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It is so fun to drive by and watch what you are doing to your house to bring it back to its original splendor. The gentleman that built the house originally was John Osterud.   He was the original founder of Home Federal Savings Bank whose first office was in Spring Valley. Today they are a billion-dollar bank with 15 locations. Enclosed is the history and story of John's life. I had the privilege of knowing John as my career started as a teller at Home Federal. They broke the mold after John as he was an amazing person. He could meet you once and call you by name the next time he saw you and remember your ''story''.  When I visited him in his 90s at Madonna Towers he went around the room and told me everyone's name and their story. He was brilliant and humble and had such a gift for making one feel comfortable.

When John and Helen lived in your house, they had a full-time maid/nanny, and her bedroom was in the back. A galley-type maids' kitchen suitable for one person was by design.


When John died, he left a one-million-dollar endowment trust fund to the community. Half of the money is to be used for scholarships at Kingsland School and the other half for community projects. Since his death in 1994, $1,800,000 has been given out for scholarships and community needs while still maintaining the original one million dollars.

A quick story about the galley kitchen: In the 70's - 8O's one of my best friends lived there (Lyn and Marcy lndall) and she did not like the galley style kitchen so one day she got out the axe and started chopping a whole in the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  Luckily, she didn't electrocute herself as there were live wires running through that wall.                                  

So, some local color to your home and a story or two.


Kindest regards,

Sue Kolling (Diane Hafner's sister)

507-259-6467    ·                            


1899 - 1993










Born: March 6, 1899

Died: December 31, 1993



John Nicholas Osterud was born in Hurdal(near Oslo) Norway. His parents, John O. and

Ingeborg Mitgund Osterud, came to America in 1901, bringing four children: Harold, 14, Agnethe, 12, Josephine, 10, and John, 2. They first lived in St. Paul, then moved to Barnum and settled on a small farm. After his father's death in 1903, his mother moved her family to North Dakota to homestead a quarter section Of land. They constructed a sod house, raised cattle, pigs, and chickens, and planted 100 acres Of wheat and flax and a large garden. With the nearest school 60 miles away, his mother employed a tutor John. His formal education began at age 11 when a school district was organized nearby.

After five years OE hard times, Mrs. Osterud decided to go back to her husband's


the area where the Ogterud family had first settled in 1861. She bought a tiny house in Spring Valley and worked an hour as a cleaning lady. John found work splitting wood working gardens, and milking cows. During his high school years, he found a job in Rochester as a dishwasher at the Miller Cafe, working 7 AM to 7 PM for $ 7 per week. A cousin helped him find work in the dining room of the Colonial Hotel —Hospital Where he doubled his $35-a-month salary by becoming adept at earning good tips! His job paid so well and he was so comfortable, he ignored his mother's pleas to return home to attend school Finally, she boarded the CCW train and came to angrily demand he returns with her. He found the task Of making up his schoolwork a memorable ordeal, but also played on the basketball team and graduated in 1919. Other work included clerking at the Farmers Store and as a mail clerk at the post Office.

In 1920 John decided on the banking business

appealed to me" and he began working as a bookkeeper at First State Bank in Spring Valley. The job included mopping floors, dusting, shoveling coal, stoking the furnace, and clearing sidewalks. After nine years. he was an assistant cashier.

When the bank closed in 1929, he worked with his brother, Harold (who was a new auto distributor for Star & Durant) financing Cars.

He and his good friend, Harry Washburn, formed W & 0 Finance Company. This led to the formation Of Security Finance Corp., capitalized with $50,000 which he said brought them good "public notice. John then devoted full time to financing and insurance business. SFC-owned and operated small loan companies in six area towns. In 1931, Osterud Agency, Inc. was formed to handle the insurance business. He then organized Minnesota Credit Company to make agricultural loans to farmers and dairy— John was also a general agent for the Guarantee Mutual Life co. Of Omaha.

John married Helen Howe, a pretty and talented Woman also working in the field Of banking. She shared a full partnership with him in the business as well as their busy home and social   Helen died in 1961 at their winter home in Florida. Daughter Karen was born in 1939, and died in March Of this year, a severe blow from which John never recovered.

In 1933 John contacted business associates and formed Home Federal Savings Loan ASSOC. later to become Home Federal Savings described his 43 years as director and controlling Officer as labor Of love." Home Fedoral opened with a capital Of $2, 620 and today lists assets of over 400 million dollars with offices in six cities

John's education is a remarkable story in itself. From modest childhood beginnings, 

he continued as an adult with many correspondence and home courses in administration and insurance; completed the 5-year Chartered Life Underwriters course; Was a graduate student: for his Master Of Science degree at "Wharton college, U of Pa.; studied at various colleges to earn his Bachelors of Law degree. and in 1940 was admitted to practice before the U.S Supreme Court.

John, Helen, and Karen traveled extensively around the world. They maintained a winter home

in Florida and the cottage at Barnum where they entertained family and friends for many fruitful and fun fishing experiences.

Although John "retired "in 1977, he continued life apace-serving on the Home Federal board, enjoying winters at his Florida condo and summer fishing With grandsons Mike & Scott at

Barnum, and his office apartment in Sp. Valley.

A few years ago John moved to Madonna Towers where he cultivated a wide friendship with all the residents and staff. He maintained a voluminous correspondence and kept in touch by phone with numerous friends. John's social calendar was awesome in magnitude, and many

happy people enjoyed his company. His boundless interests, gracious hospitality, and generosity in sharing his blessings will forever be remembered by family and Friends.

To the family, and friends: heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you for countless acts of loving kindness to Jonn during his last very difficult year with the loss of Karen, nephew WallyBrady, and his own declining health. Your cards, letters, phone calls, flowers, gifts, and visits were truly


We rejoice in many happy memories of this remarkable man.


(The Last Goodbye)

Jan. 5, 1994 -Tribune. Spring Valley Minnesota

John Osterud, longtime SV businessman, dies

John N. Osterud, 94, a retired area businessman and a longtime Spring Valley resident. died Friday, Dec 31, 1993. at Madonna Towers in Rochester.

He was the organizer and former operator of several businesses in southeastern Minnesota, including Hong Federal Savings Bank, established in 1934, with offices in Spring Valley, Austin. Rochester, Winona, La Crescent and Albert Lea He also active in the insurance business in Rochester, Austin and Spring Valley under the name of Osterud Agency Inc. And for several years, he and his associates conducted the Security Finance Corporation and engaged in the auto-financing business in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa.

