Minnesota County Histories
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The History of Renville County, Volume 2
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge
Wang township is located in the northwestern corner of Renville County. It embraces Congressional township 116, range 38. On the north is Stoneham township, in Chippewa county, on the east is Ericson township, in Renville county, on the south is Hawk Creek township, in Renville county, and on the west is Granite Falls township, in Chippewa county.
The surface of the township is a rolling prairie. Hawk Creek meanders for a distance almost on a level with the surrounding land, but in the southern part it cuts a sharply marked gorge which was originally heavily wooded.
The first settlers in Wang township came in 1867 and settled in the timberland along the course of Hawk creek southwest of the present location of the Vestre Sogn church. These settlers consisted of the three brothers, Christian O. Narvestad, Theodore Rongerud, and Hans Olson Grotvedt, and their two friends, Hans Gunderson and Christian Ingebretson.
The farthest up the creek was Narvestad. He was in section 28. Down the creek was Gunderson in the same section on the north side of the present road. Across the road from Gunderson was Grotvedt in section 33. Next down the creek was Ingebretson in section 33. Farthest down the creek was Rongerud. All these were on the east bank of the creek. Christian Olson came at the same time and settled just over the line in Hawk Creek township. Her claim was purchased by Torger Olson Skrukrud.
Peter Johnson Tanberg, according to his own statement, arrived in 1868 with his sister, Otilda, and settled in section 32.
L. J. Romo, according to his own statement came in November, 1869, and settled on section 30. With him came his wife and three oldest children, C. Wogstad and family, and L. Engebretson. There were then living in the neighborhood, according to him, C. Christopherson and H. Aasnas.
In 1870 quite a few settlers came to Wang township. Thomas Christopherson (Lerhol) settled in section 22, with his family. Late in life he retired and moved to Granite Falls, leaving his son on the farm. His wife died in November, 1915, and since then he has given up his home in Granite Falls and returned to Wang. Anders Thomason Kjersten settled with his family in section 28 and still lives there. Thomas Kjersten came the same year. Andrew E. Rogen, with his family, settled in section 34, and lived there until some ten years ago, when he died. His wife died some two years ago. The family is still represented in the township. A son lives on the Helge Holeen Evanson farm. Ole Halvorson Holien (Skalberg) and George Halvorson Holien (Skalberg) settled in section 8 and are still alive. Peter Iverson settled on section 8, and lived there until 1914, when he purchased school land in section 16, where he now lives. Thomas Henrikson settled in section 26, and died some four years ago. His wife and son are on the home place. Endre K. Lien settled in section 6. At the age of ninety-four he is the oldest man in the township. He still retains much of his early vigor and even this winter is to be found chopping wood and enjoying outdoor exercise. His son, Knud Anderson, a bachelor, came at the same time, and died on the farm some fifteen years ago.
Iver Oie and Iver Nystuen, cousins, accompanied by P. N. Stenberg, settled in section 26. After taking their claim they went away, came again in the fall, and in the spring of 1871 came in with a large colony. Oie lives in Sacred Heart. Nystuen sold out and moved to Iowa. He now lives in Rice county, this state, some four miles from Northfield. Stenberg died on the farm and his widow lives in Sacred Heart. Ingeborg J. Osnes settled with her husband in section 30. He was drowned in the creek and she, after living here a short time and proving up on her land, moved away. Helge Evanson (Holien), at that time a single man, settled in section 14, and is still there. H. Ellingboe, a brother of Andrew T. Ellingboe, settled just over the line in Granite Falls township.
In the spring and summer of 1871 quite a few settlers came in. Among them may be mentioned a large colony from Goodhue colony. Iver Oie and Iver Nystuen, with their friend P. N. Stenberg, who had been here in the spring and again in the fall of 1870, were the leaders of this colony, and the formation of the party was the result of their glowing descriptions. The colony started with ox teams, crossed the river at St. Peter, and in time reached Wang township. The members of the colony were Iver Oie, Iver Nystuen and P. N. Stenberg, all single; Tosten Olson Hamre, Siver Guttormson Strand, Ole O. Strand, Ove Strand, A. H. Weflen, Ingebret Thompson, George C. Heen and his father, Christopherson Gulbrandson Heen, all of whom were family men and Mrs. Mary Ostrom, afterwards Mrs. Mary Ostrom Boe, with her family.
