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Big Stone County, Minnesota

 


Biographies


Iver Aalund
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Iver Aalund, an industrious and progressive farmer of Otrey township, is one of the old settlers of Big Stone county. He has a pleasant home and has acquired his possessions by his own efforts and good business management.

Mr. Aalund was born on a farm in Norway, in 1863. His parents lived in Norway and followed the occupation of farming. Our subject was the third in a family of eight children, and he was reared in his native state and worked there on the home farm. At the age of fifteen years he learned the baker's trade and followed this trade in Norway until he came to America in 1884. He came to Big Stone county and worked out at farming for three years and in 1887 bought a tract of land in section 32. He lived on this farm four years, and then removed to Ortonville. where he worked in a stone quarry one year and during the summer conducted a boarding house. He later took a homestead in section 26, and after proving up on same sold the property and bought his present farm in the same section. This consists of two hundred and forty acres, and was partly improved at the time he purchased it. He has continued to erect buildings thereon and place valuable improvements there, and now has a fine farm. He has a good residence, and all necessary farm buildings and machinery and has one hundred and thirty-seven acres of his land under cultivation. He borrowed money to pay his passage to America, and is now one of the substantial farmers of his township.

Mr. Aalund was married in 1886 to Miss Engaberg Kvalheim, a native of Norway. Mr. and Mrs. Aalund have adopted two children, Enga and Oscar. Mr. Aalund has held school offices and takes a commendable interest in local public affairs. Politically he is a Republican.


Charles J. Clark
Source: North Dakota History and People: Outlines of American History, Volume 2 (Google eBook); By: Clement Augustus Lounsberry; The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1917; Transcribed & Contributed to Genealogy Trails by Jenn Zimmermann

Charles J. Clark, president of the First State Bank at Crosby, was the organizer and first president of the Crosby Milling Company, and is numbered with that class of men whose efforts in town building and development have brought about results that seem almost magical. He has always lived in the west and possesses that spirit of western enterprise which has been the dominant factor in the growth of this section of the country. He was born at Lake City, Wabasha county, Minnesota, May 18. 1874, a son of D. K.J. Clark mentioned in connection with the sketch of David Clark, Jr. on another page of this work.
In the schools of Ortonville Charles J. Clark obtained his education, pursuing a high school course and later a course at the Curtis Business College in St Paul, Minnesota. He also attended Hamline University. In early manhood he went to Bigstone county, Minnesota, and later conducted business as a horse dealer in Ortonville, where he remained until 1901, when he came to North Dakota, settling on a homestead in Ward county, near Kenmare. He proved up his property and afterward took up his abode in the town, where he began buying and selling horses. He would make trips to Montana and Idaho, from which points he shipped range horses, selling them in North Dakota and in markets farther east. He also conducted a livery barn at Kenmare, until 1905 when he sold out and removed to the old town of Crosby, which was then in Williams county, forty miles from a railroad. There he organized the First State Bank and became its cashier. When the town was moved to the new town site in 1906 he took his bank there and has since conducted the business with gratifying success, continuing as the cashier until 1913, when he became president and has since been its chief officer and executive head. In 1915 the First State Bank erected a modern bank building handsomely equipped with high class fixtures, marble floors and other modern appointments. The different departments are well arranged for the conduct of the business and include a ladies' rest room, a directors' room and other private rooms for the transaction of business with the customers. This is regarded as the most thoroughly up to date banking house of any of its size in the state and would be a credit to a city of much greater population than Crosby. The town certainly has reason to be proud of this institution which owes its success to the enterprising and progressive methods of Mr. Clark. He also organized the Divide County Security Company at Crosby in 1910 for the conduct of a farm mortgage, land and loan business and is now its president and general manager. He also continues to deal in horses, which he ships from Idaho and Montana, and he likewise owns and farms land in Divide county and from some of it secures a good rental. In 1913 the world's record for raising oats was established on his farm adjoining Crosby, in Divide county, this land producing an average of a fraction over one hundred and fifty-five bushels to the acre by measure and an average of two hundred and twelve and a half bushels to the acre by weight. The yield of oats on this particular farm was certified to by the neighboring citizens, who formed a committee to examine the field and measure its production in weight and measure. The record is one of which Mr. Clark has every reason to be proud, and moreover, it indicates the great productiveness of North Dakota soil in this section of the state. He was the organizer and first president of the Crosby Milling Company.
On the 25th of December, 1902, at McKinney, North Dakota, Mr. Clark was united in marriage to Miss Laura E. Stevens, a native of Detroit, Minnesota. Her parents died when she was a child and she was reared and educated by an uncle, who resided at Ortonville, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Clark have four children: Janice, whose birth occurred in Kenmare, North Dakota; and Donald, Douglas, and Porter, all of whom were born in Crosby.
In politics Mr. Clark is a republican. He filled the office of deputy sheriff of Ward county while living at Kenmare and he was the first president of the park board at Crosby. He aided in organizing the Divide County Fair Association, of which he is a director, and he assisted in organizing the Hospital Association of Crosby. He belongs to Crosby Lodge, F & AM, to the Elks lodge at Minot and to the Knights of the Maccabees, and his religious faith is that of the Methodist church. His life work is indeed the expression of intense and intelligently directed activity, crowned by substantial and well merited results. What he undertakes he accomplishes, his plans being well formulated and carefully executed. He has never feared to venture where favoring opportunity has led the way, and possessing the character and ability that inspire confidence in others, the simple weight of his character and ability has carried him into important business and public relations.


