Biography of Dr. Knut Olai E. Heimark of Hawley Minnesota

Dr. Knut Olai E. Heimark, the first white child born in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, has made significant contributions as a physician and a businessperson. Born on a farm in 1873, he grew up witnessing his father’s determination and success in establishing a homestead. Dr. Heimark pursued his education, graduating from St. Olaf Academy and the University of Minnesota before obtaining his medical degree. He established a thriving medical practice in Hawley, becoming a leading figure in the Red River Valley. Alongside his professional success, he also manages a splendid farm and an elegant home. Dr. Heimark is actively involved in local politics and community organizations.

Dr. Knut Olai E. Heimark, the first white child born in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, was born on a farm on October 14, 1873. His parents were Endre O. Heimark, a native of Norway born in 1844, and Sarah (Langeland) Heimark, born in Muscatine, Iowa. They had six sons and eleven daughters, of whom five sons and seven daughters were living as of 1909, with eight married and heading their own families.

Endre O. Heimark immigrated to the United States in 1863, making the journey in a sailing vessel that took six weeks. He initially settled in Iowa and worked as a laborer on the railroad. In 1873, he moved to Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, where he pre-empted a quarter section of government land and established a home. Despite the trials and hardships associated with pioneer life in a new territory, he faced them with determination and overcame challenges that would have discouraged a person with less courage.

Starting with only two dollars and a debt of forty dollars, he persevered with unwavering faith and hope. Over time, he owned as much as 800 acres of land and, with the help of his sons, cultivated up to 500 acres. He still resided on the homestead, which had grown into a fine farm of 240 acres worth sixty dollars per acre.

Dr. Heimark spent his childhood on his father’s farm and received his early education in the district schools. At the age of sixteen, he enrolled at St. Olaf Academy and graduated in 1894. He then studied for two years at the University of Minnesota before entering the College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he earned his M.D. degree in 1899.

Upon graduation, Dr. Heimark commenced his medical practice in Hawley, Clay County. His practice flourished alongside the growth and development of the area, and he emerged as one of the leading and influential physicians in the Red River Valley.

Dr. Heimark is affiliated with the Republican party and has held several local offices. He served as the president of the village council in 1906-07 and currently serves as the chairman of the board of health. Additionally, he is the president of the Independent Voters’ League and actively participates in securing the election of deserving individuals to office.

On August 25, 1900, Dr. Heimark married Miss Anna Rebecca, daughter of John and Ellen (Guilsness) Peterson from St. Croix County, Wisconsin. They have two daughters.

In addition to being a successful physician, Dr. Heimark is a vigilant and enterprising businessperson. He owns a splendid farm of 240 acres, along with his elegant home in Hawley.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past and Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages of the Valley from the Time of Their First Settlement and Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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