Born March 6, 1899, in Hurdal Norway, his parents brough him to united state when he was 2 years old. His father, a school teacher and citizen of the United State, died when John was 6 years old. His mother homesteaded in Southwestern North Dakota in 1907 when it was still “cowboy country.” With no public school and no doctor within 60 miles, he and his mother left North Dakota and moved to Spring Valley in 1913 and he spent most of his life here. He graduated from Spring Valley High School in 191. Without a formal college equivalency designation and a Bachelor of Laws degree. He passed his Florida bar examination and was admitted to practice there in 1941, later being admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. She died in Florida in 1961. He and his family traveled extensively in the United State and in many foreign countries, Vacations were spent in Florida and Mexico.


He was a member of several organizations including the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Valley Historical Society, and the Toot River Country Club near Spring Valley, He was a member of the Minneapolis Athletic Club and the Spring Valley Chamber of Commerce.


Survivors include a son-in-law, William Winter and two grandsons, Michael and Scott Winter, all of Barnum, Minn.; one nephew, Harold G. Osterud of Anchorage, Alaska; and one niece. June Landes of Birchwood, Wis. His wife and daughter Karen preceded him in death.


Funeral service will be held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Spring Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 5. 1:30 pm with cisitation on Tuesday, Jan. 4 between 6 and 8 pm at the Osland Funeral Home in Spring Valley Interment in Spring Valley Cemetery. A brief memorial services will be held in the Madonna Towers Chapel on Feb. 26 with a lunch to follow.


Memorials may be directed to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Spring Valley or to Madonna Towers of Rochester.

POST-BULLETlN, ROCHESTER, MN, Monday, January 3, 1994

John Osterud of Rochester dies at 94.

John N. Osterud, 94, Madonna Towers, a retired area businessman, died Friday Dec. 31, 1993).

He was born March 6, 1899. in Norway, and he came the United States with his parents when he was 2. He spent most of his life in Spring Valley, graduating from Spring Valley High School in 1919. In 1933, he married Helen Howe of Spring Valley.


Mr. Osterud was the organizer and former operator of several small area financial and insurance organizations and also of Home Federal Savings Bank of Spring Valley, which now has branches in Rochester, Austin. Winona, La Crescent Albert Lea. He retired in 1989 and moved to Madonna Towers.

He belonged to several organizations including the Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Valley, the Spring Valley Historical Society and the Root River Country Club in Spring Valley.


He was a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Spring Valley, and for many years was a member Of the Minneapolis Athletic Club and the Spring Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Survivors include two grandsons of Barnum, Minn His wife and a daughter preceded him in death.


The funeral will be 1:30 pm. Wednesday at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Spring Valley. Burial will be in Spring Valley Cemetery.


Visitation will be from 6 pm. to 8 pm. Tuesday at Osland Funeral Home in Spring Valley.


A memorial service is scheduled Feb. 26 at Madonna Towers.


Memorial contributions may be made to Our Savior's Lutheran Church or Madonna Towers.

Jim abd Mildred Rea

Rochester, MN

Printed in the January 12, 1994 issue of


809 9 1/2 8St. N.E

Rochester, MN 55906

January 5,1994

The funeral today of John Osterud represented the closing chapter on the life of a man whose caliber we'll not soon see again.


Were it possible to interview John today regarding life's values, I'm sure he would regard the accumulation of money as less important than the achievement of character. Although hard work, persistence, and shrewdness contributed much toward his getting wealth, it was John’s integrity, wisdom, and love for people that resulted in success and happiness far beyond his earlier expectations.


John’s popularity grew because he wanted good for others as well as for himself. Although his modesty would have prevented him from agreeing with the praise inherent in the eulogy, I’m sure his honesty would admit that it was by the grace of God that enabled John to “walk with kings and keep the common touch,” but also feel impelled to help others along the way.


Without intending to, John showed what a poor boy could do who believed in himself and his destiny.


Other than John’s friendliness for people, we will always remember that John seemed to personify courtesy-so extra-ordinary and ever-present was it in his relationship with people.


Should that quality of spirit be a requirement to enter heaven, John will have set an example for all of us to follow.

Jim abd Mildred Rea

Rochester, MN


Mildred Rea lived in Spring Valley from 1945-1950. She was married to

Loren (Duby) Frankson, an insurance associate of the Osterud Insurance Agency


Born March 6, 1899, in Hurdal(near Oslo) Norway

Mother:    Ingeborg Midtsund

Born January 7, 1857,  in  Kvidtseid, Telemark, Norway

of Parents Harold Midtsund and Agnethe Flom

Died January 21, 1935, in Spring Valley, Minnesota

Father:     John 0.   Osterud

Box11 F'ebruacy 7.,. 1835 in   Ilurdal,  Norway

Died in June,· 1905, in Barnum, Minnesota

Born of parents Ole OSterud and (mother unknown)

     Mother's parents were substantial landowners in Telemark, Norway. 'The old Midtsund farm holdings are still occupied by very distant relatives bearing the same name. Her father was a member of the board of directors of a local bank, and my mother, who was the oldest in the family, attended college in Oslo. She had three sisters, Gunhild, Torberg (Tilly), and Martha, and one brother, Elling.

     All members of my mother's family, including her father and mother, came to the United States in the 1880s - except my mother.  Her brother settled on a small farm near Taylor County, Jackson, Wisconsin. Her three sisters became engaged in the Beauty Parlor business in St.Paul, Minnesota. The name of the business was "Midtsund Beauty Parlor'' in downtown St.Paul and was owned by Gunhild Midtsund Borstad, and Torberg and Martha worked for the firm. All sisters, except Gunhild, had children. Their parents (my grandparents) lived with their children for the rest of their lives.

     When my mother's family left for the United States in the 1880s, my mother remained in Norway and in 1885 married my father, John O. Osterud. They were wed in the Chapel of the Royal  Palace in Oslo.

     My father, John O. Osterud, a naturalized American citizen, spent most o£ his life in the United  States. After a good, basic education in Norway, he came to Fillmore County, Minnesota in 1861 at the age of 26 with his father, Ole Osterud, born in 1790. A brother,  also named Ole, had preceded him there in 1854. They settled in Bloomfield Township, a few miles south of Spring Valley, and my father attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He considered becoming a Lutheran pastor. He taught in the local schools in Fillmore County and Coon Valley, Wisconsin for many years. He was a ''traveler," and made at least four trips across the  Atlantic-­three of them by sailship and the last one by Cunard Line steamer in1901. During his last residence in Norway, he taught English school there and finally had a
small general store or "boutique" in the little town of Hurdal, near Oslo.


