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History of Frohn Township

In 1893, I.O. Ungstad came with 12 other men to a settlement where Frohn is now located. They staked claims and went back to Crookston to file them before returning to Dakota.

In 1894, they came again with their families and built their small homestead shacks. Besides Ungstad, J.E. Hanson, G.H. Aakhus, G.G. Moi, John Norbo, O.S. Huset, H. Riese, Paul Kvale, Ole Hegland, Evin Langerak, Paul and Gunufe Froirak, and Ole Vasend, all new Norwegian immigrants, came to take land. They wanted a school for their children and got their permit from Beltrami County's seat over in Detroit Lakes.

To be able to vote for school board members, they had to be U.S. citizens, and in mid-January, 18 went to Park Rapids to become American citizens. They traveled with a team of oxen. It was cold. When they got to Park Rapids, Judge Halender was in court so they waited. They finally got their papers late that afternoon and the next day headed home.

In 1897, after building their Aardahl church, they built their schoolhouse two miles east of Bemidji Township (on County Road 8). Another Settler, Hugo Henry, came by way of Park Rapids to Frohn where he took a claim 1894. In 1895, he brought his wife, three boys and four girls from Alexandria by covered wagon. They forded the Schoolcraft River near where Robert Carr had built his log cabin and they settle close to the Bemidji/Frohn Township line.

Wilhelmina Michel also came in 1894 and founded a German settlement along with the Eichstadt family.

In 1897, after Beltrami County seat was established in Bemidji, Frohn Township people applied for the incorporation of their village. It required voting in a full set of officers and Ungstad drafted the petition. He called it Frohn, after his birthplace in Norway.

Needless to say, after spending several days getting signers, he had some opposition. He explained the Norwegian word Frohn means "something that is living and growing" and that was their community's description. Frohn Township was incorporated March 11, 1898.

On July 24, 1898, the Rev. J. Holstein organized the German settler's church, stressing that the "unaltered Augsburg Confession" would be adhered to. Among those who signed the 1898 Constitution were Albert Graf, Albert Radi, August Burr, Gustav Eichstat, Emil Eichstadt and Johann Eichstadt as well as Adam Burr and John Utech.

Wilhelmina Michel was not able to sign because she was a woman. That same year these settlers constructed a log cabin church that became the founding of the Trinity Church.

By Rosemary Given Amble
Published in the Bemidji Pioneer, 1996

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