Sunday, August 19, 2018

Enno Edward Klinkenborg (1882-1960)

A Klinkenborg political advertisement from the Rock Rapids Reporter, May 31, 1928.

  Hailing from Lyon County, Iowa, Enno Edward Klinkenborg was a native of Germany who, following his removal to the United States, was engaged as a real estate broker in the aforementioned county and was an unsuccessful aspirant for the Iowa House of Representatives on two occasions. Born in Hanover, Ostfriesland, Germany on December 14, 1882, Enno E. Klinkenborg was one of nine children born to Jan and Sjamtje (Penning) Klinkenborg. Little is known of Klinkenborg's early life in Germany and he is recorded in the 1920 census as having immigrated to the United States in 1886It is presumed his early education took place in Lyon County (as he is listed as a county resident in the 1895 Iowa census) and on June 1, 1910 he married to Gretje Kruse (1884-1972). The couple's fifty-year marriage saw the births of four children, including Elmer (1911-2002), Selma Irene (1912-2010), Anita Rose (1914-1996) and Ray John (1917-2014).
  A resident of George, Iowa following his marriage, Klinkenborg operated the J.R. Beeman hardware store in Rock Rapids beginning in 1915 and was for many years a real estate agent and broker in the Lyon County area. In the spring of 1928 he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for state representative from Lyon County, and in June of that year won the Republican primary, narrowly defeating Leo C. Urlaub, 1,241 votes to 1,232. Despite his primary win, Klinkenborg wouldn't fare as well in the general election that November, losing to Democratic incumbent Otto J. Reimers by a vote of 1,945 to 2,684.
   Klinkenborg would reenter politics four years following his legislative loss, entering into the race for Lyon County auditor in March 1932. As one of four Republican candidates vying for the nomination in the June primary, Klinkenborg would poll third on election day, garnering 435 votes to winning candidate N.C. Rogers' total of 1,281

From the Lyon County Reporter, March 24, 1938.

  In 1938 Enno Klinkenborg reemerged on the political scene when he was put up as a candidate of the "People's ticket" for Mayor of George, Iowa. In an intriguing contest, Klinkenborg's opponent for mayor was his older brother Evert (1866-1949), then the incumbent mayor of the town! In a contest referred to a "hotly contested city election" by the Lyon County Reporter, it was the elder brother who won out, with Evert Klinkenborg defeating his brother, 258 votes to 114.
  With three losing candidacies behind him, Klinkenborg refrained from political activity through the majority of the 1940s. He remained active in the realty business and in 1944 was one of the founders of a permanent two county realty board for Sioux and Lyon County. In March 1946 he again ran for mayor of George on the People's ticket, but this time lost to George Freerkson. Not one to let a loss get the best of him, Klinkenborg announced he'd be seeking a seat in the state legislature that November, but this time ran as a Democrat (having previously run as a Republican in 1932.)

From the Lyon County Reporter, October 31, 1946.

   Klinkenborg won the Democratic primary in June but lost out on a legislative seat that November, garnering 567 votes to winning Republican candidate Benjamin L. Datisman's total of 1,563. Klinkenborg continued to reside in George, Iowa after this loss and on June 1, 1960, he and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, being profiled in the Lyon County Reporter (shown below). Sadly, Klinkenborg himself would die less than a month later at his home while being visited by his son Ray and daughter-in-law, on June 21, 1960. Following funeral services Klinkenborg was interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in George.

From the Lyon County Reporter, May 30, 1960.

From the Lyon County Reporter, June 23, 1960.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Craton Cortice Colclo (1851-1941)

From Vol. I of the Biographies and Portraits of the Progressive Men of Iowa, 1899.

