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Fredrick Fredrickson & Elen Svendsdaughter. By Shery Jarvi

Fredrik and Elen Fredriksen

In 1869 a group form Norway arrived in Minnesota, this group was made up of Nels Berg, wife and two children; Knute O. Bjerkness wife and three children; Nels Rasmussen single; Edward Bjerkan, single; Peter Berg, single; Ragnild Bjerkan, a single woman; and Fred Fredrickson, wife and one child.
The party had little knowledge of what to expect in the new country. Their principal resources to support their enterprise consisted of a faith that they would find means to make good in Minnesota. They got off the train at St. Cloud, the end of the railroad at that time; but could find neither place to live nor employment in that settlement. They were told that some building was going on at Sauk Centre and probably Alex Moore could help them out. Fred Fredrickson and one of the others, either Knute Bjerkness of Edward Bjerkan bought a yoke of oxen and a wagon, and with this outfit, the party of 16 set out up the old Red River Trail for Sauk Centre.
It is not probable that any of them had much experience driving oxen, and the writer has thought that they must have had considerable experience by the time they arrived at Sauk Centre. The women with the small children rode on the piles of baggage, while the men walked all the way as did Ragnild Bjerkan, the young woman, and sister to Edward Bjerkan. These were not people who could be discouraged by hardship. Arriving at Sauk Centre, there was little work to be secured until spring should come, but Alex Moore allowed the party to occupy his cooper shop near the river, and in this the party lived until spring, securing whatever small jobs they could.
Mrs. Fredrickson obtained work cooking for the hotel. Mr. Fredrickson and Edward Bjerkan formed a partnership and proceeded to build a hotel with no financial resources. They secured a lot on what is now the famous Main Street of Sauk Centre; and without money to buy lumber; they went into the woods and sawed out boards by hand. A log was placed high on skids, so that one man could stand below it, the other man standing on the log. The top sawer pulled the saw up and then the man standing in the pit would pull it down, and in this way most of the lumber was produced to build a two-story hotel, 16 feet by 49 feet. By spring the new hotel was ready for business, and business came. It proved a profitable venture, for the region was attracting many Scandinavians immigrants, who appreciated finding people with whom they could talk their native tongue. The patronage came not only from those who settled round about, but from large numbers passing on to western Minnesota and points in the Red River valley.

In 1869 Nicolai Nelson came directly from Norway to Little Sauk and took a homestead. The northwest quarter of section 33. With him came his son, Nils Nelson, and sometime later the rest of his family joined them. We believe that an older son, Mathias, also came with the father; but Mathais did not live many years after their arrival. Nicolai Nelson’s homestead was naturally a meeting place in that section of the town and on his farm was built the first church at Long Bridge.
The first church was a log affair; but well and substantially made. This congregation was organized at a meeting held in Nicolai’s Nelson’s home on August 22, 1872. At the meeting Fred Fredrickson was chosen chairman, Knute O. Bjerkness secretary, and Torger Bjerkan, John Hovern, and Nils Johnson were selected as trustees of the church.

We have said that this church building was unusually well constructed, and when it was found to be inadequate to the needs of the congregation, it was sold and a new frame structure was erected. However, much good lumber had been built into the structure, and when Fred Fredrickson purchased it from the congregation he tore it down and loaded a car with the material, which he shipped to Mohall, ND and there built a hotel with the salvaged material.
Edward Bjerkan, older brother or Torger. With a fellow countryman, Fred Fredrickson, who operated a hotel in Sauk Centre for a year or so, and then took a claim in Section 32, of Little Sauk, we believe, the SE quarter of that section, and his partner in the hotel venture, Fred Fredrickson, took as a homestead, the NE quarter of Section 32. Both of these claims lie just across the road west of the Long Bridge church.

Fred Fredrickson was born in Norway, but we have been unable to gather details of his personal history. He came to Minnesota about 1869, and with Edward Bjerkan operated a hotel or boarding house in Sauk Centre. His claim being immediately west of the new church. When the church was sold in order to build a larger one, he purchased the old building and took the salvaged material to Mohall, ND where he built another hotel. He seems to have been a man of considerable force and ability. He followed Torger Bjerkan as assessor of the township. We have no details of his history after moving to North Dakota.
Fred Fredrickson already mentioned several times in these articles, was a man worthy of more then a passing note. He was born in Havne, Norway on July 28, 1835, and as related, was one of the party arriving at St Cloud in 1869. In the old country, he was a man of superior education and attainments, as teacher, and for 14 years a drill master in the Norwegian army. On January 20, 1864 he married Ellen Svensen, and to them was born one child before coming to America. In Sauk Centre another child; Idar Martin was born, and after the removal to the homestead in little Sauk, the following five children were born; Severine Jorgine, Louise Nicolina, Lauritz Nicolai, Ida Louise and Fridthof Elenus. The child born before coming to America, Ida Martin, died while they were living at Sauk Centre, July 19, 1869.
Only one of Mr. and Mrs. Fredrickson's children now remain in Todd County. Severina Jorgine married Bert Johnson, of Gordon and they are now among the respected residents of that town.

For many years, Mr. Fredrickson wielded a great influence in community and religious affairs in Little Sauk and Gordon, instructing three choirs of various churches and teaching the different parochial schools.
His influence still lives with his former pupils, and many have been the words of appreciation spoken when we have mentioned him in our inquires; He was a splendid example for the young people under his care.

 

From the Todd County Recorders Office:
Died Louise Nicoline Fredrickson Nov. 29 1876-1 yr 4 months, from croup, book a-64- 25
Died Martin - Jan 22, 1888 - book-3- 7
Died Frederick - May 11,1924 - book f-180-78
Died Ellen - Nov 24, 1933 - book f-192-66 Swan Nelson and Mary Olson parents of Ellen
Died: Martin: rheumatic fever 17 yrs 11 months 2 days
Died: Fredrick 88 yrs 9 months 13 days enlarged prostate and senility

The census returns of 1865 from Hemme, Norway lists this family:
Svend Nilsen--tenant farmer---58 years--born Roros Parish
Mari Olsdatter--his wife--58 years--born Surndal parish
Fredrik Fredrikson--- thier son-in-law--- petty officer--- shoemaker---31 years-born Hemme
Elen Svensdatter--his wife-22 years--born Hemme
Ida M. Fredriksdatter---thier daughter---3 years---born in Hemme

The emigrant lists of Trondheim Police Office show that:
Fredrik Fredriksen, age 34, his wife Elen, 25 and their daughter Ida, 3, left the parish of Hemme for St. Cloud {Minnesota} according to contract dated May 11, 1869.
The newspaper THE MOHALL NEWS dated November 12,1903, Vol II, No, 47, M.O. Hall, publisher. Several businessmen in Mohall were featured. The following, with a picture, was printed about Fredrik Fredrikson: " Sergeant Fredrik Fredrikson was born July 23, 1835 at Havne, North Trondhje, Norway, where he attended a common school education. He enlisted in the state militia, serving 6 years as a private, passing a favorable examination was promoted to sergeant, serving in this capacity for 14 years, making his military service 20 years. Receiving an honorable discharge from his military service, with his family emigrated to America, locating at Sauk Centre, Minnesota where he resided 3 years, then moved to Todd County, Minnesota where he resided 30 years, following farming. Sergeant Fredrikson with his family are now residents of Mohall, ND".

Shery Jarvi added this on 18 Dec 2009

Excerpts From: Todd County Histories Published by: The Todd County Bicentennial Committee in conjunction with the United State Bicentennial 1776-1976 O.B. De Laurier wrote a newspaper column from 1934 to 1943 telling the early history of the town.