Grant County, Minnesota

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Clarence Palmer Carpenter
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853-ed.) Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Journal (1897) Submitted by Diana Heser Morse

His college the printer's shop; from printer's case to the editorial chair; newspaper publisher, attorney at law and secretary and stockholder in a mercantile company--this, in brief, is what has been accomplished by a young man of energy and perseverance, without the aid of fortunate--it is, in a nut shell, the life history of Clarence Palmer Carpenter, of Northfield, Minnesota. Mr. Carpenter was born at Eastford, Windham County, Connecticut, February 4, 1853, the son of Fredus C. Carpenter and Mary A. Gilbert (Carpenter). The father was a native of Connecticut, and of English descent, with a trace of Scotch blood, he is a brother of Judge J. H. Carpenter, of Madison, Wisconsin, and a nephew of Judge Carpenter, of the Connecticut supreme court. He was a school teacher in early manhood, but later in life an agriculturist. The mother of the subject of this sketch was a native of Massachusetts, and was a cousin of Dr. J. G. Holland, a prominent American author, and for many years editor of Scribner's Monthly and the Century Magazine. The family came to Minnesota in September, 1855, when Clarence was but two and a half years old, and settled on a farm in the town of Lebanon, in Dakota County. At this time Minneapolis was the nearest postoffice to their farm, and the lumber for the house which they built, was rafted down from Anoka to Minneapolis and then hauled to the farm. His educational advantages were limited, and were only those that could be obtained in the early district schools of Minnesota. At the age of sixteen he left home to learn the printer's trade, beginning in the office of the Western Progress, at Spring Valley, Minnesota. Subsequently he worked for about two years in Faribault, and went from there to the Twin Cities, working at different times on nearly all the daily papers published there. Following the usual life of the old-time printer, and having a desire to see the country; he worked in printing offices in a number of the larger cities of different states. In the fall of 1877, Mr. Carpenter took a homestead and tree claim near Herman, in Grant County, Minnesota, going from Faribault, where he had been employed on the Democrat since the spring of 1876, on which paper he did his first editorial work. For the next six years he cultivated his claim and brought nearly three hundred acres under cultivation. During the winters he would devote his time to teaching school or working at his trade. The winter of 1881 he worked as proof reader on the Daily Union, at Jacksonville, Florida, and the following winter worked as night editor of the Fargo Daily Republican. In 1884 he established the Dakota County Tribune, at Farmington, Minnesota, and continued the publication of this paper until August, 1892, at which time he sold it. He had, while working as a printer, begun reading law for recreation, beginning with Blackstone's Commentaries. He kept at this for some years and was finally admitted to the bar in September, 1890, and, in connection with the publication of his paper at Farmington, engaged in the practice of law. After the sale of the Tribune Mr. Carpenter spent a few months in the East in travel. Returning to Minnesota, he located at Lakeville and engaged in the practice of his profession. He also became interested in a general merchandise store, in connection with others organizing a stock company known as the M. J. Lenihan Mercantile Company, of which he is secretary and treasurer. In January, 1895, he purchased the Northfield Independent, enlarged the paper and put it upon a paying basis. Though he usually affiliated with the Republican party, Mr. Carpenter has always been disposed to be independent. He was elected court commissioner of Grant County in the fall of 1882 but did not qualify, having removed from the county soon after. He served as second assistant clerk of the house in the legislature of 1887, and as chief clerk in the session of 1889. He was a delegate-at-large from this state to the first People's party national convention at Omaha, in 1892, and was one of the temporary secretaries of the convention. He was on the People's party ticket twice in Dakota County for the office of county attorney, but the whole ticket was defeated each time. At present he is entirely independent in politics, and conducts his paper on the same policy. Mr. Carpenter is a member of the Old Fellows, and was Noble Grand of the lodge at Farmington; of the Knights of Pythias; of the A. O. U. W., having served as Master Workman in the Lakeville lodge, and was a delegate to the grand lodge in 1896. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Northfield. July 28, 1885, he married Lulu M. McElrath, at Eureka. Dakota County, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter have one son, Park, born May 5, 1890, and one daughter, Delphine, born September 2, 1896.


