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Bob Lind, Published March 17 2013

Lind: ND attorney general distantly related to 1940s-era Esmond grocery store owner

Neighbors carried a woman’s reminiscences of the winters of the 1940s early this year, including a story about her father riding horseback to a small store near Esmond, N.D., for groceries. That store, she said, was owned by the Stenehjems.

Neighbors wondered if those folks could have been relatives of Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota’s attorney general.

They sure were, although it’s a distant relationship. The owner of the store was Peter Stenehjem and his wife, and Peter was a first cousin of Wayne’s grandfather, Martin Stenehjem.

This information was provided by Dr. Albert “Con” Posz, who has become the unofficial genealogist for the Stenehjem family, thanks to his wife, Marie, who is the granddaughter of John Stenehjem, a great-uncle of Wayne’s.

Con became interested in the Stenehjem family which, he says, has been shown to be the second-largest Norwegian American family in the country.

Con and Marie live in Golden Valley, Minn., in the winter and on Lake Lida in Minnesota during the summer.

Anyhow, Con uncovered the background of Peter Stenehjem for Neighbors.

Peter, initially a farmer, took over the home farm in Blackhammer, Minn., after his father’s death. Later, he and his wife, Annie, bought a farm at Esmond.

In 1941, Peter and Annie quit farming and bought a grocery store at Isabel, N.D., near Esmond.

So, thanks to Con Posz for coming up with the history of this ancestor of North Dakota’s attorney general.

By the way, if the Stenehjem family is the second-largest Norwegian American family in the country, what is the largest? If you know, Neighbors would appreciate hearing from you.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com