Biographical Sketches.

from Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota
(Chicago, Geo. A Ogle & Co., 1904).


For nearly a quarter of a century the gentleman above named has been a resident of Wilkin county, and during this time he has identified himself with the history of this region. He has succeeded in building up a fine farm in Akron township, and has incidentally gained an enviable reputation as a citizen. He is a man of untiring energy, honest principles and good business management and is the owner of a valuable estate.

Mr. Balkin was born in Norway in 1854. His father, Iver Nelson, followed farming in Norway, where he still resides. Our subject was the second in a family of five children and he was reared in his native land and attended the common schools there. He began to work for the neighboring farmers at the age of fifteen years and was thus engaged until 1879, when he decided to come to America and begin for himself in this free land. He came direct to Wilkin county, Minnesota, from New York City, and took land as a homestead in Akron township. On this he built a claim shanty 12 by 14 feet and a sod barn and became a permanent resident of this township. He was obliged to do his first breaking of land with oxen. He is now owner of two hundred acres of land, and he has placed most of this tract under cultivation, retaining but a small proportion for grass and pasture. He has a set of good buildings and in the early years of his residence here he planted a grove which is now one of the valuable features of the place. For many years it has furnished shade and shelter and has added to the beauty of the landscape. Prairie fires destroyed his crops one season and he has suffered other partial losses of crops by hail, but withal he has acquired a valuable farm and every appointment of the place beseapks [sic] painstaking care and prosperity.

Mr. Balkin was married in 1878 to Miss Martha Hendrickson. Mrs. Balkin was born in Norway and was reared and educated there. Her father, Hendrick Johanas, was a farmer by occupation. He died many years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Balkin are the parents of eleven children, the eldest two of whom were born in Norway and the others in Wilkin county, Minnesota. They are named as follows: Caroline, Martha, Julius, Enga, Helen, Edwin, Oscar, Albert, Alice, Clara, and Thea. Mr. Balkin is a Republican politically and is one of the leading citizens.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 650.


Isaac M. Banta who is closely identified with the farming interests of Chisago county, Minnesota, is a resident of Wyoming township, where he has met with marked success in operating his fine estate. He is widely known as an energetic and industrious citizen and well merits his high standing.

Mr. Banta was born on a farm in Illinois, in 1853. His father, who also bore the name of Isaac Banta, was a farmer by occupation. The ancestors of our subject came from Holland, the first of the family locating in America in 1658. Of a family of ten children our subject was the youngest. He was raised and educated in Minnesota, his father locating in St. Paul in 1854. He lived there three years. In the spring of 1857 he went to Chisago county, and settled on a farm in Wyoming township. There were but two settlers in the town of Wyoming at that time. The father settled on wild land and became one of the leading men of his township. He died on our subject's farm in 1895.

At the age of twenty-two years our subject started for himself. He purchased a part of his present farm in section 33 of Wyoming township and built a frame house. He worked for others through different parts of that region and steadily gained in the improvement of his wild timber farm when he could be at home to conduct the work. He is now the owner of two hundred acres of good land, about seventy acres of which is under plow, and he engages successfully in general farming.

Mr. Banta was married in 1886 to Miss Carrie Noren. Mrs. Banta was born in Sweden and came to America in 1880. Her father was one of the early settlers of Chisago county. Mr. and Mrs. Banta are the parents of nine children, namely: Mary, William, Nellie, Edna, Edmund, Bennie, Joseph, Vernon, and an infant, Minno M. All were born on the farm in Wyoming township. Mr. Banta takes an active and leading part in local public affairs and has served in numerous township offices including supervisor and assessor. He is an independent voter politically and lends his influence for good government.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 737.


Hiram Barrett, who as an early settler of Lac-qui-parle county did his full share toward its development and the improvement of its fertile lands, is owner of a valuable estate in Hamlin township, and is a representative of one of the oldest families of this township.

Mr. Barrett was born in Goodhue county, Minnesota, in 1866. His father, Heman Lake Barrett, was born in New York state, and was a farmer by occupation. He settled with his family in Lac-qui-parle county in 1874, taking land as a homestead in section 26 of Hamlin township and was one of the first to locate here. The family had sod barns and out-buildings and a dugout served as their home. They had no floor for about a year. The father was one of the earliest settlers of Minnesota, locating there about 1850, and he built the first house in Lake City, Minnesota. He had ox teams and many times our subject drove them in his boyhood days. The father died on the home farm in 1891 and the mother died in 1900, leaving the farm to our subject and his brother.

Hiram Barrett was the seventh in a family of nine children and for some years he conducted the home farm for his father and at the age of twenty-one years started for himself and farmed his father's place. He went to the state of Washington in 1889 and after six months there went to Oregon, where he spent one year-l890-he returned to Lac-qui-parle county and for about a year thereafter worked at farm labor and then assumed the control of his father's farm. He engages in grain raising and hog raising, and owns one hundred and sixty acres, about one hundred and fifty of which is under cultivation. He has met with success in his farming operations and is classed among the substantial men of his township.

