|ANDERS MONSON HOGHAUG, A Norwegian pioneer
Submitted by Ann Hoghaug June 2006 - Thora A.M. Hoghaug
Anders Monson Hoghaug was born in Aadalen, Norway at an elevated place called Hoghaug (high hill) overlooking a body of water called Bjorn Vatne on May 30, 1842. This wooded land was a part of the Skagnes Gaard which his father had contracted to live on as "husman" in exchange for work. Since he was the oldest son, he too, served the Skagnes family. There were 10 children – 4 sons and 6 daughters – so the economic opportunities were limited. His education was meager, mainly learning enough to read so he could be confirmed. He, along with his younger brother, Ole, was confirmed in Viker Church by Reverend Friis in July 1858. He recalled that the sermon was about "the Pharisee and the Publican".
Anders and Ole agreed to work together so the family could seek new opportunities in America. Ole went first, and the next year sent money back for the family so in 1868 the family made preparation to leave. There were 10 in the party – the parents, Mons and Mari, seven of the children and Thore Lokken who was engaged to Anders. Two sisters waited several more years because of shortage of money, and leaving them behind was a difficult experience.
The family had to bring food and provisions for the journey on the sailboat, "Refondo", calculating about 12 weeks. They had a wagon and horses take some of their goods from Aadalen to Oslo, but most of them walked the whole 70 mile journey. They took a coffee grinder; a coffee pot and a tin pail for cooking; and a chest with "flat brød" and bread. In Oslo they bought butter, cheese and herring. After spending about a week in Oslo they set sail on April 21st, 1868. There was just one big room in the boat with a partition running lengthwise and double decker bunks. Many were seasick. There were 13 deaths and 8 births during the voyage. Happy was the day when they saw land and sailed up the St. Lawrence River. There were about 300 immigrants, all Norwegians, but the crew was mostly English. When Anders saw men working the land along the river he thought, "there must be a piece left for me". After being on the ship almost 11 weeks they were glad to transfer to another boat which took them to Chicago via Detroit on June 24th. At Chicago they had to buy train tickets to Madison, Wisconsin. Upon reaching Madison they ran out of food and money. A fellow Norwegian helped them and secured free passage to Boscobel, Wisconsin in an empty freight car. Here there was a happy reunion with brother Ole. This had been an eventful voyage which took much stamina, courage and determination which the Hoghaugs had.
Near Castle Rock, Wisconsin they were well received by cousin, Ole Johnsrud, where they stayed for a short time. Before long they secured work and established their own humble home. On August 18, 1868 Anders and Thore were married. After several moves, they built their own home. Anders recalled his first election in this country after taking out his "intention" papers for citizenship. He voted for President Grant. Immigrants were often referred to as "voting cattle" by the politicians. The work for money to repay debts consisted mainly of chopping wood for timber, but Anders was strong and ambitious. A son, Martin, was born while in Wisconsin.
Better opportunities seemed available in Iowa, so in the fall of 1872 Anders traveled by train to Osage, Iowa to survey the situation. Against the advice of Reverend Ness and others, the family set out by wagon in May of 1873. It had been a very hard winter so there was still snow on the ground and it proved to be a difficult trip. Partway through Iowa they were cordially received by the Levor Olsons, Thore&146;s uncle, where they stayed for a while. Land in Iowa had been all taken up by speculators who bought it at a very low price and sold it for a profit. It could have been bought at $5-6 an acre, but after 2 years he paid $12 an acre for his 120 acre farm. While in Iowa Ole and Mathilde were added to the family.
Anders still had the notion that he would like new land and had heard much about the Red River Valley and wanted to press westward – so in May 1879 he, along with 3 other men, set out for the Red River Valley – against the advice of Reverend Olson. They traveled by covered wagon and horses. Their journey took them through the Minnesota towns of Albert Lea, Mankato, St. Peter, Litchfield, Fergus Falls and Hawley where they soon had their first view of the valley as they turned westward to Glyndon. Glyndon had become quite a market place due to the 2 railroads that crossed there – the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific. Land was available near Glyndon but Anders was not interested as he (correctly) felt the land was too low and prone to flooding. They continued on, following the Buffalo River to Kragness, then up to where Halstad is now and crossed the Red River by barge at Nielsville and continued west to Goose River. Now they were in Dakota Territory and pressed on to Grand Forks, a small village. From here they turned northwest toward the Park River – often no roads to follow. The land was superb and had not yet been surveyed, so many "squatters" had laid claims by sitting on the land until official papers could be made out. This Anders could not do since he had his family, home and crops to harvest in Iowa. However, he liked what he had seen, so in October of 1879 the family set out by covered wagon for the area they had chosen – west of Grafton along the Park River in Walsh County. Here the pioneers got busy building log houses, bridges, roads, schools and organized township government and churches. South Trinity Lutheran Church, west of Grafton was set up by the Hoghaugs and other settlers. The land needed only a plow to be put into cultivation. A log house was built first and then several years later a bigger frame house. Here Olava (very pretty and the first white child born in Fertile Township), Thea, Albert and AnneTonette were born. The family prospered and participated in community activities and in the building of this pioneer area. Social events were basket socials, spell downs and debating societies.
