr. Kelley was married in 1910, 
to Estella Barlow, of Iowa and they have two chil- 

well merited popularity among his fellow citizens. He dren, Gordon and Dorothy. 


L. D. Poskett, of Crookston, cashier of the Crooks- 
ton State Bank and prominent citizen, was born in 
Northfield, Massachusetts, in 1865, the sou of Elmer 
C. and Celia M. (Darrin) Poskett. Elmer C. Poskett 
was a native of Massachusetts and his wife of New 
York. They have made their home in Iowa for a 
number of years and now reside at Primghar in that 
state. L. D. Poskett was educated in Drake Univer- 
sity at Des Moines, Iowa, and upon leaving the uni- 
versity in 1898, he located in ilarshall, ^Minnesota, 
where he engaged in the abstract and loan business 
for several years. In 1902 he removed to Crookston 
and promoted the organization of the Crookston State 
Bank and since that time has continued to be identi- 
fied with its successful transactions as cashier. In 
addition to his banking interests, Mr. Poskett is ex- 

tensively associated with the agricultural enterprises 
of the county and devotes considerable attention to 
the operation of about two thousand acres of farm 
land. His career has been marked by worthy accom- 
plishment and success and, although lie avoids active 
interest in political matters, as a public spirited citi- 
zen, he is widely known and popular in all circles. 
He is a member of the Commercial club and in fra- 
ternal orders, is a Mason and member of the Com- 
mandery and a member of the Elks and of the Modern 
Woodmen of America. He was married, July 25, 
1905, to Berniee Addison, who resided in Marshall, 
Minnesota, and they have two children, Plorence and 
Elmer. Mr. Poskett and his wife are members of 
the Congregational church. 


When Wellington H. Jewell, the oldest employe in 
length of continuous service in the Northern Division 
of the Great Northern railroad, first saw Crookston 
in 1872 it was a straggling hamlet of a few log cabins 
and gave little promise of becoming a city of 8,000 
inhabitants, alive with quickened industrial, mercan- 
tile and commercial activities and blessed with all the 
concomitants of modern municipal progress. He has 
been a resident of the city from that time to the pres- 
ent, and has eontribiited his share of the enterprise 
and force required to build and develop it to its pres- 
ent stature. 

Mr. Jewell was born in the state of Maine in 1858, 
the son of Emanuel and Katharine (Houston) Jewell, 

the former a native of England and the latter of 
Scotland. The father was a farmer and carpenter. 
He emigrated from his native land to Prince Edward 
Island. After living there for a number of years he 
moved to Maine, but later he took his family back to 
Prince Edward Island, and he and the mother died 
there. They were the parents of thirteen children and 
three of their sous are now residents of the United 

Wellington H. Jewell remained on Prince Edward 
Island until he reached the age of fourteen, then came 
to Crookston with his uncle, Robert Houston, who 
owned a part of the townsite. Por a number of years 
the uncle conducted a popular and profitable grocery 



store in Crookston. He is now living in the city 
of Everett, Washington. The nephew found employ- 
ment in a modest capacity in the roundhouse of the 
Great Northern Railroad in 1875, and in October, 
1880, was given an engine, and from that time until 
now he has been running one on the Northern Di- 
vision of the road. He is a member of the Masonic 
Order in several of its advanced branches, including 
the Mystic Shrine. 

Mr. Jewell was married in Crookston iu 1886 to 

Miss Annie Dreeland, who was born in Ottawa county, 
Province of Quebec, Canada. They have three chil- 
dren : Katharine, who is the wife of John Bow, of 
Crookston; William E., who is in the railroad service, 
and Albert E., who is a machinist in the railroad shops 
in St. Paul. The parents are widely known and held 
in much esteem for their genuine worth and the cor- 
dial and helpful interest they manifest in every un- 
dertaking for the good of their community. 

0. H. BJOIN. 

0. H. Bjoin, of Crookston, well known citizen and 
pioneer of the county, was born in Dane county, Wis- 
consin, September 19, 1852. His parents, Halvor and 
Annie (Week) Bjoin were natives of Falamaskan, 
Norway, and prominent farmers of Dane county, Wis- 
consin, where they had extensive land interests on 
Coskland Prairie. The father came to this country in 
1843 and the mother in 1844 and they were married 
in Wisconsin where they reared their family of six 
sons and three daughters. Two sons, Thomas Bjoin 
and 0. H. Bjoin, are residents of Polk county. The 
latter remained in his native state until 1880 when 
he came to Crookston. For a year he engaged in 
farming and then for some time operated a livery 
business, working for his brother, Thomas Bjoin. In 

1883 he filed on land and gave some attention to his 
claim, later serving for a time on the police force of 
Crookston. He again engaged in the lively business 
in 1885, September 21, and has continued in this 
occupation during the past thirty years and is widely 
known as the pioneer liveryman of the county. 
Throughout the many years of his business career and 
citizenship, Mr. Bjoin has maintained an active inter- 
est in public activities and in advancing the rapid 
development of the country and justly enjoys the 
respect accorded the worthy settlers of the city and 
county. He was married at Red Wing, in 1886 to 
Lena Carlson, who was born in Norway and they 
have three children, Anna, Cora and Harold. 

Being one of the pioneers who helped to open the 
Red River vaUey to settlement and improvement, and 
having also tried his hand in the stirring engagements 
of the farther West, John R. Rasmusson of Crookston 


moved to Winona, Minnesota, and iu 1878 to Moor- 
head, this state. There the mother died in March, 
1909, and there the father still has his home. He 
served as clerk of the courts in Clay county sixteen 

has had an extensive, varied and valuable experience years, and prior to that time bought grain in various 

parts of Southern Minnesota. 

Of the three sons and two daughters of his par- 
ents who are living, John R. Rasmusson is the only 

among men. 

Mr. Rasmusson was bom at Kilboum, Wisconsin, 
in 1864. His parents, Halvor and Liv (Johnson) 
Rasmusson, were natives of Norway and came to the 
United States in 1860, locating in Wisconsin, where 
the father taught school and clerked. In 1866 he 

one living in Polk county. He attained his manhood 
and got his education in Minnesota, and at the ag» 
of twenty -sis changed his residence to Spokane, Wash- 



liigtoii, where he served as deputy elerk and city elerk 
for two yeai"s. In 1893 he returned to Moorhead, 
and in 1896 removed to Crookston, where he has since 
resided and is now actively and profitably engaged 
in the hardware trade. He takes an interest in the 
public affairs of his home city and county, but has 
not sought office or been an. active political partisan. 
In 1892 Mr. Rasmusson was united in marriage 
xvith Miss Elisa Dahl, who was born in Norway and 

brought to the United States in her childhood. They 
have two children, Harold D. and Dagna J., both of 
whom still abide with them in their pleasant home. 
The parents are members of the English Lutheran 
church and take a sei-viceable part in its activities, 
as they do in every undertaking for the good of the 
community. They stand well in the city and county, 
and deserve in full measure the cordial regard in 
which they are held by all classes of their residents. 


The late August Miller of Crookston, who died in 
that city June 8, 1913, was the founder of the Crooks- 
ton tannery and for nearly twenty years was one of 
the leading manufacturers and business men of Polk 
county. He was born in Sweden in 1853 and was 
reared and educated in that country. There also he 
learned his trade as a tanner and followed it until 
1888. In that year he brought his family to the 
United States and Minnesota and located in St. Paul, 
where he operated a tannery until 1894. He then 
moved to Crookston and started the first tannery 
operated in this state north of the Twin Cities. He 
began his operations on a small scale but steadily in- 
creased them until now the plant he founded handles 
about 3,000 hides a year. The tannery is completely 
equipped with modern machinery, occupies two large 
buildings and draws its trade from a large part of 
this state, the two Dakotas and the province of Mani- 
toba, Canada. 

Mr. Miller was married in his native land to Miss 
Eva Johnson. They became the parents of eight chil- 
dren, all of whom have died except three. Their 
mother is also still living. She is a member of the 
Swedish Lutheran church, as was her husband dur- 
ing his life. They were among the founders of the 

congi-egation of their faith in Crookston and zealous 
in its service from the beginning of its history, being 
persons of sturdy and sterling qualities and helpfully 
interested in all good works among the people around 

Herman U. Miller, the son of August, is also a 
native of Sweden, where his life began in 1884. 
He was a child of four years when he came to this 
country with his parents, and in Minnesota he grew 
to manhood and learned the tanning trade under the 
tuition of his father, and since the death of that es- 
timable man he has managed the business of the tan- 
nery with enterprise and expanding trade and grat- 
ifying success. Though one of the younger set of 
Crookston 's business men he is one of the most capable 
and progressive of them all, and is generally esteemed 
as such. 

Mr. Miller, the younger, is a member of the Masonic 
order and the Crookston Commercial club. In relig- 
ious affiliation he adheres to the faith of his parents. 
He was married in 1908 to Miss Marie Amundson, 
who was bom and reared in Polk county. Her par- 
ents were pioneers of the county, locating and living 
in the thirteen towns. Mr. and Mrs. Miller have two 
children, their son Ronald and their daughter Irene. 


One of the few remaining members of the fast 
fading remnant of our pioneers in Polk county, John 

W. O'Brien, a retired hardware merchant of Crooks- 
ton, is highly respected by everybody because of his 



early and later services iu the Northwest, his sterling 
integrity and useful citizenship, and the fine example 
of business capacity and enterprise which he has given 
the people in this section of the state. While he has 
retired from active work in connection with the hard- 
ware business he founded, he is still a member of the 
firm which conducts it and gives it the benefit of his 

Mr. O'Brien was born in County Mayo, Ireland, 
July 14, 1849. His parents, Michael and Mary 
(Tighe) O'Brien, were also County Mayo folks and 
their ancestors lived for many generations in that 
part of the Emerald Isle. The father came to the 
United States in 1849 and the family joined him in 
this country in 1852. He took up his residence at 
Belvidere, Illinois, and there worked at his trade of 
stonemason and carried on business as a building 
contractor. He died at Belvidere in 1867, and the 
mother died there in 1898. They had seven sons, six 
living, and two daughters, one dead. One daughter 
and three of the sons are residents of Crookston, and 
the other son lives at Devil's Lake, North Dakota, and 
two reside in Illinois. 

John W. O'Brien came to Minnesota and located 

in Duluth in 1869. He worked on the Lake Superior 
railroad for a time and wa.s then employed on the 
Northern Pacific when that road was building into 
Moorhead, Minnesota, his position on each road being 
that of foreman, and in this cajjacity he helped to 
build the Great Northern into Beltrami. In 1873 he 
passed a short time in Crookston and in 1878 located 
in that city permanently. There he started iu business 
for himself, which he followed until 1885, when he 
opened a hardware store in partnership with his 
brother James, and this is the one the brothers still 

Mr. O'Brien is a Catholic in church affiliation and 
has been a zealous and serviceable Democrat in politi- 
cal allegiance from his youth. In 1882 he was united 
in marriage with Miss Johanna Donovan, a native of 
Canada but of Irish parentage. She died in 1907 
leaving no children. Throughout her married life she 
met every requirement of her duty with energy and 
a cheerful spirit, and she stood deservedly high in the 
good will and regard of the whole community of her 
home, as Jlr. 'Brien does now and always has wher- 
ever he is known. 


In the twenty-two years of his residence in Ci'ooks- 
ton Charles A. Hitchcock, one of the city's leading 
men, has built up an extensive business and an excel- 
lent reputation as a shrewd and far-seeing business 
man and an enterprising, progressive and public- 
spirited citizen, warmly and intelligently interested 
in the welfare of the community and willing at all 
times to do his part of the work necessary to promote 

Mr. Hitchcock was born in Dubuque, Iowa, Decem- 
ber 2, 1864, a son of Rollin G. and Lucy E. (Nelson) 
Hitchcock, natives of Vermont. The father was a 
farmer in his native state and continued to be one 
after he came West. In 1855 he located in Iowa, 
where he pui'chased a tract of wild land which he con- 

verted into a well improved and valuable fann. He 
and his wife died at the home of their son Charles at 
the age of eighty-nine years, their deaths occurring 
within one month of each other. They were the par- 
ents of three sons and four daughters, Charles A. 
being the only one of the seven living in Minnesota, 
of which he has been a resident for twenty-seven years. 
Charles A. Hitchcock grew to manhood and was 
educated in Iowa, and followed farming until 1888. 
In that year he removed to Mcintosh, this county, 
and began auctioneering stock, and this has been his 
principal occupation from then until the present time. 
In 1893 he changed his residence to Crookston, which 
has ever since been his home. But his business takes 
him periodically to Illinois and Iowa, where he is 



as well known and highly esteemed as he is in Min- 
nesota, and where he devotes himself to his chosen 
calling on an extensive scale and in a very active 

Mr. Hitchcock was married in 1888 to Miss Maiy 
E. Barr, a native of low a, in which state the marriage 
took place. They have one child, their son Harry AV., 
who is living at home with them and is connected 
with the Times Printing company. In the local pub- 
lic affairs of his community Mr. Hitchcock has long 

taken an active and helpful part. He served the city 
of Crookston as mayor from 1900 to 1903, and during 
his administration the first street paving in the city 
was done and other improvements of value were made. 
He also served as a member of the city council for a 
number of years. Fraternally he is connected with 
the Masonic Order and the Order of Elks. He also 
belongs to the United Commercial Travelers' Associa- 
tion, and his wife and son ai'e members of the Con- 
gregational church. 


Although yet a young man, and by no means of a 
wildly roving or adventurous nature, James M. Cath- 
eart, the accomplished and accommodating secretary 
of the Crookston Commercial club, has seen a great 
deal of this country and had an experience of ex- 
tensive variety. He is a native of Elkhart county, 
Indiana, where his life began in 1884, and the son 
of John F. and Florence (Boyer) Cathcart, the 
former a native of Virginia and the latter of Penn- 
sylvania. Their son James began his education in 
the district schools of Indiana and completed it at 
the select school kept by Rev. Dwight L. Moody at 
Mount Hermon, Massachusetts. 

Mr. Cathcart began his career of self-support and 
advancement in the employ of the Lake Shore & ilicli- 
igan Southern railroad, working in the engineering 
department at Elkhart, Indiana. Later he was in the 
same service in New York state and the general offices 
of the company in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1908 he came 
to Minnesota and located in St. Paul, where he entered 

the employ of the Great Northern railroad. In 1912 
and 1913 he was general manager of the department 
of hotels and camps in Glacier National Park, super- 
vising the operation and assisting in the construction 
of buildings, trails and other developments there for 
the railroad company. 

In the fall of 1913 Mr. Cathcart returned to Indi- 
ana, and in March^ 1914, when the Crookston Com- 
mercial club was reorganized, he was chosen secre- 
tary of the revived organization, and has served it in 
that capacity ever since. He is also secretary of the 
Northwestern Fair Association of Crookston, and a 
member of the Order of Elks and the Masonic Order, 
in the latter holding his Blue Lodge membership in 
Indiana and belonging to the Royal Arch and Com- 
mandery of Knights Templar and the Nobles of the 
Mystic Shrine in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was mar- 
ried in Grand Forks, North Dakota, October 24, 1915, 
to Miss Elva Gilbert, a native of South Dakota. 


This pioneer physician and surgeon of Crookston, 
who is widely and favorably known as a professional 
man of extensive attainments and skill and a citizen 
of great enterprise, public spirit and progressiveness, 
is a native of the city of Stavanger, Norway, where 
his life began July 11, 1857, and where he lived until 

he i-eached the age of sixteen years. In 1873 he came 
to the United States with his parents and located with 
them on a farm in Fillmore county, Minnesota. 

Dr. Holte remained with his parents and assisted 
them on the farm for a number of years. He then 
entered St. Olaf college, at Northfield, this state, and 



iu 1893 was graduated from the medical departmeut 
of the University of Minnesota. He at once began 
pi'acticing his profession with Crookstou as his head- 
quarters, and he has since then been eontinuouslj^ 
engaged in an active practice with special attention 
to the surgical branch of the profession. He has 
seiTcd as county physician of Polk county and is now 
secretary of the Tuberculosis Sanitarium Commission 
for Polk and Norman counties. 

In 1897 Dr. Holte built the Bethesda Hospital in 
Crookston, and for a number of years thereafter he 
was in active control of it. This valued institution 
is now owned by the Bethesda Hospital Association 
of Crookston and is conducted by the organization 
known as the Lutheran Deaconesses. Dr. Holte is a 
member of the state, county and Red River Valley 
medical societies and the American Medical Associa- 
tion. He is also a member of the American Public 
Health Association, and director of the Minnesota 

Public Health Association, and in business circles is 
a director of the Scandia-Americau Bank of Crooks- 
ton and the Crookston Commercial club. His religious 
affiliation is with the English United Lutheran 
church, and he is one of the deacons of the congre- 
gation in which he holds his membership. On Sep- 
tember 25, 1902, he was united in marriage with Miss 
Henrietta Lunde, of Franklin, Minnesota. They have 
three children, Harold Oliver, Evelyn Irene and 
Junius Augusteu. With nearly a quarter of a cen- 
tury of upright and serviceable living among this 
people, during all of which he has always been at 
their command for high-grade professional work, it 
is not surprising that Dr. Holte is universally esteemed 
throughout the Northwest, and the fact that he is 
is creditable alike to him and to the people among 
whom he has lived and labored so long and to such 
good purpose. 


Carrying on extensive industries in farming opera- 
tions and raising livestock ; taking an active and very 
serviceable part in the public affairs of his county and 
the whole state of Minnesota ; looking to the best and 
most wholesome progress and development of this 
part of the country, and holding a high place in the 
regard and good will of his fellow men, Hon. R. T. 
Buckler, at present (1916) state senator for the Sixty- 
sixth Senatorial district, is an ornament to the man- 
hood of Polk county and one of the county's most 
progressive, enterprising and useful citizens. 

Mr. Buckler was born in Coles county, Illinois, 
October 27, 1865, and grew to manhood and obtained 
his education there. His father died when the son 
was but fourteen years old, and as he was the oldest 
boy at home, the care of the family devolved in a 
measure on him. At the age of twenty-one he rented 
a tract of land in his native county and began to raise 
broomcorn on a large scale. His average acreage 
devoted to this production ranged from 120 to 160 

acres, and his crops were the largest ever raised in 
that part of Illinois. He prospered in his venture 
and bought land until he owned 370 acres, all of 
which he made through his own unaided efforts. He 
bought his land at $50 an acre and sold some of it at 
$100 and the rest at $150 an acre, but he expended a 
considerable sum on improvements also. 

The senator became a resident of Polk county in 
the spring of 1904, having purchased the j^ear before 
some 800 acres of land in Andover township. Later 
he sold a part of this but subsequently added more, 
and now owns 1,040 acres all in one body on Bum- 
ham's creek, six miles west of Crookston. On this land, 
a part of which is the old Alexander Burnham home, 
he raises great crops of grain and numbers of horses, 
cattle and sheep. In 1915 he had over 16,000 bushels 
of oats, 13,000 bushels of barley and 7,000 bushels of 
wheat. In his farming operations he employs four 
men and thirteen horses all the time, but does his 
plowing and threshing with a gas tractor. His usual 

/f . X r3^t/^^ 



holdings of livestock run from 1,700 to over 4,000 
head of sheep, which run iu the grass and stubble and 
are fattened for the markets, a large herd of cattle 
and a good-sized drove of horses. His farm, which 
is well drained and one of the choicest in the county, 
is widely and favorably known as a great stock farm. 

In everything that has to do with the welfare of 
Polk county and his township the senator has always 
taken an active and very helpful interest. He was 
one of the organizers of the Northwestern Fair asso- 
ciation, has been one of its directors from the begin- 
ning of its history, frequently one of its leading 
exhibitors, and has served as its treasurer. He is 
also one of the directors of the Farmers' Elevator 
company at Crookston, and has served as chairman 
of the township board of supervisors in his township. 

In the fall of 1914 Mr. Buckler was elected to the 
State Senate as a nonpartisan candidate, but he is a 
Democrat in political faith and cast his last vote for 
the presidency for Hon. "Woodrow Wilson. In the 
senate session of 1915 he served on the committees on 
railroads, grain and warehouses, roads and bridges, 
towns and counties, and othere of importance. He 
procured the enactment of a law compelling railroad 
companies to keep the stock cars used by them clean ; 
obtained an appropriation of $15,000 for cleaning out 

the Sand Hill river near Beltrami, and was an earnest 
advocate for giving the farmers more voice in deter- 
mining how the money appropriated for good roads 
should be expended. His Sand Hill river project, 
which had been hung up in three former sessions of 
the legislature, was carried into successful execution 
in 1915. It provides drainage for a large extent of 
valuable land not hitherto wholly available for 
His views on the expenditure of state money on roads 
made him popular in his district and had a consider- 
able degree of influence in bringing about his election 
to the senate. The law as passed did not fully meet 
his views, but it gives the farmers and taxpayers 
advantages of value which they did not have before it 
was passed. 

In fraternal relations Senator Buckler is a member 
of the Order of Elks. He was married at the age of 
twenty-six to Miss Addie Ball, of Coles county, Illi- 
nois. They have six children, Ruth, Eva, Jack, La 
Feme, Mary, and Maxine. The religious leaning of 
the family is to the Presbyterian church. The senator 
and all the other members of his household take an 
earnest interest in all undertakings for the good of 
the county and do their part toward making them suc- 
cessful and serviceable in the largest possible measure. 


Secretary, treasurer and general manager of the 
Kiewel Brewing company of Crookston, Charles E. 
Kiewel holds a position of gi-eat importance in the 
business life of the city and is highly esteemed by all 
classes of the people for the admirable manner in 
which he fills it, the elevated and useful citizenship 
he exhibits and his sterling manhood in all the rela- 
tions of life. He was born in the city of Moorhead, 
Clay county, Minnesota, in 1875, the son of Jacob 
and Rose (Niggler) Kiewel, the former a native of 
Prussia and the latter of Switzerland. They came to 
this country in their childhood and located in Otter- 
tail county, Minnesota, the mother's people arriving 

there in 1862. The father is president of the brewing 
company in Crookston of which the son is the secre- 
tary, treasurer and manager. 

Charles E. Kiewel grew to manhood at Fergus Palls, 
Minnesota, and obtained his education in the schools 
of that city. He learned the brewing business at Lit- 
tle Falls in this state. In 1899 he and his father 
became interested in the brewing industry in Crooks- 
ton by purchasing a small brewery owned and ope- 
rated by August Walters. They soon afterward 
enlarged the plant to its present capacity of 30,000 
barrels a year. Their product is sold in many parts 
of the Northwest in the United States and also ex- 



tensively in Canada. They have an active trade and 
show the most commendable enterprise in keeping up 
with its steadily increasing demands and all of its 
most exacting requirements, being abreast of the times 
and the market at all times. 

In addition to his interest in the brewery Mr. Kie- 
wel is extensively engaged in farming and raising 
live stock, his favorites being Holstein and Shorthorn 
cattle, and he has lands devoted exclusively to agri- 
culture besides those he uses for grazing purposes. 
He pushes all departments of his business with energy, 
giving each his personal attention, and studying 
everything likely to aid him in olitaining the best 

results and the largest returns for his outlay of time, 
effort and money throughout. 

Mr. Kiewel was man-ied in 1896 to Miss Katharine 
Blake of Little Falls. They have two children, their 
sons Dewey J. and Charles. The father of these chil- 
dren is a member of the Order of Elks and takes an 
active part in the work of his lodge. He is also a 
progressive citizen and displays a highly commend- 
able jJublic spirit in connection with all undertakings 
for tlie welfare and improvement of the city and 
county of his home. He is widely and favorably 
known in many parts of Minnesota and the adjoining 


Charles E. Dampier, M. D., pioneer physician and 
suj'geon in the northwest and eminent citizen of 
Crookston, is a native of Canada, born in Waterloo, 
province of Quebec, June 5, 1854. Two years later 
his parents, Edward and Charlotte (Parmelee) Dam- 
pier, came to Minnesota. Edward Dampier was born 
in Paris but was of English parentage and his wife 
was a native of Vermont. They located in Steel 
county, in what is now Lamand township, in 1856, 
and were the second family of white settlers in that 
section. Here Edward Dampier took a claim and 
engaged in the clearing of the land, part of which 
was a timber tract. A few years later he removed to 
Meridian township where he lived until 1862. In that 
year he went to Dakota county and there rented a 
farm. He also resided for a time in Fergus Falls 
and Northfield. He was engaged in the hotel busi- 
ness in the latter place when the town was raided by 
the Younger Bros, and it was from a window of his 
hotel that Dr. Wheeler shot Clell Miller. The gun 
used in this affair is now in the pos.session of Dr. 
Dampier, a memento of pioneer days. Edward Dam- 
pier answered the call of his adopted country during 
the time of her great struggle and enlisted from 
Dakota county in Company A, Hatch's independent 
battalion and served as fii^st lieutenant of his com- 

pany, which was detailed to detached duty in Min- 
nesota, until the close of the war. On receiving his 
honorable discharge in 1865, he returned to Dakota 
county and j^urchased a farm near Castle Rock. As 
an early settler of the state, he endured the hard- 
ships and ti'ials of that time, a worthy citizen of the 
new commonwealth. He died, Februaiy, 22, 1889. 
His wife survived him a number of years, her death 
occurring on May 1, 1905. They had seven children, 
of whom two sons and a daughter are residents of 
Minnesota. Char-les Dampier was i-eared in Minne- 
sota and received his early education in the country 
schools. He comiDleted his preparatory studies in 
an academy at Elgin, Illinois, and attended Carleton 
college. He began his professional studies under 
Dr. C. L. Armington in Northfield and in 1876 en- 
tered the medical college of the University of Michi- 
gan, receiving his degree in 1878. He located at 
Dell Rapids, South Dakota, and practiced there for 
about six months and then returned to Minnesota 
and to Northfield. In the following year he came to 
Crookston where he enjoys a large and successful 
practice as the oldest practicing physician in that 
city. Dr. Dampier has never regarded his medical 
education as finished but continues his scientific 
studies and research, keeping in touch with the many 



developments and achievements of the medical world. 
He has taken several post graduate courses, two of 
them in Chicago. He has won much distinction 
through his able services during his professional 
career. He served for five .years as councilor for the 
State Medical society and is a member of the Amer- 
ican, Red River Valley, and County medical societies. 
He has received a number of imj^ortant federal ap- 
pointments and is the county examiner for the sani- 
tarium at Walker, Minnesota, the secretary of the 
Board of Pension Examiners aiid for twenty-five 
years has been the city health officer. He has now 

held the position of local surgeon for the Northern 
Pacific railroad twenty-five years. Aside from his 
pi'ofessional duties, Dr. Darapier is identified with 
public interests as secretary and treasurer of the 
school board and as treasurer of the Building and 
Loan association. He is a member of the Masonic 
fraternity, a Shriner and Past Eminent Commander 
of the Crookston commandery and has been treasurer 
of the local chapter for over thirty years. He was a 
charter member of the Elks' lodge and has served as 
treasurer of that order for a number of vears. 


This enterprising and progressive young business 
man, who is a leader among the business men of his 
generation and circle, and the present capable and 
popular mayor of Crookston, is a native of Polk 
county and was reared among its people. He is wholly 
a product of the county and all the credit for business 
capacity, good citizenship and administrative ability 
in office he enjo.ys in such large measure reflects back 
upon the county, of whose residents he is a fair type 
and good representative. 

Mr. Misner was born at Euclid, tliis county, July 
10, 1883, the son of the late Harvey C. Misner, a 
sketch of whom will be found in this volume. The 
sou began his education in the district schools, con- 
tinued it at the high school in Crookston, and com- 
pleted it at Macalester college in St. Paul. He started 
his business career as a clerk in his father's general 
store at Euclid, and from 1904 to 1911 he was in the 
real estate business at Pasadena, California, Init \\ith 
a continuous longing to get back to Miimesota. 

In the year last named Mr. Misner gratified his 
longing by returning to this state and taking up his 

residence in Crookston. He then became manager 
of the VVheeler-Misner Loan company, of which he is 
also secretary and treasurer. In addition he is presi- 
dent of the Crookston Investment company and secre- 
tary of the Crookston Cordage company, and from 
March, 1913, to January, 1915, he was president of 
the Crookston Commercial club, of which he is still 
a director, as he is of the Northwestern Minnesota 
Fair Association. 

In politics Mr. Misner has always been a Republi- 
can, but never neutral nor indifferent to the pulilic 
welfare. In the fall of 1915 he Avas nominated for 
mayor of Crookston as the city's candidate, and he 
was elected by a handsome plurality over the regular 
Republican and Socialist nominees. In fraternal re- 
lations he is connected with the Order of Elks and is 
a Freemason of the Knights Templar degi-ee. He is 
recognized as a first-class business man and a citizen 
of the best and most serviceable type. On June 12, 
1906, he was united in marriage with Miss Ethel L. 
Scott, of Depere, Wisconsin. 


A leader in business circles in Crookston and always 
at the front in every undertaking for the improve- 
ment of the city or the benefit of its residents, Edward 

Peterson, superintendent of the Crookston Water- 
works, Power and Light company, is a very useful 
citizen and a forceful factor in promoting the prog- 



ress aud improvemeut of Polk county and all the 
couuti-y adjacent to it and tributarj' to its industrial, 
commercial, mercantile and social life. 

Mr. Peterson was born in Sweden August 7, 1860, 
the son of Peter and Anna Peterson, farmers in their 
native land aud also in this country after their arrival 
here in 1882, when they took up their residence at 
what is now the thriving and progi-essive city of 
Thief River Falls. Their son Edward was twenty- 
two years old when the family came to the United 
States. He had completed his education in his native 
place, and was ready for any suitable opening he 
might find in his new home. He remained at Tliief 
River Falls four years, then moved to Crookston in 
1886 and accepted a position in the employ of the 
waterworks department. 