     He was one of the organizers of the Bloomfield Lutheran congregation, located about six miles south of Spring Valley, Minnesota in the 1870s  and served as its first secretary, choir leader, and lay assistant (at that time called


     After their marriage in 1885, my parents lived in Hurdal, Norway where, as mentioned before, they operated a small ''boutique." They finally left Norway in 1901 to be near my mother's sisters in St.Paul, Minnesota. They brought four children: Harold, age 14, Agnethe, age 12, Josephine, age 10, and John, myself, two years old. The three older children attended local schools in St.Paul. In 1903 they moved to Barnum in Carlton County, Minnesota, on a small, forty-acre farm located on Little Hanging Horn Lake, which they purchased. My sister, Agnethe, remained in St. Paul, attending school there and working for her aunt in the beauty parlor business. Josephine attended school in Barnum and later joined her sister in their aunt's employ. Later, Agnethe became the half-owner of the business upon the retirement of my aunt, and she conducted business in the Manheiner Building at 6th and Robert Streets until her marriage several years later. The Midtsund Beauty Parlor employed a number of girls. I  have been told it was one of the first beauty parlors in the Twin Cities. They had many customers among the millionaires of the area.

     My father died at age 70, in 1905, following a sudden heart attack, and was buried in the Barnum cemetery. At that time, I was six years old. I can remember him as he tried to teach me to read and learn simple mathematical tables. My mother continued on the little farm for two years after his death and then went to southwestern North Dakota to "homestead'' a quarter section of land in Bowman County. Our new location was really wild ''cowboy country'' at that time. There were no public schools for the first three years. We first landed on Hamilton's Quarter Circle J'' ranch and, with the help of neighbors, built a sod house on our "claim" and lived there - later building a small frame house. My brother, Harold was with us at first but did not stay long and left for Canada and Alaska where he spent over fifty years of his life.


     Our nearest town with a doctor was Dickinson, North Dakota, about sixty miles away. After our sod home was built, we moved onto our 160-acre ''claim", which was about one mile from the Cold Turkey camp of the Hamilton Ranch. The sod house was comfortable - cool in the summer and warm in the winter. My mother purchased a few heads of cattle, some pigs, and chickens. About 100 acres were planted in wheat and flax and we had good crops the first couple of years. With a large garden, we always had plenty to eat. 

     For fuel, we had lignite coal, a low-grade fuel somewhere between peat and soft coal with considerable sulfur content. For kindling, we used dry ''buffalo chips"(cow chips) moistened with a few drops of kerosene.


      My mother employed a part-time tutor for me. My first public school attendance was at age eleven when the school district was finally organized. A year after we arrived by stagecoach in 1907, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway came to  Bowman County, and the City of Bowman was established - first with tents and sod buildings. I attended country school for one and one-half terms and then my mother transferred me to the school in Bowman, eight miles away. She paid four dollars a week for board and room for me. I started in the fifth grade and attended school there for three years.

     With the assistance of neighbors and some hired help, my mother farmed the quarter section of land for five years. At first, she did reasonably well and accumulated a few thousand dollars, but because of drought, grasshoppers, and hail, she decided in 1913 to go back to my father's former area and bought a tiny house in Spring Valley, Minnesota and I attended eighth grade there and later graduated from the Spring Valley High School in 1919. In the meantime, my mother worked at whatever she could get - mostly cleaning house for residents for ten cents an hour. Her neighbor across the street, a younger lady, received fifteen cents per hour! The only work I could get during this early time was sawing and splitting cordwood and converting it to stove wood, and cultivating gardens, milking cows, beating rugs, etc. At one time I had a temporary job as an extra gang section hand on the Chicago Great Western Railway, but the union promptly terminate that because of my age.

     Many are fantastic stories in the Spring Valley area about how industrious I was, but  I  can frankly confess that I did not like any of it and avoided it  when­ ever I could! In other words, I suspect I was just another lazy teenager, which my mother sometimes called to my attention.

    At the end of my sophomore year in high school, I went to Rochester, Minnesota to get my first regular job as a dishwasher in  Miller's  Cafeteria on the west side of Broadway. The hours were from 7:00 p.m. to 7 a.m. and the compensation was seven dollars per week. Conditions were not too good, and so a second cousin, Anna Thompson, helped me get into the dining room of the Colonial Hotel Hospital, owned by the Kahler-Roberts Corporation. The pay was $35 per month. In time, I became fairly adept at getting tips, so I approximately doubled, my income. 

     Next, I transferred to tray boy duties. The trays containing the food were filled in the kitchen and transferred by a ''dumb-waiter" elevator. our duties were to deliver the trays to the patient's rooms. The hours were good, the food was excellent, and I enjoyed working with others about my age - 17 years. With my income, I was able to buy a few items of clothing. To me, life seemed Utopian, perfect! And when September 1 came along, I saw no reason whatever to return to my junior year at Spring Valley High School. Letters from my mother in Spring Valler, urging me to get back to school, were generally ignored. Finally, my mother took the  Chicago Great Western train and came to the hospital. She was very angry and insisted that I immediately go back to Spring Valley with her. The kitchen group had a little party for me that evening and in the morning we two took the train the thirty miles back to Spring Valley.

     Making up my high school lessons was quite a task and one I never entirely forgot. I was late for basketball practice that year.


     After working in Rochester one summer, it became easier for me to get employment in Spring Valley, and Mr. Halbert Week and his son,  Clarence,  offered me a job in the grocery department of their Farmers' Department Store for Wednesday evenings, all day Saturdays, and during summer vacation. I promptly accepted.


     The work included sweeping out in the morning, waiting on customers during the day, and turning on and off the gas lights at night. Mr. week tried to teach me merchandising and was a good, early influence on me. After graduating from high school in 1919, I worked for him for several months and then took the·civil service examination for the position of mail clerk in the Spring Valley Post office. I received the appointment in 1920 and a letter from Mr.John  Bowden,  Postmaster, telling me to report for work just before Christmas. I was fingerprinted and given the usual formalities. While getting our mail from general delivery one day, I noticed Clayton Percival, assistant postmaster, putting the mail in the slots. He was graying at the temples and the thought struck me that I might be doing that work when I was his age.      That got me thinking and I asked Mr. Bowden, ''Do I have​ to take this job?'' He said, ''Johnny, jobs like that don't grow on trees. Are you afraid you are not going to like it?'' I said, ''No. With the good compensation, security, and vacations, I am afraid I might like it well enough to, stay here the rest of my life!'' So I passed up the position which paid about $135 per month and continued at the Farmers' Store at $80 per month. In the meantime, our grocery store competitors, Frank Kummer and his brother,  Henry, offered me $125 per month to work for them. Somehow, however, the banking business appealed to me, and when Mr. Roy Shephard, cashier of the First State Bank of Spring Valley offered me a bookkeeping job at his bank at a $50 per month starting wage, I accepted in July 1920.

     Better compensation was slow in coming into the Bank, so my mother and I had to move to a home with a lower rental. My work at the bank included mopping floors and dusting in the morning, shoveling the coal into the basement, stoking the furnace, and clearing the sidewalks. The bookkeeping was done on a Burroughs machine by which the check was posted. In addition to Mr. Shephard, there were two female tellers. I worked there for nine years, ending up as an assistant cashier.

