Biographical Sketches.

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


Frank Stay, one of the oldest residents of Camp Release township, Lac-qui-parle county, has had a varied and eventful history, and the story of his life is interwoven with the narrative of facts as they have transpired in southwestern Minnesota. It is a most interesting past to which such lives as his link us, and never will be repeated on this western world.

Frank Stay was born in Canada, about fifty miles northwest of Montreal, July 10, 1837, and his father, Francis Jette, who was born in 1819, and came of old French stock, followed farming in Canada. He is still living in Acton Vale, Canada.

Frank Stay spent the first seventeen years of his life in Canada, and in the summer of 1854, after spending the fourth of July at either Galena or Chicago, came to St. Paul, where he worked out the season on a flat boat up and down the Minnesota river. He then went to Blue Earth and took a contract to split one hundred thousand rails. In June, 1855, he went to Yellow Medicine, where he was employed by the government until 1857. Yellow Medicine was then called the Upper Sioux agency. He worked on a farm for Major Brown, twelve miles out of Yellow Medicine. There he remained two years, after which he was made farmer himself and received a salary, and was furnished goods by Capt. Louis Roberts with which to trade with the Indians. On August 19, 1862, he was warned by Red Dog, a friendly Indian, of an outbreak impending, and at once sought out his friend, Jim Lindsay, but found him already killed by the Indians.

Frank Stay made his way through the woods and across the prairie to the village of Yellow Medicine; he went to old man La Belle's house, but found it deserted; passed the night on his knees under a tree on Hawk Creek fighting mosquitoes; the next day started out, and came across several dead bodies, which so frightened him that for two days he took to hiding. He arrived at Fort Ridgely, twelve miles below Lower Sioux agency at 9 o'clock in the morning of Friday, having had nothing to eat from Monday's supper. At one o'clock was the famous Fort Ridgely battle; he joined the Renville Rangers; he was in the Birch Cooley fight, lasting for forty-eight hours, and at Wood Lake. The same morning of the Wood Lake battle a few men (there may have been twenty) started for an Indian farm to get potatoes or other necessary eatables in the field, for all the stores were burned down. They had gone but a short distance when the Indians in ambush fired on the foraging party; they turned and made for the camp, where they had just sat down to breakfast when they had to leave that untasted and jump to arms. They saved their comrades but the battle was fierce and brisk. Moses Mireau was also in the same battle. Their company, the Renville Rangers, under Lieut. James Gorman, bore the brunt of Ridgely, Birch Cooley and Wood Lake battles. Frank Stay and Francis Giard were besieged three days once by Indians at Lake Benton in 1865. The lake is Lake Stay, where they so valiantly fought for their lives. Frank Stay still carries a ball in his right shoulder as a reminder of that fight.

In 1862 Mr. Stay served under Captain Gorman, for three months from August 20, and participated in several brisk skirmishes with the Indians. In December he was sent to St. Paul, where he remained until the following spring, when he began an adventurous career as a scout, in which he was engaged for three years. In 1865 he turned his attention to hunting and trapping, in which he was engaged for several years. In 1867 he took a pre-emption claim, built a shanty and a sod barn, and did his first breaking with oxen.

Mr. Stay was married in 1880 to Mrs. Celia Charron, who was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, October 10, 1848. Mrs. Stay moved to Nicollet county in 1851, where her people lived until the Sioux were removed to Lower Sioux agency, where they lived at the time of the outbreak, August 18, 1862, Her father was United States interpreter for the Sioux tribe. In 1855 her father's family moved to the Lower Sioux agency, where they lived until 1862, when on August 18, they were all taken prisoners by the Indians, and retained in captivity seven weeks. During the last few years Mrs. Stay has written several articles on the Indian outbreak that have proved extremely interesting as well as valuable. Mr. and Mrs. Stay have a family of ten children: Fred, Nettie, Lizzie, Phemie, John, Frank, Unazime, Phronie, Mary and Joseph. Fred was born at St. Peters, Minnesota, the next three at Fort Ridgley, and the rest on the farm in Lac-qui-parle county. Fred is a widower, having lost his wife (Rachel Tousley) June 1, 1897. They had two children: Cora and Harold. The oldest daughter, Nettie, married Joseph Barret November 26, 1898 and they have two children: Raymond and Mary. Phemie married John C. Wertz, a conductor on the C., M. & St. P. R. R., in May, 1896, and they have three children, John, May and Clinton Lloyd.

Mr. Stay is a Republican, while all his wife's people have been Democrats. He owns a good and well cultivated farm of some two hundred acres, in a good state of cultivation, and provided with fine farm buildings. He is one of the oldest settlers of the county, and is full of incidents and anecdotes of the early days.

In writing of her nationality and ancestry Mrs. Stay said: "I am an American, full blooded. My back-bone tingles with the essence of Americanism. Father (A. J. Campbell) was of Scotch descent on his father's side. He it was [sic] got one hundred and seven prisoners from Little Crow's warriors as a mark of friendship, love and esteem they had always felt for him only during the few weeks in which they applied tomahawk, fire and desolation to our fair border."

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 334-35.


A. S. Stephens, residing on his valuable estate in Brown's Valley township, is one of the oldest settlers of Big Stone county. He has witnessed the wonderful transformation of that region from a wild country to a thoroughly developed agricultural district, and has been a potent factor in bringing about the prosperity at present enjoyed there. He has a wide circle of acquaintances and is universally esteemed as a farmer and citizen.

