Biographical Sketches.

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


Ole O. Uveness, whose name will be readily recalled by all familiar with the farming population of Ten Mile Lake township as one of the prominent and successful farmers of that section of Lac-qui-parle county, was born in Norway near Christiania, on a farm in 1841. His father, who was a farmer as were his ancestors for long generations, lived and died in that portion of Norway.

Young Ole grew to manhood in his Norwegian home and was schooled to hard work, principally on the farm which he carried on in company with his father for many years. When a young man he served five years in the Norwegian army, and his experiences as a soldier, despite its hardships constitutes a very interesting chapter in the history of his life. In 1868 he left home to seek the opportunities of the larger life America afforded, and crossing the ocean, landed in Quebec, came west to the village of Brodhead, Wisconsin, where he worked first as a farm hand, and then presently renting a farm struck out for himself. In 1873 he was married in Wisconsin to Miss Une Everson. She was born in Norway, and by her marriage has become the mother of six children: Sarah, Josephine, Edyth, Ole, Eddy and Julius.

Mr. Uveness lived in Wisconsin six years, and in 1877 came to Lac-qui-parle county, and settled on his present farm, the southwest quarter of section 1, Ten Mile Lake township. His first building was a sod house in which he lived for a short time. His oxen, with which he did his work in opening his farm were sheltered in a sod barn. In effecting his settlement in Lac-qui-parle county he made the trip across country from Wisconsin some two or three times. During the terrible winter of 1880-81, like many others on the frontier, he burned hay for fuel.

Today he owns a very choice and highly cultivated farm of one hundred and sixty acres, of which about one hundred and twenty are under the plow and harrow. The rest is devoted to grass and pasture. The house in which he lives as well as the large and commodious farm barn, are of recent construction, and compare favorably with any farm buildings in the county. He has a grove of three acres, which he planted himself, and is much pleased with the progress his forest has made. He devotes himself to general farming, and is quite successful with both grain and cattle. In politics he is a Republican, and takes high place as a representative farmer and progressive citizen in this wide-awake section of Minnesota.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 583-84.


Ira Van Wechel, who is profitably engaged in grain raising in Mitchell township, Wilkin county, is one of the public-spirited men of this locality and he is well known as one of the worthy citizens. His home is in section two and he has accumulated valuable property there through honest industry and good business judgment.

Mr. Van Wechel was born on a farm in Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, in 1861. His father, Aaron Van Wechel, was a native of Holland. He came to America and was engaged in farming in Wisconsin. Our subject was the fourth in a family of five children, and he also has a half-brother and a half-sister. When he was ten years of age he went with his parents to Sioux county, Iowa, and was there reared on a farm and assisted with the work on the same. He left home at the age of twenty-two years and followed farm work for about three years and also learned the blacksmithing trade, which he followed for seven years in Plymouth county, Iowa. He came to Wilkin county, Minnesota, in the spring of 1900 and settled on his present farm in Mitchell township. He now owns 400 acres of land, half of which he has under plow, and he has made a success of grain raising in Minnesota. He has been in the threshing business for several years in Iowa and Minnesota and has a good patronage during the threshing season.

Mr. Van Wechel was married in 1882 to Etta De Groote, who died in Iowa, and of this union two children were born, namely: Julia and Etta. In 1890 he married Agnes Moier, a native of Canada. This marriage has been blessed with six children, who are named as follows: Louisa, Ida, Frank, Clarence, Lloyd and an infant. Mr. Van Wechel has served as school clerk and is a gentleman of intelligence and uprightness and commands the respect of all his associates. In political affiliations he is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 533.

J. A. VANDYKE, B. PH., B. PD., A. M.

J. A. Vandyke, B. Ph., B. Pd., A. M., superintendent of schools of Fergus Falls, is numbered among the leading educators of Minnesota. He was born in Jasper county, Iowa, July 29, 1861, and is a son of William R. Vandyke, who was born in Ohio. He was a farmer and engaged in school teaching for many years. His ancestors were Hollanders, who after living in Sweden for a time, came to Delaware in the early part of the eighteenth century.