Mr. Barrett is a wide-awake and public-spirited citizen and lends his influence for good government. He advocates the reform principles of the Populist party and is a man of strong convictions.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 504-05.


John M. Bayer is the capable sheriff of Clay county, Minnesota, and his administration of the duties of his responsible position has been such as to win the favor of the public as well as the approbation of the courts to a marked degree. He was was [sic] born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, April 23, 1856, and was the sixth member of a family of eight children born to Martin and Mary (Kroll) Bayer, natives respectively of Canada and New York, both being of Pennsylvania Dutch extraction.

Martin Bayer was a carpenter by trade, and taught that trade to his son, John M., who remained with him until he reached the age of twenty-four. The younger Bayer spent the ensuing two years in Kansas, and in the spring of 1882 came to Clay county, Minnesota, to take charge of the Elmwood Farm near Sabin, for thirteen years being the general manager of that important enterprise. In 1897 Mr. Bayer engaged in farming on his own account on two sections of land in Alliance township.

Mr. Bayer was born a Republican, and has always held to that political faith. In 1900 he was elected sheriff of the county on the Republican ticket by a very good majority, being the first Republican elected to that office in Clay county for twelve years, and is now fulfilling the duties of that office in a manner most satisfactory to all concerned. In 1890 he was elected a member of the Red River Valley Drainage Commission, and in both 1895 and 1897 was sergeant-at-arms of the Minnesota general assembly. He is a prominent figure in the political circles of the northwestern part of the state, and commands much influence both on account of his ability as well as his striking manly qualities.

Mr. Bayer is a Master Mason, and belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Brotherhood of America and the Red Men. He was married in 1880 to Miss Kate Webber, who died in 1895. In 1897 he was again married, to Miss Mabel I. Benedict, and to this union one child has been born, Francis B. John M. Bayer's portrait, upon another page of this work, will be duly appreciated by his many friends.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 170.


Among the most successful professional men of Ottertail county William P. Bayley deserves special mention. He has won distinction at the bar and in all matters of a public nature has proved himself a worthy and deserving citizen. He has helped to give prominence and character to the Fergus Falls bar and his name is well known throughout his own and adjoining counties.

Mr. Bayley is a native of the state of New York and was born near Massena, St. Lawrence county, June 10, 1857. His father, William M. Bayley, was a farmer by occupation. Our subject's great-grandfather, also a farmer, was born in Ireland, and came with his parents to Vermont in an early day of its history. The family removed to New York state in 1835. The mother of our subject, whose maiden name was Laura M. Felch, was a native of Vermont, and of Welsh descent. Her father, a clergyman, was drowned at sea.

Mr. Bayley was the fourth child in a family of five children, and was reared on a farm, obtaining his early education in the public schools. At the age of sixteen years he entered the high school at Massena, and graduated at the age of twenty years. The following year he went to Alexandria, Minnesota, where he was employed for two or three years following by a machine company. In 1883 he went to Fargo, North Dakota, in the employ of the Walter A. Woods Harvester Company. He had for some time been pursuing law studies, and in 1886 he located in Fergus Falls, where he continued the study of that profession. He was admitted to the bar March 22, 1888. He opened an office and engaged in the law, real estate and collection business, having been engaged in the last named branches since his location in the city.

Mr. Bayley was married, in 1884, the ceremony taking place January 31st, the lady of his choice, Miss Amanda L. Stearns, being a native of the state of New York. Her father, A. C. Stearns, was a farmer, descended from an old New England family. Mrs. Bayley was born in Lousville, St. Lawrence county, New York, and received her education in the public schools, later graduating from the high school and Lawrenceville Academy. She then taught in her native state till the date of her marriage to Mr. Bayley. One son, Charles S., completes their family. He was born at Alexandria, Minnesota, June 12, 1885. Mr. Bayley is a Democrat in his political belief and has been a factor in public affairs since his arrival in the county. He was a member of the city council for six years in succession and served as court commissioner for one term. He is prominent in county and state conventions of his party and was a delegate to the national convention at Kansas City which nominated W. J. Bryan, July 4, 1900. Mr. Bayley is at present chairman of the Democratic county committee. He is regarded as one of the substantial citizens and business men of Fergus Falls and has built up a large and valuable practice. He is a director of the Building and Loan Association of Fergus Falls. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias and Modern Woodmen of America and the M. B. A.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 216.


The farms along the banks of the Red River are among the most productive to be found in Minnesota, and Wilkin county counts a good share within her borders. The owners of these farms have spared no pains to build up fine homes and have made the district one noted for its agricultural wealth. Roberts township has contributed largely to this condition and one of the prosperous farmers of the township is John Beaudin. He is one of the old settlers of this locality and has gained a valuable property and the esteem and respect of his fellowmen.

