Chapter XXXIV.
History of Atlanta Township.

By Miss Mary A. Hanson.

The town of Atlanta, situated in the northwestern part of Becker County was first settled June 16, 1871, by N. N. Viger and family, who drove from Fillmore County with an ox team and prairie schooner and settled on Section 32 of said township.

Martin Hanson, a single man, settled on the same section the same year and resided there until his death in 1905.

The next settler was O. J. Jahr and family who settled on Section 30 in 1872. For several years these three homes were the only ones in the township, but in 1876 several new families arrived from Wisconsin and Iowa, among which were O. O. Noben, L. H. Hauge, H. J. Larson and others. Gradually the level prairies were broken up and converted into fertile fields, and groves and houses dotted the lonesome plains.

January 25, 1879, the township was organized as the town of Martin, but the name was changed to Atlanta at the following meeting, March 18, 1879.

The first town officers were: Supervisors, O. O. Noben, M. J. Brekke and C. G. Engebregtson,; clerk, H. J. Larson, which position he held for fourteen consecutive years; treasurer, C. G. Engebregtson; justice of the peace, J. A. Bemis, M. J. Brekke; constables, L. G. Engebregtson, H. A. Furuset; poundmaster, M. Wahl.

The first birth recorded in the town is that of the eldest daughter of John and Ellen Gunderson.

The first school district, No. 29, was organized in the spring of 1880, and the first term of school was held in the home of John Larson and taught by Miss Carrie Larson, with an enrollment of twelve pupils.

Since that time three more school districts have been organized, viz.: Nos. 33, 43, and 68.

The growth of the population has been slow but steady, till at the present time most of the land has been taken up or bought by actual settlers.

But one tragedy has occurred in Atlanta in the twenty-five years of its existence, viz.: that of the murder of Timan Ristvedt, a middle aged, single man who resided on his farm on Section 10. On the evening of November 8, 1897, he was found lying dead near the barn which had been set afire by the murderer.

This was perhaps the most sensational murder case ever tried in Becker County. After a long trial the suspected murderer was acquitted for want of evidence and the case remains a mystery to this day.

On June 9, 1903, a cyclone passed over the central part of the town destroying nearly a dozen houses and the large Norwegian church which had just been completed. One person, Mrs. O. Berg, an old lady lost her life in the storm.

The earlier settlers of Atlanta were Scandinavians with the exception of two or three families, and during the first twenty years or more there were few changes excepting as new settlers were added from time to time, but toward the close of the nineties a number of transfers of real estate brought a considerable German element into the township.

On the whole the history of the township while uneventful has been a prosperous one. The bleak prairies of twenty-five years ago now are fertile fields, and the sod shanty is replaced by the commodious farm buildings.

Atlanta was so named from the resemblance its undulating surface bears to the Atlantic Ocean.



Ole O. Noben was born in Slidre, Valders, Norway, Aug. 14, 1835. He came to America in 1851 and settled in Dane County, Wis., afterwards removing to Decorah, Iowa, in 1854, where on Sept. 16, 1859, he married Christina Lien. Coming to Becker County in the early days he took a homestead in Atlanta, where he has ever since made his home. A man of education, and of energetic, progressive disposition, he did much in the development of the northwest part of the county. His homestead of virgin prairie has been converted into one of the best farms in Becker County, with a fine grove, substantial buildings and productive fields, and in ever way betokening the energy and thoughtfulness of its owner. He was always an advocate of good roads, and he was ever at the front in every movement for public improvement and good schools in his home town. In politics he was a lifelong Republican and ever since coming to the county he has taken part in the councils of his party. In the fall of '96 he was elected to the office of register of deeds, and served with ability until last January, having been re-nominated, but defeated by a very few votes at the last election. Mr. Noben has been a resident of this county about twenty years, and has figured prominently in the affairs of his town, and of the county.

He died of heart disease, on the 18th day of June, 1899, at his home in Atlanta.--Detroit Record.


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