In the course of a little while Mr. Peterson worked 
his way up to the post of engineer for the company 
and some time afterward was appointed superintend- 
ent. He was elected treasurer of the company in 

1892, and since then he has been practically in charge 
of all the operations of the department in the dual 
capacity of superintendent aud treasurer. He was 
one of the organizers of the Crookston Building and 
Loan association; is a director and president of the 
Crookston Cordage company, a director of the Elec- 
trical Development company, and chairman of the 
development committee of the Crookston Commercial 
club. He is also a member of the Crookston school 

On January 1, 1888, Mr. Petei-son was united in 
marriage with Miss Hannah Anderson, the nuptials 
being solemnized in Minneapolis. This Jlrs. Peter- 
son died in 1892, aud on August 22, 1894, Mr. Peter- 
son contracted a second marriage, which united him 
with Miss Anna Pherson, of Chicago. They have 
eight children, Julia, Esther, Agnes Ethel, Albert 
Edward, Herbert K., Florence, Adeline and Paul, 
all of whom are still members of the parental family 


Edwin E. Lommen, of Crookston, a prominent citi- 
zen and one of the early settlers of the county, ^vas 
born in Winneshiek county, Iowa, February 9, 1856, 
the son of Andei-s 0. and Sigrid (Hoyme) Lommen, 
natives of Norway. His father was a well known 
pioneer farmer in Iowa, having located on govern- 
ment lajid there in 1850, after living two years in 
Wisconsin. He was widely identified with the pub- 
lic activities of the time, was a member of the lower 
House of the Legislature and served in a number of 
local offices. 

Edwin E. Lonunen taught school at eighteen j-ears 
of age and clerked in a hardware store at Decorah, 
Iowa. In 1878 he came to Polk county and took up 
a Homestead claim five miles west of Crookston, on 
which he lived for 19 years, cultivating and improv- 
ing his farm. Since locating in Polk county he has 
been actively and prominently associated with the 
interests which have contributed to its progress and 

welfare. He has marked tlie rapid evolution, which 
has replaced the log cabin store, saloon, and tem- 
porary frame sliacks, which occupied the site of 
Crookston in 1878, with the thriving, progressive 
city of nine thousand inhabitants, with its brick 
blocks and paved streets. No less remarkable has 
been the development of the county, which as an 
agricultural community, ranks second to none in the 
State. In this development he feels a just pride in 
having taken part. Wliile living on his farm, he 
held various local offices and in 1890 was elected to 
the State Senate and was a member of the legislative 
body during the sessions of 1891 and 1893. Among 
the enactments for \\-hich he was responsible, there 
were two which dii'ectly affected his home county; 
the law reducing the salarj' of county officials, which 
has saved many thousand dollai-s annually and the 
First Red River Valley drainage law, which carried 
an appropriation of $100,000 from the state and pro- 



vided for an additional contribution of $25,000 from 
the Great Northern i-ailroad. This law made possible 
the construction of the first extensive ditches in the 
A'alley and has had far reaching results, in increasing 
the value of the land and the prosperity of the region. 
In 1898 he was elected Clerk of the District Court, 
M'hich ofSce he held four years. In 1894 he was can- 
didate for lieutenant governor and in 1896 was candi- 
date for Congress on the Populist ticket, with the 
Democratic endorsement ; but was defeated. 

Mr. Lommen was cashier of the State Bank of 
Buxton for 7 years; but failing health caused his 
retirement, so he returned to Crookston in 1914, where 

he has been engaged in the real estate business, de- 
voting some attention to his farming interests. He 
is a member of I. 0. 0. F. and the M. W. A. fra- 
ternal organizations. He has been twice married. 
His fii-st union was with Maria Olson in 1881. She 
is survived by their four children, Clarence E., a 
physician; Albert M., who resides in Grand Porks; 
Alice J., a teacher in the schools at Hatton, North 
Dakota, and Sidney N., a student at the N. D. U. 
In 1902 Mr. Lommen was married to Addie S. Sana- 
ker, who had been previously mai-ried and widowed. 
They are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. 


Alex H. Dunlap, M. D., one of the leading physi- 
cians and surgeons of Crookston, has been eminently 
connected with the medical profession of the county 
since 1882, when he first engaged in practice in Crooks- 
ton. He was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1857. His 
father, John Dunlap, was a native of Ontario and 
his wife, Julia (Ellis) Dunlap, was born in Edin- 
burgh, Scotland. John Dunlap was a lumber man 
and mill owner and lived in Canada throughout his 
life. His death and that of his wife, but a few hours 
later, occurred in 1905. Of their family of four sons 
and three daughters. Dr. Alex Dunlap is the only 
one who does not reside in Canada. He was reared 
in that country and received his early education in 
the public schools and then became a student in 
Queens College at Kingston. After graduating from 
that institution in 1875, he began to prepare himself 
for the medical profession, studying for a few months 
under Dr. Lafferty of Kingston and in the winter of 
the same year entered McGill college. In 1882 he 

received his degree and came to Crookston where he 
has continued to successfully pursue his professional 
duties and has received an extensive patronage as a 
general practitioner. In the length of time of his 
services as a physician, he now ranks third among 
the local members of his profession and the maiij' 
able attainments of his career have won him the 
respect and confidence of his colleagues. No small 
part- of his success is due to years of keen study and 
a constant alertness to the rapid advances made in 
medical discoveries. Dr. Dunlap has availed himself 
of the advantages of post graduate work, each year, 
either in New York clinics or at McGill college. He 
is a member of the Red River Valley Medical associa- 
tion and of the American Medical association. Aside 
from his private practice, Dr. Dunlap held the posi- 
tion of local surgeon for the Great Northern railroad 
for several yeare. He was married iu 1912 to Annie 
Bolie, who is a native of Minnesota. Dr. Dunlap is 
a member of the Masonic order. 


Charles F. Skoug, postmaster of Crookston, is a 
native of Norway, born at Frederickstadt in 1870 
and came with his parents to this country when ten 

years of age. He is the son of Theo. J. and Caroline 
(Mathesian) Skoug, who located in Lyon county, Min- 
nesota, in 1880. Here the father entered upon the 



laborious development of uew laud and engaged in 
farming in the State for a number of years and reared 
a family of two sons and four daughters. Both par- 
ents are now living and reside in Seattle, Washington. 
Charles Skoug assisted his father on the homestead 
for several years and at the age of sixteen, embarked 
upon his commercial career as a salesman of farm 
machinery, his enterprise and natural ability winning 
him ready success and he continued in this occupation 
for seventeen years, traveling over all the western 
states and building up a prospei-ous trade. In 1907 
he located in Crookstou, where he is one of the in- 
fluential and progressive citizens. He has become 
widely known over the state through his prominent 
sei'\dces in the political field and in 1896 gave con- 
spicuous service as the leader of the Democratic cam- 
paign, his work evincing marked executive ability 

and a natural political sense. He has also represented 
the county in a number of conventions. In June, 
1913, he was appointed postmaster and has discharged 
the duties of his position with competency and satis- 
faction to the patrons. In fraternal circles, he is a 
well known and popular member of the Masonic 
order, the Elks and the United Commercial Travelers. 
His marriage to Anna M. Nordie, a resident of Min- 
nesota, was solemnized June 20, 1895. She died in 
Crookstou, April 19, 1914, leaving three children, 
Kennth M., Vivian and Viola A. Mr. Skoug was 
married a second time on August 21, 1915, to Mrs. 
Elizabeth (Lindsley) Lundberg, the widow of Mag- 
nus Lundberg. Mrs. Skoug was bom in Missouri 
but spent her early life in St. Paul. They make 
their home in Crookstou. 


Peter M. Ringdal, of Crookstou, prominent busi- 
ness man and distinguished citizen, is a native of 
Minnesota, born iu Goodhue county in 1861. He 
was reared on a farm where he remained until he was 
nineteen years of age. He then entered the railroad 
and express business and continued in this occupa- 
tion until 1890. During this time, steady application 
to his work and intelligent study of its different 
phases, eminently fitted him for responsible positions 
later and enabled him to render valuable service to 
the state. He located in Crookstou in 1888. In 1894 
he entered public service as state senator, elected on 
the Populist party ticket. Since that time he has 
continued to be actively identified with public affairs 
and has accomplished much toward securing better 
and more efficient legislation. As senator, he spent a 
busy term and his principal efforts were directed 
toward better control of common carriers and the 
reduction of transportation rates, although this was 
some years before the attention of the general public 
had been aroused to the encroachments of corpor- 
ations. He also originated and pushed to a successful 

conclusion, the movement which resulted in the estab- 
lishment, in 1896, of the State Experiment station 
at Crookstou. This station has since been converted 
into a state agricultural school. He favored more 
efficacious methods in the State Labor bureau and 
was instrumental in reorganizing the department to 
that purpose. In 1898 he received a unanimous 
renomination for state senator but withdrew from 
the legislative ticket to acept an unanimous nomina- 
tion for congress by the Peojiles and Democratic 
pai-ties, but was defeated iu the election. In 1899 he 
was appointed a member of State Railroad and "Ware- 
house commission and worked with this commission 
for two years, during which time considerable prog- 
ress was made in reducing and equalizing railroad 
rates and removing discriminations. He was made a 
member of the State Board of Control in January, 
1907, and continued to serve in this office for a term 
of six years. Mr. Riugdal is the present register of 
the LTnited States land office at Crookstou, having 
been appointed to this position in January, 1914. In 
1912 he was honored by the Democratic citizens of 




the state with the nomination for governor. In public 
service and in the commercial world, his integrity and 
the power to accomplish that which is based on his 
earnest convictions, have won the respect of all men. 
He has always been a radical democrat and faithful 
supporter of the principles of democracy, favoring 
all measures aimed at the equalizing of opportunity 

and the destruction of monopoly and special privilege. 
He is prominently associated with the business 
interests of the city as president of the Crookston 
Granite company and of the Polk County State bank, 
a sketch of which is found in this work. Mr. Ringdal married in 1885 to Mary J. Shirlej'. 


James P. O'Connell, receiver at the United States 
land office at Crookston. is a native of Minnesota, 
born in Wright county, July 18, 1873, the son of 
William and Mary (Haley) O'Connell, pioneer set- 
tlers of the state. They were natives of Ireland and 
were mari'ied in New York, after coming to this coun- 
try. In 1858 they came to Minnesota and William 
O'Connell located on a government claim in Wright 
county where he engaged in the constructive work 
of the frontier farmer, clearing the wild land and 
continuing the improvement of it until his death, 
March 13, 1874. The death of his wife occurred in 
1908 and they are survived by seven children; the 
six sons of the family all residing in the State. 
James P. O'Connell, bom in the early days of the 
development of the country, has witnessed the many 
stages of its progress and has taken a keen interest 
in the observation of the forces which have so rapidly 
forced the evolution of the primitive wilderness into 
a populated and productive agricultural region. He 

remained on the homestead in Wright county until 
nineteen years of age, meanwhile attending the pub- 
lic schools and then became a telegraph operator on 
the Great Northern railroad. After three yeare of 
able service in this position, he was appointed sta- 
tion agent for the road at Warren, Minnesota, and 
continued in this capacity for sixteen years. In 
1914 he was made receiver at the government land 
office at Crookston, a position for which his efficient 
and satisfactory service has proven him eminently 
fitted. Mr. O'Connell has always given his active 
interests to the affairs of the Democratic jjarty and 
in fraternal circles, is a well known member of the 
Elk lodge. His marriage to Louise Flannigan was 
solemnized at Waverly, in 1900. She, like her hus- 
band, is a native of Minnesota, born at Waterto\^^^. 
They have three children, James, Sydnie Georgiana 
and Paul J. Mr. O'Connell and his family are mem- 
bers of the Catholic church. 


Gunder Stenerson, of Erskine, a prominent lum- 
berman of the northwest, is identified with two well- 
known lumber companies, as manager of the company 
of Stenerson Brothers, lumber dealers and contractors, 
and president of Stenerson Lumber corporation. He 
is a native of Norway, bom August 1, 1864, and came 
to this country, accompanied by his brother, Sven 
Stenerson, in 1886. They worked during one winter 

in the pineries of Michigan and then went to Dane 

county, Wisconsin, where they were employed in the 
lumber camps and at farm labor. In 1887 they were 
joined by the third brother, Knute Stenerson, and in 
the following year the three brothers removed to Min- 
nesota. Being acquainted with the locality of Pelican 
Rapids through friends and relatives, who resided 
there, they bought eighty acres of timber land near 
that place. The land was covered with hardwood 
and with an expenditure of about four hundred dol- 



lars they installed a portable sawmill and secured 
some pine timber, and from this modest start, with 
notable management and business ability, they have 
built one of the important lumber industries and cor- 
porations of northern Minnesota. In 1892 the Sten- 
erson brothers, with Evan Olegaard, established the 
Olegaard & Stcnerson company, with a lumber yard at 
Erskine. In 1890 Stenerson brothers started a yard 
at Pelican Rapids, and later bought the other yards 
at Mentor, Felton and Borup. Sven Stenerson was 
a carpenter by trade and through his extensive opera- 
tions as a contractor and builder in Pelican Rapids 
added this business to the company 's interests. Upon 
the organization of the company, Gunder Stenerson 
was made manager and put in charge of the Erskine 
yards and Knute Stenerson retained the direction of 
their interests at Pelican Rapids, and this arrange- 
ment has continued to the present time. In 1895 Mr. 
Olegaard withdrew from the firm and the company of 
Stenerson Brothers was fonned, and has enjoyed a 
steadily growing trade, prospering in all its enter- 
prises, in the liunber business and a.s building con- 
tractors, a present important contract being the 
erection of a United Lutheran church at Erskine at 
an estimated cost of some ten thousand dollars. The 
yard at Mentor had been sold and was later re- 
bought. As operated at present, the yards are located 
at Pelican Rapids, Erskine and Mentor, and the com- 
pany is owned by Gunder Stenerson and Knute Sten- 
erson, Sven Stenerson having sold his interest in 
1913 and returned to Norway, where he purchased the 
old family home and made it his permanent residence. 

The Stenerson Lumljer company was incorporated 
with a capital of $100,000 and conducts an ex- 
tensive business through its yards at Earhardt, Hal- 
stad and various other places. Gunder Stenerson is 
the president of the company, Knute Stenerson vice 
president and L. I. Grina secretary, treasurer and 
manager. The other stockholders are Sven Stenerson, 
Melvin Grina, the manager of the yard at Earhardt ; 
Conrad Grina, local manager at Borup, teind Ole 
Grina, who is in charge of the branch office at Halstad. 
Gunder Stenereon is widely known thi-ough his suc- 
cessful association with the various important business 
interests of his busy career and as business man and 
citizen is highly esteemed by all, and aside from liis 
active interest and support of public endeavor has 
given valuable service in local office, as mayor and 
member of the school board and is a present member 
of the town council. In 1907 he returned to his native 
land for a visit, but has continued to make his home 
at Erskine since 1892, spending the summer months 
at his cottage on Lake Sarah, a few miles distant. He 
was married in 1894 to Betsy Torgeson, daughter of 
Thomas Torgeson, a pioneer of the Thirteen Towns, 
who opened the first hotel in Erskine in 1888 and is 
now living on his farm, one mile south of the village. 
Five children were born to Mr. Stenerson and his 
wife, four of whom, Ragna, Ingeman, Christine and 
Gordon, are now living. A daughter, Corrine, died in 
early childhood. They are members of the Synod 

Lutheran church, where Mr. Stenerson gives active 
service as treasurer. 


Martin O'Brien, of Crookston, a prominent 
attorney and eminent citizen of the state, was bom 
in Boone county, Illinois, October 15, 1867. He is 
the son of Michael and Mary (Tighe) O'Brien, who 
were natives of Ireland. Michael O'Brien was born 
in county Mayo and was married to Mary Tighe in 
her native county of Sligo. They came to this 

country about 1850, locating in Boone county, Illinois, 
where he followed his trade of stone mason. They 
continued to make their home here until their death. 
Seven children survive them and three of the sons 
reside in Crookston. Martin O'Brien was reared in 
liis native state and received his early education in 
the county schools. After graduating from the high 



school at Belvidere, Illinois, he began the study of law 
in the office of Judge R. W. Wright, a pioneer lawyer 
of Boone county. In June, 1889, he was admitted to 
the bar and located immediately in Crookston and 
began the practice of law. He has engaged in the 
general practice of his profession and from the 
inception of his career has met with noteworthy suc- 
cess, winning the regard and approbation of his legal 
associates. For two years he was a member of the 
firm of Wilkinson, Schmidt & O'Brien in partnership 
with A. C. Wilkinson and P. C. Schmidt. Since 
leaving this firm he has conducted an independent 
practice. Mr. O'Brien is a member of the Democratic 
party and is extensively identified with the political 
affairs of the state. He has been actively interested 
in many of the important conventions, serving as 
delegate at large in national convention of 1908 and 
district delegate to the national convention of 1912 
and was made the Minnesota member of the committee 
on resolutions in both national conventions. He was 

elected chairman of the state democratic committee 
in 1912 and served in this office until his professional 
duties necessitated his resignation and forced him to 
decline re-election. Whereupon he was elected vice 
chairman and made a member of the executive com- 
mittee. He is at present city attorney of Crookston, 
having served in that office five terms. His adminis- 
tration of public matters has been characterized by 
the same display of integrity and ability that has 
marked his private legal affairs. He has also served 
the county in the capacity of assistant to the county 
attorney in important matters of litigation, in which 
the county was interested. He has been E. R. of the 
Crookston Lodge P. B. 0. E. and a member of the 
Grand Lodge of that order. He served for five years 
as member national board of Auditoi-s, M. W. of A. 
He was married in Minneapolis, in 1904, to Elizabeth 
Mealia, who is a native of Minnesota. The}^ have 
three children, Marion, John and James. 


Arthur A. Miller, of Crookston, well-known lawyer 
and identified with the banking interests of the north- 
west, was bom in Rock county, Wisconsin, September 
16, 1851. His parents, Samuel and Sophia (Reid) 
Miller, were natives of Nova Scotia and came to Wi.s- 
consin in 1851. Here Samuel Miller located on timber 
land and began the arduous task of clearing and cul- 
tivating this tract. He devoted the remainder of his 
life to his fann and developed a fine property. His 
death oecui-red in 1888 and that of his wife in 1914. 
Three children survive them, a daughter, who is the 
present owner of the old homestead; a son, residing 
at Harvard, 111., and Arthur A. Arthur A. Miller 
was reared on his father's farm and attended the 
schools at Milton, Wis., where he graduated. He 
then entered the educational field and spent eight 
years teaching in the schools of his native state. But 
his ambitions were centered in the legal profession 
and in 1882, he began the study of law. The follow- 

ing year he was admitted to the bar and located in 
Fargo, N. D. After five years of successful practice 
in that city, he formed a partnership with Mr. Foote 
and the new finn of Miller & Foote was established at 
Crookston in 1888, where they have enjoyed a large 
and lucrative practice. As a lawyer, Mr. Miller has 
won the respect and confidence of his professional 
associates. Aside from his legal activities he has been 
prominently identified with the growth of the financial 
institutions of this region. In these interests, he is 
associated with his law partner, Mr. Foote. In 1906 
they bought the controlling interest in the Scandia 
American State bank. Other banks in which they 
own shares are the First National of Cass Lake, the 
Citizen State of Mcintosh, the First State bank at 
Thief River Falls, the First National of WaiTen and 
the First National bank of Crookston. Mr. Miller also 
has extensive land interests, owning several thousand 
acres of farm land. His political affiliations are with 



the Republican party and altlio he has evaded 
active participation in the political arena he has 
faithfully discharged the duties of good citizenship. 
As a pioneer citizen of Polk county, he has been 
honorably associated with its progress and prosperity. 
His marriage to Alice L. Page of Rock county, Wis., 
occurred in 1877. Four children have been born to 
this union, Albert A., who died in 1891, Lucius S., 

Annie M., who is the wife of Hariy L. Marsh of 
Crookston; and Harold P. Mr. Miller is a thirty- 
second degree Mason, a Shriner and member of the 
Commandery. He is also a member of the State 
Historical society of Minnesota. Mr. Miller and his 
family are communicants in the Congregational 
church of Crookston. 

G. 0. HAGE. 

G. 0. Hage, cashier of the Polk County State bank 
of Crookston, is a native of the state, born in Norman 
county, May 7, 1882. He is the son of Ole R. and 
Martha B. (Birklaud) Hage, who came to this 
country from Norway in 1866, settling in Fillmore 
county, Minnesota, and as pioneer farmers of the 
state are identified with its early history and develoj)- 
ment. They lived for a number of years in Norman 
county and then removed to Crookston, which is their 
present home. G. 0. Hage was reared on his father 's 
farm in Norman county and received his early educa- 
tion in the country schools. He then entered Crooks- 
ton college and after three years of study in that 
institution, spent one year in the University of North 
Dakota. After leaving the university he engaged for 
a time in clerical work in Crookston and then became 
interested in the real estate business which he 

operated with marked success. During this time he 
also served as assistant clerk for the state legislature 
for two sessions. Mr. Hage was among the first to 
promote the establishment of the new bank and it 
was largely through his unfailing interest and efforts 
together with P. M. Ringdal that the organization 
of tliis successful enterprise was culminated in 1913 
and since that time he has been associated with its 
management as ca.shier and director. As business 
man and citizen, Mr. Hage is actively interested in 
the advancement of the general welfare and pros- 
perity. He is a member of the Elk lodge. He was 
married in June, 1911, to Nellie Christianson, daugh- 
ter of N. Christianson, a pioneer of Polk county. They 
have one child Norma. Mr. Hage and his family are 
members of the First Methodist Episcopal church of 


Louis Gonyea, of Crookston, well known business 
man and ex-sherifi", has been prominently identified 
with the history of the county since its early settle- 
ment. He was born in Old-Town, Penobscot county, 
Maine, March 10, 1845, the son of Henry and Flora 
(Betters) Gonyea, who were natives of the province 
of Quebec, Canada. Henry Gonyea engaged in the 
milling business and for sometime worked in the 
Maine pineries. In 1874 he went to Minneapolis and 
ten years later removed to Crookston, where the 
deaths of himself and wife occurred at the home of 

their son, Louis Gonyea. The latter was reared in 
his native state and when eighteen years of age 
enlisted in Company G of the Second Maine cavalry 
and saw active service during the remaining two 
years of the Civil war. His regiment was detailed to 
the gulf campaign and was under the command of 
General Butler. After receiving his honorable dis- 
charge in 1865, Mr. Gonyea returned to Maine and 
four years later went to Saginaw, Michigan, where 
he remained until 1871 when he continued his west- 
ward journey and located in Minneapolis, entering 



the employ of Caleb Dorr in the Mississippi and Rum 
River Boom company. In 1878 he came to Crooks- 
ton, then a small pioneer village, and entered a 
claim ou government land. For several years he 
engaged in the development of his land and farming 
interests, meanwhile working for a time with a mill- 
ing company ou the Red river. As a citizen, Mr. 
Gonyea has beeu notably associated with the gi-owth 
of public interests and gave his first official service 
as a member of the police force of Crookston, which 
was oi'gauized in 1884. He remained ou the force for 
fourteen years and was chief of police for eleven 
years. In 1901 he was appointed deputy sheriff 
under E. J. Sullivan and in 1905 was elected to the 
office of sheriff and continued to give efficient sei-vice 
during two terms. Subsequently he spent some time 
traveling through the western states and returned to 

Crookston to open a real estate office, conducting ex- 
tensive land transactions which have made the Gon- 
yea Land company one of the prosperous business 
organizations of the county. During the many years 
of his useful careei", as soldier, pioneer citizen and 
successful business man, Mr. Gonyea has earned the 
esteem and confidence of all for his many able serv- 
ices. He was married in ]Miuneapolis, in 1873 to 
Olivia Darwin, who was a native of Canada. Her 
death occurred in 1906. Eleven children were born 
to this union, five of whom are now living, Lillian, 
the wife of Mr. Sandberg of Crookston ; Louis J., who 
resides in Washington; Mamie, who married Mr. C. 
Langley and lives in Idaho, Alexander C, and George 
W., who are residents of Crookston. Mr. Gonyea is 
a member of the Republican party and of the Elks 


Hon. A. D. Stephens, president of the Merchants' 
National Bank of Crookston, former mayor of Crooks- 
ton and state senator, is a typical representative of 
its best and most serviceable citizenship. He has 
lived in Crookston continuously for more than thirty 
years, and has passed the whole of his life in Minne- 
sota to the present time. 

Mr. Stephens was born in Carver county, this state, 
in 1855, a son of Lars and Hannah (Peterson) 
Stephens, natives of Sweden, where they were reared, 
educated and married. The father came to the 
United States in 1851 and the mother in 1853. They 
located in Carver county, Minnesota, in 1854, and 
were among the pioneers of that county, clearing a 
farm there from the wilderness, and helping to lay 
the foundations of the county's industrial, civil, social 
and educational institutions. The father filled with 
credit to himself and benefit to the county several 
different local offices, and stood high in the regard of 
the people. He died in Kandiyohi county a number 
of years ago. The mother is still living and is now 
ninety-seven years of age. 

A. D. Stephens was reared and educated in Carver 
county in part, completing his academic course at 
Gustavus Adolphus College. After leaving college 
he passed some years in clerking, as a salesman on 
the road and in other occupations, and in 1880 located 
at Fisher, Polk county, where he engaged in general 
merchandising. In 1884 he took up his residence in 
Crookston as the representative of the Corbin Bank- 
ing company. In 1891 he purchased an interest in 
the jMerchants National Bank of Crookston, of which 
he became president after serving the bank some time 
as cashier. The bank has grown in patronage aud 
influence under his careful management, keeping 
progress with the current of events and up to date 
at all times in all departments and features of its 
business. It is held to be one of the safest, soundest 
and most satisfactory banks of its rank in the North- 
west. Mr. Stephens is interested also in .several other 
banks in Polk county and other places in Minnesota. 
He is one of the directors of the Scandinavian- 
American Bank of Minneapolis and president of a 
bank in Montana. 



The public affaii-s of his city, coiiuty, state and 
country have always received careful, studious and 
sei'viceable attention from Mr. Stephens, and he has 
taken an active part in them. He served as mayor 
of Crookston in 1893 and again in 1900. In 1902 he 
was elected a member of tlie state senate, and dui'ing 
his service in that body he was the chief instrument 
in obtaining the location of the Northwestern School 
of Agriculture at Crookston. This institution has 
done a great woi-k in promoting advanced farming in 
the northwestern part of the state. 

Mr. Stephens is a public speaker of ability, elo- 
quence and force, and is in frequent demand for 
public addresses of various kinds. He has been par- 
ticularly successful in political speeches in many 
campaigns, advocating and defending the principles 
and candidates of the Republican party, to which he 
has always belonged and in which he has long been 
prominent. He has been strongly broiight forward 
by his friends as the candidate of that party for the 
governorship of the state at different times and was 
a delegate to the Chicago Republican National con- 
vention of 1904 which nominated Theodore Roosevelt 
for the Presidency, and in the campaign which fol- 
lowed he urged Mr. Roosevelt's election with great 
fervor and effect. 

Even when out of office Mr. Stephens has devoted 
considerable activity to promoting the welfare of the 
state and its public institutions. He was the leading 
force in bringing about improved methods of admin- 
istration at the State Reformatory for Boys at Red 
Wing. He preferred charges before the legislature 
against the management of that institution, and the 
investigation that followed resulted in the abolition 
of corporal punishment there and other reforms in 
the discipline and government of the institution. 

In 1878 Ml'. Stephens was united in marriage 
with Miss Christie Cameron, a native of Canada. 
They have two sons, Marcus, Merriam and one daugh- 
ter Andrea. The sons are employed in the Merchants 
National Bank of Crookston and Miss Andrea is 
attending school. Fraternally their father is a mem- 
ber of the Masonic Order, the Order of Elks and the 
Swedish Order of Vass. 

During his service in the senate he introduced the 
bill which provided for the payment of inmates of 
.state penal institutions for labor performed. The first 
law of its kind in the world and on which the state 
is now paying from $75,000 to $80,000 per annum, 
and which has worked wondrous good among the 
inmates. Is also a member of State Immigration 
board serving second term. 


Thomas A. Harris, of Crookston, a M-ell known 
citizen and pioneer, has been a resident of that city 
since 1877 and actively associated with the histoiy of 
its groAvth and progress. He is the son of George P. 
Harris, a native of Ireland and Jane (Burns) Harris, 
who was born in New York state. George P. Harris 
was a clergj'man of the Methodist Episcopal church 
and came to Canada to undertake missionary' work. 
He gave eminent service in this field and became the 
presiding elder of the district of upper Canada. In 
1861 he removed to Wabasha count.y, Minnesota and 
soon afterwards, enlisted in Company I of the First 
Minnesota mounted rangers and re-enlisted a year 

later in Company I), Second Minnesota cavalry, 
serving in the Indian wars of the northwest during 
four years and took part in all the engagements of 
the uprising of 1862. His son, John Han-is, was also 
active in the subjection of the insurrections of that 
year. George Harris was one of those, who by 
integi'ity of character and noble service lay the foun- 
dations for the progress of civilization. His death 
occurred in California and that of his wife in Wash- 
ington. Their two sons survive them; John Harris 
now residing in Spokane. Thomas A. Harris was 
bom in Ontario, Canada, in 1848 and came to Minne- 
sota with his father when a lad of tliirteen. In 1877 



lie located in Crookston, then but a village of a few 
log cabins and has pursued a long and honorable 
career as business man and citizen and enjoys the 
respect and esteem of all for his many worthy 
services. He has conducted an extensive business as 
a contractor for the moving of buildings and also has 
farming interests in the county. He is a member of 
the Republican party and has been honored with 
several public offices, giving efficient service as a 
member of the city council for ten years and as 
deputy sheriff. Also served as first justice of the 
peace and assessor of Crookston in 1878-79. Mr. 

