Kittson County Historical Society

Kittson profiles and photos from the past and present

Henry (Heindrick Olofsson) came to America from Sweden in 1867 or 1868 with his brother, Ole, and half-brother Erick Erickson. In the fall of 1878 the brothers came to Kittson County, MN, where they settled on farms on the banks of the Two River. In 1902, Henry moved with his family to a homestead in Manitou Township, Koochiching County, MN. He later bought a farm in Canada. In addition to farming, Henry was a construction worker, and helped build the International Bridge at International Falls, MN. He was fatally injured in 1920, when a team of horses he was driving was spooked by a car. The reins became tangled around the wagon axle, Henry fell off, and the horses backed up and sat on his chest. He died on 22 Sep 1920.
All three brothers changed their last name to Norland, but the date and location of that change is not known.

Mr. Norland was born at Oferborg, Sweden, on July 21, 1851, and came to this country in 1857. (Ed. Note: Should be 1867)
He was one of those sturdy pioneer who have made the great west and he kept up the work until the last. He was a linguist, speaking several languages and a recognized leader of men.
A member of the party under the noted Gen. Custer, who later with his troops was massacred by the Indians in 1876, he helped in making the survey for the Northern Pacific thru the Rocky Mountains in the early seventies. (He was) in charge of the construction of the Great Northern Railway bridge across the Red Lake River at Crookston.
Leaving the railway he went to work as general foreman for the Crookston
Lumber Company and was with the Shevlin companies for years, during which time he constructed three large mills for that company, the mill at St. Hilaire, also the Rainy River Lumber Company mill at Rainy River and the first mill at this place. Besides he constructed the large dams in Thief and the Red Lake rivers near St. Hilaire and was (one) of the foremen on construction of the first paper mill at International Falls as well as on the Shevlin-Clarks mills at Fort Frances.
He was married in 1881 to Miss Carolina Stroberg, and he then moved to
Crookston, where he served for two terms as county commissioner of Polk
county. Those were the days of the (scrambled) and Mr. Norland was one of the leaders under the then world known Ignatius Donelly the Sage of Mininger. When Red Lake county was set off from Polk, Mr. Norland became the first
sheriff of the county and served for two terms.
He took a homestead near Manitou in the Rainy River district in 1901 and
lived there until he moved to Spooner in 1906, where the family lived until the fire of 1910, since which time they have lived on the Canadian side near Pinewood.
At the time of his death he was serving as reeve of his community.
Quiet spoken he seldom told of his achievements, tho he was a lover of the frontier and hated the sham of modern civilization.
Besides his wife, he is survived by the following sons and daughters, Mrs. Mittendorp(sic) and Carl of Manitou, Fred of Central, Otto and Stella of Pinewood, Oscar and John of Edgerton Alberta. One son, Edwin, lies in Flanders fields, where he fell while fighting with the Canadian boys.
The funeral was held on September 25th at Pinewood, Ontario, and he was
laid at rest in Longmore cemetery, a large floral offering from the Shevlin
companies thru Mr. Mathieu, testifying to the esteem in which he was held by
his former employers. The news of his passing is sad to many old personal and political friends all over the state, who sympathize with bereaved family. --NORTHERN NEWS.

GENERAL: The "Compendium of History and Biography" for Northern Minnesota, of 1902, mentions that Henry came to the area around Hallock in the spring of 1878. On 22 Aug 1879, he filed a homestead claim on the following property: S 1/2, NW 1/4, Sec. 1, T161, R49W and N 1/2, SW 1/4, Sec. 1, T161, R49W. (Thompson Township, Kittson County, MN).

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