Biography of Gustav B. Wollan of Barnesville Minnesota

Gustav B. Wollan, born in Glenwood, Minnesota on September 21, 1877, had a diverse career, ranging from teaching to journalism and banking. He graduated from Luther College and worked as an editor and advertising manager. Additionally, he served in various positions in state legislature committees and associations. In 1908, he became the managing editor of the Barnesville Record-Review. He married Minnie S. Bergh, a talented pianist from St. Paul. Both shared the Lutheran faith and were active members of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod.

Gustav B. Wollan was born in Glenwood, Minnesota, on September 21, 1877, and is the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Casper T. Wollan, who were both natives of Norway and came to America when they were each twelve years of age. They were married at Glenwood on January 10, 1875, and made it their home ever afterward, where Mr. Wollan has followed the general mercantile business since 1871. He was also instrumental in organizing the Fremad Association, a stock company, in 1874, and since then has been its president and general manager and is still its active head. Mr. Wollan is also interested in banking and the lumber business at Glenwood. Mr. and Mrs. Wollan were the parents of nine children, eight of whom are now living.

Gustav B. finished high school and entered Luther College at Decorah, Iowa, in the fall of 1893, at the age of sixteen years. Four years later, he graduated from that institution, and for one year was engaged in teaching English and Greek at the Glenwood Academy in Glenwood, Minnesota. He then took a position as a bookkeeper in the Pope County Bank and was soon promoted to assistant cashier and remained in this capacity for three years. His next position was with the Fremad Association, for which he was an advertising manager for about two years, and in the spring of 1903, he became a partner in the Gopher State Printing Company, publishers of the Glenwood Gopher, of which he was editor until the dissolution of the firm early in 1905. He was married on June 15, 1903, to Minnie S. Bergh, of St. Paul, Minnesota, and lived in Glenwood until 1905. He then moved to St. Paul, where he was employed for a time by the American Guaranty Company. In September of the same year, he entered the employ of the M. A. Hanna Coal Company; in 1907 he resigned this position to become the northwest editor of the Duluth Daily News Tribune, and on April 1, 1908, he accepted the position of managing editor of the Barnesville Record-Review. In the 1901 session of the Minnesota Legislature, Mr. Wollan served as the clerk of the reapportionment and appropriations committees; in the 1903 and 1905 sessions, he was the assistant secretary of the State Senate. He was the first president of the North Central Minnesota Retail Lumbermen’s Association and declined reelection. He was a director of the Minnesota Retail Grocers’ and General Merchants’ Association for the Seventh Congressional District for three years.

Mrs. Wollan is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ole O. Bergh, both natives of Norway. She was born in St. Paul on June 13, 1880. Mr. and Mrs. Bergh have three children — Arthur Bergh is the well-known violinist and composer of New York City, and Alice now ranks among the leading amateur pianists of St. Paul. Mrs. Wollan began the study of the piano at six years of age, and at the time of her marriage, she was generally recognized as the best lady pianist and accompanist in the Twin Cities, with one exception.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Wollan were reared in the Lutheran faith and are members of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod.


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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