  Three-term Iowa state representative Craton Cortice Colclo lucked into receiving an amusing tongue twister type name--Just try and say his full name three times fast! Aside from his intriguing name, Colclo was for over sixty years a man of wide repute in Carroll County, Iowa, being a postmaster, county school superintendent, newspaper publisher, and Democratic National Convention delegate in addition to his legislative service. A native of the Buckeye state, Craton Cortice Colclo was born in Findlay, Putnam County, Ohio on November 25, 1851, the son of James H. and Hannah (Cretsinger) Colclo
  The Colclo family resided in Ohio until 1854, when they relocated to Winterset, Iowa, and two years later made a permanent home in Carroll County. Young Craton would attend the district schools of that area and graduated from the Carroll high schoolIn 1873, Colclo sustained a work-related injury to his left arm that left it "terribly mangled", losing his left hand as a result. He engaged in farm work during his youth, taught school, and in the mid-1870s enrolled at the Iowa Agricultural College, graduating in the class of 1877. 
  Following his graduation, Colclo returned to teaching and served as assistant principal of the Carroll County schools in the late 1870s. In 1881 he won election as county school superintendent, holding that post from 1882-85 and again from 1890-91. In between those terms Colclo was appointed as U.S. Postmaster at Carroll by President Cleveland, serving from 1885-89.
   Craton C. Colclo married in Carroll in November 1889 to Sadie Eloise (Kail) Snyder (1863-1937), and the couple remained childless through the entirety of their marriage. In 1891 Colclo entered into newspaper publishing, purchasing a half interest in the Carroll Sentinel. Taking J.L. Powers as a partner, the two men ran the paper as a daily issue until its discontinuation around 1898, whereafter it was a semi-weekly. Colclo would sell his interest in the paper upon his election to the legislature in 1902, but returned to the publishing business in 1906 when he purchased the Sentinel printing plant, and until 1911 served the Sentinel's editor and publisher.
   A staunch Democrat, Colclo served as part of the Iowa delegation to the Democratic National Convention of 1896 in Chicago that saw William Jennings Bryan nominated for the presidency. In 1901 Colclo entered into the race for Carroll County's representative to the Iowa legislature and in November of that year won the election. During the 1902-04 term, he sat on the committees on the Agricultural College and Farm; Appropriations; the College for the Blind; Fish and Game; Printing; Roads and Highways; and Telegraphs and Telephones.


Colclo during his time in the legislature.

   In November 1903 Colclo won a second term in the house and during the 1904-06 session was named to four new committees, those being Constitutional Amendments, Municipal Corporations, Schools and Text-books, and Senatorial Districts. Colclo was elected to a third term in November 1905 and from 1906-08 continued service on the Appropriations, Fish and Game, Printing, and Roads and Highways committees. After the completion of his term in January 1908, Colclo returned to editorial work and remained busy in the civic and fraternal life of Carroll County, being a member of the Signet Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, the Royal Arch Masons, and was a past president of the Citizens Commerical Club of Carroll.
   C.C. Colclo was called back to local politics in January 1912 when he accepted the appointment to the post of County Treasurer, succeeding William Langenfeld, who had died in office. Acknowledging Colclo's past services in state government, the Carroll County Times and Sentinel lauded the appointment, stating:
"We believe that Mr. Colclo will be entirely capable and efficient. He is a man well conversant with uptodate business methods and is absolutely honest. While Mr. Colclo in years past has held several offices for the county, this is really the first one that is really worth while from every standpoint....He has proved a good man in evey position he has held and we believe that his appointment will meet with the general approval of the citizens and tax payers of the county."
   After leaving the treasurer's office Colco succeeded to the post of state examiner for Carroll County accounts in 1913, a post under the auspice of the auditor of state. He continued in that post until his retirement in January 1925 and as he entered his seventh decade remained busy, accepting the post of secretary of the Carroll Commercial Club in 1926. Colco would attend the 55th anniversary of his college graduation in July 1932 and in May 1937 suffered the loss of his wife of nearly fifty years, Sadie. In the final years of his life, Colclo served as a custodian of rooms for the Carroll Chamber of Commerce, continuing in that role until retiring in December 1939. 
   Craton Colclo died on February 4, 1941, several months short of his 90th birthday. He had been a resident of the Evor Morgan home in Carroll at the time of his passing and following funeral services was interred alongside his wife at the Carroll City Cemetery.

