By A. P. Weberg

In the spring of 1882, the writer, in company with my brother, John Weberg; Alec McGavock and wife; John McGavock; Ole Luan; James Tracy and family;  and Hob Royce, concluded to go out west, and had our eyes cast on Dakota Territory as a very promising land and suitable location.  During the month of May we left Beloit, Wisconsin, and it took us about two weeks to make the trip across the state of Iowa, arriving at Beloit, Iowa, the latter part of May.  We were so well pleased with the lay of the land, and the country in general, that we made a stop here and investigated a little about the price of land, etc.  The McGavocks, Lunn and Royce returned to Wisconsin in the fall of the same year, but Mr. Tracy, being so well pleased with the country, decided to locate permanently, and is still residing at Larchwood.  My brother and myself located in Richland Township, where we were joined the next spring by our parents, where they have resided ever since.  (Father died in 1902.)  Coming across the state of Iowa I saw a good deal of good land along the way.  I noticed some too that I did not like so well, and was not satisfied until we reached the northwest part of the state, and I shall never forget the moment when we crossed the bluff east of Beloit.  After crossing several small ravines we entered the high plateau (known as Beloit Bluffs,) and suddenly as if by magic lay spread out before us the beautiful Sioux Valley, drained by the Big Sioux River.  On the east bank was the prosperous little village of Beloit, as proud as a little queen, and struggling with her rival and neighbor on the other side the river for supremacy, but fate seems to be against Beloit, she got the worst of it.  If some of the citizens of Beloit would have had more forethought with reason, more patriotism and less selfishness, and been willing to live and let live, the village of Beloit, that was once so promising a city, but where not is left only a few scattered houses, Beloit would today have been one of the best cities in Lyon County; as I never have seen a better location or a more beautiful spot on God’s earth for the building of a fine city.

I distinctly remember the day we arrived at Beloit, remembering that we stopped on the hill east of town to take a good look at the country.  At the foot of the hill was the famous Beloit bottom, all plowed up, and a good share of it planted to corn.  I remember I could see the marks of the cornplanter’s straight rows for pretty nearly a mile in length, and farther in the distance, across the river, I could see the fine prairie land for miles and miles, dotted with small groves, newly planted, and farm houses which the homesteaders had already erected, and as the setting sun shone upon this beautiful country, it looked too good and too great to be a newly settled country, and I have since never lost faith in Lyon County, and today I can say I have seen twenty-three crops grow in this county with no failure recorded.

Among the most prominent residents and businessmen at Beloit in 1882, with whom I had the honor of getting acquainted with, were: Jas. A. Carpenter and his sons, D.J., E.F., and John M.; Chris H. Sogn, Rowley & Company, Fred Mead, Mike Nelson, Peter and John Anderson, of Anderson Brothers, Bill Coller, T. W. Tattershall, Andrew Anderson, Dr. Addie Monroe, L. J. Scheie, Wm. Paxton, Tom Rood, David Herman, M. O. Bergstrom, O. T. Helgerson, A. B. Reynolds, Chas. Reynolds, W. T. Coffield, Jerome Tilletson, George Tillitson, Dan Tillitson, D. N. Richardson & Sons, Rev. Lysues, Lars Engen, Chris Janson, John Payne, Wm. Starr, A. Euggelbretson, J. H. Webb, John W. Brenner, W. C. Gimmell, B. H. Perkins and others whose names I have forgotten.  Most of these early citizens of Lyon County have removed across the river and settled at Canton, and some of them are doing business there now.

Among old settlers who occupied farms in the southwest part of the county I will mention the names of all I can remember.  Most all of them had families and now their children are grown up to be handsome young men and women, and all but a few exceptions are living in Lyon County and enjoying prosperity.  Svend Thorsen, one of the old settlers near Sioux River, with his three sons, Chris, Sam and Thomas.  Thomas Thorsen was the first recorder of Lyon County, also deputy county auditor, and then auditor; C. F. Goetz, a brother-in-law of Thorsen’s (also from Beloit), was the first county auditor.  John J. Chraft, now a merchant of Canton; Christen Chraft (dead); Ben Chraft; Albert Chraft; Ingvald Chraft (dead); Peter Chraft (dead); Abe Anderson (who came out in 1869 with Halvor Nelson from Clayton County); George Anderson; Nels Johnson; Claus Jacobson; E. E. Dahl; John H. Soga; John Syverud; Heken Helgenson (dead); Halvor Helgerson; Tolie Helgerson; Milt Beck; Cham Beck; C. Beck; Ole H. Knudtson; S. O. Fladager (dead); Arne Helgerson; Knute Helgerson; Syver Helgeson; S. O. Groth; Nels H. Nelson (dead); John Hanson, Sr. (dead) with his sons, Henry, Oliver, John Jr., Joseph and Charley; G. J. Anderson (dead) was one of the most prominent men in the west end of Lyon County and chairman board of supervisors at the time of his death in 1889.  G. M. Anderson, his son was a member of legislature from 1897 to 1901.  Another son, B. B. Anderson, now of Minneapolis; Chas. B. Lamkin of Inwood, adopted son of G. J. Anderson, is at present a member of legislature from this district.  A. G. Thompson; Ole Thompson; Gunderson; J. R. Skewis; G. R. Ladd; Mike Mathiason; all old timers of Lyon Township.

