Erick & Anna Espeseth

Erick Espeseth was born in Norway on July 30, 1842. Anna Halverson was born in Wisconsin on October 20, 1858. They were married by the Reverend Hartman in Benson, Minnesota on December 5, 1878.

In the spring of 1882, they moved to Deer Lake, Nelson County, North Dakota, making the trip in a covered wagon pulled by a team of oxen. Until the following spring, they lived in dug-out and sod buildings.

Learning of homesteading opportunities in the Mouse River Valley, Erick and Anna Espeseth decided to move further west, arriving on June 1, 1883, making a claim on a homestead in Falsen Township, where they lived for the rest of their lives.

The first year, they dug caves to live in. As time and resources permitted, they cut logs and built a log house plastered with mud. At that time, there were only three settlers within several miles of them. These homesteaders were named Swenson, Hoffman, and Copeland. The nearest town was Devils Lake, and that was about a hundred miles away. For supplies, each family would make two trips to Devils Lake a year, which would take about two weeks.

The Reverend O.H. Aaberg was the first missionary minister to serve the area, making several trips from the Red River Valley in order to visit their homes and conduct services. In May of 1885, he helped to organize a congregation that was known as the Norway Congregation and, in 1886, Rev. T. Reishus accepted the call to be the resident pastor, conducting his first service in the Espeseth home. Services were held there once a month until a church was completed in 1907.

Erick Espeseth died on January 22, 1920, and Anna Espeseth passed away on April 17, 1927. Their children were Alfred, Gina, Iver, Bertha, Edward, Carl, Martha, Emma, and Anna.

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