Craton C. Colclo, from the Carroll Times and Sentinel, Jan. 11, 1912.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Dimond Malanjo Loosli (1876-1947)

Portrait from the Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1913.

  Possessing an exotic sounding name, Dimond Malanjo Loosli was born of Swiss descent in Utah and after entering young adulthood removed to Idaho with his family. A lifelong member of the Mormon church, Loosli's residency in Idaho saw him attain prominence in both church affairs and politics in the Fremont County area, being a choir leader, bishop's counselor, county assessor, and member of both houses of the Idaho legislature.
  One of nine children born to  Ulrich (1830-1918) and Elizabeth Eggimann (Bauman) Loosli (1842-1902), Dimond Malanjo Loosli was born in Clarkston, Utah on October 20, 1876. Natives of Switzerland, Ulrich and Elizabeth Loosli were members of the Mormon church and the former had first settled in the United States in 1860. Following his marriage to Elizabeth in 1869, the Loosli's resided in Clarkston, and in addition to Dimond Malanjo, Ulrich Loosli bestowed unusual names on four more of his children, including Troudgott Landlo (born 1869), Anfanial (died in infancy in 1870), Boundy Endore (born 1872) and Hyrum Ultra (born 1885).
   Loosli's early education saw him attend school in Trenton, Utah and he later studied at the Bannock Stake Academy in Rexburg, Idaho. In 1892 he removed with his family to Marysville, Idaho, and following a brief flirtation with a teaching career, married to Hattie Salisbury in Utah on November 11, 1898. The couple's near fifty-year union saw the births of nine children, Dimond Herschel (1899-1962), Stanley (1901-1987), Anna Lisle (1903-1981), Clayton Girr (1905-1976), Adrienne (1907-1997), Leo Arden (1909-1938), Berlin Ramsden (1911-1933), Alden Revere (1913-1988) and Donald Lamar (1915-2010).
  In the years following his marriage, Loosli established a farm and homesteaded 160 acres of land, where he raised grain and planted crops. Sources relate that he enjoyed tinkering in his workshop on his family's farm and had a love for music, playing bass horn in the Marysville band. In addition to this, Loosli also was a director in the Marysville ward choir. As a leader in the local Mormon church, Loosli taught a Gospel Doctrine class, held the post of ward clerk for the Marysville ward for nearly two decades and was a high councilor in the Yellowstone stake for twelve years. 
  
Dimond and Hattie Loosli, from Marysville, Idaho: People and Happenings.

  Dimond M. Loosli made his first run for public office in Idaho in 1904, winning election as a justice of the peace for Marysville. In November 1930 he was elected as one of two Fremont county representatives to the Idaho state house of representatives and served during the 1931-33 session. Loosli would win a seat in the state senate in the 1934 election year, and during his term served on a special legislative committee that visited St. Alphonsus Hospital. While still an incumbent senator, Loosli was named to the Fremont County Agricultural Planning Board in February 1936, where he was a member of the peas commodity committee.
  After leaving office Loosli continued prominence in his native county of Fremont, serving as vice president of the Fremont County farm loan association, was a director of the Brady Canal, and remained dedicated to church work, traveling with his wife Hattie on a mission to California from 1939-40. In 1942 Loosli retired from farming in Marysville and removed with his wife to Ashton, Idaho, where he died on April 6, 1947, aged 70. Hattie Loosli survived her husband by nearly twenty years, dying two days short of her 90th birthday in 1966. Both were interred at the Pineview Cemetery in Ashton. 

Loosli in old age, from the "Ashton Family Histories", 2006.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Turpen Andrew Daughters (1869-1943)

From the Boise Evening Capital News, February 6, 1917.

