US-Dakota War of 1862
According to the US Census of 1860, 94 people lived in Otter Tail County. They lived in two enumeration areas: Waseata (Dayton and Fergus Falls) and Ottertail City. Three of the people listed in the population rolls would play a part in the 1862 War, two as casualties.
On Aug. 17, 1862, Chief Bagone-giizhig, in reaction to U.S. Army efforts to enlist Ojibwe men, urged, “we must rise and fight the whites.” As a result, the trading post at Ottertail City was gutted.
On the western edge of the county at Dayton, the Mathieu Wright family had fled for safety to Fort Abercrombie. The Wright men were instrumental during the siege of Fort Abercrombie and one son, Edward was killed during the Sept. 6 attack. Another son, Edwin, was wounded. They estimate that about 20 Dakota men were killed.
Dakota Indians also killed Joe Whitford during the US Dakota War of 1862. Whitford, who had founded the Fergus Falls townsite, had traveled North that spring. Warned not to return home due to the ongoing war, he disregarded the advice. Native Americans killed him a few miles from Fort Abercrombie.
John Smith’s remains were buried by the relief party sent from Fort Snelling.
Historic People of Otter Tail County Connected to the US Dakota War of 1862:
Matthew, Edwin, Edward, Martha, and John Wright
Treuer, Anton. The Assassination of Hole In The Day. St. Paul, Borealis Books, 2011.
Compendium of History and Biography of Northern Minnesota
Fort Abercrombie 1862. Richland County Farmer-Globe newspaper supplement, Sept. 22, 1936
The Inside Story of Fort Abercrombie. Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Nov. 25, 1924.
Story of the Seige of Fort Abercrombie. Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Oct. 17, 1936
Fort Abercrombie Holds History of 1857 Frontier. Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Oct. 16, 1969.
About McCauleyville. Fergus Falls Weekly Journal, June 9, 1887.
Monuments & Historic Sites:
Joe Whitford Statue, Fergus Falls
Ottertail City Historic Marker
Cemeteries with Gravestones of Participants:
Oak Grove Cemetery – Matthew Wright (unmarked grave)
Joe Whitford is buried in St. Cloud
The following information has been compiled by Myron Broschat of Fergus Falls. Myron is well known for his work on the military history of Otter Tail County. In 1977 the Otter Tail County Historical Society published a book by Myron Broschat, Home Fires and Battleground: The Military History of Otter Tail County Minnesota. This book is still available in our gift shop.
World War I
A total of 36 men from Otter Tail County were killed in action or died of wounds in World War I. Another 52 men died of non-battle deaths, almost all of them from influenza. This information was taken from the Otter Tail County war book published by the Victor Lundeen Company in 1919:
Raymond O. Aarvig, Robert L. Adamson, Otto C. Arnquist, George Bergem, Carl F. Bredehoft, Nicholas J. Burelbach, Alex Buseth, Carl V. Cornell, John W. Downing, George F. Fairbanks, Walter A. Haimerl, John H. Harworth, Adolph Haug, Andrew Hess, John Holt, Claus A. Hultstrand, Edward K. Kratske, Louis A. Lien, Oscar J. Madson, Clarence Miller, Peat Moak, Henry T. Ongstad, Thom H. Pederson, Erdroy A. Peterson, Victor Savela, Floyd E. Scroggin, Frank H. Sczygiel, Fred C. Splittgerber, Edward H. Steineke, James W. Stinar, Harold T. Swenson, Fremont L. Tabbut, Edward Tangen, Frederick B. Vogel, Edward J. Whalen, Ladislaus W. Wichlacz.
World War II
A total of 139 people from Otter Tail County were killed in action or died of wounds in World War II. Another 25 people died of non-battle deaths. The * symbol follows the name of each non-battle death. This list does not include the men listed as missing when the war ended but declared dead sometime later and it does not include the deaths that were not reported to a county newspaper. That could bring the total up to 150 or more. This list was compiled using three sources: Fergus Falls Daily Journal of August 21, 1945; Veteran Service Office file; Fargo Forum list for northwestern Minnesota. This list is not complete.
