- Funeral services were held in the (sic) on May first with the Rev. Basil Dourthy of the Episcopal Church officiating. The following were present at his funeral: two daughters, his son, five grandsons, Arvid Gumelius, Verner Ekstrom, Lytle Cook from Hatton, North Dakota, LeRoy Cook from Hillsboro, North Dakota, and Irvin (Pat) Cook from Grand Forks, N. Dak., and a granddaughter, Hattie Cook, from Rugby, N. Dak.
His daughter, Mrs. Fred Hermanson and children and Helen Cook from Seattle, Washington, were unable to attend. Aileen and Ruth Ekstrom from St. Paul were also unable to attend.
- Per started out as a stowaway at the age of 16 then, cabin boy on a
ship and worked his way up the ladder until he was captain of his own
ship. Per was a banker, owning his own bank in Litchfied, MN, then
went bankrupt. He then hauled freight on a Dray line before his team
was hit by a train. He survived. Per was Episcapalien, and enjoyed
Posted by George Freeman on Sun, 04 Jul
1999, in response to Ekstrom, posted by Brian Freeman on Sun, 04 Jul
Note: Pehr wasn’t a banker or own a bank. He was a real estate agent and sheriff in Litchfield, MN.
from McHenry County Centennial Book:
Capt. Pehr and Helena (Sauvrow) Ekstrom
By Helen Chapman
Capt. Pehr Ekstrom and Helena Sauvrow were born in Orebro, Sweden,
Pehr in 1845 and Helena in 1850. With a group of their country men
they came to Chicago. They made their way to Minnesota and were
married in Saint Paul In 1872. They lived on a farm for a while, but
finally sold this property and moved to Litchfield Minnesota where
they remained and raised their family. During this time Pehr opened
and operated an abstract office. Later he was the Sheriff of Meeker
County. After this he was auditor and collector for several machine
companies. At this time the West was opening up with the building of
the Great Northern Railway. As the result of this expansion land
became available. So he moved his family consisting of Karne, Anna,
John and Mamie to Towner. Homesteads and claims of 160 acres were
available for the processing. Mrs. Ekstrom, Anna and John each filed
on claims west of Towner in the area north of Buffalo Lake. They were
required to build a house or cabin and live on the land for one year,
to "prove up' the claim and then they owned the property.
Getting a Jump on Life
Appendix: Captain Peter Ekstrom’s Story
Reminiscences as told by Capt. Ekstrom to his daughter Mrs. I.B. Cook, when he was ninety years old.
I was born in Erbro, Sweden on January 20, 1845. I was the second youngest in a large family and the only living member at present.
My father Peter was wealthy, being interested in a line of freighters that visited the leading countries of the world at that time.
When the boats would dock in the harbor, I would, in spite of the fact that I was a mere child, accompany him on his tour of inspection. While Father was transacting business, I would play on the decks and climb the riggings.
It was at this time that I decided that as soon as I was old enough I would be a sailor.
At fifteen I graduated from high school and had the opportunity of entering the university, but my only desire was to sail the seas. The first year I spent on a Boys’ Training Ship in Stockholm. At sixteen I had to return home to receive instructions fro Confirmation. This was compulsory as the law of the land was that every child at the age of sixteen must be confirmed.
My parents pleaded with me to give up this notion of being a sailor but to no avail.
I finally received permission and after obtaining my recommendations I started for Gottenborg. The trip was by coach over rough roads. In this coach were two Jewish priests (sic) and a corpulent woman beside who I sat. I arrived in Gottenborg late in the day, it was foggy and misty. I had an address to a boarding house for students. After wandering around for some time I asked a policeman for information, he directed me to the house. I rapped on the door and a middle-aged woman appeared. I introduced myself and handed her a letter. After she had read the letter she was very cordial and invited me in.
I was very tired after my long ride. The next day I interviewed a Captain whose boat was ready to sail. After reading my recommendations he decided to accept me and ordered me to change my clothes and get to work. There was another lad who was so ill-behaved at home that his parents had sent him on this boat thinking it would tame him down a bit.
The name of the first vessel I sailed was Julia. All the sailors occupied the same cabin. The bunks were crude and built one over the other. There was very little space to move about. Before we left we were given our rations which had to last for a certain length of time, also we received a tin plate, soup bowl, tin cup, fork and spoon. Our pocket knife had to be used as a substitute for a table knife.
Our breakfast was black coffee, mush and hard tack; dinner was pea soup and supper was pea soup, salt pork, hard tack and black coffee. Thus was our daily diet except when we anchored at some port, then we received fresh meat, vegetables, fruit, etc. The boat had no facilities for keeping perishable foods on long trips.
I experienced several ship wrecks. The first was in the North Sea. This was about Christmas time. For days a raging blizzard tossed the ship about, carried away the main mast also the forecastle. The boat was covered with ice and snow. The ropes which controlled the sails were also covered with ice. We took turns climbing the riggings and pounding the ice off the ropes. One sailor, an older man, was swept into the sea. When the storm subsided, the boat had drifted along the northern coast of Norway. A pilot and his twelve-year-old grandson came to our rescue. He was asked to pilot the boat to shore. We threw a rope to him and pulled him on board. The little lad took the pilot’s boat back to shore.
The town was a fishermen’s village called Cleveland (This name was difficult for me to read so I guessed at it. It may not be correct. I copied this from my mother’s handwritten copy of this story.) Here we were treated very kindly by the people. That night was Christmas Eve. We spent it drying our clothes and retiring early. Our beds were made by scattering hay on the floor. We were given blankets; we laid down and were glad to rest. As I lay there I thought of the Christmas Festival which was taking place at my home. The lad who hired out on this boat was glad to go home and behave himself, but I was determined to carry on.
