Gilbert O. Simenstad, one of the well-to-do farmers of Swift county, Minnesota, resides on his highly cultivated farm in section 10 of Swenoda township. His possessions aggregate two hundred and eighty acres of land, two hundred of which is his home farm and he has an eighty acre tract adjoining on section 9, of the same township. The Chippewa River runs south through his land and he has shown his wisdom in choosing his home farm where he might cultivate the land and has become one of the substantial men of his community.
Mr. Simenstad was born in Norway in 1842, and was a son of Ole Olsen and Maria (Guldbrandsen) Olsen. His parents were farmers and spent their lives in their native land. Our subject came to America in 1867, and after nine weeks spent on the sailing voyage he landed at Quebec, Canada. He went direct to Wisconsin and obtained farm work there at which he was engaged a year. He then came to Swift county, and in 1870 secured a title to eighty acres of land as a homestead on section 10 of Swenoda township. His present residence is on his original homestead farm. He follows general or mixed farming and raises all kinds of grain including corn, flax, etc. His residence is well built and commodious and was erected by him in 1899. He has a good barn, granary, and other necessary buildings, eleven horses, a nice herd of cattle, the breed of which he is gradually improving. A thrifty grove of trees shelter the home and add materially to the beauty of the place. These our subject planted about thirty years ago, and that was one of the first improvements he placed there on his homestead of eighty acres.
Mr. Simenstad and wife were the first couple married in Swenoda township. The ceremony occurred March 13, 1871, and Johanna Johnson became the wife of Gilbert O. Simenstad. Mrs. Simenstad was born in Norway and she came to the United States about two years prior to our subject. Of this union nine children have been born, eight of whom are now living, namely; Maria Josephine; Julia H.; Gunder C., wife of Evan C. Erickson, a farmer of Swenoda township; Julius; Ellen O.; Fred G.; Alma J.; and Lewis. One son, Martin, an intelligent young man and a favorite with his companions, is deceased. For a number of years Mr. Simenstad served his township as treasurer and pathmaster. He and family are members of the Synod of Norwegian Lutheran church. In politics Mr. Simenstad is associated with the Republican party. He is a gentleman of strict integrity and well merits his success and high standing in his community.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 475-76.
Ole O. Simenstad, a prominent farmer and old settler of Swift county, resides on his fine farm in section 10 of Swenoda township. He is the owner of two hundred and eighty acres of land, and is now retired from active labors, leaving the management of the farm to his son, Anton, who is also owner of an adjoining farm of seventy acres. This tract was formerly owned by our subject. Mr. Simenstad has been a man of successful endeavor and is one of the substantial and favorably known citizens of his locality.
Our subject was born in the eastern part of Norway, December 9, 1838, and was a son of Ole and Mary (Gilbertson) Simenstad. He came to America in 1867 via England and New York and went direct to Lacrosse county, Wisconsin. While in this state he sent for his brother, Gilbert, a sketch of whose life appears elsewhere in this work. He was joined by him a year later. Our subject was engaged in farm labor one year in Wisconsin and the second year followed carpenter work, which trade he had learned in his youth in Norway. When he first came to Swift county in 1869 he homesteaded eighty acres of land on section 10 of Swenoda township, and from time to time as his means justified he purchased more forty acres tracts until his possessions assumed their present proportions. The Chippewa river runs through the farm. He has a good grove of trees near his house, which he planted in the early days, and has enough timber to supply his needs. He built a substantial and comfortable farm residence in 1894 and has a good barn and other farm buildings. His farm is especially well adapted to stock raising and he has cattle, hogs, etc., and engages successfully in mixed farming.
Mr. Simenstad was married a short time before leaving his native land to Ellen Anderson. Five sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Simenstad in America, namely: Olaus, Anton, Charles, Martin and George. Our subject gave his children a good education in the public schools and high schools of the country and fitted them all for the battles of life. Olaus was married to Ellen Christiansen and is engaged in farming in Swift county. Anton, who manages his father's estate, was married to Julia Amlie. They reside on the home farm, and the wife is the house-keeper. Charles is gold mining in Alaska. George is an engraver and jeweler and is a resident of Skagua. Martin is a druggist in Edmore, North Dakota. The wife and mother, Mrs. Ole O. Simenstad, died October 2, 1892. Mr. Simenstad has filled several township offices. He was assessor three years, town clerk twenty years and is a member of the school board and has been from the time the board was organized. He was appointed postmaster in 1875 under Grant's administration, and filled the position in Swenoda's post office for twenty-two years, when he resigned. The office was soon after discontinued and a free delivery service from the Benson mail route is now established.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 529-30.
Peter Simpson, now living retired in the village of Lac-qui-parle, Lac-qui-parle county, was born in the central part of Norway, May 14, 1842, a son of Simon N. Simpson, a Norwegian farmer, who was born in 1808, and died in 1894.
Peter Simpson was given a common school education in his native community, and when he was only fourteen left school to take his own support upon himself. In 1862 he emigrated to this country and sought a home in the northwest, coming by way of Quebec, Detroit and Chicago. He found the Civil war in full force, and fired by love of liberty, hastened to offer his services to the Union cause. He enlisted in July, 1862, in Company I, Eighty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war, receiving an honorable discharge, and much praise from his commanding officers as a brave and trusty soldier. He was in some of the most important battles of the war, such as Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Chancellorsville and many others. He was wounded at Dallas, Georgia, losing a finger.