     The bank, like a great many others,  was closed in 1929 and I was glad I had not been in charge. The directors were very good to me, but they were overly
optimistic in their lending and collections. During the nine years, I learned many things about credits and collections that I must not do if I wanted to succeed in that business. After the closing, I was offered a job by the representative o the State Banking Commission of Minnesota, but I said I would rather work for the railroad company as a section hand than go back into banking. But that was not to be.

     In the meantime, in 1925 my brother, Harold  Osterud, came down from Alaska and started a small small business as a Star and Durant new auto distributor. When he sold cars, with an average selling price of about $500, he often had to sell them on time and took sales contracts on them. With a.few dollars I  had saved, I bought some of his used car contracts and to my surprise,    the payments were paid regularly and promptly. This, to me, was quite a contrast to the slow loans in the bank. I  had a good high school friend, Harry M. Washburn, who worked in the post office and had saved some money during the years. With our joint savings, in 1925 we formed the W and O Finance Company - a small joint venture, and we started buying new and used car contracts from my brother - and later from other dealers in the area.

     At about that time, my brother sold the business to another Spring Valley resident. While in the bank, I had also become familiar with the insurance business and the bank directors gave me permission to spend my after-hours time in the financing and insurance aspects. In 1929 when the bank closed, I devoted more time to that work. The W & O Finance Company was doing quite well on a small scale, but we needed more money - and banks in our area did not look favorably upon automobile financing. They did no car financing on their own, having left that business to General Motors Acceptance Corporation, Universal Credit Company, Commercial Credit Company, and Commercial Investment  Trust. The bankers assured me we were in a risky business. Harry and I had the demand but no more money. Finally, Mrs.Nellie  Washburn, Harry's mother, loaned us $10,000; S .B. Carson, a  well-to-do retired farmer offered us money;  and Max Brehmer, another German retired farmer, offered to come in with us, too. We were able, on January 1, 1929, to incorporate as Security Finance Corporation, with a capital of $50,000 - of which the larger part was preferred stock. For some reason, Mr. Carson suggested that I should have 51% controlling interest. As he said, he ''wanted someone to be responsible" if things did not work out. Most of the commercial banks in the area were then capitalized for less than  $50,000, so the new corporation early on received public notice.

     After the First State Bank closed, I devoted all my time to the financing and insurance business. With the new capital, we were able to borrow money from many of the area banks and also from the First National Bank of Austin and  Roch­ester. Finally, the First National Bank of Minneapolis gave us a  substantial line of credit. We also accepted money from local investors, giving them Security Fin­ance Corporation notes at a rate about 1% higher than bank Certificates of Deposit. In those years, there was no federal insurance on bank deposits, and individuals trusted us and offered us funds in answer to our advertisements. From then on, Security  Finance Corporation grew steadily. In 1931, we incorporated Osterud Agency, Inc. to handle the insurance business, including the life,  fire, and casualty business. Security Finance Corporation later owned and operated small loan companies in Austin, Rochester, Mankato, Albert Lea, and Waseca.  We financed new and used cars, trucks, refrigerators, washing machines, and other household equipment. In 1931, my associates and I organized Minnesota Credit Company to be engaged in making agricultural loans to farmers and dairymen. These were difficult times and we soon found ourselves in competition in that business with the United States government in a national relief lending institution which was so much more liberal in its loans than we were. So we liquidated Minnesota Credit Company and refunded the full amount, including interest, to the stockholders. Our first office was located on the second story of the building next to the old first  State Bank building. In  1932, we boldly rented our ground floor office in the building adjoining the First National Bank.  

     Helen and I were married on June 21, 1933. Helen worked full-time in the office, having been secretary to the managing officer of the Union National Bank of Rochester for seven years. She did an excellent job looking after the office and working with the other women and men. She was a marvelous lady and it was a joy to live and work with her. She died January 15, 1961, at age 53 in our winter home in Gainesville, Florida.

     Along with the insurance business, we represented the Minnesota Building and Loan Association of St. Paul in selling their "shares" and making some local home loans. Early in March 1934 after the enactment of "the Home Owner Loan Act" of 1933, I contacted some of my business associates in Spring Valley, and we formed the Home Federal Savings and Loan Association. which later became Home Federal Savings Banks, with myself as secretary and managing director. Among the organizers were one of my employees, E. C. "Bud" Duncanson, a director of S.F.C - Max Brehmer, and Joseph Mlinar, a well-to-do theater owner, and several others. We opened with a capital of only $2,620. Mr. Duncanson had started work with the SFC in 1929 and had been a close associate. He was a thrifty Scotsman who became very active in Home Federal, and who had an important part in building the institution, later becoming its president.


     My first private secretary was Myrtle Christopherson and my second, Dorothea Keim, was very efficient and was with me for several years. She later married Leo Kruegel and they still live in Spring Valley, being successfully engaged in the propane gas business. Among early associates was Charles J. Popelka, former president of the Ostrander State Bank, who was our corporate secretary and office manager Later, Carl Klutson, formerly employed by the Department of Banking of Minnesota, cast his lot with us. Many are the dedicated men and women who became associated with the institution. Harold A. Morem arrived in January of 1937, and still continues as an emeritus director of Home Federal Savings Bank, after serving in various capacities including the presidency from 1975 to 1977. We give much credit to him and to Mr. Duncanson for the excellent quality of the home loans they placed on the books.

     In 1944, Keith A. Hagen came and continues until the present. He became a Director in 1973, the fifth president in 1977, and continued until partially retiring and becoming Chairman of the Board in January 1989. He must be given principal credit for guiding the institution through so many years - from 1977 with assets of 153 million dollars, to its present size with over 400 million dollars. Losses have been minimal.

     It has always been the aim to provide safety for depositors, and that is the way it is today. Earnings have been substantial and expenses have been kept moderate, so at present, there is a surplus of over 29 million dollars. The present very successful president is Roger P. Weise, whom I employed as a teller in 1958, and with Chairman Keith Hagen, and Secretary-Treasurer: James B. Gardener, CPA he is continuing the good work.

The Albert Lea branch was acquired in 1991, which added over 50 million dollars to deposits. Special credit must be given to Mr. Gardner for his contribution to the institution’s financial Success.