O. J. Clark
Source: North Dakota Blue Book, 1913 Legislative Manual, Published under the direction of Thomas Hall, Secretary of State, 1913. Submitted by Linda R.

O. J. CLARK. (Sherwood) of the forty-third legislative district, was born July 1, 1878, at Lincoln, Minn., and received his education at the Ortonville high school, and the Hamline university. Came to North Dakota in 1902. He has been president of the village board for five years and held other offices, and was elected to his present position as a republican. He is married and has three sons. He has been engaged in the business of banking and real estate for the past sixteen years.


Edward Downs
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Edward Downs, one of the well-to-do and practically retired farmers of Big Stone county, has accumulated a fine estate since locating in this county in the early days of its settlement. He has labored persistently, and with indomitable will and has met with deserved success. He has a home of great comfort in Tokua township, and in the near future plans to occupy one of the residences now owned by him in Graceville and will be one of the highly esteemed and influential citizens of that town.

Mr. Downs was born in Ireland, and he spent his boyhood and early youth in his native land. His father was a stone mason and bricklayer and also followed farming in Ireland, where he spent his life. Our subject learned the trade followed by his father and also worked at railroad construction. He lived in Ireland until 1861, when he came to America and spent one year in the vicinity of Cincinnati. He returned to Ireland in 1862, and during his stay at his old home his marriage occurred. He and wife came to America and lived in Spring Valley, Ohio, for about four years, and in 1867 came to Minneapolis where Mr. Downs was engaged at his trade for five years. He followed farming near that city for four years, and in 1878 came to the Big Stone county, there being but three settlers in the locality at that time. He built a claim shanty and he had horses for his first farm work. His nearest town was Ortonville and he hauled lumber and supplies from Morris. The family lived on the homestead farm seven years and then moved to a farm adjoining Graceville and Mr. Downs purchased land in sections 3 and 11. They resided thereon seventeen years and thoroughly improved the place and sold the farm in 1900 for $10,000. Mr. Downs still possesses his farm in Tokua township and also owns residence property in Graceville and in the fall of 1903 moved to his home in Graceville. He has opened almost six hundred acres of land for cultivation in Big Stone county and has aided materially in the development of that region. He has done no work at his trade as mason for several years, but many of the buildings of that locality he has worked upon. He had the supervision of the mason work on the Catholic church at Graceville, one of the finest buildings in that region.

Mr. Downs was married in Ireland in 1862 to Mary Meehan, a native of Ireland. To Mr. and Mrs. Downs ten children have been born, who are as follows: Pat Henry, now land locater in Idaho; Mary, a milliner in Graceville; Kate, residing at home; Annie, a trained nurse and a Catholic Sister of St. Joseph's Hospital; Maggie, who is married; Nellie, clerking in Minneapolis; Bridget, a dressmaker of St. Paul; Sarah, a trained nurse in St. Joseph's Hospital; Edward Joseph, at home; and Thomas Henry, also residing with his parents. The eldest daughters are married. The family are members of the Catholic church, and Mr. Downs served as treasurer of the Graceville parish for about seven years. He is a gentleman of active public spirit and has served on the township board three terms and has held almost every school office. Politically he is identified with the Democratic party.


Ray Farrington
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Anna Parks 

FARRINGTON Ray G, Ortonville.  Lawyer.  Born April 30, 1872 in McGregor Ia, son of Theodore and Elizabeth (Prevey) Farrington.  Married Nov 5, 1902 to Louise Opsal.  Graduated from high school McGregor Ia 1889.  Admitted to the bar 1896.  Practiced at Ortonville Minn to date.  Served as municipal judge of Ortonville 1 year; and 1 term on Board of Public Works; served as county atty of Big Stone county 1899-1903.  Member Minn State Senate and I O O F.


Charles W. Flynn
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Charles H. Flynn, who operates the homestead farm in Browns Valley township, is one of the prominent young farmers of Big Stone county. He and his sister, Rose, reside on the home farm, she presiding over the domestic affairs and be conducting the farming operations. They have a pleasant home and are representatives of one of the oldest resident families of the county.

Charles H. Flynn was born on a farm in Meeker county, Minnesota, in 1870. His father, Patrick Flynn, was born in county Armagh, Ireland, and came to America when a young man, and was married in America. He was a farmer by occupation. The mother of our subject was a native of county Tyrone, Ireland. The father died in 1887 and the mother in 1889. To this worthy couple seven children were born, who are as follows: Mary, now married; Chris, a general merchant; Katherine, now residing at home, has taught several terms of school in that district; Charles H., our subject, attended Business College at Sauk Center and taught two years in the Business College; Rose, who presides over the household duties with true womanly grace, was a student of the State University at Minneapolis, taking a course in literature in that institution and becoming proficient in primary work. She is a graduate of the Convent at Graceville; Thomas, a graduate of Katon Business College of Minneapolis, now engaged in clerking in Beardsley; and Hannah, a graduate of St. Cloud Normal, and at present teaching in the third and fourth grades of the Eveleth high school.