Tosten Olson Hamre settled in section 14. He now lives in Sacred Heart and his son is on the farm. Sever Guttormson Strand settled in section 14, and is still there. Ole O. Strand settled in section 12 and is still there. Ove Strand settled in section 14. Andrew (Anders) Helgeson Weflen settled in section 24, and still lives on the same place. Ingebret Thompson settled in section 8. He died many years ago. His son Nels is now on the place. George C. Heen settled on section 8 and is still alive. His son is on the home farm. His father, Christopher Gulbrandson, settled on section 8, where he lived the remainder of his life. Mrs. Mary Ostrom afterward Mrs. Mary Boe, settled in section 24. She now lives in Minneapolis. Knud Thompson settled in section 22, and is still there. Ole Ellefson settled across the creek from Christian Ingebretson. Gullick Helgeson (Weflen) settled on section 30 and died there. The widow lives in Granite Falls and the sons run the home place. Mathias Magnuson settled in section 32 and still lives there. John Thor settled in section 12, operated a harness shop in Sacred Heart for a while, and died in Todd county, this state. Ole Thomason (Grover) settled in section 22, and is still there. He was a veteran of the Civil War. John I. Johnson, later county commissioner and now treasurer of the township, settled in section 24. He came here in the spring and came here in the fall to remain. Isaac F. Olson, John P. Johnson and August Wibe settled in the same section. Mr. Olson still lives on the home place. Johnson sold out and went to the Dakotas in the early days. Wibe sold out and went to Washington in the early days.
Lars Klafsass and family settled in section 22. He died on the farm. The family is still represented in the township. Ole Nelson settled in section 10, and though he has since been away a part of the time, now lives on the same place. John Peterson (Chelgren) settled in section 10 and now lives in Cokato. Ole E. Rogen settled in section 28, but later sold out and now lives in Canada.
Trond I. Ellingboe settled on section 4 in the fall of 1871, and lived there the remainder of his life. He died at the age of 89 years. Ole Erickson (Dambroten) settled in section 28 and still lives there. Erick Erickson (Viken) settled in section 12 and died on the place some twenty years ago. Lars J. Frickland settled in section 12 and lived there until ten years ago. He was ill for a time and wandered about from place to place until his death. The distribution of his estate has caused considerable difficulty. John Brown came over the northern line into the township with Christopher Hutchins, and took a claim in section 6. He never actually lived in the township. Ole K. Williams settled in section 12. He lives in North Dakota, but still owns the farm. In 1872 he married Anna Simenson, this being the first marriage before the town was organized. Andrew and Hans Anderson settled in section 10. Andrew is still there, Hans having moved away and died in northern Minnesota. Trond Engebretson settled in section 8 and now lives in Maynard. With him came his father, Eng. Trondson. Christian Larson, Christopher Gunderson, Knute Weflen and Hans G. Berg also settled in the town this year. Johannes Gunderson settled just over the line. Hans G. Berg still lives on the homestead. Christian Larson died January 2, 1891.
Many of the settlers of 1872 came together and settled here at the same time. They started out from Goodhue county with ten yoke of oxen, household goods and supplies. Most of the party were single men, but a few had their families. On the way they were joined by others, some bound for Renville county and some for other places. This great caravan presented a picturesque appearance as it wound its way over the intervening miles and was a sight which none who saw it will ever forget. The party crossed the Minnesota river at St. Peter, came on to Fort Ridgely and from there found its way to Wang. This party was similar to one that had arrived the previous year.
Christian Torgerson (Askerud) settled in section 28. He stayed there about thirty years and then went back to Norway where he died. Anders O. Elton settled in section 4, and now lives in North Dakota. Christopher Hutchins settled on section 6. When the family of Ole Christopherson Soine attempted to locate on that section Hutchins appeared and said that he had taken the land the previous year. The Soine family accordingly moved to section 10 and took a claim there. Mr. Hutchins moved onto the claim in section 6, in 1873, and became postmaster. He left a few years later. Ole O. Belsem settled in section 10 and sold out a few years ago. He is now in Ericson township. It is interesting to note that he and Andrew T. Ellingboe, who settled in section 4 where his father had previously located, came together with the caravan, Ellingboe furnishing a yoke of oxen and Belsem the wagon. Peder J. Myra and family settled on section 26. He died on the farm and the son, J. P. Myra, is still there. Knud Knudson (Viken) settled in section 14, and still lives there. Gunder O. Gjevre settled on railroad land in section 7, and died some six years ago on his homestead in section 24. His widow still lives there. William J. Smith settled in section 6, but stayed only a few years.
