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Sophus and Rena Ongstad

Husband's Full Name: Johan Sofus Ongstad

Husband's Place of Birth:  Hadsel, Nordland, Norway

Husband's Father's Name: Henrik Johan Jacobsen Ongstad

Husband's Mother's Name: Pernille Ursin Hansdatter Ongstad

Husband's Siblings' Names: Thea, Helena, Erik, Hans, Marin, Albertine, Oluf

Wife's Full Name:  Rena Turina Asleson Ongstad

Wife's Place of Birth:  Saetra Farm, Sigdal, Buskerud, Norway

Wife's Father's Name:  Asle Asleson

Wife's Mother's Name:  Marie Evenson Bjørnrud

Wife's Siblings' Names: Even (Ragnhild Vigen), Asle (Anne Helgeson Kverna), Kjersti (Hans K. Vigne), Mari ( Edward Kamrud), Belle, Ole (Clara Stave), Edvart,  Emma (John S. Skinnemoen), , Laura

Children's Names: Herbert and Mildred (Alvin B. Solberg)

Ongstad, Sofus and Rena.jpg

When Sofus was 10 years old his parents immigrated to America, first settling in Coon Valley, Wisconsin.  The family ten located in Pelican Rapids and here Sofus was raised to manhood.  He received little education until 1880 at which time he entered Luther College at Decorah, Iowa. He graduated in 1885 and was then elected to represent the Farmers Alliance in the Minnesota State Legislature. He served two terms. In 1892 Mr. Ongstad filed a homestead in the Manfred vicinity and resided there for some time.  In 1902 he became cashier of the Manfred bank and served in that capacity for about five years.


On November 27, 1904 he was married to Miss Rena Asleson of Wendell, MN and to this union was born two children Mildred and Herbert.  In 1915 the Ongstad family moved back to the farm six miles northeast of Manfred, at which place he resided until his death. 


Mr. Ongstad was a very learned man, a deep student of history, both Norwegian and English and was very widely read.  His speaking ability made him a popular character in the county and he established a wide reputation along such lines.  During his residence he also served as chairman of the Republican County Central committee and was a school director.  He did much in the building up of the community and church. 


Rena Ongstad came to the US with her parents in 1871; her father took a homestead in Norway Lake MN. They lived there for seven years, but the last year the grasshoppers ate up the crop so they moved to Stony Brook Township in MN.  He bought land for his home there and raised a large family.

She studied diligently and got a teacher’s certificate.  She taught school in Grant County, MN for many years. In 1901 she went to Wells County, ND where she took a homestead and taught school. Here she met Sofus, one of those solitary Dakota bachelors who farmed and baked pancakes. They were married in August 1904. 

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