Mower County, Minnesota

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David Ames
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Marilyn Clore

AMES David Jackson, Minneapolis. Res 3105 Dupont av S, office 3003 Hennepin av. Manufacturer. Born June 19, 1848 in Orange Ind, son of Ezra and Phebe J (Metcalf) Ames. Married Mar 20, 1870 to Virginia C Rolfe. Attended country school near Austin Minn. Raised on a farm until 14 then worked in foundry and mach shop Austin Minn; purchased the business at the end of 2 years and continued same 9 years; sold out and managed manufacturing of machinery for McLaughlin, Sheblen & Co 4 years; organized the Owatonna Mnfg Co and was pres and mngr of same 11 years; sold out and moved to Minneapolis 1902. Has patented 20 kinds of machines since 1878; now owner and mngr of Ames Mfg Co Minneapolis.

Moses K. Armstrong
Minnesota Territorial Pioneers - Biographical Sketches of Territorial Pioneers (1901) Contributed by Jo Ann Scott

Moses K. Armstrong, was born Sept. 20, 1832, in Milan, Ohio, and emigrated to Minnesota territory in 1855. He was the first surveyor of Mower County, Minn., and wrote its early history. In 1857 he was appointed a United States land surveyor in southwestern Minnesota, and in 1858 was a delegate to the first state convention, which nominated Henry Sibley for governor. He is a well known pioneer writer, and is author of the 'Early History of Dakota Territory in 1866," and of the recent illustrated work entitled, "Early Empire Builders of the Great West."

The American Biographer speaks of him as follows:
"The historical and descriptive writings of Moses K. Armstrong are a credit to American literature. His admirable pioneer sketches cover a long period of frontier life, dating back to the time when he left his native college at the age of eighteen, and turned his youthful eye to the Great West, with no fortune to guide him but the prayers and tears of a kind mother and her parting words of hope for the future. He arrived on the banks of the Mississippi as a pioneer land surveyor, with his compass on his back, alone and friendless, before the day of western railroads. He crossed that great river and traveled on foot through northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, surveying land claims for early settlers. From here he afterwards pushed westward, with ox team, crossing Dakota to the Missouri river, where he passed several years in the Indian country, staking out land claims for the venturesome pioneers. "He has passed through the periods of pioneer surveyor, historian, legislator, and congressman, and has stored his mind with useful knowledge. He is a pioneer who is an honor to himself and a credit to mankind."

Clarendon Dwight Belden
Source: Progressive Men of Minnesota, (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853–ed.) Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Clarendon Dwight Belden, of Austin, Minnesota, was born at Fruit Hill, just north of Providence, Rhode Island, May 3, 1848. His father, Stanton Belden, was born and reared in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, and graduated at Yale College in the class of 1833, and his professional life of thirty-five years was spent as principal of the Fruit Hill Classical Institute. Stanton Belden's mother was Prudence Sholes, of Groton, Connecticut, and her father, Nathan Sholes, a Revolutionary soldier, was killed while defending Fort Griswold. The mother of Clarendon Dwight Belden was Antoinette Percival Manchester, of Fall River, Massachusetts, and on the Manchester side, the family lineage is traced back four or five generations directly to Benjamin Church, 1639 to 1718, who served in King Philip's war, and commanded the party by which the chief was slain. Clarendon Dwight Belden was reared on a small, ten-acre fruit farm, which surrounded his father's academy grounds. He was educated in his father's school, and at Lyons University grammar school, Providence. He entered Brown University in 1864 and took a full classical course, graduating with the class of 1868, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and subsequently received the degree of Master of Arts. He was a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, and also of the Phi Beta Kappa. For the next three years he was the principal of a New England graded village school. In 1871 he entered the Crozer Theological Seminary at Upland, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1874, and was ordained in May 1874, by a council called by the Memorial Baptist church of Philadelphia. In the fall of 1874 he came west, settling as pastor in Austin, Minnesota. He had a very successful pastorate of seven and a half years, and resigned to take the position of Superintendent of Schools of Mower County, to which he was elected in November 1881. He held this position until January 1891, and in that period brought the district schools of the county to a good graded system. One year he was president of the Minnesota County Superintendents Association. In October 1891, he took charge of the Baptist church in Windom, Cottonwood County, Minnesota, remaining one year, during which time, their new meeting house was completed and dedicated, and a heavy debt raised. Returning to Austin in October 1892, he became associate editor of the Slower County Transcript, one of the leading Republican newspapers of Southern Minnesota, and in October 1893, purchased a half interest in that paper, which he now owns, and to which he gives a large share of his time. Mr. Belden has always been greatly interested in educational work and has been clerk of the Austin Board of Education, and on the examining board for a number of years. He was one of the organizers of the Austin Co-operative Creamery Association in 1893, and continues as its general manager. During all these years he has regularly engaged in ministerial work as opportunity afforded, and has been in close relations with the Baptist denomination of Minnesota. He was married on June 27, 1877, to Mrs. Francelia L. Crandall, of Austin, and has one daughter, Antoinette Griffith Belden, born June 24, 1882. Mr. Belden has been a frequent contributor to the religious and secular press for the past twenty years. He has taken especial interest in nonpartisan municipal reform and in the movement for good citizenship. .Since devoting his time largely to newspaper work he has taken great interest in editorial associational work, and is at present, in 1896, the Minnesota member of the executive committee of the National Editorial Association. He is an enthusiastic Royal Arch Mason and past chancellor commander in the Knights of Pythias.

