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Sever Johansen Running (Rønning)
Trondhjem, Norway

Sever Running, more familiarly known as "Sam" Running, who has built up a considerable nursery and fruit raising business at North Menomonie and elsewhere, and who for some years led an adventurous life, was born in Trondhjem, Norway, May 20, 1857, son of Johan Arnt and Anne Hanson. The mother died in Norway in 1887, and in 1890 Sever, who had then been for some eight or nine years in the United States, sent for his father and for his brother Peter, who accordingly also came to this country.

The father died in 1902, in Norway, to which country he had returned.  Peter is now in the real estate business in Minneapolis.

Sever Running, after attending public school, entered the officers' military school at Trondhjem, where he completed certain prescribed courses, after which he entered the Flag Junker School in Christiana, Norway, from which he was graduated in the class of 1877.  He then spent four years in an attorney's office. It was in 1881 that he came to the United States, locating in Menomonie, Wis., the fame of which place as a lumber center with ready employment for newcomers had reached his native land.  Thus he found it, and after entering the employ of Knapp, Stout & Co, Company, he was soon made cashier and bookkeeper and as such worked for the company for ten years. He then started a nursery business in Menomonie, raising plants and shrubs, and combining with it the production of apples and small fruits, and he continued in that line of business for 17 consecutive years.  

In 1898, the country and the civilized world generally, was excited by the news of the discovery of gold in Alaska, and at once thousands of individuals, singly or in parties, set out for the new land of sudden fortunes. It was a long and terrible journey, as many never reached the goal but perished on the way. Undeterred by their misfortunes, however, if they knew anything about them, a multitude of others pressed onwards, some to lose their lives through the hazards of the journey, others to reach the promised land only to fail in obtaining any part of the wealth that was there for those who could find it and bear it safely away, and others -- a much smaller number -- to meet with fortune and return home wealthy. The excitement at the time proved so contagious that Mr. Running was also seized with the gold fever, and together with William Fox, Ole Lien, George Quilling, Robert Midtlyng, and his son Axel, set out for Alaska and the Klondike, with all essential supplies.

Soon after their arrival there, Mr. Midtlyng and Mr. Running were caught in a terrible snow storm on the summit of Chilkat Pass, along the trail where goods were left at various points for the mule freighters to haul to their various destinations. They were unfamiliar with the route and the blowing storm had entirely obliterated the trail.  Thus they were practically lost.  Mr. Midtlyng, in fact, gave up, expecting to perish that night but Mr. Running not being so easily frightened, looked out for a place where they could burrow in the snow and remain until the storm had abated and the trail was reopened.  As luck would have it, they found one of these piles of goods and there found a shovel, some sacks and a sled. With this material together with their own sled, they built a framework and piled it over with snow, and their blankets around them they spent the night.  Though it was very cold, they had plenty to eat, and passed the night in a fairly comfortable manner.  About daybreak others came along and broke the trail.  Thus they were liberated and pushed on to where they had done their clearing and there joined the rest of the company who had preceded them before the storm.

The amount of gold that he and Mr. Midtlyng found, however, after they had been operating for some time, was so small that Mr. Running became tired of the useless quest and turned his attention to fishing, an occupation in which he was an expert, and in which he met with good success, his car sometimes reaching 100 pounds in a day, which he sold at one dollar per pound.  He also traversed the whole length of the Yukon River from Lake Linderman to Cape Nome, in a boat that he himself had built on Lake Linderman, and which was made of whip-sawed lumber,. He also sailed on Bering Sea, like a hardy Viking, from Fort Michaels to Cape Nome, all alone in his boat, and towing behind him a smaller boat laden with 700 oil cloth suits that he had purchased in Dawson City, a mercantile adventure that proved successful, as on arriving at Cape Nome he sold them all at a good profit.  The successful issue of this venture was quite possibly due to the seaworthy qualities of his boat, which he had built expressly to stand hard wear and tear, and to sail on perilous waters, backed by his own strength and skill as a sailor and oarsman.  

After spending three years filled with incident and adventure in that distant region, Mr. Running returned home and resumed his fruit growing business, to which he has since given his attention. He has had interests in this line at Eau Claire and Minneapolis and now has 15 acres at North Menomonie, which he devotes to the raising of strawberries, raspberries, apples and various plants and shrubs.  In 1908, with William A. Starr of Eau Claire, he set out a fine apple orchard of 100 acres in the town of Weston, the trees of which are now in good bearing condition and are proving productive.  Mr. Running still owns an interest in this orchard, which is operated under the name of the Weston Orchard Company, the Wealthy apple being their chief production. His nursery at North Menomonie is known as the Sam Running Nursery.  

At various times he has rendered useful public service.  He was an alderman for 8 years from the first ward of Menomonie, was president of the city council for 2 years, and as supervisor and member of the county board.  In religion he is a Unitarian.  His present residence at 2204 Railroad Avenue, North Menomonie, he built in 1885.

Mr. Running was married in Norway, Oct. 10, 1880, to Kari (Ingebrigtsdatter) Krogstad, who was born at Horig, Norway, and who, after 39 years of married life, died Nov. 28, 1919.  She had been the mother of 10 children, two of whom died in infancy.  The others were: Ingvald, who resides in Minneapolis; Annie, now Mrs. Ed Steen of Minneapolis and the mother of two children, Olin and Clifford; Gunder, wife of A.R. Wilson of Cleveland, Ohio; Samuel, engaged in the automobile and battery repair service in Minneapolis, who is married and has two children, James and Paul; Kate, now Mrs. Louis Abendroth of Minneapolis; Lillian, of Minneapolis; Clarence, of Superior; and Axel, who accompanied his father on the Alaskan trip, and who died while engaged in railroad work for the government.  Axel had married at San Francisco and left one child, Alice.


Extracted from the History of Dunn County, Wisconsin (1925), p. 330-332
1865 Norwegian Census:
  • Census year: 1865
  • Municipality: Stadsbygd
  • Municipality number: 1625
  • Name of domicile: Rønningen

Number of persons in this domicile: 5.

Name Family status Marital status Occupation Birth year Birth place
Johan Arnt Olsen Huusfader g Huusmand uden Jord 1823 Stadsbygdens Prgj.  
Anne Hansdatter hans Kone g   1823 Stadsbygdens Prgj.  
Sivert Johan=Arntsen deres Søn ug   1857 Stadsbygdens Prgj.  
Hans Peter Johan=Arntsen deres Søn ug   1859 Stadsbygdens Prgj.  
Kjerstina Markusdatter Inderst e   1830 Stadsbygdens Prgj


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08 Mar 2004 03:12 PM

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