Mr. Stephens was born in the department of Dela Meurte, France, in 1850. His father and family came to America in 1856 and settled in Illinois, opposite the city of St. Louis, Missouri. His father died the same year he arrived in America and the family was reared on a farm, our subject early learning to do the farm work. He remained with his mother on the home farm until he was twenty-six years of age. He was a frequent visitor to the city of St. Louis and is conversant with its different parts. He came to Minnesota in the spring of 1876 and settled in Goodhue county, where he lived until 1880. Meanwhile he filed a claim to his present farm in 1878 in Big Stone county and built a claim shanty thereon. In the spring of 1880 he located there permanently and lived alone on his farm for the first four years. He did his first farm work with oxen and used this team two years. His first crop was in 1880 and was twenty-five acres of wheat, averaging about ten bushels per acre. He has suffered but one severe loss and that was occasioned by hail in 1892. He has prospered and is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land, with two hundred acres cultivated and the rest pasture and meadow. He has a comfortable residence and a large barn with a basement under the entire structure. He engages successfully in diversified farming.

Mr. Stephens was married in the fall of 1884 to Miss Catherine Malissa Gowan. Mrs. Stephens was born near Stillwater, in Washington county, Minnesota, and her parents were old settlers of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Stephens are the parents of six children, all of whom were born on the homestead farm. They are named as follows: Mary Isabelle, Frank W., Ellen S., Maggie G., Grace F., Lloyd A. Mr. Stephens is a gentleman of broad mind and strong convictions and he takes an active and leading part in all public affairs. He was formerly identified with the Democratic party, but is now a Populist in political faith. He has attended numerous state and district conventions and has served as a member of the state central committee and the legislative committee and several times has served on the county committee. He has held school and township offices several times, and in 1882 was elected county commissioner and served three years. His re-election in 1890 and again in 1902 evidence his popularity and good work in his official capacity. He stands firmly for justice and the right and his high station and good name are well merited.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 769.


The Warren Register, of Warren, Marshall county, Minnesota, was established in March, 1887, by Stevens and Dady.

Thomas F. Stevens, one of the partners, was the father of the present editor. The Register was a Republican journal, and began as a six-column folio sheet. It has been enlarged and many improvements made, and is now a six-column quarto. The office is thoroughly fitted for newspaper work, having a cylinder press, operated by gasoline engine. The circulation of the Register is about one thousand.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 228.


Albert A. Stoebe, the efficient and popular postmaster of Campbell, Minnesota, and one of the leading business men of that thriving town, is a gentleman of true citizenship and progressiveness.

Mr. Stoebe was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin, in 1873. His father, August Stoebe, was born in Germany, and came to America prior to his marriage. He was a pioneer settler of Traverse county, Minnesota, and is now a resident of White Rock, South Dakota. He is a farmer by occupation.

Our subject was the sixth in a family of eight children, and he was reared on the home farm in Traverse county and early became familiar with the duties of farm life. He attended the schools of his neighborhood. He left home and started for himself at the age of twenty-one years, beginning as a clerk at Tenny, and was also engaged in the same occupation at Childs, Minnesota. He bought grain for the St. Anthony and Dakota Elevator Company at the latter place. He came to Campbell in 1897 and opened a restaurant and conducted this business for one yer [sic], when he added a stock of groceries and general merchandise. He increased the stock in all lines as business and trade justified and he now occupies a store 22 by 70 feet, with a warehouse in the rear. He was appointed postmaster in July, 1901, and the office is now located in his store. He is an efficient and faithful officer and has a host of friends in Wilkin county. He has invested in Canadian lands and has dealt to some extent in real estate and is one of the prosperous business men of the city.

Mr. Stoebe was married in 1897 to Miss Fanny Swan. Mrs. Stoebe is a daughter of James Swan, of American stock, and a prosperous farmer of Wisconsin. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stoebe, namely: Ruth, Donald and Ray. All were born at Campbell, Minnesota. Mr. Stoebe has served on the village council and takes an active part in local public affairs. He is a stanch Republican politically and has attended numerous conventions.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 683.


Andrew P. Stomberg, a substantial farmer and worthy citizen of Traverse county, is a resident of Parnell township. He is one of the pioneers of that locality and has materially assisted in its development and advancement.

Mr. Stomberg was born in Carver county, Minnesota, in 1856. His father was born in Sweden and came to America in 1855 and settled in Minnesota among the pioneers of Carver county. He served in the Civil war and died in the army hospital in the south. The mother of our subject was also born in Sweden, and after the death of her husband she was left with four small children on the homestead, our subject, who was then but eight years of age, being the eldest of the family. He drove oxen when he was eight years of age and the family lived in a log cabin for many years. He received but eight days of schooling when a boy and he was reared on the home farm and worked there until he attained his majority. He then began farming for himself and bought one hundred acres of land in Carver county. This was a wild timber farm, and he built a log shanty thereon. This was a rudely constructed home and there were openings between all the logs. He lived in this shanty eleven years, and farmed with oxen for about five years. He came to Traverse county about 1890 and bought one hundred and sixty acres of prairie land in section 5 and opened this for his home farm. There were forty acres cultivated when he purchased the land and the first two years he lived on a rented farm. He bought the southeast quarter of section 5 in 1892, an improved farm, with the exception of eighty acres. In 1897 he erected a commodious and comfortable residence thereon and in 1901 he built a fine barn, one of the largest barns in this part of the township. It includes granary, sheds, and has a feed mill and a ten horse-power gas engine. He has a farm of nine hundred acres and operates one thousand acres. Nine men are employed during the harvest season, and five binders are required. In 1893 hail destroyed his crop and he did not pay expenses and for two years he was obliged to burn straw for fuel and use practically no groceries. In 1895 he raised five thousand bushels of wheat from two hundred aces of land and his other crops being equally good he established his credit and gained a good footing. He has surmounted every difficulty and now has a good home and a good annual income.