W. J. Boynton
Source: Mower County Transcript (Lansing, MN) Nov. 21, 1900, page 2; submitted by Robin Line.

Moves to Dexter.
From Rochester Post.

W. J. Boynton of Shropshire sheep fame, has moved to Dexter, Minn. By the end of this week the immense flock of sheep and the household effects will all be at the new sheep farm.

As a result of Mr. Boynton's departure, Olmsted county loses one of her oldest and most progressive business men; one who for 25 years has been engaged in business here, and of late years has carried on a remarkable business in sheep.

Mr. Boynton came to Olmsted county when a boy, and received his early education in the Rochester school. In 1878 he took charge of Albert Harrington's farm, or at least helped conduct the same until 1884, when Mr. Harrington founded what was known as the Zumbro Valley stock farm. Mr. Boynton took an active part in the management of this place. A large heard of Holstein cattle was bought and placed on the farm, and an extensive business was conducted. In 1891 Mr. Harrington sold his interest to Mr. Boynton, and the latter sold the cattle and began raising Shropshire sheep. He devoted his entire attention to this business and began breeding and importing this kind of sheep on a large scale. The flock has been rapidly increased, and the amount of business transacted has been correspondingly augmented until Mr. Boynton has become widely known as a sheep raiser. His sheep have carried off many premiums at fairs both in Minnesota and Iowa. The success which has attended his efforts has been remarkable, and it is safe to say that he now carries on the greatest retail trade in Shropshire sheep of any man in the United States. Taking this fact into consideration, it is not to be marveled at that Rochester and Olmsted county people regret to see this great sheep industry removed from this section. It was a distinction of which we have been justly proud. But the business has grown to such an extent that Mr. Boynton has found it necessary to seek a better location, where superior railroad and shipping facilities exist. Additional help in the management of the business is required, and therefore at Dexter Mr. Boynton's son-in-law, E.A. Welsh, will assist him.

At this new location Messrs. Boynton & Welsh will have one of the largest farms in the state, and will be situated only one mile from Dexter, which is on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul R'y, and also one mile from Sutton, which is on the Chicago Great Western. Two large barns have been built on the farm during the past summer, and all arrangements made for taking care of an immense flock of sheep. No expense will be spared to make the new sheep farm the best in the country, and the sheep with which it will be stocked will be pure Shropshire's.

Mr. Boynton leaves his old home where carrying with him the respect and esteem of all who have known or dealt with him. He has established a business reputation that is of the best character, and many are the expressions of regret which have been heard since the news was made known of his intended departure. He also takes with him the best wishes of everyone for success and prosperity in his new location. The Post and Record joins heartily in these wishes.

