Hvidsten, Olaf Markuus Amundsen (1865-1940)


Stephen Messenger 13 June 1940

Olaf Hvidsten, 75, Passes at Grafton

Heart Attack Claims Life of Stephen Pioneer Tuesday Afternoon; Funeral Rites Friday

Olaf Hvidsten, prominent pioneer Stephen farmer and businessman, died at the Grafton hospital on Tuesday afternoon, June 11th, as the result of a heart ailment with which he had been a sufferer for the past year or more. Mr. Hvidsten had been a patient at the hospital since Friday of last week, and his condition was not regarded as critical until a sudden relapse on Tuesday resulted in his death that afternoon. Members of his family were acquainted with the gravity of the situation Tuesday forenoon, and left immediately for his bedside.

At his death Mr. Hvidsten was in his 75th year. Mr. Hvidsten was born August 10, 1865, at Drummond, Norway, the son of Edmund and Carrie Myhre. He came to America in 1883, first locating at Argyle. After a brief stay at that point, Mr. Hvidsten spent some time in Wisconsin and Montana, and was engaged in the latter state on the contruction of the main line of the Great Northern Railroad in 1887. The following year he returned to Minnesota, acquiring a homestead in the township of Wanger.

In December, 1892, he was united in marriage to Miss Anna Sylskar, who there after aided him in building up one of the district’s most fruitful farming enterprises. To their union ten children were born, one of whom, a son, died in 1930. The surviving children are Alfred and Nels of Stephen; Carl of Grafton, N.D.; Torkel of Stephen; Bert of Neche, N.D.; Margaret (Mrs. Ed Lundeen) and Theresa (Mrs. A.O. Hamnes) of Stephen; Bertha (Mrs. Paul Brown) of Pembina; and Hilda, at home.

Mr. Hvidsten, with his family, established a home in the village about 1920. Although he was for a time interested in the Stephen Implement Co. and the Stephen Oil Co., his chief interest remained in his farming ventures, and he had continued to add to his farm and city real estate holdings up to the time of his death.

He was a member of the First Lutheran church of this city, and was esteemed throughout the community as a man of high principles and integrity.

Funeral services will be held from the family home in this city early Friday afternoon, preliminary to a public service at the First Lutheran church at 2:00 o’clock. Rev. L.M. Larsen, pastor of the church, will officiatae, and interment will be made in the Stephen cemetery. In addition to the nine children, Mr. Hvidsten is survived by his wife, several grandchildren, and two brothers: Hans of this city and Martin of Bemidji, Minn. To these sorrowing survivors, friends throughout the Stephen community will unite in expressions of most sincere sympathy.

From the “Our Town” book:

Olaf and Annie (Sylskar) Hvidsten

Olaf Hvidsten, oldest son of Amund and Kari Olson, was born August 10, 1865 in Drammen, Norway. With one sister and five brothers, he came to America in the spring of 1884. His parents had died two years earlier, within the same week, and were buried on the same day in March of 1882.

When Olaf grew to manhood he took the name of the place upon which he lived, thus becoming Olaf Hvidsten. Before reaching Marshall County where a cousin, John Myhre, was serving as Register of Deeds, he spent some time on the construction of the main line of the Great Northern Railroad. He followed the building of it until it reached Ashby, Minnesota.

In 1887 Olaf purchased a homestead site in Wanger Township in Section 4 from Mr. Gustafson. With a team of oxen and a walking plow, he broke up the land and started to farm it. Later he traded a team of horses with a neighbor, Mr. Robertson, for his second quarter section of land also in Wanger Township. Here he built a log cabin, and his sister Petra made her home with him until 1892 when both Petra and Olaf were married in a double wedding ceremony in the little log cabin: Petra to Anton Lee and Olaf to Annie Sylskar, who had emmigrated from Christiansand, Norway at the age of 13 years. The young brides had fashioned their wedding gowns according to the style of that time and sewed them by hand. Annie had been employed at the Wheeler Farm, located four miles from the homestead.

Olaf served actively in all the affairs of Wanger Township, school board, and church board. He promoted the building of a church by donating a piece of ground in Section 4 for this purpose. He extended his interests to the Stephen community and became a director of the Farmers’ State Bank and held an interest in the Stephen Implement Company and the Farmers Elevator. In 1920 he moved with his family into Stephen. He continued to add to his farm and city real estate holdings up to the time of his death on June 11, 1940, at the age of 75 years. His wife died at the age of 80 years on October 4, 1950.

The following letter of recommendation was carried by Olaf Hvidsten as he immigrated to America in 1884 from Drammen, Norway, at the age of eighteen years. His employer operated a real estate business and Olaf was employed as a gardener or “yard boy” for a period of two years on Mr. Anders Weaas’ homesteaded properties. “The bearer, Mr. Olaf Amundsen Hvidsten of the parish of Eikerin Norway, eighteen years of age, has been engaged in my service at my Homestead ….”

Children of Olaf and Annie were: Alfred of Sun City, Arizona; Nels of Stephen; Carl of Tuscon, Arizona; Andrew, deceased; Torkel of Karlstad, Minnesota; Bert of Lakota, North Dakota; Margaret (Mrs. Ed Lundeen) of Stephen; Theresa (Mrs. Arnold Hamnes) of Stephen; Bertha (Mrs. Paul Brown) of Pembina, North Dakota; and Hilda (Mrs. Stanton Thorson) of St. Paul.

From Melissa Hvidsten’s Genealogy entry for Olaf Markuus Amundsen HVIDSTEN at WorldConnect.

Transcribed by: Cheryl Srnsky
Transcribed by: W Saewyc

Author: W Saewyc

An amateur genealogist and internet hobbyist.

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