Mr. Beaudin was born on a farm in the province of Quebec, Canada, in 1862. His father, Barnard Beaudin, was of old Canadian stock and was a farmer by occupation. Our subject was the fifth in order of birth in a family of fourteen children and he was reared in his native place. He left his home at the age of twenty-three years and came to the United States in 1885, coming direct to Wilkin county, Minnesota. He purchased a farm in section 16 of Roberts township, the land being then unimproved in any way. He had but two dollars and forty cents and with this he began farming. He worked earnestly and steadily and managed well. He lived alone on his place for the first six years or so. He continued the improvement of his place and now has a well improved and thoroughly equipped farm consisting of eighty acres. This is situated on the banks of the Red River and forms an ideal stock farm. He engages successfully in stock raising and grain raising and has built up a good home.

Mr. Beaudin was married in 1891, January 6, to Miss Josephine Leneau. Mrs. Beaudin was born in Wright county, Minnesota, and is of French descent. Six children have been born of this union, namely: Alice, Agnes, Chester, Zilda, Edwin and Olive. All were born on the home farm in Wilkin county. Mr. Beaudin has done his full share toward the development of the region where he has chosen his home and has served as township supervisor for four years and takes an active and leading part in local affairs. He is politically a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 504.


Gustaf Anderson Beck one of the leading farmers of Traverse county, has built up a valuable estate in Redpath township. He is a gentleman of untiring energy and during the early years of his residence here endured many hardships and privations. Despite these he remained on his farm, confident of better days, and he has been rewarded for his labors and is now owner of one of the fine farms of this township, and has gained the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen.

Gustaf Anderson Beck was born in Dalsland, Sweden, in 1834. His father was a farmer of Sweden. Of a family of five children our subject was the third in order of birth. He was reared in his native land and received a liberal education there. He came to America in 1865, landing at Quebec, Canada, and from thence came to Chicago and then to Red Wing, Minnesota. He there learned the stone mason's trade and followed the same for some years there. He came to Traverse county in 1881 and settled in Redpath township on section 32 taking the land as a homestead. He had no means with which to start his farming and he worked at his trade to earn money to buy oxen, and did his farming with them for several years. He lived in a shanty built of sod and boards for two years and burned hay for fuel. His first crop was in 1883 and this was ten acres of wheat, which yielded about forty-five bushels. Hail has destroyed his crops three times and in 1893 the loss was total. He has persevered, however, and is now owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land, on which he has placed a set of good farm buildings and he has a pleasant home and derives a good income from his farm.

Our subject was married in Red Wing, Minnesota, to Olivia Holmquist. He was first married in Sweden and his first wife died at Red Wing, Minnesota. He has a family of eight children, namely: Matilda, Hilma, Carrie, Henry, Ellen, Axel, Minnie and William, the last named being now deceased. Our subject has served his township two terms as a member of the township board of supervisors and he is a public-spirited and influential citizen, and his success and good name are well merited.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 710-11.


Captain John C. Bennewitz, one of the highly respected citizens of Marshall county, is now living in retirement in the village of Argyle. Captain Bennewitz is known to his intimate friends as the "Iron Chancellor," owing to a remarkable resemblance, not only in features, but in his grasp of public affairs and depth of penetration and executive ability, to the famous German statesman. A portrait of him appears on another page.

Captain Bennewitz was born in Andisleben, Erfurt, Prussia, June 3, 1826. He was the fourth in a family of five sons born to William H. and Elizabeth (Krieger) Bennewitz. At the age of thirteen years our subject was compelled to quit school, and thus his education was left deficient. He has, however, been a thorough and observing student all his life, and is respected as a man of wide and general information of a practical and valuable nature. In 1847 Captain Bennewitz was conscripted into the Prussian army, and served four years, during which time occurred the civil war in Baden, Germany. In 1852 he came to the United States, locating in Waukesha county, Wisconsin. He began farming in that county in 1857 and conducted farm operations with success until 1872, when, having been elected to the state legislature of Wisconsin, he sold his farm. His election, however, was contested. In 1875 he removed to Red Wing, Minnesota, and purchased grain at that point for five years. He first visited Argyle in 1879, and the following year engaged in the machine business in that village and also opened a lumber business. He soon after sold his interest in the machine business, but conducted the lumber yard until 1890, when he sold out and retired from active business pursuits.

Captain Bennewitz was married in 1853 to Mrs. Mary Menzel, nee Huegelman. Two children were born of this marriage, viz., Theodore and Henry. Captain Bennewitz is a member of the I. O. O. F., and of the German Lutheran church. He is an old-time Democrat, having voted that ticket for the past forty-eight years. During the past four years he has been chairman of the Democratic county central committee. He has made several trips to the old country since coming to America, the first being in 1873 and the second in 1893, and his last trip was made in 1895. Captain Bennewitz is the owner of valuable town property, and is a man of substantial worth. For his valiant services in the Prussian army he holds a medal of honor presented to him by the Grand Duke of Baden, also a medal of honor from the King of Prussia. Mrs. Bennewitz died in Argyle, Minnesota, in 1887, and was buried at Red Wing, Minnesota.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 182-85.


Edward Benson, a prosperous farmer of Folsom township, is a well known citizen of Traverse county. He has devoted his career to the pursuit of agriculture and has met with marked success and now enjoys a comfortable home.