   Native Hoosier Turpen Andrew Daughters found success in his adopted home state of Idaho, being at various times a school teacher, farmer, newspaper editor and politician. A one-term member of the Idaho house of representatives, Daughters later removed to Spokane, Washington, where he was an Episcopal minister. One of several children born to William Turpen and Elvira Daughters, Turpen Andrew Daughters was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana on August 15, 1869.
  Early in his life Daughters left Indiana for Kansas, and subsequently earned his B.A. degree from the Kansas Normal College and also graduated from the Philadelphia Divinity School. In 1892 he removed to Moscow, Idaho to accept the post of Episcopal lay leader, and from 1892-1895 taught school in Montpelier. After further study at the University of Idaho, Daughters married in Colfax, Washington in April 1902 to Pearl Howard (1881-1952). The couple would later have three children, Freeman Howard (1903-1927), George Turpen (1905-1975) and Milo Phillip (1910-1983).
   Following his marriage Daughters and his family resided in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho, where in 1909 he entered the publishing field, becoming editor of the prohibition leaning Coeur D'Alene Journal. He served as editor until at least 1913 and afterward engaged in farming in the Kootenai County area, being the owner of "valuable wheat and timber farm lands". Daughters' first step into politics came in 1914, when he entered into the race for the Idaho state house of representatives as a candidate of the Progressive Party. In an October 1914 write-up on his candidacy in the Rathdrum Tribune (shown below), Daughters outlined his platform, relating that high taxes and graft in the state could be curbed with the election of Progressive candidates to serve in state government.

A Daughters campaign notice from the Rathdrum Tribune, October 30, 1914.

  Although he would lose that contest, Daughters reemerged on the political scene two years later, again being the Progressive Party candidate for representative from Kootenai County. This time he was successful at the polls, and after taking his seat at the start of the 1917-19 term was named to the committees on Education, Educational Institutions, and Engrossed and Enrolled Bills. Daughters term in the house saw him come out a firm advocate for the division of the state, introducing resolutions that would have allowed a new state to be created out of Idaho's northern territory. Having resided in both the north and south portions of the state, Daughters believed the creation of a new state from northern Idaho was in the best interest of the state "due to the different industries and because of the geographical barriers."
  Daughters served one term in the legislature and by 1920 had left Idaho for Washington, where in that year's census he is recorded as residing in Ritzville. He would return to church work during his residency in that state, being a minister in the St. James and St. Andrews churches in Spokane. Daughters died at his home in Ritzville on July 24, 1943, aged 74, and was survived by his wife Pearl. Both are interred at the Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane. In an intriguing coincidence, this cemetery is also the resting place of another odd named political figure, Wisconsin state representative Menzus Raynard Bump, profiled here in August 2016.

Daughters' death notice from the Living Church, Vol. 107, 1943.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Nona Benoni Carpenter (1873-1944)

Portrait from History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains, Vol. 4, 1920.

  Despite being a state that has consistently refused to "play ball " when it comes to fielding unusually named political figures, Idaho has recently yielded three new strange name discoveries, all of whom were elected to the Idaho state legislature during the first half of the 20th century. The first of these men, Nona Benoni Carpenter, was unfortunately saddled with a very girly sounding first name, and after first locating the name I was under the assumption that I'd found a very early example of a woman winning a seat in the Idaho legislature. After further searching I was rewarded not only with Carpenter's middle name, but also the above portrait, and the following profile will be yet another example of a male political figure who "lucked" into getting a female first name!
   A native of Wisconsin, Nona Benoni Carpenter was born in the city of La Crosse on June 7, 1873, the son of Menzo and Frances (Farley) Carpenter. Early in his life, Carpenter removed with his family to Minnesota, where his primary education occurred, and following his father's death resettled with his family in OregonNona B. Carpenter married in that state in October 1896 to Bertha Galbraith (1878-1949), and the couple's near five-decade marriage saw the births of seven children, Oscar Frank (1897-1972), Walter, Bennie, Frances, Eunice (1908-2003), George and Ernest (1914-1962).
  Carpenter was a resident of Oregon until 1898 when he permanently resettled in Idaho. Locating on the Nez Perce Indian reservation in Nez Perce County, Carpenter engaged in farming grain and raised cattle and hogs, owning a farming complex that spanned nearly 800 acres, 600 of which was under cultivation. He made his first foray into Idaho politics in 1918 when he was elected as a Republican to the Idaho House of Representatives, and during the 1919-20 session was named to the committees on Appropriations, Educational Institutions, and Fish and Game. This term would also see him chair the committee on School and Public Lands.
  In November 1920 Carpenter won a second term in the legislature, and the 1921-22 session saw him named to two new legislative committees, those being Rules and Order of Business, and Waterways and Drainage. Carpenter's life following the conclusion of his second term remains a mystery, excepting notice of his death in Lewiston, Idaho on April 29, 1944. He was survived by his wife Bertha, and both were later interred at the Normal Hill Cemetery in Lewiston.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Harveydale Maruska (1921-2008)

Portrait from the 1963-64 Minnesota State Manual.

