Sunday, April 5, 2009
Henry (Olofsson) Norland was a brother to my great grandfather Olof (sometimes referred to as Ole or Ola) Norland. The narrative below was written by his grandson Howard.
Henry Norland - as compiled by Howard Norland
Henry (Heindrick Olofsson) came to America from Sweden in February 1868 with his brother, Ole. In the fall of 1878 the brothers came to Kittson County, Minnesota, where they settled on farms on the banks of the Two River.
In 1902, Henry moved with his family to a homestead in Manitou Township, Koochiching County, Minnesota. He later bought a farm in Canada. In addition to farming, Henry was a construction worker, and helped build the International Bridge at International Falls, Minnesota. He was fatally injured in 1920, when a team of horses he was driving was spooked by a car. The reins became tangled around the wagon axle, Henry fell off, and the horses backed up and sat on his chest. He died on September 22, 1920. (This information gathered from The History of Koochiching County, History of Kittson County, and recollections of Stella (Norland) Searles. All three brothers changed their last name to Norland, but the date and location of that change is not known.
CENSUS: 1880 census: T9, Roll 624, Pg 4, S.D. 3, E.D. 215, Line 36: Kittson
County, MN, Town 161, Range 47.
PROPERTY: Land records in the Koochiching County court house show that Henry homesteaded land in Sections 33 & 34, Town 160, Range 26, recorded 30 Dec 1901.
OBITUARY: From the Rainy River Record, Rainy River, Ontario, July 15, 1992,
quoting an article in the Rainy River Gazette of October 14, 1920.
HENRY NORLAND Brief mention was made last week of the death of Henry Norland, who died as the result of an accident on September 18th. Mr. Norland had been at work clearing on his son's homestead and was on his way home, when he was passed by a car driven by Norman Brown, manager of the bank at Rainy River. The horses were spirited and ran away after the car had passed, one of the reins caught around the hub and this wound around the wheel and threw one of the horses backwards and Mr. Norland forward, the horses stepped on Mr. Norland chest and afterwards fell on him. Mrs. Brown happened to look back and saw the accident and help was secured and the injured man was taken to Rainy River, where Dr. McBane attended to him, but his chest had been crushed in and he lingered along until shortly after midnight of the 21st. Mr. Norland was born at Oferborg, Sweden, on July 21, 1851, and came to this country in 1857. (Ed. Note: Should be 1867)
He was one of those sturdy pioneer who have made the great west and he kept up the work until the last. He was a linguist, speaking several languages and a recognized leader of men.
A member of the party under the noted Gen. Custer, who later with his troops was massacred by the Indians in 1876, he helped in making the survey for the Northern Pacific thru the Rocky Mountains in the early seventies. (He was) in charge of the construction of the Great Northern Railway bridge across the Red Lake River at Crookston.
Leaving the railway he went to work as general foreman for the Crookston Lumber Company and was with the Shevlin companies for years, during which time he constructed three large mills for that company, the mill at St. Hilaire, also the Rainy River Lumber Company mill at Rainy River and the first mill at this place. Besides he constructed the large dams in Thief and the Red Lake rivers near St. Hilaire and was (one) of the foremen on construction of the first paper mill at International Falls as well as on the Shevlin-Clarks mills at Fort Frances.
He was married in 1881 to Miss Carolina Stroberg, and he then moved to Crookston, where he served for two terms as county commissioner of Polk County. Those were the days of the (scrambled) and Mr. Norland was one of the leaders under the then world known Ignatius Donelly the Sage of Mininger. When Red Lake county was set off from Polk, Mr. Norland became the first sheriff of the county and served for two terms.
He took a homestead near Manitou in the Rainy River district in 1901 and lived there until he moved to Spooner in 1906, where the family lived until the fire of 1910, since which time they have lived on the Canadian side near Pinewood. At the time of his death he was serving as reeve of his community.
Quiet spoken he seldom told of his achievements, tho he was a lover of the frontier and hated the sham of modern civilization. Besides his wife, he is survived by the following sons and daughters, Mrs. Mittendorp(sic) and Carl of Manitou, Fred of Central, Otto and Stella of Pinewood, Oscar and John of Edgerton Alberta. One son, Edwin, lies in Flanders fields, where he fell while fighting with the Canadian boys.
The funeral was held on September 25th at Pinewood, Ontario, and he was
laid at rest in Longmore cemetery, a large floral offering from the Shevlin
companies thru Mr. Mathieu, testifying to the esteem in which he was held by
his former employers. The news of his passing is sad to many old personal and political friends all over the state, who sympathize with bereaved family. --NORTHERN NEWS.