After leaving the army Mr. Simpson went to Eldorado, Fayette county, Iowa, where he went into business as a blacksmith, which he followed for three years. In 1869 he removed to Lac-qui-parle county, and taking up a homestead, built a shanty 12 by 14 feet, with the walls sunk about four feet in the ground. He also put up a log barn, and did his early breaking with oxen. The nearest town was Redwood Falls, fifty-two miles away, and there his trading had to be done for more than a year with his oxen; the round trip would take more than five days. In 1871 Mr. Simpson was elected sheriff of Lac-qui-parle county, being re-elected to that position. During this period of four years he did not give up his farm while he was sheriff. In 1899 he moved into the village of Lac-qui-parle, renting his farm, and opening a general mercantile business. Two years later his store was reduced to ashes, and since that time he has not been engaged in active business.
Mr. Simpson was married October 17, 1868, to Miss Inger M. Olson. She was born in Norway August 17, 1852, her birthplace being an island on the western coast of Norway, and a most romantic spot. She landed in Quebec in 1861, on her way to Minnesota, and lived there two years before completing her journey. They have five children, Nels D., Ludwig B., Samuel N., Ida B., and Louisa H.-all born in Lac-qui-parle county.
Mr. Simpson is a Republican, and has been sheriff of the county as noted above. He has also filled several town and school offices, and has done much toward the general amelioration of public affairs. His farm consists of two hundred acres, all highly improved, with a small amount of timber. He also owns a house and lot in the village of Lac-qui-parle, and may fairly be pronounced one of the leading citizens and old settlers of Lac-qui-parle county.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 585.
Edward K. Skaro, one of the leading business men of Madison, Minnesota, is a prominent citizen of this thriving town. He has resided in Lac-qui-parle county for many years and has become identified with the commercial and social interests of the locality where he makes his home. He is a gentleman of exemplary character and well merits the success and high standing which he enjoys.
Mr. Skaro was born on a farm in Sibley county, Minnesota, in 1869. His father was born in Norway and was of Norwegian parentage. He was a farmer by occupation. Our subject was the eldest of a family of six children and he was reared in his native county, gaining his schooling there and assisting his father with the work on the home farm. He later attended Red Wing Seminary and at the age of twenty years began to earn his own way in the world. He followed clerking in a general merchandise store in St. Peter, Minnesota, and there, during ten years of service, he received a thorough knowledge of the business. In 1899 he came to Madison and in partnership with Ton Halvorson established a general merchandise business. This partnership continued for a year and a half. In the fall of 1900 the stock was destroyed by fire and the loss was heavy with but light insurance. The following month, with his characteristic energy, Mr. Skaro opened a store again and M. T. Hoff became a partner. The firm has continued since that time and they have prospered to a marked degree and have been obliged to enlarge their store building from 25 by 60 feet to 50 by 60 feet. They carry a complete stock of general goods and have a large and growing trade in Madison and surrounding country.
Mr. Skaro was married in 1895 to Miss Antina Hoff. Mrs. Skaro's father was born in Norway and was a farmer by occupation. He died in 1889. Her mother is still living at the advanced age of seventy-seven years. Mr. and Mrs. Skaro are the parents of two children, Edna, born in 1896, and Raymond, born in 1897. Mr. Skaro is a prominent member of the United Lutheran church and is secretary of the local church. He takes a leading part in all church work and is a consistent member. In political views he is a Republican.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 673-74.
Gust Skoglund, one of the best known and most highly esteemed farmers of Lake Valley township, is the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of valuable land, all of which he has acquired since taking up his residence in Traverse county, the result of his earnest labors and good management.
Mr. Skoglund was born in Westergotland, Sweden, in 1860. His father, P. G. Skoglund, was born in Sweden and was married there. He was a farmer by occupation and is now living retired from active pursuits in Wheaton, Minnesota. He is one of the old settlers of Traverse county. The family came to America when our subject was about fourteen years of age and owing to the limited means in their possession he began work at an early age. His father was a carpenter by trade and worked at the same in Traverse county, where he located April 8, 1878. He walked to his new location from Willmar and took a pre-emption in Monson township, one of the first three settlers of the township. He put up a sod house and dug a storm cellar. One morning he found two Indians in the cellar. He had no matches and they gave him some with which to light his fire. A friend gave him a team of oxen and he began the improvement of his farm.
Gust Skoglund began to make his own living when about ten years old, and worked around Willmar three years and he was also in North Dakota on the railroads, and worked in two different camps. He settled on his farm in 1882, where he lived alone for several years. He lost two colts at Willmar and hail destroyed his crops three seasons in succession, but despite these losses he pushed bravely ahead and is now the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land, ninety acres of which is cultivated. He has a fine grove around his house, the work of his father and himself, and he has placed other valuable improvements on the place. He is one of the substantial farmers of Lake Valley township.
Mr. Skoglund was married in 1886 to Miss Hannah Applegren. Mrs. Skoglund was born in Sweden, and her parents settled in Traverse county, Minnesota, in 1883 or '84. To Mr. and Mrs. Skoglund nine children have been born, who are named as follows: Hilda, Emma, Eddie, Hulda, Harry, Bernard, Fredolph, William and Elver. Mr. Skoglund takes a commendable interest in township affairs and he was elected township treasurer several yeas ago. He enjoys the confidence of all who know him. He is a stanch Republican.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 612.
Julius Skoien, a progressive and prosperous farmer of Madison township, has a pleasant home in section 22. He is one of the early settlers of this region and can recount with accuracy many of the experiences of the early pioneers. He has a wide circle of acquaintances and is universally respected and esteemed.
