Sunday, April 5, 2009

Norlands in America part 2 - Erik Norland

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.

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