Mr. Stomberg was married at twenty-one years of age to Miss Charlotte Anderson. Mrs. Stomberg was born in Sweden and came to America at the age of five years. Her father is a farmer of Carver county, Minnesota. To Mr. and Mrs. Stomberg four children have been born, namely: Alvin, George, Elli, and Esther, all of whom reside with the parents. Mr. Stomberg takes a leading and active part in all local public affairs, and is township supervisor. He has been school director for six years and has also served as school treasurer. He is a member of the Swedish Lutheran church and he assisted in the support of the denomination and the erection of a house of worship. In political faith he is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 532-33.


O. A. Storseth, an industrious and prosperous farmer of Wilkin county, is an old settler of Wolverton township. He has built up a valuable estate and is well and favorably known.

Mr. Storseth was born in Norway, in 1849. His father, Anderson Storseth, followed farming in Norway, and died there several years ago. Our subject was the eldest of a family of three children. He attended the common schools of his native land, and at the age of sixteen years began to earn his own way. He followed the life of a sailor for about fourteen years. In 1881 he came to America, landing in New York City, and from there came direct to Steele county, North Dakota, where he worked out until 1893. He then settled in Wilkin county, purchasing land and beginning farming. He has erected good buildings upon the place and has a fine grove as the result of his labors during his early residence here. His farm is well kept and he has a comfortable and pleasant home.

Mr. Storseth was married in 1887 to Miss Anna Terral, who was born in Norway in 1860. Of this union six children have been born, namely: Clara, Anna, Edwin, Marie, Olaf and Alfred. Clara was born in Steele county, North Dakota, and the other children were born in Wilkin county, Minnesota. Mr. Storseth lends his influence for good government and is a Republican in political sentiment.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 809.


James Strachan, one of the most prosperous farmers of Ottertail county, Minnesota, has a valuable estate on the southeast corner of Pelican Lake, which property he has acquired by recent purchase. He developed a fine farm in Wilkin county and has spent his life as a farmer and has met with marked success. He is widely known and universally esteemed.

Mr. Strachan was born in the city of Paisley, Scotland, in 1840. His father, Mathew Strachan, was a weaver and came to America in 1840, settling in New York state with his family. He served in the British army. Our subject was the elder of two children and he went with his parents to county Lenark, Ontario, Canada, in 1850. After residing on a farm there for six years the family located in Olmstead county, Minnesota, and our subject was reared on the frontier and received a limited schooling. In 1861 he enlisted in Bracket's Company of Minnesota Cavalry and was immediately sent south. He participated in the battle of Ft. Donaldson, and Nashville and was at Atlanta, thence to Nashville, Wilson campaign to Montgomery, Columbus and Macon, Georgia. Altogether he saw three years and ten months of active service, and returned home in August, 1865. He began farming on rented land and in 1871 came to Wilkin county and took a homestead in section 12, township 136, range 45. In the summer of 1872 he settled here with his family. His first building was a sod shanty with an earth roof and this served as his home for two or three years. He improved four hundred and eighty acres of land and in 1902 sold the property for $10,000. He later purchased his present home farm in Scambler township, Ottertail county. This is an improved farm bordering on Pelican Lake and has a set of good buildings and other valuable improvements thereon.

Mr. Strachan was married in 1865 to Miss Janette Clarkson. Mrs. Strachan was born in Scotland, and her father, John Clarkson, was a farmer and pioneer settler of southern Minnesota. Twelve children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Strachan, namely: Richard, John, Robert, Mathew, Roy, Grace, Mary, Alice, Myrtle, Lizzie, Claud, and Thomas. Mr. Strachan has held numerous local offices and served for many years as county commissioner. He is a stanch Republican and has attended numerous county and state conventions as a delegate.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 808-09.


William W. Strain, although not one of the older settlers of Lac-qui-parle county, has identified himself so thoroughly with this part of Minnesota, that he is both highly respected and widely known throughout Augusta township for his many good qualities and genuine worth.

Mr. Strain was born in the state of New York, December 31, 1849, and is a son of John Strain. The Strain family is of Irish origin, and the father, who early came to New York, was engaged in farming all his life. He died several years ago.

William W. Strain grew to manhood and attended the common school of Minnesota, whither he had come when only eight years of age. When quite young he had to work out, and from an early age has made his own way in the world.

Mr. Strain went to Deuel county, South Dakota, in 1879, and took a homestead claim, on which he built a claim shanty, 18 by 14 feet, and a sod barn. His first breaking was done with cattle, and he made the homestead his residence until 1896, when he sold out, and coming to Minnesota, established himself on the Augusta township farm where he is still to be found.

Mr. Strain was married in 1871 to Miss Harriet James, a native of Columbus, Ohio, and to their marriage have come twelve children: Theodore, William, Earl (deceased), Chester, Malvin, Nancy, Myrtle, Claude, Cecil, Florence, Eva and Harry (deceased).

Mr. Strain's Augusta township farm consists of two hundred and forty acres, and is almost entirely under active cultivation, only what is necessary for grass and hay being reserved from the plow. His farm buildings delight the critical eye, and his entire place is up to modern standards.

Mr. Strain takes strong Republican ground, and has served his community as pathmaster. He is regarded as one of the leading citizens of the day.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 532.


Halvor Strand, who occupies a foremost place among the younger members of the farming community of Wolverton township, has a well improved farm and enjoys the comforts of a rural home and the highest esteem of his associates.

Mr. Strand was born in Sweden, February 3, 1871. His father, Halvor Strand, followed farming in Sweden and in 1881 came to America and located in Sargeant county, North Dakota. He resided there until 1893, and then sold his farm and removed to Clay county, Minnesota, where he now resides.

At the age of ten years our subject came to America with his parents and he was reared in Sargeant county, North Dakota. He received his education in his native land and upon his arrival in this country he began to earn his own way. He worked for others until 1893 and then purchased his farm in Wilkin county and became a permanent resident of this county. He built a small claim shanty and began in a small way, but he has brought his farm to a state of improvement, which evidences his success as an agriculturist. He owns one hundred and sixty acres of land, nearly all of which he has placed under cultivation and he has erected good farm buildings thereon and planted a grove and has surrounded himself and family with all the comforts of life. He is thorough and systematic and his prosperity and good name are well merited.