George S. Burnham
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Renae Donaldson

BURNHAM George S, Austin. Public official. Born May 29, 1854 in Dodge county Wis, son of E M and Caroline Burnham. Married to Marian L Gleason. Educated in the public schools. Engaged as telegram opr 5 years; railway locomotive machinist 18 years; banker 5 years. Now clk of dist court Mower county.

William A. Clement
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Liz Dellinger

CLEMENT William A. Waseca. Editor and publisher. Born Feb 13, 1870 in Waseca County Minn. Son of Henry S and Nellie (Wilcox) Clement. Married in 1898 to Hilda C Ranke of Waseca Minn. Educated in the public and high schools Waseca Minn graduating in 1889. Located in Waterville Minn and learned printer’s trade; worked in printing office in Albert Lea, Austin and Lake Benton 1889-94; purchased Annandale (Minn) Post 1894 and published same 1 year; worked at Ellendale N D for short period; returned to Waseca 1885 and was employed at his trade; purchased half interest in Waseca Journal and conducted same under firm name of W A Clement & Co which was succeeded by the Waseca Journal-Radical Ptg Co. of which he became mngr. merging the Journal and Radical newspapers. Purchased entire stock of this company and has been sole owner and publisher to date. Served for 3 years in M N G. Member State Editorial Assn; commercial Club; Masonic Fraternity and K O T M.

Frank I. Crane
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Liz Dellinger

CRANE Frank I, Austin. Lumber and banking. Born Sept 26, 1848 in Sharon Center O, son of William A and Laura (Chatfield) Crane. Married March 4, 1880 to Sylvia Pettibone. Educated in district school and academy in Ohio; public schools Austin Minn 1860-68; commercial college Minneapolis 1871. Surveyor N P lands 1871-72; mngr retail lumber business 1873-76; retail lumber business in Austin 1876 to date. Owner and mngr Lansing (Minn) Lumber Co; London (Minn) Lumber Co; Gordonsville (Minn) Lumber Co; part owner Minn Lumber Co Albert Lea and Ellendale (Minn) Lumber Co; pres Austin National Bank. Mayor of Austin 3 terms. Member Austin Progressive League.

John Frank
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Anna Parks

FRANK John, Le Roy. Farmer. Born Feb 13, 1834 in Germany. Married July 9, 1856. Educated in public and high schools and graduated 1848. Came to U S 1854; to Mower county Minn 1855 where he took up claim of 160 acres. Sutler and postmaster Fort Snelling 1868-78; returned to Mower county farm and has been engaged in its cultivation to date; it now comprises 2100 acres. Member Minn Legislature 1881-82; pres First National Bank of Le Roy. Enlisted in 4th Regt Minn Vol 1861 and served in Civil War until 1865.

John J. Furlong
Source: Progressive Men of Minnesota, (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853–ed.) Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

There are few happier and more comfortable conditions of life than those enjoyed by the prosperous Southern Minnesota farmer. That section of the state contains a great many men successful in agriculture, but probably none who have made a greater success and have more to show for their efforts in the way of a fruitful and well-appointed farm than John J. Furlong, of Mower County. His farm is three miles east of Austin, and one of the most attractive establishments of the kind in the whole state. Mr. Furlong is the youngest son of William and Sarah Furlong, and was born February 2, 1849, in Tipperary, Ireland. He came to America with his parents when three years old. His father preempted a quarter section of the present farm in the fall of 1856, and in the following spring moved his family into the little log house which still stands on the farm as a monument of the past. John's education was begun in the district schools and continued in the high school of Austin. He grew up on the farm and adopted farming as his business; succeeded to the ancestral estate, which he greatly enlarged, and came to enjoy an enviable reputation among all his neighbors, both as a business man and as a citizen. Naturally of an active and progressive temperament he became interested in politics in 1886, and was nominated by the Democrats as representative to the legislature. He was elected in a district that had always been largely Republican, and in his first term in the house caused his ability to be recognized and did good work on the floor of the house, and as a member of the committees on grain and warehouse, elections and towns and counties. In 1890 he was nominated by the Alliance party, endorsed by the Democrats and elected. In the session of 1891 he was the leading candidate of his party for speaker, and would probably have been chosen had he forced the issue; but to secure harmony between the Alliance and the Democracy he withdrew his name. He was, however, elected speaker pro tem and filled the chair for a considerable portion of the session during the illness of Speaker Champlin. He was at this session chairman of the most important committee of the house, the judiciary; also chairman of the committee on flax fibre and twine. In 1892 Mr. Furlong was again nominated by the Democrats to the legislature, and elected. He was re-elected in 1894, although only by the narrow margin of three votes. His Republican opponent contested the election, but Mr. Furlong retained his seat after a protracted contest. He has long been an active member of the Farmers Alliance; has held official positions in the local and national organizations, and is now treasurer of the national body. He has been active in securing cheap and reliable insurance for farmers, being one of the organizers of the Mower County Mutual Fire and Hail Insurance Company, and was for many years its president. He is also president for the state of the Alliance Hail and Cyclone Mutual Insurance Company. He was president of the Mower County Agricultural Society for five years, and placed that society on a substantial financial basis. In 1891 he was elected a director of the State Agricultural Society; was superintendent of the dairy department, and later superintendent of agriculture. He was one of the board of World's Fair managers for the state, and treasurer of the board. These facts go to show that Mr. Furlong has led an active life, and that his ability has been much sought after and employed in the public interest. He was married May 25, 1881, to Miss Agnes Ryan. They have four children: William, May, Charles and Loretta. Mr. and Mrs. Furlong are noted for their generous hospitality, and take great pleasure in entertaining their friends at their beautiful home.