Mr. Benson was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1869. His father, Andrew N. Benson, was born in Sweden in 1829. At the age of fourteen years he went to sea. He came to America and located in Massachusetts, and still followed a sailor's life. He removed to Traverse county in 1877, and took a homestead, upon which he later proved his claim. He passed through all the hardships and privations of the pioneers of that region, and became one of the leading citizens of his community. He died in 1890, and the management of the farm fell to the lot of the youngest son, our subject.

Edward Benson received his education in the public schools of Blue Earth county, Minnesota, where his father was engaged in farming. He remained at home and assisted in the farm work and the improvement of the farm in Traverse county, and is a thorough and systematic farmer. He now owns three hundred and ten acres of land one hundred and sixty acres of which lie in South Dakota. This he has under cultivation, and he also has all machinery for conducting a model farm, and has a set of good farm buildings on his place. He is industrious and progressive and well merits the success which has come to him as a result of his energetic labors. He is one of the leading men of his township, and has aided materially in the development of that region and the bringing about of the prosperity enjoyed there.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 469.


Mr. Andrew Benson, father of J. N. Benson, was born in the village of Conspergen, township of Sweliser, county of Guttenberg, Sweden, May 11, 1830, and died at his home in Browns Valley, Minnesota, January 12, 1901. Andrew N. Benson came to America at twelve years of age and began a seafaring life. The year 1854 found him the owner and captain of a vessel with headquarters at Gloucester, Massachusetts, from which point he made many trips to the Grand Banks of New Foundland, also foreign ports. He continued in this line of work until rheumatism compelled him to seek another climate and at which time, 1872, he decided to move to Lake Crystal, Minnesota, at which place he tried farming, but the grasshopper scourge was too much, and after remaining there for five years removed in 1877 to Browns Valley where he filed on government land and at the time of his death owned three hundred and twenty acres of the finest farming land located on the shore of beautiful Lake Traverse, where the youngest son and mother still reside. He was one of the leading citizens of this locality and served on the town board for Folsom township many years, also on the school board and took an active part in the upbuilding of the school system and all township affairs. In 1863 he united with the Baptist church at Gloucester, and at all times was a consistent Christian and loved and respected by all. As a personal worker for souls, as a temperance advocate, as a Christian citizen he manifested rare tact, fearlessness and fidelity. He was married to Mrs. Caroline Hanson at Gloucester, Massachusetts, December 25, 1857. Five children, three boys and two girls, all of whom are now living, were the fruits of this union.

Joseph N. Benson was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, November 7, 1858, and twelve years later, 1871, came to Lake Crystal, Minnesota, with his parents, where they remained five years, at which time he, in company with his father, came by team to Traverse county. The first winter they lived in a dug-out, on the claim which they took on the shore of Lake Traverse, six miles from the village of Browns Valley. Here he remained on the home farm until 1881, when he reached his majority and took a homestead only one mile from his father, and began working for himself. Here he remained five years working on and improving his homestead, at the end of which time, 1886, he accepted a position as industrial teacher at the government school at Sisseton Agency, South Dakota. After filling this position for one year he resigned and took the contract for furnishing hay to the Sisseton Agency. The following winter, 1889-90, he spent in California and on his return decided to enter into the mercantile and machinery business at Willow City, North Dakota, but after one year's trial sold out and returned to Browns Valley, where he re-engaged in the same business and continued in same until 1895, when he sold out and in company with J. L. Preston purchased the lumber and furniture business, established by H. W. Dezotell in 1880. In this business he is still engaged, having added a substantial feed and fuel business and in other ways added to it until it has become one of the largest concerns of the town.

In the spring of 1903 he identified himself with the Pack River Lumber Company, located at Iola, Idaho, of which he is president and general manager. Mr. Benson was married March 9, 1892, to Mary Alberta Thomas, who was born at Winona, Minnesota, July 30, 1869.

Mr. Benson is one of the most prominent and influential men of Browns Valley and well merits the enviable reputation which he has.

His political faith is that of a Republican.

P. S.--When Mr. Benson located here there were but three families--Mr. Whitely and family, Mr. Schiefly and family, and A. M. Huff and family.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 318.


Ole Benson, an old and well established farmer in Stony Run township, Yellow Medicine county, has had an eventful and varied history, and has not come to his present comfort and ease without passing through many trials and much privation. He was born on a farm in Norway, April 24, 1837, and is the son of a man who was both a carpenter and a farmer.

Ole Benson was the fifth member of a family of twelve children born to his parents, and grew to manhood in Norway, where he followed farming and fishing for many years, much of his time being spent on the ocean after he was about eight or nine years old.

Mr. Benson was married June 28, 1859, to Miss Elizabeth Thortinson, by whom he has had five children: John, Bertha, Georgiana, Tom and Tilda. Tom is now engaged in running the farm.