Harris is a veteran of the Civil war, having enlisted 
at the age of seventeen in Company I of the First 
Minnesota battalion of infantry and serving with his 
regiment in Virginia during the last few months of 
the war. He was married in 1870 to Adelaide L. 
Gordon, who is a native of Michigan. Five children 
were born to them, of whom the eldest son, Albert G. 
Harris, is dead. The sUiTviving members of the 
family are, Frederick B., Bruce F., Arthur, Elmer D. 
and Ethel A. Mr. Harris is a member of the Elk 


Henry 0. Balstad, stock farmer and well knowai 
citizen of Sletten township, is a native of Minnesota, 
bom at Fergus FaUs, June 2, 1886, the son of K. 0. 
Balstad and Gina (Weiby) Balstad. When he was 
nine years of age his father located on a farm in Slet- 
ten township and here Henry Balstad was reared and 
received his early training. He decided to devote his 
attention to farming and to the practical experience 
which he had already attained, he added two years of 
study in the State Agricultural college at St. Anthony 
Park, in preparation for his work. He has always 
been a^oeiated with his father in his business opera- 
tions and transactions and like his father, devotes his 
farming interests to the stock business. His farm of 
one hundred and sixty acres is in section twenty-eight 
of Sletten township and he is using three hundred 

and twenty acres in his farming operations. He is 
breeding Hereford stock and grazing and feeding 
cattle for the market. Mr. Balstad is one of the 
younger farmers who are capably carrying on the 
development of the county, increasing the prosperity 
established by the thrifty pioneers. Able and in- 
telligent management and alertness to anything 
which will promote the efficiency of his work combine 
to render him successful in all undertakings. He 
with his father were among the first to build silos in 
the township. Aside from his private interests, Mr. 
Balstad finds time to consider matters of public 
moment and welfare and serves as clerk of the school 
board. He was married to Olga Olson who was a 
resident of Sletten township. 


H. L. Larson, a prominent manufacturer and ex- 
mayor of Crookston, is a native of Norway, born near 
Bergen, December 11, 1864, the son of Ole M. and 
Helen Larson. The father engaged in farming in 
his native land during his lifetime and the mother 
still resides at the old home. Of their family of 
seven children, four emigi-ated to America, H. L. 
Lai-son came to Minnesota when seventeen years of 

age, in company with a sister and located at St. Peter, 
where he worked as a laborer for a time and then 
secured employment with an uncle in a factory. He 
later removed to St. Paul, where his older brother 
was living and worked at the carpenter trade with 
him, for several years and then engaged in the con- 
tracting business at Little Falls, enjoying an ex- 
tensive trade and erecting many of the more sub- 



stantial homes ol" that city. Subsequently he removed 
his coutractiiig business to Ada, in Norman county, 
where he remained for nine years. He then located 
in Crookston and has since been notably associated 
with the business interests of that city. During the 
first four years of his residence, he continiied his 
lucrative operations as a contractor and then estab- 
lished a manufacturing plant for the production of 
sash door and store and office fixtures. This enter- 
prise has become one of the leading industi'ies of the 
city and commands a steadily growing trade. As a 
successful business man and prominent citizen, Mr. 
Larson enjoys the esteem and confidence of his busi- 
ness associates and fellow citizens and was honored 

with public office in 1911, when he was elected mayor, 
with the additional distinction of being the only 
mayor ever elected on the socialist ticket in this part 
of the State, and won the approval of his constituents 
for his competent executive service. He was married 
in 1886 to Mary Johnson, whose death occiunred in 
1900. Three children were born to this union, all of 
whom reside in Crookston, Lilly, who was married to 
Mr. Waade; John and Elmer. -Mr. Larson contracted 
a second marriage in 1915 with Mrs. Lee, who was a 
widow. In social organizations, he is affiliated with 
the Sons of Norway and the order of Eagles and 
Scandinavian Workmen Association. 


Anton Jensen, of Mcintosh, proprietor of the Mc- 
intosh Flour mills and of the electric light plant, is a 
native of Denmark, born July 7, 1857, and came to 
this country when six years of age, with his parents. 
They located in Waupaca, county, AVisconsin, and 
there Anton Jensen grew to manhood. In 1880 he 
came to Polk county and took a homestead claim four 
miles east of Fertile and spent the next few years 
developing his land and also worked as a harvester 
and in other farm work. In the fall of 1883 he went 
to Crookston and in the following year entered upon 
his first venture in the commercial world, opening a 
general store at Valley and operating the postoffiee 
in conjunction M'itli it. This entei-prise which was 
established with a small capital met with a marked 
success, represented by an increase to a $4,000 stock 
and iinder able management was soon commanding 
an annual trade of $8,000. In 1803, I\Ir. Jensen sold 
the store and removed to Mcintosh, having bought, at 
some time previous a quarter interest in the flour 
mills at that place and has continued to be identified 
with this industry as manager and as sole proprietor 
since 1897, when he bought the interests of the other 
shareholder.s. The mills, one of the leading business 
institutions of that region, were erected in 1889 by 

the J. P. Johnson eompEmj', with an investment of 
some twelve thousand dollars, and are operated by the 
roller process, with the capacity for handling seventy- 
five barrels per day. Mr. Jensen has enlarged the 
original building and has installed machinery for the 
milling of rye and buckwheat; the plant now repre- 
senting a capital of about twenty thousand dollars. 
He conducts a custom and exchange business with an 
extensive patronage in the surrounding territory and 
as a grain dealer, ships many car loads of wheat. In 
the mercantile trade, his I X L brand of flour has 
attained a high reputation among the retailers. In 
1900, he installed the electric light plant, using the 
mill power to operate the machinery, which required 
an investment of $5,000. This enterprising under- 
taking received the ready approval and support of 
the citizens of Mcintosh and the companj^, which is 
managed by William Jensen, supplies lights for the 
streets and homes. Aside from his business activities, 
Mr. Jensen has given some attention to agricultural 
pursuits and makes his home on his farm which 
adjoins the town, the residence standing within the 
city limits. He also owns a quarter section of farm 
land north east of Mcintosh and two hundred acres 
of swamp land which he is reclaiming with drainage 



and developing. During the many years of his career 
in the countj^, Mr. Jensen has become widely known 
as a successful business man and public spirited citi- 
zen and has been prominently associated with the 
public interests of the community, giving active 
service in various offices, as a member of the school 
board and of the tovm council and was president of 
the latter body for several terms. He is a member 
of the Lutheran church and of tlie Knights of Pythias 

and Modern Woodmen of America. He was married, 
at Fertile, in 1884, to Nicoliue Hendricks, of Nicollet 
county, Minn. They have a family of six sons and 
one daughter, Arthur C, who is employed in a bank 
in North Dakota ; Alviu H., who lives at Trail and is 
in the lumber business; George E., the manager of 
the home farm and Clara S., Ernest C, Ralph W., 
and Vernon B., all of whom make their home with 
their parents. 


E. E. Hansen, superintendent of the Mcintosh 
public schools, was born at Tlior, Humboldt county, 
Iowa, on November 19, 1880. He was reared on a 
farm and received his preparatory education in the 
country schools, later matriculating at St. Olaf 
college, at Northfield, Minn., where he gi'aduated in 
1909, with the degree of bachelor of arts. He imme- 
diately entered the teaching profession and tauglit in 
the graded schools at Donaldson, Minn. In 1911, he 
came to Polk county, to accept the position of super- 
intendent of the graded school at Fisher and con- 
tinued to give competent service there until 191;^, 
when he taught at Henning in Ottertail county 
and in the next year, returned to this county to 
assume the superintendency of the schools at Mc- 
intosh. This is one of the notable educational insti- 
tutions of the county, a record of its achievements 
being found elsewhere in this work, and its direction 
entails one of the most responsible pedagogical posi- 

tions in the county, for which Mr. Hansen has proven 
himself eminently fitted. His rapid promotion in 
his vocation attests to his ability and marks him for 
further distinction in his profession. His theories 
of education are broad and peculiarly adapted to the 
direction of an agricultural and vocational school 
and he considers a healthy interest in athletics, a 
beneficial phase of school activitj^ He is himself an 
out of door sportsman and enjoys his favorite recrea- 
tion of fishing. Mr. Hansen is an accomplished saxo- 
phone player, having been a member of the band of 
St. Olaf college, which made a tour of the Scandi- 
navian counties in 1906 and in 1909, played a week's 
engagement at the Alaskan Exposition at Seattle. He 
was married in 1915, in Ottertail county, to Edna 
Evanson, a former teacher at Henning. She is a 
native of Seattle and was educated in the Normal 
school at Moorhcad and before her marriage, had 
been successfully engaged in the teaching profession. 


Sumner Chesly Bagley, prominent lumberman and 
well-known farmer of Polk county, was born at Ar- 
gyle, Maine, June 1, 1831, and died at his home near 
Fosston, July 27, 1914. Throughout the greater part 
of a long and active career he engaged in the lumber 
business, where his wide experience and native ability 
brought him deserved success. In 1860 he left Maine 
and went to California, where he remained for nine 

years occupied in lumber and mining projects. He 
came to Minnesota in 1870 and became associated with 
T. B. Walker of Minneapolis in the lumber business, 
Mr. Bagley taking charge of large logging conti'acts. 
He operated on the Clearwater and Mississippi rivers, 
and got out about thirty million feet of timber during 
each winter season. During the summer months he 
took contracts with the railroads for grading and em- 



ployed some two hundred men the year around, with 
an equipment of one hundred teams which he owned. 
He built part of the grade on the Duluth division of 
the Great Northern railroad and engaged in similar 
work in Montana. Soon after coming to Minnesota 
he took a homestead claim in section 17 in Rosebud 
township and made this farm his home throughout 
the remainder of his life. "When failing health neces- 
sitated his retirement from the contracting business 
he turned his entire attention to his farming interests, 
which comprised 1,000 acres. He later sold 200 acres 
from his estate. Mr. Bagley was a man whose influ- 
ence was to be felt back of any cause which enlisted 
his allegiance. He was actively identified with mat- 
ters of public concern and interested in the growth 
and development of Fosston. The naming of the 
village of Bagley stands as a memorial to his citizen- 
.ship. He was a member of the Republican party, and 
although he evaded political honors, he gave his ef- 

forts freelj' to promote its success. He was possessed 
of great individuality and was strong in his convic- 
tions; a great lover of nature in all its forms, he 
refused to see life taken from animals, saying that 
"one should not take that which could not be re- 
stored." He took the keenest enjoyment in the life 
of the woods and lakes and camp life in the wilder- 
ness was one of his favorite recreations. He was 
married in Argyle, Maine, to Lydia Fernald. Three 
years after his marriage his wife died, leaving two 
sons, James, who is in the government employ in 
Maine, and Alfred, engaged in the manufacture of 
wooden articles at Bemidji, Minnesota. In 1897 Mr. 
Bagley was married to Gertrude Nelson, a native of 
Norway, who came with her parents to this country 
and located at Crookston. No children were born to 
this union and Mrs. Bagley has. taken her nephew, 
Lilmer Tygson, into her home. 


Allan J. McKiunou, a prominent business man and 
pioneer manufacturer of Crookston, was born near 
Montreal, Canada, on May 29, 1858. He is the son 
of Archibald and Jeanette (Gillis) McKinnon, 
natives of Inverness, Scotland, who emigrated to 
Canada in 1854. Allan McKinnon is one of five 
brothers who have been eminently identified with 
history of Crookston since its early days. He was 
reared in Canada, where he attended the public 
schools until he was eighteen j'ears of age when he 
came to the United States and for three years worked 
at St. Croix, Wisconsin, learning the trade of wagon 
maker. In 1879 he came to Crookston where his 
brother Alexander McKinnon had opened a wagon 
and carriage shop and in the following year, John R. 
McKinnon joined them in their business operations. 
This was the first industiy of the kind in the county 
and they engaged in the manufacture of a full line 
of wagons, carriages and sleighs, finding a ready 
market in the surrounding territory and building up 

an extensive trade that kept pace with rapid settle- 
ment and development of the town and county. In 
1888, Alexander McKinnon retired from the company 
and the firm was dissolved, Allan J. McKinnon and 
Archie McKinnon assuming entire charge of the 
business, which has met with steady prosperity under 
his management. The selling of farm implements 
was added to the manufacturing entei-prise and this 
has become the principal activity, although Mr. Mc- 
Kinnon still engages in manufacturing to some extent. 
As a successful business man and pioneer citizen, 
Mr. McKinnon is popularly known throughout the 
county and is higlily respected by all his associates. 
He is a member of the Democratic party and has been 
honored with various positions of public trust and 
has been prominently identified with the direction of 
city alfairs as mayor and as a member of the city 
council for twelve yeare. He also sei-ved for three 
terms on the librarj' board. He is a member of the 
Catholic church. Mr. McKinnon was married in 



1888 to Rose M. Powere, of Canada, and they have 
five children, Arcliie, John, Allan, Donald and Annie. 
In fraternal organizations, he is affiliated with the 

Modem Woodmen of America and the Ancient Order 
of United Workmen. 


Paul K. Fossbakken, for many years a prominent 
fai*mer of Brandsvold township, was a native of Nor- 
way, bom October 20, 1860. In 1879, at the age of 
nineteen he was married to Ellen Dalen and soon 
afterwards came to this country to find a home on 
western land. He spent two years in Ottertail 
county, Minn., where he had a farm of forty acres. 
In 1885 he came to Polk county and took a homestead 
in Brandsvold township, six miles north of Fosston; 
the southeast quarter of section 10. He later bought 
another tract of land, increasing his farm to two 
hundred and eighty acres, all but fifty of which, he 
cleared and put under cultivation. With unceasing 
industry and skillful effort he developed this plat 
into one of the finest fanns and most attractive 
country homes in the county. He devoted his best 
interests to this work and took a just pride in liis 
achievements. A county ditch crosses the farm and 
with the exception of the barn all of the present 
buildings, which occupy a pleasant situation, a 
quarter of a mile removed from the public highway, 
were erected by him. He kept a large herd of dairy 
cows and was a stockholder in cooperative creamery 
at Olga. In 1908, his barn burned and during his 
heroic efforts to save the other buildings, he suffered 
injuries which resulted in his death on February 25, 
1908. He did his share toward founding the agi-i- 
cultural prosperity of the county and is gratefully 

remembered by its citizens as a worthy pioneer of 
Brandsvold township. He was a member of the 
Republican party and an efficient member of the 
school board for several years. He was a faithful 
supporter of the United Lutheran church at Brands- 
void. Mr. Fossbakken was twice married. Five 
children were born to the first imion, Mollie, who is 
a teacher in the Polk county schools, Christopher, 
Lewis, Ida and Ella. His second marriage was with 
Anna Hansel, who sur^'ives her husband. They had 
four children, Elmer, Ira, Ruth and Esther, all living 
at Dal ton, Minn. The five older children are the 
present owners and managers of the Fossbakken 
homestead and are capably advancing the interests 
of the estate which their father founded. They have 
all attended the agricultural college at Crookston and 
their farming enterprises are flourishing under pro- 
gressive and able management. The place is well 
equipped with a silo, with a capacity of one hundi-ed 
tons, a fine well and tank, a gas engine and windmill. 
In 1912 they began to breed Holstein cattle and have 
four head of registered stock and a large herd of 
blooded cattle. They engage in the dairy business 
and sell their produce to the Fosston creamery, and 
are further interested in the stock business in the 
raising of pure bred Yorkshire hogs. The Foss- 
bakken family are membei's of the United Lutheran 
church at Brandsvold. 


Successful in all departments of his private bi;si- 
neae and displaying conunendable energj', progres- 
siveness and judgment in the administration of public 
affairs, in which he has been engaged for some j^ears 
in various capacities, John D. MacPhee, former 

mayor of Crookston and present county commissioner 
from the third district, is a typical representative of 
the citizenship of this section and creditable alike to 
it and to American manhood in general. He was 
bom in Ontario, Canada, May 14, 1855, the son of 



John and Hester (Galbraith) ilacPhee, natives of 
Scotland who emigrated to Canada in 1847. They 
were farmei-s in their native land and held to the 
occupation of their youth iu their new home, where 
the mother died in 1894 and the father in 1903. 
Their offspring numbered six, four sons and two 
daughters. The parents were highly respected where 
they were known for their genuine worth. 

John D. MacPhee grew to manhood in Canada and 
was engaged in farming thei*e until 1879, when he 
came to the Red River valley and took up his resi- 
dence in Polk county. From the time of his arrival 
in this county he has been actively employed in 
farming, having been manager of the Lockhart farm 
of 6,000 acres for seventeen years and since the end 
of that period in charge of several farms of his own 
in Polk county. 

Although his private affairs have been exacting in 
their requirements at all times, Mr. MacPhee has 
always taken an active and leading part in local 
public affairs also. He served in the city council of 
Crookston for some time, and was mayor of the city 
from Sept., 1906, to Jan. 1st, 1910, being the first 
mayor under the new city charter. Since 1912 he 
has been a member of the board of county commis- 
sioners. Politically he is a Republican. Fraternally 
he is a Freemason and a member of the Order of 
Elks. He is widely known in this part of the country 
and everywhere he is highly respected. In 1888 he 
was united in marriage with Miss Susan Cheney, a 
native of Bellevue, Jackson county, Iowa. They have 
one child, their daughter Lucy. 


Andrew Peterson, a well known business man of 
Mclntosli, has been a resident of the county since 
1883, when he located on land in Hill River town- 
ship. He was born in Sweden, August 8, 1860, and 
there grew to manhood, apprenticing himself to the 
trade of cabinet maker and engaged in that work 
until 1881 when he came to the United States. He 
settled in North Dakota and took a preemj^tion claim 
near Grafton but after two years removed to Polk 
county and filed a homestead claim on the southwest 
quarter of section seven of Hill River township, eight 
and a half miles northeast of Mcintosh. Here he 
built a log cabin and entered upon the task of clear- 
ing the land wliich partly covered with brush and 
small timber. A few years later he erected a larger 
log house and for several years devoted his efforts to 
the development of the farm, putting about one hun- 
dred acres under cultivation. He continues to own 
the homestead which is one of the good farm proper- 
ties of the region and in 1914 replaced the log house 
with a modern frame building. In 1901 he withdrew 
from his farming activities and returned to his trade 
and engaged in carpentering work in Mcintosh for 

a time and was tlien employed in tlie sash and door 
factory at Crookston for a year. He opened his shop 
in Mcintosh, for cabinet and general wood work, in 
1903, and has built up a successful business and is 
widely known for tlie skill a)id thoroughness of his 
workmanship. He conducts a prosperous trade in 
the various lines of his production and engages in 
the construction of store fronts, doors and makes a 
specialty of church fixtures, his handicraft being 
represented in a number of the church interiors of 
the county. He has also given his attention to the 
contracting business. Mr. Peterson has ever given 
freely of his services and interests in the promotion 
of the general welfare of the county and as business 
man and citizen has won the respect of all his asso- 
ciates. Although his ready support is given any 
worthy project of public moment, he has always 
avoided official recognition in local government, pre- 
ferring not to incur any restrictions on the independ- 
ence of his activities. He is a member of the Lutheran 
church. His marriage to Olivia Enarson occurred in 
1893, in Hill River township. She was born in 
Sweden and came to Polk county when eleven years 



old with her father, Olaf Enarson, a well known 
farmer and land owner. Mr. Enarson, upon his 
arrival in the county, suffered the loss of his entire 
capital, which consisted of a twenty dollar gold piece, 
in attempting to extricate his wagon from its lodg- 
ment in a stream, en route to his new home, and so 
began to build his fortunes in this county with no 
financial assistance, but with native ability and un- 
ceasing labor and thrift has become the largest land 

owner in Hill River township. A brother of Mr. 
Peterson, John Peterson, was also a homesteader in 
Hill River township and was well known in the 
county as registrar in the United States land office 
at Crookston, serving in that position until the 
appointment of the present registrar, Mr. Ringdal. 
John Peterson resides in Crookston but has been 
compelled to retire from all activities because of fail- 
ing health. 


A. J. Heath, editor and proprietor of the Mcintosh 
Times, one of the popular newspapers of the county, 
was born near Portland, Maine, and came west in 
his childhood. In his youth he devoted his ambitions 
and energy to securing an education and with deter- 
mined effort and steady application to his purpose, 
after receiving an academic training in the night 
schools at Minneapolis, pursued his studies through 
the collegiate course. Since his early activities in 
the commercial world, he has been identified with the 
printing business and was employed for some time 
as a pressman and later as a reporter on a metro- 
politan daily. Subsequently he spent three years 
in southern Minnesota, where his work supplied a 
thorough mechanical and literary training for the 
newspaper business, his duties ranging from the job 

room and type setting to the editorial chair. Since 
August, 1914, he has been the proprietor of the Mc- 
intosh Times, where his able management has not 
only advance^d the popularity of the sheet and the 
prosperity of the business but has attested to his 
intelligent understanding of his profession and his 
efficiency and natural ability as a newspaper man. 
The Mcintosh Times was established in 1887 and is 
Democratic in its editorial policy. The plant is fully 
equipped for competent operation, with a good four 
page press and linot}T)e machine and commands a 
successful trade in job work. The paper is a weekly 
publication and is a clean, progressive sheet of eight 
pages and is all home print, with a circulation of 
one thousand subscribers. 


Everett A. Webster, of, a leading busi- 
ness man of the county, extensively identified with 
the interests of the north west as a merchant and 
land owner, was born at Daleville, Lackawana county, 
Pa., May 20, 1873, and has been a resident of Minne- 
sota since his early childhood. He was reared in 
Lake City, and there attended the public schools, 
graduating from high school in 1891. For five years 
he was in the employ of Miller & Foote in Crookston 
and subsequently spent a year in Colorado. In 1902 
he located in Mcintosh and embarked upon an inde- 

pendent commercial career, buying a half interest in 
the Larseu & Carpenter Co., dealers in hardware, 
agricultural implements and furniture, forming a 
partnership with Paul Carpenter. The firm of Car- 
penter & Webster have conducted a .steadily in- 
creasing trade during the eight years of their 
operation and since the destruction of their building 
by fire in 1909, which entailed a loss of about fifteen 
thousand dollars. Mr. Webster then became sole 
owner of the business and has erected a large modern 
business block, with a frontage of over two hundred 



feet. Beside his commercial activities, Mr. Webster 
was also associated with his brother in the manage- 
ment of farm on a quarter section of laud near 
Mcintosh, where they engaged in dairy farming and 
the breeding of Holstein cattle. The success of this 
project led to larger operations and they sold the 
fann and established a wholesale house at Virginia, 
Minn., as Webster Brothers, with Walter Webster as 
resident manager. This company engages in the ship- 
ping of stock and hay and the buying and selling of 
general produce and coimnands a large territoiy, 
including such trade centers as Ilibbing, Inter- 
national Falls, Grand Rapids, Deer River and is the 
distributing point for hundreds of miles of surround- 
ing agricultural country. They buy seven or eight 
car loads of blooded Holstein cattle, annually, in 
Wisconsin, wliich they sell in Minnesota and North 
Dakota, and in 1914, shipped one hundred and sixty- 
three cars of hay, a record which the steady growth 
of the business will advance to two hundred, in 1915. 
Mr. Webster is that type of business man and citizen 
who is never content with present achievement but 
who uses each success as a stepping stone to larger 
accomplishment and is possessed of those positive 
qualities which have led inevitably to his valuable 
services in the public interest and to ramification of 
his business enterprises throughout the northwest. 
In 1906, he erected the first building in Epping, 
North Dakota, establishing a hardware, agricultural 
implement and furniture store, which he operated 
for seven years in partnership with C. F. Carpenter 
and P. W. Carpenter. Epping has now grown to a 
population of 100 and is a thriving village with four 

elevators, two banks and various mercantile com- 
panies and enjoys the unique distinction, which like- 
wise attests to its prosperity, of owning, in its twenty- 
eight machines, automobile accommodation for its 
entire population. Mr. Webster's most recent enter- 
prise is the Webster Mercantile company, of Mc- 
intosh, which represents an investment of $10,000. 
Mr. Webster is the sole proprietor and opened the 
store for general mercantile and retail trade ou 
March 1, 1915. As one of the large property owners 
of the section, he has conducted extensive land 
transactions in this region and in North Dakota and 
has also become interested in the lumber business. 
His keen understanding of the elements of success 
has contributed to his notable industrial career and 
he has applied the .same confident and forceful service 
to the promotion of the public welfare, and is ever 
alert to the worth of public or private enterprise and 
an energetic and fearless advocate of any cause which 
he espouses. As a member of the town council, he 
was influential in the regulation of the liquor traffic 
and the construction of side walks and has also been 
a.ssociated with civic affairs in official capacity as 
president of the Commercial club. In political belief 
he is pledged to no party organization and among 
fraternal order's is a member of the Modem Wood- 
men of America and the Independent Order of Odd 
Fellows. Mr. Webster was married, in 1904, to Martha 
Munch, of Crookston. She was bom in Wisconsin 
and is the daughter of the late William Munch, who 
was for many years a grain buyer at Crookston. 
They have four children, Leslie, Marie, Tom and 


L. Shadduck, a well known citizen and business man 
of Mcintosh, was born in Clinton county, Iowa, April 
14, 1865, and came to Polk county in 1886. For a 
year he was in the employ of his cousin, H. C. Misner, 
a merchant and grain dealer at Euclid, whose son is 
now engaged in the abstract business at Crookston. 

In the fall of 1887, Mr. Shadduck went to Douglas 
county and for several years operated an elevator 
at Garfield for the Minneapolis & Northern Ele- 
vator company. He returned to Polk county in 1894 
to assume the management of the company's elevator 
at Mcintosh and during the nine years of his asso- 



elation with that enterprise conducted a successful 
business, handling some six hundred thousand bushels 
of grain. In 1903 he left this position to engage in 
an independent business venture and became the pro- 
prietor of the Mcintosh Dray line and has since 
devoted his attention to its management, employing 
two teams in his prosperous operations. Through his 
recognition of the responsibilities of citizenship and 
his ready services in the promotion of the best in- 
terests and progress of the community, Mr. Shadduck 
is widely known and respected and, as an influential 
citizen and a member of the town council has en- 
thusiastically supported all local improvements, his 
own home, in its attractiveness and pleasant sur- 
roundings suggesting the sincerity of his efforts for 
the best civic conditions. Mr. Shadduck is prom- 
inently known in fraternal circles as a member of 
the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern 

Woodmen of America and the Knights of Pythias 
and has given efficient service in various lodge of- 
fices, having passed all the chairs in Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows and is the chief consul of 
the local camp of Modern Woodmen. He has also 
been honored with office of representative to the 
grand lodges of both organizations. He was married 
at Alexandria, Minn., to Diana B. Sweet. She is a 
native of Illinois and came to Minnesota when ten 
years of age with her father, Stephen R. Sweet, who 
was for many years a farmer near Alexandria and 
whose death occurred in August, 1908, at his 
daughter's home in Mcintosh. Mr. Shadduck and 
his wife have five children, Vera A. the wife of 
Morris Narverson of Mcintosh; Harold, who grad- 
uated from the high school in 1914 ; Hazel, Grace and 


ToUof Kjolhaug, a successful farmer of Ro.sebud 
township, was born in Norway, November 7, 1873 
and is the grandson of ToUof Kjolhaug, one of the 
pioneer settlers of that township. The latter had 
been a farmer in his native land and had also served 
as a sailor on merchant ships. He came to the United 
States in 1881, bringing his family to Fergus Falls, 
Minn., and in May 1883 located on the farm in Rose- 
bud township which continued to be his home through- 
out his life. He was one of the organizei's and a 
faithful member of the United Lutheran church at 
Posston. He never acquired the use of the English 
language but preferred to speak his native tongue. 
He was married to Gurine Berg and they had seven 
children, Simon, Iver, Oliver, Mary, who still lives 
in the old home ; Caroline ; Karey, wife of E. 0. Esten- 
son, living near Climax, Polk county, and Trine, who 
married Anton Hanson and resides near the same 
place. Tollof Kjolhaug died March 8, 1906 at the 
age of eighty-one and is survived by his wife, who 
is living on the homestead farm with her grandson. 

in her eighty-eighth year. Simon Kjolhaug took a 
claim in section fourteen of Rosebud township and 
was a well known thresherman in this region. He 
was active in township affairs and was one of the 
organizers of the township and held the office of 
assessor until his death in 1893. He married Anna 
Anderson of Polk county and they had two children, 
Martin, who is a graduate of the Crookstou high 
school and county surveyor in Clearwater county, 
Minn., and Selma who with her mother makes her 
home in Gonvick, Minn., with Martin Kjolhaug, and 
is employed as teacher in the public schools. Iver 
Kjolhaug was a farmer in section fifteen. Rosebud 
township, for a number of years and since 1907 has 
resided in British Columbia, which is also the home 
of his brother Oliver. The subject of our sketch is 
the son of Andrew and Caroline Kjolhaug. His 
father died in Norway and he was reared by his 
grandfather and when eight years of age accompanied 
him to this country. He has always lived on the 
farm which was his grandfather's homestead, devot- 



ing his efforts to its development and since 1895 lias 
had the entire management of it. The farm is 
equipped with good barns and the original house has 
been remodeled into a pleasant home. He has drained 
much of the marsh land with ditches and is now 
engaged in the construction of a county ditch, which 
will cross his land. He engages in diversified farm- 
ing, raising grain and cattle and is interested in the 
daily business, keeping a herd of cows for that pur- 
pose. He was an organizer of the Posston Coopera- 

tive creamery company and has served as president 
of the company since its organization. He is a mem- 
ber of the Republican party and is active in political 
matters and has been delegate to a number of con- 
ventions. Mr. Kjolhaug is interested in the public 
welfare and progress and has given able service in 
local affairs as supei-visor and chairman of the board 
of supervisors and is the present treasurer of the 
township. He has never married. 


