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Polk County, Minnesota


Biographies

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

ANDERSON CARL M, Crookston. Real estate and insurance. Born Mar 21, 1866 in Norway, son of A C and Ingeborg Anderson. Married Aug 18, 1902 to Helma P Christianson. Educated in private schools of Norway and graduated from Christiania Business College. Moved to Minn 1889 and was engaged as clk in real estate and insurance business until 1888; member of firm of Larsen & Anderson in same business 1888-95; with E H Hobe, Norwegian consul 4 years; sec Wheeler Land & Loan Co Crookston 1900 to date; dir Scandia American Bank.


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

BAGLEY Alfred M, Bemidji. Manufacturer. Born April 28, 1874 in Argyle Minn, son of Sumner C and Lydia Fernald. Married July 1896 to Flora E Vinal. Educated in public schools of Maine. Moved to Polk county Minn 1890; in lumber business 1890-97; livery business 1897-1906; sold out and is now pres Bemidji Handle Co; mnfrs wooden handles established 1905.


Levor A. Bjella
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota (1916) Submitted By: Cathy Danielson


Levor A. Bjella, a well known contractor and builder of McIntosh, is a native of Norway, where he was born March 31, 1876. He grew to manhood in his native land and came to the United States when nineteen years of age. He came directly to Minnesota and for two years was employed in farm labor in Norman county. In 1897 he entered the carpenter business and during the three years of his operations in that trade, became an efficient and successful workman. He located in McIntosh in July, 1900, and for two years was employed with his brother in black-smith work and then engaged in the contracting and building business and has since given his attention to his rapidly growing trade; his thorough technical training and business ability marking him as the leading contractor in McIntosh. Mr. Bjella is a member of the Synod Lutheran church. His marriage to Amelia Erickson occurred July 10, 1903, at McIntosh. She was born in Freeborn county, Minnesota, and is of Norwegian parentage. Mr. Bjella and his wife have six children, Anna, Oscar, Laura, Oliver, Kalmer, and Mabel.


William Egerton Black
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. Publ. 1907 Transcribed by Rhonda Hill

BLACK William Egerton, Crookston. Real estate collections and insurance. Born July 2, 1869 in Elmwood Ont, son of John and Mary (Kane) Black. Married Feb 2, 1895 to M E Carey. Educated in public and high schools; Elmwood graded schools and Owen Sound Collegiate Inst. Engaged in teaching school N D 4 years; in lumber woods near Fosston Minn; engaged in collection business Fosston Minn 1896-1905; moved to Crookston and continued same 1905 to date; propr W E Black’s Coll & Ins Agcy. Dep oil inspector Polk and Red Lake counties. City clk Fosston 5 years.


Harrison A. Bronson
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Renae Donaldson

BRONSON Harrison A, East Grand Forks. Lawyer. Born Nov 19, 1873 in Numica Mich, son of Charles H and Clementine F (Fowler) Bronson. Married June 18, 1901 to Alice LaChance. Attended high school Sauk Center 1889-90; graduated Univ of N D, A B 1894; A M 1895; U of M, LL B 1901. Was principal Baldwin Seminary St Paul 1898-99. Practiced law in St Paul 1901; East Grand Forks 1901 to date; member firm of Bronson & Collins. Lecturer on real property and municipal corporations law dept Univ of N D; author: Bronson’s Recitals on Municipal Bonds,” “Bronson’s Lwa of Fixtures,”Analysis Notes and Cases on Real Property.” Dir First State Bank East Grand Forks. Member Commercial Club, Fortnightly Club, Nat Geographic Society and N D Historical Society.


William T. Carlisle
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Renae Donaldson

CARLISLE William T, Crookston. Merchant. Born June 19, 1868 in Berrien Springs Mich, son of J L and M A (Fruitt) Carlisle. Married Dec 17, 1895 to Eliza H Bullock. Educated in common schools Greenville Mich and business college Aberdeen S D. engaged as clk in Aberdeen; moved to Ada Minn as mngr and buyer for Thorpe Bros & Co 8 years; city salesman for Finch, Smith & Co Crookston 4 years; later buyer and since 1905 member of firm of Finch, Winslow, Carlisle Co whol grocers. Dir Minot Grocery Co. Member Masonic fraternity and B P O E.


Thomas Casey
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Renae Donaldson

CASEY Thomas, Crookston. Educator. Born Oct 27, 1855 in Rochester N Y, son of Joseph and Matilda (Webb) Casey. Married in 1888 to Lily Freemire. Educated in high school Mich; graduated from Northern Indiana Normal School Valparaiso Ind B S 1882. First engaged as teacher and supt of Croswell (Mich) schools until 1883; moved to Crookston and was engaged as teacher and principal of Fisher State Graded School for 8 years; supt of schools at Red Lake Falls 5 years, during which time he was Instructor in Teachers’ Training School; Polk county supt of schools 1897 to date. Member Minn Educational Assn; Masonic fraternity and K of P.