George A. Hormel
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Nancy Overlander

Hormel, George A, Austin. Pork packer. Born Dec 4, 1860 in Buffalo NY, son of John G and Susan (Decker) Hormel. Married to Lillian B Gleason. Educated in Ohio public schools until 1874. First worked in father’s sheepskin tannery Toledo, then in planning mill and in Wabash railroad shops; moved to Chicago and engaged in butcher trade 1876-79; represented N N DuBois hides and wool Kansas and Missouri territory in Kansas City 1 year; purchasing hides and wool in Iowa for Oberne, Hosick & Co Chicago 1880-87; in butcher business under name of Friedrich & Hormel Austin Minn 1887-92’ reopened business as Geo A Hormel Co pork packers and provision dealers and incorporated 1901, of which company he is pres and gen mngr. Member Masonic fraternity.

Dr. Charles Harcourt Johnson
Source: Progressive Men of Minnesota, (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853–ed.) Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Dr. Charles Harcourt Johnson, of Austin, Minnesota, is a Canadian by birth. He was born in the county of Leeds, Ontario, on January 16, 1858. His early education was obtained at Almonte, Ontario, and he later took a course in the Collegiate Institute of that place under the direction of the principal, P. C. McGregor, one of the best masters in eastern Ontario. After leaving school Dr. Johnson entered McGill University at Montreal for the medical course and graduated in 1884. In June of that year he came to Austin, Minnesota, and at once stepped into a good practice. Since then he has made rapid advances and is said to have the most extensive and lucrative practice in southern Minnesota. Though still a young man he has already attained a rank in the profession which insures him frequent calls for important consultations. For the past three years he has been chief surgeon for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad at Austin, which is the end of five divisions of the line. In the spring of 1895 Dr. Johnson was appointed president of the Pension Examining board at Austin. He has, however, been obliged to resign this position on account of press of other work. Though so much absorbed in the practice of his profession, Dr. Johnson has found some time for attention to politics, and has long been prominent in the counsels of his party – the Democratic – at Austin and in that vicinity. For the past four years he has been mayor of Austin, receiving the office by a heavy vote at each election. During his term of service the sewer system of the city, the electric light plant, the overhead bridge, the extension of the water works system, new fire apparatus, high and other public school buildings, cement sidewalks and a new reservoir supplying artesian water are some of the things which Austin has acquired. The term of his service has been marked by continued progress and prosperity for the city. Besides the municipal works referred to, the city has acquired new brick works, cement works and a flax mill. Dr. Johnson comes of a family of physicians. Two of his brothers are in the medical profession. In personal character Dr. Johnson is companionable and generous, and his charities are well known. He has his offices in a fine suite of rooms in the center of the town. They are equipped with everything needful for the practice of his profession, including a large library and plenty of apparatus. In religion Dr. Johnson is an Episcopalian. He belongs to the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, A. O. U. W. and Modern Woodmen of America.