   After several profiles centering on political figures from North and South Dakota, we continue our stay in the midwestern United States for a look at the life of Harveydale Maruska, a lifelong Minnesota resident who served terms in both houses of his state's legislature.  Born in Tabor, Minnesota on November 29, 1921, Harveydale Maruska was the son of George and Mary Vavrina Maruska. His early education occurred in the town of his birth as well as the Warren, Minnesota High School, from which he graduated in 1938.
  Following graduation from the North Dakota Agricultural School in Fargo, Maruska engaged in farming in the Polk County area and married in August 1944 to Harriett Olson (1919-2008), to whom he was wed for over sixty years. The couple would have three daughters, Joanne, Mary-Beth, and Muriel. Named as a Master Farmer in 1958, Maruska would raise grain, potatoes, pumpkins, corn, and squash, and was a past president of the Marshall County Agricultural Association.
  Harveydale Maruska entered the political life of his state in 1958 when he was elected as one of two Polk County representatives to the Minnesota House of Representatives, garnering 6,117 votes on election day. The 1959-61 session saw Maruska sit on the committees on Civil Administration, Elections, Motor Vehicles, State and County Fairs, and Towns and Counties. He would win a second term in November 1960 and during that term was named to two new committees, those being Banking and Employees Compensation.
  In 1962 Maruska set his sights on a seat in the Minnesota Senate and in November of that defeated his opponent, Louis A. Murray, by a vote of 9,931 to 8,969. Maruska's one term in the Senate (1963-67) saw him serve on the committees on Agriculture, Elections and Reapportionment, Game and Fish, General Legislation, Public Buildings and Public Highways. One year after the completion of his term Maruska was named to the Minnesota State Fair Board, serving until 1978, and would hold the presidency of that board for four years.
  A member of the Marshall County Fair Board for over five decades, Maruska continued prominence in Minnesota public life following his time in state government, serving as a lobbyist for the Minnesota Association of Railroads for several years and also held seats on the state zoo board and the AAA board. Having removed to Warren, Minnesota in 1966, Maruska operated Quality Motors, Inc. in that town until retiring in the 1980s. Maruska spent the twilight of his life wintering in Mesa, Arizona and died aged 86 on January 19, 2008, in Warren, Minnesota. His wife of sixty-three years, Harriett, survived her husband by less than a month, and both were subsequently interred at the Greenwood Cemetery in Warren.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Butryx Abdon Olson (1885-1957)

Portrait from "Mellette County, 1911-1961".