Kelsey D. Chase
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Liz Dellinger 

CHASE Kelsey D. Faribault.  Born Dec 1, 1841 in Little Valley.  Cattaraugus county N Y son of Stillman and Wealthy a (Kelsey) Chase.  Married in 1868 to Isabelle E Gardner of Homer Onondaga county N Y.  Educated in public and private schools of Little Valley.  Moved to Rochester Minn 1860; served in civil war in 1862-65; moved to Owatonna Minn and engaged in mercantile business with brother A S Chase 1866-69; engaged in contracting and manufacturing 1869-72; moved to Duluth and was employed by the N P Ry co 1872-76; moved to Crookston Minn 1876 engaged in farming and contracting; constructed first dm across Red Lake river at Crookston.  Director for several years and still stockholder; moved to Faribault Minn 1887 and became associated with Leonidas and Alfred Merritt of Duluth in exploration of Missabe Iron dist. And connected with earlier iron organization which were developed and operated.  Among them the Mountain Iron Co.  Biwabik Iron co and several other companies operating on Missabe Range 1889-93; one of the organizers and builders of the D M & N Ry and was pres of same from organization until 1893; one of the organizers and pres of the Chase State Bank Faribault, and interested in many other financial enterprises.  Mayor of Faribault 1900-1901; member of commercial Club and Masonic fraternities.


Sidney Clarke
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Janice Louie

SIDNEY CLARKE, cashier of the Union National Bank, of Grand Forks, is one of the foremost business men of the Northwest, and was one of the founders of the institution with which he is now connected.
Mr. Clarke was born in Brooklyn, New York, May 31, 1854, and is a son of Henry and Ruth Clarke, who were both natives of England. They came to the United States in an early day, and the father died in Brooklyn. Our subject was educated in his native state, graduating from Colgate University in 1882. The same year he came to Crookston, Minnesota, and entered the employ of the First National Bank, rising step by step to the position of assistant cashier. He continued there until 1885, when, in company with Mr. Beecher, he organized the First National Bank of Park River, North Dakota, acting as cashier of the institution. He organized the state bank of Milton in 1887, being vice-president of the same. He came to Grand Forks in 1890, and became cashier of the Union National Bank, of which he was one of the organizers. He is one of the oldest bankers in this region and one of the most successful, passing through the panic of 1893, when many other banks were wrecked.
For some years Mr. Clarke has been a member of the State Bankers' Association, of which he is the secretary. He is a prominent member of the Baptist church, and was president of the state convention at one time, and is the present state treasurer of that denomination. He is active in literary circles and is a man of excellent education and enjoys a wide acquaintance throughout the state. Politically he is a Republican and is an earnest worker for the party principles, but does not seek public preferment.


David Tristram Collins
Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Liz Dellinger

COLLINS David Tristram. East Grand Forks. Lawyer. Born Jan 6, 1879 in Menasha Wis, son of Josiah Norris and Frances Jane (Kent) Collins. Educated in public schools Kaukauna, Wis and Gladstone Mich, graduating from Gladstone High School 1897. Took law and academic courses U of M. Read law in offices of Frank M Nye and Keith, Evans, Thompson & Fairchild; admitted to bar 1903; member of law firm Bronson & Collins 1903 to date. Stockholder First State Bank East Grand Forks.



CORLISS Family



Rev. J. B. A. Dale
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, 1916. - Submitted By: Cathy Danielson


Reverend J. B. A. Dale, pastor of the United Lutheran church at McIntosh, was born at Avue Bergen, Stift, Norway, June 29, 1854. He remained in his native land until his seventeenth year, coming to the United States in June, 1871. For several months he made his home in Columbus, Wisconsin and then located in Chicago, where he spent three years and then returned to Wisconsin, living for a time in Eau Claire. Being ambitious to secure an education and prepare himself for the ministry, in the fall of 1875 he went to Minneapolis and enrolled in the Augsburg Seminary. He completed a four years' course of study in that institution, meanwhile working during the vacation months and finding further employment as a teacher in parochial schools. He then attended the Normal school at Winona, Minnesota, during one winter and subsequently entered the University at Columbus, Ohio. In 1882 he became a student in the Red Wing Seminary and completed his studies in the following two years, receiving his degree in June, 1884. He was ordained in Lee county, Illinois, and his first pastorate was in Newman Grove, Nebraska; remaining with that congregation for some fourteen years. On leaving he came to Minnesota to accept the charge at Twin Valley in Norman county, where he served for six years. In July, 1904, he removed to McIntosh, as pastor of the United Lutheran church, with eight churches in Polk county in his circuit, which has since been divided into two pastorates. Mr. Dale has devoted his life to his ministerial labors and enjoys the high regard of his many warm friends through his faithful service during the many years spent as a leader in religious interests. He was married at Roland, Iowa, in July, 1882, to Julia Olson, who was born at Leland, Illinois, November 23, 1865. Fourteen children were born to this union, twelve of whom are living. Marcelius A. Dale died at McIntosh, in his twentieth year and the death of Melvin Dale occurred when he was fourteen years of age. The surviving children are, Jeanette, who married E. G. Schlanbusch; Caspar, Erwin, Christina, the wife of Reverend A. B. Hinderlie, Clara, Elnora, Andora, Ingeborg, Beatrice, Marcellus, Marguerite and Jens.