Alexander Pyffe, a prosperous farmer, of Brands- 
void township, is a native of Ireland. Born in 1864, 
he was reared on a farm in a northern county of the 
old eountiy and receiving an opportunity to come to 
the United States, having his fare paid to Boston, he 
began to win his way to success and prosperity in the 
new land. For about seven years he engaged in 
farming in Maine and 1890 came to Fosston. He 
spent several years working in the woods in the sur- 
rounding country and rented farming land until he 
finally secured the quarter section, which is his pres- 
ent home, purchasing it in 1896 from the bank in 
Fosston. It contained about seventy acres of pro- 
ducing land and he has now twice that acreage under 
cultivation. When he purchased this land and 
started his farming enterprise, he possessed a capital 
of two hundred and fifty dollars and a few head of 
stock, and from this with capable management and 

steady effort he has developed a fine property, and 
has erected good buildings and a delightful country 
home, pleasantly located on an elevation and in a 
grove. The land is in section twenty-two, and four 
liiiles north of Fosston. Mr. Fyffe also operates 
another quarter section. He is devoting particular 
attention to dairying and keeps blooded stock, Guern- 
sey cattle and fine strains of draft horses. Mr. Fyffe 
is a self made man in the best sense of the word and 
as farmer and citizen enjoys the respect of all. He 
was married to Bertha Carver of Maine and they 
have six children. Angle, who married Carl Tuffte, 
a farmer in Canada, Albert, Rose, Mark, Everett and 
Vernie. Mr. Fyffe and his family are membei's of 
the M. E. church at Fosston. He takes great pleasure 
in out-of-door sports and is an enthusiastic hunter 
and fisherman. 


W. A. Marin, of Crookston, a well-known attorney 
and prominent citizen of the county, was bom at 
Lexington, Sanilac county, Michigan, January 13, 
1874, the son of William and Adelaid (Moore) Marin. 
The latter was born in Canada and was the descend- 
ant of the English family of Moore, of which Sir 
John Moore, the famous Scottish general, was a mem- 
ber. William Marin is a native of Ontario, Canada, 

and of Irish ancestry. He engaged in the contract- 
ing business and in 1879 came to Crookston, then a 
small village, and opened a lumber yard and con- 
tinued for many years to be identified with the 
business development of the town as a contractor 
and lumberman. He now makes his home at North 
Yakima, Washington, and his family of three daugh- 
ters and a son are all residents of the state. W. A. 




Marin was reared from early childhood iu Polk county 
and was a member of the first graduating class of the 
Crookston high school, in 1891. He spent some time as 
a teacher and for one year was the principal of the 
schools at Thief River Falls, but his ambitions cen- 
tered on a legal career and he began his preparatory 
studies by reading law in the offices of Miller & Foote. 
He completed his law course with two years' attend- 
ance at the University of Minnesota and in 1898 
was admitted to the bar and began to practice iu 
Crookston, where he has established a high reputation 
as a successful lawyer and is widely known in the 
state for his noteworthy professional attainments and 
efficient services in the public offices with which his 
ability has been recognized. He is actively asso- 
ciated with political matters and maintains independ- 
ence in his opinions and vote, but is a forceful 
supporter of the principles advocated by the Progres- 

sive party, and as a presidential elector in 1912 cast 
the vote of his district for the candidate of that party. 
In local affairs, he has served the public interests 
in various offices, as chairman of the sinking fund 
committee, as alderman at large in 1902 and is at 
present the chairman of the charter commission. In 
1910 Mr. Mai"in was a candidate for membership in 
the state legislature. He is prominently identified 
with the interests and activities of the legal pro- 
fession as president of the Northwestern Lawyers 
association, and is associated with the business enter- 
prises of Crookston as a stockholder in the Scandia 
bank. Among the fraternal orders he holds member- 
ship in the Masonic fraternity and Elks lodge. Mr. 
Marin was married iu 1899 to Emma Poelhler, of 
Minneapolis, and two daughters have been bom to 
this union, Pauline and Adelaide, ilr. Marin and his 
family are members of the Episcopal church. 


Andrew E. Wold, a farmer in Brandsvold town- 
ship, is a native of Norway, born August 24, 1861. 
He was reared on his father's farm and came to the 
United States when twenty years of age, locating 
in Ottertail county, Minnesota, where his brother, 
Lars Wold, had settled in the previous year. Here 
he was employed in farm work for several years, his 
first wages being used to repay his j^assage money 
which he had borrowed. In 1887 he came to Polk 
county and bought a quarter section of land in 
Brandsvold township and entered upon the ardu- 
ous task of clearing his land for cultivation. The 
only investment in stock which his meager resources 
allowed him at that time was a Polled Angus calf 
which he bought in Ottertail county for twenty- 
five dollars and this purchase marked the standard 
for Mr. Wold's farming activities, his farm has al- 
ways been stocked with finely bred animals. He de- 
voted all his time to the clearing off of the timber 
on the tract and for several months, his brother 

assisted him in the work. In the second year, he 

put in a crop and had it destroyed by the frost and 
in the following year suffered the same loss, saving 
but a small part of the crop for harvesting. This 
led to his determination to dispose of that place and 
secure a farm on higher ground and in 1891, he 
bought his present farm, the northeast quarter of 
section twenty-one of Brandsvold township, three 
miles and a half northwest of Fosston. This had 
been the former homestead of Sam Hanson, who had 
met his death by suicide and its primitive wildness 
had been practically undisturbed, a few acres having 
been cleared and a log shanty built on the claim. 
Mr. Wold was able to pay about half of the purchase 
price of $860 and with thrifty management, in a 
short time, cleared his property of debt. He now 
owned a number of head of stock and the work of 
developing the farm progressed steadily. The place 
was very advantageously located and included no 
waste land and required very little artificial drain- 
age. He has put one hundred and thirty of the 
one hundred and sixty acres under cultivation and 



the rest is utilized for pasturage, Mr. Wold eugaging 
quite extensively in stock raising in addition to his 
grain farming. He raises short horn and red polled 
cattle, breeding to secure a strain best adapted to 
general farm purposes and keeps a herd of sixteen 
dairy cows, selling cream to the cooperative creamery 
at Fosston. The farm is well equipped for efficient 
and profitable operation, the bam has modern con- 
veniences for the care of stock and accommodates 
some forty head. An excellent water system has 
been installed with tanks and troughs supplied by 
a gas engine from two spring wells. Mr. Wold re- 
calls that in the earlier days, in his Norwegian home, 
his father had quite as convenient a plan in his barn 
for the watering of stock. The house which he first 
built on locating on this place, has been remodeled 
and included in the present modern stinicture which 
is pleasantly situated on a sightly elevation. Mr. Wold 
is associated with the business interests of the countv 

as a stockholder in three important cooperative cor- 
porations, the creamery. Farmers Elevator and store 
companies at Fosston. He was actively identified 
witli the organization of the Lutheran Brotherhood 
church at Fosston, of which the Reverend Gunhus is 
pastor and continues to be a faithful member of that 
congregation. His favorite recreation has been 
hunting, although he does not engage in this sport 
as much as formerly, making a frequent substitute 
for out-of-door plea.sure with automobile trips. His 
marriage to Marie Joten occurred in Polk county, in 
1887. She is a native of Norway and had been a 
resident of Ottertail county. Of the family born 
to them, eight children are now living, Inger, wlio 
married Andy Fossett and lives in Enderline, North 
Dakota; Edwin, Olga, Melvin and Lena, who are 
students in the high school at Fosston ; Alfred, Selma 
and Bennie. 


Ole Mellesmoen, a pioneer citizen and successful 
farmer of Brandsvold township, was born in Norway, 
September 26, 1859, and came to the United States 
when twenty-two years of age, the first of his family 
to seek a home in the western land. He came to 
Minnesota and a short time afterward was joined by 
his father, B. 0. Mellesmoen, who located in Wadena 
county where he lived until 1911 and since that time 
has made his home with his son, Ole Mellesmoen. 
After two years in the new home, the latter helped 
two brothers to secure their passage to this country. 
Ole Mellesmoen lived for two years in Ottertail 
county and in 1883 removed to Polk county, taking 
a homestead claim on section twenty-three of Brands- 
void township, the southwest quai*ter. This w^as tim- 
ber land and his first home was built of logs cut from 
the place. To the development of this farm he has 
devoted the able efi'orts of many years and haf? been 
eminently successful in all phases of his enterprise. 
It is one of the model farms of the region and one of 

the best locations, being situated on the main road 
north of Fosston, about three miles from that place. 
He has put over one hundred acres under cultiva- 
tion, the remainder being in timber land and in pro- 
ductiveness and equipment the farm can be favor- 
ably compared with those in the older and famed 
agricultural districts of the middle west. He lias 
good buildings, attractively situated in fine natural 
groves and in 1908, erected his comfortable country 
home. His farming interests have been directed to 
the raising of grain and to dairy fanning, selling his 
dairy produce to the cooperative creamery at Foss- 
ton. Mr. Mellesmoen has been identified with the 
ai¥airs of the township since its organization and at- 
tended the first election which was held in one of the 
pioneer homes. He was one of the first members of 
the Brandsvold United Lutheran church, of which 
he continues to be a faithful supporter. Mr. Mel- 
lesmoen was married in 1899 to Inga Sagmoen, who 
was born in Norway and accompanied her parents 



to Polk county in 1881. No children have been born 
to them but they have taken a girl and boy into their 
home, Clara, who has made her home with them since 
her fourth year and is now sixteen years of age and 

Ole, aged two and one-half years. Jlr. Mellesmoeu 
is associated with the business interests of the county 
as stockholder in the Cooperative Creamery and in 
the Farmers Elevator companies in Fosston. 


E. G. Eklund, well known farmer and prominent 
citizen of Polk county, has been for many years 
actively associated with its development and progress 
as public official, farmer and business man. He was 
born near Folland, Sweden, January 21, 1865. Here 
he attended school and as a young lad apprenticed 
himself to the trade of shoemaker. In 1882, at the 
age of seventeen, he came to the United States, join- 
ing an uncle who was then living in Alexandria, 
Minnesota. A year later he was able to financially 
assist his father on the jovirney from Sweden to a 
new home in the western state and some time later 
they were joined by his mother and half brother and 
sister. B. G. Eklund and his mother and half sister 
are the only members of the family now living. His 
first year was spent working on his uncle's fainn and 
burning lime on the shores of Lake Carlos in Doug- 
las county. During this time he devoted all the time 
possible to the study of English in the country 
schools. He formed a partnership wdth another boy 
who was ambitious to accpiire a thorough training 
in the language of -their adopted country and they 
lived in a sod shack, attending school and taking 
contracts from the settlers for grubbing the wild 
land. One of these contracts involved a daily wage 
of fifty cents. In 1888 he made his first trip to Polk 
county and two years later located here. In the fol- 
lowing year, 1891, he purchased eighty acres in Rose- 
bud township for five hundred dollars. This was 
timber and prairie land and only a few acres had 
been broken for cultivation. He was able to pay 
one hundred and seventy-five dollars of the purchase 
price and it took ten years of arduous labor and 
thrifty management to complete the payment. In 
the meantime he bought another eighty acres, a mile 

and a half from the first tract, and this is part of 
his present farm, three miles south of Fosston, and 
was all wild land. After selling the first place at a 
profit of thirteen hundred dollars he bought one hun- 
dred and twenty acres of partially developed land, 
paying twenty-two hundred and now owns a fine 
farm of two hundred acres, all of which is under cul- 
tivation. He has reclaimed the low land with open 
ditches and the county ditch which crosses the farm 
has completed an excellent drainage system. For a 
number of years he devoted his attention to the rais- 
ing of gi-ain. He now keeps thoroughbred cattle and 
dairy cows, selling to the county cooperative cream- 
ery company in which he is an original stockholder. 
His pleasant farm home was erected in 1905 and is 
atti'actively situated in a large grove of poplar and 
other native trees. In 1915 he added to his farm- 
ing equipment a fine barn. The successful manage- 
ment of this property has not monopolized Mr. Ek- 
lund 's efforts and he has devoted much time to the 
larger interests of the county, generously support- 
ing and promoting important business enterprises 
which are identified with the general prosperity of 
the community and giving many years of able serv- 
ice in public offices. He was active in the organiza- 
tion of a creamery company in 1896, an unsuccess- 
ful venture, and in its re-organization into the pres- 
ent county cooperative company which handles the 
dairy produce of over two hundred and fifty farm- 
ers. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers 
Elevator company at Fosston, a company that has 
been of great benefit to the agricultural district, in- 
suring good prices at home. Mr. Eklund was the first 
president and has continued to be active in the ad- 
ministration of its transactions. Mismanagement on 



the part of an agent in charge, caused the loss of 
several thousand dollars and ilr. Eklund sei-ved on 
the committee which reorganized and put the com- 
pany on a substantial basis which has brought suc- 
cess. They incorporated with a capital of $10,000 
and appointed as manager an efficient wheat buyer. 
lu 1914, this company handled 61,000 bushels of 
grain. Another important institution in which he 
is interested is the Farmers Cooperative company, 
which operates a general store in Fosston. He is 
the president of the corporation. It has a capital 
stock of $73,000 and receives an annual trade of 
$22,000. Since 1894 Mr. Eklund has given continu- 
ous and valuable service in public affairs. In that 
year he was elected township supervisor on the Pop- 
ulist ticket and was made chairman of the board of 
supervisors. In 1903 he was elected county com- 

missioner from the Fourth district and held this 
office for twelve years, serving for a number of years 
as chairman of board, during which time he was 
active in promoting the construction of new roads 
and bridges. He is a member of the township board 
and has been chairman of it for over eighteen years. 
Mr. Eklund is now a member of the Republican party 
but has also been elected to office on the Populist and 
Independent tickets. He is that type of progressive 
and industrious citizen who are the chief factors in 
building up states and is well known in the county. 
In 1890 he was married to Maria Hammergren, who 
was born near Alexandria, Minn., in 1870. They 
have raised a fine family of ten children, Harris Emil, 
Arnold Theodore, Alice Ruth, Raymond Wilfred, 
Hilma Viola, Eilert Jennings, Bertha Elvira, Stella 
Irene, Clarence Waldemar and Doris Evelyn. 


Johannes R. Hove, of Queen township, a prosper- 
ous farmer and influential citizen of the county, was 
born in Norway, Mai'ch 22, 1855. He spent his boy- 
hood on a farm and was educated in the public schools 
of his native land. In 1882 he came to the United 
States and lived during the first year in Worth 
county, Iowa, and then removed to Polk county. Here 
he preempted land on section seven of Queen town- 
ship and after proving up on this land, six months 
later, in December, 1883, he took a homestead claim 
in section twelve of Brandsvold township, just across 
the town.ship line from the first farm. With the ex- 
ception of marsh tracts, all of this land was covered 
with heavy timber, for the most part, poplar, and 
with thrift}' enterprise and unceasing industry, he 
has put practically all of the three hundred and 
twenty acres under cultivation. During the early 
stages of the development of the farm, he employed 
various means of support, working during the har- 
vest seasons in Dakota and selling wood which he 
hauled to Fosston, receiving from one dollar and a 
quarter to two dollars a cord for it. j\Ir. Hove has 

devoted his life to his farming interests and with 
intelligent study of every phase of his occupation 
and able management, has developed one of the finest 
farms in the county. He has installed an adequate 
ditching system which with a county ditch has re- 
claimed some sixty-seven acres of slough land. The 
comfortable country home was erected eight years ago 
and in every particiilar, the farm demonstrates the 
successful application of modern and progressive ag- 
ricultural methods. The large new barn is thoroughly 
equipped with especial regard for winter feeding; 
the extensive watering system including troughs in 
the barn. He gives his attention to grain and stock 
raising, breeding short horn cattle and has met with 
unvaried success in every enterprise and has never 
known a crop failure, one field yielding, in 1904, 
forty bushels of wheat to the acre. He has estab- 
lished equally high records in the dairy business, in 
which he engages extensively, having realized, in one 
month, $173.40 from dairy produce, with a herd of 
fifteen cows, beside what was required for family 
consumption. He is the largest producer in the Olga 



cooperative creamery, of which he was an original 
stock holder. Mr. Hove has been prominently as- 
sociated with the promotion of the best interests of 
the community in which he lives and was actively 
identified with the organization of both Queen and 
Brandsvold townships. He has been a faithful sup- 
porter of the Brandsvold United Lutheran church 
since its organization, in which he took an active part 

and has given efficient service for many years as a 
church officer. His marriage to Betsy A. Yerstad 
was solemnized in his home in Queen township, in 
1887, by the Reverend Rude of Fosston. She was 
born in Norway in 1858 and was reared in the same 
neighborhood with her husband. They have a family 
of six children, Lena, Sonva, Olaf, Roy, Hans and 


John E. Tuveng, a prosperous farmer of Brands- 
void township, is a native of Norway, born Septem- 
ber 10, 1860. He came to the United States and to 
Minnesota in 1880 and lived for a few years in Otter- 
tail county, employed at farm work during the sum- 
mer months and spending the winters in the Wiscon- 
sin lumber camps. In the fall of 1883 he came to 
Brandsvold townshiij and filed a claim on the north- 
east quarter of section twenty-two and in the follow- 
ing summer, moved on his land and began the ardu- 
ous task of developing wild timber land into a cul- 
tivated farm. He built a one room, two story, log 
house with timber cut from his land and devoted 
what time he could to the clearing of his fields, and 
meanwhile found employment on neighboring farms. 
During the first year he worked without a team and 
then purchased a yoke of oxen. A few years later 
he bought forty acres of railroad land in section four- 
teen about three-quarters of a mile distant from his 
homestead, paying four dollars an acre. This tract 

is drained by a county ditch and has all been put 
under cultivation. He has cleared one hundred acres 
of the home farm and engages in the raising of grain 
and hay and keeps about twenty head of stock. He 
erected his present home in 1910 and has provided his 
place with good buildings and an excellent water sys- 
tem, with a well ninety feet deep which supplies tanks 
in the yards and barn. ]\Ir. Tuveng has always taken 
an active interest in the affairs of the community and 
has voted in all the township elections with the ex- 
ception of the firet one. He was one of the organ- 
izers of the Brandsvold United Lutheran church, of 
which he is a faithful supporter. Mr. Tuveng was 
married in Norway, in 1898 to Lena Lein and. they 
have three children, Edwin, Palmer and Selma. Aside 
from his successful private enterprises, Mr. Tuveng 
is identified with the business interests of the county 
as stockholder in the Cooperative Creamei*y and Co- 
operative Elevator companies at Fosston. 


Hans 0. Dunrud, a farmer in Brand.svold town- 
ship, was born in Norway, June 10, 1858. He is one 
of three brothers who filed on land in Eden township 
in the spring of 1884, before that township was sur- 
veyed. The other brothers, Ole Dunrud and Peter 
Dunrud, still reside on their homesteads there. Hans 
Dunrud was educated in the common schools of his 
native land and came to the United States in 1880, 

his parents lending him the money for his passage. 
On landing in this country he went to Clay county, 
Minnesota, where he worked at various employment 
and managed to repay his passage money in the first 
year, saving from his meager wages. As a farm 
laborer, he received twenty dollars a month and for 
the strenuous work of clearing land of brush and 
timber, seventy-five cents a day, with fourteen work- 



ing hours in the day. In the second year he was able 
to send money to his parents and later they joined 
him in the western land. His father, Ole H. Dunrud, 
took as a homestead claim, the land in section one 
of Brandsvold township which is the present farm 
of Ole Dunrud and this remained the parents' home 
until their death. Hans Diinrud embarked upon his 
farming enterprise in Polk county with a capital of 
seven dollars, a yoke of oxen and cow and from this 
start with thrift and industry, he has steadily made 
his way to success and prosperity. During the first 
years he worked in Dakota and at Ada, Minnesota, 
in the harvest seasons, meanwhile giving what time 
he could to the clearing of the land, which was cov- 
ered with timber and draining the marsh land and 
ponds with ditches. The first home was a shack 
which WEis later replaced with a good log house which 

was in use until 1913 when it was destroyed. He 
erected the present barn in 1905 and the modem 
frame house which is his home, was built in 1913. 
He has put all of the one hundred and sixty acres in 
cultivation except that reserved for pasturage, and 
aside from his general farming enterprises is inter- 
ested in dairy farming. Mr. Dunrud is identified 
with the important business interests of the section 
as stockholder in the cooperative creamery at Olga 
and in the Farmers Elevator and cooperative store 
at Fosston. As one of the organizers of the Zion 
United Lutheran church in Eden township, he has 
been actively identified in its interests. His marriage 
to Mattie J. Haugen, a native of Norway, was sol- 
emnized in 1885. They have four sons, all of whom 
reside with their parents, Oscar, who owns a farm in 
Clearwater county, Martin, John and William. 


Martin Torgeson, a well known farmer and thresh- 
erman of Brandsvold township, is a native of the 
state, born in Houston county, April 10, 1860. Bom 
in the pioneer days of the northwest, his life has been 
spent in the constructive work of the farm builder, 
who lays the foundation for the progress of civiliza- 
tion. From early childhood he was familiar with the 
vicissitudes and dangers of frontier life. In Jackson 
county, in 1862, the year of the Indian outbreak, the 
Torgeson home was under the fire of tlie warring 
bands for a whole day but owing to its advantageous 
location, the defendants were able to withstand the 
attacks. But many of the neighbors were killed and 
all the stock destroyed and although the government 
troops soon quelled the uprising, the Torgeson fam- 
ily left the scene of the massacre and returned east, 
to Fillmore county. After several years there, tbej' 
again ventured into the more unsettled regions and 
in 1868 took a homestead claim in Ottertail county, 
near Dalton, and about eleven miles southeast of Fer- 
gus Falls. Martin Torgeson was reared on this farm 
and made his home with his father until 1883 when 

he went to Polk county and located on a claim in 
sections twelve and thirteen in Brandsvold township. 
He had been married three years previous, to Ingre 
Sonmor, who like her husband, had been reared in 
the hardy school of frontier life. She was born in 
Norway in 1858 and had come to the United States 
with her parents, in early childhood. After spending 
some time in Wisconsin and Iowa, they located on 
land in Ottertail county, Minnesota, in 1868, being 
among the first settlers of that count.y. Ingre Tor- 
geson accompanied lier husband to the new home in 
the wilderness, cheerfully accepting her share of the 
hard labor and privations and during the first years 
when it was necessary for Mr. Torgeson to seek work 
in other places and to be absent for months, she 
bravely endured the loneliness and the moments of 
terror when even the solitude of nature seemed 
filled with threatening dangers. Martin Torgeson 
embarked upon his farming enterprise without stock 
or team and could give little time at first to the devel- 
opment of his land, having to earn his support at 
whatever employment he could find but unceasing 



industry steadilj' advanced his sueeuss and iu 1886, 
he became the o\vner of an ox team and wagon, and 
iu the same year began his operations as a thresher- 
man. He had threshed his first crops with a flail 
and was one of the first to engage in the thrashing 
business in the county. The first outfit which he 
operated was equipped with the firet self traction 
engine used in the Thirteen Towns. In the fall of 
1886, he covered seven townships, the season's crop 
being small and all the neighbors cooperating in their 
common interests, the crews eating and sleeping in 
one small cabin. On Christmas eve of that year, they 
were still threshing in Columbia township. For 
thirty-five years Mr. Torgeson was employed in this 
business, becoming widely known throughout the 
county and enjoying an extensive patronage and has 
handled millions of bushels of Polk county grain. 
He has been in charge of many different outfits, seven 
of which he has owTied and has employed crews of 
twenty-five men. For three seasons he operated an 
outfit in Dakota. Aside from the requirements of this 
eminently successful enterprise, Mr. Torgeson has 
devoted every interest to his farms. He lived on his 
homestead for many years, putting some sixty acres 

under cultivation and in 1905, sold the property for 
thirty-three hundred dollars. He then bought the 
land in section three of Brandsvold township, six and 
a half miles north of Fosston, which is his present 
home, paying two thousand dollars for the land, with 
no buildings. But a small tract had been cleared and 
he again engaged upon the arduous task of develop- 
ing a productive farm. He now has seventy acres 
in cultivation and has erected good modern buildings 
and beside his general farming activities, is inter- 
ested in dairy farming. His political aflfiliations are 
with the Republican party and he is a member of 
Brandsvold Unit«d Lutheran church. Mr. Torge- 
son and his wife have a family of nine children, the 
four younger children, Nina Pauline, Theodore, Hilda, 
Amanda, Ruth and Reuben William, still living with 
their parents. A daughter and two sons reside in 
Canada, Josephine Amelia, the wife of C. A. Larson 
of Saskatchewan, and Carl Oscar and Noble Peter 
who are farmers in the same region. Otto Torgeson 
is employed with a lumbering and railroad contract- 
ing firm and Melvin I. Torgeson is engaged in farm- 
ing in North Dakota. 


Ole Myklejord, a farmer of Brandsvold township, 
was born in Norway, January 19, 1864, the son of 
Ole Tollefson, his baptismal name being Ole Olson, 
but preferring a less common surname, he later 
changed it to Myklejord. He came to this country 
when he was seventeen years of age and located iu 
Becker county, Minnesota, where he remained for a 
year and then came to Polk county, taking a pre- 
emption claim on section ten of Brandsvold township 
in 1884 and on coming of age made it a homestead 
claim. In the same year, his father, Ole Tollefson, 
joined him taking land in section fifteen of the same 
township. He died here in 1890 and was survived 
by his wife, his son, Ole Myklejord, and three daugh- 
ters. The former lived for several years after his 

death and made her home for some time with Mr. 
Myklejord. One daughter is a resident of Polk 
county, the wife of John Lee of Brandsvold township. 
Mr. Myklejord experienced all the privations and 
strenuous labor of the pioneer farmer who starts 
with no capital but a tract of wild land. He built a 
one-room log house which was his home for eight 
years and gave what time he could to the clearing 
of his land, working at farm labor and in the Dakota 
harvest fields and after a time bought a yoke of oxen 
which he broke for driving, himself. In 1899 he was 
married at Mcintosh to Anna Norgaard, who was 
born in Norway and had come to this country in 
1885, just a few years later than Mr. Myklejord. She 
was ten years of age when she accompanied her 



mother and two brothers from Norway to Polk county 
where they bought the old Mcintosh farm, one and 
a half miles east of the present village of Mcintosh. 
This place continued to be the home of the mother 
until six years ago when she removed to Brandsvold 
township where she lives with her younger son, Sam 
Norgaard. Ben Norgaard is a farmer in Eden town- 
ship where he took a homestead claim. Mr. Mykle- 
jord has developed his land into a pi-osperous and 
productive fann of two hundred acres. He has re- 
claimed much low land with ditching and a county 
ditch now crosses his place. He has eighty acres 
under cultivation, devoted mainly to wheat. He also 

engages in dairy farming, selling cream to the co- 
operative creamei-y at Fosston. A comfortable mod- 
ern home has been erected and the farm is pleasantly- 
situated six miles and a half north of Fosston. Aside 
from his farming enterprises 3Ir. Myklejord is as- 
sociated with the business interests of the community 
as a stockholder in the Cooperative Creamery com- 
pany and the Cooperative Elevator company at Foss- 
ton. Mr. Myklejord and his wife have five children, 
ilary, Oscar, Albert, Selmer, and Harold. He and 
his family are members of the Froen Synod Lutheran 
church of Brandsvold township. 


John A. "Widuess, a successful farmer of Brands- 
void township, is a native of Norway, born March 2, 
1865. His father, Arne J. Widness, has been a well 
known citizen and fanner in that township since 1884 
■when he located on the noi-thwest quarter of section 
fourteen. He was born in Norway on September 
11, 1835, and came to this country and to Rice county, 
Minnesota in 1880. He engaged in farming and spent 
the next few years here and in Goodhue and Otter- 
tail counties. In 1884 he removed to Polk county 
and bought out the claim rights of a homesteader in 
Brandsvold township, accjuiring the possession of a 
shanty, a few acres of cleared land with the rest of the 
tract covered with brush and timber. The hard work 
and able efforts of the next twelve years were attested 
to by the rapid development of the property and the 
success of all his enterprises. One hundred and 
twenty acres of the land were cleared and put under 
cultivation and a new house and buildings erected. 
A county ditch which affords fine drainage for several 
farms was started by him and built across his farm 
in addition to the private ditches which he installed ; 
the construction of the county ditch costing him 
$1,400. His sons, Hans C. Widness and John A. Wid- 
ness, had taken claims and had joined their land and 
farming interests with his, making a farm of four 

hundred and forty acres, and were associated with 
him in the work of developing and improving the 
laud. He also bought one hundred and sixty acres, 
located one-half mile from the homestead, and devoted 
his attention to the raising of grain on the two farms 
until 1896, when he retired. Mr. Widness has never 
acquired the use of the language of his adopted 
country but has always been interested in the welfare 
and progress of the community and gave active assist- 
ance in the building of the Brandsvold Ignited Luth- 
eran church, of which all his family are members. 
His wife, Maren Widness, died in 1910, a faithful 
companion during the fifty-two years of the trials 
and successes of their career. They had three sons, 
Andrew, who is the proprietor of a hotel in Seattle, 
Washington; Hans C, who lived on the Bi-andsvold 
township farm for some time and is now engaged in 
the mercantile business at Windsor, Minnesota; and 
John A. John A. Widness was fifteen years of age 
when the family removed to this countiy and he grew 
to manhood on the Polk coiinty homestead. He took 
charge of the one himdred and sixty acres near the 
original tract which his father had piirchased and 
remained here for eleven years, clearing the land and 
erecting farm buildings, and when his father retired, 
in 1896, he returned to the home farm for a short 




time. But in the following year he withdrew from 
agricultural pursuits aud located at Shevlin, Minne- 
sota, which was then enjoying a prosperous lumber 
trade. He engaged in the hardware business and 
conducted a successful trade for five years, when the 
failure of a large lumber company brought disaster 
to the smaller business enterprises of the place. After 
spending a part of the year 1902 visiting in his old 
home in Norway, he returned to Minnesota and settled 
in Warroad, where misfortune again overtook him, 
when, after a year and a half residence, the town was 
destroyed by fire and his home aud mercantile stock 
wiped out, he and his family barely escaping with 
their lives. However, his property was insured and 
he did not suffer a total loss. For some years he 
lived in eastern Washington, where he was emploj^ed 
in a hardware store and later removed to Seattle and 
invested in property in that city which he still owns. 