The Following are other present officers I employed years ago and of whom

I am very proud;

  • Fay T. Ondler, Senior Vice President & Manager of the Rochester branch, NW

  • George M. Libera, Senior Vice President Manager of Rochester branch, &Crossroa

  • Conway Elton, Senior Vice President and Manager of the Winona branch

  • Gary Nordlund, Senior Vice President, and Manager Of the Austin branch

  • Stanley R. VanKekerix, Vice president—Appraiser

  • James Przytarski, Vice President and Manager of the La Crescent branch

  • Dwain C. Jorgensen, Vice President, and Controller

  • Susan K. Kolling, Vice President – Marketing (from high school)

  • Craig Spinler, Assistant Treasurer

  • Beverly Haberman, Assistant Secretary

  • Roxanne Hellickson, Assistant Secretary

  • Kathleen Kasten, Assistant Secretary

  • Betty Kunert, Assistant Secretary (from high school)

  • Patricia Pierce, Assistant Secretary (from high school)

  • Gloria Sheldon, Assistant Secretary (from high school)

  • Ruth E Vandal, Assistant Secretary


     All of the present members of the Board of Directors, including Keith A. Hagen, Robert B. Jahn, Charles R. Reps, M. F. Schumann, Roger P. Weise, and Irma R. Rathbun (from high school), were appointed during my management or control, as were also the Emeritus Directors Harold A. Morem, Leo Paul, Dr. C. W. Zittleman, Leo M. Rendahl.


      A former officer, Thomas J. Grebin at the Austin branch, outstandingly served for many years and must be given much credit for the success of that office. Another appointee, Robert Raymond, formerly long—time manager of the Rochester Crossroads branch, must also be given much credit.

     For my part, I began as secretary-manager and later changed to executive vice president, then to Chairman of the Executive Committee, and finally, for many years, as President. As Chairman of the Board, my active day—to—day management continued until 1964, when Mr. Moren followed me as managing officer, succeeded by Mr. Hagen in 1977 and then by Mr. Weise in January 1986. My present business card reads, "Founder and Honorary Chairman — a formidable title, but rather short on authority. I continue attending some of the Board of Directors meetings that are held in Spring Valley. I was Director and Controlling Officer for 43 years, from the organization from 1934 to 1977 when I assigned my personal proxies to the bank's board of directors. During that time, I drew only very modest compensation ($338 per month). Fortunately, I had other personal income so I preferred to build the bank’s surplus instead of taking it out. MY whole life became centered on building a strong financial institution with which to provide safety for the funds of depositors and for the financing of homes for people in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. Indeed, It has been a "Labor of Love!"


     In addition to security Finance Corporation and Osterud Agency, Inc., we

were doing business as Austin Finance Company, Rochester Finance Company,

Spring Valley Loan and Thrift Company, and also acting as general agent for Guarantee Mutual Life of Omaha, developing life insurance for them in southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. We kept the life insurance business personnel separate from the general insurance personnel but managed all other businesses including Home Federal Bank. In addition to insurance, Osterud Agency, Inc. was also licensed as a Minnesota securities broker and as a real estate broker.


My Education

     Perhaps at this time, a short explanation should be made regarding my higher education. 


     After graduation from Spring Valley High School in June 1919, my financial circumstances and concern for the care of my aging mother did not allow me to start college. I realized the necessity of further training, so I became involved in a variety of courses — particularly of business interest. I took correspondence and other home study courses in administration, salesmanship, and insurance. I completed the five—year CLU course, taking the examinations at the University of Minnesota. This course included my level of English, Economics (Civics), Sociology, Insurance, Corporations, Securities, Commercial Law, and related subjects — resulting in a college equivalency designation from the American College a fully—accredited offshoot Of Wharton College at the University of Pennsylvania, at which school I later paid tuition fees and am presently enrolled as a graduate student for a Master of Science degree. This was done years ago, but when found my eyes were failing, I could not continue with my studies. In the meantime, my dream had been of acquiring a profession, so I studied Law and audited early morning classes at the University of Florida at Gainesville, and at Stetson College in Delano, Florida. I completed the three—year law course at LaSalle College of law in Chicago and received my Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree there. The Supreme Court of the State of Florida granted a special rule in my case so I could take the Bar examination. On a first attempt, I passed the three—day Florida Bar examination at Tallahassee, and I continue as an active member of that organization.

     In 1940, I was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The objective had been achieved!

     Among the two events which stand out as the most important in my life are when my daughter, Karen Helen, was born in 1939, and when I passed the Bar examination in 1942.

     I took some Spanish credits at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and in Guadalajara, Mexico. I wanted to prove that it was possible to get a professional degree without formally entering college and law school for seven years — and was finally successful. It is a case of wanting to do enough in the face of discouragement from many of those I conferred with. The Dean of Law at the University of Minnesota was the only one who supported and encouraged me. But others were helpful in different ways. When I took the Bar examination, I was fairly confident because I felt I knew about as much English Common law as the average graduate of Harvard Law School. My legal training became important to me in the banking, savings and loan, financing, and insurance business — to which I devoted over 65 years of my life.




     During the 28 years of my marriage to Helen, we both were interested in travel. So, we first made it a point to spend at least a short time in each of the States, including Alaska and Hawaii. In the continental United States, we traveled mostly by car. We took the inner circle passage to Alaska and went by air to Hawaii. We made a trip by car in 1938, before Karen was born. Shortly after the first paved highway was opened, we traveled to Mexico City, Taxco, Cuerna Vaca, and Acapulco. Mexico was a primitive area, and at that time the roads Were difficult to drive on In Mexico City we had a small suite at the best hotel for $2.20 per day. The cost of the whole trip, including souvenirs, was $175!

We were impressed by the climate and the Mexican people and later returned there several times, spending a total of about six months over a period of years, most of the time in Guadalajara.

     Our first trip to Florida was in 1937, and Helen and I both fell in love with that state, later partially retiring and having owned two winter homes there. My daughter, Karen, after attending St. Olaf College, received her Bachelor of Science degree and her Registered Nurse (RN) designation at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She later received her Master of Science degree in psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. Karen died March 9, 1993, at Moose Lake Minnesota at the age of 53, following a sudden heart attack.

degree in psychiatric nursing at the University of Minnesota died & on March 9, 1993, at Moose Lake, Minnesota at the age of 53, following a sudden heart attack.

      In 1949, Helen, Karen, and I started on our foreign travel and first took a 42-day cruise to South America on the Moore McCormick Line Steamship "Brazil,” visiting Caribbean Islands, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. The next year we took the Cunard Line ship, "Queen Mary” to England and we briefly visited by air and by bus all the 7 countries in Europe, outside the communist group.

Then in 1951, we three made a trip around the world, touching all Six continents including the Orient, Australia, and New Zealand. We took Karen, at that time eleven years of age, out of school for a time. She put in "study time" on some of the trips, for which she was given credit in school work. The Spring Valley superintendent encouraged her to travel. as he felt it added to her education. later on, after Helen’s death in 1961, Karen and I made trips by air to Alaska and South America. Several years after that, my sister, Agnethe Brady was with me and I revisited European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Figi Islands, and several trips to the Hawaiian Islands where my nephew, Wallace Brady, and his wife, Marjorie were there while Marjorie completed her medical education. Over the years we have had the cottage at Barnum in northern Minnesota, south of Duluth, where we enjoyed fishing and, as stated before, we wintered in Mexico and Florida. In addition to travel, my hobbies included golf — which I enjoyed, but in which I never excelled.