Nathan Curtis Kingsley
Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal, 1897 – transcribed by AJ

Nathan Curtis Kingsley is a resident of Austin, Minn., where he is engaged in the practice of law. His father, Alonzo Kingsley, is a carpenter by trade, who enlisted in August, 1862, as a private soldier in the War of the Rebellion and served until the close of the war in the Fifteenth and Tenth Illinois Cavalry. Alonzo Kingsley was a lineal descendant of one of three brothers who emigrated from England in the early Colonial days and settled in Vermont, and his grand father, Wareham Kingsley, was a private soldier in the Revolutionary War. Alonzo Kingsley's wife was Marilla Cecelia Pierson, a direct descendant of Stephen Pierson, who emigrated from England in 1656 and settled at New Haven, Conn. The subject of this sketch was born at Sharon, Litchfield County, Conn., September 10, 1850. His family removed to Illinois not long afterward, and Nathan received his early education in the country district schools. His first money was earned as a farm laborer in La Salle County, Ill. In March, 1869, he came to Minnesota and was employed as a farm laborer near Chatfield. In 1870 he learned the miller's trade and worked at that business in Olmsted County until 1874, when he went to Rushford, Minn., continuing his trade there until February, 1877. While working as a miller he began the study of law, and in November, 1876, was admitted to the bar, though he did not give up his trade until some time afterward. In February, 1877, he formed a partnership for the practice of law with C. N. Enos, under the firm name of Enos & Kingsley, and opened an office at Rushford, where he remained until December, 1878. He then dissolved the partnership with Mr. Enos and removed to Chatfield, where he formed a partnership with R. A. Case. He continued the practice of law at Chatfield until April, 1887, when he removed to Austin, where he now resides. While a resident of Fillmore County, in 1880 he was elected country attorney, and in 1882 was re-elected. Although solicited to accept a renomination in 1884 he declined to be a candidate. After dissolving partnership with Mr. Case he formed a partnership with R. E. Shepherd, which association still continues. From June, 1879, until his removal from Chatfield, he was president of the board of education of that town. Mr. Kingsley has been identified with considerable very important litigation and has been instrumental in establishing some important principles of law. Among other things the fact that a bank certificate of deposit in the ordinary form is, in substance and legal effect, a promissory note, and that no demand is necessary in order to set the statute of limitations running against it (Mitchell vs. Easton, 37 Minn. 335); also that the legislature may provide for constructive service of process sin actions to determine adverse claims to real estate where personal service is impracticable, and may clothe the district court with power to adjudicate the title and ownership of real property upon such constructive service (Shepard vs. Ware, 46 Minn., 174); also that Chapter 196, of the Law of 1887, relating to the sale of foreign-grown nursery stock in Minnesota, is in violation of the constitution of the United States, as being an attempt to regulate commerce among the states and depriving citizens of other states of the privileges and immunities of citizens of this state. Mr. Kingsley is a Republican in politics, and has taken an active part in public affairs for the last fifteen years. For four years he was a member-at-large of the State Republican Central Committee, and of the executive committee of that body. He has been delegate to nearly all the state conventions for the last ten years, and to nearly all other conventions in which his county has been interested. He has been a Free Mason for nearly twenty-four years, and is a member of a number of lodges of that order; also of the A. O. U. W., the K. of P., the Elks and the Masonic Veterans' Association. He has also held important offices in the order of Masonry, and in 1886 was Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Minnesota. He is at present General Grand Royal Arch Captain of the G. G. R. A. C of the United States. He is a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. Mr. Kingsley was married January 14, 1873, to Miss Clara Smith, a native of New York. They have one child, Cora Marilla.