Mr. Strand was married in 1892 to Miss Dora Mortrude. Mrs. Strand was born in Wisconsin in 1870, and was reared and educated in that state and completed a high school course, being afterward engaged in teaching in North Dakota. Her father, Andrew Mortrude, was a prosperous farmer of Wisconsin. He died several years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Strand are the parents of nine children, namely: Harry, James, Carl, Ebba, John, Clara, Albin, Joseph and Delia. Mr. Strand is a gentleman of active public spirit and he is especially interested in educational affairs and has served as a member of the school board for several years. In political sentiment he is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 576.


Among the business enterprises which contribute to a marked degree to the prosperity of Cass Lake as a business point the dry goods, clothing and shoe store of Strawbridge Brothers occupies a leading place. This is one of the best stores of the community and the proprietors are well known to the people of Cass county, Minnesota, for their honest business methods and careful attention to the needs of their community.

The elder of the brothers, B. A. Strawbridge, was born in Harford county, Maryland, October 11, 1867. He was reared on a farm, attended the common schools, then took up clerking. He later followed canvassing for a short time, and in 1890 went to Indiana to take a course in shorthand and bookkeeping in the business college. He completed this in six months, and November 1, 1890, went to Chicago, Illinois, and worked as stenographer for the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company at Washington Heights. He later worked for H. Channon Company, of Chicago, as stenographer, and in November, 1891, changed his residence to Crookston, Minnesota. He accepted a position as teacher of shorthand in the Crookston Business College, and in 1892 purchased the college. He conducted the school two years, when he disposed of his interests and was appointed court reporter by Judge Ives, of Crookston, which position he held for six years. Judge Ives was succeeded by William Watts and Mr. Strawbridge was reporter for him for a time. He then went to Cass Lake and assisted in organizing the firm of Ives & Strawbridge, and established the Cass Lake Times, the oldest paper in the town. This he conducted about one year and then sold his interest to Mr. Ives. Mr. Strawbridge, his brother, J. H., and a cousin, George W., conducted a dry goods store at Crookston and Cass Lake until 1900, when our subject purchased the cousin's interest and the firm of Strawbridge Brothers was formed. They carry a complete line of dry goods, boots, shoes, clothing and men's furnishings. The stock is well kept and meets the demand of the extensive patronage enjoyed. The store occupies the brick block on the corner of Second street north and Second avenue west, and is one of the best mercantile establishments of the county. The Cass Lake Bank is located in the same building. B. A. Strawbridge owns that portion of the brick block forming an L half around the bank, in which the store is located.

B. A. Strawbridge is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is a member of the Methodist church. Politically he is an independent Republican, believing in and advocating tariff reforms and reciprocity.

J. H. STRAWBRIDGE, the younger member of the firm of Strawbridge Brothers, was also born in Harford county, Maryland, and, like his elder brother, was reared on a farm and attended the common schools, after which he engaged in clerking for an older brother in his native state. He came west in the spring of 1898 and has since been associated with his brother, B. A. Strawbridge, in the mercantile business. He is a young man well known and highly esteemed in his community. He is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Politically he, too, is a Republican and stands firmly for his convictions.

J. H. Strawbridge was married, in June, 1900, to Julia Moeckel. Mrs. Strawbridge is a native of Ashland, Wisconsin.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 216-17.


Christian L. Strom, a representative farmer of Lac-qui-parle county, has been a resident of this region for over a quarter of a century, and during this time has aided materially in the development of the agricultural resources of Madison township, where he owns and operates a fine farm.

Mr. Strom was born on a farm in Christiana, Norway, in 1859. His father, John L. Strom, came to America in 1870 and settled in Goodhue county, Minnesota, and in 1878 settled on a pre-emption in Lac-qui-parle county. The nearest railroad station at this time was Montevideo and Appleton was soon afterward started.

Our subject came to America in 1873 and joined his parents here and resided with them until he was twenty-three years of age, coming with them to Lac-qui-parle county in 1878. He assisted on his father's farm and drove oxen in the early days here. He took a pre-emption of eighty acres in 1882 and proved up on his claim. He is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land, and he has a set of good buildings, including a commodious residence, large barn, granary, etc., and has a windmill and all necessary farm machinery. He cultivates all but six acres of his lowland. He has three acres of trees on the north side of his house and one and a half acres on the south side, furnishing ample shade and shelter. He also has fruit trees and all small fruits for home use. The family suffered a serious loss in 1880 when the father's house with most of its contents was destroyed by fire, but with this exception they have had no severe losses.

Mr. Strom was married in 1883 to Miss Louisa Nelson. Mrs. Strom was born in Norway and her father was one of the early settlers of Lac-qui-parle county. To Mr. and Mrs. Strom seven children have been born, namely: Laura, Cora, Dena, Annie, Hanken, Clara and Clarence. Mr. Strom takes a leading part in township affairs and is a member of the township board and also school treasurer. He is a Republican in political sentiment and stands firmly for his convictions.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 696-97.


Lars J. Stronswold is one of the leading citizens of Lac-qui-parle county. There he is respected alike for his industry, ability and native force of character, and belongs to that great army of honest men and hard-working farmers that Norway has contributed to the making of the great state of Minnesota. Never afraid of hard work, he has endured the toil of the early days, and thrift, industry and integrity have worked his career. Still in the prime of life, he enjoys an ample competence, and commands the respect of all who know him.

