History of Sheyenne Valley

From time immemorial, the human race has been moving about.  An intuitive trait in the human make up seems to urge it out of the old habitations to see new places where homes could be built and where new enterprises could be engaged in.  This restive trait is without any doubt one of the great causes for the fact that the human race has found its way to all livable places on the globe.  A thinning out as it were of the over- crowded places to fill in those which were more sparsely populated.

It is rather sad indeed, to tear loose from the old native country the old home, from kindred and acquaintances and go to a country which is unknown, a country with strange people, different customs and different language, but necessity made it imperative.  Go, struggle, and win — or stay, struggle and get nowhere.  Facing these two alternatives, the thousands of struggling European people, followed the beck and call of the new world and came to the land of the free, not always as fortune hunters but rather, to find a place where they were enabled to build a home of their own, a thing that was impossible in their native country, owing to circumstances over which they had no control.

Thus America was settled by the so called useless surplus of the old world.  But which has proved to be the right and only kind of people that could be used, in the building of the greatest republic under the sun.

As it was with America in a large measure, so it has evidently been with her states in a smaller scale.  “Go West, young man, go West!” was the bugle call sounded in the East, and west they came, by the thousands.  A cordial invitation was accorded them from the limitless prairies, with a virgin soil unparallel in fertility.  Thus North Dakota was settled by immigrants from the older settlements in the east and people coming directly from Northern Europe.

We stated that a cordial welcome was accorded the pioneers and it is true to the fullest extent of the term, but it was a welcome not to a life of leisure and idleness but a welcome to hard strenuous labor, all kinds of sacrifices, and privations—and not the least among them, the lonely feelings so excellently expressed by Bojer in his book “Vor Egen Stamme”, “It was the prairie, the sun and Him”  That was all, “But there were Giants in the Earth in those days” tall men, sun crowned men, men with an indomitable will behind a steely arm.  Men that had a vision, men with faith in the unseen.  They visualized the prairies yielding bountiful crops, even before a kernel was sown.  They were to it and realized their dream.

Before we proceed with the history of the old pioneers we bed permission to devote a few lines of this historical sketch to a very important incident in the history of our state.  An event immediately preceding the early settlement of this community.  An even lending tint, as it were, of a very important and interesting character to this particular part of our state.

In the month of June, in 1863, General Sibley, began his march through the Minnesota Valley against the Indians who were encamped at Devils Lake.  He came from Abercrombie up to Big Bend on the Sheyenne River by what  now is Lisbon, or close to that place.  In his army was a captain by the very significant name of Ole Paulson.  Later this man became a pastor in the Lutheran Free Church.  A few years before his death he wrote his autobiography and in this he gives a very graphic description of the march across what later became Fort Ransom.  Over yonder on Mr. E. Storhoff’s place there has been found an unmistakable evidence of a camping place, dating to Sibley’s March in 1863.  Therefore the Historical society of the state placed a maker at said place some time ago.  The army continued marching north to what then was called Fort Atchinson, fifteen miles northwest  of what is now called Cooperstown, then west to the Missouri river where they were suppose to meet General Sully coming up the river from Yankton, South Dakota as per previous agreement.  He failed to come however, owing to the fact that the water in the river was too low for navigation.  In 1864, Sibley began his return March over the same route, crossing fort Ransom, Lisbon, Big Bend, and Abercrombie.    From Abercrombie Captain Paulson was ordered to cross the flat over to Pelican Lake in Minnesota, and in the early part of November, 1864, this company voted unaminously for Abraham Lincoln.  This election took place on the shore of Pelican Lake.