Griggs County Historical Society

The Griggs County Historical Society was organized October 19, 1960 at the home of F. A. Helland with 21 charter members.  F. A. (Fritz) Helland was elected president of the organization

Walter Bohnsack vice president and Miss Irene Pratt, secretary-treasurer.  Mrs. Myrtle Porterville was made an honorary member of the society.

Objectives of the society were to create an interest in the early history of Griggs County, and to secure and publish records and historical accounts worthy of preservation in permanent form.

The constitution recommended by the State Historical Society for the county group was read by Mr. Bohnsack, who acted as temporary chairman.  It was accepted with minor changes.

Five directors were appointed, one from each commissioner district in the county.  They were: Millard Frigaard, Edgar Krogsgaard, E. B. Ressler, A. L. Peterson and Clarence Bakken.

The historical society played an important part in having historical markers erected and maintained within the county.  An impressive marker had been erected by the State Historical Society in 1958 at Lake Jessie and a dedication held June 21, 1959.  A similar marker was dedicated on July 21, 1963 on the site of Camp Atchison two miles south of the junction of Highway I and Highway 65 south of Binford.

A Sibley Trail marker had been erected in 1963 by Dana Wright and a group of local citizens on Highway 1, on Section 10 in Bald Hill Township.  On Section 23 in Bald Hill is a monument in memory of a member of Sully's forces who drowned nearby.  A little over a mile farther south is a monument in memory of Mr. Petterson, a member of Sibley's forces who died here on their return trip from Camp Atchison.

The historical society built its first museum building in 1970.  It was erected by Orlando Tenneson with members doing the interior work the following winter.  The second museum building was erected in 1976, purchased through the Lumber Mart, the cement work was done by Mr. Bredeson and the steel work erected by Mr. Henrich's crew from Glenfield.  Since 1966 the society has received a levy from the county, varying from .15 to .25 mills.  The society relies heavily on donations in labor and finances.

On Memorial Day, 1976, a Helge Olson family monument, sponsored by the historical society, was dedicated in Pilot Mound Township.  Another abandoned cemetery in which the society is very much interested is the Opheim Cemetery located in the Sheyenne River Valley.  It is believed to contain 32 graves, including those of Mr. and Mrs. Opheim who settled on this land in 1879.  The first monument in Griggs County is located here.

The society, through its heritage book committee, published the History of Griggs County, a volume containing 528 pages, in 1976.  More than 1100 copies have been sold to date with more on hand for the centennial in 1982.

Present officers of the society are:

Rudolph Helland, president

Edward Johnson, vice president

Mrs. Monroe Pittenger, secretary

Archie Marson, treasurer

The directors are:

Howard Steiner

Walter Michaelis

Walter Hochberger

Lawrence Rix

Hamlin Ellefson

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 237

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