This collection contains oral histories pertaining to life and events in Grant County, Minnesota. The oral histories range greatly in topic and time period.
The digitization of these oral histories was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.
This recording was done at the 19th Annual Firemen's Threshingman's Association Show on September 8, 1972. Included on the recording are the sounds of some of the engines and interviews with those running the machines.
Ole Amundson was 85 years old and lived in Norcross.
In this interview, he talks about his family homesteading in Norcross. He discusses changes in farming. He talks about plucking turkeys and trapping skunks. He also shares memories from his trip around the world.
Tobias Amundson was born on July 6, 1893 near Christianson, Norway. He immigrated to the United States in 1911. He served in the Army and worked in lumber camps in Northern Minnesota. In 1939 he was elected sheriff of Grant County after serving as deputy for 10 years. He was sheriff until 1958.
In this interview, Tobias Amundson discusses his immigration to the United States and gives a short family history. The bulk of the interview consists of Tobias Amundson describing his activities as sheriff of Grant County, which includes his activities during prohibition and some of his more dangerous or unpleasant cases.
A. V. Anderson
A.V. Anderson was 81 years old. He lived on a farm all his life and had many experiences in training horses.
In this interview, he talk about farming and training horses. He also talked about how he is able to detect water in the ground.
Nels A. Anderson
Nels Anderson was 81 years old and lived in Hoffman. His parents came from Sweden and settled in Roseville Township.
In this interview, Nels relates how Roseville Township got its name. He discusses the virgin land and breaking the prairie. He talks about farm life, including farming with oxen, the prairie chickens, and threshing. He also discusses barn dances, playing baseball, changes in agriculture, and a story about the Dillinger gang robbing the Breckenridge Bank.
Len Arnquist was born in Star Prairie, Wisconsin in 1885 and grew up on the family farm in New Richmond, Wisconsin. In 1912, he moved to Hoffman where he opened a general store.
In this interview, Len Arnquist discusses farming in the late 19th century in Wisconsin, the conditions for small businessmen in West Central Minnesota, and the effect of the Depression and World Wars on small business.
Barrett Ice Works
Workers at the Barrett Ice Works Plant were interviewed. The Barrett Ice Works was owned and operated by the Ole Hjelle family. The recording includes some of the engine and machine sounds and various interviews with workers.
Sigrud Bartness' father was born in Norway and immigrated to the United States in 1871.
In this interview, Sigrud Bartness discusses his father's immigration and how he came to Alexandria. He discusses the Lien church, the blizzard of 1873, grasshopper plagues, working on the railroad, prairie fires, farming with oxen, the Friedem's Union Cemetary, and the Lower Elk Lake Temperance Society.
Eda Beck grew up on a farm near Herman and was 88 years old. Her father farmed and her family moved many times until they settled in Barrett, Minnesota. Eda was a teacher and taught in both country and town schools. She spent most of her adult life living in Norcross, Minnesota. She helped to organize the Norcross Study Club.
In this interview, she discusses her experiences as a teacher. She talks about the Norcross Study Club and her hobbies: fishing and crocheting.
Stan Berger was born in 1906 in Kansas and later moved to Herman. He farmed with his brothers on the "BB" ranch; they often held dances there to raise extra money during hard times. He was also active in the city council and the fire department.
In this interview, Stan discusses farming, the BB Ranch and the dances they held there, the bands they had for the dances, and a rodeo they held. He also talks about the starting of his implement and car dealership (Chevrolet) and various cars. He then discusses working for the fire department and the roads in Herman.
Ted Burg was born in 1884 near Wendell, Minnesota. His parents came from Goodhue County in 1871.
In this interview, Ted Burg discusses his early neighbors, the businesses in Elbow Lake and Hereford, his first teachers, the Broosters, the prices in the Depression and how the Great Northern Railroad hauled grain.
In this interview, former blacksmith Hugh Block discusses some of the secret codes of a blacksmith and plays some old tunes on a harmonica.
Emma Brenvold was born in 1883 near Pomme de Terre. Her parents came to Grant County in 1880.
In this interview, she talks about her neighbors in Pomme de Terre, camping wagons on the Abercrombie Trail, her first teachers, Pomme de Terre businesses and businessesmen, and an interaction with Native Americans during her childhood.