Mr. Skoien was born in Norway, on a farm, in 1858. His father was a farmer by occupation and he came with his family to America in 1872 and settled in Lac-qui-parle county. He went afoot from Benson to his farm. His first team were oxen and in the early days our subject drove oxen, making the trip to Benson, forty miles, many times, which necessitated his camping out nights. He was reared in this county and remained his father's assistant on the home farm until he was twenty-six years of age. He then took land as a pre-emption in section 22, of Madison township, which comprises his present farm. He owns two hundred acres of land, all but the pasture being under plow and he engages successfully in grain and stock raising. He is an experienced thresher and has followed the business for the past twenty-four years, twenty-two years of which he has owned his rig and he has followed the business over a large scope of this region. His surroundings at present are in strange contrast to the early life he led here, when the family ground wheat in a coffee mill to secure flour and passed through many hardships. During the winter of 1880-81, they could not travel only on snow shoes and the teams were shut in the barn with no way to get out for two months.
Mr. Skoien was married in 1885 to Miss Rachel Bothun. Mrs. Skoien was born in Wisconsin, and her father was one of the early settlers of Lac-qui-parle county and is a prosperous farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Skoien are the parents of five children, namely: Jose, Orvin, Joseph, Samuel and Ruth. Mr. Skoien and family lost the wife and mother in 1898. Mrs. Skoien was deeply mourned by a large circle of relatives and friends. Mr. Skoien takes an active and leading part in the public affairs of his township and he has served as a member of the township board and also as a member of the school board. In his political views he is a Republican.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 708.
Aslak A. Skordall, well known in Agassiz township, Lac-qui-parle county, as one of the leading and prosperous young farmers of southwestern Minnesota, was born in Norway in 1859, and was the fifth member of a family of eight children, born to his parents. They all grew to maturity, and such scanty educational privileges as their parents could afford, were secured in the local school. Young Aslak left the school room when he was only ten years old, and for a time he was employed on the neighboring farms in herding cattle. He was a hardy and energetic lad, and when he reached early manhood did not hesitate to strike out for himself, and seek a home in the new world. In 1881 he came to the United States, entering this country by way of Quebec, Canada. His destination was Lac-qui-parle county, Minnesota, and reaching what was then to a very great extent an unbroken wilderness he pre-empted a claim in Agassiz township, where he erected a claim shanty 12 by 14 feet, putting up at the same time a sod barn. More fortunate than many of the early settlers, he was able to do his first breaking with horses. He has worked hard and well, and now owns a fine farm of some two hundred acres in extent, the most of which is highly cultivated, all that is left being devoted to grass and meadow. On this farm he early set out a grove, which has grown well, and affords much satisfaction as its noble proportions may be seen from afar. His buildings are ample to his needs, and the entire farm is modern, and in every way up-to-date. Mr. Skordall has never married. In politics he is a Republican, and takes a prominent part in local affairs.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 376.
Evan A. Skordall, a hardy and typical representative of the hosts from Norway who have done so much to make the Minnesota wilderness blossom as the rose, and long a leading citizen of Agassiz township, Lac-qui-parle county, was born in Norway in 1855. There his father, Aslock O., was born and bred a farmer, and there he spent all the years of his life, dying on the family home farm a number of years ago.
Mr. Skordall, whose name appears above, was the fifth in a family of twelve children, and he was reared on the old home farm, where he received such educational advantages as his parents could afford. When he was sixteen he left the school room to work out on the neighboring farms, as the family exigencies seemed to demand such action on his part. In 1881 Mr. Skordall sought a home in the United States, coming to this country by way of Quebec, Canada, and quickly locating in Lac-qui-parle county, where he took up a land claim. He put up a claim shanty 12 by 14 feet, and entered upon an agricultural career that has been in every way honorable and successful. He also had a sod barn, and after the fashion of the day did his first breaking with oxen.
Mr. Skordall was married in 1881 to Miss Olson, who was born in Norway. To this union have come ten children, all of whom were born in Lac-qui-parle county: Annita C.; Aslock A.; Ole; Ada; Emma; Alma; Tomenia; Amelia; Carl A. and Almar H. They are a bright and progressive family of children, and give hopeful promise for the future.
Mr. Skordall takes strong Republican ground in political affairs, and is closely identified with the fortunes of his party in home affairs. He has been very successful in his business operations, and owns a farm consisting of nearly two hundred acres, the most of which is under high cultivation, and all shows the handling of an industrious and systematic farmer. His buildings are good, and the farm grove, which he planted very early, has become a land mark on the wide spreading prairies. He is to be congratulated on the very substantial results that have attended industrious and hard-working years.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 372.
Halvor A. Skordall was born in Norway in 1859, and is a son of Oslock O. Skordall. He is a prominent citizen of Lake Shore township, Lac-qui-parle county, where his industry, thrift and upright character have long since directed attention to him as a notable resident of this part of Minnesota.
Mr. Skordall was the sixth member in a family of eight children, all of whom grew to maturity on the old home farm. They attended the local schools until they were ready to bear their share in the common work of the home life, and when young Halvor was twelve years old he became engaged in herding cattle and in doing other work for neighboring farmers. When he was twenty-one he worked in a livery barn, and two years later left his Norwegian home for a career in America. He came by the Canadian route, passing through Quebec, and hastening to Lac-qui-parle county, where he pre-empted a farm, on which he erected a claim shanty, 12 by 14 feet, and also provided himself with a sod barn. His first breaking was done with oxen, and with a brave and gallant spirit he made head against all trials and difficulties of that early day.
Mr. Skordall was married in 1895 to Mary Sasson. She was born in Norway in 1868, and they now have a family of three children: Amalie K., born May 5, 1897; Mathilda S., born May 14, 1899; and Arthur, born December 14, 1900. They were all born on the farm where we find them today. They are a bright little family and afford much comfort and delight to their friends and relatives.
Mr. Skordall is a Republican, and is much honored in the councils of his party. He owns a farm of three hundred and seventy acres, which is under high cultivation with the exception of what he thinks best to reserve for grass and pasture, and his prudent management, unwearied industry and unswerving honesty have united to make his standing secure.
