Entering this section of the state of Minnesota and the Northwest while it was still largely an unbroken wilderness
and founding a business which soon became, and has continued, a leader in its line; taking a very active and helpful
part in laying the foundations of civilization in the section and giving its publie institutions form and direction,
and using his wide acquaintance and strong personal influence to bring settlers into the region, tbe late Andrew
Opheim, whose death occurred at his home in Fertile April 5, 1915, was, for a period of thirty-three years, one
of Polk county’s most useful, representative and esteemed citizens, and well deserved his rank.
Mr. Opheim was born in Voss, Norway, November 14, 1844, the son of Styrk and Anna (Opheim) Opheim, also natives
of that country, who passed their lives in it and whose mortal remains were at last laid to rest in its soil, whieb
they had hallowed by their long and productive labors. Tbe son was reared in his native land and obtained his education
in its public schools, completing it at one of the excellent normal schools it contains. He taught school for a
few years in Norway after attaining his majority, then came to the United States, arriving in 1871 and locating
in Dane county, Wisconsin, where he passed two years. From there he went to Chicago and was employed as a laborer
in that city until 1875, when he moved into Southern Minnesota. There he worked on farms and taught school until
1882. In that year lie came to Aldal and entered into partnership with the late Dr. Arne Nelson in a general merchandising
and drug business, which they conducted at that place until 1887, then moved both stock and building to Fertile.
Their business grew and flourished at Fertile, as it had done at Aldal, and they became as widely and favorably
known as merchants and progressive, enterprising and public-spirited citizens as any residents of the Northwest
have ever been. Their partnership continued until 1893. In that year it was dissolved by mutual consent and the
business was divided, Mr. Opheim taking over the general merchandising department and Dr. Nelson the drug stock
In 1895 Mr. Opheim erected at Fertile the building which bears his name and is one of the best in that village.
The bnsiness founded by him is still conducted in it by his nephew, Odd Eide, a sketch of whom appears in this
work. Mr. Opheim was one of the founders of the First State Bank of Fertile and served it as a director until his
death on April 5, 1915, at which time he was also vice president of the bank. He long took an active interest in
tile Fertile Brick and Tile company and was one .of its directors to the end of his life. His political allegiance
was given to the Republican party and he was an ardent and effective worker for its success in all campains. Locally
he took an energetic and serviceable part in public affairs, serving as president of the village of Fertile for
ten terms. Fraternally he belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and was zealous in his membership and
his devotion to the fraternity. As Mr. Opheim never married he was able to give earnest attention to every public
interest, and he did this diligently.
Compendium of History and Biography
of Polk County, Minnesota
Maj. R. I. Holcombe, Historical Editor
William H. Bingham, Feneral Editor
W. H. Bingham & Co.
Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906