GENERAL: The "Compendium of History and Biography" for Northern Minnesota, of 1902, mentions that Henry came to the area around Hallock in the spring of 1878. On 22 Aug 1879, he filed a homestead claim on the following property: S 1/2, NW 1/4, Sec. 1, T161, R49W and N 1/2, SW 1/4, Sec. 1, T161, R49W. (Thompson Township, Kittson County, MN).
CENSUS: 1900 Census: Rocksbury Township, Red Lake County, MN. SD#7, ED#330, SH5, Line 70. Lists Henry, Cary, Linnous, Johnnie, Freddie, Eddie and Stella. OIccupation listed as 'Farmer'. Also states that he owned the farm. This listing also shows Fred, Wilma, and Nina Turnquist, as well as Jonas and Carolina Stroberg. Wilma Turnquist was Henry's sister-in-law. Jonas and Carolina Stroberg were Henry's father-in-law and mother-in-law.
A half brother to my great grandfather was viewed by many as one of the original white settlers in Kittson County. Information about him is contained in the articles that follow.
Erik (Eriksson) Norland
The article below describes the journey of the Norland Brothers in the spring and fall of 1878 as they migrated from the Iowa - Southern Minnesota area to Kittson County, Minnesota.
From the "Compendium of History and Biography"
In the growth and development of Kittson County, Minnesota, the settlers of Swedish birth have played so prominent a part that much space is deservedly given them for a review of their lives in this volume, and it is a special pleasure to mention the first pioneer of the locality of that nationality. Erick Norland, who settled on his farm in Hallock Township in May, 1878. Mr. Norland, was born in Sweden, November 16, 1843, and was the second child and the only son in a family of three children born to Erick and Christina (Olson) Erickson.
He went to America in 1869, and worked in Iowa and southern Minnesota, and in the spring of 1878 went to Moorhead, and from there, in company with his half-brother Henry, and another companion , made a trip down the Red River to Winnipeg, returning to Pembina.
The three men started afoot through Kittson and Marshall counties, which were then almost wholly unsettled, and for about a week they tramped, wading through water and rafting across swollen streams, sleeping wherever night overtook them. Although this was not a pleasing introduction to the country, our subject decided the possibilities for farming were good, and he then filed a claim to the land which he now owns in May of that year, choosing land on the banks of the Two Rivers. This has proven a most productive locality, and he never has regretted his choice. In September, 1878, he again started from Moorhead, taking his wife and household effects in a flat-boat, his half-brother, Ole, and family accompanying them. They moored the boat at the mouth of the Two Rivers and a home on our subject's claim was established for all. These were the first Swedish families in the county, and our subject's home became the stopping place for the Scandinavian immigrants. He became known and proved himself a true friend of the pioneers, and by his knowledge of the country was of invaluable service to them in assisting them to select suitable locations. During these early days he did all in his power to induce the visitor to that locality to become a permanent settler, and might be styled the 'father of his township". He has accumulated a good property, and follows diversified farming with most pleasing results. His improvements of his farm include a complete set of farm buildings, and modern machinery is used for garnering and disposing of the products. His residence is located in Section 2 of Hallock Township, and affords every comfort and many of the luxuries of life.
In 1872 occured the marriage of Mr. Norland and Miss Emma Backman. Mrs. Norland is a native of Sweden also, and with her husband enjoys the reputation of extending hospitality and good cheer to all who enter within her home. She is a lady of culture, and much credit is due her for the fair share she has taken in the management which has resulted in their comfortable surroundings.
Mr. and Mrs. Norland have no children, but their family circle is completed by a child, who bears the name of Ella, who makes her home with them. Mr. Norland, although a gentleman of public spirit and devoted to the upbuilding of his community, takes little part in public affairs aside from lending an influence for good. He does not seek public office and is not a staunch party man politically. His business relations always bear close investigation, and he is deservedly popular.
Records on file at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul, show that Erik Norland received his final naturalization papers from the District Court, 11th Judicial District, Kittson County, Minnesota May 28, 1883.
Olof (Olofsson) Norland and Sophie (Anderson) were my great grandparents and some of the very early (white) settlers in Kittson County in Northwest Minnesota. Here are a few pictures of them and a brief narrative of their emigration and lives in America.
Olof Olofsson was born on February 6, 1849 in Sveg, Harjedalen, Sweden. The first born child of Olof Olofsson and Kerstin Olofsdotter. His other siblings were Henrick (Henry) Olofsson and Anna Olofsdotter. He also had half brothers and sisters as a result of a previous marriage of Kerstin Olofsdotter to Erik Eriksson. Erik died at the relatively young age of 33 in December of 1846. Children of that marriage were; Margaretta Ersdotter, Kerstin Olofssons, Erick Eriksson & Gunilla Eriksson. Subsequent to Erick’s death Olof’s parents were married on March 25, 1848 in Sveg, Harjedalen, Sweden.