Mr. Benson came to the United States in 1864, landing at Quebec, and coming west to Iowa, where he lived for six years, the most of the time being engaged in farming in Winneshiek county. In 1870 he came from his Iowa home into Yellow Medicine county by ox team, and for eighteen weeks lived in a covered wagon until he had his dug-out completed. Here he made his way against many discouragements and hindrances. Willmar and Benson were his nearest trading points, and he has hauled flour sixty miles. Two crops were lost by the ravages of the grasshoppers, and he had to work out to earn money with which to keep alive. Now his farm comprises a quarter section of choice farm land, cultivated to a high pitch of thoroughness, with good farm buildings, barn, granary, and a fine grove. He is a Republican, and has done his full share in the development of the community.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 405.


Lars C. Bentson, whose pleasantly situated estate is in Otrey township, Big Stone county, is one of the earliest settlers of this region. He can recount many experiences of the early days and he has a host of friends in his county who accord him a high station as a farmer and citizen.

Mr. Bentson was born in Norway, in 1829. His father was a sailor and his grandfather was a laborer by occupation. Our subject was the third of a family of four children and he was reared in his native country and there learned the tanner's trade. He spent some time as a sailor along the coast of Norway and visited England, France, Germany, Spain and Russia. He was also a fisherman for several years. In 1862 he came to America, landing at Quebec, and from there came to Chicago, where he sailed on Lake Michigan for three summers, spending his winter months in Chicago and in Iowa. In 1864 he came to St. Peter, Minnesota, where he followed farm work. In 1866 he opened a farm for himself in Meeker county and lived there three years. In 1870 he came to Big Stone county and settled on his present farm in Otrey township. This was then unsurveyed. He built a log cabin and his first team were oxen. He drove overland with oxen from Meeker county and spent eighteen days on the trip, and at this time Benson, fifty miles distant, was the nearest trading point. The Indians still visited the country each spring and fall. On one occasion two Indians stayed at the home of our subject over night and the following morning they wanted to trade their ponies for the oxen owned by our subject, but when Mr. Bentson insisted in taking the harness they would not close the trade and became ugly and on leaving the place they shot at the oxen, putting a few shot into the leg of one. Mr. Bentson now owns an extensive estate. He has given one son one hundred and sixty acres of land, another one hundred and sixty acres, and a third son one hundred and forty-eight aces, and formerly owned seven hundred and eighty acres. The home farm he has cultivated and improved with good buildings, the same being on the banks of Benson Lake and furnishing a pleasant country home. He has fifteen acres of trees on the farm.

Mr. Bentson was married in St. Peter, Minnesota, in 1866, to Miss Annie Abraham, a native of Norway. Of this union eight children have been born, namely: Peter, Samuel, Amos, Tychicus, Mary, Henry, Bertha and Sarah. Mr. Bentson is a man of broad mind and keeps abreast of the times. He is a Republican in political faith. Mr. Bentson is now living in Milaca, Minnesota, where he has purchased a home and intends spending the remainder of his days. The home farm is conducted by his son, Amos.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 659-60.


Hans O. Berg, a member of the Peterson & Berg Supply Company, is one of the foremost business men of Madison, Minnesota. He has been identified with the commercial interests of this thriving town for many years and has built up a good business and enjoys deserved success.

Mr. Berg was born in Trumbull county, Wisconsin, in 1861. His father was a native of Norway and settled in Renville county, Minnesota, in 1869. He was a farmer by occupation. Our subject was the fourth of a family of five children now living. He was reared in Renville county and assisted with the work of the home farm, at an early age becoming familiar with the duties of farm life. He received a limited schooling in the district schools of his neighborhood and remained at home on the farm until 1888. He then came to Lac-qui-parle county and established a hardware store in partnership with E. R. Peterson, under the firm name of the Peterson & Berg Supply Company. They have continued this partnership for the past fifteen years and have built up a good business. They have added to their stock and now carry a complete line of hardware, and the volume of business places the firm among the foremost business enterprises of the town. Mr. Berg established a second store in the same line in the spring of 1903, and he also handles fuel, and also conducts a harness shop.

Mr. Berg was married in 1883 to Miss Anna Isaacson. Mrs. Berg was born in Dane county, Wisconsin. Her father was a native of Norway, and he became one of the early settlers of Chippewa county, Minnesota, where he engaged in farming. Mr. and Mrs. Berg are the parents of five children, who are named as follows: Ervin, Clarence, Melvin, Oscar and Alice. Mr. Berg takes a commendable interest in all the affairs of his township and city, and while he does not seek public office he has been called upon to serve in numerous local offices of trust and enjoys the confidence of his asociates [sic]. He is a Republican, politically, and is an earnest worker for party principles, attending numerous conventions as a delegate.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 642.


Cornelius Berghnis is one of the leading citizens of Clara City, Chippewa county, and has taken a very active part in the development of this part of Minnesota. As editor of the "Clara City Herald," he has been unceasing in his efforts to boom every laudable enterprise, and as a citizen he shows himself broad minded and public spirited to the last degree.