"Aunt" Agnethe Brady

     My sister, Agnethe Brady, was an individual who always amazed me. She was born in Norway in 1889 and came to the United States with our mother, a sister, and two brothers, her father arriving one year later. When she was 12 years old, she began attending public school in St. Paul, Minnesota and then started working for an aunt who owned Midstand Beauty Parlor — one of the early Twin Cities hairdressing establishments. later, when our Aunt retired, she became half-owner of the business where she successfully continued until her marriage at about age 25. She and her husband, Hugh Douglas Brady, a traveling salesman, had two sons, Douglas Gilchrist Brady, and Wallace Osterud Brady. Douglas lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America for many years, being engaged as a small building contractor. In 1961 he returned to Minnesota and died here the same year.

      Agnethe had spent several years with Douglas in South America, but later returned to Minnesota and kept house for me in Spring Valley, northern Minnesota, Mexico, and Florida for many years, until her death in Florida in 1980. Her younger son, Wallace, lives in Bellaire Florida, where he married anesthesiologist Dr. Marjorie Bradly, who specializes in open heart surgery. Agnethe died in 1980 at the age of 90. 


      Agnethe's enthusiasm for living continued until the end, and her funeral in Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Spring Valley was filled to capacity. The young people remembered her as “Auntie.”She was kind, generous, hard-working, and hospitable, and was genuinely interested in all those who were around her. She was an excellent cook and her beer-batter fried walleye fish dinners, as well as her “non-intoxicating, St. Louis Concrete-Mixer cocktails – were her trademarks. She left only good memories! A common expression about her was, “Auntie is Something else again! “

The End 


     John worked on this draft of his life story through much of 1993, but as time passed, he became less interested, and as his health declined, he was unable to concentrate on continuing the story. 


     This draft was dictated to a secretary at Madonna Towers, Judy Sarles. IT has been re-typed with John’s corrections, by Mary Jo Dathe, his Spring Valley secretary, in January 1994, with some later notes which follow.







      John claimed to have “ retired” in 1977 but that was only by giving up an active and visible presence in the business. His office Was located at various spots in the Home Federal building and eventually, he shared the upstairs room with his good friend and business associate, Bill Callaway. John kept living quarters and a spacious office in the southwest rooms which he used as his Spring Valley headquarter. He employed secretaries in Florida and Spring Valley to keep up with his business interests and voluminous correspondence.


       In later years, John continued to maintain the three residences - -winter months at the condo in Florida, summers at the Barnum cottage, and the Spring Valley office and apartment. He followed with considerable interest the development of Bent Trout Lake campground - the fulfilled dream of Karen and Bill and their boys. They purchased a property that surrounds a private lake, which they stocked with trout. Over the years their campground has grown into a fine facility for year-round campers and fishermen. Karen loved the business and shared her father's high regard for the beautiful northern Minnesota location.

     In the 1980s, John's health began a noticeable decline, making it difficult to continue his wide—ranging lifestyle. He sold the Florida condo to his nephew, Wally Brady, and the cottage at Barnun was sold to Karen and Bill. He moved to Madonna Towers with its elegant dining room and adjacent infirmary — the latter being a facility he hoped he would never need. John made a significant impact on the Madonna Towers scene! He cultivated a friendly relationship with each resident and staff member: his ideas regarding the Men’s Club, management, the library, and many other amenities were gratefully received and enjoyed. John's social calendar left everyone. shaking their heads in amazement. He seemed to entertain daily, not only hosting guests for both lunch and dinner but entertaining callers at his apartment between meals. One did not "drop-in" On John but needed to call ahead for an appointment. His gracious hospitality will never be forgotten by the hundreds of relatives and friends who enjoyed his company.


      In the early 1990s, his health declined dramatically. He could get little or no relief from severe arthritis in his neck which drained his stamina. Other health problems grew worse, and he rarely left the building except for a few hours on special occasions. However, his thoughtfulness never diminished. He insisted on counting his Christmas card mailings with the help of his long-time secretary, Mary Jo, plus a long gift list, and kept up an extensive listing of those to whom he sent birthday cards and other remembrances. A floral arrangement of red roses graced the funeral services of those he lost along the way. He kept AT&T in business with countless phone calls around the country and overseas, in lieu of letters, which were no doubt more satisfactory to all concerned.

Karen's death in March 1993, was a severe and unexpected blow from which he never recovered. He suffered from spiritual anguish and depression, and his health continued to decline. In the fall, more shocking news - Wally Brady was diagnosed with inoperable cancer of the liver with a grim prognosis.  Wally and Marge flew back to Minnesota (to make final arrangements for Wally) and John found their visit very difficult to bear. Wally died on November 13, and shortly thereafter, John developed a urinary tract infection which hospitalized him. His congestive heart failure and other problems left him weak and very ill. He was transferred to the infantry at Madonna Towers where he spent his last days. John deplored being waited on - he had been in control for so long, it was difficult to relinquish the reins. So many caring friends expressed their concern that restrictions were laid down on visitors. His Niece, June Landes, came to stay at the apartment to be with him until she had to return home before Christmas. His faithful cousin, Chuck Baker, and friend Elaine Baron, a nurse, were often at his bedside, daytime and nigh times, keeping him company and doing what they could for John. Bertha Molstad, a dear Norwegian friend, checked on him daily and often held his hands and prayed with him. His secretary visited every other day to check-his mail and direct business to his bank.

     John had a fairly ''good'' day on Christmas, visiting with friends and displaying his sense of humor with comments about everyone else being dressed up, and here he was in his bathrobe. His mind stayed sharp until the last moment. On New Year's Eve, he begged Chuck and Elaine to stay and chat, so they remained until 10:30 at his bedside. Chuck heard his phone ringing upon his return home, to hear that John had died at 10:45.

     Funeral services were held at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Spring Valley on January 5, 1994, with a memorial service. two days later at Madonna Towers. His secretary at Madonna Towers, Judy Sarles, suggested a brief life story be written for John’s funeral service. This was compiled by his secretary, Mary Jo Dathe, who had begun work for John in 1951, and continued with him, as needed, until the day before he died. It is this gal who is writing this summary of his last years and copying it for those who are interested.

     Each of us shares an enormous sense of loss at the death of John N. Osterud. His generosity and love of people have touched and will continue to touch lives for a LONG, LONG time.


