BIOGRAPHIES - E


PAGE INDEX


 

SOURCE: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, Major R.I.
Holcombe, Historical Editor; William H. Bingham, General Editor; W.H. Bingham
And Company, Minneapolis, Minn.; 1916; reprinted by Higginson Book Company;
Salem Massachusetts; (book no longer copyrighted)
This book can be ordered from Borders Book Store or from Higginson.
Both companies have web sites.  The cost is about $70
and well worth the cost.

ENGEBRETSON, EVAN A.

Evan A. Engebretson, a well known farmer of the county and one of the first settlers of Eden Township, was born in Norway, November 26, 1868, the son of Andrew and Anna Engebretson.  He was brought to this country by his parents in his early infancy. 

In 1869, they came to Goodhue County, Minnesota, later removing to Faribault, Minnesota, where they lived for eight years.  In 1878, Andrew Engebretson located on frontier land in Ottertail County and the family made their home on that farm until 1886.  In that year they came to Polk County, taking claims in the old Indian reservation land which had been opened for settlement.  They located on land in what is now Eden Township, this was before a survey of the land had been made and Peter Dunrud, Ole Edevold and John Erickson were the only settlers in the township.  Andrew Engebretson continued to make his home on his homestead in section thirty until his death in 1897, the farm having since been sold. 

His wife survives him and has lived at Clearbrook, in Clearwater County, Minnesota, during the past ten years.  E.A. Engebretson and his sister Anna, who was married to Peter Dunrud, are the only members of the family now residing in the county.  The maternal grandmother had accompanied them to the new home in Eden Township and also took a homestead claim in section nineteen and adjoining that of her son-in-law.  Evan Engebretson made his home with her in the little log cabin which she had built on the tract and which has long since disappeared.  On his coming of age, she gave him the land, which with able effort and industry he has developed into his present valuable farm property. 

Mr. Engebretson has given his attention to general farming and keeps a herd of dairy cows, selling his dairy produce to the cooperative creamery at Olga, in which he is interested as a shareholder.  He has met with success in all his activities and conducts his agricultural enterprises with the most modern and efficient methods.  He has converted several acres of marsh into valuable fields by building ditches to which a county ditch gives outlet.  His first home was a log house, in which he lived for eighteen years and which still stands on the place.  He erected the present comfortable county home in 1906. 

Aside from the management of his private interests, he has aided in the promotion of important business activities and is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator and Cooperative store companies at Fosston and in the elevator company at Trail, located on the Soo Railroad and about five miles north of his farm which is situated ten and a half miles northeast of Fosston.  Mr. Engebretson has also given able service in public office and has been a member of the township board for many years and for twelve years was chairman of the board.  He is a member of the Untied Lutheran Church. 

He was married to Sophia Sorby, the daughter of a prominent pioneer family of Hill River Township and her death occurred February 14, 1911.  A family of nine children was born in this union, Alma, Laurs, Clara, who is a student in the high school at Fosston, Amanda, Dagana, Carl, Ena, Esther and Lloyd.  On January 10, 1912, Mr. Engebretson was married to Otilda Reas of Fargo, North Dakota, who had been a life long friend of the mother of his children and who has given them loving care.

 submitted by Jon Raymond Aug 2006


ALBERT O. ESPE Family

From "Bicentennial History of Polk County, Minnesota," copyright 1976, Polk  County Historical Society, Taylor Publishing (Dallas, TX)
pages 52-53"

"In recording the pioneer history there is one name etched in the archive -  a name to be remembered for the many contributions to agricultural and community  growth.  That name is ESPE.

The true pioneer was Albert O. Espe, born in Decorah, Iowa in 1872, the  youngest of a family of six.  Albert migrated with his widowed mother and  family by ox cart to Norman County.  In 1881 they bought a farm near  Crookston, and this became the starting point for a busy, inventive life for Mr.  Espe.

It was on this farm that A.O. Espe showed his skill in breaking oxen for  the neighbors so they could work the land.  It was here, too, that his  inventive mind was set in motion, to realize there must be an easier way.

In 1898, Mr. Espe changed his attention, somewhat, from farm operations to  establish a machine shop and foundry in Crookston.  He sold steam threshers  and prevailing farm equipment.  Hence evolved the Espe Foundry at 411 North  Main Street in a two-story frame building that included a woodworking shop to  make molds for casting the parts needed to maintain the machinery of the  day.