  Sporting a first and middle name combination that sounds as if it could be a gemstone or mineral, Mellette County, South Dakota resident Butryx Abdon Olson can rightly be considered one of the most unusually named men ever to be elected to the South Dakota legislature. A transplant to that state from Nebraska, Olson served in several local political offices in the town of White River and also held the post of mayor for one term. One of five children born to Christian and Emma Olson (name spelled Oleson in the 1900 census), Butryx Abdon "B.A." Olson was born in Washington County, Nebraska on July 29, 1885.
  Olson's early education occurred in the state of his birth and after earning a teaching certificate from the Nebraska State Normal School at Fremont began teaching school in the Spencer, Nebraska area. In 1912 Olson left Nebraska for South Dakota, and after locating in the town of White River in Mellette County began homesteading and took work in the abstract and loan business, partnering with C.S. Haight. Olson married in April 1914 to Esther Elvira Johnson (1889-1941) and the couple's near three decades of marriage saw the births of seven children, Laurance E. (1916-1980), Clifford (1918-2002), George W.  (1922-2001), Russell Curtis (1926-2017)Dorothy (1929-2015), Eugene R. (birthdate unknown) and John C. (birthdate unknown).
  In the years following his relocation to Mellette County, Olson entered local politics, serving at various times as deputy county treasurer and register of deeds. In the late 1910s he held the post of cashier for the White River State Bank and by 1922 was serving as its president. In 1921 Olson was elected as the mayor of White River and his one term in office saw the erection of a municipal hydroelectric plant on the Little White River. In November 1922 he was elected as Mellette County's representative to the South Dakota legislature and would serve one term (1923-25).
  In the 1924 Republican primary, Olson failed in his bid for renomination, losing out to J.A. Houseman, who garnered 230 votes to Olson's 144. Following his loss Olson was selected as Rural Letter Carrier for White River's route 2, having first been awarded a post office department contract in 1916. Olson continued affiliation with the post office for nearly 40 years, retiring in 1955. Widowed in 1941, Olson remarried in 1949 to Helen Chapin Strait (1901-1983), who survived him upon his death.
  After many years of service to the Mellette County community, Butryx A. Olson died at a Rapid City hospital on September 11, 1957, aged 72. He was survived by his wife and children and was interred at the White River Cemetery.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Leath Carroll Fullerton (1901-1961)

Portrait from the 1957 South Dakota Manual.

   August is upon us and after several profiles centered on political figures from North Dakota, we journey to that state's southern neighbor to highlight the life of Leath Carroll Fullerton, a Beadle County-based furniture dealer who served two full terms in the South Dakota state senate. Reelected to a third term in 1960, Fullerton would die in office in 1961, succumbing to injuries he'd sustained in a car accident in October of that year. The son of William and Verna Fullerton, Leath Carroll Fullerton was born in Delta, Iowa on February 14, 1901
  A graduate of the Milton, Iowa high school, Fullerton went on to attend the Iowa State College at Ames and the University of Minnesota. In May 1925 he married to Lucille Emmelius and later had two children, Hugh Robert (1925-2015) and Rilla Bea (born ca. 1931). Following their marriage, the Fullerton family resided in Spring Valley, Minnesota, and Helena, Montana before permanently settling in Huron, South Dakota in 1929.
  Following his settlement in Huron Fullerton took work with the Axelrad Furniture Company, remaining in their employ until deciding to go into business for himself, and in 1932 founded the Fullerton Furniture Company, which is still in existence today. Fullerton would later be joined by his son Hugh Robert, who became a partner in the business.
   As a widely known figure in the Huron business community, Fullerton was active in a number of civic and fraternal groups, including service as president of the Chamber of Commerce, the International Order of Odd Fellows, the Izaak Walton League, the Elks, the Masons and the Huron Country Club. He entered the political life of his state in 1956 when he won election to the South Dakota Senate from Beadle County and would subsequently serve on the committees on Apportionment; Game, Fish, and Parks; the Judiciary, Municipalities; State Affairs; and Transportation and Communications. He would also chair the committee on Appropriations. 
   Fullerton's three terms in the Senate saw him earn the reputation as an "amiable and effective legislator", being remarked in his Daily Republic obituary as having been "always jovial and excelled at breaking tension when the going got rough in the legislature", as well as a strong supporter for water conservancy measures and mental health legislation. In his last Senate term, Fullerton served as a member of the Legislative Research Council (LRC) and was named to an investigating committee studying the state welfare department.

Portrait from the Huron Daily Plainsman, October 20, 1961.

   L. Carroll Fullerton's time in state government was brought to a tragic end in October 1961, as the result of car accident. On October 18 of that year, he and two longtime hunting companions, Ralph Bischoff (a former state board of equalization member) and Frank Sanderson (a state fair board member) had begun a duck hunting trip when their station wagon was hit broadside by a gravel truck near Yale, South Dakota. Bischoff, who had been driving the vehicle, died at the scene, and Frank Sanderson, who had survived the initial impact, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. The driver of the truck, Albert Hohm, survived with a broken leg and other minor injuries.
  Following transport to St. John's Hospital in Huron, L. Carroll Fullerton was in critical condition and underwent surgery soon after arrival. He would succumb to his injuries on October 20, 1961, aged 60, and was survived by his wife, children, and mother, Verna. He was later interred at the Riverside Cemetery in Huron

From the Huron Daily Republic, October 20, 1961.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Nordahl Winslow Nicholsen (1876-1964)

Portrait from the 1942 North Dakota Blue Book.