|Aakerhus, Kenneth H.||Lidgerding, William|
|Adams, David J.||Lindely, Elmer N.|
|Aldrich, Stanley||Link, Ernest S.|
|Allen, Henry E.||Loerzel, James B.|
|Anderson, Arvin L.*||Loff, Lewis M.|
|Anderson, Keith Gordon||Luebke, Celestine|
|Anderson, Leslie W.||Lueders, Raymond H.|
|Anderson, Lester S.||Lukken, Palvin S.|
|Bergerson, Donald C.||Lundquist, Howard|
|Bettin, Frank H.||McKinney, Robert|
|Bixby, Glen||Mair, Frederick G.|
|Bjertness, Luther||Marsh, Wilbur L.|
|Bjertness, Sigurd||Martin, Robert W.*|
|Boedigheimer, L. M.||Melkert, Clifford L.|
|Boedigheimer, Leonard A.||Menze, Vernon|
|Boese, Lyle C.*||Meyer, Charles F.|
|Borgerson, Howard B.*||Meyers, Lester|
|Bortvedt, Einar I.||Mickelson, Einar|
|Braun, Orville V.||Mohs, Frank J.*|
|Breden, Edwin O.||Nelson, Maurice E.|
|Broden, Oscar||Nelson, Olaf T.|
|Brodin, Unite||Nelson, William O.|
|Campbell, Leo E.||Niemela, Melvin*|
|Carlson, Ernest E.*||Nissi, George M.|
|Carlson, Oscar||Norman, Orris N.|
|Christianson, Orval H.*||Ojala, Clifford N.|
|Christie, Howard||Olson, Clifford|
|Cordes, Wesley A.*||Olson, George W.*|
|Dahl, Leon||Olson, Sever|
|Davidson, Victor||Peterson, Erving L.|
|Drager, Ervin O.||Peterson, James L.*|
|Drechsel, Harold H.||Peterson, Melvin|
|Dulski, Peter||Peterson, Raymond W.|
|Eckhoff, Irvin||Peterson, Royal F.|
|Eckley, Clinton||Petrick, Vernon L.|
|Erickson, Newman H.||Pfalzgrafh, Robert|
|Estrem, Paul J.||Pickrain, Leo G.|
|Fick, Harold||Putnam, Paul N.|
|Fick, Walter R.||Rasmussen, Geo. F.|
|Fraki, Hubert L.||Ritchey, Darwin L.|
|Frikken, William||Rosentreter, Carl E.|
|Fritz, Bernard W.*||Rund, Arlo E.|
|Geiser, Bernard||Rustand, Hanford J.|
|Getter, Richard M.||Samuelson, Arnold|
|Grande, Russell J.||Sandbank, Martin C.|
|Hagen, Albin||Scates, Burke|
|Halbakken, Gilman||Schmaltz, Fred E.|
|Halvorson, Alfred E.||Schmidt, John M.|
|Halvorson, Morris||Senske, John P.|
|Halvorson, Ruben*||Severson, Leverne R.|
|Hammer, John W.||Shamp, Leroy J.|
|Harry, Wallace M.*||Snook, Harold R.|
|Haugrud, Harold A.||Soland, Penn.|
|Hein, Boyd C.||Sorem, Douglas|
|Henderson, Maurice V.||Sorenson, Lavern A.|
|Hendrickson, M. E.||Sporcic, Michael J.*|
|Hendrickson, Marshall||Stenger, Marcella Grace*|
|Hepola, Ervin E.||Stigen, Leland L.|
|Higgins, Veral C.*||Stitzel, Cleon S.*|
|Huebsch, Joseph A.||Stoering, Edward S.*|
|Huhta, Richard*||Street, Harold|
|Huset, Maurice J.*||Stueve, Edwin C.|
|Jacobson, John H.||Syverson, Woodrow W.|
|Johnson, Clayton O.||Thompson, Joslyn M.*|
|Johnson, Herbert A.||Tjostelson, Milton H.|
|Karger, Harold E.||Torreano, Frank|
|Karsnia, Cyril J.||Tripp, Robert|
|Kehus, Alle A.||Tusow, Jean*|
|Keller, Leslie J.||Vollum, Ole C.|
|Kempf, Henry A.||Waskosky, Clifford|
|Kittelson, Arnold||Webb, Merlyn C.|
|Klein, Albert J.*||Wegner, Herman A.|
|Klimp, Henry A.||Welk, Gilmer|
|Klingler, Luvern C.*||Wenino, Jack M.|
|Korkalo, Hjalmber||Westlund, George H.*|
|Kratzke, Bernard L.||Williamson, Ray|
|Kugler, Jerry J.*||Winkels, Victor S.|
|Kuntz, Arthur B.*||Yatchak, Vincent|
|Langen, Owen T.|
|Larson, Arvid C.|
|Leeman, Lyle R.|
|Lemke, Arvin E.|
This is a list of the men from Otter Tail County who were killed in action or died of wounds in the Korean War.
Ashbaugh, Robert W.; Bjerkebek, Orville; Clarno, Edward W.; Ellis, Walter L.; Erickson, Albert C.; Guszregen, Sylveste; Hazelwood, Harkness; Knutson, Edwin H.; Lindquist, Donald C.; Melvold, Gaylard D.; Oak, Walter R.; Risner, Stanley K.; Sorum, Lawrence R.; Stein, Roger A.; Strom, John O.; Wendt, Arlin H.; Wick, Morris J.
Several Otter Tail County men lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The * symbol follows those that were killed in action.
Bakken, Duane from Fergus Falls - Killed in an automobile accident at Newport, RI, where he was stationed with the Navy.
Beringer, Michael August* from Bluffton - Son of Ambrose Beringer. PFC Beringer died from wounds suffered when a large shell exploded in a beach landing area November 23, 1965.