The buildings on the Skordall farm are in good taste, and ample to every demand. The grove which he started immediately on his settlement has taken on large proportions, and has become a delight to the eye, and the entire place shows the management of a skilled and intelligent farmer.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 384.
The fine farms of Akron township, Wilkin county, bespeak the enterprise and industry of the citizens of the community, many of whom have been identified with that locality's development from its early days of settlement. Prominent among this number may be mentioned Kittil S. Skugrud, who is the owner of a well-improved and valuable estate and is one of the leading men of his township.
Mr. Skugrud was born in Norway, November 1, 1863. His father, Severt Skugrud, was of Norwegian birth and he followed farming in his native land until 1873, when he came to America, locating in Dodge county, Minnesota. He was there engaged in farming until his death, in 1885.
Our subject came to America with his parents at the age of ten years, landing at Quebec, Canada. He came direct to Dodge county, Minnesota, where he was reared and received a good common school education. He began to work at farm labor at the age of fifteen years. In the spring of 1880 he came to Wilkin county and settled on railroad land which he afterward bought in Akron township. He constructed a dugout 14 by 16 feet and he built a sod barn, and thus began his farm life. He did the first breaking of his land with cattle, and his nearest town was Rothsay. He has continued the improvement of his farm, and now owns eighty acres of land, upon which is a complete set of substantial farm buildings, a good windmill, and all machinery and equipment for conducting a model farm. He has a pleasant home and has built it up by his good business management and honest industry.
Mr. Skugrud was married in 1887 to Miss Andrine Nordhagen. Mrs. Skugrud was born in Norway in 1863 and came to America in 1883. Her father, Henry N., is of Norwegian birth. He came to America and located at Rothsay, where he still resides. Mr. and Mrs. Skugrud are the parents of eight children, namely: Julian Helfred, Sigward Enevold, Alma Christine, Henry Bernhard, Edwin Arthur, Melvin Kornelius, Irene Teoline, and Ella Dagny. All were born in Wilkin county, Minnesota. Mr. Skugrud is a man of active public spirit, and he has served his township as chairman of the board of supervisors and assessor for the past seven years, and also as school clerk of his district. He is independent in political following.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 780.
A great share of the wealth of Wilkin county is due to the incomes from the fine farms of Akron township. This is one of the thriving agricultural districts of the state, and the proprietors of these farms are men of stability and enterprise. Their farms are well improved and well cultivated and they enjoy prosperity to a marked degree. Prominent among this class of farmers may be noted the gentleman above named. For over thirty years he has been a resident of this county and during this time he has accomplished marked results, and is now the proprietor of one of the best farms of Akron township. He is thorough and systematic in his farming and has gained not only valuable property, but the highest esteem of those among whom he has chosen his home.
Mr. Skugrud was born in Norway, in 1856. He was reared in his native land and there received the advantages of an education in the common schools. In 1869, at the age of thirteen years, he came to America, landing in New York City. He came direct to Olmstead county, Minnesota, where he worked for others for three years. It is seldom that a boy of his youthful years is possessed of the determination and judgment which he then had, and his faithful services and excellent ability to care for himself made him a valued employee on the farm where he worked. In 1872 he came to Wilkin county, Minnesota, and after five years work there on the farm he succeeded in saving enough to purchase a farm and begin for himself in his chosen vocation. He had learned the art in his youth and was thoroughly versed in agriculture in all its varied phases and was thus enabled to succeed in the improvement and development of his own estate. He is now the owner of one hundred and sixty acres of land, and on this he has a complete set of good farm buildings, and a fine grove, the trees of which he planted in the early years of his residence there. He has a thoroughly improved and well equipped farm and is classed among the substantial citizens of his township. In political views Mr. Skugrud is independent.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 635.
Olaf Smerud, one of the prominent business men and deservedly esteemed citizens of Kent, Minnesota, is a young man of exceptional business capacity and he has met with deserved success as a general merchant of that thriving village. He is the efficient postmaster and conducts the duties of his office faithfully and well.
Mr. Smerud was born on a farm near Decorah, Iowa, in 1872. His father, Ole Smerud, was born in Norway and came to America about 1870 and settled in Iowa. He went to Cass county, North Dakota, in 1876, by ox team and a covered wagon, and was among the earliest homesteaders in Cass county.
Our subject was born of poor parents and he was reared in North Dakota on a pioneer farm and was educated at Concordia College, Moorhead. He taught school in Clay county and Cass county, North Dakota, for two years and then clerked four years at Hickson, North Dakota, in two general merchandise stores of that town. He came to Wilkin county, Minnesota, in the spring of 1897, and bought an interest in a general store in Kent in partnership with A. A. Trovaten, and after two years be purchased the entire business, Mr. Trovaten retiring. This store was established by Clausen Brothers in 1892 and was sold by them to Mr. Trovaten in 1895. When our subject became a partner in the business the store building was 20 by 45 feet. This has been enlarged to a double front store occupying 50 by 70 feet, the present building being erected in the summer of 1903. This is the largest store between Breckenridge and Fargo. Mr. Smerud is energetic and progressive and consequently has prospered in his business. He was among the pioneers of this region and has not only witnessed its development, but has been a potent factor in bringing about the wonderful change.
Mr. Smerud was married in the fall of 1897 to Tillie Bye. Mrs. Smerud was born, in Cass county, North Dakota, and her father, John Bye, was a native of Iowa, and was of Scandinavian parentage. He was a farmer by occupation. Mr. and Mrs. Smerud are the parents of three children, namely: Melvin, Mildred, and an infant, unnamed. Mr. Smerud was appointed postmaster at Kent in January, 1903, and is ably filling that office. He is township treasurer. Politically he is a Republican.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., (1904), page 742.