Darius F. Morgan
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

In February, 1854, Darius F. Morgan was born in Jackson County, Iowa. His paternal ancestors were New England farmers, who, emigrating from Wales about the middle of the last century, played a conspicuous part in the revolutionary struggle for liberty. By his mother, Ruth Duprey, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, he is descended from a French Huguenot family, which in early Colonial times fled from religious persecution at home to the hospitable shores of the new world. His father, Harley Morgan, was a native of Vergennes, Vermont, but in 1842 brought his family West to the Mississippi valley, settling first in Jackson County, and fourteen years later in Winneshiek County, Iowa, in which latter county young Morgan spent his boyhood and youth, and laid the foundation of a substantial education in the common schools. In 1876, until which time he had lived with his father, working on the farm in summer and going to school in the winter, he began to study law, and in the fall of 1877 he was admitted to the bar at Austin, Minnesota, which city had now been his home for almost a year, and where he had supported himself as a student, as a reporter in Judge Page's court. A year after admission to the bar he went to Albert Lea, where he formed a professional partnership with John A. Lovely, which lasted for ten years. In November, 1888, Mr. Morgan was elected to represent Freeborn County in the lower house of the legislature, and in the session of 1889 he was chairman of the committee on appropriations. In 1890 he removed to Minneapolis, where he formed a partnership in the law with W. H. Eustis, which lasted until Mr. Eustis' election as mayor of Minneapolis in November, 1892. May 1, 1893, the firm of Hale, Morgan & Montgomery was organized, and it became in a short time one of the strongest at the Hennepin bar. In 1894 Mr. Morgan was sent to the state senate from the Thirty-second District, comprising the Minneapolis Fifth and Sixth wards, for a term of four years. In the sessions of 1895 and 1897 he served with distinction as a member of the judiciary committee of the senate. In 1895, he was, in addition, the chairman of the finance committee. In 1897 he was chairman of the committee on corporations and a member of the committee on taxes and tax laws. These are among the most important committees of the senate. Mr. Morgan early became attached to the Republican party. His eloquence made him a power on the stump, and his good judgment and conservatism made him useful in party counsel. For almost eighteen years he was a member of county and state central committees. For two sessions of the legislature he has been one of the leading members of the senate, and few men in the state are more widely or more favorably known. In 1876 Mr. Morgan was married to Ella M. Hayward, of Waukon, Iowa, and a son and two daughters were born of the union. In March, 1893, Mrs. Morgan died, and after almost three years had passed by, Mr. Morgan married again. The president Mrs. Morgan was Mrs. Lizette F. Davis, of Auburn, New York, Senator Morgan belongs to but one secret society, the Elks. He attends Gethsemane Episcopal church with his family.

Halvor Steenerson
Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal, 1897 – transcribed by AJ

The people of Thelemarken, Norway, are mountaineers, and are noted for their great stature and physical strength. Halvor Steenerson, of Crookston, Minnesota, is a descendant of that sturdy people. His father, Steener Knudson, was a schoolmaster in Hvidseid, Thelemarken, who afterwards became a farmer. He bought the estate in Silgjord commonly called "Meaas," and was usually known among his countrymen as Steener Meaas. He came to the United States with his family in 1851 and settled in Dane County, Wisconsin. Two years later he moved to Houston County, Minnesota, and was one of the earliest pioneers in that section. When the war broke out he enlisted in Company K, Eleventh Minnesota infantry, and offered his services to his adopted country. In 1875 he removed to Polk County, where he died in 1881. He was active in public affairs and held many positions of trust. He was an active member of the Lutheran Church, and helped to organize the first congregations in Houston and Fillmore counties. His wife's maiden name was Bergith Roholt, a daughter of Leif Roholt, in Hvidseid, Thelemarken, Norway. Roholt is a large estate and has been held in the same family for generations. The subject of this sketch was born on a farm in the town of Pleasant Springs, Dane County, Wisconsin, June 30, 1852. He attended the country schools of Sheldon, Houston County, after the family came to this state, and the high school at Rushford. While teaching school, which profession he followed for the most part in 1871, '72, '73 and '74, he began the study of law. After he quit teaching he entered a law office in Austin, Minnesota, and read law there for two years. He then went to the Union College of Law at Chicago and took the course there until June, 1878, when he was admitted to the bar in the supreme court of Illinois. He returned to Austin late in September, 1878, was admitted to the bar of Minnesota, and opened a law office on his own account in October, 1878, at Lanesboro. He practiced successfully there until 1880, at which time he moved to Crookston, Minnesota, his parents and five of his brothers having settled there several years before. Mr. Steenerson speedily built up a lucrative practice and was elected county attorney, which office he filled for two years. He was elected to the state senate and served in the sessions of 1883 and 1885. Mr. Steenerson's position in the state, especially among his own countrymen, has become an influential one. He has been very successful as a lawyer. Perhaps the most important litigation which Mr. Steenerson has conducted was the application made before the railroad and warehouse commission, in behalf of his brother Elias, for a reduction in grain rates from the Red River Valley to Minneapolis and other markets. The application was granted by the railroad commissioners, but was appealed to the supreme court by the railroad company and is still unsettled. It is a case of great importance to the farmers and business men of the Red River Valley, and the effort to secure a reduction in rates attracted wide attention. The case involves the question of the power of the state through a commission to regulate and fix charges for railroad transportation. Mr. Steenerson is a Republican, but besides the offices already indicated, has never held any political position except that of delegate to state and national conventions. He sat in the Republican national conventions of 1884 and 1888. He was one of the framers and active promoters of the railroad legislation of the state at the session of 1885, and aided in drafting the law which created the railroad and warehouse commission and which has formed the basis of all legislation of that kind since. Mr. Steenerson is a member of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod church, and was married in 1878 to Miss Mary Christofferson. They had two children living, Clara N. and Benjamin G.