The news of liis .mother's failing health brought him 
back to Minnesota. She died in the spring following 
his return aud since that time he has operated the 
homestead in Brandsvold township which had been 
rented for a number of years. He has added eighty 
acres to the estate and has i-emodeled the old home 
and has all of the land under cultivation. He is 
particularly interested in daily farming and keeps a 
large herd of cows, selling his produce to the co- 
operative creamery at Fosston, five miles distant. Mr. 
Widness was married in Polk county in 1889, to 
Anna Hogan, a native of Norway, from whom he was 
later divorced. They had two daughters, Minnie and 
Letta. During his visit to Norway in 1902, he was 
married to Christopha Torgeson and four children 
have been born to this union, Marvin, Arnel, Iva and 


John R. McKinuon, retired capitalist and ex-mayor 
of Crookston, has been notably identified with the 
business activities of that city for many years. He 
is a native of Scotland, born at Inverness, on Septem- 
ber 13, 1850, and was brought to America when four 
years of age, by his parents, Archibald and Jeanette 
(GiUis) McKinnon, who came to Canada in 1854 and 
located in Glengarry county, Ontario, near Montreal. 
The father engaged in farming there until his death 
in 1884, having survived his wife twenty-one years. 
They reared a family of seven sons and two daugh- 
ters and five of the sons became residents of Crooks- 
ton. John R. McKinnon remained in his Canadian 
home, attending the public schools, until his seven- 
teenth year, when he began to work in the lumber 
region of Michigan. He remained in that state for 
thirteen years, employed as a lumberman, and also 
mastered the trade of carriage maker, and in 1880 
came to Crookston and joined his brothers, Alexan- 
der McKinnon and A. J. McKinnon, in the manufac- 
ture of wagons and carriages. The firm of McKinnon 

Brothers was one of the pioneer industries of the 
county and conducted a thriving business as manu- 
facturers and dealers in farm implements. In 1897 
the company was disorganized and Mr. John R. 
]McKinnon gave his attention to other enterprises 
until 1905, when he retired from active business pur- 
suits. His has been an eminently successful career, 
which has included many able services in the promo- 
tion of the best interests of the community, and he 
has been actively associated with the development of 
Crookston since the first years of its growth. In 
1887 he erected the McKinnon block, the first good 
business building to mark its progress from village 
to city. As a director of the First National bank, he 
has been interested in the direction of its affairs for 
thirty years. In 1895 Mr. McKinnon was elected 
mayor and capably discharged the executive duties 
during one term. He is a member of the Democratic 
party. His marriage to Henrietta McDonald, a na- 
tive of Ontario, Canada, took place in Michigan, July 
22, 1874. Her death occurred in March, 1909. Eight 



Mr. McKiunon is a member of the Catholie 

children were boru to this union, two of whom are father, 
now living, Margaret, the wife of Mr. George W. church. 
Capser, and Henrietta, who makes her home with her 


John A. Hageu, a pioneer farmer of Queen town- 
ship, is a native of Noi-way, born February 8, 1855. 
He was married there to Olava Gondersou, and in 
1883, in company with her father, Ole Gunderson, 
came to the United States, locating in Wisconsin. In 
the following year he was joined by his wife and 
three sons, August, Olaf and Julius. In the spring 
of 1886 John A. Hagen removed with his family to 
Polk county, taking as a homestead a quarter section 
which lay in both Queen and Eden townships and has 
continued to devote his interests to this farm. Since 
1896 Ole Gunderson has also been a resident of the 
county and a member of the Hagen household, and has 
reached the advanced age of eighty-six years. Mr. 
Hagen contended with the usual privations and hard 
work of the pioneer farmer, with no resources but 
native ingenuity and unfilled acres. It had taken 
his small capital to make the payment on his land and 
the first log shanty which he built was destroyed by 
fire before ever occupied by his family. The second 
house was also constructed of logs and was used as the 
residence until 1907 when the present fainn home was 
erected. Mr. Hagen later bought an additional forty 
acres and now has two hundred acres, one hundred 
and forty of which he has put under cultivation. Al- 
though the land was not naturally adapted for most 

successful farming purposes, either by location or 
soil conditions, by intelligent study and able manage- 
ment, he has through his own efforts developed it into 
one of the most productive farms in that region. With 
an extensive drainage system he reclaimed some fifty 
acres of marsh for profitable use and has steadily 
advanced the efficiency of his operations. He has 
erected a good barn, which stands in Eden township, 
but his home has always been on the Queen township 
land. He is a shareholder in the cooperative creameiy 
at Olga and a member of the Salem or Norwegian 
Synod Lutheran church at the same place, and during 
the many yeai-s of the faithful service of his member- 
ship has been actively identified with its interests. 
His wife died May 9, 1915, at the age of sixty-two 
years. Five children were born to Mr. Hagen and 
his wife after they came to this country: Helena, 
who married Andrew Alrick of Clearbrook, Minne- 
sota ; Ingmar, a farmer near Williston, North Dakota ; 
and Orgine Josephine, Evan and Otto, who live with 
their father. Of the older sons, August Hagen is a 
well known farmer of Eden township, a sketch of 
whose life is included in this work; Olaf Hagen is 
engaged in the restaurant business in Crookston, and 
Julius Hagen resides in Clearwater county, where 
he is a farmer. 


August Hagau, a prominent farmer and influential 
citizen of Eden township, has been a resident of the 
county since 1886, when a lad of eleven years, he 
accompanied his father to the old homestead in Queen 
township. August Ilagan was born in Norway, July 
28, 1875, the son of J. A. and Olava (Gunderson) 
Hagan, and came to the United States with the family 

in 1884. He grew to manhood on the Polk county 
farm, assisting in its management, and was associated 
with his father's successful farming operations until 
1908, dividing his work and interests between the 
home place and his own farm, which he had bought 
in 1898. He paid $950 for this land, which was in 
Eden township, and had been the homestead claim of 



Tilda Ostling. No buildings had been erected on the 
tract and but thirty-five acres cleared, and there were 
a number of acres of useless slough land. With an 
adequate drainage system he has converted this into 
fine meadow land. Mr. Hagan has devoted his entire 
attention to the operation of this farm since his re- 
moval here in 1908 and with creditable industry and 
ability has made rapid progress in developing its 
resources, having put some ninety-five acres under 
cultivation, and equipped it with modern buildings 
and improvements. He engages in general farming 
j)ursuits and daii-y farming. Aside from his private 
enterprises Mr. Hagan is prominently identified with 
the advancement and success of important business 
activities in the county. He was one of the promotors 
of the organization of the cooperative creamery at 
Olga and has capably directed its affairs as president 
and treasurer of the company since its incorporation 

in 1906 with sixty-two stockholders. This enterprise 
has met with steady and marked pi*osperity and dur- 
ing the nine years of its operations has distributed a 
quarter of a million of dollars among its one hundred 
and twenty patrons. Mr. Hagan is also a stockholder 
in the Farmers Elevator Company at Fosston : also 
president of Cooperative Live Stock Shipping Asso- 
ciation. He is a member of the Democratic party and 
is actively interested in all questions of public moment 
and is giving his efficient services in the office of 
township supervisor. One of the original members of 
the Salem Lutheran church at Olga, he has continued 
to give it his faithful and generous support. Mr. 
Hagan was married, June 30, 1910, to Mabel Clara 
Martinson. She was born in Clay county, Minnesota, 
in 1888 and is the daughter of Carl Martinson, a 
farmer of Eden township. 


Andrew M. Eaton, a well known farmer of 
Brandsvold township and one of the first settlers 
in the Thirteen Towns, is a native of Switzerland, 
liom May 6, 1852. He was brought to this country 
when two yeare old by his parents, who made their 
firet home in Chicago and later i-emoved to Milwaukee 
and then to Iowa. In 1862, just before the Indian 
outbreak of that year, they settled on land in Stearns 
county, between St. Cloud and St. Joseph. When 
he was seventeen years of age Andrew Eaton left his 
father's farm and went to Ottertail county, where 
he took squatter's rights to a tract of land but did 
not file on it. Some years later he went to Becker 
county, and was living in Frazee in 1878 when he 
was visited by John A. Plesch and Herman Eikens, 
who were enroute from their home in Douglas county 
to a new location in the section known as the Thirteen 
Towns, which had just been opened for settlement. 
A month later Mr. Eaton joined them in their new 
home, taking a claim on section nineteen of what is 
now Rosebud township. Of the eight men who were 

the first settlers of this district, four still reside here, 
Herman Eikens, John Flesch, Andrew Eaton and 
Greorge Herschberger. Edward Lebree removed to 
Canada, W. J. Hillegoss now lives in Tacoma, Wash- 
ington, and Jerome Thayer and Matt Portz are dead. 
Several others who took claims about this time gave 
up their land when the region was withdrawn from 
the market by the govei'nment. During the first years 
these pioneei-s struggled wdth all the privations and 
hard labor of frontier life. For a time they lived in 
the open, using their wagons for shelter, and a clock 
belonging to Mr. Flesch and fastened to a balm of 
Gilead tree, marked the passing of the days. Mr. 
Eaton hired a few acres of prairie land broken for 
cultivation and in the spring of 1879 brought his 
family to the wilderness home. The first house was 
built of oak logs, with the floor of hewed poplar, and 
roofed with elm bark. In 1883 the land was re- 
opened and rapidly settled and a church and school 
established. Before that time a small store, known 
as the Wild Rice trading post, was kept on the Flesch 



farm by a half breed, Mon-do-ba-sbika. Trading posts 
were also operated by j\Ir. Hillegoss and Mr. Lebree. 
The local tribes of Indians from White Earth and 
Red Lake were frequent and friendly visitors of the 
settlers and never threatened their safety. Their 
name for Mr. Eaton was Wind-de-go, signifying in 
their vernacular that his strengtli demanded their 
respect. Mr. Fleseh was known as Mo-ko-gee, be- 
cause of his alert manner and the quickness of his 
movements. In 1883 Lewis Foss started a store and 
the postoffiee of Fosston on the Fleseh homestead, on 
the present site of the home of John Newton, a son- 
in-law of John Fleseh. The following year he removed 
to the present location of Fosston, and another store 
was built by Jacob Hansen and the postoffiee of Hans- 
ville started. Supplies were hauled from Detroit City, 
and the nearest wheat markets were Beltrami and 
Detroit. During the first years Mr. Eaton cleared 
about fifteen acres of his land and raised some wheat, 
and meanwhile industriously employed every means 
of supporting his family that the frontier counti-y 
afforded. For two years he returned to Becker 
county during the harvest season, and in the spring 
and fall he trapped for muskrat, mink and otter 
skins. He also dug snake root, finding a good market 
for it, either dried or green. He often walked to 
Bolieu with his produce and packed the provisions 
home on his back in primitive fashion, and did not 
buy his first yoke of oxen until 1883, when he mort- 
gaged his land to make the purchase. His wheat crops 
were thrashed by flailing over poles, laid over a cleared 
space. With Mr. Fleseh he once thrashed two hundred 
bushel by tliis laborious method. When T. B. Walker 
opened his lumber operations on Clearwater river 
Mr. Eaton worked in his employ, driving the teams 
in the winter, and during one summer was carrier 
for the camps, carrying mail and calks for the lum- 
bermen's shoes from Detroit. It took a week's time 
to make the route, traveling all day and camping at 
any place that darkness overtook him, but the friend- 
liness of the natives never failed him, and, although 
a police patrol was not established until later, he was 

never molested. With steady determination and hard 
work Mr. Eaton developed his farm, putting some 
forty acres under cultivation and erecting a comfort- 
able home. The able qualities which brought him 
success in private enterprises prompted his efficient 
service and influence in behalf of the public welfare, 
and as a worthy i>ioneer of Rosebud township he was 
identified with every phase of the history of its found- 
ing and development. He was present at the first 
election in 1883, held in the old house on the Fleseh 
farm, which also housed the first school in the town- 
ship, taught by A. D. Wishard, who later became 
superintendent of the schools at Red Lake Falls. Mr. 
Eaton was a member of the school board for many 
years and served as clerk of the school district, and 
for eight years was road supervisor. In political 
matters he maintains independence in his views and 
is allied with no party organization. He is a member 
of the Catholic church and attended the firet mass, 
which was held in the Fleseh home by Father Lozier 
of White Earth. The church at Hansville was built 
about seventeen years ago, and previous to that time 
occasional services were held in the homes. In 1897 
Mr. Eaton removed from his homestead to his present 
home on section eleven of Brandsvold township, six 
miles north of Fosston. Here he again undertook the 
work of the farm-builder, much of the land being 
uncultivated and the only buildings a log shanty and 
barn. He has developed a fine farm, with a pleasant 
home and good buildings, and with the excei^tion of 
pasture land has every acre under cultivation. A 
county ditch crosses the place and furnishes good 
drainage. He gives some attention to dairy farming, 
keeping a herd of twelve eow's. He was married in 
1876 at St. Joseph, Becker county, to Mary Brench, 
wlio was born at St. Joseph in 1858 and is of German 
parentage. They have seven children : Veronica 
Mary, who taught in the Polk county schools for 
several years and raan-ied C. S. Richardson of Roseau, 
Minnesota ; Albert Stephen, a farmer near Davidson, 
Minnesota ; Joseph Lewis, residing in Montana ; Gert- 
rude Louisa, living with her brother, Albert Eaton ; 



Andrew Matthias, who has taken a claim in Montana ; makes her home with her parents, and Christopher 
Ida Agnes, a teacher in the schools at Ashley ; D., who William, who is in charge of the home farm. 

R. J. Melquist, a well known farmer of Brands- left in his charge. 

void township, is a native of Minnesota, born in Free- 
born county, June 10, 1872, the son of John and 
Randa (Jacobson) Melqnist. John Melquist was 
born in Sweden and was married to Randa Jacob- 
son in Norway, her native land. They came to the 
United States about the time of the close of the Civil 
war and located in Minnesota, in Freeborn count}'. 
Here his death occurred and she was later married 
to Ole Runhoug and in 1883 the family removed to 
Norman county and in 1888 came to Polk county. 
They bought a claim of Ole Truuson, paying five 
hundred dollars. A log house had been built on the 
place and but three acres of land had been cleared. 
Soon after settling here, the departure of his stop- 
father left the management and development of the 
homestead to Mr. Melquist, then a lad of seventeen 
years. He capably shouldei'ed the responsibility and 
has continued to devote his efforts and interests to 

For two years he worked at the 
clearing of his land without the assistance of a team 
and then became the owner of a yoke of oxen which 
he later exchanged for horses. The timber which ho 
cut from his land he sold in Fosston and Mcintosh 
as cord wood, receiving from one dollar and a quar- 
ter to three dollars a cord. He has now seventy 
acres under cultivation and engages in the raising 
of grain, wheat being his principal crop. His farm 
is pleasantly situated six miles northwest of Fosston 
and about the same distance from Mcintosh. During 
the years of his residence in this county, Mr. Mel- 
quist has ever taken a public spirited interest in the 
welfare of the community and has given able service 
as a member of the local school board. He takes 
keen pleasure in hunting and en.joys frecjuent trips, 
in pursuit of his favorite sport, in the deer country. 
Mr. Melquist has never married and his mother made 
her home with him until her death, April 4, 1912, at 

the farm which with careful management and hard the age of eighty-six. He is a member of the Synod 
work, he has built from the primitive timber land Lutheran church at Fosston. 

C. P. HOLE. 

C. P. Hole, the editor of the Erskine Echo, has been 
successfully associated with newspaper interests of 
the county for .some twenty-five years. He is a native 
of Norway, born October 2, 1876, the son of B. K. 
and Mathea Hole, and when five years of age accom- 
panied his parents to the United States and to Fargo, 
North Dakota. B. K. Hole was a gi'aduate of Lille 
Hammer, a famous educational institution of Norway, 
and had taught for a number of years in the parochial 
schools of that country. After locating in Fargo he 
became employed in carpenter work, but also taught 
for several months in a school in the vicinity. In 
1883, at the opening of the land of the Thirteen Towns 

for settlement, he took a homestead in King township, 
a few miles south of Mcintosh, and brought his family 
to the new home in the following spring. His activi- 
ties as a pioneer farmer were of short duration, his 
death, from typhoid fever, occurring in the autumn 
of the same year. He was survived by his wife and 
three small children : C. P. Hole, who was then eight 
years of age; P. B. Hole, who is now a resident of 
Mcintosh, at the age of six, and Marie, then in her 
infancy. The latter is the wife of C. H. Hendrickson 
of Moorhead. After two years spent on the home- 
stead the mother man-ied Charles Johnson, a settler 
of Knute to^vnship, whose farm was three miles east 



of the present site of Erskine. He had also been 
previously married, his wife having died in their 
pioneer home. The Hole claim was sold and the family 
received a pleasant home with their step-father on 
his homestead. He has now retired from farming 
and with his wife makes his home in Mcintosh. C. P. 
Hole was reared on the Knute township farm and 
when fourteen years of age apprenticed himself to 
the printer's trade, entering the office of the 
Mcintosh Tribune in 1890 and continued in the 
employment of the editor, P. P. Bodine, for a time, 
learning the rudiments of his trade and then advanced 
to typesetting for Mr. McKenzie of the Crookston 
Times. After completing his apprenticeship he be- 
came the foreman of the Mcintosh Times under C. T. 
Lanman, who was the editor at that time. In 190:3 
he made his first independent venture in the publish- 
ing business and established the Mentor Herald, the 
first and only newspaper ever published in that 
village. This venture became a successful and pros- 

perous enterprise and Mr. Hole continued the sheet 
for several months after becoming the editor of the 
Erskine Echo and then consolidated the two papers 
and covers the combined circulation with the Echo. 
His plant is fully 'equipped with a power press and 
type setting machine and is one of the competent and 
popular country printing offices of the county. Mr. 
Plole has devoted every interest of his career to his 
paper and with intelligent appreciation of the respon- 
sibilities of his profession and the power of the press 
in public welfare is ably advancing the Ijest interests 
of the county. He is also identified with public 
activities in an official capacity as recorder of the 
village, a member of the school board and the chief 
of the fire department. His marriage to Edna Wade- 
kamper, of Mentor, occurred May i, 1905. She is a 
native of Ottertail county and is of German and 
Norwegian parentage. Five children have been bom 
to this union. Earl, Ethel, Loren, Ray and Kenneth. 


W. D. Hamilton, a successful merchant of Fisher 
and a member of the firm of Hamilton Brothers, is 
one of three brothers who have been prominently 
associated with the commercial activities of the county. 
They were born at Hibbard, Ontario, and the first 
removal to Polk county was made by Frank Hamilton 
in 1878. In 1880 he was joined by the father, Francis 
Hamilton, who resided at Fisher for two years and 
then removed to Grand Forks county. North Dakota. 
Frank Hamilton engaged in carpentered contracting 
work for several yeare, and in 1886 opened a furniture 
store at Fisher, in which prosperous enterprise bis 
brothers, W. D. Hamilton and Donald Hamilton, later 
became associated with him. W. D. Hamilton first 
became connected with the business in 1896 as clerk 
and continued in that position for two years and then 
became a partner, and in 1890 Donald Hamilton 
entered the firm. The latter retired from his mer- 
cantile relations in 1905 and has since engaged in 

farming near Fisher. The business met with marked 
success and a rapidly growing trade that early 
warranted the addition of a hardware stock and 
agricidtural implements which have been further sup- 
plemented in late years with the harness trade. Frank 
Hamilton remained at the head of the firm and active 
manager of the store until 1898, when he withdrew 
from active cooperation in the business to devote his 
attention to the undertaking profession, locating at 
Grand Forks, North Dakota. After a year there and 
in Fargo, in 1900 he removed to Seattle, and has since 
engaged in the undertaking business at that place, 
retaining his interest in the store at Fisher, where 
he was succeeded as manager by W. D. Hamilton. 
The present store building was erected by Frank 
Hamilton in 1895 and is still his property. The com- 
mercial reputation of the firm has been capably upheld 
by W. D. Hamilton, and under his direction its 
interests have steadily prospered. From the original 



investment of $2,000 the capital has increased to 
$20,000, with the annual sales amounting to some 
$30,000. Aside from his business activities Mr. 
Hamilton is interested in farm lands, both in Polk 
county and in Dakota, one farm of one hundred and 
sixty acres being near Fisher. The Hamilton brothers 
are all members of the Republican party and are well 
known in lodge circles, where W. D. Hamilton is 
allied with the Elks, being a member of the chapter 
at Crookston, Frank Hamilton with the Masonic order 
and Donald Hamilton with the Elks and the Inde- 
pendent Order of Odd Fellows. W. D. Hamilton was 

married at Fisher to Mary Quigley, the daughter of 
Patrick Quigley, a pioneer farmer of Fisher township, 
who still resides on his old homestead near the town. 
Mr. Quigley located there in 1871 and recounts many 
interesting experiences of that time, i-ecalling event- 
ful trips for provisions to the trading station kept by 
Bob Ray, at Frog Point across Red river, when the 
skiff used as a ferry ofttimes proved a perilous and 
disastrous conveyance for their goods. Mr. Hamilton 
and his wife have three children, Helen, Douglas and 


Matt Rose, a prosperous farmer of Brandsvold 
township, was born in Norway, January 30, 1859, 
the son of Peter and Olena Rose. His parents came 
to the United States when he was ten years old and 
settled in Freeborn county, Minnesota, where they 
bought forty acres of land. In 1875 Peter Rose re- 
moved with his family to Iowa, buying school land 
in Winnebago county and engaged in farming there 
for six years, during which time his crops were de- 
stroyed by the devastating chinch bug and his mis- 
fortunes culminated in the loss of all his property 
with the exception of his stock. He then returned 
to Minnesota, living in Faribault county for several 
years. In 1884 the family came to Polk county and 
Matt Rose and his brother, John Rose, bought the 
claim rights for the southeast quarter of section eight 
of Brandsvold township from a homesteader, for one 
hundred and fifty dollars. Tlie parents made their 
home here until their deaths. The motl>er's death 
occurred in 1888 and the father survived her until 
his eighty-ninth year. The homestead land was un- 
developed and a small log house with a sod roof had 
been erected on it. The brothers shared in the ardu- 
ous labor of clearing the land and after proving up 
on the claim, divided the tract. They had put over 
one hundred acres under cultivation when the death 
of the older brother, John, occurred and since that 

time the farm has been under the management of 
Matt Rose, he having acquired the title to his brother 's 
shai'e after the latter 's death. On coming to Polk 
county, he owned a team of horees and was able to 
stock his farm with several head of cattle and during 
the first seasons before the land could be broken, he 
worked at farm labor in the neighborhood. He en- 
dured his share of the misfortunes and adversities 
which visit tlie pioneer farmer and with unfailing 
industry has won his way to his present prosperous 
position, building up one of the fine farm properties 
of the county. He has erected good buildings and 
in 1910 built the pleasant country home which occu- 
pies a well chosen and sightly location. The place 
is conveniently situated five miles north of Fosston 
and the same distance east of Mcintosh. Several 
small ponds have been drained with ditches and all 
the land has been made productive, with one hundred 
and forty acres under cultivation and the balance 
used for pasturing purposes. Mr. Rose has installed 
a fine water system, using a well fifty-eight feet deep, 
equipped with an engine which supplies the large 
water tanks. He is successfully engaged in stock 
raising, breeding high grade stock, and keeps a herd 
of dairy cattle, selling cream to the creamery at Foss- 
ton. As a citizen, Mr. Rose has given able and effec- 
tive service in the office of township supervisor for 



seven years. He is a member of the United Lutheran 
ehureh at Fosston, ]\Ir. Rose was married in Fari- 
bault county, in 1888, to Gertie Giste, who was born 
in Norway in 1862, and seven children have been 

born to this union, Olena, Peter, Minnie, Hilda, Thor- 
wald, Annie and Gina. The sons, Peter Rose and 
Thoi-wald Rose are now in charge of the Rose farm. 


Paul J. Ilushagen, a well known farmer and early 
settler of Eden township, was bom in Norway, 
August 19, 1864. His mother died in his early child- 
hood and his father, J. P. Hushagen contracted a 
second marriage and in 1876 brought his familj- to 
the United States, settling in Ottertail county, Min- 
nesota, where he took a claim of one hundred and 
twenty acres and has since devoted his interests to 
this farm which is operated by his son, John J. Hush- 
agen, the father being now in his eightieth year. 
Paul J. Hushagen was reared on the Ottertail home- 
stead, attending the country schools during the few 
months that coiild be spared from the many duties 
and hard labor on the frontier farm. He continued 
to make his home there, assisting his father until he 
was twenty-four years of age and then embarked upon 
an independent career as a farmer. He came to 
Polk county in 1887 and located on land in Eden 
township, filing his claim in June of the following 
year when the region was opened for settlement. 
The first house was built of logs cut from the land 
with a sod roof but a good wood floor and he entered 
upon the responsibilities of a newly established home 
and the laborious task of developing a farm, with a 
capital of three dollars in cash, a yoke of oxen and 
wagon and a meager household equipment. From 
this start, with ambitious and able efforts and hard 
work, he has gained success and built up a fine prop- 
erty with one hundred acres under cultivation. Dur- 
ing the first summer on his claim, he worked in the 
harvest fields in Red river valley and was not able 
to give much time to the clearing of his own tract 
but industry and thrifty management soon put his 
operations on a profitable basis. He has engaged in 
general farming activities, making wheat his princi- 

pal crop and is interested in dairy farming and the 
raising of thoroughbred stock, having started a herd 
of thoroughbred Guernsey cattle. As a stock farmer, 
he also keeps sheep. The present home was erected 
in 1902 and the place is well equipped with good 
buildings, the large barn having been 1)uilt in 1914. 
Mr. Hushagen has ever taken a public spirited inter- 
est in matters of i:)ublic moment and has been actively 
identified with the affairs of the community, capably 
discharging the duties of citizenship in the elections 
of the township and in official capacity, having given 
service as poor master and in charge of road construc- 
tion. He is associated with local business interests 
as a stockholder in the cooperative creamery at Olga, 
the Farmers Elevator and Store companies at Foss- 
ton and the Farmers Elevator company at Trail, on 
the Soo railroad. He is prominent in church circles 
as an active supporter of the Zion LTnited Lutheran 
church, in which he has given faithful service as an 
officer for many years and it was largely through his 
influence that the initial efforts were made to effect 
its organization. Mr. Hu.shagen was married in May, 
1888 during the first year of his residence in Eden 
township to Anne Anderson of Ottertail county. 
She is a native of Norway and was brought to Min- 
nesota by her parents in her fourth year. A family 
of four sons and two daughters have been born to 
them, Jorgen; Joseph; Anton and August, who now 
live in Alberta, Canada, where they have land in 
Peace river valley; and Inga and Clara, who reside 
with their parents. Jorgen Hushagen was married 
to Petra Flatliang, of Hill River township and was 
a student in the agricultural college at Ci'ookstou for 
two years. He is now the proprietor of a flour and 
feed store at Trail. Joseph Hushagen is associated 



with his father in his fanning interests and is the 
manager of the home farm. He was married to Caro- 
line Swensou, of Pelican Rapids. The Hushagen 

farm is located on section eighteen of Eden township, 
twelve miles north of Fosston and four miles from 


Hans C. Sorby, for many years a prominent citi- 
zen of Hill River township, was one of four brothers 
who were associated in their farming operations in 
that township. He was bom in Skane, Norway, May 
11, 1852, and was reared in his native land. With 
his brother, Lewis, he went to sea, as a sailor on 
merchant ships, and it was on one of their voyages 
that Lewis Sorby received an injury, while in the 
port of Quebec, which disabled him for active duty 
for the time and he decided to visit a sister, who was 
then living in Stevens county, Minnesota. In 1881, 
he located in Minnesota and in the following year 
was joined by his brothers, Andrew and Christ Sorby. 
Hans Sorby came to Polk county in 1883 with his 
parents and three sisters, Margarita, Sophia and 
Jacobine, Margarita being now the only one living. 
She married Christ Olson, a farmer of Eden town- 
ship. Sophia Sorby was married to E. A. Engebret- 
son, a sketch of whose life is found in this work and 
died at her home in Eden township in 1911 and Jaco- 
bine Sorby became the wife of Lars Rasmusson of 
Stevens county, where her death occurred in 1915. 
The father erected the house which is the present 
farm residence and was associated with his sons in 
the management of the place until his death in 1888. 
His wife survived him a number of yeare and died 
in 1903. The Sorby brothers continued to be associ- 
ated in the management of the homestead, which is 
situated eleven miles north of Fosston, and in all 

their business interests, their joint enterprises meet- 
ing with unvaried success and prosperity. They 
made many profitable land investments, adding to 
the original tract and have displayed keen business 
ability in all their operations. Their agricultural in- 
terests have been devoted to general farming and 
they have engaged to some extent in dairy farming 
and are shareholders in the cooperative creamery. 
Hans C. Sorby was ever prominently identified with 
public interests of the county and gave almost con- 
tinual sei'vice in official capacity from the time of the 
first election held in the township when he was made 
supervisor. He was later elected treasurer of the 
township and then returned to the office of township 
supervisor. His able services and unselfish response 
to other demands than those of private interests, to- 
gether with his native geniality won him many warm 
friends throughout the county. He was one of the 
substantial and progressive citizens whose loss is 
deeply regretted by the community in which he lived. 
He died, July 25, 1915, in his sixty-third year, and 
is survived by his wife, Moneta (Paulson) Sorby and 
their five children, Melvin, Christopher, Selmer, 
Helga and Alvina. Hans C. Sorby was the only one 
of the brothers who married. In 1914, Andrew 
Sorby and Christ Sorby visited their native land 
and returned to Minnesota well pleased with the farm 
home which they have made for themselres in their 
adopted country. 


