Jacobson Farm

Erik Jakobsen Aa was born February 10, 1853 on the farm "Aa" in Hyen, Nordfjord, Norway.  He married his cousin Johanne Pedersdatter Ommedal.  She was born November 15, 1855 on the neighboring farm "Ommedal".  Immediately after their marriage they left for America, making the ocean crossing in a Cunard line steamship, and arrived at Port Huron, Michigan in May of 1880.  Their destination was Appleton, Minnesota where Johanne's brother Knut Pedersen Ommedal had his homestead.

Erik and Johanne Jakobsen lived for two years at Appleton in a dugout.  Their first child, Ellen (Mrs. Gilbert Gilbertson) was born there.  On 17 May 1882 Erik and Johanne set out in an ox drawn covered wagon for Griggs County in Dakota Territory where land had just been opened up for homesteading.  There were seven wagons in that train, among them being Anton Jensen Stromme, Joseph Hope and Gilbert Olson.  Johanne Jakobsen's teenage brother Anto Pedersen was also in the group, his responsibility being to herd all the cattle belonging to the homesteaders.  Being a good hunter, he also kept the group well supplied with fish and game.  On June 7, 1882 they arrived at Lake Jessie in Griggs County.  Erik and Johanne found land for themselves by a nearby lake - Red Willow.  They homesteaded a quarter Section in Willow Township in Section 7.

Ever since leaving their homeland, Johanne had been lonesome for Norway.  The flat, treeless lands of the prairies were hard to get used to! When she saw Red Willow Lake her loneliness vanished.  It reminded her of Norway, she said.  So here they stayed.  There were lots of wild berries -raspberries, Juneberries, strawberries, currants, plums, gooseberries, highbush cranberries, chokecherries.  There was fish in the lake, for immediate eating and for salting away for future use.

Their first summer was spent in their covered wagon on the homestead claim, while they prepared their dugout and made their other necessary winter preparations.  They broke up two acres of land that first spring and planted wheat by hand.

Erik and Johanne gradually enlarged their farm to a total of 451 acres, acquiring land through pre-emption and tree claim.  They lived in their dugout approximately 10 years, building their loghouse in about the year 1892.  By 1898 they had remodeled the loghouse, adding a bedroom, shed and loft.  In 1898 they built a new barn - the present barn.  This accompanying picture, taken in 1898, shows the family with their remodeled loghouse, the new barn, their new binder and also their mower, rake and buggy.  In the early 1900's Erik and Johanne felt the need to add more rooms to their house so they began buying lumber for the project.  Erick died before the remodeling was begun.  The house, as it now stands, was completed in 1906.  Since much of the Jacobson farm is hayland, the raising of cattle has been an important part of the farming operation up through the years.

Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Jakobsen at their farm home: Anna (Mrs. Swen Gilbertson), Peder, Elise (Mrs. Carl Tweed), Emma, Bertha (Mrs. Julius Anderson), John and Emma.  The two Emmas died as infants and John as a young boy of ten.  (Their oldest child, Ellen, was born in Minnesota).

Their church was very important to Erik and Johanne.  When their little 19 by 14 foot loghouse was completed it became one of the places in the community where worship services were held.  Church records show that Erik and Johanne Jakobsen attended worship at the Nils Gilbertson home at Red Willow two months after their arrival, and that a worship service with baptism was held in the Jakobsen dugout August 17, 1883.  At a worship service in December 1889 -also in the dugout - seven babies were baptized, including Erik and Johanne's daughter Elise.  They felt a deep concern for the Christian education of the children of the area.  Johanne conducted Sunday School in their home.   Later they invited children living a distance from their church to stay in their home so that they could attend the summer parochial school terms.  When there were special evangelistic meetings scheduled, their small house was always available.  Bethany Lutheran Church of Binford was organized in the Erik Jakobsen home January 1, 1901 - in their log cabin.  When Bethlehem Lutheran Church had been built, the Jakobsen home was always open to the visiting pastors and the guests who came to attend meetings there - sometimes so many that they slept on the floor "wall to wall"!

Red Willow colored their lives.  It early became a favorite recreation area for fishermen, hunters, campers and picnickers.  One Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial of income for Erik and Johanne was the sale of milk, cream, butter and eggs to the campers on the shore of the lake.  The lake provided much fun for the children.  In the wintertime they built a sort of "merry-go-round" on the lee, or skated.  In the summer there was boating and swimming, as well as fishing.  Cutting lee was an important winter activity.  Their daughter Elise remembered all the people that would come to their farm because of the lake, and the many that would ask for permission to sleep in their barn - a request her kindhearted father always granted.  Fourth of July celebrations drew many people to the lake each year.  In later years, after their son Peter Jacobson had taken over the farm, the lake provided a new interest for the family.  In 1928 a group of young people with their pastor Rev. C.B. Ylvisaker, camped at the lake to study the Scriptures - the beginning of Red Willow Bible Camp.  The camp grew.  In 1939 Peter Jacobson sold ten acres of his wooded lakeshore pastureland to the group.  This became the site of the present well-built Red Willow Bible Camp, which now has ministered to as many as 1800 young people each summer.

Erik and Johanne worked hard, building up their farm, raising their family, supporting their church.  Erik Jakobsen died 26 May of 1905, of "catarrh of the stomach after suffering for some time of the disease", according to the Binford Times obituary.  He was 52 years old.  Shortly after Erik's death a neighbor lady asked Johanne if she would take care of her motherless little nephew, as she was unable to do so.  Johanne said she would.  That little boy was Clarence Brenningen.  On July 19, 1909 Johanne died at age 54.  According to the obituary in the Binford Times she had been "ailing more or less during the past two years with tumor trouble."

Their son Peter Jacobson took over the farm after the death of his parents.  On November 14, 1914 Peter Jacobson and Anne Lynne of Mose, North Dakota were married.  In 1924 they adopted twin baby boys - David and Donald.  Peter and Anne Jacobson continued the tradition of hard work and hospitality established by his parents.  They were active members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, serving as officers, singing in the choir and string band, participating in the Luther League, Ladies Aid, and actively supporting the work of their beloved Lutheran Free Church.  Visiting pastors, missionaries, and evangelists continued to find the Jacobson farm home a "home away from home".

Peter and Anne Jacobson saw the change from horses to tractors and automobiles.  They struggled through the "dirty thirties".  They experienced the satisfaction of improved farm conditions in the 1940's when both crops and prices were good.  Their sons Donald and David began assisting with the farming.  When Peter Jacobson died March 31, 1968, they took over the farming operations.

David Jacobson married Marilyn Haugland of Hamar, North Dakota in 1956.  They live on the nearby former John Mustad farm.  Donald Jacobson married Donna Quanbeck of McV1lle in 1957.  They live on the Peter Jacobson farm, in their own house.  Anna Jacobson, at this writing, lives in the old farmhouse.  She recently had a concrete marker placed on the site of the dugout in which Erik and Johanne Jakobsen lived a century ago, as a tribute to these hardworking, God-fearing pioneers.

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