Carlson, David James
Carlson William* from Pelican Rapids - A 1967 graduate of Pelican Rapids High School, Billy Carlson entered the service on May 6, 1968. He left for Vietnam on October 6, following a three-week furlough at home. He died on November 14, 1968 when enemy mortar fire struck the encampment at Chu Chi, South Vietnam. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Carlson.
Cordes, Lowell R. from Henning - Airman First Class Lowell Cordes died in an automobile accident at Strasburg, France. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Cordes. He graduated from Henning in 1963 and entered the airforce in September.
Dawson, Clyde D.* had Perham connections - Major Dawson, a fighter pilot, was flying an aircraft which was shot down over Vietnam on March 23, 1966. Dawson had been in the Airforce for about 15 years. He was married to Ellen Samuelson, daughter of a Sebeka minister.
Fogard, Ronald Dean* from Battle Lake - Marine Private First Class Ronald D. Fogard was killed by a hand grenade in Vietnam June 18, 1968. Born Feb. 18, 1948 and grew up in the Amor community. He was the son of Leonard and Ivy Fogard.
Guck, Ralph Stephen* from Parkers Prairie - S-Sgt. Ralph Guck died on November 29, 1970 when the plane on which he was a passenger went down. Ralph Guck was born in Baker, Montana the son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Guck. He attended school at Parkers Prairie and graduated in 1961.
Hagen, Jerome Alfred* from Fergus Falls - Son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hagen of Fergus Falls. Jerome was a crew member of a Navy mine sweeper whicdh collided with a French ship alone the shores of Vietnam on January 14, 1967.
Hall, Warren* graduated from Parkers Prairie - Son Glen and Myrtle Hall. Kiled ner the demilitarized sone when injured by a booby trap while on patrol. He was a 1963 graduate of Parkers Prairie High School.
Harworth, Elroy Edwin* from Elizabeth - Listed as missing in action on May 31, 1966. He was declared dead in 1974. His remains were not positively identified by the Army until 1986. Mr. Harworth was born Jan. 10, 1942, in Erhard, son of Edwin and Lucille Harworth. He graduated from Underwood High School in 1959. He married Pat Whited on Feb. 19, 1966.
Hasbargen, Thomas worked in Fergus Falls - Died Feb. 26, 1972 in an auto accident near Chanute Field, IL. He was born in Breckenridge and graduated from Breckenridge High School.
Jenson, Michael Gregory* from Elizabeth - Sergeant Michael Jenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jenson. He was killed in combat. He enlisted in the Army after graduation from Moorhead State College in 1968.
Krull, James* had Deer Creek connections
Lemke, Ronald from Parkers Prairie - Died while on leave from the Navy serving in Vietnam. He drowned in Lake Charlotte near Rockford, MN.
Lilis, Richard Ned* from Richville - Richad Lillis was with "C" Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. He was killed while on patrol by flying shrapnel from an enemy explosion. He was a native of Dead Lake Township.
Lind, Ernest Allen from Parkers Prairie - Son of Mr. and Mrs. Ervin Lind. Died as a result of an auto accident on January 18, 1969 at the Army General Hospital at Landshaul Germany. He was married to Nancy Spaulding.
Lovelette, Gary Vaughn* from Fergus Falls - Army Specialist 4 Gary Lovelette, a son of mrs. Albert Unger of Fergus Falls, was killed in action in South Vietnam Dec. 29, 1969. Graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1966. He had been in Vietnam since Feb. 3, 1969.
Moltzan, William John* from Dent - Army Specialist, died May 12, 1968 when a .45 calibre pistol being handled by another soldier accidently discharged, striking Moltzan. He was the son of William E. and Ann Moltzan. He graduated from Perham High School. He was married to Nicoline Christianson in 1963.
Moore, Roland* from Battle Lake/Fergus Falls - Sergeant Roland E. Moore was killed in Vietnam April 8, 1968. He died of gunshot wounds while on a combat operation. He was married to Barbara. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Victor W. Moore.
Olson, Larry Lee
Quitmeyer, Tony John* from Parkers Prairie - Specialist Tony Quitmeyer, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Otto F. Quitmyer was killed Jan. 9, 1968. by a mortar shell while serving with the Army in Vietnam. He entered the service on March 20, 1967, and went overseas in October. He was a member of the 35th infantry, 2nd battalion, 4th division. Born June 13, 1948 at Parkers Prairie and graduated from Parkers Prairie High School in 1966.
Stoen, Marcus Sherwin* from Pelican Rapids - Injured in Vietnam and taken to the hospital at Camp Zama, Japan, where he passed away. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Stoen of Norwegain Grove Township. A 1967 graduate of Pelican Rapids High School.
Stoltenow, Ronald* Fergus Falls connections
Wagner, William O.
Wilson, Ronald K.* had Parkers Prairie connections - Killed April 29, 1969 by an artillery barrage while on patrol duty in Vietnam. The son of Roland Wistrom and Dottie Ost Wistrom.
Yates, John Charles* from Fergus Falls - Staff Sgt. John C. Yates, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis E. Yates, died October 19, 1967 during his third tour of duty in Vietnam.
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