Biography of Ashorn Stenehjem
Houston County, MN Biographies

Asborn Stenehjem, founder of the well known Stenehjem family in Houston county, and one of the pioneer settlers of this county, was born in Norway, where he grew to manhood and was married. With his wife, Kari, and one child, Ole, he came to the United States in 1850, landing at New York after a voyage of ten weeks in a sailing vessel. Proceeding west, he settled in Illinois, in which State he was engaged in farming until 1854. He then came to Houston county, Minn., driving with an ox team into Wilmington township. There he secured 160 acres of land and built a log house, which was the first dwelling of the family in the county. His first agricultural work was done with the aid of his oxen, which he used for a number of years. His first horse, then a young colt, was received as a present from A. Hanson of Waterloo Ridge, and he carried it home on his back, a distance of six miles. It became a family pet, and was known as "Wesle Fan," or "Little Fan," wesle in Norwegian meaning small. Mr. Stenehjem often walked to Brownsville and Lansing, carrying home groceries on his back, which in pioneer days was often the only means of transportation; and to add to the difficulties the only road was a rude trail which often had to be cleared from brush. Indeed, Mr. Stenehjem had to cut a way into his land when he took possession of it. In time he increased the size of his farm to 220 acres and built a good house and barn, together with the necessary outbuildings, a:nd cleared and broke a good portion of his land. A member of the Norwegian Lutheran church, he gave the site for the first church of that denomination in Wilmington township, and in many ways proved himself to be a useful and public spirited citizen. Both he and his wife are now deceased. They had seven children: Ole, already mentioned, who became a farmer in Black Hammer township and is now dead; Andrew A., who remained on the old home farm, where he died at the age of fifty-nine years; Martha, who married Hans Bjerke and went to North Dakota, where she is now living; Peter, who went west and finally settled in North Dakota; Johanna and Louritz, deceased; and Johann.

The History of Houston County, Minnesota
Edited by: Franklyn Curtis-Wedge.
H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co.
Winona, Minn. 1919


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