Ole L. Akerland settled in section 18, but moved away at an early date. His son, Ole Olson Akerland, settled in the same section and stayed a little longer than his father, and then moved to a farm north of Maynard, where he still lives. Lars Engebretson settled in section 20 and died a few years ago at Granite Falls. Jens Christopherson (Holter), Isaac Abrahamson and Jacob Hanson settled in section 20. Abrahamson and Hanson soon moved to Lac qui Parle county. Holter stayed a little longer than the other two and then followed them to Lac qui Parle county. He now lives in Rosseau county. Edgar Lampman settled in section 4, and later moved to Yellow Medicine county and died two years ago. Gilbert Johnson (Rude) settled in section 34. He sold out some four years ago and removed to Granite Falls. He is now dead. Halvor A. Skjeggerud settled in section 20 and lived many years on his farm before moving to Rosseau county, this state. C. A. Evenson settled in section 34 and still lives there. Carl J. Pettersen settled in section 28, but later moved to North Dakota where he died. Elling Johnson settled in section 14, but did not stay very long. He died a few years ago in Maynard. Ole O. Grov settled in section 4 and still lives there. Ole H. Huseby settled in section 4, and lived there until some seven years ago, when he died. Christian Johnson (Wagstad) settled in section 20. He died some six years ago and his son Martin is now on the home place. Loritz Peterson (Brevig) settled in section 20, and died many years ago. Halvor Sibilrud settled in section 20, and only lived there a short time. Mathaes Nelson settled in the southeast quarter of section 36. He has sold his farm and now lives in Granite Falls. Amund G. Hagen settled in the northeast quarter of section 36. He has sold his farm and now lives in Sacred Heart. Ole Ellefson settled across the creek from Christian Engebretson. Ole Frykholm and Nels Nelson settled in section 26. Frykholm died February 18, 1889. Nelson sold out and went to Polk county, Minnesota. Thomas Hendrickson and Christopher Gulbrandson also settled in the town this year. Between the great influx of 1872 and the organization of the township in the summer of 1875 a number of settlers arrived. Thomas K. Weflen originally homesteaded in Ericson township, but later settled in section 27, Wang. He now lives on school land in section 16. Knud Anderson settled in section 34. He was at that time an old man. He died in the early days and the widow of his son, Andrew K., is now on the home place. Christian Arestad settled in section 18, and moved to Dakota where he died. Lars Gunderson Klefsos settled in section 22. He died on the place and his daughter and her husband Knute Thompson now live there. Evert M. Strand settled in section 22 and died a few months ago. Hans Johnson (Bardel) settled in section 12. Later he moved to Elbow Lake, where he now lives. Sever Christopherson settled in section 6, he was killed while hauling hay and his widow still lives in the township. Some time before the organization Nils Norman settled in section 16, and now lives near Montevidio. A few early settlers came in after the organization. Jens Olson (Opdahl) settled in section 22. His son is now on the home place.
Wang was organized on July 28, 1875, and the first election was ordered to be held at the home of Elling Johnson, August 16, 1875. The first supervisors were Elling Johnson (chairman), Ole C. Soine and O. T. Grover. Nils Norman was elected clerk, but he did not qualify, so A. T. Ellingboe was appointed. Mr. Ellingboe has since continued to hold the office, thus making a record of forty years' service that is hard to excel. The first regular town meeting was held March 14, 1876. Officers were elected as follows: Supervisors, C. A. Evenson (chairman), Erick Viken and O. T. Grover; clerk, A. T. Ellingboe; assessor, Elling Johnson; treasurer, P. L. Brevig; justice of the peace, K. K. Viken; constable, O. K. Williams. The present officers are: Supervisors, H. H. Olson (chairman), George E. Lien and L. K. Thompson; clerk, A. T. Ellingboe; treasurer, J. I. Johnson; assessor, T. T. Kjersten; constable, O. T. Haugen; road supervisor, H. A. Weflen. It is interesting that Mr. Ellingboe has not only served as town clerk since the town was organized, but has also been justice of the peace ever since 1877, and clerk of the school district No. 44 since it was organized.
