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Bob Lind, Published April 22 2013

Lind: Photo shows harsh ND winter in early 1900s

The picture above gives an idea of what the Plains of North Dakota looked like during the winter in the early 1900s. But it probably was taken before April, as it might have been this year.

It comes from Joyce Erickson, of Hastings, Minn. The man on the right in the picture is her grandmother’s brother, Thorbjorn Riseth.

Thorbjorn came to Ramsey County, N.D., from Norway in 1898. He became a United States citizen in 1904 in a ceremony in Devils Lake, N.D.

He bought some land at Arnegard, N.D., near Williston. The photo shows him and some neighbors by his tar-paper shack. “You can see how cold and barren the area was back then,” Joyce says.

Today, oil wells dot that area. And that’s led to heavy traffic along U.S. Highway 85, which goes from Watford City to Williston, passes through Arnegard and, as a Forum story reported earlier, is a dangerous road to be on.

Yes, times have changed since this photo was taken.

Thorbjorn, who never married, sold his property for more than he paid for it and moved to Devils Lake, where he lived the rest of his life.

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