Gudbrand T. Hagen
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Richard Ramos

HAGEN Gudbrand T, Crookston. Editor and publisher.  Born March 20, 1864 in Norway, son of Torsten Torstenson and Ingelborg (Olson) Hagen.  Educated in public schools of Norway and evening schools; attended school in Mayville N D and Willmar (Minn) Seminary and Institute.  Engaged as photographer 8 years in N D and Minn; founded Scandinavian paper at Elbow lake; sold out and purchased the Banneret a weekly at Holton N D; changed name of paper to Vesterheimen and published 1 year; in Mayville 4 years; moved to Crookston and has published Crookston Press 1897 to date.  Member Minn Editorial Assn and I O G M.


Olaus Norman
Source: History of Douglas and Grant Counties Minnesota, Constant Larson Editor-in-Chief, Volume II, 1916, B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.

Rev. Olaus Norman, one of the well-known and successful ministers of Grant county, was born near Jefferson Prairie, Wisconsin, on January 25, 1845, the son of Alexander and Anna (Olson) Norman, the latter of whom was a daughter of Ole Olson, a native of Norway, who came to the United States in 1848. Upon his arrival in this country. Ole Olson proceeded at once to Wisconsin, and there located on a farm in Dane county, where he engaged in general farming and in the carpenter trade. During the war in 1814, between Sweden and Norway, Ole Olson was a soldier in the army of his county, and performed good service. His father, Ole Berkhus, lived his life in Norway, where he was a farmer.

Alexander Norman was born in Norway on September 5, 1819. He received his education in the public schools of his native country and at the normal school. After completing his schooling he engaged in the teaching profession. He was engaged to be married while living in Norway, but the wedding took place in Jefferson Prairie, Wisconsin. He and his bride-to-be both came to America in 1843 and both located near Jefferson Prairie, where, after a year, they were married by the first Norwegian minister in America, the Reverend Diethrickson. After their marriage they located on a rented farm and for some years Alexander Norman worked for others as a farm hand. They then moved to Dane county, Wisconsin, where they purchased a farm of one hundred and sixty acres and there Mr. Norman engaged in farming for himself for twenty-three years, at the end of which time he went to Otter Tail county, and located in St. Olaf township, where he bought a homestead right, and there lived, engaged in general farming, until his retirement from the activities of life on the farm, and removed to Elbow Lake, where he died on March 19, 1897. His widow, who was born on June 1, 1822, died on December 29, 1906. They were the parents of ten children, Olaus, Joseph, Anna, Ole, Margaret, Ingeborg, Josephine, Tosten, Sarah and Halvar, the latter of whom died in infancy.

Alexander Norman was always very active in church work and for a time after coming to the United States taught in one of the church schools. He mastered the English language after coming to this country and became fluent in its use. He mingled much in politics in Dane county and especially after the beginning of the Civil War. He was a strong advocate of the principles of the great Lincoln, and espoused the same with an eloquent tongue and with much ability.

Olaus Norman received his early educational training in the public schools of Dane county and was later sent to the Norwegian Lutheran school for further study. He attended high school at Madison and later was graduated from the Norwegian Lutheran College at Decorah, Iowa. After his graduation from Concordia Seminary at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1869, he was stationed at a little church at St. Paul and had thirty stations throughout the state of Minnesota. During his work at that time he assisted in the organization of many new churches, among these being the one where he is now stationed at Ashby. He was unmarried at the time and in addition to looking after his thirty charges he studied medicine, under Doctor Wiegmann of St. Paul and under Doctor Baily of Sioux City. He began the practice of medicine in 1870, and continued the same in connection with his ministerial duties, his labors as a physician all being performed in the name of charity and without compensation.