Mr. Berghnis was born in Spring Lake, Michigan, in 1870, and his father, Peter Berghnis, was born in Holland, coming to Minnesota in 1886, where he followed farming. Cornelius, who was the second member in a family of five children born to his parents, grew up in Michigan, and after living five years in Iowa, came to Minnesota in 1886, effecting a location in Chippewa county, where he was engaged in farm work. He attended Willmar seminary one year, and devoted another year to study at Dixon College, a well-known Illinois institution. He had taught a year before going to Dixon, and he taught another year after his return from that school, proving himself a capable instructor, but the school room was not the arena for the display of his life powers and abilities. In the fall of 1895 he bought the "Chippewa County Herald," which in his hands has become the "Clara City Herald." It was published at first by F. C. Bell, who issued the first number October 1, 1895, but very soon disposed of it. Mr. Berghnis has now owned it eight years, and has made it what it is, a clean, newsy country sheet, covering well the field of its local activities, and highly esteemed by its patrons. It is the first paper in Clara City, and has all the advantage of priority. Its publication day is Friday. The paper was at first printed on a Washington hand press; now it comes from a cylinder press with a gasoline engine. There are seventy-five fonts of job type, and it has its own building 18 by 66 feet, put up purposely for a newspaper office. The entire outfit is very modern, and does credit to the business ability of the editor and publisher.

Mr. Berghnis was married in 1901 to Miss Minnie Bykerk, who was born of American parents in Nebraska. They have two boys, Theo. R. and Charles Cornelious.

Mr. Berghnis is a Republican, and has been justice of the peace for five years. He was appointed postmaster by President McKinley in March, 1901, and is still occupying that position. In 1899 he was assistant enrolling clerk of the state senate. He has been a prominent figure in state and county political conventions, and is regarded as one of the leading Republicans of the state.

In religious matters Mr. Berghnis belongs to the Presbyterian church, and is trustee and treasurer of the local church. For the last five years he has given much attention to fire and hail insurance, and has been connected with four different companies, The Northwestern National Insurance Company, of Milwaukee; the Citizens' Fire Insurance Company, of Mankato; the Security Mutual, of Chatfield, and the Consolidated Fire and Marine, of Albert Lea.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 404-05.


Ole C. Bergland, a prominent farmer of Oakport township, Clay county, is one of the men who carries on a diversified system of agriculture in a most successful manner, with results that richly reward his thrift and industry. Mr. Bergland was born in Dane county, Wisconsin, February 10, 1855, and was the fifth member of a family of eight children born to his parents, Christian and Elsie (Bergland) Bergland, now living in Wisconsin. Five of their children are still alive. They were born in Tellemarken, Norway, where they were married. In 1848 they arrived in the United States, and at once made their home in Dane county, Wisconsin, at that time one of the central points of the settlement of their countrymen in this country.

Mr. Bergland was reared to farm work, and was educated in both Norwegian and English, and retains a complete command of his paternal tongue. Being acquainted with parties who were settling in the Red river valley Mr. Bergland visited that region in the spring of 1878, and was so pleased with what he saw that he decided to remain. He made investments in the town of Lowell, Polk county, and was soon settled on a farm a few miles northwest of Crookston. In 1880 he was established in a general store at Crookston, in company with John O. Juve. This was at a time so early in the history of that thriving city that the stumps had not yet been removed from the streets. Mr. Bergland continued in the store three years, when he returned to his farm.

In 1896 Mr. Bergland availed himself of an opportunity to dispose of his Polk county property very advantageously, and removed to Clay county. Here he has lived to the present time, and become widely known as one of the most progressive and prosperous farmers of this section of the valley. He is an earnest advocate of the dairy as a relief from a too continuous and exhaustive grain farming, and is making preparation for an advance in that direction himself.

Mr. Bergland is a Republican, and in religion belongs to the Norwegian Lutheran church. He is making a very fine farm, and his new barn, just completed, is the most notable in all its appointments in this part of the county.

Mr. Bergland was married, in 1879, to Miss Annie Juve, who died in 1894. She was the mother of six children: Clarence, Gina, Judith, Milton, Elsie and Rudolph. In 1897 he was again married, Mrs. John O. Juve becoming his wife. By her first marriage Mrs. Bergland was the mother of one child, Alden, and to her present husband she has born one child, Allard.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 308-11.


Timothy E. Biever, one of the prominent business men and farmers of Polk county, resides on his fine estate adjoining the village of Euclid. He is one of the earliest pioneers of that locality, and during his residence there has manifested true public spirit and gained the esteem of his associates by his honesty and persistent labors.

Mr. Biever was born in Belgium May 14, 1860, and was the fourth child and oldest son of eight children born to Michael and Mary (Schortzen) Biever. The parents came to America in 1861 and settled in Wisconsin, and in 1866 located in Wabasha county, where our subject was reared to farming. He received the advantages of the schools of his neighborhood, and always made the best of his opportunities. He became thoroughly versed in farming, and in 1879 went with his father to Euclid, and there the father conducted a hotel and our subject took charge of the farming interests in Belgium township. They were among the first families to make their homes there, and the township was named by their suggestion. In 1899 Mr. Biever began buying grain, and he is now engaged in grain buying for the Red Lake Falls Milling Company. His farm consists of two hundred and forty acres and is well located and well improved. He has devoted considerable attention to horse-raising, and has met with success in this line, as well as at farming.

