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Archiver > NORWAY > 2004-12 > 1101965861

From: Olaf <>
Subject: Beltrami County, Minnesota
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2004 21:37:41 -0800

Translated from 'Nordmændene i Amerika' by Martin Ulvestad. 1907

Beltrami County
John Stenerson from Østerdalen as well as H. Samuelsen, H. Kjelsrud and Mr. Storgaard were the first Norwegian and white settlers in the vicinity of Oakwood, they settled there in 1890.
The first in the area of Bemidji was Hans Rosby, who settled there in 1894. Aksel Knudsen, Lars T. Otterstad and the brothers Andrew and Mons Ericksen were certainly there (hunting and fishing) a little earlier than Rosby, but they did not claim land before 1896.
The first at Olberg was Sam Svalesen from Stavanger, he settled there in 1896.
The first in the vicinity of Spaulding was a Hans Knudstad, who became mentally ill because of the lonely, sad life he led. (There are, unfortunately, several of our pioneers in America who have succumber to the same illness)
The first settlers in Beltrami County were also tormented by the Indians. They were often on the warpath and scared the settlers from their homes. The Indian chieftain, Bemidji, who was an honourable man, went around and warned the whites and instructed then in hunting and tracking. There are many who owe him a debt of gratitude, not only for his guidance and guard service, but also for his hospitality they received in his home. Now they are free of the redskins, since, as soon as they found out that trees and bushes did not give them sufficient protection against Krag-Jørgensen bullets, they disappeared.
(N.B. The mentioned rifle has won official recognition and was much used in America also, which speaks well for Norwegian industry and ingenuity. The rifle is still used in Norway)
The first Norwegain to hold public office in Beltrami County was Jacob Nygaard, Sheriff.
Landstads Congregation, that was established at Bagley in 1900 by Pastor H. Thoresen of The United Church, was the first norwegian congregation in the county. Its church was built in 1903. Pastor A. K. Lockrem (then of The Lutheran Free Church) was, though, the first priest working in this area. Now there are 6 Norwegian churches and 21 congregations, 11 belong to The United Church, 7 to The Lutheran Free Church and 3 to The Norwegian Synod.
Places with Norwegian names; Holst, Aure, Rosby, Jette, Langor (Langaard) and Myran.
A Norwegian newspaper, 'Vort Nye Hjem' was begun in Bemidji in 1905, now its name is 'Normannaheimen'

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