Charles E. Dampier
Source: Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Kim Mohler

DAMPIER Charles E, Crookston. Physician (R) and surgeon. Born June 5, 1854 in Waterloo Quebec Can, son of Edward and Charlotte M Dampier. Married twice: Aug 1, 1880 to Estelle E Carruth; June 5, 1899 to Emma R Fortier. Educated in district school; Elgin Academy 1871; Carleton College 1872; graduated from medical dept Univ of Mich 1878; located in Dell Rapids S D 1878 and engaged in practice of medicine and surgery; moved to Crookston 1879 and continued practice to date. Local surgeon G N R R 1882-1904; N P Ry 1890 to date; pension examining surgeon 1879-90; pres Board of Pension Examiners 1890 to date; health officer 1880-94 and 1906 to date. Member Am Medical Assn; Minn State Medical Society and ex-pres Red River Valley Medical Society; member of Masonic fraternity; K T and Shrine.


Peter J. Eide
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman
 

Born in 1878 of early pioneer parents, Peter J. Eide obtained his education at the public school and business college in Crookston.  At the age of 24 he established one of the most successful ice cream and confectionery stores in Crookston.  In 1903 he became a private in Company I, Third Minnesota National Guard and in due time rose to the rank of Captain.  He was instrumental in the establishment of the Crookston Armory through persistent efforts in the face of many discouragements and difficulties.


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

ELLINGTON Lewis, Crookston. Banker. Born Jan 1, 1850 in Norway, son of Lars and Sarah Ellington. Married June 26, 1873 to Jane Brown. Educated in common schools of Primrose Wis; and high school Forest City Ia. First engaged as clk in gen store Forest City Ia 1866; moved to Steele county Minn and engaged as clk in Blooming Prairie 4 years; engaged in gen merchandise business with partner 2 years; sold out and engaged in milling business 2 years; was burned out and started again in mercantile and insurance business; moved to Crookston and was asst cashr Scandia American Bank 1887-90; cashr 1880 to date. Pres State Bank of Erskine Minn; dir Citizens State Bank of Fertile Minn; treas and dir Maplebay Wind Stacker Co; v pres Wheeler Land & Loan Co; dir First Nat Bank Cass Lake. Member city council Crookston 3 terms; American Bankers Assn; Masonic fraternity; B P O E; K T.


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

FARLY Francis X, Crookston. Physician (R) and surgeon. Born Feb 4, 1844 in St Bartholomew Quebec Can, son of Francis X and Emilie (Denommee) Farly. Married twice: Jan 22, 1866 to Agatha Fiset and June 10, 1888 to Elenore Barbeau. Attended College de L’Assomption P Q for the full classical course 1857-64; graduated from Mich College of Medicine Detroit 1881. From graduation practiced 14 months at Trenton Mich; 18 months at Red Lake Falls; and in Crookston to date. Member Minn State and Red River Valley Medical societies.


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

FOSKETT Leslie D, Crookston. Banker. Born June 8, 1865 in Northfield Minn, son of Elmer C and celia M (Darrin) Foskett. Married July 26, 1905 to Bernice Addison. Educated in public schools Primghar Ia, Drake Univ Des Moines, graduating A B 1892. Deputy county auditor Primghar, deputy clk of courts Wellington Kas, in abstract and real estate business Marshall Minn 1898-1902; opened Bank of Crookston 1902. Member Masonic fraternity; B P O E; M W A.


