Thursday, May 31, 2007

Four & Seven Equal Eleven

Long ago in Norway, before any of us were even thought of, Nils Knudson met Anne Arnesdottir and decided to marry. As far as we know, they were living in Norway farming, as their parents had done. Two this union were born Ragnhild, Anne, and Knut. Ragnhild and Knut both ended up coming to America to settle, while Anne Stayed in Norway and inherited the home farm.

When Knut Nilsen came to America, the name was changed to Ranum by taking the name of the home farm, which was Ranum. Knut was born in Valdres, Fagerness, (north of Oslo), Norway on March 15, 1852. He came to the United States at 16 or 17 years old and settled in Mower County. Siri Dicken was born somewhere in Norway in 1851 (or 1857). She came to America when she was only two years old and also settled in Mower County. Knut and Siri were married in Lanesboro, Minnesota in 1874. There are no details on how they met. While living in Mower County as a married couple, they had four sons join their family; Carl, Alfred, Benhard, and Edward.
In 1880, Knut came to Northern Minnesota and North Dakota to check out land to farm. He found a piece of land somewhere near St. Thomas for the family to move and farm. The following year, 1881, Knut and Siri and their four sons, plus three of the children's uncles, traveled by two covered wagons with two horses for each wagon and two cows tied behind the wagons from Mower County to Minneapolis. Along the way they would camp and sleep in tents that they had brought along with them in the covered wagons. When arriving in Minneapolis, they camped by a big iron bridge that they would have to cross to get to Minneapolis. After arriving in Minneapolis the first night, one of the uncle's horses got sick and died. The next day, they tried to find another horse in Minneapolis to purchase, but they were asking $300 per horse and they could not afford that. They were offered $300 for the remaining horse and so they decided to sell this horse. Then they could purchase passage on the immigrant railroad car with the money. The took the covered wagons apart and put all the materials and their supplies into the railroad car and traveled to Crookston. They brought food along to eat while they traveled on the train.
When they arrived in Crookston, they had to unload everything right away. They put up their tents and stayed there for a day. The next day they decided they would not travel much further and so they traveled one day by covered wagon from Crookston and stopped. They came east off of the Pembina trail and decided this was where they would stop. Knut took a pre emption on a homestead in Strip, Polk County. Strip was a narrow strip of land between Polk and Marshall Counties, which resulted as an error in surveying, it later became a part of Marshall County and the area to the south became Pennington County. Strip was later renamed Rosewood.
Knut and Siri built a sod house to live in on this property in New Solum Township. They had a small cook stove in the sod house that was used for cooking and heating. They used a blanket for a door and made the roof out of tar paper and trees stretched across the top. The sod strips that they cut were then laid across this to make the roof. Benny, Cora, Casper, Oscar, John, Sanfred, Freeman were all born while living in the sod house. Seven plus four equals eleven.

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