Thorwald Ringdahl

Mr. and Mrs. Thorwald N. Ringdahl

Thorwald Ringdahl was born in Gran, near Hadeland, Norway. His wife, Petra, whom he married in 1910, was born in Jevnaker, Norway. They emigrated from Norway to the United States the same year they were married, settling first in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, where Mrs. Ringdahl’s brother, John Braathen, was a contractor and builder. Mr. Ringdahl worked as a carpenter there for a couple of years, and their two oldest sons, Adolph and William, were born in Fergus Falls.

Late in 1912, he traveled to North Dakota to file on a homestead seven miles northwest of Roseglen, in Amundsville Township. A little later, his wife and children traveled to Minot, where they spent the winter.

The following spring, they traveled by train to Ryder, and L.J. Braasch took them by team and wagon to their homestead shack, which had been built in January. Their shack was 14x24, all one room. Later, when they expanded their house, the original shack became the living room of the new house.

Mr. Ringdahl worked as a carpenter in Ambrose, Max, and Minot, in order to hire the work to break the soil for a crop. His only transportation was a bicycle, which he used even to travel to Minot. The trails across country, at that time, with no section lines to follow, made the trip shorter.

Part of the following winter, they lived in Max, where Mr. Ringdahl helped with the building of a new school, while the remainder of the winter was spent in Minot. In the spring, they bought a team and wagon, and started out for their homestead with the rest of their belongings, a trip that lasted two days. That spring, Thoralf was born and, later, three daughters: Lydia, Palma, and Lily.

Mrs. Ringdahl recalls some of the things that they experienced during the early years. A prairie fire was started the second summer, in 1928, when they moved their shack on skids to another location. The friction from the skids set the grass on fire. Years later, those skid marks showed up when they broke up the pasture.

One time, while she was milking their cow out in the open, she counted twenty-five gophers in a circle eating the spilled feed that she had fed to the cow. She used an armless rocking chair to sit on while she did the milking.

Another incident that she recalled was the time when the pigs got out of pen and started routing out the potatoes that had been planted in the firebreak around the shack. She finally managed to tie the pigs up but had extra work unwinding the rope after they had twisted it into knots. Her neighbors wondered how she managed to tie up a pig. “By the hind legs,” she answered.

Once she found herself locked out of the shack when she returned from looking for the cow. Adolph, then about two, and William, a baby, were left at home, and Adolph took the key out of the lock after locked the door, and it took quite a bit of pleading from Mama before he was able to find the “lost key.”

One Sunday, they hired a team and buggy for a drive on the Coal Lands, as it was called, down toward the Reservation. It became very quiet in the back of the buggy where Bill was playing alone. They found they had lost Bill, and had to turn around to go look for him. They found him easily though, as he was following after them.

Mr. Ringdahl did some carpentry work, besides the farming, and later rented the farm out for several years while he built several houses in Roseglen and Raub. Some of the houses that he built in the area included John Simonson’s, Joe Amundson’s, where Art Slind later lived, Dort Myer’s, and Martin Miller’s.

The summer of 1922, he worked in Grand Forks, part of that time on the State Mill and Elevator. During the winters of 1926 and 1927, he worked in Great Falls, Montana, and in Crosby, North Dakota. The last home he built was in the summer of 1927, west of Raub. He died in August of 1927, at the age of thirty-nine.

Following the death of her husband, Mrs. Ringdahl stayed on the farm until 1944, when she moved to Minot, where she was living in 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published.

That summer, Adolph married Erma Merriam, and they made their home on the home place.