With a longer record of continuous service in news- 
paper work and a more varied and spectacular experi- 
ence in it than almost any other man now in the 

northern part of this state, or perhaps in the whole 

Northwest, WiUiam E. McKenzie, founder and editor 
of the Crookston Daily Times, has had excellent 
preparation for the work in which he is so success- 
fully engaged, and his career in it shows that he had 



made liis traiuiug tell in all respects to his advantage 
and for the benefit of the people for whom he labors. 
Mr. McKenzie was born in Dunkirk, New York, in 
1863, the son of James and Margaret (Laughlin) 
McKenzie, the former born in Glasgow, Scotland, and 
the latter a native of Ireland. They were married in 
this country, however, in the state of New York, and 
became the parents of two sons and five daughters, 
but William E. is the only member of the familj' now 
living in Minnesota. The parents died in Crookston, 
where they located in 1883. The father learned his 
trade as a machinist in his native city and was em- 
ployed on boat construction there and on the Clyde 
until about 1845, when he came to the United States 
and obtained a position as assistant superintendent 
in the Brooks Locomotive Works at Dunkirk, New 
York, where he was employed for over a quarter of 
a century. 

William E. McKenzie obtained his education in 
academic lines in schools in Ontario, where the family 
lived about four j'ears; and in Buffalo, New York, 
where he was gi-aduated from the high school. He 
then pursued a course of special training at Bryant 
& Stratton's College in that city. He began his news- 
paper career with Norman E. Mack, whom he helped 
to start the Morning Times of Buffalo, with which he 
was connected for a few months as reporter and part 
owner. When the Morning Times was discontinued 
and before the Evening Times, which is still in exist- 
ence, was start«d, Mr. McKenzie came to Crookston. 
This was in the winter of 1881, and after a stay of 
a week or two went to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where 
he finished the winter, returning to Crookston in 
March, 1882. He was at once engaged as foreman 
on the Weekly Chronicle, which position he filled until 
the fall of that year. Then, in company with W. R. 
Dunn, he founded the St. Hilaire Spectator. The 
railroad had not yet reached St. Hilaire and the 
presses and other equipment for the Spectator had 
to be taken to that city from Crookston by ox teams. 
One year later Mr. McKenzie .sold his interest in the 
Spectator to Harry Ives, who until four years ago 
owned and conducted the paper. 

When he left St. Hilaire Mr. McKenzie again took 
charge of the Crookston Chronicle, which he published 
for J. G. McGrew until 1885. But in that year he 
joined hands with F. J. Rothpletz in founding the 
Crookston Weekly Times. Mr. Rothpletz soon parted 
with his interest in this paper and Mr. McKenzie con- 
tinued to publish it only as a weekly until 1891, when 
the daily edition was started, and this is still in active 
and increasing circulation. In 1905 a stock company 
was formed to take charge of the two papers, and on 
Januarv 1, 1906, Mr. McKenzie retired from the 
active management of the publications, but retained 
a one-half interest in the business, which he held in 
that way until the company was reorganized in its 
present form in 1912. When the stock company w^as 
organized Mr. McKenzie had retained as his own the 
job and book department of the Crookston Times, and 
had carried it on in partnership with E. W. Robbins 
under the name of the McKenzie-Robbius Printing 
company. Mr. Robbins had charge of the business 
while Mr. McKenzie went to Seattle, Wash., and 
founded a wholesale business under the name of the 
McKenzie-Hunt Paper company, and he continued to 
carry on that enterprise until June, 1911, when he 
sold out and after settling up his business affairs 
again returned to Crookston in 1912 and bought the 
interests of Mr. Dotson and others in the Daily Times 
company and consolidated it with the McKenzie-Rob- 
bins Printing company, and since then the two indus- 
tries have been combined under the management of a 
stock company of which Mr. McKenzie is president 
and treasurer and Mr. Robbins is secretary. The 
Daily Times supports the Republican party in its 
political policy. It has a circulation of about 8,000, 
independent of the weekly edition, and is prosperous, 
waelding a strong influence throughout a considerable 
scope of country and standing well in newspaper cir- 
cles in all parts of the Northwest. 

Mr. McKenzie, in addition to his other work in the 
newspaper field, founded the Mcintosh Times at the 
town of Mcintosh, in this county, and the Michigan 
City Times, at Michigan City, North Dakota. In 1893 
Mr. McKenzie bought the Grand Forks Plain Dealer, 



which was conducted for many years by W. J. Mur- 
phy, now of the Minneapolis Tribune. In conducting 
the Plain Dealer Mr. McKenzie was associated with 
E. C. Carruth, and they were in charge of it until 
1910, when they sold it. He is at present vice presi- 
dent of the Merchants National Bank of Crookston 
and a director of the Crookston Milling company, the 
Crookston Cordage company, and the Northern Town- 
site company, which founded the towns of Strathcona, 
Middle River and Greenbush in this state. Frater- 
nally he is a member of the Masonic Order, the Order 
of Elks and the Knights of Pythias. In Freemasonry 
he is a Knight Templar and a Noble of the Mystic 

Shrine. While firm in his loyalty to his political 
party he has never sought any of its honors or emolu- 
ments for himself. In 1883 he was united in mar- 
riage with Miss Emma Mason, a native of Wisconsin. 
They have three sons, Norman W., Glenn E. and 
Donald A., all of whom are associated with their 
father in conducting his business. He has won high 
and widespread regard for the success with which he 
has managed his business affairs but his chief title to 
public esteem, aside from his excellence as a citizen, 
is his conspicuous ability as an editorial writer, which 
has fixed his fame at a high mark throughout the 


Evan A. Engebretson, a well known farmer of tlie 
county and one of the first settlers of Eden township, 
was born in Nonvay, November 26, 1868, the son of 
Andrew and Anna Engebretson. He was brought to 
this country by his parents in his early infancy. In 
1869, they came to Goodhue county, Minnesota, later 
removing to Faribault, Minnesota, where they lived 
for eight years. In 1878 Andrew Engebretson located 
on frontier land in Ottertail county and the family 
made their home on that farm until 1886. In that 
year they came to Polk county, taking claims in the 
old Indian reservation land which had been opened 
for settlement. They located on land in what is now 
Eden township, this was before a survey of the land 
had been made and Peter Dunrud, Ole Edevold and 
John Erickson were the only other settlers in the 
township. Andrew Engebretson continued to make 
his home on his homestead in section thirty until his 
death in 1897, the farm having since been sold. His 
wife survives him and has lived at Clearbrook, in 
Clearwater county, Minnesota, during the past ten 
years. E. A. Engebretson and his sister Anna, who 
was married to Peter Dunrud, are the only members 
of the family now residing in the county. The ma- 
ternal grandmother had accompanied them to the new 
home in Eden township and also took a homestead 

claim in section nineteen and adjoining that of her 
son-in-law. Evan Engebretson made his home with 
her in the little log cabin which she had built on the 
tract and which has long since disappeared. On his 
coming of age, she gave him the land, which with 
able effort and industry he has developed into his 
present valuable farm property. Mr. Engebretson 
has given his attention to general farming and keeps 
a herd of dairy cows, selling his dairy produce to 
the cooperative creameiy at Olga, in which he is in- 
terested as a shareholder. He has met with success 
in all his activities and conducts his agricultural en- 
terprises with the most modern and efficient methods. 
He has converted several acres of marsh into valuable 
fields by building ditches to which a county ditch 
gives outlet. His first home was a log house, in which 
he lived for eighteen yeare and which still stands on 
the place. He erected the present comfortable coun- 
try home in 1906. Aside from the management of 
his private interests, he has aided in the promotion 
of important business activities and is a stockholder 
in the Farmers Elevator and Cooperative store com- 
panies at Fosston and in the elevator company at 
Trail, located on the Soo railroad and about five miles 
north of his farm which is situated ten and a half 
miles northeast of Fosston. Mr. Engebretson has 



also given able service in public office and has been 
a member of the township board for many years and 
for twelve years was chairman of the board. He is 
a member of the United Lutheran church. He was 
married to Sophia Sorby, the daughter of a promi. 
nent pioneer family of Hill River township and her 
death occurred February 14, 1911. A family of nine 

children was born to this union, Alma, Laura, Clara, 
who is a student in the high school at Posston, 
Amanda, Dagana, Carl, Ena, Esther and Lloyd. On 
January 10, 1912, Mr. Engebretson was married to 
Otilda Reas of Fargo, North Dakota, who had been 
a life long friend of the mother of his children and 
who has given them loving care. 


Hans L. Hanson, a prominent citizen of Hill River 
township, was born in Mitchell county, Iowa, June 
20, 1862. His parents were natives of Norway and 
were among the first of their countrymen to emigrate 
to the United States. The father located in Wiscon- 
sin in 1848 and a little later bought government land 
in I\Iitchell, Iowa, and was prominently identified 
with the early history of that section. The father 
devoted his life to his farming interests and was also 
one of the promoters of the organization and platting 
of the town of St. Ansgar. Hans L. Hanson was 
reared in his native county and made his home there 
until 1884 when he came to Polk county and toolc 
a homestead claim on the southwest quarter of sec- 
tion twenty-nine of Hill River township. His first 
home was a log shanty in the woods which he later 
replaced with a more comfortable log house. The 
clearing of the land progressed slowly, as he owned 
no team and he had no crop during the first year. 
For several seasons, he worked in the Dakota hai'vest 
fields and after a few years was able to purchase a 
team and to devote his attention to the development 
of his farm and has put the greater part of the place 
under cultivation, reclaiming some of the low laud 
with ditches. He has also invested in land in Dakota 
and spent one year on that farm but with this ex- 
ception has been a continuous resident of the county 
since 1884. He has engaged in diversified farming, 
raising grain and is particularly interested in clover 
culture, for which his land has proven peculiarly 
adapted, although, as is generally the case in this sec- 
tion, his experiments with alfalfa have not been profit- 

able. He keeps a large herd of dairy cows, sending the 
cream to the cooperative creamery at Mcintosh, about 
seven miles from his place. The farm is equipped 
with good buildings, the large barn having been 
erected in 1895, and in 1902 he built the pleasant 
farm home which is delightfully situated on the 
banks of a small lake. The Amundson homestead 
which adjoins his land is now part of his property, 
this having been taken as a preemption claim by his 
wife, Anna (Amundson) Hanson, to whom he was 
married May 10, 1889. She was born in Dane county, 
Wisconsin, November 15, 1863, the daughter of Lewis 
and Ann Amundson, who had come to the United 
States in 1860. They removed to Minnesota, settling 
in Hill River township. The death of Lewis Amund- 
son occurred three years later and his daughter Anna 
filed on a claim and proved up on it. She is now the 
only surviving member of the family of Lewis and 
Ann Amundson, all of whom made their homes in 
this county. The eldest son, Lewis, died in October, 
1912, in his fifty-sixth j-ear and is survived by his 
wife who lives on their homestead in section nineteen 
of Hill River township. Ole Amundson also was 
a farmer in this vicinity until his death. Betsy 
Amundson l)eeame the wife of Ole Thompson and 
lived during their lifetime on the farm now owned 
by their son, Oscar Thompson. The other daughter, 
Delia Amund.son, was married to John D. Kuntson 
of King township, who survives her. Mr. Hanson 
is a member of the Democratic party and has been 
prominently identified with public afi'airs through- 
out the vears of his residence in the county. He has 



generously recognized the responsibilities of efficient 
citizenship, having given able service in the various 
offices of the township; as a member and chairman 
of the township board; as clerk and as a member of 
the school board. He was one of the promoters and 
organizers of the cooperative creamery at ]McIntosh 
with which he continues to be identified as a stock- 
holder. He was active in the organization of the 
Vemes United Lutheran church in Hill River and has 
given further service to its interests as secretary of 

the church. Five children are now living of the fam- 
ily born to Mr. Hanson and his wife, Clarence, who 
is a farmer in Canada; George, Edward and Mabel, 
students in the high school at Mcintosh; and Edith, 
who remains at home; Edward, has taken a course of 
study at Fargo, North Dakota. George Hanson grad- 
uated from the Mcintosh high school in 1914 and 
subsequently attended the business college in Fargo. 
He is now employed in a real estate office in North 


Ole E. Sonstelie, a pioneer farmer and prominent 
citizen of Sletten township, was born in Valders, 
Norway, December 27, 1845, the eldest of the eight 
children born to Elling and Maret (Higden) Son- 
stelie. The Sonstelie family came to the United States 
in 1865 and located in Venion county, Wisconsin, 
where they remained for about four years. They then 
removed to Chippewa county, Minnesota, and later to 
Dakota, where the parents died at an advanced age, 
she in her eighty-fifth year and he living to the age 
of eighty. Ole Sonstelie went to Dakota in 1882 but 
only remained a year, being dissatisfied with condi- 
tions there. On hearing of the springs of "1.3 
Towns" he came to Sletten township and although 
the land was not yet open for settlement, he located 
on the creek bottom meadows, making a squattei's 
claim to the land. Aboiit a month later, July 13, 
1883, this district was declared open to settlers and 
on Avigust 8, he filed on his claim. His start in his 
farming enterprise was with thirteen head of stock 
and his first house was a sod-roofed dvig out. He 
has interested himself particularly in stock farm- 
ing, his first ventures being with sheep but he now 
confines his attention to the raising of blooded short 
horn cattle. He has been eminently successful in the 
stock business, the rich meadows which were his 
choice as a homestead, providing excellent grazing 
land. He now owns three hundred and sixty acres 
of land in Sletten township, all of which he has made 

productive. He has erected good farm buildings and 
his comfortable home commands a delightful view 
of the valley of Sand Hill river. He also engages in 
the dairy business and was one of the original share- 
holders in the Sletten cooperative creamery company. 
As president of this corporation, his capable services 
have done much to promote its rapid growth and 
success. The company was organized in 1902 with 
thirty-two stockholders. It now cares for the dairy 
produce of forty-five farmers and in the months of 
June and July, 1915, distributed over thirty-eight 
hundred dollars among its patrons. As an early set- 
tler of this region Mr. Sonstelie has been identified 
with every effort to further its welfare and prosper- 
itj', giving his services and support freely to every 
worthy cause and has earned the confidence and 
respect of his fellow citizens, who have invested him 
with various offices of authority in the local govern- 
ment. He was present at the meeting of October 10, 
1883, at the home of Lars Saue, when the township 
was organized and was named Sletten in complimen- 
tai"y respect for Paul Sletten, at that time the incum- 
bent of the land office at Crookston. He was elected 
chairman of the first township board, the other mem- 
bers being Lars Saue and James Vanvert. Aside 
from his private and public interests, Mr. Sonstelie 
has had charge of several estates to which he has 
been appointed administrator or guardian. When 
the Sletten postoffice was established, he received the 



appointment of postmaster and served in this capac- 
ity until the innovation of the rural delivery which 
took away from Sletten township its only postoffice. 
Mr. Sonstelie pledges his allegiance to no political 
organization and maintains the independence of 
political opinion. He was married June 28, 1885, to 
Miss Gertrude Sorlien, whom he had met in Dakota. 
She, like her husband, is a native of Norway. Her 
parents, J. P. Sorlien and his wife are now living in 

Sletten to\^■nship. Seven children were bom to Mr. 
Sonstelie and his wife, three of whom died. The 
oldest daughter, Ragna, died in her twenty-second 
year and the four surviving children are at home, 
Emil, who was a graduate of Mcintosh high school in 
1912, Maria, Julia and Gerhard. Mr. Sonstelie was 
one of the organizers of the Sand Hill Lutheran 
church and continues in active membership. 


Tallef B. Landesverk, well known farmer and influ- 
ential citizen of Sletten township, was bom in Norway, 
May 12, 1864. In 1882, when eighteen years of age, 
he came to this country and to Polk county in com- 
pany with his brother, George Landesvei'k. These 
brothel's were among the early settlers of Sletten 
township, who through years of hard labor and 
determined effort laid the foundation for present 
prosperity. Tallef Landesverk and George Landes- 
verk, with Edwin McManus, are the only pioneers 
in this region who still reside here. George Landes- 
verk, after eleven years on his Polk county homestead, 
died in 1894. His wife and three children, who 
sum'ive him, are now living in Canada. On coming 
to Polk county the two brothers worked at farm labor 
and in 1883 filed on homesteads on the second spring 
at the "13 Towns," and Ole Landesverk secured 
another tract of land through the purchase of a 
relinquishment. Tallef B. Landesverk lias endured 
all the hardships and trials which beset the settler 
of an undeveloped coimtry and has steadily won his 
way to success and prosperity. For .seven years he 
was compelled to fight in the courts for the title to his 
claim ; during this time decisions were made and 
reversed and possession of the land shifted from one 
contestant to the other. ]\Ieanwhile all that he earned 
at farm work was required to meet the expenses of 
the law suit. After he succeeded in estalilishing the 
legality of his title he sold the land and took another 
claim of timber land in Beltrami county. In 1893 he 

bought the farm in section three of Sletten township, 
which is his present home. This farm comprises five 
hundred acres and is well equipped with good bams 
and a pleasant couiitiy home. He has paid as high 
as twenty-five dollars an acre for undeveloped land 
and floating bog which he has cleared and drained, 
developing valuable farming property. He installed 
a drainage system in one marsh tract of sixty acres, 
the reclamation of which for fine meadow land was 
completed by a county ditch. Mr. Landesverk himself 
took the contract for the construction of this ditch, 
which included the straightening of the course of Sand 
Hill river into which it empties. He did this work 
without the assistance of mechanical equipment, with 
hand labor and a scraper operated by a team. He 
engages in the raising of gi-ain and stock and is a 
breeder of full blooded cattle. He is interested to 
some extent in the dairy business and is a stockholder 
in Sletten Cooperative Creameiy company. Starting, 
a lad of eighteen, with no capital but the sturdy quali- 
ties which make success,^ he has progi-essed to the 
possession of large land interests, owning nearly one 
thousand acres, six hundred and ten of which are in 
Polk county, his property outside of Sletten township 
being near Erskine. The other tracts are in North 
Dakota and Canada, where he and his neighbor, 
Edward McManus, are the owners of a section of 
IManitoba land, located near Dominion City. Mj*. 
Landesverk is a .shareholder in the Farmers Elevator 
Company and store company and is on the board of 



directors of the latter enterprise. His political affilia- 
tions are with the Republican party and he has served 
on the towTiship board and school board for a number 
of years. His marriage to Anna Dalle, who is a native 

of Norway, occurred in 1892. Five children have 
been bom to them, three of whom are living, Tilda, 
Emma and George. 


Edwin McManus, well known grain dealer and the 
superintendent of the elevators of the Superior Ter- 
minal Elevator Company, was bom in Canada, Mont- 
calm county, Quebec, November 23, 1859. His parents, 
Francis and Jane Louisa (Lindsay) McManus, were 
uatives of Canada, he of Irish and English descent 
and she of Scotch parentage. His father was pos- 
sessed of considerable inventive genius but died iu his 
thirty-ninth year. As a lad Edwin McManus appren- 
ticed himself to the cai-penter trade in Montreal. Tu 
1877, at the age of seventeen, he came to Fillmore 
county, Minnesota, and in Spring Valley began his 
association with the grain trade, a business to which 
he has devoted the greater part of his life with note- 
worthy success and achievement. In 1882 he was 
employed in bridge construction work for the Great 
Northern and Northern Pacific railroad. The follow- 
ing summer, accompanied by H. S. Leech, he spent 
six weeks in the vicinity of the "13 Towns," which 
was about to be opened for settlement, and later filed 
a preemption claim on the southwest quarter of section 
fifteen of HiU River township. His mother, who had 
joined him. in Spring Valley in 1878, now took up the 
homestead in Sletten township which is his present 
home. In the spring of 1884 he erected a house for 
his mother on her claim, hauling the lumber from 
Wild Rice river, where a government sawmill had 
been installed for the Indians. This first home is 
included in the present farm house. His mother lived 
here for several years and afterwards made her home 
with her son, Edwin, until her last illness, when she 
was removed to the hospital at Superior, Wisconsin, 
where she died May 19, 1913, at the age of seventy- 
nine years. After a year of possession he disposed of 
his claim and in the fall of 1881 again entered the 

grain business as assistant manager of an elevator at 
Nitche, North Dakota, and later was put in charge of 
an elevator at Devils Lake, North Dakota. He was 
also interested in a wood yard at Crookston, where a 
Ijrother, George J. McManus, engaged in the real 
estate and insurance business. In 1888 Edwin 
McManus returned to Polk county as manager for 
the Red River Valley company of their elevator at 
Mcintosh, which was the first to be operated there. 
A year later his efficiency in his chosen field of work 
was recognized by his appointment to the office of 
state weighmaster by Governor Merriman. He served 
in this office for four years, ably discharging his 
duties, which included the management of the weigh- 
ing departments at Duluth and Superior and the 
direction of twenty-five deputies and some thirty 
employees. During this time the department handled 
three hundred million bushels of gi-ain and installed 
numerous weighing equipments in new mills. He 
resigned from this office to accept his present position 
as superintendent of the elevators of the Superior 
Terminal company, grain receivers, storers and ship- 
pers. As superintendent he has entire management 
of the elevators which have a capacit.y of about five 
million bushels, and of the forty to one hundred men 
employed. Thorough application and steady industry 
as well as native ability have had their share in this 
successful career. Mr. McManus understands every 
phase of the grain business and has superintended the 
construction of two large elevators. His main office 
is at Superior but for the last four years he has made 
Ids home in Sletten tovraship on his mother's home- 
stead. For many yeare he had assumed the manage- 
ment of this place and after the death of his mother 
he became its owner, purchasing the shares belonging 



to other heirs. This farm is conveniently located four 
miles west of Fosston and five miles and a half south 
of Mcintosh, on the northeast quarter of section ten, 
and is one of the attractive properties in this region. 
Sand Hill river crosses the land and affords natural 
drainage, and in 191.3 Mr. McManus completed a flow- 
ing well, the first to be utilized in "13 Towns;" this 
well is one hundred and seventy-six feet deep with 
force enough to carry it to all the farm buildings. 
He engages in general farming, raising grain and 
stock and keeping dairy cows. Mr. McManus recog- 
nizes readily the duties of citizen.ship and takes an 
active interest in public welfare and progress, giving 
every effort to promote the prosperity of the agricul- 
tural interests of Polk county. He is identified with 
township affairs and has served as township assessor. 

He was married February 3, 1892, to Mary A. Hanson 
of Fillmore county, Minnesota. She is tlie daughter 
of Charles Hanson, a prominent citizen of that place, 
who was a member of the first constitutional convention 
of the state of Minnesota. He died in Duluth. Mr. 
McManus has one son, Charles Bernard, who was bom 
in Superior, May 26, 1894. He was a .student in the 
agricultural school at Crookston and is in charge of his 
father's farm. Mr. McManus is a member of the 
Crofton lodge of the I. 0. 0. F. at Devils Lake, North 
Dakota, and is a past noble grand of that order. He 
is a member of the Commercial club of Superior and 
the Pure Seed club at Crookston. Mr. McManus and 
his family are members of the Episcopal church of 
the Redeemer at Superior, Wisconsin. 


Ole Edevold, for many years a successful farmer 
and well known citizen of Eden township, was one 
of the pioneer settlers of that section and prominently 
identified with the development of the agricultural 
and social interests of the comunity. He was bom in 
Norway, April 23, 1865, tlie son of Ole and Maret 
Edevold, who later brought their family to the LTnited 
States and lived for a time at Starbuck, Minnesota. 
They subsequently took land in Dakota, where they 
resided until the region of the Thirteen Towns was 
opened for settlement, when they removed to Polk 
county and located on section thirty-three of Eden 
township, Ole Edevold and his son Ole each taking 
claims on adjoining quarter sections. None of the 
members of the Edevold family are now living; the 
father died in 1899 and his wife survived him but six 
years. Of tlieir children, one son, Martin, died when 
a lad of sixteen years ; Elnie Maria, who was married 
to Ole Tonten, a neighboring homesteader, later re- 
moved to Wisconsin, where her death occurred, and 
the other daughter, Anna Marie, died in Polk county, 
the wife of Hans Eggen, a former resident of Brands- 
void township, now living in Canada. The gi-eater 

part of the laborious task of clearing the half .section 
belonging to himself and father was accomplished by 
Ole Edevold, and after the death of his father he 
became the owner of the entire tract, which he 
developed into one of the finest and most productive 
farm properties in the county. During the first years 
he was compelled to divide his attention between the 
clearing of the land and employment which would 
provide ready funds, and worked in the harvest fields 
and in a sawmill, l)ut with tlirift and hard work he 
was soon able to advance his farming enterprises to a 
profitable condition and continued to meet with 
steadily growing prosperity and success in all his 
interests. He engaged in general farming and gave 
particular attention to the dairy business, keeping a 
large herd of dairy cows and breeding thoroughbred 
cattle. Mr. Edevold was a man of broad interests and 
that type of progressive citizen who through years of 
active service in promoting the public welfare leaves 
at the close of his career memorials in the institutions 
of the community. He was the organizer of the co- 
operative creamery at Olga, where his farm was 
located and was the first postmaster of that place, 



with the office in his home until the erection of a store 
a short distance away when it was installed there. 
With his father he was influential in the organization 
of the Synod Lutheran church, one mile north of his 
farm. He also served in to\\aiship offices, capably 
discharging the duties of township clerk for many 
years. Mr. Edevold died March 27, 1915, in his 
fiftieth year. He was married to Thea Hoff of Queen 
township, August 15, 1897. She was born in Otter- 
tail county, the daughter of Thore and Torgen Hoff, 

natives of Norway, who were married in Ottertail. 
Thore Hoff is still living in Queen township, having 
survived his wife many years. Seven children were 
born to Mr. Edevold and his wife: Mabel Estelle, 
Oscar Theodore, Marie Theresa, Martin Hjalmar, 
Arthur Edwin, Elmer Eugene and Lloyd Ernest, all 
of whom make their home on the farm with their 
mother, who since the death of Mr. Edevold has as- 
sumed the management of the estate which she is 
conducting with eminent success. 


Ole Hoven, a prominent citizen and successful 
farmer of Eden township, has been a resident of the 
county since 1891, when he located on the land which 
is his present home, ten miles northeast of Fosston. 
He is a native of Norway and came to this country in 
1881, making his first residence in Eau Claire, Wis- 
consin. For a number of years he was employed in 
the lumber woods of that state, working on the river 
drives and also in railroad constniction crews, mean- 
while clearing out about twelve acres of timber land 
for cultivation. During this time, by thrifty manage- 
ment, he saved some twelve hundred dollars from liis 
earnings and with this capital determined to embark 
upon farming enterprises in Minnesota. After spend- 
ing a year in Norman county he came to Polk county, 
where he filed on a homestead and bought a preemp- 
tion claim, paying three hundred dollars for the 
latter. Only two acres had been cleared and a small 
shanty was the only building upon the tract. He at 
once erected a house, which has since been incorpo- 
rated in the present modern home, and engaged upon 
the development of the land. He continued to add 
steadily to his property, building up his prosperous 
estate with careful and judicious investments, putting 
his faith and money in the future agricultural pro- 
ductiveness of the country. His second purchase was 
a quarter section of section twenty-five of Hill River 
township, a little over a mile distant from his home- 
stead. This was all wild land for which he paid the 

same price as for his first land, but was later compelled 
to buy off another claim in order to clear his title. He 
then bought two hundred acres in section thirty-six of 
Hill River township, paying two thousand dollare, 
eighty acres having been cleared. His land interests 
now include five hundred and twenty acres, of which 
over four hundred are in cultivation, nearly all of 
the one hundred and sixty acres in the home place 
having been developed into fine farm land. Mr. 
Hoven also bought an improved quarter section which 
he gave to his son, Carl Hoven. In all his business 
pursuits and enterprises Mr. Hoven has met with 
unvaried success. He engages extensively in dairy 
farming and keeps a large herd of cows, selling the 
produce to the cooperative creamery at Olga, and is 
a breeder of short horn cattle. Mr. Hoven is that 
type of successful man whose able and sturdy qualities 
are freely devoted to the best interests of the com- 
munity in which he lives, and he has been largely 
influential in every matter which would promote the 
general progress and welfare. He is associated with 
the business activities as stockholder in the cooperative 
creamery at Olga and in the Farmers Elevator com- 
pany at Fosston. He is a member of the Republican 
party and a faithful supporter of the Zion Lutheran 
church. Mr. Hoven was married in Wisconsin to 
Carrie Kolden, who was born in Norway. They have 
seven children : Elsie, the wife of Albert Bakken, of 
Alberta; Lena, who married Soren Oistad and lives 



ill the state of AYashington; Albert, associated with 
his father in the management of his farms; Lucy, who 
resides in Montana, the wife of James Shandorf; 

Olga ; Carl, who makes his home with his parents and 
is a farmer ; and Elmer. 