There was a procession of inventions created by A.O. Espe, mainly machinery  to help the farmers.

The first invention recorded was a land roller, which was patented in 1901,  named the Diamond Pulverizer.  Perhaps the best known and publicized  invention was the Espe Tractor - the transition from steam engines to gasoline  engines.

In 1907 the first gasoline tractor was built in the Espe Foundry.  In  1909 a four-plow tractor was made and the Crookston Manufacturing Company was  formed to produce them.  In 1910-11 several units of the Espe Tractor were  manufactured and sold in the Crookston area, one going to the Northwest School  of Agriculture.  Patents on this tractor were sold to the Rumley Company of  La Porte, Indiana and renamed the Gas Pull and later the Oil Pull.

Mr. Espe's natural skill and inventive genius kept him working to simplify  the lines and improve the operation of his first efforts so another tractor was  invented.  This patent was sold to the Avery Company of Peoria,  Illinois.

Continuing farming as a side line all the years, A.O. Espe had a first hand  knowledge of the needs of the Red River Valley farmer.  He continued to  experiment and as a result many machines were developed to help farming.   With more modern equipment available, the foundry was no longer necessary so a  new brick building was built in 1919, next to the frame building which was later  torn down to provide parking space.

Over the years there were many versatile machines produced to "make the job  easier."  To name a few: the shock loader, a fork-lift type of machine to  load grain bundles from field to wagon; the super-beet cultivator, mounted on a  Model-T Ford; the sugar-beet loader, a machine to elevate beets onto a truck and  eliminate loading by had with a wide fork; the brush cutter, to clear native  land; the tractor hitch for the extended disk.  Mr. Espe also built a large  well machine and drilled wells for creameries, villages and test wells for the  Geological Department of the University of Minnesota.  The last invention  of A.O. Espe's in 1938 was the Espe Disk: 15, 17, 19 and 212 feet with a few  31-foot disks, which at the time was considered huge.

In spite of a very productive business life, Mr. Espe had time for civic  affairs.  He was always the anchor man on the tug-of-war team.  He was  a self-made man of great stature and distinction.  His wide brimmed black  hat was a sort of recognition symbol of this.

He had time for home and family, too.  He married Mathilda Bystad in 1896, and they raised a family of five boys and two girls to adulthood.

When A.O. Espe retired he turned his business over to the sons, Haenry and  Mylan, and daughter, Glenda, who had worked in the machine shop with their  father all their lives.  They formed the Espe Machine Company.  With  no heirs to carry on the business, it was sold in 1969 and thus ended the era of  a pioneering enterprise of which has been said, "did more for the upper midwest  farmer than any one business or individual."

The "now" generation are demonstrating their inherited background of  creative abilities in the fields of science, engineering, research, medicine and  inventiveness.  The Espes, True Pioneers!" [end of article]

submitted by Jon Raymond Aug 2006


SOURCE: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, Major R.I.
Holcombe, Historical Editor; William H. Bingham, General Editor; W.H. Bingham
And Company, Minneapolis, Minn.; 1916; reprinted by Higginson Book Company;
Salem Massachusetts; (book no longer copyrighted)
This book can be ordered from Borders Book Store or from Higginson.
Both companies have web sites.  The cost is about $70
and well worth the cost.

 

ESTENSON, ESTEN O.

pages 454-455

            This gentleman is a member of a family that has been prominent and stood high in the regard and good will of the people in the southwestern part of Polk county for two generations of human life, and this period covers nearly the whole history of settlement and civilization there.  He is a son of Ole Estenson, one of the esteemed peioneer farmers of Vineland township and is living on eighty acres of his old homestead, on which he filed when there were very few families in the locality and almost all of it was wilderness.  He is also a brother of Ole O. Estensen, one of the county commissioners who built the court house which was destroyed by fire some years ago.  The family history is told in a sketch of Ole. O. on other pages of this work.

            E.O. Estenson was born in Green county, Wisconsin, February 22, 1861 and was old enough to note when his father entered the Civil war as a Union soldier and returned to his home at the close of that sanguinary conflict.  He remembers these incidents vividly and he also remembers incidents of the trip of the family through many wilds and some infant settlements from his native county to this one in 1871.  His boyhood was passed on this fatherís farm in Vineland township, that part of the period which belongs to Minnesota, and his experiences were much like those of other boys in his situation.  He hunted the small game with which the region abounded, went to school when he could and assisted in the work on the farm year after year until he attained to manís estate and was then married.