Frederick W. Smith, the pioneer attorney of Cass Lake, Cass county, Minnesota, is a gentleman of exceptional ability as a lawyer, intelligent and well educated, and a worthy citizen. He is widely known and universally esteemed and respected and has built for himself a large practice in Minnesota.
Mr. Smith is a native of Chisago county, Minnesota, and was born July 26, 1860. His father, Ansel Smith, was born in Vermont. He was one of the influential men of Minnesota, and has served his state in various official capacities, including register in United States land office at Duluth, and as a state legislator for four terms, and lieutenant governor of the state one term. The mother of our subject, Adaline (Kidder) Smith, was born in Vermont also. The family left Chisago county when our subject was nine years of age, and he resided from that age in Duluth, Minnesota. He attended the High School in that city and later the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, and at the age of twenty-one years graduated from the law department of the Michigan University at Ann Arbor in 1893. In April of that year he began the practice of his profession in partnership with his brother, H. A. Smith, and after a short time the brother resigned from the firm, and the partnership of Phelps & Smith was formed. Later, the firm was dissolved and succeeded by the firm of Smith & Lewis, and afterwards by the firm of Smith, McMahon & Mitchell. In 1899 Mr. Smith came to Cass Lake, Minnesota, and at once established his office there for the practice of his profession and he has, in a short time, built up a good practice and has become well known as a gentleman of thoroughness and systematic business methods and ever on the alert for the welfare of his clients. He was appointed postmaster of Cass Lake in 1899 and is an efficient and popular officer. He has met with success in his business ventures and owns valuable properties. In 1890 H. A. and F. W. Smith erected a row of stone front, brick flats in Duluth on First avenue, at a cost of $100,000.00. The building is 300 feet long and is one of the finest apartment buildings in the city of Duluth.
Frederick W. Smith was married in 1889 to Fay O. Hunter. Mrs. Smith was born in Iowa, May 20, 1868. Three children have been born to bless their home, who bear the following names: Ansel, Selwyn, and Madaline. Mr. Smith stands in the front rank in the legal fraternity of Cass county and is a deservedly influential and popular citizen. He is a Republican in politics, and takes an active part in the affairs of his party. In the month of June, 1899, Mr. Hitchcock, secretary of the interior, issued his famous order of eviction against the residents of Cass Lake; Mr. Smith was sent to Washington by the people of Cass Lake, and in connection with Congressman Morris and Senator Nelson argued the rights of the settlers before the secretary and President McKinley with successful results and the order was revoked.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 199-200.
George W. Smith, a highly respected farmer of Dublin township, Swift county, is an ex-soldier of the Civil war. He resides on his fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres in section 29, and owns an additional eighty acres in section 19 of the same township. The whole of this land is under good cultivation and he well merits the success which has attended him, and the high station which he holds as an agriculturist and citizen.
Mr. Smith was born in Livingston county, New York, September 28, 1837. His parents were Peter and Esther (Perriman) Smith, both of English birth. The father followed farming and moved with his family to Iowa in 1854, and later both parents died in that state. Our subject worked for his father and others on farms until his enlistment in the army for the Civil war. August 8, 1861, he joined Company D, Iowa infantry, and served under Gen. Curtis through Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. He participated in the battles of Pea Ridge, Little Rock, and Helena, besides many skirmishes. After serving twenty-three months he became an invalid and later received an honorable discharge and subsequently a pension for his services. Upon his recovery to health, after his military experiences, he began farming on his own account and has thus continued since. He lived for over forty years in Iowa; also lived in Missouri for three years. He moved to his present home in Swift county, March 24, 1896. He is now the owner of two hundred and forty acres of land, from which he derives a comfortable income. After purchasing this property he erected a comfortable residence and good barn, and with his wife lives contented and happy, in sight of the homes of several of their married sons and daughters, who are also successfully engaged in farming. His land is under high cultivation, and twelve horses are used in the farm work. In the way of other stock he has ten head of cattle and a small flock of sheep. Most of his fields are sown to wheat and other grains and corn.
Mr. Smith was married in 1864 to Frances Flint, daughter of Ezekiel and Fanny Flint, natives of New Hampshire. To them have been born twelve children, all born in Iowa, eight of whom survive, namely: James W., who married Catherine Deval, and is a farmer in the neighborhood; Frederick L., who married Jennie Sarson, and is also farming near the home of his parents; Charles W., married Helen Sannersen, and is likewise a farmer of Dublin township; Florence L., wife of Nelson Barnes, a farmer of Cashel township; Francis M.; George L., who married Elvina T. Haasa, a farmer of Dublin township; Daniel W.; and Fannie M. The two last named reside at home. Mr. Smith is a member of the G. A. R.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 323-24.
Fred O. Snow, a prominent grain man at Marietta, Lac-qui-parle county, has made a good name for himself as a reliable business man and is highly spoken of by the public generally. He was born in the southern part of Wisconsin, June 5, 1862, and his father is the subject of a biographical sketch that appears on another page.
Fred O. Snow grew up in his Wisconsin home, where he attended the public schools, and his robust and hearty youth is attested by the fact that he was able to do the work of a man on the farm when he was only twelve years old. In 1879 he accompanied his parents to Lac-qui-parle county, and he has always made his home on the farm with his parents. In 1884 he bought a farm and started its cultivation for himself, but two years later he sold out and went into the grain business, which has been his occupation to the present time. He has in operation one of the leading elevators of Marietta, and possesses the confidence of the farming community to a marked degree. In political matters he is absolutely independent and lets his ballot be determined only by what he considers the best good of the country.
Mr. Snow was married December 13, 1889, to Miss Martha Richardson. She was born in Wisconsin, September 24, 1873, and came to Lac-qui-parle county with her parents when a very small girl, and here she was educated and reared to young womanhood. All their five children were born in Lac-qui-parle county: Jessie M., John E., Mary, Clara and Emily.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 571.
