Greenland Family History

At approximately the same time in the late 1800's, the Frithjof Greenland and Mathias Leir families emigrated from Norway to the USA.  The Leirs lived for a time in Pigeon Falls, Wisconsin.  The Greenlands lived at Austin, Lanesboro and Fountain; all in Minnesota.  Frithjof's first job was working on a farm for thirteen dollars per month.  Both families moved and settled on farms in North Dakota.  The Leirs settled about seven miles from Binford at Mose, North Dakota.  The Greenlands settled six miles south of Cooperstown.

Mathias and Bina Leir successfully farmed and lived out their lives on their land at Mose.  Five of their children grew to adulthood.  One of them, Bergina, was born in 1881 in Pigeon Falls.  As a young girl she went to Cooperstown where she found employment with the Andrew Berg family.

Frithjof and Natalia (Evenrud) Greenland, who were both from Vestre Toten, Norway, had married there just before emigrating from Norway.  They settled on a farm near Cooperstown in 1881.  In 1890 he was elected sheriff of Griggs County, and moved to Cooperstown where he assumed that office.  Previous to that time he had held the office of assessor, and various other local offices.  He held the office of sheriff for 4 years.  After his two terms of office had expired he returned to the farm for a number of years.  In these years he was recognized in state politics, serving as a delegate in 1888 and 1890 to the Republican State Convention.  He then evidently switched parties, as he was a delegate to the Democratic State Convention in 1892, 1894, 1896, 1898, 1904 and 1906.

When he returned from the farm to Cooperstown he went into the implement business, where he was joined in later years by Nels Lunde and Theodore Kittleson, under the name of Greenland-Lunde Company.  He was active in this business for many years until he suffered a stroke.  He and his wife moved to Binford in 1917 where he lived until his death in 1922 at the age of 72 years.  Natalia survived him by a few years.

To the Union of Natalia and Frithjof Greenland, seven children were born, one of whom (Carl Oscar) was 8 years old when they moved to Griggs County. 

Carl Oscar was born in 1873 at Lanesboro, Minnesota.  It was in Cooperstown that he met, and in 1900 married, Bergina (changed to Bertha at her choice) Leir.  That same year they moved to Binford where they lived on what was known as the Sperry farm, two miles north of Binford.  They experienced here some of the rigors of pioneer living.  Among other things, they hauled their water supply from Binford.  They bicycled for transportation, later acquiring a horse and buggy.

After a few years, the family moved in to Binford where Oscar had set up an implement business in which he was joined by another pioneer in town, Otto Pritz.  They became close friends and partners in the Greenland Pritz Hardware Store.  Later Oscar became interested in the banking business and sold his interest in the store to become cashier of the First National Bank of Binford.  He held this position until his death in 1926.  His wife Bertha died in 1934.

Oscar Greenland was active in civic, school and political matters.  He once ran on the Democratic ticket for the State Legislature.  During World War I he was county chairman for the sale of Liberty War Bonds.  William Jennings Bryan was once an overnight guest in his home.  Oscar was an avid baseball fan, and served as manager for the local team for several years.  This was also one of his wife's interests.  She was an enthusiastic first baseman on the woman's softball team.  Both were active in their Lutheran Church, holding several offices.  There was a close family relationship.  Mr. and Mrs. Greenland were loved and respected by their children, of which ten were born to this union.  The two boys died as infants.  the eight girls grew to maturity and all married and had children.  At this writing, five of their daughters survive, none of whom live in North Dakota.  Descendants living in addition to the five daughters include 18 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and 2 great -great -grandchildren.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 23


Submitted by Joan Leir at (JOAnKERm [])

Mathias Leir was married to Karine Bendiksdatter  --NOT TO BINA---  Bina was Mathias' daughter-in-law.
Mathias Leir's son Joseph Leir was married to Bina Johnson.
Mathias lived with Joseph and Bina -- or they lived with him in the home that he built.

Mathias Leir is my husband's great grandfather.  We just finished an extensive history  "The Leir Family History" which covers from Mathias and Karine to the present - with pictures of most of the family.  Also, a little history further back in Norway.









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