Charles H. Flynn for the past two years has been in charge of the homestead farm, the estate comprising one thousand acres. This he conducts profitably and systematically and is one of the most progressive farmers of that locality. He owns land in North Dakota also. He deals in stock to considerable extent and is a wide-awake farmer and has prospered. The family located on this farm in section 21, township 124, range 48, in 1880, and the father built a claim shanty in which they lived for six weeks. All supplies and lumber were hauled from Ortonville or Morris. They spent the winter of 1880-81 in Big Stone county and fuel became scarce and they had a hard time to weather the winter. The first crop of the farm was gathered in 1880 and yielded about eight hundred bushels from thirty acres and in 1881 the yield was one thousand six hundred bushels. The father had broken the land as early as 1879. The best wheat crop has averaged thirty-two bushels per acre, and the crop has never been a total loss, although hail has destroyed partial crops.

Mr. Flynn is one of the leading men of his township and takes an active and commendable interest in public affairs. He has served as township assessor, and is identified with the Republican party, politically.


John Freeborn
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Nancy Overlander

Freeborn John A, Fergus Falls. Physician and surgeon. Born Aug 30, 1864 in Ontario, son of Thomas and Mary (Scott) Freeborn. Married Sept 23, 1891 to Lillie B Anderson. Educated in public and high schools Stratford Ont; graduated from Rush Medical College Chicago 1889; Bellevue Hospital Medical College 1892. Engaged in practice of his profession in Ortonville Minn 1889-96; in Fergus Falls 1896 to date. Member Park Region Medical Society; Minn State Medical Assn; Shrine, A F & A M and I O O F.


Hayden French
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Hayden French, clerk of the district court of Big Stone county, is one of the deservedly popular officials. He is a gentleman of sterling character and is an official of whom the people are justly proud, evidence of the fact being that he is now serving his fifth term in this capacity.

Mr. French was born in Mackford, Wisconsin, on a farm in the frontier country, October 29, 1853. His father, D. R. French, was a pioneer farmer of Green Lake county, Wisconsin. He was born in Vermont and was of old American stock. Of a family of nine children our subject was the third in order of birth. The family settled in Wabasha county, Minnesota, in 1864, and here on a farm our subject was reared to manhood. He received his education in the public schools. He came to Ortonville in 1878, but had seen the country in 1876. He took a homestead farm in Malta township, and hauled all lumber and supplies from Morris. He remained on this farm until 1887, when he was elected clerk of the district court, and has been re-elected four times. He operated his farm until 1901, when he sold the property. Mr. French was married in 1876 to Miss Alice Struble. Mrs. French was born in Indiana, and her father, Stephen Struble, was a farmer of Wabasha county. Mr. and Mrs. French are the parents of three children, namely: Elva D., now married to C. A. Pond, of Duluth; Katherine B., residing at home, and for the past three or four years acting as her father's deputy; and Charles Everill, a graduate of Ortonville High School and a student at present, engaged in teaching in Minnesota State University. Mr. French was a resident of this locality when the county was organized and he has always taken an active part in all public affairs, and is an upright citizen and enjoys an enviable reputation. Politically he is a Republican and stands firmly for the principles of his party.


David E. Geier
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

David E. Geier, of the firm of Geier Brothers, of Ortonville, Minnesota, is one of the prominent business men and citizens of Big Stone county. He has extensive property interests throughout this part of Minnesota, and has acquired his possessions through good business judgment and foresight.

Mr. Geier was born on a farm in Ashford township, Fond du Lac county, Wisconsin, in 1863. His father. John M. Geier, was born in the kingdom of Bavaria and came to America in 1840. He settled at Little Falls, New York, and came to Ashford, Wisconsin, in 1848. He was a pioneer of this region and was a farmer by occupation. He followed the shoemaker's trade in earlier years. He was married in the state of New York and his first wife died leaving one daughter and five sons. Of his second marriage there are four children. The father died on the farm in Big Stone county in 1894.

David Geier was reared in Wisconsin on the farm and attended the common schools and the Oshkosh Normal one year. He taught school two terms in Minnesota. He came to Big Stone county in 1884 and settled with his family on a farm in Big Stone township, three and a half miles northeast of Ortonville. In 1886 he and his brother Fred Geier, under the firm name of Geier Brothers built a small elevator and began buying grain, and dealing in coal and wood. In the spring of 1891 they added farming implements to their stock and in 1895 began dealing in real estate, and bought and sold farm lands in different parts of Minnesota. In 1898 they built an elevator at Big Stone City, and in 1889 erected a new elevator on the site of the old one at Ortonville. This has a capacity of 25,000 bushels and the capacity of the elevator at Big Stone City is thirty thousand bushels. Mr. Geier has three thousand acres of land in Big Stone, Isanti, and Morrison counties, Minnesota, and Grant county, South Dakota. He began business in 1886 without means and has acquired valuable property and an enviable business reputation.

Mr. Geier was married in 1893 to Miss Etta Meier. Mrs. Geier was born in Iowa, and her father, Carl Meier, was a farmer. Mr. and Mrs. Geier are the parents of three children, namely: Vera Estella, Hazel Ruth and Pearl.


Fred M. Geier
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Fred M. Geier, member of the firm of Geier Brothers of Ortonville, Minnesota, is one of the substantial business men of this region. He has a handsome residence near the court house and is one of the public-spirited men of his city. He has been identified with the commercial and social interests of this locality for many years and has always proven himself a worthy citizen.