In February 1868 when he was 19 years old, Olof Olofsson and his brother Henrick emigrated to the United States. Shortly thereafter in June of 1869, their half brother Erik Eriksson followed them. For reasons unknown, upon arrival all three of the brothers adopted the last name Norland.
Although the path they took and where they settled at this time is yet to be determined, we do know they were in the vicinity of the Iowa - Wisconsin border area by 1873. In this year it is believed that Olof married Sophie Anderson in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. However, other towns which have been mentioned in that area where they may have lived, worked or were married include MacGregor, Marquette and Cresco Iowa. No official record of the marriage has been found. Sophie was born in February 6, 1859 in Ratvika, Dalarne, Sweden.
While Olof and Sophie lived in this area, they had two girls. Their first child was named Lillie Christine Norland. She was born March 23, 1876 in Marquette, Clayton County, Iowa. A second daughter Annie Norland was also born here on August 1, 1877.
While still living in Hallock Township, Olof and Sophie had two more children, Eva Margaret and Oscar Norland. Eva, born on March 26, 1880, is widely believed to be the first white child born in Kittson County. Oscar was born on May 4,1882.
Shortly after their child Oscar was born, Olof and Sophie Norland relocated to a homestead in Hazelton Township bordering the Middle Branch of the Two Rivers. Ownership of this farmstead eventually passed to their oldest daughter and her family and today is still maintained by Marten and Lilly (Norland) Sjostrand’s descendants.
It was in Hazelton Township where their last five children, all boys were born. In order of birth they were; Axel Theodore born September 7, 1884, Arthur born March 13, 1887, Harry born November 10, 1897, Otto Ferdinand born August 18, 1891, and Alex born November 10, 1897.
Somewhere around the time of the last child’s birth, the family moved to the village of Lancaster, about 10 miles to the North. The house where they resided is still in use today and is located just to the South of the school’s recently constructed new auditorium.
At this time, Olof was known to have taken to heavy drinking and would frequently come home in an agitated state. On many occasions, Sophie would leave the house with her children and hide in the adjoining barn or in a haystack to avoid abuse. At some point Sophie tired of the situation and asked Olof to leave.
Olof consented and ended up living with his daughter Eva and her family. This was at a farm located at the North edge of Lancaster in Granville Township. In 2009 this farm was owned by Faye Lyberg and is located just across highway 59 from the Lancaster Riverside Golf Course.
Olof died in Lancaster, Minnesota on December 23, 1913 as a result of drowning in a shallow pool of water while intoxicated. Perhaps not the most glorious end to the life of an early pioneer.
Sophie, who was often referred to as “little grandma” given her diminutive stature, continued to live in Lancaster in the small house across from the school. She survived by renting out a room in the house to students and others, and of course assistance from her children. She died on February 24, 1936 at her oldest daughter’s (Lillie Sjostrand) home, her previous residence in Hazelton Township.
Sophie (Anderson) Norland’s obituary follows:
At the home of her daughter Mrs. Martin Sjostrand one of the old
time pioneers passed into the eternal rest on Monday, Feb. 24.
Mrs. Sophie Norland was born in Ratvika, Dalarne. She came to this country in the latter part of the seventies and was married to Ola Norland at Prairie Du Chien Wis. In 1879 the couple came to Kittson County, floating down the Red River from Fishers Landing with some household goods and enough lumber to build a shack. Their first stop was at the old Ambrose Jerome place at the mouth of the Two Rivers. Like all the pioneer people they met with hospitality and they remained there for some time until they could get established on the homesteads. The two brothers Ola and Erick each took up homesteads, the latter near Hallock and the former in the town of Thompson. Mrs. Norland like many other pioneer woman suffered a lot of hardships. She worked hard, raised a family of sturdy children and helped make a home for herself and her loved ones.
Her declining days has been spent in Lancaster surrounded by her children
and grandchildren a fitting end to a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. Mrs.
Norland was at the time of death 77 years and 18 days of age. She is survived by six sons: Oscar, Axel, Harry, Arthur, Otto and Alex. Also three daughters Eva, (Mrs. J. Langford) Lily (Mrs. Martin Sjostrand) and Annie (Mrs. George Hansen) of Thief River Falls. Funeral was held last Thursday, interment being made in Union Liberty Cemetery in the town of Thompson. Peace be to the memory of a good wife and mother a pioneer.
May our Heavenly Father greet you
On that glorious distant shore
True some day we'll all be with you
Have patience Dear and weep no more
End of sorrow will come in Heaven
Rest in the palace, your Lord hath given