Andreas Benson Farm


Whatever dream, or motive, or urge brought the Andreas Benson family from Bergen, Norway to America in 1864 will always remain a mystery.  Andreas and his wife, Johanne and their six children, Berent, Andrew, Gjert, John, Bertha and Sophie came by covered wagon and oxen to Dakota Territory in 1881.  They settled on land four miles south of Cooperstown (160 acres) Timber Culture Patent, NEI 4 of Section 14, Township 145, Range 59.  Here they built a small simple house and started farming.  Andreas was living on the farm when the government surveyed the Township November of 1882.

The Griggs County Courier newspaper of 1886 states: "Andreas Benson on new land gets eighteen bushels wheat per acre."  The price per bushel of wheat in the following years:

1890 70
1894 47
1896 41
1900 53

Some of the oak trees growing along the Sheyenne River, four miles east of the farm were hauled home and used for various things.  A lonely oak fence post, Andreas used for fencing in the 1880's, still remains strong in 1982.  How much longer will it endure the elements?

Andreas decided to sell the farm to his son, John, who was to pay his father two hundred dollars a year for as long as Andreas lived.

September of 1899, Andreas and Johanne moved from the farm to Ferndale, Washington.  Andreas died in 1915.

In 1898, John and his wife, Serina purchased the 160 acre farm from his dad.  They had five children, Jeanette, Arthur, Joseph, Jeanette, and Iva.

John also increased the farm acreage in 1899, buying 160 acres (NW of Section 14, Township 145, Range 59) from Endre Aarestad for eighteen hundred dollars.  John bought more land after 1900, purchasing an 80-acre tract south of the home quarter (N-80 of SE IA, Section 14, Township 145, Range 59).  Later 1900's he purchased 160 acres (SW of Section 11, Township 145, Range 59) from a neighbor, Hans Holland for seven thousand dollars.

John added more rooms to the original small house built by his father.  By 1905 the house had four bedrooms upstairs, two stairways, large kitchen, pantry, dining room, living room, one bedroom and full basement.

John retired turning the farm over to his son, Arthur.  John died July of 1942.

Arthur was the third generation to take over the farm.  Arthur and his wife, Emma, and two daughters, Swanhild and Eva lived and worked on the farm for many years.

In 1930 Arthur spent $1200 for his first tractor, a "D" John Deere, which revolutionized and set the pace for a new way of farming, ending the era of horses, even though the machines made his work easier.  In the depression years in the 1930's, lack of rain, high temperatures, high winds causing soil erosion, a plague of armyworms and grasshoppers made one give up home.  By the late 1930's the economy began to recover and farming got back to normal.  Because of a heart condition, he retired at the age of 59.  He died August of 1967.

In 1957 the farmland was rented to his daughter Swanhild (fourth generation) and her husband Byron Pedersen who farm the land.  Scott and Amy Jo, their children, also help on the farm.

Eva McCullough (fourth generation) and husband Ronald McCullough and children, Ryan and Molly, are also involved in the farming business in a century-old farm.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 71

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