Mr. Geier was born on a farm in Fond du Lac county. Wisconsin, in 1866. He was reared in his native state and at the age of eighteen years came to Minnesota with the family. He began farm work at the age of sixteen years, and his first earnings were as a result of his labors as a section hand on the Wisconsin Central Railroad. He took the management of his father's farm when seventeen years of age, and conducted this one season, and later had charge of the home farm in Big Stone county with his brother. In 1886 Fred M., David E., and William Geier entered into partnership and built an elevator at Ortonville. William Geier remained with the firm but a short time and the business has been continued by the other brothers. They now have extensive property and business interests in this part of Minnesota. In 1903 our subject became interested in the Crisman & Wells Bank of Ortonville. This bank was reorganized as the Citizens National Bank, and Mr. Geier is a director in the institution.

Mr. Geier was married in 1892 to Miss Emma A. Steiner. Mrs. Geier was born in Dodge county, Wisconsin, and was a daughter of John B. Steiner, a farmer of that state. Mr. and Mrs. Geier are the parents of two children, Myrtle L. and J. Roy. Mr. Geier has served on the city council two terms, and was a member of the council when the water and electric light plant was erected. He was elected mayor and served one term. He is a stanch Republican and has been a delegate to county and state conventions of his party for the past ten years.


John Gowan
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

John Gowan, county sheriff of Big Stone county, is one of the deservedly popular public officers. He is serving his second term in this capacity and is a faithful officer and loyal citizen. He resides at Ortonville, and is one of the pioneer settlers of Big Stone county.

Mr. Gowan was born on a farm near Stillwater, Minnesota, in 1869. His father, William Gowan, was born in Ireland, and was a lumberman for many years. Our subject was the fourth of a family of nine children and when he was nine years of age the family moved to New Richmond,Wisconsin,where they lived for many years and some of the members of the family still reside there. The father and two brothers of our subject came to Big Stone county, shipping the goods to Morris and teaming the goods and supplies from there. They hauled all supplies, lumber, etc., from Morris with ox teams and broke a large part of the farm with oxen. The father settled on a homestead in Prior township. Our subject received a limited schooling and he remained with his parents on the home farm until both died, and for several years prior to this had managed the home farm. He still owns this property. In 1889 he assumed charge of the O'Brien Farm, owned by S. and John O'Brien of Stillwater, and he conducted this farm for twelve years. This is an extensive farm of twenty-two hundred acres, and from six to twenty men are employed there. Our subject made a success of grain and stock raising there. When he assumed charge the place had few improvements and when he left the improvements included an elevator, creamery, hog houses, sheep pens, cook house, and all necessary farm buildings. Mr. Gowan followed the threshing business for thirteen seasons and was engaged in this work over parts of Big Stone and Traverse counties and met with success.

Mr. Gowan was married November 26, 1889, to Miss Margaret Donovan. Mrs. Gowan was born in the state of New York, and her father, Jeremiah Donovan, was a farmer and one of the early settlers of Big Stone county, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Gowan are the parents of eight children, namely: Claud, Willie, Eddie, Elizabeth, Margaret, Anna, Raymond, and Ruth. Mr. Gowan was elected sheriff of Big Stone county in 1900, and moved his family to Ortonville. He took charge of the office in January, 1901, and in the fall of 1902 was re-elected and is now serving his second term. He is an efficient and fearless officer and enjoys the confidence of the people. He is a Democrat politically and is a leader of his party, attending county conventions as a delegate.


Frank H. Griffin
Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (1912) Page 278; transcribed by FoFG mz

Griffin, Frank H., journalist, b. in Juneau, Wis., Aug. 13, 1863; came to Ortonville, Minn., when fourteen years old, to learn telegraphy; in 1891 established the Good Thunder Herald, which he has since edited.


John C. Hewitt
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 324; transcribed by FoFG mz

Hewitt, John C., b. in Elk county, Pa., May 29, 1857; came to Ortonville, Minn., in 1878; owned a farm there, and after 1887 resided in South Dakota; returned to Minnesota in 1894 and settled in Nassau, where he engaged in mercantile and grain business and banking.


A. P. Jackson
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 365; transcribed by FoFG mz

Jackson, A. P., b. in Wyoming county, N.Y., in 1826; came to Minnesota in 1861, settling in Goodhue county; was a representative in the legislature in 1871; removed to Ortonville in 1878.


Aaron Benjamin Kaercher
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 390; transcribed by FoFG mz

Kaercher, Aaron Benjamin, lawyer and journalist, b. in Preston, Minn., Jan. 20, 1860; was admitted to the bar in 1890; established the Traverse County Times, and later the Big Stone County Journal; resides at Ortonville.


George Kahler
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

George Kahler, the hospitable and popular hotel man of Ortonville, Minnesota, is one of the early settlers of this part of the state. He has acquired valuable property and an enviable reputation through his earnest efforts and good business judgment and has a prosperous business.

Mr. Kahler was born in the village of Northville, Michigan, in 1868. His father, Henry Kahler, is a hotel keeper in Minnesota, where he settled in 1902. Our subject was reared in this state, residing in different places from time to time, and in 1894 he came to Appleton where he was proprietor of a hotel for three years. In 1897 he located in Ortonville, and became proprietor of the Columbian Hotel. He purchased the hotel the same year. He also conducts the Lake House of which hotel he has been proprietor for the past six years. The hotel was built in 1892, by H. O. Jarshaw. The building contains fifty rooms, and during the summer months the place is filled with tourists and visitors who enjoy the pleasant surroundings. Mr. Kahler is a hospitable host and has built up a good patronage by honest dealings.

Our subject was married in 1891 to Miss McIntosh. Mrs. Kahler is a native of Iowa.


