Biography of Ole E. Ellefson
Biography of Ole E. Ellefson
Ole Elefson was born in Stephens County, Davison, Illinois, October 12, 1862. The name of his parents was Mr. and Mrs. Ellef Olson. When he was a young man some of his friends went to North Dakota, to take up land. When they came back they told Mr. Ellefson about this good land. He thought he would go and take up a homestead also. He was only twenty-four years old when he started out from South Center. He and a few men along with him. Three of them were old sailors. They drove with oxen and covered wagons. They took plenty of food along with them, but it did not last very long. They killed and ate animals that they saw on the way. Some of the animals were buffalo, prairie chicken, and so forth.
They had trouble with the Indians and starvation. It took them three weeks to get to North Dakota. He arrived here in June 1881 and settled on his homestead near the Sheyenne River in Pilot Mound Township 148, Section 26, Range 59.
There were two hundred Indians that had settled southeast of his house. The women were sitting around doing their fancy work. When they saw Mr. Ellefson and the rest of his men, one Indian made a funny sign to one of the women. She went in the wigwam and got a long peace pipe. First she smoked it and then passed it along to the other men and women. When they came to Mr. Ellefson he hated to smoke from it but if he hadn't he would have trouble.
One night in an old barn there were over 1000 sparrows, and a cat was trying to get some of them but she did not succeed. There were many men sleeping in it because they had just settled and hadn't had time to build their homes. Mr. Ellefson was one of the men. One of the men who was lying in bed got up and was going to shoot after the sparrows. The cat was sitting up in the rafters and thought that he was going to shoot her so she jumped down and right on the man's face and almost scratched his eyes out. Mr. Elefson said he would never forget that.
After a while when they had settled down, they built a log house, 14'x 16'. For fuel they used wood picked up along the river. They tilled the soil with walking plows and sowed the grain by hand. They used oxen to draw the loads or plows. Some of the crops were wheat, corn, potatoes, and vegetables. They would get around 20 to 25 bushels of seed per acre. Their nearest town for provisions was Mayville. Some of his neighbors were Thorne Olson, Ole Groff, Raymond Johnson, I. E. Ails, and Hans Koloen.
One day in 1895 a man near Kloten was burning straw around a straw pile. A large wind blew up and took the fire along with it. The fire was going north but just then the wind turned toward the south. It jumped the river, and it rained but there was nothing that could stop it.
After a few years he was married to Lizze Larson of Brooklyn, Minnesota. He is 65 years old now and has grown-up children who are all married. He is still living in his old house in Pilot Mound Township near the Sheyenne River.