The second ship wreck was off the Danish coast. As the tide went out we gathered our belongings and went ashore. We told the fisher folks they could have what they could salvage from the ship in exchange for food. This they gladly did saying, “It was the first time God had blessed them for two years.”
I returned to Gottenborg and signed up with one of the largest, finest boats which would be ready to sail in about two or three days.
I wrote mother telling her about my plans. Mother telegraphed Gottenborg asking me to wait that she was coming to see me. Before she arrived our boat had started out. Mother chartered a steamer and followed for some distance in hopes she could encourage me to come home. We watched the steamer from our dock thinking that tourists were out on a pleasure trip, little realizing my mother was on board.
When I reached Australia a letter was waiting for me. The mail had gone over land. It required 128 days to make this voyage. Australia was a new country and alive with excitement over the finding of gold.
On one of our stops at Bombay there was another boat called the Red Jacket. They challenged four other vessels in a race to Liverpool. The captain of our boat wished to enter the race but the Insurance Company objected. The prize was $2500. The vessels left Bombay before our vessel did, however our captain decided to try to best the other vessels. It required 122 days to make the trip. We won the race reaching Liverpool 48 hours before one vessel and four days before the second vessel. Crowds of people gave us a great welcome.
I returned home after having spent 39 months sailing.
The next boat I went aboard was the Elanor. We had a mixed cargo from Liverpool to Archangel. The ice has been reported out but as we entered the White Sea, the current brought back the ice. This was in the month of May. Our vessel was caught in the ice jam and crushed. We left our vessel hanging on the ice and started on foot to reach land. This was about four or five o’clock PM. We saw seven other vessels wrecked. We walked about one hundred miles and when we became tired, we would lie down on the ice to rest and then to go on again. Our food was pork and snow.
We traveled for two days and one night this way. We thought we saw land, started again the next day and finally did see land at four PM. All we could see was sand and brush. The nearest town was Cola. As we were gazing for some sign of life, one of the boys saw some smoke in the distance.
We traveled on until we reached a village inhabited by Finlaps, very small people about five feet or less tall. Their huts were made of drift wood and covered with seaweed. The large room was about twelve by sixteen feet with a rock fireplace in one end. It was very neat. They lived on fish, reindeer and barley bread. The milk from the reindeer was given to the children. A father and son took the Captain for Cola for supplies. The Captain wired Archangel and learned that crews on other vessels had perished.
After this I attended school at Gottenborg and received my title as Captain but sailed as first mate. I was called home because of [economic] depression. I stayed home for one month and started out again. I left for Liverpool seeking work but the depression was general. Finally I left for New York. Here I found conditions worse as the Civil War was just over and commerce was at a standstill. My pal and I left for Chicago and from there we went to St. Paul. The farthest west the railroad had reached was St. Cloud.
I liked the country and purchased two quarters of land from Col. Matteson. I paid between $180 and $200 for a yoke of oxen. I broke twelve acres of land and I raised a good crop of wheat but had to haul it two miles to market. The price I received was 52 cents a bushel. Flour cost five dollars per hundred. I was able to haul only thirty bushels on account of the bad roads.
The grasshoppers destroyed the crops for the following three years and the fourth year a tornado destroyed everything. I finally sold the farm for $1500 cash and $3000 on time with interest at (this looked like 10% but it was very difficult for me to see). The farm was finally known as the Weard Farm.
Mother and I were married in St. Paul on April 20, 1872. We lived on the farm for a couple of years then decided to move into town where I opened an Abstract and Real Estate Office. I was Sheriff of Meeker County and preferred to go along to get my man and I never failed to bring him back.
After being Sheriff, I was Auditor and Collector for the following machine companies: Plano, John Deere and McCormick, at times having the eastern half of North Dakota as my territory. At this time my hearing began to fail and it was necessary for me to give up this type of work.
In 1898 I came to Towner and have been here ever since, but for my sight and hearing I am in perfect health.
There were many places of interest I visited while at sea. One [was] an island in the Mediterranean Sea off the Coast of France where the Count of Monte Cristo was held as prisoner. The Black Hole of India where so many British soldiers perished and a Church on the Spanish Coast of the Mediterranean where the Inquisition was practiced. In this church I saw the terrible means that were used in executing unfortunate victims. The stone steps were worn from people walking down to their awful death. In the chambers where they were sentenced were the huge chairs where the judges sat. When I saw the places of torture, it seemed the blood stains were still noticeable. I have seen the funeral biers on the shores of India. At one time I witnessed the execution of twelve Malay pirates by the Danish man of war. This put an end to piracy in this region and it was safe to travel between the peninsula and the East Indies.
Well, I believe that is all I can recall now. A few years ago I could have related the things as they happened, even the dates on which they occurred.
I have sailed around the world thirteen times and the only coast I haven’t seen is the Pacific coast of the United States. This was not open to travel.
* * * * *
Captain P. Ekstrom was born in Erbro / Orebro, Sweden, January 20, 1845. He came to the U.S. after the Civil War and located at Litchfield, Minnesota before the railroad reached there. He was one of the last pioneers of that section to pass away.
On April 20, 1872, he was married to Helen Sandow / Helena Sauvrow. There were six children, two passed away in infancy. The remaining members are: Karin, Mrs. C.H. Gumelius; Anna, Mrs. I.B. Cook; Jon Ekstrom; Mamie, Mrs. Fred Hermanson of Seattle, Washington. The others all live at Towner, North Dakota. There were eighteen grandchildren, one Edna Karin Ekstrom passed away at the age of two. The remaining grandchildren are: Arvid Gumelius, Helen Hattie, Lytle, LeRoy and Pat Cook; Robert and Esther Hermanson and Aileen, Ruth and Verner Ekstrom.