Carl and Clara Solberg

Clara O. Trostad and Carl B. Solberg lived in Cooperstown, North Dakota from the time of their wedding in December 1914, until the fall of 1942 when Carl left to seek work in Washington state.

Clara was born in America to Ole and Ronnaug Trostad on December 5, 1890.  She was the last of seven children: 

1.     Lewis, Gunder, Guy, Anna, Malina, Clara (died in infancy) and Clara.  Her parents and the first six children had come from Gubransdalen, Norway in 1884.  It is believed that the family first lived in a dug out - part sod house when they homesteaded near the Sheyenne River on the southeast comer of Section 7, now Lenora / Township, Griggs County, North Dakota They later moved to a log cabin on the west side of the river, in the west comer of Section 12, now Pilot Mound Township.

Clara, at age two, was carried away by the river during a flood and saved only by the quick action of her father who managed to grab her skirts and pull her to safety.  She told once of having to be sent to live with an older couple across the river while attending a few months of school during the year.  Her father died when she was only twelve years old.  She missed him so much when a heart attack in the barn took his life.  At thirteen she was out working for a family in the McVille area.  She stayed with her brothers and sisters more often than her mother's home after that.  Her mother had remarried a former schoolteacher from Gubransdalen, Norway, who had come to the area to work.  His name was John Ness.

Carl was born in a log cabin on a "ridge farm" near Rockland, Wisconsin, on November 10, 1889.  His father, Martin Solberg was married twice.  To this point no record has been found as to which part of Norway he came from probably in the 1860s.  It is assumed he married his first wife in Norway and then came to America homesteading a "ridge farm" near Rockland, Wisconsin.  Martin had changed his name upon coming to America simply because there was another man with the same name in his area and their mail was always confused.  Martin sold some acres for a most reasonable price for the building of Fish Creek Church, which became the "home church" throughout Carl's childhood.  He told of many times his father "filled" the pulpit when no minister was able to come.

Five children were born to the first marriage: 

1.     Emil, Anna, Oscar, Hilda (died in infancy) and Hilda.  Anna and Hilda married and came to "Dakota" to live.  Anna was Mrs. Ole Anderson of Sutton, North Dakota and Hilda was Mrs. Anton Gilbertson of Hannaford.  Martin remarried his housekeeper: 

2.     Hannah Hanson.  To this marriage eight children were born: 

1.     Dena, Harry, Carl, Otto (died in infancy), Valborg, Fridtjoph, Florence and Otto.  Dena married Sam Simenson of Sutton, North Dakota Carl came from Wisconsin to work for his sister, Dena, and her husband, and it was there he met Clara Trostad who was hired for cooking in the cook car during harvest.

Carl and Clara had their first small home in Cooperstown directly west of the old high school.  Then, they moved to the southwest part of town and later to "the only house" on one downtown block, just one block north of the courthouse.  The Coachman Inn, and parking lot now occupy that area.  Where the motel area is was the site of the old "Sons of Norway" Hall and it was very exciting to live around it.

Carl worked as a mechanic for the first part of their married life.  Then, he became a Standard Oil bulk agent.  He started at least as early as 1929 for one of our pictures shows his gas truck, his helper " Shorty, " and himself.  The truck was complete with wooden cab!  As the years went on the trucks grew bigger and Carl grew stronger.  He told of being seventeen years old, six feet tall and weighing one-hundred and 17 pounds when he first came to North Dakota to work.  That was a far cry from "Big Carl" who could lift a hundred pound barrel of oil with little or no effort.  Small wonder that he was often "deputized" for the dances at the Sons-of-Norway Hall.  The offenders had small chance when Carl held them at arm's length.  Their fists couldn't reach him!

Later the Solbergs moved to Washington State.  There, Carl was hired as a steam crane operator at a Weyerhauser logging camp in the Cascade Mountain watershed during the spring, summer and fall, and collecting scrap iron during the winter.  He was taken ill one time and the family feels that he was gassed from working inside on the machines after the logging quit one year.  One day, after loading scrap iron onto the truck he was stricken with a fatal heart attack.  Clara remained out west until her death many years later.  Both are buried in the Cooperstown Cemetery.

Four children were born to this marriage: 

1.     Clarence, Seattle, Washington, Doris (Mrs. Donald Irgens), Azle, Texas, Eunice May (Mrs. Edward Nesheim), Mayville, North Dakota and Gary, Seattle, Washington.

Clarence and Helen have three children: 

1.     Timothy, Mary and Carol. 

Doris and Don have three children: 

1.     Steven, Mary and Donna. 

Eunice and Edward have four: 

1.     Tessa, Sonja, Edward and Eric. 

Gary and Jean have three: 

1.     Scott, Glen and Kevin.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976  Page 81

 
News & Events