Jacob Karn, M. D.
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 391; transcribed by FoFG mz

Karn, Jacob, physician, b. in Woodstock, Ontario, in 1858; was graduated in 1876 at the Ontario College of Pharmacy, Toronto, and in 1884 at Rush Medical College, Chicago; settled in Ortonville, Minn., in 1888.

ALSO:
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Jacob Karn, M. D., recognized by the medical fraternity and the people at large as a physician and surgeon of unusual ability, is engaged in the practice of his profession in Big Stone county, his office being located at Ortonville. He has been a resident physician here for the past fifteen years and is honored and respected throughout this region as a conscientious practitioner and worthy citizen.

Dr. Karn was born on a farm in Woodstock, Ontario, in 1858. His father, Christopher Karn, was born in Canada. The family came to America as early as 1760. Our subject was the third in a family of six children and he received his early education in the Ontario High School. At the age of fifteen years he entered a drug store as apprentice and in 1876 graduated from the Ontario College of Pharmacy at Toronto, and at that time became a registered pharmacist. He then conducted a drug business at Milverton, Ontario, for eight years, and during the last three or four years of the time attended Rush Medical College at Chicago, graduating with the degree of M. D. in 1884. He then sold out his drug business and began his practice in Milverton in 1884 and in the fall of the same year came to Stone City, South Dakota. He followed his profession there three and a half years and in the spring of 1888 established his office in Ortonville, where he has since continued. He has built up an extensive practice, extending for seventy five miles in every direction from Ortonville, and has become known as one of the eminently successful physicians of this part of Minnesota. He devoted his entire attention to his practice and devotes little time to outside issues.

Dr. Karn was married in 1879 to Miss Mary C. Freeborn, who was born in Canada, of old Canadian stock. To Dr. and Mrs. Karn two children have been born, namely: Mary E., who graduated from the North Western University at Chicago with the degree of B. A., and Bert R., who is now pursuing a medical course in the University of Minnesota. Dr. Karn was elected mayor of Ortonville in the spring of 1901 and reelected in 1902 and is still filling this office, with credit to himself and his supporters, and taking a firm stand for justice and right. He has served on the school board for the past fifteen years and takes an active interest in educational affairs. He has been local surgeon for the C. M. & St. P. R. R. for fourteen years past and has served off and on fifteen years as coroner. He is a gentleman of extensive acquaintance and wields much influence. In political faith he is a Republican.


J. T. Leet
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 432; transcribed by FoFG mz

Leet, J. T., b. in Delhi, N.Y.; came to Minnesota in 1861; settled on a farm in Ortonville in 1874, and was the first register of deeds in Big Stone county.


C. H. Mero
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 504; transcribed by FoFG mz

Mero, C. H., b. in Lincoln county, Maine, in 1843; served in the 20th Maine Regt. In the civil war; settled in Ortonville, Minn., in 1879; was county audior, 1882-5.


Richard Norrish
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 553; transcribed by FoFG mz

Norrish, Richard, banker, b. in Devonshire, Eng., in 1844; came to the United States in 1860, settling in Hastings, Minn., removed to Ortonville in 1879; built the first grain elevator in Big Stone county; after 1888 was a director of the First National Bank of Ortonville.

ALSO:
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Richard Norrish, a retired banker of Big Stone county, residing at Ortonville, is one of the best known citizens of this region. He has been identified with the financial and social interests of his community for many years, and has become one of the influential men there. He is a gentleman of integrity and active public spirit, and his success and high station are well merited.

Mr. Norrish was born in Devonshire, England, in 1844, and was a farmer's son. He came to America in 1860 and located at Hastings, Minnesota, where he was employed as a clerk in a dry goods store. He spent seventeen years as clerk, and then became interested in business and continued thus for two years. He came to Ortonville in 1879, and in partnership with Henry Van Inwegen, erected the Ortonville elevator, the first elevator built in Big Stone county. This partnership continued for four years and they did an extensive grain business. In 1883 our subject sold his interest in the business to his partner. He then formed a partnership with C. B. Westfall and they purchased a large elevator at Beardsley, Minnesota. This partnership lasted about twelve years. In 1888 Mr. Norrish became interested with the present First National Bank of Ortonville, which was started as a private bank. He gave the management of this institution his entire time and attention from that date until 19-1, when he gave the management into other hands, and retired from active business life. Through the bank he dealt extensively in land in Big Stone and adjacent counties. National Bank of Ortonville, which was started as a private bank. He gave the management of this institution his entire time and attention from that date until 1901, when he gave the management into other hands, and retired from active business life. Through the bank he dealt extensively in land in Big Stone and adjacent counties.

The First National Bank of Ortonville, as it is now known, was established in 1879 as a private bank by Bernard Dassel, now deceased: and was owned by him as a private bank for about six years, when Charles E. Brooks became interested and in 1888 the Bank of Ortonville was incorporated, with Albert Schefer, president, and Mr. Dassel, cashier, and Mr. Norrish became one of the directors. The present organization as the First National Bank of Ortonville was effected in the fall of 1902, and Mr. Norrish then sold part of his interests to the present cashier, E. J. Weiser, and J. S. Tucker, one of the directors. The bank is principally owned now by the three last named gentlemen. For many years it was the only banking institution in the county, and is recognized as one of the sound financial institutions of this region. They do a general banking business and Mr. Weiser is in charge of the affairs of the institution. A fine granite and brick building was erected in 1901, and this is now one of the best buildings of the county and is the best equipped bank.