John Solin, an enterprising and prosperous farmer of Wolverton township, has been a resident of Wilkin county for nearly twenty years. During this time he has built up a fine farm and is classed among the foremost agriculturists of his locality.
Mr. Solin was born in Sweden, November 21, 1863. His father, Ole L. Solin, follows farming and also shoemaking in Sweden. Of a family of seven children our subject was the third in order of birth. He was reared in his native land and attended the common schools there and at the age of fourteen years began to earn his own way. He worked in the lumber woods until 1884, when he came to America, landing at Quebec, Canada. He came from thence to Sargeant county, North Dakota, and worked at farm labor there until 1885. Meanwhile he had taken land as a homestead, but later gave up the tract and came to Wilkin county in 1885. He worked at wood chopping during the winter months and spent the summer season working on the farms of Wilkin county until 1888, when he bought land and began farming for himself. He worked for others a good share of the time for the first two or three years of his residence on his farm, and he then devoted his entire time to the improvement of his land. He lived here alone until 1900, when he sold the farm and purchased his present farm. He now owns one hundred and sixty-five acres, of which one hundred and forty acres is under cultivation. He has good buildings on the place and has been successful in his farming here and is classed among the substantial farmers of his township.
Mr. Solin was married in May, 1903, to Hilda Nelson, a native of Norway. She came to America in 1901. They have one child, Clarence W.
He is a man of energetic character and intelligence and is thoroughly versed in his chosen calling. He favors Republicanism in political views, but does not take an active part in public affairs.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 580.
Halvor L. Sorknes, county attorney of Lac-qui-parle county, is a young man of exceptional ability and is well known as a successful lawyer, his practice being widely extended. He has resided in Madison for many years and is classed among the foremost citizens of this thriving town.
Mr. Sorknes was born in Solor, Norway, in 1870, and was the first child born to his parents. His father was a farmer by occupation. Our subject was reared in his native land and there received a liberal education, including an academic course. At the age of eighteen years he came to America, locating in Lac-qui-parle county. Here he attended school two years, gaining a thorough English education. He then followed the profession of teaching for forty-four months, covering a period of four years. In the fall of 1895 he entered the University of Minnesota and in 1898 graduated from the law department of this institution. He also completed a post graduate course. He was admitted to the bar the same year of his graduation and he opened his office for the practice of law in Madison in 1898. During the past five years he has built up a good practice and has become known as a rising attorney of the county. In 1900 he was elected county attorney and so well filled the office that he gained the confidence and respect of the entire community and in 1902 was again elected to the office. He is now serving his second term and carefully and faithfully discharges the duties of his position.
Mr. Sorknes was married in February, 1902, to Miss Carine Jerde. Mrs. Sorknes was born in Wisconsin and is of Norwegian parentage. One child, a son named Herbert, has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Sorknes. His birthplace is Madison, Minnesota. Mr. Sorknes is classed among the public spirited men of his community and he has done much to further the interests of the town where he resides.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 632-33.
Ole Sorknes, a representative farmer of Garfield township, is an old settler of Lac-qui-parle county. He has built up a good home and enjoys the comforts of rural life and the respect and esteem of a large circle of acquaintances.
Mr. Sorknes was born on a farm in Norway, in 1871. His father was a farmer of that country, and our subject was reared on the home farm. He was the third living child of the family and he assisted his father on the farm and attended the common schools of his neighborhood. In 1888 he came to America, at the age of sixteen years, landing in New York City. From there he went to Iowa and was engaged in farm work there during one summer. He spent three years in Ottertail county, Minnesota, where he followed farm work, and in 1891 he located in Lac-qui-parle county, Minnesota. In the fall of that year he purchased land in section 6 of Garfield township. This was prairie land with no improvements, and he began his farm work with oxen. He built a shanty 12 by 16 feet and he and his brother, Halvor, lived together and did their own housekeeping for the first two years. Our subject has built up a good farm and now owns three hundred and twenty acres, all of which he has placed under cultivation. In the early years of his residence here he planted trees and now has a fine grove and also has numerous kinds of fruit trees and small fruits. He has a good house and other farm buildings and follows grain and stock raising with success, deriving a good income from his farm.
Mr. Sorknes was married in 1897 to Miss Katie Halvorson. Mrs. Sorknes was born in Goodhue county, Minnesota, and her father is a farmer of Lac-qui-parle county. Mr. and Mrs. Sorknes are the parents of four children, all of whom were born on the home farm in Garfield township. They are named as follows: Cornelius, Henry, Adolph, and Mable.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 320.
The well regulated farms of Audubon township contribute largely to the wealth of Becker county. The gentleman whose name introduces this review is proprietor of a highly cultivated tract in section 26, and is one of the substantial and esteemed citizens of his locality. He is a native of Norway, and was born in Christiania, February 17, 1866.
The father of our subject, Andrew H. Sorum, was born in Norway, and is now engaged in farming in partnership with our subject. The mother, Gure (Knutson) Sorum, was born and raised in Norway. Of two children born to this worthy couple our subject was the eldest, and he is the only one now living. The family came to America in 1869, landing in New York city, and they went direct to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where the father obtained work and labored in the brick yards there for two years, after which he removed to Becker county, Minnesota. He went to his new location by stage overland, one hundred and twenty miles, and the family took the journey later in a covered wagon with an ox team. The father entered claim to one hundred and sixty acres of land as a homestead, and thereon he built a log house, and for the first three or four years he worked for others and assisted in building the Northern Pacific Railroad through Detroit. He had no team and hired his first breaking done, and carried supplies to his home on his back. He bought an ox team and an old wagon in 1875, and he farmed with oxen the first ten years. He was engaged in cattle-raising and suffered a loss of about ten head by disease, grasshoppers destroyed nearly the whole of his crops, and altogether he kept his family only by the closest management. Our subject assisted on the farm and received a common-school education, and has passed through many hardships and discouragements. He has fought prairie fires day and night and during their early residence there occurred the killing of Indian Agent Cook and his family. In 1888, in partnership with two others, our subject bought a threshing outfit, and operated the same each season for twelve years. The father built a comfortable residence on the farm about ten years ago and moved into it, and our subject remodeled the old home and established a home for himself there. There are now two sets of good farm buildings on the place, and the farm consists of three hundred and sixty acres. They have plenty of fruits, and engage successfully in grain-raising.