In 1870, the Rev. Claus Norman was united in marriage to Britha Holum, and to that union five children were born, Augustus, Theodore, Halvor, Anna and Caia. The Rev. Theodore Norman is a minister of the Norwegian Lutheran church, as is the Rev. Halvor Norman. After the death of his first wife, the Rev. Olaus Norman married Elisa Wilson, and to that union three children were born, Susie. Marie and Bertinus. Upon the death of the mother of these children, Mr. Norman married Mrs. Koefod, widow of Magnus Koefod. Mr. Norman was for eight years, pastor of one of the churches at St. Paul and moved to Ashby for a rest. At the request of the people there he presently assumed charge of the pastoral work and now has three charges. Mr. Norman has always taken active exercise and was the first man to ride a bicycle in this section of the state and was the first minister to drive an automobile, a vast contrast to his traveling on snow shoes during his pastorate in the northwestern part of Minnesota where he was termed "the path-breaker," when the winter time came on and the travel was difficult.


Ole A. Pikop
Source: History of Douglas and Grant Counties Minnesota, Constant Larson Editor-in-Chief, Volume II, 1916, B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana. Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman.

Hon. Ole A. Pikop, representative in the Minnesota state Legislature from the fifty-seventh district and one of Grant county's best-known and most progressive farmers, a director of the First National Bank at Elbow Lake, former chairman of the board of supervisors of Elbow Lake township and for years actively interested in the general civic and industrial affairs of this section of the state, is a native of the kingdom of Norway but has been a resident of Minnesota since he was three years of age and of Grant county since the year 1872, having consequently been a witness to and a participant in the wonderful development of this region since pioneer days hereabout. He was born at Sigdal, in Norway, July 16, 1866, son of Anders O. and Gunhild (Ramstad) Pikop, natives of that same district, who came to Minnesota in 1869 and after a brief residence in Houston county came over to this part of the state, among the pioneers of Grant county, and settled on a homestead farm in Elbow Lake township, where Anders O. Pikop died in the summer of 1901 and where his widow is still living.

Anders O. Pikop was born in Sigdal on July 1, 1835, son of Ole and Gunhild Pikop, the former a native of Numdal and the latter of Sigdal, who made their home in Sigdal, where Ole Pikop died, his widow later coming to Minnesota with her son, Anders, spending her last days in Houston county, where she is buried. Anders O. Pikop grew to manhood on a farm in Sigdal and there married Gunhild Ramstad, who was born on September 12, 1844, daughter of Haakon and Ingeborg Ramstad, natives of Sigdal, who moved to Numdal and there lived until 1873, in which year they came to America with their son, Helge, coming directly to Minnesota and settling in Grant county, making their home with their son, Helge, until the latter's death in 1886, after which they became members of the household of their daughter, Mrs. Pikop, where their last days were spent and both are buried in the cemetery in Sanford township. After their marriage Anders O. Pikop and his wife continued to make their home on a farm in their native land until 1869, in which year they came to the United States, proceeding on out to Minnesota and settling on a farm in Houston county, where they remained until 1872, when they moved over into Grant county by ox-team and settled in Elbow Lake township, Mr. Pikop homesteading a quarter of a section in section 22 of that township, where they established their home. Upon locating in Elbow Lake township, Mr. Pikop erected a log cabin on his homestead tract, the same occupying the site of the present comfortable Pikop home, and proceeded to break and develop his land. From the very beginning he was successful in his operations and presently became the owner of eighteen hundred acres of choice land, practically all of which was in one body, a good portion of which was fine pasture and hay land, on which he raised large herds of cattle. He made a specialty of small grain and often cultivated as much as one thousand acres of such crops, early becoming recognized as one of the most substantial farmers in this part of the state. Mr. Pikop was a Republican and gave his earnest attention to local civic affairs, but was not a seeker after public office. He was prominently identified with all movements having to do with the advancement of the material interests of his home community and was one of the leading stockholder in the Farmers Elevator Company at Elbow Lake. In the good works of the community he also took a warm interest and was one of the organizers of the United Lutheran church at Elbow Lake, of which he and his wife were active members, and in the affairs of which he took an active part until his death on June 4, 1901. His widow is still living, being now past seventy-two years of age. To them ten children were born, of whom the Hon. Ole A. Pikop is the eldest, the others being as follow: Ingeborg, who married P. T. Peterson and lives on a farm one-half mile north of the Pikop homestead: Haakon A., who lives about two miles southwest of the old home; Knute A., who lives two miles southwest; Gunhild, who died at the age of eighteen years; Andrew, who is still living on the old home place; Olaus, who lives about one and one-half miles southeast; Gena, who died at the age of eighteen months; Gena, who married Arthur Berglund and lives at Fergus Falls, this state, and Hattie, who married Iver Olson and lives in Elbow Lake township.