Mr. Biever was married, in 1887, to Miss Amelia Tiedt. One son has been born to bless the home of Mr. and Mrs. Biever, Clifford, who is now aged twelve years. Mr. Biever is prominent in his community and has always taken much interest in local public affairs. He has taken an active part in the affairs of Euclid township, and is a man of good citizenship and many friends. He is a Democrat politically and lends his influence for the principles of that party. He is a member of the Roman Catholic church, and also the Modern Woodmen of America.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 300.


The present solid prosperity enjoyed in Becker county, Minnesota, may be attributed largely to her pioneers. In the early days of her settlement, when a wilderness was the only welcome tendered a stranger who settled there, little to encourage and much to discourage came to his lot, but those sturdy men who went to their new home with a determination to succeed and worked persistently and honestly are now the prosperous and honored citizens of their locality. Our subject aided in bringing that wilderness to a high state of cultivation and civilization, his father being one of the first to locate in Lake Park township, and to Edward E. Bjorge great credit is due for his labors and good influence. He is a prosperous business man of the town of Lake Park, and is deservedly placed in a high rank among the worthy citizens of that thriving town.

Our subject was both in Norway, October 6, 1859, and was a son of Erick O. and Mary (Everson) Bjorge, both of whom were natives of Norway. He came with his parents to America at the age of three years, and the family located in Vernon county, Wisconsin, where they remained nine years. The father entered claim to land in Becker county, Minnesota, and drove overland with oxen to his new home, taking four months to make the journey. They settled in Lake Park township, and built a log house and a log barn and there lived till more pretentious and comfortable quarters could be supplied. During those early days they suffered many hardships and it was indeed slow work to accomplish the purpose which had prompted them to take up their abode there, but our subject assisted the father with the development of the farm and attended the common schools and later he entered Augustbery Seminary at Minneapolis and completed a four years course in that institution. He then accepted a position as clerk in a general store in Minneapolis, where he was engaged five years, and then returned to Lake Park, Minnesota, and there followed the same occupation five years. He then established himself in the grocery business in Lake Park, at which he has since continued with good results and is now the proprietor of a good and increasing business.

Our subject was married in 1888 to Rachel Hanson, a native of Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Bjorge are the parents of three children, who are named in order of birth as follows: Hilmar B., Edith M. and Dewey. Mr. Bjorge and family are members of the Senod Norwegian Lutheran church at Lake Park. Our subject has a large acquaintance, and is held in the highest esteem by all. He is influential in public affairs and has served four years as assessor of the town of Lake Park. During 1873 he served as deputy postmaster under Mr. Plumber, and he has ever taken a hearty interest in local affairs. Politically he is a Democrat, and stands firmly for the principles which he advocates. He enjoys a pleasant home and well merited success as a citizen and business man.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 182.


Alfred Bloom, of the firm of J. A. Bloom & Brother, general merchants of Chisago City, Minnesota, is one of the well known citizens of Chisago county. He is a native of that county and his interests have been there during his entire career.

Mr. Bloom was born on a farm in 1861, and was a son of Andrew G. Bloom. His father was among the early settlers of Chisago county. He passed through pioneer days there and for the first twenty-two years of his residence there lived in a log house. In the early days he made flour in a large coffee mill. He lived there during the Indian scare. He was a native of Sweden and died in November, 1897, at the advanced age of seventy-three years. The mother of our subject died in 1879.

After attaining his majority Mr. Bloom left home and learned the carpenter's trade. This he followed for some time in Washington county, and in 1890 went to Center City. There he learned the tinner's trade and engaged in the hardware business with F. G. Lorens. After two years he disposed of his interests and on account of failing health gave up active pursuits for about a year. He and his brother, J. A. Bloom, established their present business in 1894 at Chisago City. They have prospered and have a liberal patronage from the city and surrounding country, and are classed among the substantial merchants of their locality.

Alfred Bloom was married in 1892 to Minnie E. Rosenquist. Mrs. Bloom was born at Atwater, Kandiyohi county, Minnesota, in 1871. Her father was a native of Sweden and became an early settler of Kandiyohi county. Mr. and Mrs. Bloom are the parents of four children, whom they have named as follows: Arline L., Alvies L., Liel A. W., and Anor L. C. Mr. Bloom is a man of good business capacity, is awake to the times and enjoys the esteem and respect of a large circle of acquaintances.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 426.


Edward A. Bloom, whose fine farm in Franconia township marks the thrift enjoyed by its owner, is a native of Chisago county, Minnesota, and his interests have been there since his birth. He has devoted his efforts to the development of his estate, and he is now the possessor of a fine tract of land and a comfortable home in section 7 of Franconia township.

Mr. Bloom was born in 1873 in the township where he now lives. His father, Gustaf Bloom, was among the earliest settlers of Chisago county. A sketch of his life appears elsewhere in this volume.