John A. Newton, of Rosebud township, well known 
farmer and proprietor of Oak Dale farm, was born at 
Newcastle, Pennsylvania, December 25, 1859. He was 
reared on a farm and educated in the common schools 
of his native state. He taught in the schools for a 
time and then went west and spent the next five yeara 
traveling through Montana and South Dakota, em- 
ployed during part of the time in teaching. He came 
to Minnesota in 1883 and decided to locate in Polk 
county, taking a claim on the southeast quarter of 
section ten in Sletten township. In the fall of 1884 
a school supported by subscription was established 
in the residence of Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Newton 
was appointed the teacher. This was the begiiming 
of twelve years of able and efficient service in the 
schools of this vicinity. The settlei-s, realizing the 
importance of a competent school system, took a deep 
interest in the development of the local educational 
advantages and gave their earnest support to the 
project. The attendance of pioneer schools includes a 
variety of ages among the scholars, and during the 
first term taught by Mr. Newton twenty-eight pupils, 
young and old, but all seriously bent upon securing 
the privilege of the school, were enrolled. Mr. New- 
ton also taught for a number of years in Rosebud 
township, in school number III, which had succeeded 
the first school in the township, on Mr. Flesch's farm. 
As a teacher and a member of the school board for 
over twenty years he has been notably associated with 
the growth and progressive administration of the 

educational interests of the county. He sent out a 
number of county teachers from his class rooms, one 
of whom, Henry Welte, is the present county auditor. 
Mr. Newton lived for nine years on his homestead in 
Sletten township, putting all the land under cultiva- 
tion. After selling tlii-s place he bought a fann on 
section twenty-one of Rosebud township, where he 
remained for eleven years, engaged in developing the 
property, erecting new buildings and improving 
the land. In 1901 he removed to his pi'csent home, the 
old Flesch homestead of two hundred acres, five miles 
southwest of Fosston. This place was settled by John 
Flesch, a sketch of whom is found in this woi'k, in 
1878, and was the first claim filed in the Thirteen 
To^vns. Mr. Newton has successfully conducted the 
management of his agi'icultural interests and devotes 
his attention to the raising of grain and hay and dairy 
farming. His farm is equipped with modem build- 
ings, the pleasant farm home having been erected in 
1911 on the site of the first Fosston postoffiee, later 
known as the Hansville postoffiee. Mr. Newton is a 
stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company at 
Pos.ston. His favorite recreation is hunting and he 
enjoys an occasional deer hunt as an outing. He was 
married, in 1894, to Mary Flesch, daughter of John 
A. Flesch, pioneer of Rosebud township. They have 
four daughters, Jessie, Elizabeth, who is a teacher 
and is at present continuing her professional studies 
in a training school. Pearl and Jennie. 


Lane R. Fishbeck, well known and successful farmer 
of Sletten township, was bom near Oshkosh, Wiscon- 
sin, December 16, 1859. His parents were natives of 

that state. The death of his father occurred in his 
early childhood, and his mother, Betsy (Stoker) Fish- 
beck, married Freeman D. Dowd. When he was six 




years of age he accompanied his mother and step- 
father in their removal to Mower county, Minnesota. 
In 1881 Mr. Dowd brought his family to Polk county, 
and two j'ears later took a soldiers' homestead in 
section eighteen, Sletten township. This farm re- 
mained his home until 1896, when he removed to 
Bermidji, settling on land close to the town, which 
has since included part of liis property within its 
coi-poration limits. Since his death there in 1910, in 
his seventy-second year, his wife has made her home 
in Bermidji. Lane R. Fishbeck was the only child 
in his step-father's home and continued to make his 
home there until 1883. In March of this year he was 
married at Janesville, Minnesota, to Julia Seha, the 
daughter of a pioneer farail.y of Lesueur county, 
Minnesota. Two yeare after his marriage he located 
on a preemption claim of eighty acres in section thir- 
teen of Sletten township and soon after he bought an 
adjacent quarter section, with forty acres of improved 
land, the former claim of James E. Vanworth. He 
continued to add to his farm, buying for the most part 
improved land. His present property includes five 

hundred and twenty acres, all of which is under culti- 
vation with the exception of the pasture land. Very 
little ditching has been necessary as he has required 
the low land tracts for pasturage. With capable 
management he has developed a notably productive 
and prosperous farm, raising grain and hay and en- 
gaging extensively in the cultivation of the latter, 
harvesting about two hundred tons annually. In 
1903 he erected the pleasant farm home, which is 
delightfully situated in a grove. He is a shareholder 
in the cooperative creamery. Mr. Fishbeck is a mem- 
ber of the Republican party and voted at the first 
township election in Sletten township. He has a 
family of three sons and four daughters: George, 
Lillian, Mabel, Alfred, Etta, Victor and Winnie, all 
of whom are at home with the exception of the two 
older daughters. Lillian became the wife of Peter 
Klein and lives on an adjoining farm, and Mabel is 
the wife of Wilfred Raboin of Grand Rapids, Minne- 
sota. Mr. E'ishbeck's family are members of the 
Catholic church at Hansville. 


This enterprising gentleman, who is one of the 
pioneer merchants of Crookston and prominent in the 
fann implement trade throughout Polk county, was 
bom on a farm in Wabasha county, Minnesota, Sep- 
tember 11, 1860. He is the son of Jorgen and Annie 
M. (Sobije) Larsen, the former born November 19, 
1826, on the Island of Fyen, in the Great Belt, off the 
coast of Denmark, and the latter also a native of 
Denmark. They came to the United States in 1854, 
and for four years lived in the state of New York. 
In 1858 they located at St. Paul, Minnesota, and the 
next year moved to Wabasha county, where the father 
took up a homestead and improved it into a good 
farm. In 1880 they moved to Wisconsin, and there 
the father died. The mother returned to this state 
and passed the rest of her life in Crookston, where 
she died January 22, 1901. They had three sons and 

four daughters, but only L. W. and two of his sis- 
ters are now residents of Minnesota. 

L. W. Larsen grew to the age of seventeen on his 
father's farm in Wabasha county, and during the 
next three years worked on lumber rafts and steam- 
boats on the Mississippi. Life on the river then was 
wild and daring, and the adventurous youth had 
many thrilling experiences. In 1882 he came to Polk 
county and took up his residence on a farm in Ando- 
ver township near Crookston. He followed fai'ming 
until 1886, when he moved to the city, and during 
the next six years he was employed by several firms 
in the implement trade, serving them as a salesman. 

In 1892 he went into partnership with George F. 
Carpenter in the same line, and until 1907 the busi- 
ness was conducted under the firm name of Larsen & 
Carpenter. In the year last named Mr. Larsen be- 



came its sole owner, and since then he has carried on 
the enterprise himself. He was one of the founders 
of the Polk County State Bank and is now its vice 
president and one of its directors, and he takes a 
serviceable interest in other business institutions in 
the city and county. He also erected the Lareeu 
block, one of the best business and office buildings in 
the city. 

In political faith and allegiance Mr. Larsen is a 
Republican and an energetic and effective worker for 
his party. He has served as alderman at large in 
Crookston, and always manifested deep and produc- 
tive interest in the growth, improvement and pros- 

perity of the city. Fraternally he is a Freemason 
of the Knights Templar rank and also a member of 
the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and takes an active 
part in the work of the fraternity. 

Mr. Larsen was married in 1890 to Mrs. Christine 
(Anderson) Larsen, who was born at Lillehammer, 
Norway, and brought to the United States in her 
childhood. They have four children : Roy W., who is 
assistant cashier of the Polk County State Bank; 
Clarence M., who is a student at the University of 
Minnesota ; Lawrence Howard, who is living at home, 
and Helen M., who is also still a member of the 
parental family circle. 


E. M. Hauge, superintendent of the schools at 
Fertile and one of the progressive educators of the 
county, is a native of the state, born at Winona, Sep- 
tember 9, 1886, the son of Reverend A. Hauge, a 
member of the Lutheran clergy in Minnesota for over 
thirty-three years. E. M. Hauge received his early 
education in the Normal school at AVinona and then 
attended a private academy, which is conducted in 
connection with St. Olaf college at Northfield, Minne- 
sota. . After completing his pi'eparatory studies he 
entered St. Olaf college for a collegiate course and 
graduated from that institution in 1909. In the fall 
of the same year he came to Fertile as principal of 
the high school during the superintendency of H. R. 
Tonning, and after two years' of efficient ser\'ice in 
that position was promoted to the office of superin- 
tendent. During the four years under his direction 
the school has made rapid advance in educational 
efficiency and has witnessed notable accomplishment 
in the educational field. Mr. Hauge conducts the 

school along the modern lines of pedagogical theory. 
The measure of his success and the interest accorded 
the school by the citizens appears in the almost unani- 
mous vote cast on the bond issue for the new school 
building, which is being erected at the cost of some 
forty thousand dollars. The school district includes 
eight sections of Gartield township and has an enroll- 
ment of two hundred and forty-nine pupils, with a 
teaching force of eleven. The high school was estab- 
lished in 1900 and is a commissioned state high school, 
with an attendance of forty-nine and a facultj- of five 
instructors. The school graduated eleven students in 
1915, which is the average number of graduates for 
the laist four years and has ninety-nine members in 
its alumni association. Reverend A. E. Strom is the 
president of the scliool board, with J. A. Gregerson, 
clerk, and Norman Hanson, treasurer. The other 
membei-s of the board are A. P. Hanson and Rev. J. 
M. Sundheim. 


0. Edward Bratrud, M. D., of Fertile, an able November 7, 1888. He is the son of Hon. 0. C. 
member of the medical profession in the county, is Bratrud, a prominent pioneer citizen of the state, 
a native of Minnesota, born in Fillmore county, who was among the first of his countrymen to emi- 



grate from Norway to the United States, he having 
settled in Wisconsin in 1848. In 1855 he removed 
to Fillmore county where his death occurred after 
a useful and notable career. He was elected to the 
state legislature, as a Republican, in 1870 and served 
as a member of that body for two years. Dr. Brat- 
rud was reared in Fillmore county and there re- 
ceived his early education. After completing his 
studies in the high school, he entered the state Uni- 
versity and received the degree of Bachelor of Sci- 
ence in 1910. He enrolled as a medical student in 
the same institution and graduated from the medical 
college in 1913. He continued his professional train- 
ing after graduation and became a resident house 

physician in the city and count}' hospital at St. Paul, 
serving for a year in this cajDacity and then secured 
further training and experience in post graduate 
work in the eastern clinics. He began the practice 
of his profession in Fertile in September, 1914, where 
his thorough qualification and efficiency have brought 
him a successful practice. He is a member of the 
District, State and American Associations and a mem- 
ber of a medical fraternity. Dr. Bratrud is an en- 
thusiastic out of door sportsman and is allied with 
the Gun club of Fertile. He was married at Litch- 
field, Minnesota, in August, 1914, to Hazel A. Parsons, 
who was a student of the University of Minnesota. 


Gilbert H. Hoyne, for many years a prominent 
farmer of Polk county, was a native of Minnesota, 
bom in Freeborn county, December 18, 1863. His 
parents, Hoven and Dorothy Hoyne were born in 
Noi-way and came to this county before their mar- 
riage, which occurred in Iowa. They came to Min- 
nesota in 1859 and later spent several years in 
Dakota but preferring the Minnesota region, re- 
turned to Albert Lea and settled in Hayward town- 
ship. Subsequently they removed to a farm six 
miles south of Albert Lea, which became the perma- 
nent home of the family and is still owned by one 
of the sons. The mother of this pioneer home is now 
living at Albert Lea, at the advanced age of eighty- 
three years. Gilbert H. Hoyne grew to manhood on 
the old homestead and received his early education 
in the schools at Albert Lea and then pursued his 
studies at Northfield and in the normal school at 
Mankato. For a short time he engaged in teaching 
and then became apprenticed to the tinners trade 
and was employed in that work until taking charge 
of his father's farm which he operated for three 
years and from that time continued to devote his 
attention to agricultural pursuits. In 1892 he took 
a homestead in Pine county, fifteen miles from Hink- 

ley, Wisconsin, and two years later suffered serious 
losses through the disastrous fire which destroyed 
Hinkley and swept over that section of country. A 
brother of Mrs. Hoyne, K. E. Flaskerude, was then 
living in Polk county and in 1895 Gilbert Hoyne 
brought his family to this county and bought a farm 
in Rosebud township, where he engaged in success- 
ful farming operations for eight years and then re- 
moved to King township and bought a quarter sec- 
tion of land four miles southwest of Mcintosh. No 
buildings had been erected on the tract and the land 
had been but partially improved. Mr. Hoyne gave 
the zealous efforts of the remaining years of his life 
to the development of this place, building up a fine 
farm property through his experienced and able man- 
agement. He engaged in the various farming activ- 
ities, raising grain and stock and was also interested 
in dairying, meeting with success in all his enter- 
prises. His death occurred in his country home, 
April 8, 1909, after several years of failing health, 
and the interment was made in the cemetei-y of the 
Gosen United Lutheran church in Knute township, 
of which he was a member. Mr. Hoyne was that 
type of man whose influence is felt in every phase 
of community life and his many worthy services 



live in the memories of his friends and associates. 
As a farmer and citizen, his career was mai'ked by 
successful accomplishment and he was honored by 
his fellow citizens with various offices of public trust 
and was particularly active in school and township 
affairs in Freeborn, Pine and Polk counties. In the 
political arena, he was an enthusiastic and loyal 
supporter of the principles of the Republican party. 
His marriage to Carpie E. Flaskerud, was solemnized 
at Albert Lea, on February 5, 1888. She was born 
in "Winneshiek county, Iowa, and is a sister of K. E. 
Flaskerud, a well known farmer of Brandsvold town- 
ship. Mrs. Hoyne, like her husband, enjoys a wide 
circle of friends and is actively associated with the 
interests of the locality in which she lives, as a mem- 
ber of the women's clubs and church organizations 

of ^Mcintosh. Three children were bom to Mr. Hoyne 
and his wife, two of whom are now living, Hattie 
Ellen and George Daniel, who assumed the manage- 
ment of the farm after the death of his father and is 
now a student in the Aakens Business college at Grand 
Forks, North Dakota. Hattie E. Hoyne has been a 
teacher in the schools of Polk county for five yeai's 
and has met with eminent success in her profession. 
She was educated in the high school at Mcintosh 
and in the normal school at Moorhead and has also 
been a student at summer schools, the measure of her 
qualification appearing in her attainment of a first 
grade certificate as a teacher. In 1915, the Hoyne 
family removed from the farm in King township to 
Mcintosh, where they have erected a pleasant home. 


A. P. Cronquist, of Erskiue, an eminent citizen and 
cashier of the Scandinavian State bank, has been a 
resident of Knute township since the early days of 
its settlement. He is a native of Sweden, born on 
March 10, 1866, and came to the United States when 
sixteen years of age. He lived for a time at Minne- 
apolis and later at Ellsworth, Wisconsin, where he 
attended the public schools. In 1884 he came to Polk 
county and two years later was joined by his mother, 
who took a homestead in Knute township, two miles 
west of the present site of Erskine. This farm re- 
mained her home until her death in 1913 and then 
became the property of her son. "When they located 
in the township, it was in the early stages of develop- 
ment, before the establishment of any postoffice or 
business enterprise in its precincts. Two years later, 
in 1888, the railroad was built through the region and 
George Q. Erskine, who was then president of the 
National bank at Crookston, purchased the homesteads 
of Martin Rathstock, Mr. Mitchell and Daniel Cam- 
eron, a pioneer whose name is given to one of the local 
lakes, and platted the village of Erskine, selling the 
lota privately. Commercial activity immediately 

started on the town site and one of the first projects 
was a general store opened by Eber Cameron on what 
was formerly the Cameron land and is now the loca- 
tion of the variety store on the corner of "Vance avenue 
and the railroad right of way. Other enterprises 
were the hardware store of Gilbertson & Espeseth Co., 
where the first postoffice Avas kept, with H. T. Gilbert- 
son as postmaster, and the general stores operated by 
0. T. Berge and Tollof Torgeson. A hotel was opened 
by G. T. Torgeson and about a year later a second 
one was erected on the present site of the IMerchants 
hotel by 0. T. Rovang. Mr. Cronquist entered upon his 
business career in early manhood and spent eight 
years in Mcintosh, employed for a time as clerk in the 
J. P. Johnson store and then working for the South- 
mayd & Balstad company. In May, 1899, he re- 
turned to Erskine and embarked upon his successful 
career in the financial world, establishing a private 
bank, with L. Ellington, of Crookston, president, and 
Halvor Steenerson, vice-president. A bank had been 
started two years previous by Frank Drew and Ed 
Drew of Mcintosh and had proved an unprofitable 
venture and had been closed, but the Bank of Erskine, 



organized by Mr. Cronquist, met with steady prosperityl 
and growth and became one of the successful bankiug 
institutions of the county. Mr. Cronquist was promi- 
nently identified with its management and the busi- 
ness interests of the township as cashier for thirteen 
years. The bank had, at first, occupied the building 
vacated by the first bank and was later removed to a 
building erected by the directors, and had been re- 
organized as a state bank. Under the able manage- 
ment of Mr. Cronquist it had grown, to the time of its 
sale in 1912, to a capital stock of $10,000, with deposits 
of $170,000 and loans aggregating $150,000. During 
the years of his association with that institution his 
able services as cashier had won him a wide popularity 
in the section and soon after selling the bank, upon 
the urgency of his many fonner patrons, in 1913 he 
organized the Scandinavian State bank of Erskine, 
with a capital stock of $15,000 and deposits of $85,000. 
Mr. Cronquist assumed the responsibilities of the posi- 
tion of cashier and has been largely influential in its 
rapid gro^vth and success. Julius Bradley is the 
president of the board of directors, with Carl 
Christianson, vice president ; A. F. Cronquist, cashier, 
and I. I. Steenerson, assistant cashier. The other 
stockholders are D. W. Wheeler of St. Paul and Carl 
Paulson. Aside from his financial activities, Mr. 
Cronquist devotes his attention to the direction of his 
farming interests, giving the same keen business 
ability and careful study to all phases of agricultural 
enterprise, that have brought him success in com- 
mercial circles. One of his successful experiments in 
seeking to advance the efficiency of farming methods 
is known as the cheap man's silo, his demonstration 
showing that the stacking of green com in the same 
manner as in silo use produces an ensilage equal to 

the more complicated and expensive method. The 
novelty and simpleness of this idea has been given 
much favorable conunent in a number of farm pub- 
lications and enthusiastically received on its presenta- 
tion at various conventions. He conducts his farming 
operations on the old homestead, to which he has 
added, making an estate of three hundred and eighty 
acres, which he has equipped with good modern build- 
ings. He engages in diversified farming but gives 
particular attention to the I'aising of .stock and dairy- 
ing and has stocked his place with R^d Polled cattle, 
Poland China hogs and Shropshire sheep. He has 
taken an active interest in advancing the prosperity 
of the district through the promotion of dairy and 
drainage projects and has reclaimed some fifty acres 
of valuable meadow land from the small ponds which 
were on his land. Pie was the first treasurer of the 
local cooperative creamery and continued to serve as 
treasurer and director for twelve years. And for the 
same length of time gave competent service as a mem- 
ber of the board of education and was actively iden- 
tified with the progress of school organization and the 
erection of the present building. He has been twice 
honored by his fellow citizens with the office of mayor, 
his election effecting the elimination of the liquor 
traffic in the village. Mr. Cronquist was married in 
September, 1889, at Ellsworth, Wisconsin, to Nellie 
Robbins, a native of that state, and four children were 
born to them, one of whom, a daughter, died in her 
infancy. The family are Floyd Clark, Ruth Marie, 
Vera Irene and Bernice Audria. Mr. Cronquist and 
his wife are active supporters and faithful members 
of the Rodness Congregational Lutheran church, five 
miles west of Erskine. 


Martin G. Peterson, of Fertile, an eminent citi- 
zen and leading business man of Polk county, has 
been widely identified with the history of northern 
Minnesota and is a member of a well known pioneer 

family of Nicolet county. His parents were natives 
of Norway and crossed the ocean to this country on 
the Christina, a sailing vessel, that was thirteen weeks 
in making its destination and it was during this voy- 



age to the new home, on May 17, 185-1, that Martin 
Peterson was born. A brother of his father was then 
living in Dane county, Wisconsin, and Gilbert Peter- 
son set out with his family for that place. At "White- 
water they reached the end of the railroad and the 
father continued his journey on foot and on arriving 
in Dane county, dispatched Knute Nelson, now U. S. 
Senator, with a wagon to convey his wife and four 
children. This wagon was of home manufacture, 
the wheels constructed from section of logs and was 
drawn by an ox team. A most interesting account 
of the trip has recently been recorded by Peter Peter- 
son, the eldest son, in his recollections of the early 
days. Peter Peterson and Knute Nelson became close 
companions and schoolmates in Wisconsin, a comrade- 
ship which was' further strengthened during the trou- 
blous times of the Civil war, and has continued 
throughout the various experiences of their busy 
careers. Peter G. Peterson was a member of Com- 
pany H of the Fourth IMinnesota regiment and active 
service in important campaigns under Grant and 
Sherman. In 1856 the Peterson family removed from 
Wisconsin to Minnesota, making the trip in a lum- 
ber wagon with oxen, there being but one span of 
horses in the party which included seven families. 
They located in Nicollet county, where Gilbert Peter- 
son took a preemption claim, four miles north of the 
village of Nicollet and here experienced the hard- 
ships and triumplis of pioneer life. In 1862, at the 
time of the Indian outbreak, all the settlers in this 
region were compelled to desert their homes and 
crops and seek refuge at St. Peter. During the days 
of organization and agricultural development, Gil- 
bert Peterson took an active part in public affairs 
and served in various offices. His death occurred 
on his eighty-fifth birthday, on the old homestead 
■which has since been operated by Peter G. Peterson, 
who like his father, is widely known in the public 
activities of the county and served as township clerk 
for many years. Martin G. Peterson grew to man- 
hood on the farm and received his early ediieation 
in the eountrj^ schools and later spent two years 
studying in a school in Illinois and in Luther col- 

lege at Decorah, Iowa. His marriage to Emily Baker, 
who was Ijorn in Norway, occurred in his twenty- 
fifth year and for three years they made their home 
on the Peterson farm. In 1882 he came to Polk 
county and took land on the northeast quarter of 
section seventeen of Garden township, eight miles 
east of the present site of Fertile, being one of the 
early homesteaders to settle in that township. For 
the ensuing ten years he gave his attention to the 
building up of his farm. In 1892, failing health de- 
manded the cessation of such arduous labor and he 
sought recuperation during the winter months in 
Norway, enjoying the mild climate of the west coast. 
He returned to his farm the following summer and 
again resumed his agricultural pursuits until 1898 
when he was summoned to public service by an ap- 
pointment from the county commissioners to the of- 
fice of county treasurer, filling a vacancy occasioned 
by defalcation. Mr. Petex'son had previously served 
as township clerk and chairman of the township 
board and this appointment received the hearty ap- 
proval of his fellow citizens as was evidenced in the 
next two elections when he was returned to the office, 
serving for five years as county treasurer, and dis- 
charging the duties of the office in the notably capa- 
ble and conscientious manner which has character- 
ized the many services in public interest of his busy 
career. At the close of his second term, in January, 
1903, he located in Fertile and entered the commer- 
cial circles as a member of the firm of Nesseth & 
Peterson, dealers in flour and feed and agricultural 
implements and engaged in that business for three 
years when he returned to his farm. In 1905 he again 
took up his residence in Fertile as the secretary of 
the Farmers Mutual Insurance company. This com- 
pany, which is one of the most thriving co-operative 
enterprises of the northwest was organized in 1891 
in the interests of the farmers of Polk and Norman 
counties, by 0. P. Renne, Hans Nelson, T. H. Nes- 
seth and Martin G. Peterson and has exceeded all 
expectations in its rapid growth and prosperity. It 
has now some nine hundred policy holders, with over 
one and a half millions of insurance in force. The 



men who have directed its affairs so successfully 
have demanded no large remuneration for their work 
and since the first year, the fees on policies have met 
all the expenses of operation. Mr. Peterson has been 
prominently identified with the company .since its 
incoi-poration, when he drafted the constitution and 
by-laws and was made treasurer. He has served 
almost continuously on the board of directors and 
became secretary as the successor of Mr. Nesseth, 
who held that position until his death. Mr. Peter- 
son retains his farm interests and has added forty 
acres to his original quarter section in Garden town- 
ship and is further associated with the business 
activities of the community as a director in the Farm- 
ers State bank at Fertile. His influence has always 
been a potential factor in the broader interests of 
the town and county and his many services have 
been recognized by important appointments of pub- 

lic, trust and as a business man, public official or 
private citizen, his career has been marked by hon- 
orable achievement and disinterested enterprise. He 
is now serving, as a director of the Batesta Hospital 
association, having been active in the raising of funds 
for the erection of the new hospital building at 
Crookston, and as vice president of the board of five 
commissioners appointed by the county commission- 
ers to build and operate the Polk and Norman 
counties Tuberculosis sanitarium, which is now under 
construction. He has ever been a leader in the 
political arena and has given particularly forceful 
support to the temperance cause. As vice president 
of the Minnesota Total Abstainers society and as 
an active worker in the educational movement fos- 
tered by that organization. Mr. Peterson is a mem- 
ber of the United Lutheran church. 


Ben Tyndall, a successful farmer of Rosebud town- 
ship, was born in Wicklow, Ireland, May 8, 1844. At 
twelve years of age he went to sea on a sailing vessel 
that traded between England and Guiana. He re- 
mained for several years on merchant ships, touching 
on many coasts and sailing around Cape Horn. When 
he was fifteen years old he enlisted in the British 
navy and for four years served in the Mediterranean 
fleet. The years spent as a sailor were years of wide 
experience; he became familiar with the seaports of 
the world and acquired the hai'dy training and love 
of adventure which finally sent him into the western 
woi'ld to win a home from the wilderness. He came 
to the United States in 1867 and worked in the lumber 
district near Chippewa river in AViscousin for a yeai' 
and then removed to Dodge Center in Dodge county, 
Minnesota. Here he was in the employ of T. B. 
Walker as a lumberman, working on the spring drives 
on Clearwater river and driving freight from Detroit, 
Minnesota, to the Walker camp. After living for 

three years in Becker county, near Detroit, he located 

in Rosebud township in 1883, filing a claim on a 
quarter section which is in both section ten and section 
three. The land was covered with light timber and 
has proven exceptionally fertile, some fields having 
produced wheat for twenty-seven seasons that have 
been very rarely successive. Mr. Tyndall has developed 
a fine farm with aljout one hundred and forty acres 
under cultivation and has erected good buildings. He 
has taken interest in providing his place with pleasant 
groves of box elder and jack pine and the spruce 
trees which date their growth from the 4th of Novem- 
ber on which McKinley was elected president. The 
farm is conveniently located just one mile east of 
Fosston. Mr. Tyndall has engaged in the raising of 
grain and hay and is now devoting some attention to 
the breeding of Guernsey cattle. Mr. Tyndall is not 
affiliated with any political organization and main- 
tains a liberal and intelligent outlook on questions of 
public import and was one of the first voters in Rose- 
bud township. Like most of the men who have spent 
the greater part of their lives in the great out of 



doors, he is a hunter 
was married at Dodge 
is a native of England, 
to tliem, six of whom 
married William Kent, 
residing in Montana ; 
Saskatchewan; Arthur, 

and fisherman. Mr. Tyndall 
Center to Susan Digby, who 
Nine children have been bom 
are now living: Susan, who 
an attorney in Chicago; Ben, 
John, living in Canada, in 
who is employed as an elec- 

trician in Alaska by a big power company of British 
Columbia; Martha, the wife of John Dorsey, who is 
the present manager of Mr. Tyndall's farm; and 
Fred, who is located in Canada. Three of the chil- 
dren died at early ages, one in infancy; a son, Wil- 
liam, at Thief River Falls, in his 30th year, and 
another son at the age of fourteen. 