            After his marriage Mr. Estenson took up his residence in Crookston and became janitor of the old court house, the one his brother Ole O. Estenson helped to build as a county commissioner, and also served as engineer of the steam heating plant in the jail, then recently built.  He remained in Crookston seven years, then returned to the country and located on eighty acres of his fatherís old homestead.  He has added eighty acres to his farm and for years has given his whole attention to the cultivation of his 160 acres of superior land and the industries incident to that.

            Mr. Estensonís main dependence on his farm was grain until recently, but some years ago he began to keep bees and gradually increased his business in this line until he had 100 hives or more.  He kept this number for over ten years and produced about two tons of honey annually.  His hives are fewer in number now, but he is still warmly interested in bees and gives them a great deal of attention.  He also raises large quantities of apples on the 200 trees which he planted and has guided to maturity, and by this industry he has dissipated an old belief that apples could not be successfully raised in the Red River valley.

            For a number of years Mr. Estenson has followed the trend of his neighborhood and produced large quantities of potatoes, which are sold in Kansas and Missouri for seed.  His crop in 1914 was about 10,000 bushels and the same in 1915, the yield being over 350 bushels to the acre on special parcels of land.  In 1904 he entered a homestead in Beltrami county, and on this he passed five years.  He has added to it until he and his sons together own more than 640 acres there, much of the tract being covered in cedar, spruce and similar growth of timber.  He has held no public office except that of school clerk, which he filled for a number of years.

            Mr. Estenson was married in 1883 to Miss Karen Kjolhaug, of near Fosston.  They have six children living and lost four in infancy.  Those living are Oliver, Thomas, Ivan, George, Esther and Haaken Mouris, the last named born on the day of the coronation of the present king and queen of Norway, Mouris being the Norwegian equivalent of Maud.  The fatherís farm extends to the Red River and the dwelling on it is on the bank of the Evje Marias, Evje being the Scandinavian for slough or bayou.

 submitted by Jon Raymond March 2004


SOURCE: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, Major R.I.
Holcombe, Historical Editor; William H. Bingham, General Editor; W.H. Bingham
And Company, Minneapolis, Minn.; 1916; reprinted by Higginson Book Company;
Salem Massachusetts; (book no longer copyrighted)
This book can be ordered from Borders Book Store or from Higginson.
Both companies have web sites.  The cost is about $70
and well worth the cost.

Estenson, Ole Helmer
pp 473-474

Known far and wide as one of the best and most capable business men in this county, and esteemed wherever he is known as a man of sterling worth and progressive and serviceable citizenship, Ole Helmer Estenson, manager of one of the leading mercantile enterprises of Climax, has earned his rank and reputation by his genuine merit and fine business capacity, and also by his intelligent, helpful and stimulating interest in every undertaking which makes for the advancement and enduring welfare of his home community.

Mr. Estenson is a native of Vineland township, this county, having been born on his fatherís farm in that township January 22, 1878.  He is a son of Ole and Paulina Estenson, who were pioneers of Vineland township, locating on a homestead there early in the senenties.  They became the parents of five children, all of whom are living.  Emma is now the wife of Mertin Strommen, and a resident of Vineland township.  Ole H. is the immediate subject of this review.  Peter is still living at home with his parents.  Ida is the wife of Sever Rostvedt and has her home in North Dakota, and John is also still a membeer of the parental family circle.

Ole H. Estenson, the second born of the five children, was reared to manhood on his fatherís farm and obtained only a common school education. In 1900 he began his mercantile career in the Estenson  company of Climax.  The partnership continued until 1911, when the business was sold to the Climax Co-operative Mercantile company.  Mr. Estenson remained as a clerk in the store under itís new owners for a year, then moved to Canada and took up a homestead, on which he lived two years and a half.  At the end of that period he returned to Climax and was appointed manager of the store which he formerly owned, and in that capacity he has been connected with it ever since.

