6th Grade 1994, Tri-County School, Karlstad,MN
The Life of Victor Lefrooth
My great-grandfather, Victor Lefrooth, is of Swedish nationality. He was born in Brjurholm, Vesterbatten, Sweden on March 22, 1878. He immigratedwith his parents in 1882. The journey was made the first part of June byrail and by train to Hernasandy. From here, they went by rail to Stockholm,where they spent a few days. The journey was continued from Stockholm toGalebarg by rail. When they arrived at the harbor, they had intended toboard a first class liner. Information had been received that the linerhad already left and the only thing left was a second class liner that belongedto the State. They took this vessel and the journey was continued fromGalebarg across the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in New York three weeks later.
The family went from New York to Chicago by train, andthen on to St. Paul, Minnesota. They finally arrived in Stephen, Minnesotathe first part of August in 1882.
There were nine members in the family, my great-grandfather,his four sisters, his parents and his grandparents. When they arrived inStephen, all of the children were taken ill with diphtheria. All of thechildren recovered except Mandy, the youngest, who died and was buried inStephen.
The village of Stephen at this time consisted of one smallrailroad station, two small merchandise stores. All of the savings thefamily had from Sweden was now gone and work had to be found to supportthe family. My great great great grandfather, Erick Mostrom, and my greatgreat grandfather, Erick Lefrooth, started work for J. J. Hill on his farmfor seventy-five cents a day. They were soon considered fast workers, sotheir wages were raised to one dollar a day. They worked shucking and haulinggrain. When the farming has been finished, there was no more work to bedone, so they began to look for homestead east of Stephen. The result wasthat Lefrooth filed on the Northeast 1/4 of Section 2 in the town of Tamaracabout 10 or 12 miles east of Stephen.
A dugout was made on the Mostrom claim about 20 feet by20 feet and about six deep with almost a flat rooftop and two small windowson the south side.
When this cellar was finished, the family moved from Stephento this new home. P. P. Lunden, the only person that owned horses, washired to take the family from Stephen to their new place in the fall. Thisjourney was considered difficult and dangerous because there were hardlyany roads further east than five miles from Stephen. The other five roadswere nothing but mud, floating logs, and other things. Men and women walkedall the way and, at various times, helped to push the load with all theirmight. These loads consisted of four children, a cook stove, home tables,benches, clothing, beddings, and other home utilities. Two cows were alsobrought to their dugout that summer and taken along on the dugout.
The family soon entered in and household furniture wasinstalled the best way possible. The cook stove occupied the center ofthe floor and the pipe stretching out through the sod roof. Two bencheswere made in place of beds, one on each side of the wall.
The first story was for the older people, and the secondfor the children. This dugout was warm and comfortable except when it stormed,they found it got quite smoky. A sod barn was also built for the two cows.
Logs were cut from a nearby timber tree and pulled on ahomemade sled pulled by two men until enough logs were gathered to builda log house. The house had two rooms that measured twelve feet by fourteenfeet, in which the family moved into the following summer.
In the spring of 1882, more settlers came and settled downof Polish nationality. The first Swedish visitor was, J. Toguish, who settleddown on Section 30 in Nelson Park. While no other lodging could be had,he was taken in as a roomer while he built his home on the claim.
One interesting event was when the snow had thawed in thespring and the sun was shining and the children were playing on high ground. The two cows also turned out and one of the cows was by the children onthe roof of the dugout when the roof caved in and the cow plunged into thecellar. This caused no bitter excitement among the occupants and the cownone the less. The cow was soon overpowered and led out through the entryon the top. Nobody was hurt and the roof was soon after repaired.
I received my information from an essay written by great-aunt.