Mr. Stronswold was born in Norway July 20, 1853, where his father, Lars J. Stronswold, followed an agricultural career, and like the great majority of his compatriots, was engaged at times in a maritime life. The father died in Norway March 19, 1883, at an advanced age, and is remembered as a man above the ordinary level, both as to his character and ability.

Lars J. Stronswold, the subject of this article, was reared to manhood in his native land, where he received such educational advantages as the local schools afforded. By the time he had reached the age of seventeen years he felt it necessary to take up the work of life for himself, and in 1870 he sought the larger opportunity afforded by residence in the United States. That year he first set foot on American soil, landing in Quebec, Canada, and making his way, to the state of Illinois, where for the ensuing eight years he was engaged as a hired man on a farm.

Mr. Stronswold came to Lac-qui-parle county, Minnesota, in 1879, and appreciating the opportunity it presented, at once took up a homestead farm, and set himself to the making of a home. His first shelter was a claim shanty, 10 by 12 feet, and his first barn was also of sod construction. In this he kept his first team of horses with which he first turned the furrows on his farm, making ready for the harvest. From that time to the present, though he has had reverses and the experiences common to pioneer life, Mr. Stromswold [sic] has made his way to a very substantial success, and may well take pride in the results that have attended his efforts.

Mr. Stronswold and Elizabeth Thompson were married in 1873. She was born in Norway, September 29, 1847, and has proved in every way a most excellent wife and mother. They have a family of eight children whose names are Nellie M., Leonard T., Andrew B., Joseph C., Simon P., Edward L., Henry O., and Emma C. The three older children are natives of Illinois, and the others were all born in Lac-qui-parle county.

Mr. Stronswold takes his place with the Republican party, and is always ready to bear an intelligent part in the affairs of his community. He has held several school offices and is a highly esteemed citizen of the community where his useful life has been so largely spent. At the present time he holds a farm of four hundred and eighty acres, the most of which is under cultivation, the remainder being devoted to grass and pasture. The farm buildings are good, and the entire establishment a most creditable one.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 364.


As an industrious farmer and honest citizen the gentleman here named is known throughout Traverse county. He is the owner of a well improved property in Tara township, and has devoted many years of his life to its improvement and well merits the success which has attended him.

Mr. Sullivan was born in Ireland in 1831. His father, Dennis O. Sullivan, was also a native of Ireland, and came to America in 1856. He followed farming in the state of New Hampshire, and died in 1860. Our subject came to America in 1851, landing in New York City. He settled in Salmon Falls, New Hampshire, and for the twenty-four years following was engaged in railroad work and in the factories of that region. He removed to Traverse county, Minnesota, in 1875, taking land as a homestead. He built a claim shanty 16 by 24 feet and a sod barn and has resided on his farm since that date. He has erected a complete set of substantial farm buildings and is now the possessor of one of the highly cultivated tracts of Traverse county, and has been a potent factor in transforming that region into a thriving agricultural district. He has braved the privations and dangers of pioneer life and has always been an example of pluck and energy worthy the emulation of the rising generation.

Mr. Sullivan was married in 1860 to Miss Honore Donohue. Mrs. Sullivan was born in Ireland, and her father was a farmer of that isle. Mrs. Sullvian died in 1864. No children were born of the marriage. Mr. Sullivan has always taken a commendable interest in all local public affairs, but has repeatedly refused to accept public office, although nominated several times in Tara township. He votes independent of party and lends his influence for good government, local and national.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 713.


A. J. Sund, who is numbered among the old and honored settlers of Ten Mile Lake township, Lac-qui-parle county, was born on a farm is Norway in 1846, where his father lived and died. There young Sund was reared to manhood, there he was educated in the local schools, and there he learned the carpenter trade. After having served three years in the Norwegian army, he came to the United States in 1872. For a time he settled in Ishpeming, Michigan, and for some five years he worked in the iron mines of the northern part of that state. In 1877 he met with an accident and lost a part of his two fingers. As a result he left the mines, and for a time was engaged in construction work on the Canadian Pacific Railroad. In the fall of 1878 he made his first appearance in Lac-qui-parle county, and here he settled on his present farm in section 4, of Ten Mile Lake township. His first house was what is called a "dug out," and this was the home of himself and his family for some twelve years. His first conveyance was an ox team, and with this he did all his breaking. In the winter of 1880-81 his dugout was completely snowed under, and he had to dig through heavy drifts in order to see again the outer world. In 1890 he totally lost his crops, and more than half of all was destroyed the following year.

Mr. Sund was married in Norway in 1870, and came to this country in 1872, his wife coming in 1873. They met again in Ishpeming the following year. Of the ten children born to them six are now living: Jacob, who was born in Norway; Emelia, Alfred, George, Nellie and Noble, all five being natives of this country.

Mr. Sund owns at the present time a fine and well cultivated farm of one hundred and fifty-one acres. He has a fine grove around the house and along the north and south sides of the farm. In politics he is a Prohibitionist, and he has been chairman of the town board for sixteen years. He has filled the office of justice of the peace one term. His excellent wife died in Minneapolis in the fall of 1902. Mr. Sund has faced great discouragements, and when he got his family into the dugout on the 22d of October, 1878, he had only five dollars in money, and four sacks of wheat and no stove. He was without that which a man of less determination would have considered vitally necessary. His pluck, however, carried him through. He chopped wood and worked in the winter seasons, working at anything which would turn into money or its equivalent, and is now solidly and substantially fixed.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 454-55.


James Sutor, one of the most extensive farmers of Polk Center township, is also one of the two first settlers there. He is a gentleman of active public spirit and broad mind, and at present is serving as county commissioner for district No. 1, in Red Lake county.