Ole A. Pikop, as noted above, was only about six years old when his parents settled in Grant county and he grew to manhood on the homestead farm, receiving his schooling in the local schools. From the days of his youth he was a valued assistant in the work of developing the home place, and has ever remained there, since their father's death he and his brother, Andrew, managing the place, operating now about six hundred acres, engaging quite profitably in general farming and stock raising. In addition to his activities as a farmer, Mr. Pikop has long given close attention to local business affairs and is a director of the First National Bank at Elbow Lake and of the Farmers Elevator Company at the same place. He is a member of the United Lutheran church and gives proper attention to the general good works of his home community.

Representative Pikop is a Republican and for years has taken an active interest in local civic affairs. For some time he served as chairman of the board of supervisors for Elbow Lake township and in 1914 was elected representative from the fifty-seventh legislative district to the Minnesota General Assembly and in the campaign of 1916 was the nominee of his party for re-election. During his service in the Legislature, Representative Pikop served on the following important committees : Public accounts and expenditures, state hospitals, villages, agriculture and horticulture, public domain and the state school at Owatonna, giving his most thoughtful and intelligent attention to the public service in that connection. He is recognized as one of the most forceful and influential factors in the common life of this section of the state and is held in high regard throughout the entire district.


Nils S. Skinnemoen

Nils S. Skinnemoen, one of the best-known and most progressive farmers of Grant county, proprietor of a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres in Stony Brook township, vice-president of the Farmers Elevator and Supply Company of Wendell, a stockholder in the Wendell State Bank and otherwise interested in the general business affairs of his home community, is a native son of Grant county and has lived there all his life He was born on the old Skinnemoen homestead farm in Stony Brook township. April 30, 1875, son of Stener S. Skinnemoen and wife, early settlers of that part of the county, who are still living on the place on which they settled back in pioneer days and a biographical sketch of whom, presented elsewhere in this volume, gives further details of their experiences upon coming here in the early days of the settlement of this part of the state.

Reared on the old home farm, Nils S. Skinnemoen received his elementary schooling in the schools of his home township and supplemented the same by a course in the Park Region Lutheran College at Fergus Falls, after which he returned to the home farm and remained there, a valued assistant to his father in the labors of developing the old homestead place, until 1902 when he started out farming on his own account, in the meantime having become the owner of a farm of two hundred and forty acres one-half mile north of the home place. In the summer of the next year, 1903, he married and established his home on his place, putting on modern buildings and gradually developing a fine farm plant that is recognized as one of the most complete in that part of the county. Mr. Skinnemoen is developing a herd of Shorthorn cattle and is making a specialty of the cultivation of alfalfa and also of red-clover seed, the latter of which he sends to experiment stations and seed houses. In addition to his general farming and stock raising, Mr. Skinnemoen gives considerable attention to local business affairs of one sort and another and is a director and vice-president of the Farmers Elevator and Supply Company of Wendell and a stockholder in the Wendell State Bank. In his political affiliation he is a Republican and for five years served as township supervisor and for thirteen years as treasurer of his school district. In 1910 Mr. Skinnemoen erected a fine new, modern dwelling on his farm and he and his family are very comfortably and very pleasantly situated.