   The 1941-43 session of the North Dakota legislature could boast not one but two strangely named political figures, and following on the heels of the July 21st write-up on Anfin N. Kindem, another representative from that session is accorded his due, Nordahl Winslow Nicholsen of Mohall. Even more obscure than the man who preceded him here, nearly every period source mentioning Nicholsen records him by his initials, including his brief biography in the 1942 North Dakota Blue Book. However, a search through the 1920 and 1930 North Dakota census revealed his first name to be Nordahl, and a World War I draft registration card (presumably filled out by the man himself) yielded his full name. Needless to say, it is an unusual one!
  A native of Minnesota, Nordahl W. Nicholsen was born in Austin on April 24, 1876, and was a student in the public schools of that state. By 1900 he had left Minnesota to homestead in Bottineau County, North Dakota, and after settling in Renville township erected a sod house (pictured below) in which he would reside until removing to the neighboring town of Mohall, which had been founded in 1901. Nicholsen married to Rebecca (Rebekka) Bengstad (1875-1973) in the early 1900s and would later have three children, Clara Berdine (1903-1987), Dora (1905-1992) and Neivus L. (1906-1969). 

Nicholsen's sod house, from "Commemorating Mohall's 75th Anniversary", 1976.

  Following his removal to Mohall, Nicholsen quickly established roots in the still young town, and in addition to farming operated a hardware implement business for a number of years. A longstanding member of the Lutheran Brethren church, Nicholsen held both the presidency and vice presidency of that church's board in Mohall and in June 1917 was a delegate from Mohall to the 17th annual Lutheran Brethren Convention in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
  In April 1915 Nicholsen was elected to the first of two terms on the Mohall city council and later served two terms as president of the city park board. In November 1940 he was elected as Mohall's representative to the North Dakota state legislature and during his one term in office sat on the committees on Elections and Election Privileges, and Mines and Mining.
  Information regarding Nicholsen's life following his term in the legislature remains scant, excepting notice of his managing the hardware department of the Page Brothers store in Mohall. Nicholsen died in Bottineau County on March 7, 1964, at age 87 and was interred at the Mohall Cemetery.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Sophus Vernon Trom (1901-1987)

Portrait from the 1961 North Dakota Blue Book.

  We continue our stay in North Dakota for a look at the life of another obscure state representative, Sophus Vernon Trom of Casselton. A mayor of that city in addition to his service in state government, Trom was a lifelong resident of North Dakota, being born in Kindred on June 26, 1901, the son of Olaf Knutson and Olava (Johnson) Trom. He attended public schools, as well as the North Dakota State School of Science, and in September 1923 wed Martha Geneva Stenberg (1904-1990). The couple's six-decade long marriage saw the births of four children, Omer (1927-1980) Joanne (1930-2008), Paul (1936-2011) and Sonja (born 1942).
   Following his settlement in Casselton, Trom would serve as chief of the city's fire department and in the early 1950s was elected as the mayor of that city, holding office until at least 1956. Trom was later elected as Casselton city auditor in the late 1950s, continuing in that capacity well into the 1970s. First elected to the North Dakota House of Representatives in November 1958, Trom served two terms (1959-63) and in his last year in office was selected as president of the Municipal Finance Officers Association of America and Canada for a one year term.
  Little information exists on Trom's life after 1964, excepting notice of his continued service as Casselton city auditor and his being a Republican presidential elector for North Dakota in 1976. Sophus V. Trom died in Cass County, North Dakota on December 1, 1987, at age 86. He was survived by his wife and children and was subsequently interred at the Casselton Cemetery.

Trom during his time as Casselton mayor.