Sarah F. Cushatt, who became the mother of the Minnesota teacher, was born in Kentucky, and was the daughter of Aquilla Cushatt, a native of North Carolina, and is supposed to be a descendant of the French Huguenots who settled in North Carolina. During the Civil war he served four years in the Union army.

J. A. Vandyke was the first of a family of seven children, three of whom are now living. He was reared on his father's farm, and was a student in the district schools until he reached the age of eighteen, when he attended Hazel Dell Academy at Newton, Iowa, for five terms, paying his tuition by teaching in the academy. He taught the country school which he had attended in his boyhood days with marked success.

When Mr. Vandyke was twenty-one years of age, in 1882, he entered the Iowa City Academy and Normal School, where he quickly completed the preparatory course, paying his tuition by teaching from time to time. In 1883 he entered the University of Iowa, and graduated from the four-years' philosophical course in 1887, paying his way during this time by teaching in the academy, which he had previously attended. During his last two years at the university he was assistant in the chemical laboratory of the institution, where his work was exceedingly heavy. He took an active part in the literary societies and the oratorical contests of the university. During the senior year he was a first lieutenant in the University Battalion, I. N. G., serving as adjutant. He received the degree of B. Ph. in 1887; the degree of B. Pd., in 1889, on account of work and teaching already done, and that which he had done in the University, and in 1890 was given the degree of A. M. by his alma mater.

After graduating froth the university Mr. Vandyke was elected successively superintendent of the schools at Plainview and Wabasha, both Minnesota towns, serving five years at the former, and seven years at the latter place. In 1899 he was chosen superintendent of the Fergus Falls schools, a position he now holds. He has been actively identified in the State Educational Associations, and while at Plainview advocated and organized the State Declamatory Association, of which he was president for three years. He also organized and conducted many summer schools in the state, among those being the schools at Winona, Brainerd and at Spring Valley. During three summers he served as a state inspector for summer training schools, lecturing in 1897 on Child Study, in 1900 on School Environment and the Relation of the Home to the Schools, and in 1901 on the Mission of the Common Schools. During the summers of 1900 and 1901 he visited and lectured in more than forty different summer schools. For five years he has lectured during his spring vacations on Pedagogy before the senior classes of Hamline University. For one year he was the president of the State High School Council, and was elected president of the Minnesota Educational Association for 1901. This is the highest honor conferred by the teachers of the state upon a fellow worker.

J. A. Vandyke was married in 1888 to Miss Lydia Gaymon. She was born in Iowa City, where he secured his education. Her family is of Pennsylvania-German descent. To this union have come four children: Rose, Ruth, Carl and Walter. While taking an active interest in educational affairs of the state, Mr. Vandyke is an independent in politics. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and the Modern Woodmen of America and the Independent Order of Foresters. The many friends of Professor Vandyke will be pleased to see his portrait on another page of this volume.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 278-81.


Ole O. Varholdt, who has passed through pioneer experiences in Wilkin county, Minnesota, is the owner of a fine farm in Prairie View township. He has a wide circle of acquaintances and is held in the highest respect and esteem.

Mr. Varholdt was born in Solor, Norway, in 1860. His father, Ole Varholdt, was a farmer by occupation, and he emigrated to America with his family and settled in Wilkin county. Our subject is the third of a family of five children and he came to America with his parents in 1867. The family settled in Wilkin county in 1871, and here our subject was reared and educated. When twenty-two years of age he began farming for himself and bought land in section 25 of Prairie View township. This farm consisted of eighty acres. He built a shanty and lived here alone for some time. The land was wild and he improved the property and has never suffered a total loss of crops. He is now the possessor of two hundred and forty acres, of which one hundred and sixty acres is under cultivation. He has erected ten good buildings on the place, including a comfortable residence, large barn built in the summer of 1903, granary, and other necessary farm buildings. His present home is in striking contrast to the one which served him in the early days here. He and his father came into this county with ox teams and they lived in the covered wagon for some time.

Mr. Varholdt was married in 1882 to Miss Annie Kind. Mrs. Varholdt was born in Norway and came to America in 1881. Eleven children have been born of this marriage, namely: Jennie, Emma, Albert, Matilda, Hilda, Amanda, Ole, Clara, Christina, Ida, and Henry. All were born on the home farm with the exception of the eldest and all are now living. Mr. Varholdt has served as assessor for the past eight or more years, and he has served on the township board for many years, and is school clerk. He is independent in politics and lends his influence for good government.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 827.

