Rorvig Brothers

For nearly 100 years, Rorvigs have lived on adjoining homesteads in Willow Township, Griggs County, North Dakota.  Ole, Mathias, Peder, and Paul were sons of Austin and Christine Rorvig of Ringebu, Gulbransdalen, Norway.

Ole (July 3, 1849-May 6, 1924) married Marie Berg (Aug.  61 1851-July 26, 1937) in Norway in 1873.  In 1881, they left Norway for the United States "The Land Of Opportunity".  Their fellow passengers were Norwegian emigrants.  The voyage was rough and most passengers suffered; but Ole, having been a sailor, did not get seasick.  As a result he helped care for the less fortunate passengers.  In 1882, Ole and Marie settled on SE , Section 34, Willow Township.  A brother-in-law, Jacob Myhre, met them at the train with ox team and took them to Hope, North Dakota to file their claim.  Their first crop was destroyed by a severe hailstorm, and many other hardships were faced.

Ole and Marie's first home was 16 feet square, made out of logs bought from a nearby settler who had hauled them from the Sheyenne River.  This cabin was their home for many years until Ole replaced it with a new larger house.

Ole and Marie had nine children: Christine, Arne, Anton, Ingeborg, Olga, Selma, Marie, Palma, and Oscar.

Oscar was born December 15, 1891.  He married Lillian Koloen June 9, 1926.  They had three children: Sherman, Dorothy, and Shirley.  Sherman was born April 4, 1927.  He married Donna Carlson, and they have three children: Bradley, Dawn, and Nathan.  They now own and farm the family homestead.

The Fort Ransom to Fort Totten Trail (1867-1872) led through the Rorvigs land, and it is still visible in their pasture at the present time.

Oscar, who is ninety years old and has a very clear memory, said he recalls seeing Indians - always friendly -come to the farm and rummaging around, looking for dead animals or anything they could use.

In 1885 Ole's brother Mathias Rorvig came to Griggs County.  Here he married Janna Myhre, daughter of Jacob Myhre.

Jacob Myhre was born in Gudbransdalen, Norway in 1843.  He was married to Mathia Berg in 1867 and soon left by sailboat to America.  It took 13 weeks to cross the Atlantic.  They first settled in Fillmore County, Minnesota.  They had seven children, four of whom died there, as did his wife in 1876.

In the spring of 1882 Mr. Myhre left for North Dakota with his three remaining children.  They made the trip in covered wagon, drawn by oxen, bringing 20 head of cattle, plus household goods.  It took them three weeks and four days to complete the journey to Griggs County.  On this journey the three children contacted diphtheria.  The two boys, ages 11 and 8 died and were buried by the Sheyenne River.  The third child, seven-year-old Janna, survived.  Jacob Myhre and Janna continued on to their homestead in Willow Township.  Here Janna grew up and married Mathias Rorvig.  Their eight children are: Clara, Jeanette, Magdalena, Ernest, Anton, Olaf, Martin, and Wendell.

Mathias Rorvig raised registered Shorthorn cattle and imported Belgian horses, besides his other farming interests.

Clara, Ernest, and Trygve are residing on and operating the homestead located at SW of Section 34-148-60.

Two more Rorvig brothers later came to Willow Township to live.  They were Peder who was married to Julianna Eielson, and Paul who was married to Anna Eielson.

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 92

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