Biography of Ole Engen
Polk County, MN Biographies

Having passed many years in hard labor making portions of this western wilderness of his earlier days docile and systematically productive for the service of mankind, Ole Engcn, formerly an energetic, enterprising and progressive farmer in three big western states, is now living retired from all active pursuits and enjoying in peaceful leisure the fruits of his labors at his comfortable home in the village of Climax. He was born in Norway June 17, 1854, and was brought to this country in 1857 by his parents, Ole N. and Mary Engen, who settled in Houston county and were among the earliest Norwegians who came to Minnesota.

The father bought a pre-emption claim in Houston county and the son remained with his parents until he reached the age of twenty-five years. In 1879 he went to Traill county, North Dakota, where he obtained a pre-emption and a homestead claim, both of which he improved and on which he lived fifteen years. During that period he improved three prairie farms in North Dakota and erected buildings on all of them. He found the winter winds too strong to be agreeable, and the unpleasant ones not confined to the winter season, and he longed for a landscape with stretches of timber in it.

Yielding to his ardent desire in 1894, Mr. Engen then returned to Polk county, Minnesota, and bought 163 acres of land on the Red river adjoining the farm of Christopher Steenerson, three miles and a half west of Climax. He made his purchase of Jens Siverson. paying him $3,200 for the 163 acres out of the proceeds of his North Dakota property. which he sold before leaving that state. Later he purchased another tract of eighty acres, and for this he paid $25 an acre, and for nearly ten years he cultivated these lands.

About 1904 Mr. Engen desired a change of climate, and in search of it he went to Montana and procured one and a half sections of land, one section being desert laud, fifty miles west of the city of Great Falls. He occupied, improved and cultivated this land nearly three years, then sold it to advantage and returned to his home in this county, and farmed two years. Then passed a year and a half in Crookstou and at the end of that period took up his residence in the village of Climax.

Mr. Engenís agricultural operations comprised general farming and raising Shorthorn cattle. His farm is well adapted to live stock breeding and he used it extensively for that purpose. He served on the township board while living in North Dakota and has also been a member of the village council of Climax. He was married in Houston county. Minnesota, to Miss Maria Classen, a native of Iowa and eighteen years old at the time of her marriage, while he was in his twenty-third year. She died December 19, 1909, at the family home in Climax, aged a little over fifty years.

Seven children were born in the Engen family, and six of them are living. Olof is on a homestead of his own near Leech lake. Minnesota. Alfred lives on and cultivates Andrew Steenerson's farm near Climax. Amanda is the wife of Martin Erickson, a merchant at Climax. Norris C. runs a garage at Climax. Severt I. also lives at Climax. Cora is the wife of Alfred Carison, who is on his homestead near Leech lake and is a school teacher as well as a farmer. He has taught the Climax school. The members of the family are all Lutherans, and the father is an official in the congregation to which he belongs. He has been something of a hunter in his time, and has a fine deer head, artistically mounted, in his home, its owner having been one of the victims of his prowess as a Nimrod. He also has a cane of diamond willow grown on his Montana farm and richly carved by himself.

Compendium of History and Biography
of Polk County, Minnesota
Maj. R. I. Holcombe, Historical Editor
William H. Bingham, Feneral Editor
W. H. Bingham & Co.
Minneapolis 1916


County, MN

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