0. T. NELSON. 

0. T. Nelson, a well known business man of the 
county, has been engaged in the furniture and hard- 
ware business at Gully since 1910. He was boru in 
Norway, May 1, 1882, the son of Torger and Mary 
Nelson, and was brought by his parents to this country 
in his early infancy. Torger Nelson came directly 
to Crookston from his native land and in the same 
year, 1882, took a homestead near Woodside, in Polk 
county, and as a worthy pioneer citizen his career has 
been identified with the privations and failures, the 
steady development and ultimate prosperity of the 
frontier coiuitry. On the claim in the wilderness he 
sturdily encountered all the hardships of the times, 
with one particularly harrowing experience, when 
his wife was lost for two days in the surrounding 
forests, the sound of his signaling shots finally reach- 
ing her in her wanderings. After about six years 
spent on this tract he removed to Badger township, 
locating again on wild land. In 1892 he sold his farm 
and went to Crookston and invested in the hotel busi- 
ness, and in the following year suffered the total loss 
of his property by a fire, from which his young son, 
0. T. Nelson, narrowly escaped, being rescued by a 
fireman. For a time this disaster brought the family 
to most straightened circumstances, from which enter- 
prise and ambitious efforts soon rescued them. They 
made their home in a shed which stood at the rear 
of the former hotel structure, and Torger Nelson 
secured work in a sa^vmiU, and his wife assisted in the 
rebuilding of their resources. With thrifty manage- 
ment in a few years he accumulated some capital, 
and, in partnership mth Severt Henson, started a 

general store at Erskine, in Polk county, meanwhile 
continuing to work as time keeper in the sawmill at 
Crookston, his son, 0. T. Nelson, looking after his 
mercantile interests in Erskine. This enterprise 
proved eminently successful and enjoyed an extensive 
patronage, drawing trade from fifty miles or more. 
Torger Nelson later removed to Erekine, and through 
his management of the business became widely known 
throughout the county. He remained in charge of 
the store for fifteen years and then retired from 
commercial activities, but continues to reside in 
Erskine, where he has been associated with public 
affairs as township assessor and member of the school 
board. Of his five sons four are now living and two 
reside in Erskine; Anton, who was employed for a 
time in a sawmill and is now niral mail carrier, and 
Theodore, who is cashier of the First State bank at 
Erskine. Oscar Nelson, the youngest son, has held 
the position of teller in the Northern National bank 
at Bermidji for several years. The death of William 
Nelson occurred in his twenty-second year, September 
10, 1911, at Gully. He was a graduate of the Univer- 
sity of North Dakota and was a student in the second 
year of the medical course at the .state university. 
O. T. Nelson attended the high school at Erskine^ 
meanwhile giving his attention to his father's business 
interests in that place and spending his vacations at 
work in the store. He then became tower operator 
on the Soo railroad and after four years in this 
position made his fii-st independent venture in the 
business world, opening a store at Pierz, Minnesota, 
in Morrison county, in 1907. This was one of the 



older towns of the region but had just been reached 
by a railroad and he operated the only exclusive 
hardware business in the town for three years. When 
the Soo road was built to Gully, in 1910, he estab- 
lished his present hardware and furniture business, 
being the first merchant to sell goods on the new 
townsite. He was also the first to bring lumber to 
the site and in September of that year began the 
erection of a warehouse in a wheat field on one of the 
streets of the future village. All the previous build- 
ing at Gully had been about a half mile distant near 
the location of the Ohm mills. His first business 
operations were with a small stock and meager equip- 
ment, it being late in November before he could occupy 
his store building. The I. 0. Manger Lumber com- 
pany had brought lumber to the place and several 
other merchants were engaged in building. Mr. 
Nelson has built up a prosperous and steadily growing 

trade and also conducts an undertaking business. In 
his hardware department he employs a competent 
tinner and handles contracts for roofing and cornice 
woi-k, beside general repair work. As a successful 
business man and respected citizen Mr. Nelson is and 
has always been associated with the promotion of the 
best interests of the county and is well known as one 
of the younger and able members in business circles. 
He is a member of the school board and seci-etary of 
the Commercial club of Gully. Mr. Nelson was mar- 
ried January 30, 1907, to Margaret Brogan, who was 
bora at Elroy, Wisconsin. Her parents died in her 
infancy and she was reared by a sister, receiving her 
education in the high school at Ontonagon, Michigan. 
She entered the teaching profession and pursued a 
successful career as a teacher for some time and was 
employed in the schools of Clearwater county, 


Tom 0. Solberg, a prominent farmer of Rosebud 
township, has been a resident of Polk county since 
1885. In 188-4 he filed on a homestead claim and on 
July 4th of the following year he moved on this land. 
Since then he has added to the original tract, buying 
the adjoining uncultivated land at a maximum price 
of six dollai"s and a half an acre, and eighty acres of 
which he has sold for twenty dollars an acre. His 
present valuable farm property of three hundred and 
eighty-five acres attests to the thrifty management and 
unfailing industry of Mr. Solberg, who possesses all 
the sturdy characteristics of the men who wrestle with 
the wilderness and claim it for civilization. His has 
been the laborious task of clearing this tract of land 

and developing it into productive fields. He has en- 
gaged principally in the raising of grain and cattle, 
breeding blooded stock. He keeps a number of dairy 
cows and finds this a lucrative enterprise. Some low 
land has been reclaimed by ditching and the farm is 
equipped with good buildings, the pleasant home being 
rendered the more attractive by its well chosen situa- 
tion. Mr. Solberg was married at Fergus Falls, 
Minnesota, to Julia Nelson, and they have eight 
children: Fred and Arthur, who are farmers near 
Max, North Dakota ; Tillie, the wife of Martin Hanson 
of Stanley, North Dakota; Bertha A., who is a teacher 
in the Polk county schools, and Elmer, Clifford, Mabel 
and Walter, who remain in the home. 


Oscar Thor, of Gully, secretary and treasurer of the was employed in that work in Sweden until 1900, 

Melbo Mercantile company, was born in Sweden, May when he came to Stillwater, Minnesota, where an 

4, 1882. He was reared in his native land and ap- uncle, J. F. Thoreen, a railroad contractor, resided, 

prenticed himself to the trade of butter-making and He resided at that place for six months and then 



removed to Polk county and continued to be employed 
as a butter-maker in Polk county, Todd county and 
other localities for some years. When the Soo rail- 
road was built through Gully, J. F. Thoreen handled 
the contract for the construction of several miles of 
the road bed and became interested with H. H. Melbo, 
a pioneer merchant of that region, in the organization 
of the Melbo Mercantile company and persuaded Mr. 
Thor to become a stockholder and to become active 
in its management as the representative of both their 
interests. The company was incorporated in 1910, 
and in the same year Mr. Thor located in Gully and 
has since been identified with the extensive and pros- 

perous operations of the corporation as secretary and 
treasurer. Though still in the inception of his busi- 
ness career, he has proven himself eminently fitted for 
successful accomplishment as an enterprising and 
progressive merchant. He has been associated with 
the growth and general welfare of the town in which 
he lives through able and public spirited co-operation 
in communit.y interests, and as clerk of the school 
board was actively identified with the erection of 
the new school house at Gully. Mr. Thor was married 
February, 1906, to Nellie 0. Ramstad of Todd county, 
Minnesota, and they have one son, Clifford Thor. 


This gentleman, who is the leading architect in 
Polk county and resides in Crookston, has erected 
many monuments to his skill and excellent taste and 
judgment in the Northwest and is still carrying on 
an extensive business in his chosen profession. He 
is a native of Louisa county, Iowa, where his life 
began in 1876. In the year 1877 his parents moved 
to Mercer county, Illinois. His parents, Frederick 
and Susana (Harvey) Keck, wei'e pioneers in Iowa, 
the father having driven from Ohio to that state by 
ox team about the year 1850 and entered a homestead 
in the wilderness. He was born in Germany and came 
to the United States with his parents in 1838, his 
father having been the progenitor of the family in 
this countiy. The mother of Bert D. Keck was born 
of English parentage. She and her husband died in 
Illinois, where they lived for many years. 

Bert D. Keck grew to manhood in Mercer county, 
Illinois, where he obtained his elementary education 
in the common schools and high school at Aledo, Illi- 
nois. He afterward pursued a course of special and 
more advanced instruction under the tutorage of 
prominent architects of the country and by his 
studious efforts completing his preparation for his 
life work through post graduate courses in spe- 
cial lines of architectural teaching. In 1902 he 

became a resident of Crookston, where he at once 
opened an office and began the active practice of his 
profession. To this he has ever since been sedulously 
devoted, doing his work in a way to win general 
commendation and getting plenty of it to keep him 
steadily occupied. 

Mr. Keck designed the Carnegie Library, the new 
high school building, the Franklin school building, 
the First Presbyterian church and the new armory, 
in Crookston, the Cathedral of the Emaculate Concep- 
tion, the parochial school, many store and office build- 
ings and fine residences which are among the most 
modem and satisfactory structures for their several 
purposes in the Northwest. He has also designed and 
superintended the erection of many school buildings, 
banks, residences and stores in North Dakota, and 
a number of school and other buildings in parts of 
Minnesota outside of Polk county. 

In fraternal life Mr. Keck is a member of the 
Masonic order, including the Mystic Shrine, and 
holds the rank of past commander in the Knights 
Templar branch of the fraternity. He is also a mem- 
ber of the Order of Elks and the Order of Modern 
AVoodmen of America. In religious affiliation he is 
connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, and 
socially he is president of the Crookston Automobile 




club. Politically he is a Republican but not an active Hansen, of Jamestown, New York. They have two 
partisan, and has never held, sought or desired a pub- children, their daughter Madeline and their son Kon- 
lic office. He was married in 1901 to Miss Elsa M. rad M. 


A. Stark, cashier of the First State bank at Gully 
and an influential citizen of that place, is a native of 
Sweden, born September 12, 1883, and was brought 
to this country in his early childhood by his parents, 
who located in Mille Lacs county, Minnesota, which 
continues to be their home. Mr. Stark was reared 
in that county and was educated in the public schools. 
He then engaged in the teaching profession and after 
three years came to Polk county, accepting a position 
in a school near Mentor which he shortly after resigned 
to enter upon his successful business career as assist- 
ant cashier in the bank at Mentor, of which A. D. 
Stephens of Crookston was president. Since that 
time Mr. Stark has continued to be associated with 
the banking institutions of the county, his able 
achievements in this field earning him rapid promo- 
tion and recognition. After two and a half years 
in the bank at Mentor he was employed in banks at 
Hallock, Minnesota, and in Bottineau county. North 
Dakota, spending a year in each place and in Sep- 

tember, 1910, came to Gully. The First State bank 
was incorporated in that year, with L. C. Simons as 
president and Mr. Stark was made cashier, and in 
this capacity has been identified with its notable 
progress and prosperous activities and has devoted 
every effort and interest to the promotion of its 
enterprise. He is now the only one of the original 
stockholders actively associated with the bank. A. D. 
Stephens is president of the institution. Aside from 
his business operations Mr. Stark takes an active inter- 
est in every matter of public import and is an enthusi- 
astic promoter of the general welfare and growth of 
the town in which he lives. As a member of the school 
board he has given valuable service and was largely 
influential in securing the new school building, in 
which two teachers are employed with eighty pupils 
in attendance. Mr. Stark was married at Middle 
River, Minnesota, on September 21, 1910, to Elvina 


James E. Campbell, a successful business man of 
Posston and senior member of the livery firm of 
Campbell & Son, was born in Portage county, Wiscon- 
sin, November 10, 1855. His father, James V. Camp- 
bell, was for many years a well known citizen of Ada, 
Minnesota, where he was a dealer in agricultural im- 
plements. He was actively interested in political 
affairs as a member of the Republican party and 
served as postmaster during the presidential terms of 
Harrison and Roosevelt. He retired from the office 
in 1906 and removed to Crookston, and in March of 
the following year his death occurred in Ada. James 
E. Campbell came to Minnesota in 1878 and engaged 

in the livery business in Ada for a number of years. 
For thirty-seven years he has been extensively iden- 
tified with the livery and horse trade of northern 
Minnesota, shipping many carloads of horses annually 
and doing his buying for the most part in South 
Dakota. In 1889 he located in Fosston, where he has 
operated a profitable livery business, to which he 
added, in 1909, a garage and automobile service. In 
1915 he erected the present garage, which is con- 
structed to accommodate every modem improvement 
and ample equipment. It is a large cement building 
with a pressed brick and plate glass front and a truss 
roof which leaves the interior free of impeding sup- 



ports. He transacts a large business and carries a 
full line of automobile supplies and is local agent for 
the Ford and Buick companies. Mr. Campbell is a 
member of the Republican party and a zealous 
supporter of its interests. He has been actively asso- 
ciated with public affairs in official capacity, serving 
as deputy sheriff of Norman county for twelve years ; 
four years under E. T. Salverson, who was a county 
commissioner in Polk county before the organization 
of Norman county, and for two terms under Knut 
Lee. Mr. Campbell is a member of the city council 
and has been elected to the office of mayor a number 
of times. As mayor he rendered the city valuable 
service in promoting and capably managing the in- 

stallation of the city water works and electric light 
plant. His marriage to Helen M. Richmond occurred 
in Portage county, Wisconsin, and they have one son, 
Prank Raymond, who has been associated with his 
father in the livery and garage business for eight 
years. Frank R. Campbell was born at Ada, Minne- 
sota, in December, 1886, and reared in Fosston, where 
he attended the public schools. After graduating 
from high school he entered the business college at 
Fargo, North Dakota. He was married to Alice Cor- 
son of Ada, Minnesota, and they have two children, 
James and Helen Elva. He is one of the popular 
young business men of Fosston and unlike his father 
is an ardent sportsman and hunter. 


John A. Flesch, a pioneer farmer and eminent citi- 
zen of Rosebud township, was one of the first settlers 
in the Thirteen Towns in 1878, and ha.s been promi- 
nently and actively identified with the history of the 
development of this section of the county. He was 
born in Germany, December 12, 1838, and when 
twelve years of age accompanied his parents to the 
United States. After a number of years spent on 
their farm near Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, he came to 
Steams county, Minnesota, shortly before the out- 
break of the Civil war. He enlisted in Company G 
of the Ninth Minnesota regiment and gave valiant 
service during three years of the great struggle. He 
was made a corporal in his company and received 
his honorable discharge in 1865. When the Thirteen 
Towns was first opened for settlement in 1878 he was 
one of the eight men who took claims at that time. 
For several years previous he had been living in 
Douglas county and he was accompanied from there 
to Polk county by Herman Eikens and Edward La 
Bree, who located on land adjoining his. Mr. Eikens 
is still living on his homestead, which is separated 
from the Flesch farm by a small lake, small enough' 
to carry across the sounds of friendly voices in the 
pioneer days of wilderness and few settlers. Mr. 

Flesch located on sections nineteen and twenty of what 
is now Rosebud township, five miles southwest of 
Fosston, and was the first homesteader to file his claim 
at Detroit City, which was over fifty miles distant 
and was the nearest trading place for this region. In 
the same year the land was withdrawn from the 
market and was not reopened until 1883, when it was 
rapidly settled. Although it was uncertain that the 
land would again be opened, Mr. Flesch set about the 
clearing and improving of his farm and forsaking 
the temporary shelter of the pioneers in tents and 
wagons, erected the first house in the Thirteen Towns, 
on section nineteen. This house plajed an imi^ortant 
part in the early histoi-y of the township, sheltering 
the first store, the first school house and first post- 
office in the Thirteen Towns. A small store was 
started here by a half breed and he was succeeded 
by Mr. Foss, who operated a store and the postoffice 
of Fosston until 1884, when he removed to a location 
on the railroad, the present site of Fosston. Mr. 
Hansen then had the store on the Flesch farm, and 
the postoffice of Hansville. With the high ideals and 
native culture of the men who founded our western 
civilization, Mr. Flesch gave every effort to the early 
establishment of educational and religious activities. 



In 1883 a school was organized and housed on his 
land with A. D. Wishard as teacher. John Newton 
next presided over the school and it was later made a 
district school and a log school house built two miles 
distant. Mr. Flesch did not allow the laxity of 
frontier life to affect the strictness of his religious 
observances, and he was instrumental in the building 
of the Catholic church at Hansville, where Father 
Simon officiated for a number of years, the settlers 
bringing him for the services, in the early days, from 
his mission chui'ch on Rice river. He is now in 
Cloquet and since 1908 the church at Hansville has 
been served from Crookston. Mr. Flesch has devoted 
the best part of his life to the building up of the 
community in which he lives and has given his faith- 
ful and generous support to the advancement of its 
welfare. At the time of the second opening of the 
land he located a number of the permanent settlers 
and has always been active in the administration of 
township affairs and a member of the township and 
school boards, although he has avoided county offices 
and political honors, preferring the unobtrusive 
service of responsible and intelligent citizenship. At 
the organization of the township it was he who gave 
it the name of "Rosebud," prompted by the thought 

of the wild flowers which had adorned the native 
wilderness and by the name of the first child born 
in the township, Rose Eikens. In 1897 he retired 
from his farm, and it is now owned by John A. 
Newton, who married his daughter, Mary. Mr. Flesch 
was married in Stearns county, at the close of the 
Civil war, to Susanna Rodstine, who, like her husband, 
was a native of Germany. Her death occurred in 
January, 1910. A family of one son and five daughters 
were born to this union: Baraey; Lena, the wife 
of Matt Brink, of Frazee, Minnesota; Mary, who 
married John Newton and lives on the old homestead ; 
Kate, who now resides at Funkley, Minnesota ; Libbie, 
the wife of Dick Walker, of Floodwood, Minnesota; 
and Laura, the wife of Pete Stotrun, of Funkley, 
Minnesota. Despite the restricted advantages of 
pioneer life Mr. Flesch reared a family of charm and 
culture and marked intellectual ability. Mr. Flesch 
is that type of man and citizen whose influence and 
efforts are largely interwoven into the life of a com- 
munity. Possessed of great natural ability and strong 
personality, alert and progressive in all his views, he 
enjoys the high esteem and regard of all and still 
exerts the attractive companionability which made his 
home the social gathering place of the district. 


Emanuel Pederson, a successful farmer of Brands- 
void township, was born in Norway, May 20, 1855. 
When he was fifteen years of age he went to sea on a 
ship carrying a cargo of coal and grain from Holland 
to England. He was seven months on his first voyage, 
sailing into the Baltic before returning to Holland. 
He next served on a Norwegian vessel engaged in the 
Baltic lumber trade, loading lumber from Scandinavia 
for Russia. For ten years he worked as a sailor, 
sailing on a number of different ships and visiting 
many ports, crossing the ocean several times to New 
York and Baltimore. During these years of hard and 
continuous labor he did not share in the improvident, 
adventuring spirit of the average sailor but saved his 

earnings and centered his ambitious upon acquiring 
land of his own in some good agricultural region. He 
came to Minnesota to join an uncle living in Otter- 
tail county, who had sent for him, offering to make 
him his heir. After two years in Ottertail county 
he went to Polk county, and in the fall of 1883 filed 
his claim on the southeast quarter of section eighteen 
in Brandsvold township. In the following year he 
began to develop his farm ; his first house was a small 
shanty, but was soon replaced by a comfortable 
dwelling place. He has built up a good farm by 
thrifty and able management, with one hundred and 
twenty acres under cultivation, and engages in diver- 
sified farming. His farm is well stocked and he keeps 



a herd of dairy cows, selling cream to the cooperative 
creamery at Mcintosh. The Pederson place is con- 
veniently located four miles west of Mcintosh and a 
little over six miles northwest of Fosston. Mr. Peder- 
son spent three years in Canada, leaving his farm in 
charge of his sons, and took a claim there, which he 
now owns. He also assisted his sons, Ingewald 
Pederson and Edward Pederson, to secure Canadian 
land. Since the firet election held in Brandsvold 
township he has been actively identified with the 
public interests and gave efficient service in the office 
of supervisor for twelve years. His marriage to Maria 
Wick took place in Ottertail county in 1885. She 

is a native of Norway, born in 1867, and came to this 
country in the same year that her husband did. They 
have nine children: Cecilia, wife of Ben Norgaard, 
of Eden township; Ingewald and Edward, who are 
farmers in Sa.skatehewan, and also in charge of their 
father's land there; Inga, who keeps house for her 
brother Edward ; Conrad and Melvin, who assist their 
father in the management of the home place ; Elmei', 
living with his brothers in Canada; Hjalmar and 
Hilda. Mr. Pederson is a faithful supporter and one 
of the charter members of the Kingu Lutheran church 
at Fosston. 


Richard Ohm, of Gully, a well known miller and 
citizen of that township, is one of the pioneer business 
men of the county, having been employed in milling 
operations here since 1881. He is a native of Ger- 
many, born in Brandenburg, December 3, 1861. He 
was apprenticed to the miller's trade and lived in the 
fatherland until he was twenty years of age, when he 
came to the United States, arriving in Crookston, 
Minnesota, August 15, 1881. His first position was 
with his uncle, Otto Kankel, in the construction and 
equipment of a buhrstone mill at Fertile, which Mr. 
Ohm operated after its completion. After about a 
year and a half there he went to Noi-man county and 
operated a mill for Mr. Sohler and Mr. Kankel, and 
after running it for a time rented it until 1885, when 
he bought it, paying $6,000 for the plant. Dui-ing 
the five years of his able management of this invest- 
ment he cleared the property of the debt incurred by 
the purchase and then returned to Polk county, bought 
a mill at Thief River Falls, in partnership with R. R. 
Jaeklin; this was a small steam mill. The railroad 
had not yet reached the town and the business por- 
tion consisted of a hotel and a few stores, and after 
two years here Mr. Ohm moved his machinery to 
Terrebonne, also in the first days of its development. 
He had previously dissolved partnership with Mr. 

Jackliu and was associated in the new project with 
two cousins, conducting a profitable business here 
until 1899. Meanwhile, on a trip over the county, 
he had passed through the old reservation land opened 
for settlement in 1896 and had noted the pro.spective 
agricultural activity as contributing to an advanta- 
geous location for a mill, and in 1899 sold his former 
interests and located in Gully township. He had a 
capital of $6,700 to promote the new enterprise, but 
expended $9,500 in the erection and equipment of 
his mills, a custom and merchant miU, with full roller 
process and a capacity of seventy-five barrels. His 
excellent modern equipment and marked business 
ability have won the Gully Flour Mills a large 
patronage and steadily growing prosperity. He 
handles only home grown wheat. When the Soo rail- 
road was built through this section he gave his support 
to the organization of a town and sold forty acres of 
land to the town site company and has continued to 
be interested in the growth of Gully, although he does 
not live in the village, his home being near the mills, 
about a quarter of a mile from the village. He has 
cleared some thirty acres of his land. Mr. Ohm has 
taken an active part in public affairs since his resi- 
dence in the township and gave valuable service as 
treasurer for a niunber of years, and for eight years- 



was the clerk of the school board. He holds mem- 
bership iu the fraternal order of Modern Woodmen at 
Red Lake Falls. He takes his occasional recreation 
in his favorite out-of-door sports, enjoying tishing and 
hunting. Mr. Ohm was married in 1883 to Lena 
Norby of Faith, Norman county, Minnesota, and 
eleven children have been bom to them : Pauline, 

who married Elmer Goodrich and lives in Canada; 
Otto; Walter, associated with his father in the mill; 
Clara, now residing in Canada; Hattie, who was in 
the employ of the Central Telephone company for 
several years and is now at the home in Gully; and 
Richard, Ruth, Charley, Roy Eveline and Florence, 
all of whom are living with their parents. 


A. P. Hanson, of Fertile, cashier of the Citizens 
State bank of that place, was born in Denmark, March 
31, 1855, and came to the United States in 1869 with 
his parents, who were pioneer farmers in Ottertail 
county, Minnesota, where their homestead was located 
near Fergus Falls. Mr. Hanson remained on the farm 
until he was nineteen years of age, when he secured 
a clerking position in St. Paul and was employed in 
that work for several years, in St. Paul and later in 
Fergus Falls. In 1878 he came to Polk county, and as 
one of the substantial and influential pioneer citizens 
of the county has been actively identified with the 
development of its resources and the notable progi'ess 
made within its borders. His first activity in the 
financial field was as bookkeeper in the Merchants 
National bank at Crookston. His ability has been 
recognized by steady promotion through the many 
successful accomplishments of his career, and after 
six years spent in the position of bookeeper he became 
the assistant cashier of the Scandinavian American 

bank and served in that capacity for sixteen years. 
He removed to Fertile in May, 1904, and was one of 
the organizers of the Citizens State bank, in December 
of the same year becoming its cashier. As business 
man and citizen Mr. Hanson enjoys the confidence 
and esteem of his associates, and as a member of the 
school board has been actively influential in the erec- 
tion of the new high school building. He is further 
identified with the interests of the section as the 
owner of farm lands near Fertile. In fraternal cir- 
cles he is allied with the Masonic chapter at Crooks- 
ton and is a member of the Minnesota Bankers' 
association. Mr. Hanson was, in 1869, married to 
Miss Christine Charlotte Jacobson of St. Paul and 
they have four daughters : Elene C, who is engaged 
iu teaching in the schools at Sanger, California ; Cora 
E., the wife of L. R. Clements, of Ormond, Florida; 
Mabel G., who is studying music in Northwestern 
University, and Gertrude F., at home. 


Hans Paulsrud, cashier of the Farmers State bank 
at Fertile, is a native of Norway, bom July 8, 1866. 
He was reared on a farm in his native land, making 
his home there until he was fifteen years of age, when 
he went to Sweden and for three years was employed 
as a clerk in a store. He then returned to Norway 
and remained there until 1889, when he came to the 
United States and joined his brother, Anton Paulsrud, 
in Crookston, where the latter had settled about a year 

previously. For a time Hans Paulsrud worked on the 
farm which was owned at that time by Sheriff Pauls- 
rud, meanwhile attending the schools at Crookston 
and fitting himself for wider activities in his adopted 
country. In the spring of 1890 he came to Fertile 
and secured a clerical position with the banking firm 
of Mathews & Company and has since devoted his 
career to the banking business, attaining noteworthy 
success in all his operations and meriting the confi- 



dence and esteem of aU his associates. When the First 
State bank was organized as the successor of the old 
company Mr. Paulsrud was made the assistant cashier 
and continued to serve in that capacity through the 
subsequent change in the organization to the First 
National. In 1912 he assisted in the establishment 
of the Farmers State bank and was appointed cashier. 
He has since devoted every effort to the interests 
of this bank, which has enjoyed marked success and 
prosperity. The bank was incorporated with a capital 
of $25,000 and occupies a fine modern building which 
not only affords every accommodation for its business 

interests but is a notable addition to the superior 
architectural possessions of Fertile 's business sec- 
tion, occupying a prominent site on the main street 
of the town. Mr. Paulsrud is actively associated with 
affairs of public moment and has given able service 
as village treasurer. His marriage to Gerda John- 
son occurred in Fertile. She is a native of Sweden, 
the daughter of John Mattson, who engaged in fann- 
ing in Polk county until his death. Mr. Paulsrud and 
his wife have a family of three daughters and one son, 
Anna, John, Hilda and Agnes. 


Albert 0. GuUickson, of Fertile, vice president of 
the Farmers State bank and a prominent business 
man of the county, was bom in Allamakee countj^ 
Iowa, March 24, 1875, and has been a resident of Gar- 
field township since his early childhood. His father, 
Hans A. GuUickson, was bom in Norway and was 
brought to the United States by his parents when five 
years of age, the family being among the first of their 
countrymen to emigrate to this country. Hans Gul- 
lickson was married in Iowa to Marj' Christianson, 
who like her husband was a native of Norway, and in 
1880 they came to Polk county and were pioneer set- 
tlers in Garfield township, where Hans GuUickson 
took a homestead claim in sections eleven and four- 
teen, some three miles east of the present site of Fer- 
tile. Here he experienced all the arduous labor and 
privations of the farmer in a new country. His en- 
tire capital was represented in a team of oxen and a 
few head of stock and the tract, being covered with 
timber, required some time in preparing it for culti- 
vation. During the first seasons he worked in the 
harvest fields and then devoted his attention to his 
prospering farming operations and put one hundred 
and twenty-five acres of his two hundred and forty 
acre farm under cultivation. He became a well 
known citizen of that section and was active in all 
public interests, serving on the township board and 

was prominently associated with the organization of 
the Lutheran church, which was erected on the home- 
stead of the father of his wife, Ole Christianson, in 
section fourteen of Garfield township. Mr. Chris- 
tianson lived on his homestead until his death in 1909, 
at the age of eighty -three years. His son, Ole Chris- 
tianson, is now a resident of Crookston. The GuUick- 
son home was on the land in section fourteen, on the 
banks of Sand HiU river and here the death of Hans 
GuUickson occurred in his fifty-eighth year, in June, 
1907. His wife survives him and continues to make 
her home on the farm with her daughter, Viola Gul- 
lickson, and the three sons, Carl GulUekson, Orton 
GuUickson and Melvin GuUickson, who operate the 
estate. The other members of the family of nine 
children are Albert 0., Martin, a former Polk county 
teacher, who has held positions in a number of Min- 
nesota schools and is now principal of the schools at 
Atwater, Minnesota; John, who taught for a time in 
Polk county and is now engaged in the practice of 
law at Great FaUs, Minnesota; Otto, associated with 
Albert 0. GuUickson in the mercantile business, and 
Robert, a farmer in Gai-field township. Albert 0. 
GuUickson grew to manhood on the homestead, en- 
gaging in farming until 1904 when he began his 
commercial activities, forming a partnership with 
T. H. Nesseth and buying the interests of Martin G. 




Peterson in the agricultural implement business. 
After ten years of successful business operations, the 
Hrm was dissolved by the death of Mr. Nesseth, Mr. 
GuUickson buying his interests of the heirs and be- 
coming sole proprietor of the business. He conducts 
an extensive trade in aU lines of farm machinery and 
implements, handling silos, windmills and engines 
and also engages in the flour and feed business. His 
store is equipped with an attractive show room and 
large storage capacity and is justly popular among 
its many patrons. Mr. Gulliekson is prominently as- 
sociated with the various interests of that region, 
being well known in financial circles as one of the 
organizers and the vice president of the Farmers 
State bank, at Fertile, and in public affairs has given 

capable service as a member of the viUage council 
and is the present recorder. He has ever recognized 
the duties of good citizenship and has exercised a 
potential influence in promoting the general welfare 
of the community, giving effective and notable as- 
sistance in the direction of the campaign against the 
saloons. In political belief, he is allied with the Re- 
publican party and an active supporter of its cause. 
Mr. GuUickson was married in 1906 to Sophia Sletto, 
the daughter of Sven and Jorand Sletto, who settled 
on a homestead in Garden township in 1882. Two 
sons have been born to them, Solon and Males. The 
family are members of the United Lutheran church, 
in which Mr. GuUickson holds the office of trustee. 


Ed Mossefin, of Fertile, president of the Citizens 
Stat« bank and a successful business man of the 
county, is a native of Minnesota, bom at Wilmar, 
June 5, 1878. His parents. Mads A. and Joran Mos- 
sefin, came to the United States from Norway in 1872 
and located in Chicago, where Mads Mossefin worked 
at his trade of tailoring for several years, and in 1876 
removed to Wilmar, Minnesota. In 1879 he brought 
his family to Crookston and engaged in the mercantile 
business at that place until his death in April, 1914, 
at the age of sixty-seven years, his son, Norman 
Mossefin, succeeding him in his business interests. 
His wife survives him and continues to make her home 
in Crookston. Mads Mossefin was well known in the 
church circles of Crookston as a trustee and influential 
member of the Synod Lutheran church and is remem- 
bered as a worthy and substantial citizen of that 
community. Ed Mossefin was reared in Crookston 
and has been identified in all his interests and activi- 
ties with the growth and development of Polk county. 
He attended the common schools and after one year 
of study in the high school entered the business world 
as a clerk for Fountaine & Anglin and was employed 
by that firm for four years. He then took a position 

as bookkeeper in the hardware store of J. E. 'Brien 
Co., where he remained until 1901 and then made an 
independent venture in the mercantile world, open- 
ing a general st