In the government and social life of Climax, Mr. Estenson has always taken a cordial interest and been a forceful factor.  He proved his devotion to the welfare of the community by serv9ing as a member of the village council with energy and public spirit for some years.  He is also a devout and serviceable member of the Norwegian Lutheran Church.  On August 10, 1906, he was united in marriage with Miss Clara Bangen, a daughter of Hans H. Bangen, of Vineland Township.  The two daughters have been born of the union.


submitted by Jon Raymond March 2004


SOURCE: Compendium of History and Biography of Polk County, Minnesota, Major R.I.
Holcombe, Historical Editor; William H. Bingham, General Editor; W.H. Bingham
And Company, Minneapolis, Minn.; 1916; reprinted by Higginson Book Company;
Salem Massachusetts; (book no longer copyrighted)
Library of Congress control number 16009966
This book can be ordered from Borders Book Store or from Higginson.
Both companies have web sites.  The cost is about $70
and well worth the price.


DALECARLIA GRAIN AND STOCK FARM
S.E. ERICKSON, PROP.

Owning and occupying one of the finest homes in the Red River valley, with native trees surrounding his house, which stands on the banks of the Marias river and overlooks a wide sweep of the country lying around it, and cultivating a large, well improved and productive farm in the most progressive way, and enjoying in a marked degree the esteem of all who know him, S.E. Erickson, of Dalecarlia Farm in Section 25, Ester township, seven miles north of east Grand Forks, has made great progress in his worldly estate since he came to Polk county on June 3, 1883, a penniless youth of nineteen years of age.

Mr. Erickson was born in Sweden September 23, 1864, and when he arrived in the United States came direct to this county, where his brother Andrew, now a resident of Roseau county, Minnesota, and his uncle, O. Metz Erickson, were then living.  The uncle had come to Becker county, Minnesota, in 1868, and had acquired a homestead in that county.  In 1878 he changed his residence to Polk county and bought the Northeast quarter of Section 25, in Esther township, which was then railroad land and is now a part of the farm of S.E. Erickson.  The uncle paid about $7 an acre for this land.  It is now worth $100 an acre.  He passed his remaining years on the farm, dying on it in 1902.  He had a family of eight daughters.  They are living in various places but none of them in this county.

After his arrival in Polk county S.E. Erickson and his brother Andrew, who lived in this county about sixteen years, rented a farm for six years.  S E. also bought railroad land in Section 29, Northland township, two miles east of his present farm, which he improved and still owns.  He at first rented a part of his home farm from his father-in-law, Erick Dickson, who bought it in 1880 and took up his residence on it in 1891.

Mr. Dickson was also a native of Sweden, born September 3, 1843, and came to the United States in 1868, locating for a time at Elkhart, Indiana.  He worked in the Calumet and Hecla copper mines in Michigan for seventeen years.  He was killed by a falling tree on his farm in 1904.  He served several years as township treasurer and otherwise took an active part in local public affairs.  His wife died in St. Paul I 1869, leaving an infant daughter, Matilda, who was born at Elkhart, Indiana, the same year that her mother died in.  She was reared by her grandparents at Becker, Sherburne county, Minnesota, and in 1878 came with her grandfather, O. Metz Erickson, to this county, where she remained until 1880, then joined her father in Calumet, Michigan.  In 1890 she returned to this county, and on January 1, 1891, was married to S.E. Erickson.  They have no children of their own but they reared from the age of six an adopted daughter, Lottie May Erickson, who is now the wife of Henry Lillisve, of Roseau county, Minnesota.

Mr. Ericksonís farm now comprises 640 acres and is in a highly improved condition.  In 1915 he erected a fine dwelling house on it, built according to plans furnished by an architect and constructed of stucco on a cement foundation.  It has hot and cold water throughout and is lighted by electricity from a power plant in the basement.  The house cost about $10,000.  In digging the cistern Mr. Erickson found, about twelve and a half feet below the surface of the earth, the bones of an animal unknown to him.  He has given his attention mainly to raising wheat, oats, and barley, and in 1915 he produced over 13,000 bushels. 

He has been chairman of the township board.  And for eleven years has been township treasurer, having succeeded his father-in-law in that office.  He and his wife belong to Bethesda Swedish Lutheran church near their home, and he is its treasurer and one of its trustees, while Mrs. Erickson has been its Sunday school superintendent, organist and choir leader for twenty-four years.  The Sunday school has regularly thirty to forty scholars and is kept during six months of the year.

submitted by Jon Raymond January 2003


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