Olive Briggs was born in Pomme de Terre in 1891. Her father, Russell Briggs, met her mother at Hotel Nicollet in Minneapolis then went to Pomme de Terre Township.
In this interview, Olive Briggs talks about Loggie Johnson and John Livey who were merchants in Pomme de Terre. She discusses Revered Norman of Ashby, the postal service in Pomme de Terre, various Pomme de Terre businesses, and building a bridge across Pomme de Terre River.
Fred Burns was born in 1886 and raised near village of Pomme de Terre. His parents came to Grant County in 1852.
In this interview, Fred Burns talks about his early neighbors, grasshoppers on the farm, his school experiences, the Pomme de Terre Fort and the businesses in the village of Pomme de Terre.
Charles Christianson was born in Roseville Township on December 19, 1893. His father was a Norwegian immigrant. Charles Christianson was a farmer in Grant County.
In this interview, Charles Christianson discusses farm mortgages, steam engines and threshing, Bill Moses' farm, the Farmer's Union in Elbow Lake, and a cooperative health insurance group he helped organize.
Charles Christianson was born in 1894 and was a long-time resident of Grant County.
In this interview, he tells the story told to him by his uncle about the time the county records were moved from Herman to Elbow Lake
Ethel Ellingson Hanson
In this interview, Ethel Ellingson Hanson discusses her grandparents moving to Minnesota, Grant and Douglas Counties, early transportation, the diphtheria epidemic in 1888, early burial practices, Dr. Griswold from Hoffman, the Barrett Ice Factory and flour mills, farming practices, and early Hoffman businessmen.
Tena Fjoslien was born on Feb. 4, 1872 in a dugout in Ofstad Township in Otter Tail County. Her father was Andrew Meyergrin, a Norwegian immigrant. Tena married Knute Fjoslien and had 10 children.
In this interview, Tena Fjoslien talks about her early neighbors, the school she went to, a diphtheria epidemic, and other aspects of life in Grant County, Minnesota.
Leona Galbreath was 75 years old and lived at Elbow Lake at the time of the interview. She also lived in North Dakota for a time.
In this interview, Leona discusses school, including going to both English and German school. She also talks about farm life, gardening, and house work. She talks about working in hotels. She finally discusses zone therapy.
Julius Gilbertson was 84 years old and born in Grant County in 1892.
In this interview, Julius talks about his parents' reason for settling in Grant County, the Donnelly Threshing Bee, and his own custom threshing work.
In this interview, Donovan Grover discusses his great-grandparents of English descent who settled at Pomme de Terre Fort and their journey from St. Paul,. His great-grandfather was one of the first settlers in Grant County. His maternal grandmother was the first school teacher in St. Olaf township and taught Norwegian speakers. He discusses the Nonpartisan League and opposition in the town of Ashby by merchants and bankers. As a child, Donovan Grover worked for his grandfather on his farm. He worked as village treasurer and assessor in Ashby, worked for the County Welfare Department in Elbow Lake from 1936-1940 and was postmaster and a rural mail carrier in Ashby for many years (1940-1966). He was also on the school board for many community organizations and discusses all of these.
In this interview, Donovan Grover talks about life right before and during World War II.
Mrs. Tosten Hagen and Mrs. Herbert Blistning
Mrs. Tosten Hagen (first name never given) was born in a dugout in 1837 near the village of Pomme de Terre. Her daughter, Mrs. Herbert Blistning (first name never given) assisted her during the interview.
In this interview, Mrs. Tosten Hagen discusses her parents being some of the earliest settlers of Pomme de Terre in the 1860s and how they arrived in the area. She discusses how her father made a living fur trapping. She discusses the Native Americans her family interacted with during her childhood and life on the Pomme de Terre River. She discusses her first teachers, the sewing school in Fergus Falls, the stagecoach in Pomme de Terre, and the early businesses of the village of Pomme de Terre.
In this interview, Anna Halvorson discusses life during World War II. Mrs. Halvorson was born in Elbow Lake, MN in 1894. Anna was active with the Red Cross in both World War I & II, helping mainly with fundraising.