John Arneson Family

Johannes (John) Arneson and Kristi Nelson were born and married near Bergen, Norway.  They came to the United States in 1865, settling in Iowa.  In 1872 they moved to Minnesota after which they decided to move west, and lived in the Washington- Oregon area for three years.  They returned to Minnesota.

Grandpa and Grandma Arneson's family was large, by our modern standard, five girls and three boys and two infant deaths.  The eight children were: 

1.     Arne, Anna, Ella, Martha, Dorthea, Nels, Hans and Josie.  They lived together and shared together, in the little log cabin Grandpa built for them before their long trek to Dakota in 1881.  They came with two other families in covered wagons, pulled by oxen after the grasshoppers destroyed their crop in Minnesota.  The sky, thick with grasshoppers was as though there was a dark cloud covering the sun.  The wagon wheels made trails of the dead insects as they crunched over the thick grasshoppers.  The children took turns driving the cattle behind the wagons.

Arnesons homesteaded on the NW quarter of Section 6, which was then Griggs County (now Steele).  The soil was virgin with grass as high as a man.  How were they able to get it ready for the seed?  They did and the crops were bountiful.  There was pestilence and much disappointment, but they had goals and purposes that seemed to overcome the hardships.

Later the Arneson family took over the complete management of the Palace Hotel, which was the chief hostelry of Cooperstown.  Their lovely daughters wallpapered, cooked and served the dinners.  With Arne as manager, the young Arnesons made a home for travelers, and local people who found this right for their way of living.  It was a success and soon became the focal point in the community for good food and lodging.  It was an important place for social functions.  The parties held there were elegant: 

the ladies, radiant in their satins and laces and pointed shoes.  the men in their swallow-tails and celluloid collars.

Here the young eligible bachelors came to live, and to become acquainted with the charming young women of Cooperstown.

Here Arne met Maria (Mary) Halvorson.  Anna met John McDermott, Ella met Dr. Bergstrom, and Martha met Bryon Hazard.  Wedding bells rang for all of them.

Grandpa Arneson, who was preceded in death by Grandma, died in 1926.

Arne then operated the farm home from 1911 till his death in 1917.  His son, Albin, married to Hazel Monson, took over the homestead then.  He still resides there.  Uncle Arne's other children are: 

1.     John died as a young man

2.     Lillian married Helmer Hilstad.  They have a daughter, Dorothy

3.     Clarence married Jessie Campbell.  He was in partnership with Al Loder in Arneson-Loder Implement of Cooperstown.  They dealt in farm implements.  Clarence was on the hospital board during the planning and building.  He was Past Master of Masonic Lodge and a member of K. P. 's, City Council and volunteer fireman.

4.     Mildred married F. E. Berger, a teacher here

5.     Stella died at the age of five


Clarence and Jessie have two children: 

1.     Mrs. C. K. Steffen (Mary) who farm near here and Dr. Harold Arneson.  Clarence lived in Cooperstown until his death in 1967.

Our Aunt Dorthea married Tollef Tobieson.  They have three daughters. 

Aunt Josephine, better known as Josie, married William Hartman.  They have one daughter. 

Hans and his wife and daughters lived near Velva.

Nels homesteaded near Velva.  He married Lizzie Olson in 1903.  They later moved to a farm by Cooperstown in the Sheyenne Valley.  Tragedy struck and Lizzie died in an auto accident leaving four children:

1.     James, Esther, Marion, and Raymond. 

Esther married L. E. Burnett.  Marion made her home with Aunt Ella (Mrs. Bergstrom), but Marion, too died suddenly after a very short illness.  Raymond only 3 years old, made his home with Aunt Martha (Mrs. Byron Hazard).  James, only 11 years old at the time of his mother's death, continued to live and farm with his father.  He married Ruth Skaar in 1933.  They have five children: 

1.     James and Ruth are retired now and live in Cooperstown, but they still own their family farm in the Sheyenne Valley.

Our father John McDermott found Griggs County a fine place to live.  He made his home here and became a landowner and partner in the department store, the Thompson McDermott Company.  He was active in this business until his death in 1908.

Our mother Anna Arneson McDermott carried on gallantly, in operation of the store as well as in his farming until her family was grown.  She was a tower of strength, taking a dual role as parent to her four living children. 

One daughter, Della, died in infancy.  There were two sons:

1.     Edward Henry

2.     Willard

two daughters: 

1.     Aveline Genireue

2.     myself. 

We all four graduated from Cooperstown High School and participated in all phases of school life.  We also all attended the University of North Dakota.

By Myrtle McDermott Clark

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 57


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