Adolph Gustaf Gallasch
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Mr. Gallasch is cashier of the Northern Exchange Bank, of St. Paul. He was born at West Bend, Wisconsin. His father, Adolph Gallasch, was a miller by occupation, but only enjoyed moderate financial success. His mother, Amoene Wolfrom (Gallasch), was the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer, and a lady of many accomplishments. When Adolph was but six years old his parents migrated to the North Star state, locating at Winona. The boy received his early education in the common schools of that place, which was supplemented by a course at the St. Paul Business College. After leaving this institution, he secured a position as bookkeeper at Red Wing, with Mr. W. E. Hawkins. Here he remained for two years, when he accepted a similar position with C. Betcher & Co. He was with this firm for three years, when he removed to Crookston and engaged in the mercantile business, in partnership with John W. Hack, under the firm name of Hack & Gallasch. The firm enjoyed a prosperous business and continued successfully until 1889, when it was dissolved, Mr. Gallasch having in the meantime engaged in other business enterprises.
In 1887 he was appointed cashier in the Scandia American Bank at Crookston, which position he held until 1890, when he resigned, and was elected vice-president of the bank. He is now a director of this institution. In 1895 he was offered the cashiership of the Northern Exchange Bank, at St. Paul; this office he still holds. Mr. Gallasch is also president of the Polk County Bank, at Thief River Falls, Minnesota. In addition to his extensive banking interests, Mr. Gallasch is also interested in several other business enterprises, and is president of the Red River Valley Loan & Investment Company, of Crookston. Mr. Gallasch is comparatively a young man as yet, and the success which he has achieved in business is a convincing proof of his enterprising character and his abilities as a financier. The first money ever earned by Mr. Gallasch was as a bad picking hops; later working in the harvest field for two seasons. With the exercise, however, of economy, and conservative business methods in the investment of the money he had earned, Mr. Gallasch has attained a business success that promises much for the future. He is a Republican in politics, and while a resident of Crookston served as city treasurer for two terms. He is a member of the Crookston Lodge A. F. & A. M., and of the Commercial Club of St. Paul. His church affiliations are with the German Lutheran body. He is not married.


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 pape at Elbow lake; sold out and purchased the Banneret a weekly at Holton N D; changed name fo 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.


Halvor Holte
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907) Transcribed by Nancy Overlander

Holte, Halvor, Crookston. Physician and surgeon. Born July 11, 1857 in Stavanger Norway, son of Halvor H and Thurl (Selland) Holte. Married Sept 22, 1902 to Henrietta Lunde. Educated in Augsburg Seminary Minneapolis 1883-84; St Olaf’s College Northfield 1886-90; graduated from U of M medical dept M D 1893. Previous to college course was engaged in farming; has practiced medicine in Crookston since graduation. County physician; member Am Medical Assn; Minn State and Red River Valley Medical societies.


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

Holten, John, Fertile. General merchandise. Born Sept 18, 1849 in Sundalen Norway, son of John J and Sigrid (Haaven) Holten. Married July 3, 1892 to Elene Hoff. Engaged in farm implement business 1887 in partnership with C H Carlson at Fertile Minn under firm name of Holten & Carlson; bought out the business 1892 and added gen merchandise to business 1894; Carlson again entered partnership under the firm name of Holten & Carlson 1897 to date. Member Minnesota House of Representatives 1907.


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

ED. HOVERSON. (Beach), of the thirty-ninth legislative district, was born September 10, 1867, in Nodreland, Norway. Arrived in the United States in the spring of 1889 and came to North Dakota in the spring of 1892. Received his education in the public schools of Polk county, Minn., attended the Willmar, Minn. Seminary and graduated from Caton College, Minneapolis. Has been a member of the Beach city council for four years, and a member of the board of education for four years. Was elected to his present position in 1912 as a progressive republican. He is married and has nine children, six sons and three daughters. He has been engaged in the hardware and furniture business at Beach and Sentinel Butte for the past seven years.



Guner Husby

Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota (1916) Submitted By: Cathy Danielson

Gunner Husby, a retired farmer and well known citizen of King township, now residing at McIntosh, was born in Norway, April 13, 1852. He remained in his native land until thirty-one years of age, when he came to the United States and in the spring of 1882 took a homestead claim on section eight of King township in Polk county. He immediately engaged in the development of his land and devoted the efforts and interests of his successful farming career to this farm, building up one of the most prosperous properties of the section. In 1914, after many years of business activity, he sold the homestead and has since made his home at McIntosh. As one of the early settlers of the township he has been prominently identified with public affairs and has taken an active interest in the promotion of the general welfare. He has capably discharged the duties of various local offices to which he has been elected and has served as a member of the school board and township board. Mr. Husby is a member of the St. Johns Lutheran church. He was married in Norway, to Marit Haaven and they have seven children, Magnhild, Louis, Peter, John, Ingvar, Gertrude and Gottfried.

Morris Johnson
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Syndi Phillips

MORRIS JOHNSON, of the firm of Johnson & Wroolie, hardware and lumber merchants of Milton, North Dakota, is well known to the people of that locality. He is of foreign birth, but is thoroughly identified with American progress, and hold a high position in the minds of his associates.
Mr. Johnson was born in Norway, October 25, 1858, and was reared and educated in his native land, and remained there until 1880. He emigrated to America in the spring of that year, and was employed as clerk in a general store in Crookston, Minnesota, until 1885, when he went to Park River and engaged in the mercantile business with Simon A. Wroolie, under the firm name of Johnson & Wroolie, and the firm moved to Milton, in 1888, and have since conducted business in that thriving town with pronounced success.

