Biography of Ole Skalet of Ulen Minnesota

Ole Skalet, born October 14, 1861, in Houston County, Minnesota, is a self-made and influential figure in Clay County. Son of pioneer settlers Knut and Helga Skalet, Ole grew up on his father’s farm and, after reaching adulthood in 1883, claimed a homestead and tree claim in Keene Township. He developed a productive farm, later expanding his endeavors to include a restaurant and general merchandise business. In Ulen, he managed the Monarch Elevator Company, significantly impacting the local grain trade. Active in public service, Skalet was Ulen’s village president, improving infrastructure, and now leads the Ulen Farm Telephone Company. Married to Martina Martinson in 1885, they had fifteen children, nine of whom survived.

Ole Skalet is one of the substantial and self-made men of Clay County, Minnesota. A native of Houston County, he was born on October 14, 1861, and is one of eleven children born to Knut and Helga Skalet, who were among the pioneer settlers of southeastern Minnesota.

Ole grew to manhood on his father’s farm and acquired an education from the district schools of the time. After attaining his majority in 1883, he located a homestead claim of 160 acres and a tree claim of forty acres in Keene Township, Clay County, and lived there for two years in a frame shack measuring fourteen by sixteen feet, with seven-foot posts and a sod roof. This was afterwards enlarged, and the sod was replaced by a shingle roof, with other improvements made as necessity required. The farm is especially adapted to raising small grains and yields an average of fifteen bushels of wheat and thirty-five bushels of oats per acre. Currently, there are one wheat granary with a capacity of 2,500 bushels and two oats granaries with a capacity of 2,800 bushels on the property.

Mr. Skalet lived on his farm until 1901 and while there served as assessor of the township, chairman of the town board, and school director for three years.

After leaving his farm, he briefly owned a restaurant in the village of Felton but soon sold it and settled in Ulen. In addition to looking after his personal affairs, he has been the agent of the Monarch Elevator Company of Minneapolis, handling annually more than 100,000 bushels of grain. The elevator has a capacity of 20,000 bushels, with an average output of seventy-five cars.

Prior to 1908, Mr. Skalet was engaged in general merchandising for eighteen months, and then sold out to Mr. C. M. Bakkum. He served as president of the village from 1907 to 1909, and during his term of office, numerous street improvements were made. He is now president of the Ulen Farm Telephone Company, and as a wideawake public-spirited citizen, takes an interest in whatever relates to the betterment of the community.

On January 12, 1885, he married Miss Martina Martinson, a daughter of one of the pioneers of Ulen, and fifteen children were born to them, seven sons and eight daughters; nine are now living.


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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