Hans C. Sorum was married, in 1890, to Miss Sophia Oleson, who was born in Kandiyohi county, Minnesota. Mrs. Sorum was reared on a farm, and for some time prior to her marriage followed dressmaking in Minneapolis. Her father, Severt Oleson, was born in Norway and came to America when a young man. He was married in St. Paul, Minnesota, and he served in the Civil war. He was a prosperous farmer of Eagle Lake, Minnesota, and died in 1891. Mr. and Mrs. Sorum are the parents of five children, who are named as follows: Gerda B.; Selma L., deceased; Alfred R.; Herbert A.; Selma A.; and Helga O. Mr. Sorum is heartily interested in the welfare of his township and has held numerous local offices, including school clerk for some eight or more years, and a member of the board of supervisors. He and his father are Prohibitionists politically, and are active workers or the principles of that party.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 311-12.
Lewis C. Spooner, one of the prominent men of Morris, was born in Erie county, New York, March 7, 1850.
His father, Carton Spooner, was of American birth and parentage, born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and in active life was engaged in farming and lumbering. He is still living at Springville, New York, eighty-five years of age.
Lewis C. Spooner was educated in the common schools of his native state and at Griffith Institute, at Springville, New York.
He came to Minnesota in October, 1875, as principal of the public school at Litchfield, Minnesota. While thus employed he was admitted to practice law in all the courts of Minnesota. This occurred in April, 1876, but Mr. Spooner continued as the principal of the Litchfield public school until the summer of 1877, when he resigned in order to enter actively into the practice of his profession. He practiced law at Litchfield, Minnesota, until January, 1881, when he removed to Morris, where he practiced law until 1886, when he removed to Chicago to become the general attorney for a large manufacturing corporation. He did not again resume general practice until he returned to Morris, Minnesota, in the spring of 1896. In 1903 Mr. Spooner gave up the practice of law altogether in order to more closely look after his private interests. Those who know him best say that his success as a practicing lawyer was noticeable.
Mr. Spooner has one son, Paul L. Spooner, born at Morris, Minnesota, April 15, 1885, who graduated at the high school in Morris in the spring of 1902-graduated the youngest yet with the highest record of any graduate of that school, and he is now a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. Mr. Spooner also has one daughter, Florence Kathryn Spooner, born July 2, 1888, at Chicago, Illinois, who is now a student at the East Side high school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, expecting to graduate therefrom in June next.
Mr. Spooner has always hitherto been Republican in political sentiment, but never has taken any active part in either political work or political agitation.
It is generally conceded in Morris that, considering the fact that he was comparatively a poor man when he first located there, Mr. Spooner has probably done more towards the material upbuilding of that town than any other citizen thereof.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 782-83.
Joseph Srnka, who has devoted his career to agricultural pursuits, has met with pronounced success in Connelly township, Wilkin county, Minnesota. He is owner of a fine farm there and has brought the land to a high state of cultivation and aided thereby in the development of the agricultural interests of his locality. He is a well known citizen, and is highly respected for his integrity and industrious life. He has a pleasant and comfortable home and enjoys well deserved succes [sic].
Mr. Srnka was born in Bohemia, in 1845. His father, Joseph Srnka, followed farming in the old country, and our subject received his early training on his father's farm. He attended the common schools of his native land and remained there until 1880, when he decided to try his fortunes in America. He landed in Baltimore city and from there went to Chicago, thence to Richland county, North Dakota, where he resided nine years, and in 1892 moved to Wilkin county to the farm where they now reside, where he had purchased eighty acres of land. He built a claim shanty 12 by 14 feet, and a sod barn, and did the first breaking on his farm with oxen. He now owns and operates one hundred and sixty acres of land, nearly all of which he has placed under plow, and he has erected good buildings and placed valuable improvements on the farm and is one of the substantial farmers of his township.
Mr. Srnka was married in 1873 to Miss Mary Kingore, who was born in the old country. Eleven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Srnka, namely: Anna, Mary, Joseph, Lavenia, Elizabeth, Rose, Cecelia, John and Frank, and two that died in the old country. All were born on the home farm in Wilkin county, Minnesota. Mr. Srnka gives his exclusive attention to his farm duties and does not take an active part in local public affairs, but he is a man of broad mind and keeps abreast of the times. In political faith he is a Democrat.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 660.
It is not unusual for a young man who has been reared on a farm to suppose the first step toward prosperity is to be found in city life, and later to find that the successful man is the one who has made the best of his opportunities whereever he found them, and that the youth who left a pleasant country home to toil with the city thousands is many times a failure as far as business life is concerned. The gentleman above named has chosen to try his fortune in a farm in Wilkin county, where he has been reared and is familiar with every feature of farm life, and he has chosen well. The prosperity which has attended him during his brief career is evidence of the future success which may safely be predicted for him. Reared in a country home he has become the owner of a farm where he may carry out the training he received in his boyhood, and he has become the possessor of one of the pleasant and well cultivated farms of Mitchell township. He is a well known citizen and is highly respected as a young man of intelligence and worthy citizenship.