The Hawk Creek Farmers' Mutual Insurance Company of Renville county, Minnesota, was organized May 25, 1881, with thirty-four members and an insurance value of $49,052. It includes the towns of Hawk Creek, Sacred Heart, Ericson and Wang in Renville county, and the towns of Swede Forest and the Sioux Agency in Yellow Medicine county. The first officers were: Ole Fugleskjel, Paul Berg, C. A. Evenson, H. O. Agre and P. C. Brevig. The company now has a membership of over 700 farmers and an insurance value of about two million dollars. Its present officers are T. A. Nellermoe, president; I. C. Barnaale, secretary; A. T. Ellingboe, treasurer; J. I. Johnson, Fred Hendrikson, S. O. Skjeggeby and C. Knudson, directors.
A triple wedding in which the hearts of six young people of Wang were made happy was one of the notable events of the early days. The ceremony was performed by that beloved pioneer preacher, the Rev. John Berg, in a schoolhouse located on the land of P. C. Brevig in Hawk Creek township. The contracting parties were A. T. Ellingboe and Betsy Lien, daughter of Anders Lien; Ole Erickson Drambroten and Anna Stende, the daughter of Anders Stende, and Gullick Helgerson Weflen and Martha Johnson Tandborg, daughter of Peter Tandborg.
The New Lisbon postoffice was established in section 6, Wang, some time between 1873 and 1875. Christopher Hutchins was the first postmaster. He was followed by A. T. Ellingboe, who kept the office at his home in section 4, being postmaster for eighteen years, when rural route No. 1 out of Maynard was established. September 3, 1907, A. T. Ellingboe was appointed carrier. He did not, however, serve, and his son, Tron A. Ellingboe, succeeded. He served several years, and was succeeded by the present carrier, Hans Huseby, son of Ole Huseby, the pioneer.
There are three Norwegian Lutheran churches in the town of Wang, one on the southwest quarter of section 34, one on the northeast quarter of section 21, and one on the northeast quarter of section 9.
The first boy born in Wang was Robert Scott Hutchens, January 4, 1876; the second, Henry O. Grove, February 15, 1876. Mr. Grove still lives in Wang and has a farm. The first girl born in Wang was Marue Elton. She died April 28, 1877. The second girl born was Anne Marie Holien, daughter of K. K. Holien, in section 14. Miss Holien still lives in the township. The first person that died in Wang, except for the drowning already mentioned, was Bertha Johnson, April 18, 1876. She was the mother of Mrs. George H. Holien, now of section 8. The first marriages in Wang were in 1874. The first three contracting couples were: O. K. Williams and Anne Simons; Helge Evenson and Ambjor Ellingboe; George C. Heen and Martha Kattevold. The first couple married in Wang church were Lars Brecke and Margaret Dolager, July 1, 1893; the second, Endre Holien and Bella Strand, July 3, 1893; the third, Andrew Brecke and Molla Strand, July 14, 1893. The first child baptized in Wang church was Randi C. Hovda, in September, 1892. The first person buried in Wang's cemetery was Sever Brecke, in October, 1891.
The first class confirmed in Wang's church consisted of Adolph Borstad, Gilbert Hougen, Knut O. Holien, Louise Dalager, Marit Soine, Susie Haugen and Bertha A. Ellingboe. This was in October, 1894. Adolph Borstad is a farmer in Tioga, North Dakota. Gilbert Haugen is a physician in Battle Lake, Minnesota. Knute O. Holien is a farmer in Erickson township. Louise Dalager is married and lives at Granite Falls. Marit Soine married T. S. Strand, a farmer in Wang township. Bertha Ellingboe married G. T. Strand of Tioga, North Dakota. Susie Haugen married and moved away.
(Note - The above history of Wang tonwship has been prepared with the assistance of A. T. Ellingboe and John I. Johnson, and edited by both of these gentlemen. In some cases there is a difference of opinion as to when certain families arrived, some of the representatives of various families themselves being of varying opinions about their date of arrival. It is believed, however, that the foregoing dates are approximately accurate.)
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