Mr. Sutor was born in the province of Ontario, Canada, December 23, 1856, and was the third in a family of ten children born to Robert and Mary (Topp) Sutor. The father was born in Monaghan, Ireland, and the mother was a native of Scotland. The father died September 27, 1898. Our subject was reared in the woods of Canada, where the father owned about five hundred acres of good timber. He was a lumberman by occupation, and our subject as a boy became a practical woodsman and farmer. He came to the States in 1877, and for a year and a half worked in the woods of Michigan, and then returned to his former home for a visit. After a few mouths spent there he ventured into Minnesota in search of land and a farming location for a permanent home. He and his brother Robert went to Becker county, and in the spring of 1880 both took land in Polk Center township, in what is now Red Lake county. Our subject erected a 14x16 feet log house and then went out to work to earn the means with which to start farming his land. In 1882 his father presented him with a span of horses, and from that time he devoted himself to the improvement and cultivation of his farm. He lived alone for several years and was his own housekeeper, and his experiences during these times were serious and humorous in turn. He diversified his farming as much as his limited circumstances permitted, and made the best of his opportunities and observations, and met with success in his every effort. He has steadily increased his acreage and the improvements of his farm, and has recently added a fine frame barn 36x100 feet to the other excellent buildings of the place. He has a comfortable and substantial home, and has acquired a good property without assistance and through the direct labors of his many years' residence there.

Mr. Sutor was married in 1884 to Miss Wanda Liebert. The following children have been born to this union: Leon, deceased; Wanda, Frederick, Clarence J. and Hattie. Mr. Sutor has always been identified with local public affairs and he was the first treasurer of Polk Center township. He headed the county division movement in his township, and the township went unanimously in favor of the division. He was elected county commissioner in 1898, which office he fills with entire satisfaction to all. Politically he is a Democrat. He is a supporter of the German Lutheran church, and is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 263-64.


Orin J. Swan, one of the older settlers of Yellow Medicine county, and a popular resident of Wood Lake village of that county, was born August 27, 1839, at Argyle, Maine, where his father, Orin L. Swan, was both a preacher and a farmer. There he died when Orin J. was only a year old.

Orin J. Swan is the youngest of his parents' four children, and grew to manhood in Minnesota, whither his widowed mother and family came in 1851, to settle in Ramsey county. Mrs. Swan married for her second husband Steven Cobb, one of the earlier Minnesota pioneers.

Orin J. Swan enlisted in the Union army November 1, 1861, in Company C, Brackett's Battalion, which later became part of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, and the scene of his services was extensive, covering Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and elsewhere. Was in the service three years, one month and nineteen days, and received but one or two slight scratches in that time. His discharge bears date December 19, 1864.

Mr. Swan began farming in Minnesota, and put in fourteen years on a farm in Dakota county. He was married to Miss Calista V. Nichols. She was born in Detroit, Somerset county, Maine, and comes of old colonial stock. To this union were born four children, Fred, who was a teacher, and is now dead; Albert Byron; George L.; and Oscar L., who is a teacher.

Before settling in his present home Mr. Swan travelled through all the adjacent territory to Yellow Medicine county, but could not find anything so inviting as Yellow Medicine county, and accordingly located himself on section 11, Woodlake township, in March, 1878. It is a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, and has yielded him from four to twenty-five bushels of wheat to the acre, and from fifteen to seventy-five bushels of oats. During his first years he had much sickness in his family, which made it difficult for him to get along, but as the country was opened up it grew healthy.

Mr. Swan rented his farm in 1899, and the following year moved into Woodlake village, and bought a residence in which he is now very cosily settled. He has held all the township offices, except clerk and constable, and has taken a very active and leading part in all town affairs.

Hubbard Nichols, the father of Mrs. Swan, was a pioneer in Minnesota, and lived many years in Dakota county. He grew up in Hastings. Mr. Swan spent six months in Minnesota during the Civil war, when he was engaged in scout service in the Indian campaign. Much of his time in the army was given to scout and outpost duty, guarding the government telegraph lines at Shiloh and at Vicksburg, being on the outskirts of the army much of the time. He was on a nineteen days raid which ended in the battle of Chickamauga, when they had nineteen days rain. This was a raid directed against General Joe Wheeler, being in June, 1863.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 354-55.


Gust Swanson, section foreman for the Northern Pacific Railroad having charge of a section north from Wyoming, Minnesota, is a man of strong character and enjoys the confidence of those with whom he comes in contact. He is an old settler of Chisago county, and by his energy and perseverance and strict integrity of word and deed has gained the esteem of all. He is a prominent citizen of the village of Wyoming.

Mr. Swanson was born in Bleking, in the southern part of Sweden in 1855. His father was a farmer by occupation and came to America in 1869. He died in Shafer township, Chisago county, Minnesota, August 12, 1884. He was one of the early settlers of that region. At the age of fifteen years our subject came to America with his brother in 1870. He went direct to Taylor's Falls, taking the boat from Prescottt [sic], Wisconsin. His father worked on the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad near Pine City and the first work our subject did in America was railroading, working a few days on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul near Winona. He then hired with a blacksmith in Taylor's Falls for the winter of 1870-71, after which he worked at farm labor and attended school in Taylor's Falls. He then went to Stillwater and worked in the sawmill for Isaac Staples four summers, after which he spent eleven winters in the pineries of Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. He then went to Hennipen [sic] county, Minnesota, and worked in a brick yard about four miles from Minneapolis five summers, and later spent two winters in St. Paul. In April, 1883, he went to Wyoming, Chisago county, and began work on the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad as section hand. He was given charge of a section at Moose Lake in 1884 and spent one winter there, and in 1885 returned to Wyoming to assume charge of a section on the Taylor's Falls branch. In 1886 he was given the section north from Wyoming and for the past sixteen years has filled the place most satisfactorily. He was sent to assist on the work at Hinkley [sic] after the disastrous fire of 1894. He is one of the oldest section foremen on the road and is competent and faithful and enjoys the confidence of his employers, as well as those who work under his supervision.