Over in Richland Township there were only a few settlers at this time.  Two of the first were Aug. Klein and A. J. Warren.  John Albertson came out from Wisconsin in 1869 and started the Albertson settlement between Beloit and Doon.  Mr. Avends from Clayton County came out in 1870 and broke up the west half of section 30; put up pretty good buildings and started a fine grove.  This grove could be seen for many miles, and was pointed out to the writer on his first trip to Lyon County, by a farmer living near Pattersonville (now Hull), in Sioux County.  He called it the Sixmile Grove, being six miles from Beloit.  I can remember my first visit from Beloit to Doon.  After leaving this Sixmile Grove I passed only three houses on that road to Rock River, being the houses of John Albertson, Paul Sanderson and Syver Syverson.

Jas. Skewis was an early settler in Richland Township.  Mr. Skewis has raised a family of boys and girls, which he is proud of.  The oldest daughter married Mr. W. W. Prichard, the founder of Inwood, and its first businessman.  The youngest daughter is editor and publisher of the Inwood Herald. W. J., E. J., F. H., C. A., E. A. and Geo. A. are all good businessmen.

Wm. Oats, with his sons, Harry, Will and Albert, was also an early settler.  Gunden Everson (dead); G. E. Everson; Ed Simmons; Thos. Jacobson; K. T. Jacobson; Ole Erickson; Erick Erickson; A. F. Foss (dead); Thos. Warren (dead); J. H. Johnson; S. Sanvin; H. Halverson (dead); Halvor Severson; Edward Baker; John Raftman; Erick Thompson; D. S. Sanvin; John Sanvin; Severt Gregorson; C. D. Andrews; E. Albertson; A. W. Albertson; Albert Albertson; J. L. Washburn, J. P. Negus; Chas. Sherman;  Jas. White, Enoch Tobiason; all of Richland Township.   

Centennial Township was already pretty well settled up, mostly by Norwegians, who homesteaded.  E. W. Lewis (dead); H. J. Olson and son, Ole; Balme Balinson and sons Monroe and Neighton;  Gabriel Stenslaud; A. Ringhenn; Ole Helgerson; Amos Severson; S. O. Scheie (Mr. Scheie claims the distinction of being the first farmer buying groceries at Inwood).  Ole Sorenson; Sam Ameson; H. O. Knutson; Ole Egge; Simon Tobiason; O. A. Berge (at present the Lutheran minister at Inwood); L. F. Kruger; C. F. Krueger; A. O. Naglestad; Tobias Olson; Tice Tobiason (dead); Martin Hanson (dead); Gulbrand Medalen (dead), with his two sons, G. G. and H. G.; S. A. Tobiason (dead); O. T. Monen; T. A. Thorson; H. A. Thorson; Ole Simonson; Erick Erickson, Nels F. Foss; Sacarias Severson; S. A. Feay; Peter Garvey, with his two sons, G. P. and O. P.; Jacob Ailerdson; Syvert Syversan; Peter Gilbertson; Gunder Kolbrinson; Hans Michalson; Elias Mouen; T. O. Neglestad; David Gunderson; John Jacobson (dead); Jacob Tobias and others.

Logan Township had very few settlers at this time.  Hoken T. Moen being one of the first settlers.  Mr. Moen is another man who has reared a find family of boys, T. E. Moen, of Minneapolis, Henry, O. T. and Ben, at Inwood, are all good businessmen.  Peter Bahnson homesteaded in 1869.  Mr. Bahnson had three sons, all doing well,  Detlief, Manheit and Henry; Henry Donnelly; Andrew Knutson; Andrew Kjersland; Rev. S. M. Knogness.  Mr. Knogness told me that the first few years he lived here his next neighbor to the east (northeast) was almost fifteen miles away.  He says: “There is a Yankee over there, near Rock River, his name is Merrill. This being D. E. F. Merrill, still living there.

The settlement around Larchwood was started in 1870 by J. W. Fell, from Illinois.  In the summer of 1882 the writer passed through Larchwood when engaged in carrying the mail (for A. B. Reynolds, of Beloit) from Beloit to Rock Rapids, Upland in Centennial Township and Larchwood being the two postoffices on the route between Beloit and Rock Rapids.  After leaving the Larchwood settlement I passed only one house until I reached close to Rock River, where there were a few settlers.

Land in Lyon County at that time could be bought at from four to ten dollars per acre.

For further particulars about early settlers I will refer the reader to S. C. Hyde’s “Historical Sketch of Lyon County.” published in 1872.


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