Biography of Reir Syverson of Ulen Township Minnesota

Reir Syverson, born in Norway in 1852, is a prominent landowner and agriculturalist in Clay County, Minnesota. Emigrating to America in 1873, he initially settled in Spring Grove, Houston County. After four years, he moved to Clay County, building a dug-out and later a log house on his homestead. Syverson now owns a well-improved 900-acre farm in Ulen Township, with 500 acres under cultivation. Married to Randa Ellingson in 1876, they have five children: Edward, Sophia, Carie, Charlie, and Rheinhart. Syverson has served on the Ulen Township Board of Supervisors and is a trustee of the United Lutheran Church.

Reir Syverson, one of the largest landowners and most prosperous agriculturalists of Clay County, Minnesota, and who, one might say, began life in a dug-out, was born in Norway in 1852 and attended the common schools there, where he received the best education they could afford and fitted himself for the active life he has since followed.

In 1873, he emigrated to America, and in the spring of that year, he settled on a farm in Spring Grove, Houston County, Minnesota, where he remained for four years. At the end of that time, his principal possession was a team of oxen with which he started across the country in search of brighter prospects and settled in Clay County, taking five weeks for the trip. Here he took up a preemption claim and built himself a dug-out, where he lived for about three years, working hard on the land. He then took up a homestead east of this on the same section, about eighty rods from his present home, where he erected a log house twelve by fourteen and lived for five years. Four of his children were born here, and during their residence here, his parents came from Norway and took up a homestead in the same section with him; they have spent the remainder of their lives receiving the kindest treatment and care from their sons and daughters. His father was Siver Olson Syverson, who died in 1906 at the age of eighty-six years; his mother passed away the following year at eighty-four. They had a family of nine children, Reir being the fifth child.

Mr. Syverson started in America single-handed and with little capital. He toiled early and late in the hope of bringing about his present comfortable circumstances, the fruits of which he is now enjoying in the highest sense. He now owns one of, if not the best-improved farms in Ulen Township, located about one mile from the village; several acres of it form a pretty grove which serves as protection in winter and pleasure in summer. “When he first settled on his homestead, his trading point was Spring Creek, eighteen miles south of Lake Park, and it took him three days to make the trip with oxen. He now does general farming, and his residence is modern and attractive, with many commodious barns and outbuildings to correspond. His farm is well supplied with the best breeds of stock and comprises about 900 acres, with 500 under cultivation, and ranks among the best in Clay County.

Mr. Syverson is a man of methodical habits, careful and a thorough business man. He was married in Iowa in 1876 to Miss Randa Ellingson, also a native of Norway. Their children are Edward, Sophia, Carie, Charlie, and Rheinhart.

Mr. Syverson was a member of the Board of Supervisors from 1898 to 1905 in Ulen Township. The entire family are members of the United Lutheran Church, of which he is a trustee.


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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