John Kerzman

John P. Kerzman Family

The Kerzman family came to North Dakota from Marshall, Minnesota in the fall of 1903. At that time, the railroad came as far as Washburn, so the family moved by horse and wagon to Old Coleharbor that fall. Old Coleharbor was then located a few miles northeast of Riverdale, North Dakota. It was there that the spent the winter of 1903-04. The husband and father of the family had passed away, so Pauline Kerzman was left to raise her family of nine children, five boys and four girls.

In the spring of 1904, the widowed Mrs. Kerzman took a homestead in Blackwater Township, settling there with her children. Ownership of the land was established by proving up the land on a homestead claim.

In 1906, when the family was settled, the oldest son, John P. Kerzman, then twenty years of age, filed a homestead claim of his own in Roseglen Township. This area was rapidly becoming settled, so John has several close neighbors.

In 1910, four years after filing his homestead, John married a neighbor girl, Marie Hill, the daughter of John and Johanna Hill. They became the parents of two children, Viola and Glenn. In 1915, Marie passed away unexpectedly, leaving John to raise the two children.

In 1917, John met and married Hildur Kvaale. Hildur's family had come to Fargo from Norway in 1911, then homesteaded near Painted Hill, southwest of Roseglen, in 1915. There were six members of the Kvaale family: Mr. and Mrs. John Kvaale and their four children, Hildur, Leif, Swerle, and John Jr.

After their marriage, John and Hildur continued to live on John's homestead, adding to the homestead house repeatedly, in order to accommodate the ten children that were born to them.

During World War II, five of the older Kerzman boys entered the armed services. Harold (Bud) joined the Coast Guard, while Harland (Swede), Dennis, Bob and Glenn entered the U.S. Army. Harland was wounded when a mine exploded under the jeep he was driving, and he spent several months in an Army hospital. He recovered, and all five sons returned home at the end of the war.

In 1952, John was told by doctors that he had multiple sclerosis. He continued to farm for several years with the help of his son, Richard. However, as the disease progressed, resulting in a loss of balance and muscular control, he decided to retire.

In 1956, John sold the farm and all of his original homestead to his son, Richard, retiring at the age of seventy, after having lived for fifty years on his farm.

After his retirement, John and Hildur lived in Kalispell, Montana for several years before buying a home in Minot, where he lived the remainder of his life. During his later years, his illness made it difficult for him to travel. He was unable to walk unassisted, and used a walker to get around at home. Although handicapped, he was in good spirits, and always happy to have company, and to talk over old times with relatives and friends.

The Kerzmans had twelve children.

Glenn married Lorraine Thompson of Max, North Dakota. They had six children: Lynn, Neal, Craig, Cathy, Rhonda, and Amy. They lived in Kalispell, Montana.

Viola was married to Lloyd Golden, and resided in Vancouver, Washington. They had two sons, DeVane and Galen.

Harold (Bud) married Frances Nelson of Roseglen, and also moved to Kalispell, Montana. They had four sons: Gary, David, Danny, and Willis.

Thelma became Mrs. Earl Rickertt, and lived in Minot, North Dakota. Their two daughters were Darlene and Judy.

Pearl married Richard Kolden of Minot, and had six children: Pat, Sharon, Richard Jr., Carol, and the twins, Jean and Janice.

Robert married Adeline Bertsch of Minot, and had five daughters: Linda, Sandra, Sheila, Laurie, and Lisa.

Arthur was married to Lillian Berg. They lived in Tacoma, Washington, and had two children, Rod and Nancy.

Hildur (Hoodie) married Arthur Gartner, and lived at Turtle Lake, North Dakota. Their five children were Bonnie, Larry, and Raymond.

Harland (Swede) was married to Viola Bertsch of Minot. Living in Kalispell, Montana, they had four sons: Greg, Keith, Jeff, and Kenton.

Dennis married LaVonne Anderson of Roseglen, and resided in Velva, North Dakota. They had seven children: Donald, Thomas, Jerry, Bruce, Dianne, John, and Brian.

Richard was the only child to remain in Roseglen. He married LeeAnn Mahowald of Garrison. Their three children were Steven, Richard Paul, and Barbara Ann.

Clinton married Alice Beyer of Makoti, and lived in Minot. They had three children: Vicki, Rickie, and Pamela.

John passed away in May of 1966, at the age of eighty, having raised twelve children and having lived to see forty-seven grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. In 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published, Mrs. Kerzman was living in Minot.