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Sons of Norway to host history event to mark Otter Tail's 150 year anniversary

It is a celebration lasting for one year marking the 150th year the county of Otter Tail, Minnesota, has been in business. Christ Schuelke, a history buff and research sleuth has many a story to tell the locals. Leif Erikson, Sons of Norway of Vining is hosting the party at the Vining Community Center, 211 Soule Street on Monday evening, October 8, beginning at 6 pm; the program begins at 7 pm All community members are invited to participate. The event is free. Birthday refreshments will be served following the program.

Storyboards will be in the hall for perusing before the actual program begins at 7 pm. Those tell tell the development of the county, located in the midst of Minnesota's Lake Country. Otter Tail was the county where the train was planned to go through Ottertail City and that city would become the rich county seat. What happened to change that arrangement? How did it get changed to Fergus Falls? And what was done by the city fathers in the dark of night? Rumor has it they stole the records in night!

Along with the county's history Leif Erikson members and friends are invited to come with the information of the approximate years forebears arrived in Minnesota — was it 1862 or 1902? We'll list the dates of the family's arrivals and post them. They'll be posted under headings of the Nordic countries which may tell us which people settled in this area and when. There will be a heading for Danish, Finnish, Icelandics, Norwegians and Swedes. And, if forebears settled other than Minnesota there will be a heading for "OTHER: USA"!

The evening's festivities will be opened by a welcome from Leif president, Tom Rasmusson of Battle Lake. The festive program will recognize the immigrant forebears who left the Nordic countries to settle in this area where we now live, descendants of people who suffered in their homelands and came to a new land, homesteaded, and worked the land.

Refreshments will be served to the group following the presentation.

Leif Erikson, Sons of Norway of Vining, the organization sponsoring the event has met and supported the rural communities of Otter Tail County for 124 years being the 32 unit of Sons of Norway to be organized. A group of 18 men established the first Sons of Norway on January 16, 1895, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to insure each other when they were unable to secure life insurance on their own. in order to have insurance for families as they were not invited to be part of already established insurance companies. As new immigrants they were at great financial risk, so decided to have insurance amongst themselves to help their fellow immigrants in time of sickness and death. That organization has grown and is still a growing insurance company issuing insurance throughout most of the United States.

For information about the celebration and party for Otter Tail County's 50th Anniversary or for membership information for Leif Erikson, please call 218-282-0406. Membership is offered to all persons, women, men and children who are interested in the promotion and preserving of the cultures of Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden — one does not need to have a particular 'blood line' or be a descendant. Being interested in any aspect of Nordic culture is all that is needed!

Hosts for the event will be Wendy Grabow of Battle Lake, Violet Moen of Henning and Diane & Sid Wisness of Battle Lake.