Mr. Norrish has served as mayor of Ortonville for three successive terms and is one of the leading citizens of his town. He is a gentleman of broad mind and lends his influence for the upbuilding of the better interests of the community where he makes his home. In political sentiment he is a Democrat, and he is an earnest worker for the principles of his party.


Cornelius K. Orton Deceased.
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

In the death of the gentleman whose name heads this review, Big Stone county, Minnesota, lost one of its most worthy citizens. For many years he was identified with the growth of the financial and social interests of this region and he was one of the potent factors in bringing about the present prosperity enjoyed here. He was a man of good business capacity and sterling character, and may be truly styled the founder of Ortonville.

Mr. Orton was born in Wisconsin, October 11, 1846. His father, Knute Orton, was born in Bergen, Norway, and was a farmer by occupation and also a sea captain. The family moved to Iowa when our subject was a boy and later they became residents of Fillmore county, Minnesota, settling on a farm one and a half miles from Lanesboro. Here our subject was reared to manhood and here he received his education. He was engaged as a bookkeeper in Lanesboro for several years and was one of the pioneer settlers of that town. He conducted a general merchandise establishment there until he came to Ortonville and was one of the prominent business men of that town. He sold his business and came to Big Stone county in 1873 and took a homestead farm where the city of Ortonville now stands. He laid out the city of Ortonville in the fall of the same year and built the first buildings there. The material used was all drawn from Benson and Morris, a distance of fifty miles. The first store was conducted by Mr. Lathrop in a building 18 by 16 feet, and the principal share of the business was done with Indians. Mr. Orton opened up a large farm and has oxen and horses and a good supply of stock. For the first six years he hauled all supplies at least fifty miles to his home. All produce was marketed at Morris. Mr. Orton was instrumental in getting many settlers to locate in this region and he worked faithfully to get the railroads to run through there and much of the prosperity there at present is directly traceable to his earnest labors. He established the first bank in Ortonville, and after 1878 devoted his time and attention to the banking and real estate business.

Mr. Orton was married at La Crosse, Wisconsin, June 1, 1869, to Augusta M. Westling. Mrs. Orton was born in Sweden, November 9, 1851, and came to America when a child. Her father was one of the well known old settlers of Wabasha county, Minnesota, and Mrs. Orton was reared there. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Orton, namely: Clara Alice Janette, born February 19, 1872; Clark Walter, born March 7, 1874; Mary Adella, born March 15, 1876; Carl Edward, born October 2, 1877, is now deceased; Nell, born August 20, 1879; and Dwight Wesley, born April 8, 1881, is now located in Idaho. Mr. Orton died at his home in Big Stone county December 24, 1890. He left a wide circle of friends and acquaintances who keenly felt their loss, as he was one of the influential citizens of his county. He served as county commissioner for sixteen years and assisted in the organization of Big Stone county. He was mayor of Ortonville and the first postmaster and filled the office for many years. He owned shares in the first steamboat run on Big Stone Lake and helped to make Ortonville a well known summer resort. He was a director of the Fargo Southern Railroad and was one of the prominent promoters.

ALSO:
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 569; transcribed by FoFG mz

Orton, C. K., banker, b. in Dane county, Wis., in 1846; came to Minnesota in 1857; settled on a claim on the site of Ortonville in 1871, the town being named for him.


Addison Jackson Parker
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 577; transcribed by FoFG mz

Parker, Addison Jackson, b. in Arcade, N.Y., Sept. 14, 18389; served in Wisconsin regiments in the civil war, becoming first lieutenant; came to Minnesota in 1874, settling on a claim near Ortonville; was county attorney of Big Stone county, and probate judge; engaged in real estate and insurance business in Ortonville.


Adelbert E. Randall
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 625; transcribed by FoFG mz

Randall, A. E., b. in Lockport, N.Y., in 1846; came to Minnesota in 1860, and settled on a claim in Ortonville in 1876; was county treasurer and sheriff.

ALSO:
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Adelbert E. Randall, who stands in a foremost place among the pioneer settlers of Big Stone county, resides on his well improved farm near Ortonville. He is a gentleman of excellent business judgment and is possessed of active public spirit and untiring energy.

Mr. Randall was born at Lockport, Niagara county, New York, March 24, 1846. His father, Elias Randall, was born in Herkimer county, New York, and was a farmer, lumberman and canal boatman. The grandfather of our subject was born in Ireland.

Our subject was the eldest child of his father's second marriage, and he has five brothers and five half-brothers and two half-sisters. The family came to Illinois when he was four years of age and settled on a farm, where they lived for five years. They then moved to Wisconsin and in 1860 came to Minnesota, arriving in Rochester in the fall of 1860. Our subject was reared on the Minnesota frontier and in 1863 he left home and went into Wabasha county, where he worked on a farm until February, 1864. He then enlisted in Company G, Third Minnesota Infantry, and saw eighteen months of active service in Arkansas. Three of his half brothers served in the Tenth Wisconsin Battery, and one was taken prisoner and was confined in Libby prison when the war closed.

Mr. Randall returned to Wabasha county, Minnesota, after the war and he farmed on rented land until about 1872. He started for Big Stone county, March 24, 1876, and came part of the way afoot. He took a homestead April 5 of the same year, and this land now adjoins the town of Ortonville. The family joined him in the new home in May of the same year. The nearest trading point at that time was Appleton, twenty-five miles distant, and Morris was the nearest railroad town. Mr. Randall built the first building of any size in Ortonville and in 1878 he built his house on his farm and lived therein until 1881. He hauled lumber from Morris and Benson with ox teams, taking four days for the round trip and many times camped on the prairie. He now owns a farm of two hundred and eighty acres, which furnishes him a comfortable home in which to spend his declining years.