Contributed by Marilyn Moen, April, 2006.


Nicolai Vinje, one of the leading business men of Morris, has resided in Stevens county for many years. He is engaged in the men's furnishings, boot and shoe business and has built up a good trade in his line.

Mr. Vinje was born in Norway in 1865. His father, Lars Vinje, was of Norwegian blood and followed farming in his native land. Our subject was the eldest of a family of seven children and he was reared in Norway and received his education in the common schools there. At the age of eighteen years he went into the army and served for five years. He came to America in 1888 and worked one year as a laborer in Moorhead, Minnesota. He then engaged in the grocery business for a year, after which he was employed in a clothing store until 1895. He then accepted a position with McKibbin & Company of St. Paul as traveling salesman, and represented this firm until July, 1902, when he resigned his position. He then established his present business in Morris and has built up a good patronage. He carries a complete line of men's furnishings and boots and shoes and is one of the most successful business men of the town.

Mr. Vinje was married in 1888 to Miss Petrine Olauson. Mrs. Vinje was born in Norway, and her father followed farming in that country. Mr. and Mrs. Vinje are the parents of seven children, namely: Mary, Louis, Sverre, Pearl, Nora, Harold and Arnold. All were born in Moorhead, Minnesota. Mr. Vinji is a public-spirited citizen, and in political bearing is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 798.


Hon. Andrew J. Volstead, M. C., a much respected resident of Granite Falls, Minnesota, was born in Goodhue county, Minnesota, in 1860, and secured his education in the public schools, St. Olaf's College, and the Decorah Institute. His parents, who were born in Norway, came to the United States some years before the outbreak of the Civil war, and settled in Wisconsin, later removing to Minnesota, to become pioneers in the settlement of Yellow Medicine county.

Andrew J. Volstead was one of a family of four children, and was reared under exceptionally favorable circumstances. He studied law at Decorah, Iowa, where he was admitted to the bar in 1883, the following year securing his admission to the bar in Lac-qui-parle county, where he practiced for a year and a half. In January, 1886, he removed to Granite Falls, opened an office, and has since maintained his residence in that city. There he has practiced law for seventeen years, being county attorney for fourteen years in Yellow Medicine county. In 1902 he was elected to congress from the Seventh congressional district.

Mr. Volstead has been interested for some years in local real estate operations, and has contributed not a little to the bringing in of many desirable settlers to this part of the state. He was married in 1896 to Miss Nellie Gilmuth, of Scotch blood, as well as birth, both her parents and herself being natives of Scotland. She is the mother of one child.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 821.


The history of the milling industry in the state of Minnesota would be incomplete without a record of the part taken by Paul Voss. Mr. Voss was born in Germany in 1866. His father was a miller by trade and at the age of fifteen, our subject took up the trade followed by his father. After working two years at his trade in Germany, he came to America, landing in New York in 1883. From New York he went direct to New Ulm, Minnesota, where he secured employment in a flour mill, remaining in New Ulm four years, or till 1887, when he went to Minneapolis. He worked in a flour mill in Minneapolis until 1890, when he went back to Germany on a visit. After a short visit in his native land, he came back to America, going to Richmond, Virginia, where he followed his chosen vocation for two years. In 1892 he went back to New Ulm, where he was married to Miss Emma Scheuer, who was born in New Ulm. Her father, Peter Scheuer, was a native of Germany and a prominent lumberman in New Ulm. The domestic life of our subject has been a happy one and has been blessed with five children.

From 1892 until 1899 he remained in New Ulm, having charge of the mill. In 1899 he removed to Echo, where, together with Geo. Schmidt and A. F. Koch, he built the Echo Flour Mill. This enterprise was a success from the start, due in a large measure to the untiring efforts of our subject and to the fact that he has a thorough knowledge of the milling business. Mr. Voss is one of the leading citizens of Echo, taking an active part in all public affairs. He has been elected to office and commands the respect of the entire community. Coming to Minnesota in an early day, when the country was undeveloped, he met with many hardships and he has done his part in making the state what it is today. Politically, our subject is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 792.

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