Mr. Swanson was married in 1880 at Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Miss Louise Anderson. Mrs. Swanson was born in Sweden in 1857 and came to America in 1874. Her father was one of the early settlers of Chisago county and passed away there. Mr. and Mrs. Swanson are the parents of two children, namely: Esther Selina, and Elmer Albin. The daughter is now the wife of Charles Welgren, section foreman for the Northern Pacific Railroad at Wyoming, Minnesota. The son is telegraph operator at Rush City. Mr. Swanson takes a leading part in township affairs, and is the present treasurer of Wyoming township, and he has also served as constable, school treasurer and school director. Politically he is identified with the Republican party.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 750-51.

Homer P. Sweetman, who enjoys the distinction of being the first settler to take land in Atherton township, has become one of the influential citizens of Wilkin county. He is an ex-soldier of the Civil war and is a patriotic citizen and is universally respected.

Mr. Sweetman was born in the state of New York, July 27, 1842. His father, Henderson Sweetman, was of German birth and ancestry. He came to America and located in New York state and followed farming. In 1847 he came to Wisconsin, locating in Jefferson county, where he resided a number of years and then removed to Columbia county. His death occurred there in 1882. Our subject was the second of a family of three children and he was reared in his native county and educated in the common schools. April 19, 1861, he joined Company G, of the Second Wisconsin Infantry and served until November 17, 1865, when he received an honorable discharge. He was wounded at the battle of Gainesville and also at Bull Run and Gettysburg, receiving a severe wound at the last named battle. After serving loyally and bravely until the close of the war he returned to Wisconsin and worked at farm labor until 1879, when he came to St. Paul, Minnesota, and there resided one year. In 1880 he came to Wilkin county and took a homestead claim in Atherton township, building a shanty and a sod barn. He started with horses and cattle for his farm work. In the early years of his residence there he planted a fine grove, and this is one of the valuable features of his present farm. He owns one hundred and sixty acres, most of which he has placed under cultivation, and he has a valuable property and a good income.

Mr. Sweetman was married in 1867 to Miss Louisa Keeney. Mrs. Sweetman was born in Columbia county, Wisconsin, December 27, 1849. Her father, Leonard Keeney, was of old Irish blood. He came to Wisconsin in the early days and located in Columbia county, where he followed farming until his death in 1885. Mr. Sweetman was the fourth in a family of ten children, and she was reared and educated in Columbia county. Mr. and Mrs. Sweetman are the parents of three children, all of whom were born in Columbia county, Wisconsin. They are as follows: Cora, born January 13, 1870; Edith, born May 6, 1874; and Gertrude, born February 4, 1876. Mr. Sweetman has served as justice of the peace for twenty years, and has been township clerk and chairman of the township board of supervisors, and takes an active and leading part in all local matters of importance. He is a Republican in political sentiment and stands firmly for the principles of his party.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 461-62.


Samuel C. Swenson, who is a prosperous and successful member of the farming community of Lake Shore township, Lac-qui-parle county, takes high rank among the thrifty and honorable agriculturists of this part of Minnesota. He was born in Denmark, January 26, 1854, where his father, Nels P., was born and bred a farmer. The father removed to this country in 1865, and made his home near Racine, Wisconsin, where he was engaged in the tilling of the soil. He came to this county in 1881, and resided here until his death, in 1898.

Samuel C. Swenson was the fourth member of a family of eight children. He was reared to his eleventh year at home, where he secured his education in the local schools. That year he accompanied his parents to the United States. They landed at New York, and came through to Racine. Young Swenson did such work as he could find to do in and around Racine until 1874, when he removed to Goodhue county, Minnesota, where he found steady and remunerative employment for the following three years. In 1877 he pre-empted land in Lac-qui-parle county, on which he built a claim shanty 10 by 10 feet, and a small frame barn, 16 by 16 feet. He at once applied himself to the improvement of his first claim, and was fortunate enough to be able to do his first work with horses.

Mr. Swenson was married in 1884, to Miss Lettie Staalsen, a native of Norway, where she was born December 12, 1859. To this fortunate and happy union have come five children, all of whom were born on the farm in Lake Shore township: Edgar, born November 25, 1885; Frank, born March 12, 1888; Roy, born August 23, 1893; Alice, born December 8, 1897; and one boy died in infancy.

Mr. Swenson is a Democrat, and has served on the town board, also filling other local positions at different times. In his business dealings he has been very successful, and is now the owner of a half section of land, half of which is under high cultivation, and other half being devoted to grass and pasture. On the farm he has erected substantial and roomy buildings, equal to his every need, and the grove which he set out long years ago, has grown to large proportions, being a delight to the eye, which otherwise would weary with the vast expanse of prairie. He is one of the oldest settlers of the county, and was the first man to locate in the western part of Lake Shore township, which owes much to his push and energy.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 391.


Benjamin F. Swezey, who enjoys the distinction of being the first white settler to turn sod in Malta township, has become one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Big Stone county. He has built up a good farm and is a representative agriculturist of his township.

Mr. Swezey was born in Chautauqua county, New York, in 1852. His father, Frederick Swezey, was a farmer by occupation. He came to Minnesota in 1855 and died in Goodhue county, this state, in 1857. Our subject was reared in Goodhue county, Minnesota, and remained there until he attained his majority, when he left the home farm and followed farm work, but made Goodhue county his home until 1876. He then came to Big Stone county and settled on land as a homestead in section 22 of Malta township and did the first breaking of land in the township. This was done on his homestead farm in 1876. He had a sod shanty in which he lived the first season, and he used ox teams for about eight years and did most of his breaking with them. He hauled supplies from Morris and passed through the memorable winter of 1880-81 on his farm. His first crop was in 1877 and averaged six bushels of wheat per acre and the corn crop was good. He engages in grain raising and has some small fruits and has met with pronounced success in his farming, and is now the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of land, which he has placed under high cultivation. He has about twenty-five acres of meadow. He has erected a complete set of good farm buildings on his place and has a valuable estate as the result of his earnest labors there.