Mr. Randall was married in 1872 to Miss Sophia J. Bullock. Mrs. Randall was born in Erie county, Pennsylvania. Her father, Richard B. Bullock, was born in London, England. Ten children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Randall, of whom Jessie died at the age of sixteen years, Myrtle at the age of fourteen years, and Hazel at the age of eight months. The children now living are named as follows: Eva, now married; A. Victor, engaged in clerking; Dean, a prosperous farmer; Marion, Clyde, Lloyd and Clarence. Mr. Randall was sheriff of the county, being elected in 1881, and he served in this office until 1901. He is a member of the city council and at present is president. He takes a leading and active part in local affairs of importance and wields much influence in his community.


Andrew Jackson Scofield
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 682; transcribed by FoFG mz

Scofield, Andrew Jackson, b. in Marathon, N.Y., Oct. 6, 1837; d. in Ortonville, inn., April 10, 1910. He came to Minnesota in 1855; served in the Third Minnesota Regt. In the civil war; owned a farm several years, but in 1883 settled in Ortonville; was judge of probate for Big Stone county sixteen years.


J. H. Sheets
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 697; transcribed by FoFG mz

Sheets, J. H., journalist, b. in Randolph county, Ind., in 1848; was graduated at Ridgeville College, 1872; came to Minnesota, and was superintendent of schools in Todd county; published the Todd County Argus, and later the Big Stone County Herald; resided in Ortonville.


Charles J. Stark
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Charles J. Stark, proprietor of the sole exclusive hardware establishment of Ortonville, Minnesota, is one of the wide-awake business men of Big Stone county. He is a gentleman of wide experience and good business judgment and by push and enterprise has placed himself among the foremost business men of his locality.

Mr. Stark was born on a farm in Jonkoping, Sweden, in 1864. His father was a farmer and laborer. He came to America in 1869 and settled in McLeod county, Minnesota. His family joined him here in 1870 and our subject was reared in McLeod county. He assisted with the farm work and received but little schooling. He left home at the age of twenty years and went to Dickey county, North Dakota. He remained there and in McIntosh county in the coal business and engaged in clerking until 1890, when he located in Ortonville, Big Stone county, Minnesota. He was employed as clerk for Anderson & Burtleson for two years and then for Shumaker & Sons for five years. He spent one year in the insurance business and in 1899 established his present hardware business. He has met with marked success and has the exclusive hardware and tinshop of the city. He carries a full line of stoves, sporting goods, and hardware supplies and occupies a store 37 by 70 feet, with a warehouse and tinshop on the second floor, and has one of the best equipped stores in this part of the state.

Mr. Stark was married in 1887 to Miss Hannah Carlson. Mrs. Stark was born in Sweden and her father was a soldier in that country and spent his life there. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Stark, namely: Ella; Edwin, who died at the age of three years; Esther, and Hannah. Mr. Stark takes a commendable interest in local public affairs and has held numerous offices. He was elected city councilman in January, 1902, and he has served on the board of education for the past seven years. He is a stanch Republican and is an active worker for the interests of his party, attending numerous conventions as a delegate.


Marion S. Stevens
Source: Progressive Men of Minnesota, (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Marion S. Stevens is a lawyer living in Graceville, Minnesota. He traces his ancestry back to England, but his parents and grand parents were natives of Summerset County, Maine. His father, Elija Grant Stevens, was marred to Miss Mary Rice, of Summerset County, in 1849, and during the same year moved to what is now Pepin County, Wisconsin. He was twice elected sheriff of Dunn County, Wisconsin, and held other positions of trust and responsibility up to the time of his death, which occurred in 1872. He moved to Minnesota in 1864, but after six years returned to Pepin County, where he passed the remainder of his days. His son Marion was born in 1854, in Pepin County. He was one of a family of seven children, who are all living. When his father came to Minnesota in 1864 young Marion was of course, with the family, but instead of returning to Wisconsin he established himself in this state and has lived here ever since. He received a common school education, supplemented by an academic course. Since finishing his school life he has followed the early acquired habit of reading and study until he is one of the best read men in the state. Mr. Stevens went to Graceville in 1878 when the place was first settled. He studied law there and was admitted to practice before the Hon. C. L. Brown, District Judge, in 1889. Upon his admission to the bar he at once engaged in the practice of law at Graceville, and by his energy and ability he soon worked up a lucrative practice. While living in Graceville Mr. Stevens has done valuable and effective work for the Republican party in that section of the state. Though having extensive acquaintance he has persistently refused to accept office. At present he is chairman of the Republican committee. In Masonic, Pythian and Woodmen orders he is prominent and influential. In 1889 Mr. Stevens married Sue L. Crossmun, of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Miss Crossmun was at that time principal of the high school at Burlingame, Kansas. They have a daughter, Marion Fay, and a son, Lloyd C.


E. J. Weiser
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 834; transcribed by FoFG mz

Weiser, E. J., banker, b. in Decorah, Iowa, in 1866; was graduated at Northwestern University, 1888; ten years later established the Citizen's Bank at Ortonville, Minn., and was its president; after 1902 was cashier of the First National Bank of Ortonville.

