Ole K. Bakken

How do you write the story of a man who died when you were seven years old, had no relatives in America and was a quiet, unassuming person?

Well, you reach back as far as you can in your memory, you seek information from any who knew him and you search through old county records for facts and dates.  Then, hopefully, you come up with a story of two people that will be a source of pride and comfort to their descendants.

Ole K. Bakken was born in Seljord, Telemarken, Norway, on November 27, 1860.  Coming to America in 1880, he stayed in Stoughton, Wisconsin, for three years.  He came to Griggs County in 1883, proved up on a quarter of land in Bryan Township, establishing a tree claim there on the SE quarter of Section 24 on May 4, 1895.  He also acquired portions of 3, 4 and 5 later.

The name Bryan was suggested for this Township by Mr. Bakken because of the great respect and admiration he had for William Jennings Bryan, the "Great Commoner," an important national figure at the time.  The Township was officially created on August 13, 1900 upon petition signed by 22 persons.  Some years later when Mr. Bryan spoke in Cooperstown he expressed pleasure at the honor accorded him.

In 1899 Mr. Bakken was appointed Deputy County Treasurer under A. S. Berg.  Then in 1900 Mr. Bakken was elected to the office of County Treasurer, a position held through 1904.

He became a partner in a general store in Binford in 1906, which was called the Buchheit-Bakken Store.  He was given the work of being bookkeeper and treasurer.  He possessed a talent of unusual mathematical ability.  Long before the day of adding machines he could take a column of four-digit numerals, add them, doing the "carrying" and totaling in a single mental operation.  This store was destroyed by fire in 1922.

The year 1906 was a memorable one for another reason.  It was the year of his marriage.  His bride was a Minnesota girl, Dorthine Myron, who was born in Goodhue County, near Zumbrota, on September 8, 1885.  She was one of nine children born to Svert and Dina (Davidson) Myron who had come from Tronhjem, Norway.  The large family was quite poor and this daughter had to quit school and begin working for others when she was only eleven years old.

Dora Myron came to North Dakota in 1904 because her cousins, Daffin and Albert Goplen were here.  She found employment as a hired girl, working for Mrs. August Evers of Binford.  Mrs. Evers had a large house and she rented rooms and furnished meals to various single people.  Mr. Bakken was one of these, and he wooed and won the hand of the hired girl.  Her wonderful cooking and baking abilities were appreciated by him, you can be sure!  They were married at Red Wing, Minnesota on November 27, 1906.

This couple became the parents of four children: 

1.     Clarence, who inherited his father's love of gardening, who served in World War II and passed away in 1971

2.     Thelma, who is Mrs. Rudolph Helland and lives on a farm in Addie Township

3.     Esther, who is Mrs. Carl Olson and lives near Wadena, Minnesota

4.     Oliver, who has lived in California for thirty-one years and now spends his summers in the old family home at Binford.  His wife is the former Helen Koloen.

Ole Bakken passed away on April 7, 1918 from pneumonia brought on by returning to his work at the store before he had sufficiently recovered from a serious case of the mumps.

Mrs. Bakken passed away on March 2, 1964 at the McVille Rest Home where she had resided for a short time.

The Bakkens had 7 grandchildren: 

1.     Lou Olson, Minneapolis, Minnesota,

2.     Joan Bakken Greenwood, Moore, Oklahoma,

3.     Janell Bakken, Los Gatos, California,

4.     Arden Helland, Baltimore, Md.,

5.     Dr. David Helland, Chicago, Illinois,

6.     Lowell Helland, Jackson, Minnesota, and

7.     Karen Helland Nordvall, presently in New Guinea.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 22

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