Mr. Johnson was married in Grafton, North Dakota, to Miss Louise Arneson, a native of Norway also. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, named as follows: Stella, Eivend E., and an infant, unnamed. Mr. Johnson served as village treasurer of Milton two years, and is deservedly popular with the people among whom he resides.


Emil Jorgenson
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota (1916) Submitted By: Cathy Danielson

Emil Jorgenson, of McIntosh, local agent for the St. Anthony and Dakota Lumber Company, is a native of Polk county, born in Knute township, June 15, 1885, the son of Marcus and Hedda Jorgenson, natives of Norway, who settled in Polk county in 1884; the father becoming a well known farmer of the county, where they continue to make their home. Emil Jorgenson was reared on the Knute township homestead and received his education in the country schools. He remained on the farm until he was twenty-two years of age and then entered upon his commercial career, his first activity being in the lumber business and with the exception of two years spent in the employment of a telephone company, has continued to devote his attention to the lumber interests, where his ability and successful experience have won him rapid promotion and wide recognition. In July, 1913, he located in McIntosh, as the local manager for the St. Anthony & Dakota Lumber Co. Mr. Jorgenson is one of the progressive and enterprising business men and citizens of the town in which he lives and is actively interested in matters of public moment and in the promotion of the general welfare and growth. He is a member of the St. Johns Lutheran church.


Adolph A. Just
Source: Little Sketches of Big Folks in Minnesota. (Publ. 1907); transcribed by Nina Kramer

Crookston.  Physician (H) and surgeon.  Born Nov 23, 1885 in Theresa Wis, son of Carl and Helen (Warnecke) Just.  Married July 12, 1899 to Evelyn L Hall.  Educated in common schools Blue Earth county; State Normal School Mankato; graduated from Hahnemann Medical College Chicago 1881.  After graduation practiced 1 year in Good Thunder Minn; located in Crookston 1882 and has continued in practice to date.  Dir Workingmen’s B & L Assn; member Am Inst of Homeopathy; Minn State Homeopathy Inst; I O O F; M W A and K M.


Annie Colter Laschapelle
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman

The male animal is predominant in all accounts of early life in Crookston.  A search through pages of history and memoirs hardly turns up the name of one female considered important enough to have her life and activities recorded, even though she may have borne sixteen children, fought Indians, plowed a quarter section, and shot buffalo.

An example to the contrary, however, is Annie Colter Laschapelle, one of the earliest and pluckiest women settlers in Minnesota.  She arrived in St. Paul from New England in 1850.  She was the first woman to cross the Red Lake River (raft) and to have settled in this portion of the valley.  Annie was the widow of an army surgeon, a Dr. C. L. Vischar, who, upon his death, left her with money and property.  This she managed well, attending to her business herself, and battling her way in a man’s world.

In 1870 she married Pascal Laschapelle, and they moved to Ottertail Lake, where she financed and he ran a grocery and liquor business.  Here she held off drunken Indians and white marauders and won the respect and friendship of many indians, who, on one occasion, saved her life.

In June, 1872, she and her husband and nephew (Richard Hussey) came to Crookston and opened a boarding house for the railroad surveyors.  After an interval of hotel-keeping in Fisher’s Landing, she returned here and built the Lakeview Hotel, located where the old armory now stands.  It was called “Lakeview” because at the time there was a small lake behind it.

Mrs. Laschapelle was the great aunt of Robert and Everett Hussey.  At 60 she owned a block and a quarter of the city, plus six houses and two 160-acre farms.


Alexander McKinnon
Source: Progressive men of Minnesota. Published by The Minneapolis Journal (1897) submitted by Diana Heser Morse

