Biography of Ole Ulen of Ulen Minnesota

Ole Ulen, the founder of Ulen Township, was born in Norway on April 18, 1818, and passed away on January 19, 1891, in the village of Ulen, Minnesota. Emigrating to America in 1851, Ulen initially settled in Rock Prairie, Wisconsin, before moving to Houston County, Minnesota, where he farmed for 14 years. In 1871, seeking better opportunities, he relocated his family to Clay County, Minnesota, eventually settling in Ulen Township in 1872. A dedicated pioneer, he broke ground on his claim and endured the hardships of frontier life. Ulen and his wife were instrumental in establishing the Lutheran Church in Ulen. They raised their family in a log house and later a more comfortable home. Ulen’s contributions to the community and his pioneering spirit are well-remembered in the region.

Ole Ulen, the famous founder of Ulen township, was born in Norway, April 18, 1818, and died in the village of Ulen, on January 19, 1891. Mrs. Ulen passed away on February 10, three years later.

This venerable pioneer, Mr. Ulen, emigrated to America in 1851 when his daughter, Mrs. Ashson, was but a mere infant, and first settled in Rock Prairie, Rock County, Wisconsin, and here he followed the occupation of farming for about one year. He then moved to Houston County, Minnesota, where he remained for the next fourteen years, and in the meantime, took up a tree claim, which Mrs. Ulen proved up after his death. It was located in the southeastern part of section 32, Ulen township. In 1866, he started with his family by ox teams overland to Winneshiek County, Iowa, where he settled on a farm and began the usual routine of farming against the difficulties of those days. Here he lived for about five years and decided that Clay County, Minnesota, afforded better opportunities for him, and consequently moved his family to that point in 1871 with a yoke of oxen and a team of horses, spending about five weeks on the road. He spent the next year, however, in Becker County, and in the latter part of 1872, he moved to Ulen township and erected a good log house, 18×26, with the nearest neighbor six miles distant. Indians were numerous in those days, the winters most severe, and the pioneer experiences of Mr. Ulen would alone prove a very interesting article. He first broke nine acres on his claim in section 28, Ulen township, and later sixty acres on his daughter’s (Mrs. Arne Evens) claim, and Mrs. Ulen was ever ready with her faithful efforts in behalf of their success and was indeed a most noble helpmeet. Together they toiled while, and during wartime, Mrs. Ulen spun wool, which she had woven, and made towels, sacks, straw beds, etc., for the soldiers. For two years, she lived in a dug-out, where her daughter, Rachel, was born, and who died at the age of three years. Their next residence was built of logs but comfortable, and here they lived for many years until they erected the house in which they spent the remainder of their lives.

Mr. Ulen was one of the three who founded the Lutheran Church of Ulen and was a charter member of that organization. He was a man, kind of heart, a good neighbor, and a most valuable citizen in the county.


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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