Charles Duane married Mary Jane Leistikow in Burr Oak, IA. They have 3 children: Alex Norman, Jennifer Lea and Nicholas Alan. They operate a family farm in Section 18 of Highland Twp., with additional acres in Sections 8,17 and 30. They also rent his mother’s farm in Section 17.
Norman farmed until he retired in 1980, when he rented his farm to his son Charles. He continued to help with the farm operation until his health failed. He died in Jan 1994 from complications of emphysema, congestive heart failure and a broken hip.
(Carrie (Houck) Lee)
Four Christen Brothers: Clarence, Sam, Walter, Albert. Parents were Sven and Signe Christen.
Clarence Christen was born 19 Jul 1852 on a farm near Madison, Wl to Sven and Signe Christen. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters: Albert, Walker, Sam, Mrs. Caroline Nelson and Mrs. Bertha Mott.
Clarence married Elizabeth Walton (28 Sep 1858 - 10 May 1946) in 1882. They had 4 children: Lloyd, Josephine, Lottie (Mrs. Jeffery Welch) and Myrtle. Lloyd was a Winneshiek Co. Treasurer and an assistant in the County Engineer's Office.
The year he was born Clarence moved with his parents to a farm in Madison Twp., Winneshiek Co. A few years later the family moved to a farm in Bluffton Twp.
Clarence attended public schools in Winneshiek Co. As a young man he took a position with the Peavy Cram Co. in Mankato, MN as an engineer. Two years later he returned to Winneshiek Co. and began farming in Bluffton Twp. He later rented his farm and moved to Decorah.
In 1889 Clarence was appointed Steward of the County Home. He served in that capacity 4 years.
In 1893 he became a candidate for Winneshiek Co. sheriff on the Republican ticket and was elected. He served 4 terms or 8 years. It was said he was fearless in the discharge of his duties and his record in the office was of the highest caliber.
In 1902 Clarence formed a partnership with his brother Albert in the real estate business which ended a few years later when Albert retired.
Clarence was an inheritance tax appraiser for Winneshiek Co. for many years until his death.
He was a member of the Norwegian Lutheran Church and was a long time member of the Decorah Elks Lodge.
Clarence enjoyed treating his little granddaughter to ice cream. He nicknamed her “Bombay.” He also enjoyed toasted apples which he made on his potbelly stove. On the 4th of Jul his grandchildren visited him for watermelon and fireworks.
Clarence was seldom sick and never needed a doctor. He died of a heart attack 22 Aug 1938 and is buried in Phelps Cemetery.
(Carrie (Houck) Lee)
Frank Christen was born 25 Aug 1894 in Bluffton Twp., the son of Albert and Letita (McMullen) Christen. Albert and Letita were married around 1892. Frank had two brothers and one sister: Earl, Albert and Mrs Grace Nelson.
Frank married Dorthy M. Dravis. They had one daughter, Carolyn (Mrs. Jerry Heino).
Frank attended school in Winneshiek Co. and graduated from Decorah High School. His first job was in a dry goods store in Decorah. He enlisted in the army 12 May 1917, serving as Sergeant First Class until 11 May 1919. He was elected sheriff of Winneshiek Co. Nov 1922. Like his uncle, Clarence Christen, he served 4 terms or 8 years until Jan 1931. Afterwards he remained in Decorah and worked as a Motor Vehicle Inspector for Iowa. Then he operated the Sinclair Station for 10 years before moving to Des Moines. There he was a revenue agent for 14 years and was with the old tax commission for 2 years. In 1966 he became Doorkeeper of the House in the Iowa State Capitol.
At age 29 Frank Christen ran for sheriff of Winneshiek Co. but some people did not approve. They said he was too young, he didn't even stand 6 feet tall and didn’t weigh 170 pounds “wringing wet.” The majority of the people voted for him anyway. Although he was a full blooded Norwegian he was dubbed “The Irishman from Bluffton.”
Franks’s only education for being a sheriff was by experience in his term. Deputy Lars Seim helped him during his first term and Melvin Allison helped him during the next 3 terms-both on a part time basis. There was no other staff to help the $1,900.00 a year sheriff. Some of the sheriff’s duties in 1923 were policing dances throughout the county and he was called to settle family squabbles no matter what time of the day or night. It was during this time that bootlegging or the unlawful sale of alcoholic liquor started in earnest. After World War I this county was “bone dry." When stills came into being the sheriff was kept busy day and night. As fast as he could confiscate the stills more of them would be built and put into production. He seized 23 stills in the first 2 weeks of his first term. He said that in one part of the county boot-
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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021