Alexander McKinnon is a resident of Crookston, Minnesota, and engaged in the real estate and insurance business. He is the son of Archibald and Jennette McGillis McKinnon, both of whom were born in Scotland. They moved to American and settled on a farm in Ontario, Canada. Alexander McKinnon was born March 5, 1854, at Lancaster, Glengary County, Ontario, Canada. He only received a common school education, leaving school in his fourteenth year. He learned the trade of a blacksmith and the first money he ever earned was as head blacksmith in the shop of Wilson, Van Vlite & Co., a branch of Napp, Stout & Co., in Wilson, Wisconsin. He remained in this position from 1875 to 1877, working at a salary of seventy-five dollars per month and board. He then removed to Minnesota in 1878, residing in St. Paul for a time but finally locating permanently in Crookston in the fall 1878. He had seven hundred dollars in cash, which he had accumulated by his own industry and economical habits, and opened a small blacksmith shop on the site now occupied by the McKinnon block. He shortly afterwards associated with himself a younger brother, Allan J. McKinnon, and continued doing a very successful business. In May, 1880, Mr. McKinnon associated with himself another brother, J. R. McKinnon, in the business of manufacturing and the handling of farm implements. J. R. McKinnon is his present partner in business, the firm being known as McKinnon Bros. They are engaged in the real estate and insurance business. Mr. McKinnon's business career has been a very succesful one, considering that he has had to look out for himself since he was fourteen years of age. He is part owner of the property known as the McKinnon Block, in Crookston, a fine brick building, one hundred and twenty-five by one hundred and forty feet, built in 1887, and costing seventy-five thousand dollars. He also built and owns what is known as the I. O. O. F. Block, at a cost of forty thousand dollars in 1890. Mr. McKinnon also owns several hundred acres of land in Polk County, Minnesota. In politics Mr. McKinnon is a Democrat, and an active supporter of his party. In 1885 he was appointed postmaster at Crookston by President Cleveland, but resigned February 14, 1890. He was elected mayor of Crookston in April, 1890, and re-elected without opposition in April, 1891. He was also elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1892, and then chosen on the committee of permanent organization, representing the State of Minnesota. He was also nominated by the Democratic party for state senator from his district in 1890, but was not elected. He is a member of the Commercial Union of Crookston, and was president of the Northern Minnesota Agricultural Driving Association for two years Mr. McKinnon was married April 23, 1883, to Miss Catharine Macdonald, in Glengary County, Ontario. They have one child.


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

The mayor of the city of Crookston, Minnesota, is the man whose name stands at the head of this sketch. He was born in Inverness Shire, Scotland, September 13, 1851, the son of Archibald McKinnon and Jeanette McGillis (McKinnon), who a year or two later emigrated to Canada, settling on a farm at Lancaster, Glengarry County, Ontario, where they died in moderate financial circumstances. John R. McKinnon only had the advantages of a common school education, and resided on the farm until his removal to Michigan in 1867. He located at Crookston on May 15, 1880, two younger brothers having preceded him to this place, and entered into partnership with one of them, Alexander, in the manufacture of carriages and the handling of farm implements, under the firm name of McKinnon Bros., which partnership still continues. Mr. McKinnon has been quite successful in his business ventures. He is independent in his political convictions, but has been active in local affairs. For six years he served as a member of the school board, and in 1895 was elected mayor of Crookston for a term of one year. His church connections are with the Catholic Church. He was married June 24, 1874, to Hattie McDonald. They have had eight children, of whom only two are living, Margaret, fourteen years of age, and Hattie, six years of age.


Tom Morris
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman

Tom Morris - mayor of Crookston and pioneer businessman.  He formed a partnership with W.W. Houghton and established the first jewelry store in Crookston.  Morris was involved in the development and rapid expansion of Crookston and the formation of its first fire department in 1880, and served as fire chief until 1883.  He was state president of the Fire Fighters Association.  In 1881 he was elected alderman and in 1912, mayor.


W. G. Murphy
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman

Two men associated with the history of Minneapolis played major roles in the growth and development of Crookston.

The first was W. G. Murphy, a lawyer, who in 1880 began practicing in Grand Forks.  Within a couple of years he took over the Grand Forks “Plain Dealer” and made an influential newspaper out of it, as well as establishing a book bindery and job printing office.  His next venture was taking control of the G. F. gas company (after selling the newspaper), and this new field brought him to purchase the almost bankrupt Crookston Water Works, Power, and Light Company in 1890.  He rebuilt the plant entirely in 1892.  In 1898 he decided to install a central station steam heated power plant and in 1912 constructed a dam and water power five miles east of town.  (All this time he was living in Minneapolis and coming here about once a month.  In 1891 he had planned to return to law practice in New York but he then was asked to take charge of the business affairs of the Minneapolis Tribune, which was in financial straits.  Eventually he took complete control of the Tribune and was associated with it until his death.)


Reuben Reynolds
[Source: Encyclopedia of Biography of Minnesota, History of Minnesota by Judge Charles E. Flandreau, 1900, transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman]