      The following is a transcription of the one and only TAPE that John Osterud used to describe some of his early life. It was done in February 1992, and apparently, he never finished this tape, nor continued any further attempts on other tapes. Judy Sarles at Madonna Towers, who typed John's "family history" for him, transcribed the first page here. Mary Jo Dathe continued and finished the transcription in January 1994, following John's death.


     This is Saturday, February 8, 1992. Karen, Bill, Mike, and Scott gave this tape recorder to me a year ago last Christmas with a request that I try to dictate some information into it regarding our family. I'm not very mechanical and it's just been put off and put off, so I thought perhaps I should start in and try to do this while I still have all my marbles.

     The last time Karen was here, she tried to give me some instructions, and I hope I'm following them. Some Of the facts about the family have been dictated by me to a secretary (Judy Sarles) and you will be able to read them. But they were not very complete, and since it is easy to talk, I thought I could probably supplement those facts with others here, and that is what I am going to try to do. Karen said not to try to be careful when dictating, and she said, "Don’t try to edit them but just let them come out, however, they are.” And that I should be most concerned about getting my thoughts down and not trying to get a perfect copy. There will be no attempt to make this perfect, but just try to report the facts Instead Of starting at the beginning, I think I will tell you something about our life on the prairie, and a little before that. Let’s get back to the time that my mother, Harold, Agnethe, and Josephine landed in the United States. This was the year 1901. After teaching school most of his life, my father had a small general store — today perhaps called a boutique — in Hurdahl, Norway.


      He had it in one of two of the rooms of the home we lived in. He decided to go back to the United States with his family. He was an agent for the Cunard Line. Up to this time, he had made many trips back and forth by sailboat, but this time he was going to take the ship, Saxonia, so he had his ticket bought and the whole family planned to accompany him to Wisconsin where one Of my mother's sisters lived. He thought he had his little store sold, but something turned up at the last moment and he was unable to go along. So, he sent my mother, my brother, and two sisters, and myself on the ship to go to the United States.


 Page 2, Osterud history

      They could not speak the English language, of course, and it must have been a difficult trip.

      They landed in New York or Boston and then came on to Black River Falls. Wisconsin where my mother’s brother, Elling, and a sister named Martha lived. We stayed there a short time and then we moved up to St. Paul, where my mother had two more sisters, Torberg. Nelson and Martha Gunderson. I think her mother was also living there at the time, her father having died earlier. The family, except for my mother, had come to the United States in the 1870s or 1880s.

     My mother rented a small place in St. Paul and then my father came a few months later, having sold his store. This was his first trip over by steamer, and he met a man on the ship who had a small acreage, forty acres of land at Barnum, Minnesota. My father went down to look at it and they made a deal, and my father bought that forty-acre farm. It had a frame house on it and a barn. Some of the fields had been in the crop but the acreage was small, of course, and my father and brother started to clear the land of the trees that were on part of it. They finally got most of it cleared up.

     At the time I came over, I was two years old, and my father died four years later when I was six. He died of a heart attack. My brother found some work in Duluth and he also worked in some logging camps in the area which were owned by Weyerhauser at that time. We did farming on a small scale. My parents bought a few cows, a few pigs, and chickens, and we had plenty. And the lake — Little Hanging Horn Lake — had abundant fish in it so while we were there we always had plenty to eat. Most Of the provisions we had to buy were flour, sugar, and coffee. We usually took the boat across the lake and walked the rest of the way into Barnum. And my brother would carry a fifty-pound bag of flour on his back and bring that. We had plenty to eat. We had a nice garden, and, occasionally my brother shot a deer.


     My father died in 1905. As I said, I was six years old and my mother continued there at Barnum for two years. Then she decided to go out to Bowman County, North Dakota. The government was giving 160-acre farms to those who proved them up by living on the farm for from eight months to five years and by doing some improvements including plowing land and building a certain amount of buildings. My brother, Harold, was with my mother and me for a while and then he decided to go to Canada and Alaska and spent fifty years of his life there.


Page 3, Osterud history

     I was eight at the time we came to Bowman, a town in North Dakota. it's close to Bowman county is in the southwest corner of North Dakota — the South Dakota and Montana lines. My mother and I left St. Paul because my brother and Uncle Elling, my mother's brother, had already gotten out there to Bowman, so we left Barnum first, and went to St. Paul; the families Saw us off, and we took the train to Belfield, North Dakota. Prom there we took the stagecoach to Stillwater (near?) New England, and finally we got someone to drive ug from Stillwater EO Bowman County.

     When we came there in 1907, there was no city of Bowman. There was a sod house owned by a cowboy. We came to the "Quarter Circle J" Ranch owned by the Hamilton brothers, Will and Willis Hamilton They ran a big ranch, probably 1,000 head of Hereford black and white cattle. We stayed on the Hamilton ranch until we had our sod house built. They build these houses by plowing up turf and then making... it is not an adobe house — it’s really called a sod house. I believe the furrows of sod on top of one another. It makes a strong house, cool in the summer and warm in the winter... not very good-looking from the outside.

Now in the rambling mood, I'm going to leave Bowman County, North Dakota events for a moment and come back to an Indian prayer. I was going through game old papers to throw them away and r found this Indian prayer which I thought was very nice here is how it goes:

"O great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me. I am small and weak. I need your strength. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice, and make me wise so I may understand the things you have taught my people. Let me learn the lessons you have. I seek strength not to be greater than my brother but to fight my greatest enemy —myself.  Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes so when life fades as the fading sunset my spirit may come to you without shame.”

     I thought this is beautiful. I’ll come back to Bowman North Dakota later. This prayer was dictated on February 27, 1992, Thursday. I’ll continue on Bowman County later.


Page 4, Osterud history

When we got to Bowman County, North Dakota in 1907 it was quite a wild place. There was no city of Bowman at that time, only a sod house owned by a cowboy who invited us in for coffee when we and our driver brought us there. That was only eight miles from where our land was located. The only inhabitants were ranchers like the Hamiltons and a few others. The ranchers were friendly to us, at least the Hamilton brothers, but generally, thee was some tension between the ranchers who had grazed the land for so many years without paying any fee for their cattle, and with the newcomers who came In to plow up the soil and that way they would probably ruin the buffalo grass that sustained so many of the livestock all those years. So it's understandable how ranchers would feel toward newcomers. The ranchers were called honeyocks — no, that's not right — the newcomers were called honcyocks (sp.?? ), and the, rancher:s were called bullwhackers. They seemed prosperous enough and occasionally gave us some help. The Hamilton brothers let us live there on the ranch for several months while we were having the sod house built. Harold and my Uncle Elling worked on that. I watched them, of course.