Edward A. Bloom was reared on his father's farm and attended the public schools and after attaining his majority he purchased his father's farm, located in sections 7 and 12, and a small tract in section 1, of Franconia township. Soon afterward he began farming for himself and in the past eight years that he has owned the property he has been more than successful, and has placed valuable improvements on the home farm. He owns one hundred and twenty-four acres of land, forty-five of which is under cultivation, and the rest is pasture and timber. His father lived on the farm forty-seven years. He died in Chisago county in 1897.

Mr. Bloom is one of the popular young men of his community, and he is always interested in the social and financial interests of his community, and is a leader in public affairs, attending the different conventions as a delegate of the Republican party of which he is a member. Mr. Bloom was married in 1898 to Miss Wilhelmina C. Mattson. Mrs. Bloom was born in Lent township, Chisago county, Minnesota, and is a daughter of John Mattson, an old settler of that township, where he lived twenty-seven years. He was a native of Sweden. Mr. and Mrs. Bloom are the parents of two children, namely: Gilbert R., and Ellis A., both of whom were born in Chisago county.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 499.


John A. Bloom, of the firm of J. A. Bloom & Brother, general merchants of Chisago, Minnesota, is a man of more than usual business enterprise, and he has met with pronounced success in his business ventures. He has gained an enviable reputation as a worthy citizen, and enjoys a liberal patronage from all parts of Chisago county.

Mr. Bloom was born in Chisago county, Minnesota, in 1864. His father came to the United States from Sweden in 1853 and became one of the early settlers of Chisago county, Minnesota. He was a farmer by occupation, and our subject was reared on the home estate. He was the fifth in order of birth in a family of twelve children, and in his childhood he attended the country schools. He completed his studies at the Northern Indiana Normal School, where he completed a two years course, graduating from the business department in 1890. He went to Marine Mills, Washington county, the same year, where he had charge of a general store and he remained there three years. He and his brother, Alfred Bloom, established their present business at Chisago City in 1894. Our subject worked two years in a hardware store in Center City, where he learned the tinner's trade, which helped him in his work in Chisago. The present business was opened in a small building and was a success from the start. They now occupy a store 50 by 56 feet and have since added an addition of 48 by 70, two stories. It is now a stock company with a capital stock of $50,000-$25,000 being paid up. Mr. Bloom is president and general manager. They carry a complete stock of groceries, hardware, dry goods, and general merchandise. The firm owns the grain elevator and potato warehouse in Chisago and ship about one hundred and fifty car loads of farm produce annually. They are also interested in the Chisago City Co-operative Creamery Company, and were the starters of the enterprise. Our subject acted as the first manager of the company.

John A. Bloom was married in 1892 to Ida Johanson. Mrs. Bloom was born in Chisago county, her parents being early settlers of the county, having emigrated to that locality from Sweden. Mr. and Mrs. Bloom are the parents of three children, namely: Mable, Mildred, and Earl R. Mr. Bloom was appointed postmaster at Chisago in 1894 and held the office eight years. He has also served on the school board in his township, and is a gentleman of active public spirit. He is a Republican, and stands firmly for his convictions.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 423-24.


Luther R. Boatman, prominent among the early settlers and prosperous farmers of Traverse county, owns and operates a valuable estate in Arthur township. He passed through the experiences of the pioneer and remained through every privation and discouragement to become a substantial and influential citizen.

Mr. Boatman was born in Indiana, in 1851. His father, William T. Boatman, was of old American stock and was born in Ohio, February 3, 1817. He moved to Indiana and from there in 1853 to Wabasha county, Minnesota, where he followed the carpenter's trade. He died in 1891. The grandfather of our subject, Henry Boatman, was of old American stock and was born April 9, 1793. He was married June 9, 1814, to Miss Rachel Lacock, who was born September 14, 1795.

Luther R. Boatman was reared in Wabasha county, Minnesota, and was educated in the common schools there. The family resided in Wisconsin for about nine years where the father operated a sawmill. After attaining his majority our subject began for himself and he made his way by running threshing engines and stationary engines. He came to Traverse county, Minnesota, in 1880, and took a homestead and built a claim shanty and a sod barn. His first team were oxen and the second year he bought a team of Indian ponies. The nearest town at that time was Herman, thirty-five miles distant, and to this market he hauled his grain. He made a trip about once a year to the grist mill a distance of forty-five miles. He and family burned hay for fuel the first six or seven years. He continued the improvement of his farm and he now owns one hundred and sixty acres of valuable land. The entire tract is under cultivation and he has a complete set of good farm buildings thereon and has supplied himself with all modern machinery and equipment for conducting his farming in a profitable manner. He has witnessed the development of that locality and has aided materially in the same.

Mr. Boatman was married in 1872 to Miss Frances Travis, who was born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1853. Mrs. Boatman's father, Joseph Travis, was of old American stock, and was a farmer, carpenter, and wagon maker. He died May 8, 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Boatman are the parents of four children, namely: William E., Guy E., Harry E., and Mary E. The eldest was born in Wisconsin and the other children were born in Traverse county, Minnesota. Mr. Boatman is one of the public-spirited men of his community and he has served as constable. He is a Republican in political faith and stands firmly for his convictions and is an earnest worker for party principles.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 510-11.

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