August Stack was born in the southern part of Minnesota, in 1877, and is a son of John Stach, one of the early settlers of Wilkin county. He was the fourth in a family of ten children and he was reared in Wilkin county, the family locating there when he was six years of age. He assisted with the work of the home farm and remained at home until 1902, when he bought one hundred and sixty acres of land, the northeast quarter of section 5 of Mitchell township. In the fall of the same year he built a good house and barn on the place and began his farming operations. He conducts a model farm and every appointment of the place bespeaks thrift and prosperity.
Mr. Stach was married in December, 1902, to Miss Emma Aigner, a native of Wisconsin, and a daughter of Ferdinand Aigner. A sketch of the latter's life appears elsewhere in this volume. Mr. Stach is a young man of broad mind and he is an able supporter of every enterprise tending toward the development of the financial or social interests of his community. In political faith he is a Republican.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 531.
John Stangeland, who is still a young man, and has already taken a leading position among the farmers of his portion of Yellow Medicine county, has a good farm and substantial improvements in Stony Run, and may well be congratulated upon such solid acquirements while still on the sunny side of life. He was born on a farm in Bergensteft, Norway, in 1869, and his father, who is a farmer, lives in Norway. John Stangeland was the third child in the family of six children born to his parents, and grew to manhood in his native land following a fisher's life the most of the time from thirteen to nineteen years of age.
Mr. Stangeland came to the United States in 1888, and for fourteen months followed farming in Minnehaha county, South Dakota, for two years he was farming in Richland county, North Dakota, and in 1891 settled on his present farm in Yellow Medicine county. The place had but few improvements, though today it consists of two hundred and fifty-nine acres with all improvements made, and with nearly all under active cultivation, a very comfortable and substantial house, good barns, granaries, corncribs, and a very fine grove of trees.
Mr. Stangeland was married in 1892, to Miss Mattie Olina Oleson. She was born in Iowa, while her father, who was born in Norway, is now dead. Mr. and Mrs. Stangleland have had a family of five children: Bernard, Selmar, Engwal, Reuben and Wilhelm. These were all born on the farm, where the family have now been twelve years. Mr. Stangeland is a Republican, and has done his full share toward the improvement of the Northwest.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 396.
William T. Stanton, prominent as a business man of Clinton, Minnesota, and one of the early settlers of Big Stone county, is engaged in the livery business in that town and is owner of a fine farm. He has acquired his property by dint of his own efforts, and is known as a man of energetic spirit and strict integrity.
Mr. Stanton was born in Pennsylvania, in 1850. His father, Hiram Stanton, was of old American blood and was a farmer in Pennsylvania. Our subject came to Minnesota at the age of nine years and was reared in Steele county and there received a common school education. He came to Big Stone county in 1877 and took a homestead and tree claim and built a claim shanty and a sod barn. He did his first breaking with two yoke of oxen. Morris was his nearest trading point and he passed through many hardships and privations incident to pioneer life. He continued the improvement of his farm and built up a comfortable home. He began in the threshing business in 1895, and since that time has suffered the loss by fire of two rigs, but despite these discouragements he has continued in the threshing business each season and has made a success of it. He disposed of a portion of his farm in 1897 and removed to Clinton, where he established himself in the livery business. He has a good livery and feed stable and has built up a good trade in this line. He owns four town lots and a comfortable residence in Clinton.
Mr. Stanton was married in 1880 to Matilda Finburg. Mrs. Stanton was born in Sweden in 1859. She came to America when a child and was reared and educated in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To Mr. and Mrs. Stanton six children have been born, namely: Florence, Hattie, Henry, Frank, Arthur, and Earl. All were born in Big Stone county, Minnesota. Mr. Stanton is one of the prominent citizens of his community and has served on the township board for two terms. He is a Republican politically and stands firmly for the principles of his party. He is an intelligent and enterprising citizen and well merits his success and high standing.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 730.
Hon. Lars J. Stark, whose public life is well known throughout Chisago county and that portion of Minnesota, has gained an enviable reputation as a citizen and is passing his declining years in comfort and peace in Harris.
Mr. Stark was born in Westergotland, Sweden, in 1826 and at the age of two years moved with his father's family to Lekaping, where he was reared. His father, Jonas Stark, was a shoemaker by trade. Our subject began clerking at the age of eighteen years and after being engaged in his native land thus for six years he came to America in 1850, landing in New York city. He located at Galesburg, Illinois, where he worked and attended school for fifteen months and in 1851 located at Marine Mills, Minnesota, and secured employment in the saw mill. He went to Chisago Lake in 1853, where he purchased land and began farming. He removed to Fish Lake township in 1865 and opened up another farm, thus passing twice through the hardships of pioneer life. He worked as railroad mail clerk from St. Paul to Duluth, Minnesota, for eight years, and later devoted his entire attention to the operation of his farm. He is now the owner of a fine tract of two hundred acres near Harris.
Mr. Stark was married in 1855 to Amelia Lengquist, a native of Sweden. Five children were born of this marriage, namely: Anna, Charlotte, John, Matilda and Charles. Mr. Stark was again married in 1869, Miss Bertha C. Person becoming his wife. Mrs. Stark was born in Wormland, Sweden, and came to America in 1860. The children born of this marriage are as follows: Edward W., now a member of the Minnesota legislature and a merchant of Harris, Minnesota; Albert O. a merchant of Harris; Francis A., Bertha M., Lawrence A., Helma M., Lydia J., and Arthur. Mr. Stark assisted in the organization of his township and established the postoffice at Stark, where he served as postmaster for several years. He was also justice of the peace for several years. He served as an officer of the Minnesota territorial legislature and in 1865 was elected a representative from his district, serving one term.
From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 596.
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