John Hogenson

John and Karen Hogenson, pioneers of Romness Township, Griggs County, moved from Fillmore County in Minnesota, September 1, 1880, to their homestead in Romness Township, Dakota Territory.

John Hogenson left from Osterdalen, Norway, on the sailship, Refondo, May of 1867.  The trip took six weeks and three days, from Christiania (Oslo), Norway, to Quebec, Canada.  He continued from there by rail and by a lake steamer, which took 36 hours and landed at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  From there, by rail, to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and then by steamer on the Mississippi River to Winona, Minnesota, the end of the journey in June of 1867, without friends, relatives, acquaintances, money, nor knowledge of the English language.

Mrs. John Hogenson, formerly Karen Vestern, was born at Hadeland, Norway.  She came with her parents, Bertha (Rustad) and Erik Vestern and five sisters to America in 1868.

Mr. and Mrs. John Hogenson were married in Highland Prairie, Minnesota in 1876 and lived for four years at Amherst, Minnesota.

In the spring of 1880, Mr. Hogenson left Fillmore County in Minnesota for the "Wild West.€  His friend, Peter Mathison, who had been employed with the government surveyors, had told him that in his judgment, the place, which is now Griggs County, was the right place for an ideal home.  Mr. Hogenson was seeking for a place where timber, water and hay would be plentiful.  On April 23, 1880, he arrived at Valley City by railroad.  The next day, he started out on foot arriving that evening at Sibley crossing.  During the night a heavy snowfall made traveling more difficult, but he borrowed a pair of skis and made use of them as far as the present location of Martin Ueland's farm.  The following night he camped on the banks of the Sheyenne River, not far from where Torkel Njaa lived.  On April 26, 1880, he arrived at the home of Omund Nelson Opheim; and on the following day, he arrived at his homestead.  Grover Cleveland was the president of the United States, and his name is recorded on the Homestead patent.

Mathison met him slightly northeast of Mount Franklin in the valley near the Sheyenne River, close to a wooded area on Section 16.  During the summer, they built a log hut, broke five acres of ground, put up some hay and made preparations for the winter of 1880-81.

More land was acquired by the pioneer settlers until the Hogensons owned 440 acres.  Sons and daughters of the couple inherited portions, and John S. Hogenson of Federal Way, Washington, has bought the land and is the present owner of the entire 440-acre farm.  He is the son of August (Fritz) and Marian Hogenson, and grew up on the farm.

Three generations of the Hogenson family have lived on the farm.  John and Karen Hogenson, as well as August and Marian Hogenson observed their silver and golden weddings at the pioneer home.  A wedding reception for Ragne Josephine Hogenson who was married to Carl W. Bue, November 27, 1907 at the Romness Methodist Episcopal Church, was held there as well.

The first dwelling was the log hut built in 1880.  Shortly afterwards they built a log house with a second story a short distance to the east along the hillside on the same piece of land.  The third dwelling, which is the present house, was built on El//2 of the S.W. quarter, Section 16, part of the homestead land of 1880.  This home was completed approximately in 1893.  This house also served as the Romness post office.  John Hogenson was the Romness postmaster from 1887 to 1904.  After that, they received their mail from Cooperstown with mail carriers delivering mail on the route.

The John and Karen Hogenson family consisted of five sons, Edward, Belvin, Peter Lewis, Henry Joseph, Otto Melvin and August Nickoli (Fritz) and four daughters, Hellene Mathilde (Mrs. Ole Anderson), Clara Julia Hogenson, Ragna Josephine (Mrs. Carl W. Bue) and Ida Caroline (Mrs. Lawrence Stenbro).  They had thirty-one grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.  Karen Hogenson died in November of 1932 and John in July of 1939.  His youngest son, August and family lived with his father until his death in 1939 and continued living on the farm until the fall of 1974.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 80

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