The late Judge Reuben Reynolds, of Crookston, was a native of New York State, born at Covington, Genessee county, April 25, 1821. He was educated in the Empire State, and prepared for the ministry, being ordained in the Methodist-Episcopal faith. Subsequently, however, he preached for a number of years as an Unitarian. His residence in Minnesota dates from 1855, in which year he came to the State and located at Rochester, having meantime relinquished the clerical in favor of the legal profession. He resided in Rochester for fifteen years, during which time he served one term as clerk of the District Court and two terms as judge of the Probate Court of Olmstead county. During the Civil War he held, also, a public office connected with that of the provost marshal. In 1870 he came to northern Minnesota, locating at Alexandria, where he became associated in legal practice with Hon. Knute Nelson. In 1872 he took up his residence in Detroit, Becker county, having previously, and after leaving Alexandria, lived for a short time in Otter Tail county. In Detroit, where he remained for four years, he filled the post of receiver in the local United States land office. From Detroit he removed to Minneapolis, where he practiced his profession as one of the members of a law partnership, doing duty, also, as special judge of the municipal court. In 1879, having received from Judge Stearns the appointment of clerk of court for Folk county, he settled in Crookston, where he resided continuously for the remainder of his life. In connection with William M. Watts, Esq., Judge Reynolds practiced his profession for four years at Crookston, participating, it is said, in the trial of the first case ever decided by a District Court in the county. As soon as an associate justice was permitted for the district, he was appointed to that office, in which he was still serving when attacked by the painful disorder which eventually ended his life. His death occurred on March 8, 1889, after ten years of residence in Crookston. He was sixty-eight years of age at the time of his decease, and was lamented by the community at large, having been much appreciated for the abilities and virtues made manifest in every department of his active life. Always a loyal Republican, Judge Reynolds was a zealous and efficient campaigner during the many years of his residence in Minnesota. At the time of the Ku Klux "reign of terror" in Arkansas, the Judge, undaunted, pursued his stump work for General Grant even into the most perilous localities. He possessed the gift of ready speech, his style being simple and direct, but forceful and most convincing. To his tireless efforts, Hon. Knute Nelson, United States Senator from Minnesota, was largely indebted for his first election to Congress, Judge Reynolds being, in his case, actuated less by party sentiment than sincere regard for the character of the man. In behalf of early settlers in Polk county. Judge Reynolds labored disinterestedly in the matter of land indemnity; and to the cause of temperance, always and everywhere, he was a consecrated devotee. Judge Reynolds was eminently adapted to the judicial fund ion by the very order of his mentality, which was far-seeing, cautious, discriminating. He was an excellent judge; but he was more and better than a judge; he was a man of high ideals and earnest and true convictions. He lived upon a high plane, toiling for the good of the State, the Nation and humanity. In the year 1844, at La Monte, Michigan, Reuben Reynolds was married to Lucia A. Tucker, of Vermont. Eight children were born of their union, four of whom are now living. The two daughters are: Mrs. L. D. Daggett of San Antonio, Texas, and Mrs. Minnie Ellis, who resides in California. The two sons are George H. and Fred, both lawyers, the former at St. Cloud, the latter at Duluth, Minnesota.


Bernhard Sampson
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman
 

Bernhard Sampson homesteaded a claim on June 12, 1872, for 275 acres along the Red Lake River.  On this land he erected a log cabin, topped off with a sod roof that was considered to be one of the first in this part of the valley.  After the sawmill was built in 1880, Mr. Sampson built his family home to replace the log cabin, setting it on a high hill.  It was the first place weary travelers saw as they approached from the south. 

Many Indians camped in the area and frequented the farm to observe the family.  Several attempts were made to burn down the original log cabin dwelling.

The Sampson home hosted the first church services in the area and was the scene of baptism for the early settlers’ children.  A charter was drawn up in the log cabin on June 7, 1874, creating the Red Lake River Evangelical Lutheran Church.  This, and a group of other Lutheran churches, eventually merged, becoming the forerunner of the present Trinity Lutheran Church.

Because Bernhard Sampson owned railroad contracts in Ada, Crookston, and Fisher, he and James J. Hill worked closely together and from the first they formed a lasting friendship that benefitted Crookston for many years.  Some of the 275 acres of land Sampson homesteaded along the Red Lake River in 1872 had been donated to the railroad for a road bed, which helped to alter the railroad’s plans for a road bed east of Crookston.  Without the railroads in the late 1800’s, Crookston would not have had the greater advantage over other surrounding small communities and, therefore, no real opportunity to flourish as it did. 

Landmarks still on the original property include, to name a few, Glenmore, Riverview Hospital, and Eugene Field School.  He eventually owned approximately 900 acres, all of which surrounded Crookston, except for 252 owned near Lake Sarah and Union Lake.

The Sampson dairy farm produced much of the milk supply for the growing community. (A later Sampson business venture was the first flour mill in Crookston in 1881.)  When the Crookston Improvement Company was organized, about 1880, Sampson was chosen president because of his community involvement.

 In 1878 Mr. Sampson served as first clerk of district court for Polk County.  In 1880 he was elected a member of the Minnesota State Legislature and in 1885, to the State Senate.  Working hard to secure drainage in the area, he was publicly recognized for his efforts by James J. Hill at the Farmers’ Institute meeting, October 31. 1902, held to achieve support on the drainage issue.


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.

Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman

Halvor Steenerson arrived in Crooks ton in 1880 and within six months was elected county attorney. Two years later he was elected State Senator and was the youngest member of the Senate, serving on the Judiciary Committee. When his term ended in 1887, he devoted himself to general practice, and his reputation extended throughout the Northwest. In 1901 he was elected to the House of Representatives and was one of the most dedicated congressmen in areas of progressive legislation and liberal laws to aid pioneer settlers with their hardships.


Nathan P. Stone
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman
 

At the age of 41, Nathan P. Stone arrived in Crookston and in 1879 established himself as a merchant in the farm implement trade.  Nathan Stone served as alderman on Crookston’s city council for five terms, as a school board member and treasurer for two terms, and was also a member of the charter commission of the city.  In 1900 his two sons, William M. and Walter P. Stone, joined their father in partnership and conducted the business under the name of N. P. Stone & Co. at 3rd and Main for over 75 years.



John J. Vaatveit

Source: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, 1916) Submitted By: Cathy Danielson

John J. Vaatveit, a prominent merchant of McIntosh and well known citizen of King township, is a native of Norway, born in Village of Voss, on August 13, 1856. He was reared on a pioneer farm home in Dodge county, Minnesota, the family emigrating to the United States in spring of 1857, and spent his early manhood in Dodge county. In 1856 he went to Grand Forks, North Dakota, and began his career in the commercial world as a clerk in a general store. After spending seven years in that employment, he made his first independent venture in the mercantile business and for five years continued his successful operations, establishing a store at Northland, North Dakota, and was appointed the first postmaster at that place. In 1895 he sold his interests, resigned from the office of postmaster and transferred his attention to farming, removing to Polk county and buying a quarter section of land in King township, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits for some twelve years. In 1907 he resumed his commercial activities, opening a general store at McIntosh, where he has since conducted a prosperous and steadily growing trade. During the many years of his residence in King township, Mr. Vaatveit has won the respect and confidence of all his associates through his ability as a business man and his public spirited citizenship. He has been prominently associated with township affairs and has capably discharged the duties of various public offices, as chairman and member of the township board, a member of the school board of McIntosh and in several minor offices. He has been further identified with public interests as the president of the Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, serving for a term of nine years. He was married in Dodge county, Minnesota, to Martha Africk, who is a native of Norway and they have reared a family of four children, Engvold, George, Minnie, who is the wife of Oliver Henson, and Mabel. Mr. Vaatveit and his family are faithful supporters of the Synod Lutheran church and are actively identified with all its interests.

Thomas R. Walker
Source: Footprints of Yesterday, Crookston Centennial Committee (1978), No copyright notice; Transcribed by Fred Coleman

[Two men associated with the history of Minneapolis played major roles in the growth and development of Crookston. The first was W. G. Murphy (see separate biography)]

The second was Thomas B. Walker, a member of the United States surveying party. During his years in this work he helped survey and divide into townships much of this region. With other men as partners he began purchasing large areas of pine on the headwaters of the Red Lake and Clearwater rivers, beginning in 1880. He and his son, Gilbert, then established mills at Crookston and Grand Forks. Walker became one of the leading lumbermen of the U.S. Today his name is associated with the famous art center he established in Minneapolis. To Crookston he gave a thriving industry which operated for about 13 years and then was taken over by Shevlin-Carpenter, who ran it until late in the first decade of this century.


Simon A. Wroolie
Source: Compendium of History and Biography of North Dakota, Publ. 1900. Transcribed by Syndi Phillips 

SIMON A. WROOLIE, of the firm of Johnson & Wroolie, hardware and lumber merchants of Milton, North Dakota, is one of the wide-awake and successful business men of that locality. He has been identified with the financial growth of Milton and the country surrounding for many years, and is widely and favorably known as an able business man and citizen of true worth.

Our subject was born in Norway, October 8, 1854, and left his native country when a child with his parents and settled in Wisconsin. He assisted with the farm work in Dane county, that state, and after two years there removed to Faribault county, Minnesota, where he resided until 1882, in which year he removed to Crookston, Minnesota, and remained there until he came to Park River, North Dakota, in 1885. He was then engaged in the general merchandise business about three years, and then came to Milton in 1888 and began the mercantile business. He formed a partnership with Morris Johnson in Park River, and this partnership has continued to the present time. They are largely interested in the hardware and lumber trade, and also own about two sections of land in that region.

Mr. Wroolie was married in Milton, North Dakota, to Lena Taarud, a native of Pope county, Minnesota. Mrs. Wroolie died early in the '90s. One son was born to this union, named Vernon O. Mr. Wroolie was married in Milton, North Dakota, to Mrs. Bertha Hougan. Our subject is a gentleman of excellent executive ability and has prospered in his business pursuits, and in all matters of a public nature takes a hearty interest, and well merits his high standing.


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