Mr. Swezey was married in 1879 to Miss Ann R. Simmons. Mrs. Swezey was born in Iowa, and her parents were old settlers of Fillmore county, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Swezey are the parents of four children, all of whom were born on the home farm in Big Stone county. They are as follows: Ethel B., born in 1880, is now married; Joseph C., born in 1883, is now attending school; Addie A., born in 1885, also attending school; and Earl E., born in 1887, attending school in Ortonville. One daughter, Amy, was born March 27, 1881, and died in infancy. Mr. Swezey is a Republican politically and is a gentleman of broad mind and good citizenship.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 772-73.


Nels Anderson Swolgaard, an extensive farmer and stock raiser of Swift county, Minnesota, makes his home on section 36 of Tara township. He is the owner of four hundred acres of land and has sixty head of horned stock, fourteen horses, fifty sheep and forty hogs on his fine farm. He cultivates two hundred acres of his land to small grain and corn, and has met with pronounced success in his farming operations.

Mr. Swolgaard was born in Jutland, Denmark, September 13, 1850, and was a son of Anders Jensen and Katie (Rasmussen) Swolgaard. Neither of his parents came to America, and the mother is still a resident of Denmark. The father died there in May, 1901. To this worthy couple a family of eighteen or nineteen children were born, of whom our subject was the eldest. He obtained most of his education on board a man-of-war, and remained in the service of the navy three years. At the time he was on board ship with Prince William, of Denmark, who was also learning to be an officer in the navy. Our subject bore the next number to the Prince and since that date they have corresponded with each other. The Prince is quite democratic and Mr. Swolgaard has a standing invitation to visit the Prince whenever he pays a visit to his native land.

After leaving the navy our subject became superintendent of a flour mill in Denmark, having learned the trade when a boy. He later went to Modum, Norway, and superintended an extensive sanitarium and watering place for a wealthy physician. He remained thus engaged eight years. He received a good education in the navy, and in 1886 left the old country to try his fortunes in the New World. He went to Minneapolis, but as he was not able to converse in English and work was hard to find he passed through many trials, having his wife and seven small children to support. He became acquainted with Dr. Radway, of Minneapolis, in the fall of 1886 and was by him engaged to come to Tara township, Swift county, and manage his farm of two hundred acres. He lived on this farm and continued its management for nine years, and meanwhile bought one hundred and sixty acres of land. He left the Doctor's farm in 1894 and began the improvement of his own land. He built his present comfortable dwelling, good barns, granary, etc., and fenced his land. Since that time he has gradually increased his stock and sowed his fields to grain and uses most of the latter for feed. He has a fine grove of shade trees and contemplates more extensive improvements to his place. He is intelligent, industrious and honest, and well merits the success which has come to him as a result of his persistent efforts.

Mr. Swolgaard was married in Denmark, March 13, 1875, to Elsie C. Peterson, a daughter of Jans Peterson. To Mr. and Mrs. Swolgaard ten children have been born, all of whom are living and are named as follows: Sena, Trea, Minnie, George, Etta, William, Christ, Katie, Hans and Thomas. Mr. Swolgaard has been a member of the school board for the past seven years and takes a commendable interest in local public affairs.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 571-72.


Rev. Hans Syverson, a well known and highly esteemed citizen of Swift county, has devoted the past thirty years of his life to agricultural pursuits, and is living on his excellent farm of three hundred and twenty acres, situated on the banks of the Chippewa river on section 36 of West Bank township. He began farming in 1871 and has met with pronounced success in his undertaking.

Mr. Syverson was born in Norway, June 20, 1836, and was a son of Syver Olson and Marit (Hanstatter) Syver. He was one of a family of six children; three of whom are still living, and as follows: Marit, a widow living in Norway and has one son, Anton Olson; Olianna, wife of Canute Anderson, living in Wisconsin and has been the mother of twelve children; and Hans, our subject. The father was a farmer and blacksmith in Norway and was married in his native land and died there in 1873. The mother died when our subject was five years of age. He remained in Norway and received his early education there and taught school for several years. He came to America in 1871 and went direct to Dane county, Wisconsin, where he entered Marshall Seminary and qualified himself for a minister in the Norwegian Lutheran church. He came to Swift county to preach his first sermon and traveled around among the settlers preaching. He bought one hundred and sixty acres of land in 1874 and upon this tract his home is now situated. He began improvements on the place and built a good house which serves as his dwelling today. His house is built close to the Chippewa river, where in early days wild fruit, such as plums and grapes were plentiful, and there was an abundance of timber for fuel and shelter. Some years later he bought a second tract of one hundred and sixty acres from his brother, Ole. This gave him in all the west half of section 36 of West Bank township. He has a fine farm and realizes a good income from the same as his crops are usually abundant. As he is getting near the age when he will retire from active pursuits he has decreased his live stock to ten head of cattle and four horses. He has a man to assist him with the farm work and the harder labor of the farm he has retired from, which he can well afford to do. His home is one of great comfort and in company with his wife he passes the days pleasantly and uneventfully. This worthy couple have gained a host of friends in their neighborhood and are classed among the intelligent and hospitable people of that locality.

Rev. Mr. Syverson was married in his present home, March 17, 1880, to Sina Peterson. Mrs. Syverson was born in Norway and her parents died in that country, never having come to America. Our subject takes a commendable interest in local public affairs, and has served as assessor of his township. For many years he was superintendent of the Sunday school, and also for many years after engaging in farming, he was called upon to preach and officiate at funerals, etc.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 335-36.

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