Mr Hoghaug had a love of outdoor sports, hunting and fishing in his blood from the days of his youth in Norway, so the lure of the lakes, woods and hills spurred him to another move. He bought a farm two miles west of Detroit City (now Detroit Lakes), Minnesota with about a mile of lakeshore (where the airport, outdoor theatre and Long Lake City Park are now situated). Contact had been made to this region by Louise Thorlackson, the music teacher of the Hoghaug girls, whose father, Harold Thorlackson, was "land agent" in Detroit City. The family came to Detroit City, Minnesota by train, but the cattle and possessions were moved by wagon and on foot. The farm was almost a section except for the area cut off by the lake.
The family soon got involved in Detroit City community affairs and much land was cleared for cultivation. In 1901 a new large house was built by Ole Eide and soon a beautiful home was established. Anders helped to organize the United Lutheran Church in town with Carl Stav, Tom Rogstad, Erik Teigen, Mrs. Fred Nelson, Mrs. Sloan and others. Reverend J.N. Helseth was the first pastor. In 1917 this church joined with the synod church to form the First Lutheran Church. Anders was extremely interested in the new building which was erected in 1923 on Lake Avenue. A cause that he helped to promote was the Temperance Movement which sponsored many meetings, picnics, etc. Mr Hoghaug did not follow a strong party line in politics, but chose to vote for the man. He was a great admirer of William Jennings Bryan and Knute Nelson. He later voted for candidates of the Prohibition party. The younger children, Thea, Albert and Anne attended school in Detroit Lakes in the oldest stone building of the present junior high school. Albert transferred to St. Olaf College where he was graduated in 1910. Albert died of tuberculosis in Brush, Colorado in 1911.
Thore died in 1902. Some time after this Anders returned to Norway where he met and married Gjertrud Smerud. After returning to Detroit Lakes a second family was raised consisting of daughter Thora, and sons, Thorman and Gilman. His oldest son, Martin (first family), remained in North Dakota, married Anna Glerum and settled in Devil´s Lake. Mathilde married Lauris Olson and moved to Osage, Iowa. The others married Detroit Lakes residents: Ole to Inga Eide, Olava to Jesse A Coughlin, Thea to Olaf Eide and Anne to Stephen Omundson. Later Thorman married Inez Dahl and Gilman married Ethel Anderson.
Anders spent the rest of his days in the town of Detroit Lakes (moved there from his farm in 1911, house built in 1917). He grew to be an old man – celebrating his 100th birthday May 30, 1942! He died January of 1943. He had 34 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, many still living in Becker County. Twelve of his grandsons served in the armed forces during World War II. They were Martin´s (Philip, Theodore and Robert), Ole´s (Maurice and Irvin), Olava´s (Eugene and Fred Coughlin), Thea´s (John, William and Charles Eide) and Anne´s (Bert and David Omundson). His youngest son, Gilman, lost his life serving in the U.S. Navy when the destroyer, Hull, went down in a typhoon December 18, 1944 in the Western Pacific. The others came back but several were severely wounded.
Anders loved the lakes and woods of Becker County and felt fortunate that he came to the USA where opportunity had beckoned during his early years. He lived a full life, had a wonderful memory and a great sense of humor. He was mentally alert and interested in events about him until the day he died, though physically weakened the last 2 years after bouts with pneumonia at ages 90 and 98. He was, indeed, a pioneer and builder in the true sense and contributed much wherever he went. His life illustrates well the west ward movement of the middle-west and spans a period of great growth, development and change in our nation.
By Thora A.M. Hoghaug
Submitted by Ann Hoghaug of Glenwood Springs CO