Samuel Sweningsen
Source: Progressive Men of Minnesota, (Shutter, Marion Daniel, 1853–ed.) Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Journal (1897) transcribed by Vicki Bryan

Samuel Sweningsen – The people of Mower County have shown their esteem for Samuel Sweningsen by retaining him in office longer probably than has ever been done before in the case of any county officer in the state. Mr. Sweningsen is of Norwegian descent, his father, Mogens Sweningsen, and his mother, Mary Halversen (Sweningsen), both natives of Norway, came to this country in 1846. Mogens settled in the town of Howard, Illinois, now Durand, where he has continued to reside ever since. His occupation in Norway had been that of a carpenter and builder, but he engaged in farming when he came to this country, and that has been his occupation until compelled by old age to retire from active work. He then settled in the neighboring village of Durand, Illinois. His son, Samuel, was born June 29, 1849, at Laona, Winnebago County Illinois. He received an education in the common schools, Durand Seminary and Decorah, Iowa, Lutheran College. In 1871 he located in Minnesota. He was first employed on a farm near Zumbrota for two years, when he moved to Mower County. In 1875 he formed a partnership with Oscar N. Olberg, now of Albert Lea, and engaged in the general mercantile business. This firm operated at one time three stores, located at Rose Creek, Adams and Taopi, on the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad in Mower County. In 1880 this partnership was dissolved, and the following year Mr. Sweningsen located at Austin, He formed a partnership here with C. I. Johnson, in 1882, and engaged in the boot and shoe business. This partnership was dissolved in 1887, and disposing of his interest to Mr. Johnson, who still continued the business. Mr. Sweningsen engaged in the jewelry trade. Subsequently he took a partner by the name of Frederick E. Gleason. They are still conducting the business, under the firm name of Sweningsen & Gleason. Mr. Sweningsen is a Republican. He was appointed postmaster of Adams, Minnesota, by President Hayes in 1876. In 1881 he was elected clerk of the district court in Mower County, and re-elected in 1886 and 1890. He occupied the position continuously for thirteen years, and this is believed to be the only instance on record in Mower County where a county officer held a position continuously for that number of years. In 1890 he was nominated by the Republican party for representative, but he declined on account of being a candidate for clerk of court at the same time. In 1894, while still a clerk of the district court Mr. Sweningsen was nominated by the Republicans for state senator, was elected and served in the twenty-ninth session of the Minnesota legislature. His present term expires January 1, 1899. With the expiration of that term Mr. Sweningsen will have completed as county officer and representative seventeen years in the service of Mower County. He was married November 16, 1876, to Miss Margaret Carr. She was born in Dundee, Illinois, January 15, 1855. Mr. and Mrs. Sweningsen have three children, Stella May, Oliver, and William.

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