On July 1, 1903, Nils S. Skinnemoen was united in marriage to Ida C. Lillemoen, daughter of H. G. Lillemoen and wife, early settlers of Grant county, and to this union three children have been born, Selmer, born on Mav 3, 1904; Kenneth, July 22, 1908, and Irene, October 24, 1912. Mr. and Mrs. Skinnemoen are members of the United Lutheran church in the various beneficences of which they take a warm interest, and Mr. Skinnemoen served as a member of the board of trustees of the same for six years.


Charles A. Smith
Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal, 1897 – transcribed by AJ

Charles A. Smith is a good sample of what a resolute, industrious, intelligent boy, unaided by fortune or friends, can accomplish in commercial life in the Northwest. He is the son of a soldier in the regular army of Sweden, and was born December 11th, 1852, in the County of Ostergottland, Sweden. After thirty-three years service in the army, his father, in the spring of 1867, left Sweden with Charles and an elder sister and came to America, arriving in Minneapolis on the 28th of June. Two older brothers had already preceded them and were located here. Charles' education commenced in a small country school in Sweden, where more importance was attached to committing the catechism and Bible history to memory than to writing and the knowledge of mathematics. His first lessons in English were taken in a small log school house in Wright County. Shortly after his arrival in this city from the old country arrangements were made for him to make his home with a farmer living in the southern part of what is now the city of Minneapolis, near the Milwaukee railroad shops. He was to work for his board and clothing, and was employed chiefly in tending cattle. While this employed on the farm he picked a large quantity of hazelnuts, which he sold for seven dollars, loaning the money to his brother at ten per cent. This was the first money he had ever earned. He had made good use of his time also in study, and in the fall of 1872 he entered the State University with the intention of taking the regular course. He applied himself very closely to his studies and his health soon failed, so that he was obliged to leave school at the end of the first year. In 1873 he obtained employment in the general hardware store of J. S. Pillsbury & Co., of this city, where he continued for five years. He, the, in the fall of 1878, with the assistance of ex-Gov. Pillsbury, built a grain elevator at Herman, Minnesota, and under the name of C. A. Smith & Co. he continued the grain and lumber business there until July, 1834, when arrangements were made to begin the manufacturing and wholesaling of lumber in Minneapolis. He again took up his residence in this city, and the partnership with ex-Gov. Pillsbury was continued until 1893, at which time the C. A. Smith Lumber Company was incorporated, of which Mr. Smith is the president and general manager. In addition to the saw mill and lumber manufacturing business of this city, this company has the controlling interest in a number of retail lumber yards and general stores in different parts of the state and in North and South Dakota. Mr. Smith says the secret of his success has been adoption of Franklin's advice, which he learned with his first English lessons, viz., "To take care of the pennies, and the dollars will take care of themselves." He has tried to follow that advice ever since he sold his hazelnuts in the fall of 1867. But Mr. Smith's activities have not been confined to the firm, of which he is a member. He was one of the incorporators of the Swedish-American National Bank, the Security Savings and Loan Association, and other enterprises in this city and elsewhere. Like most Swedish Americans, Mr. Smith is a Republican in politics, and devotes as much attention to it as his business will permit. He has never held any officer or asked for any, but is prominent in the counsels of his party, having been a member of city, county, state and national conventions. He is a member of the English Lutheran Salem Congregation, of Minneapolis; one of its organizers and one of its trustees. He is also a member of the board of directors of the English Lutheran seminary, of Chicago, and is treasurer of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of the Northwest. He was married February 14th, 1878, to Johanna Anderson, a daughter of Olaf Anderson, who, after serving in the Swedish riksdag for a number of years, emigrated with his family to this country in 1857, and located in Carver county. Mr. Smith has five children, two boys and three girls, Nanna A., Addie J., Myrtle E., Vernon A. and Carroll W.

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