This collection contains oral histories pertaining to life and events in the West Central region of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drucella Hodgson Nelson
Drucella Hodgson Nelson was born in 1886 in Delaware Township. Her parents were Thomas C. Hodgson and Eliza Clegg Hodgson, who were both born on the Isle of Mann in the Irish Sea.
In this interview, Drucella Hodgson Nelson talks about Bill Moses and his farm and how he started the county fair. She discusses the Moses "Big Farm" and its running water. She talks about General Barrett and how he discussed politics with her father. She discusses her father, Thomas C. Hodgson, and his university education at Hamline University and how he fought in the Civil War in the New Ulm raid. She also discusses her education, going to Elbow Lake High School and going to the University of Minnesota.
Rodney Koser was born in 1929 and presently lives on a farm near Herman, Minnesota. He was a neighbor of the Helsene Prairie since 1941.
In this interview, Rodney Koser talks about the prairie as private property, and as a part of the DNR Wetlands.
Orrin Larson was born in 1894 in Lien Township in Grant County to Herman Larson and Christianelle Anderson Larson.
In this interview, Orrin Larson discusses working for Chris Rigg in Hancock, working for Ben Barlow in Barrett, and the jewelry business which he had operated since 1910 and was running still at the time of the interview. He discussed running the Herman Movie Theatre from 1920 to the time of the interview, and General Barrett and his sons.
William C. Larson
Bill Larson was born on January 27, 1891 at Chadwick, Michigan. His parents settled in Roseville Township in Grant County in 1894. He became a U.S. mail carrier for the Barrett area in May of 1909. 50 years later, he retired from the job.
In this interview, Bill Larson talks about his experiences delivering mail in the county. He talks about the blizzard of 1894 and the fire of 1900 which destroyed almost all of the buildings in Barrett, Minnesota. He discusses all of the businesses and businessmen of Barrett for most of the tape.
Henry Olson was born in 1894 in the town of Pomme de Terre.
In this interview, he discusses the village of Pomme de Terre and the businessmen that were once there. He also discusses the living descendants of the former residents of the village of Pomme de Terre.
Dr. Lillian Parson was born on June 15, 1896 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She spent some time abroad, including school in Switzerland. She attended the University at Grand Forks and finished her medical schooling at the University of Illinois. She came to Elbow Lake in 1923 and was one of the first women doctors to practice in Grant County.
In this interview, Dr. Parson discusses her personal and family background and her medical background and practice. In particular, she discusses her work on insulin for the treatment of diabetes, a diphtheria epidemic in Minnesota, maternity services she provided, and various accidents and incidents she helped treat. She also discusses general life in Elbow Lake, Minnesota.
Alfred Schaeffer was born in 1895 three miles south of the village of Pomme de Terre. His parents came from Goodhue County to Grant County in 1872.
In this interview, Alfred Schaeffer talks about his early neighbors and teachers. He discusses the history of his grandfather who was a miller in the village of Pomme de Terre. He discusses the railroads and how they surveyed the village.
George Shervey was born on a farm near Barrett, Minnesota on October 18, 1904. He was involved in the business of farm implement sales from 1924 until his retirement in 1972. He was active in civic and community affairs, maintaining an interest in local history. During the time of this interview, he was the president of the Grant County Historical Society.
In this interview, George Shervey discusses the contest between Elbow Lake and Herman for the county seat and courthouse.
Henry Thornberg was born on January 3, 1891 in Sanford Township of Grant County, where his parents had immigrated in 1888. He was drafted on July 23, 1918 at the age of 26 into World War I.
In this interview, Henry Thornberg tells some of his life history and his experiences in World War I.
Olin Thompson was born on May 1, 1888 and lived across the river from the old site of Pomme de Terre village. His father was Michael Thompson. He married Elaine Brown.
In this interview, Olin Thompson discusses his first teachers and the school he attended. He talks about Pomme de Terre village and the businesses that were there, as well as the stagecoach from Herman to Ashby.