ALSO:
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

E. J. Weiser, cashier of the First National Bank of Ortonville, and one of the organizers of this institution, is a gentleman of exceptional business capacity. He has carefully conducted the affairs of the institution and has placed it among the sound banks of this region. He is a gentleman of honor and enjoys the confidence of his fellowmen, and is classed among the foremost citizens of Big Stone county.

Mr. Weiser was born in the city of Decorah, Iowa, in 1866. His father, Emilius I. Weiser, was of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. He became one of the pioneer settlers of Iowa in 1856 and was a druggist in Decorah. He served in the Civil war and was captain of Company D, Third Iowa Infantry.

Our subject was reared in Decorah and attended the common schools there and later attended Carlton College at Northfield, Minnesota, for several years. He graduated from Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois, in 1888 with the degree of S. C. The same year he accepted a position as clerk in the Winnishiek County Bank at Decorah, Iowa, and was connected with this institution for ten years, there receiving the practical training which has assisted him him greatly in his business affairs. In 1898 in partnership with G. W. McArthur and John S. Tucker, he established the Citizens Bank of Ortonville, and was president of the institution and Mr. McArthur was cashier. In 1900 Mr. McArthur withdrew and Mr. Weiser purchased the Bank of Ortonville, becoming cashier and R. Norrish taking the presidency. The present bank, the First National Bank of Ortonville, was organized in the fall of 1902, with Mr. Weiser as cashier. The other officers are R. Norrish. president; John Mitchell, vice-president and O. I. Chamberlin, assistant cashier. The details of the business are carefully looked after by Mr. Weiser and the institution is fast gaining a prominent place among the best financial institutions of the state.

Mr. Weiser was married in the spring of 1893 to Miss Grace E. Marsh, a native of Decorah, Iowa. Her father was a pioneer settler of that city. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Weiser, namely: Charlotte and Gretchen.


Charles B. Westfall, Sr.
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, 1904 Chicago George A. Ogle; transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

Charles B. Westfall, Sr., probably better known than any citizen of Big Stone county, for his extensive business interests, and his thorough appreciation of the needs of his community, and his efficient labors to meet them, is a resident of Beardsley. He is head of the Beardsley line of elevators along the Great Northern Railroad, and is president of the Bank of Bardsley, one of the sound financial institutions of the state of Minnesota.

Mr. Westfall was born in Factorville, Tioga county, New York, in 1862. His father, Levi Westfall, was born in Orange county, New York, and is descended from the old French and Holland Huguenots. The family came from Holland about the seventeenth century. Some of the ancestors were in the Revolutionary war. The mother of our subject, Ann (Jackson) Westfall, was born in Orange county, New York.

Of a family of eight children our subject was the third in order of birth. He was reared in his native state and received a limited schooling. At the age of seventeen he started for himself and came to Minnesota, locating at Wilmar in July, 1879. He was engineer and millwright for two months and then came to Hastings, Minnesota, and after a stay of six weeks there he came to Big Stone county, locating in Ortonville, in November, 1879, one day ahead of the first train into the place. He drove there from Appleton. He bought wheat for Vaninwegen & Norris for two and a half years, and August 24, 1882, came to Beardsley, where he bought grain for Norris & Westfall. He and his partner, Mr. Norris, bought the first elevator built in Beardsley and Mr. Westfall has continued in the grain buying business for the past twenty years. In 1891 he been sole proprietor. At one time Mr. Westfall owned a line of seventeen elevators along the Great Northern Railroad, and is one of the most extensive grain dealers of the state. In 1895 he established the Bank of Beardsley. This is now one of the substantial financial institutions of Minnesota. Mr. Westfall also established the first bank of Chokio, Minnesota, and also owned the first elevator there. He has dealt extensively in real estate in Stevens, Big Stone and Traverse counties. In the spring of 1895 he demonstrated his ability as a business financier and his interest in the welfare of his fellowmen, by his risk of fortune and business prominence to save the farmers of that community their estates. After failure of crops for three successive years he used all his credit and bought and shipped in seed wheat and flour and sold it on time to the farmers. Many of the best citizens had become discouraged and had planned to leave the region, but were persuaded by him to remain and again put forth their efforts. With his liberal offer to provide them with seed wheat and provisions, they passed through another season, which proved a most prosperous one and the enormous crops of 1895 relieved the situation and placed them all on good footing. Without the aid given them by Mr. Westfall this would not have been possible. The present prosperity enjoyed in that community is due in great measure to his efforts.

Mr. Westfall was married in 1891 to Miss Mabel L. McPhee. Mrs. Westfall was born in Minneapolis, and her father, James McPhee is a photographer, his place of business being on Nicolet avenue in that city. Her parents are of Scotch blood. To Mr. and Mrs. Westfall two children have been born, namely: Marion, and Charles B. Jr. Mr. Westfall was the first president of the village council in Beardsley and at the present time is president of that body. He was the prime mover for the incorporation of the village. In the early years of his residence in Beardsley he took an active part in the affairs of the Democratic party and has attended conventions of his party in county, state and nation. Of late years he devotes his time and attention almost entirely to the business affairs which press him closely.


George A. Wood
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 876; transcribed by FoFG mz

Wood, George A., b. in Canada in 1852; came to Minnesota in 1870; was graduated at the State University, 1878; engaged in hardware business in Ortonville.


J. C. Wood
Source: Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society (1912) Volume XIV; Page 877; transcribed by FoFG mz

Wood, J. C., b. in Canada in 1855; came to Minnesota in 1870; settled in Ortonville in 1878; was postmaster, and engaged in hardware business.


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