     You could see for miles. There. wasn't a tree within thirty in that part of Bowman County, and the good—sized woods probably couldn't be found nearer than the Black Hills which was a fairly good distance south of Where we were. The ranchers grew no wheat at all or any grain. They depended entirely on the livestock, and they had their own, ways of living If there were children, which wasn't often, but we did see them once in a while, they drove to Belfield or Dickinson, probably about 55 to 60 miles away, and they brought back Carnation milk, evaporated Carnation milk, for them, by the case. And no cowboy that I knew ever milked a cow! Although of course, the Herefords, the whitefaces, did have milk, they were always left alone as far as milking was concerned. The calves sucked them, and the ranchers sold the calves, and that’s how they lived. They occasionally shot antelopes.

     There was a great fine for shooting antelopes. They used to call them "Uncle Sam's sheep" and there was supposed to be a fine of $500 for everyone that' you killed. There weren't many folks enforcing the law so it was quite common to have venison, either dried or salted down, or a lot of times they would keep the meat in wells, in deep wells. They would let the meat down in cans, in buckets, and keep it in the cold well, and It kept quite well. The meat was very much like the venison that we had from the deer in Barnum.


Page 5, Osterud history

     Anyway, we also had rabbits, both jackrabbits and cotton tails. We regarded them as good food and seems like there was no problem with eating them. Later on, we heard they had tularemia, but at that time I don’t think that was the case. We used to enjoy rabbit; it tasted just about like chicken.

     The entire area was flat except for Some buttes within probably ten miles of where we settled. They were small mountains, probably, but we always called them buttes. The ground was covered in many places with buffalo bones as there had been a great slaughter of buffaloes probably at the end of the last century, the beginning of this one, and a lot of horns and heads with horns. The common thing for the newcomers was to take off the horns and polish them and make them into ornaments. We also had a lot of rattlesnakes — they were very common, about as common as the garter snake was, and we also had bull snakes. The rattler was, of course, the poisonous one and we avoided them with great care. The only fatal case that I heard of was a neighbor some distance away from us. He was proving up on the eight—month plan and wanted to get back to the east which was probably Minnesota or Wisconsin. He had the idea he would like to have a rattle, the snake's rattle, back with him. He saw a snake go into a hole and he saw the sticking out0 the hole wasn't deep enough, so he put his foot on the hole and tried to cut off the rattle. The Snake struct him in the arm, and as was told, he died.

     I was almost bitten by one time. My mother and brother and I were going over to my uncle Elling was-his place was a mile west of us because he had filed for homestead there, too. And we were walking along a cow path and my mother was first, then my brother, and I came last. I saw this mound there and thought it was a cow chip but it was a snake, and he rattled and readied to strike me and my brother turned around. He had a Winchester 30—30 gun and he shot that snake-shot the head right off him.


     He was always known to be a good shot, and he was famous in Canada for his marksmanship and this was certainly a marvelous thing. But that’s the only time I came close to being hurt by a snake, but we were careful. A lot of gophers out there — we tried to snare them and keep them from eating our crops and we had very other game there. Of course...



From Mary Jo:

     As I typed the transcript from the tape John made, I was looking at the map of North Dakota. He speaks of Stillwater and New England but I can find no Stillwater on the map. Perhaps a little spot NEAR the town Of New England??

     He also speaks of the buttes. Interesting to see on the maps there are several buttes northwest of Bowman including White Buttes, shown as 3506' , and the highest point in North Dakota.

     He also mentions the woods at the Black Hills — this would be directly south in the southwest corner of SOUTH Dakota.

In his life story, he mentions the family burning lignite coal as fuel, and the map also shows coal mines in the area there.


Two pages of information on the name

OSTERUD, from a relative of John’s. . .

     OSTERUD was once a large estate of which the records go back to 1390; before the Reformation when Norway was Roman Catholic, as was all of Western Europe. It was the property of the Catholic Bishop of that area. After the Reformation, when became Lutheran, this big estate was broken up and sold. This estate became a number of farms sold to people whose property it then became. The strange thing is that all of these farmers took the name of Osterud, though they might have no relationship with each other, and each farm had a name too.

     The family in which you are interested owned a farm made out of the Osterud Estate which was called Nordstua paus Osterud. It means the northern farm of the Osterud Estate. Nordstua, where your grandfather, Andreas Hanson (Andrew Hanson) was born and where my mother’s father, Lars Hanson, was born has a fine location overlooking beautiful countryside. To the west of it lies Hurdal Lake ( Hurdal Sjoen).

     Nordstua evidently was a well—managed farm for it was one of two farms on Osterud which paid the largest amount to the church. In Norway, it is necessary to remember that the church is a state church, so there is a church tax on property as well as other taxes. One can judge somewhat the financial standing of a farm by the amount of taxes. Thus, it is safe to conclude that our relatives were good managers and people of some means as of that time, according to the taxes they paid.

     In Norway, it is still quite customary that the oldest son inherits the farm. So families often own their farm's generation after generation. My second cousin on my father's side lives on a farm that has been in the family for 400 years. That is quite unusual.

     The word OSTERUD means Eastern Clearing. Rud means in older Norwegian "to clear", having reference to clearing it of trees. “Ost” means the East, hence the Eastern Clearing. The farm, Nordstua, lies a few miles from a village called Hurdal, located on Hurdal Lake, and the county bears the same name, Hurdal. It Is about 40 miles north of Oslo, Norway, in a section where there are nice farms, small according to American farms, but well-tilled. There is much-wooded land such as pine, fir, spruce, and balsam. There are lovely groves of birches. They carry on the careful cutting of trees. Wood for pulp is quite an industry. They have considerable income from their forests. The people of Hurdal were furious with the Nazis.

Page 2, Osterud—Hanson

     Who cut their forests without any- concern for conservation. Large Stretches were cut clear and where it would take years to bring the forest back to a productive situation.

     They raise small grains, potatoes, rutabagas, cabbage, onions, and so forth. They have machinery, usually pulled by a horse; some have tractors. Much hay is raised and put in barns. Dairying is important. Almost every farm has a milk maid who tends the dairy cattle, does the milking, and is in charge of milk and cream. Many farms are modern. Very often Hurdal, they had running water, bathrooms, electricity, and cooking by that, too.

     The schools are excellent. The church which our forefathers attended is still in use. It has been redecorated at various times. It is a lovely churchyard with beautiful birch trees. Country people are much more loyal to the church than people in the cities. It seemed to me that people live comfortably though, of course, they suffered badly during the German occupation of the last war. There were shortages, and money was scarce, but people worked very hard to recover.

We want to hear your stories about the guest house!  Please contact us below!

So many of you have stoped by during the remodal to share your stories.  I'm wishing I had takeh your photo and written down your stories.  We would love to hear about your experiences in this lovely home! 

All our best, Diane Linderman and David Rubenzer

Call Kathy Simpson General Manager



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