Knut A. Johnson proprietor of one of the fine farms of Norway Township, Steele Co. is one of the men whose coming to that section all who honour honest industry and good citizenship can rejoice. He is one of the earliest pioneers of Steele Co. and can recount with unerring accuracy many experiences and the early history of that region. He is the owner of a well improved farm, and has gained his possessions by earnest efforts and aided materially in extending and developing the vast agricultural interests of Dakota.
Our subject was born in Dane Co. Wisconsin, April 3, 1855, and was the oldest in a family of four children. His parents Asmund and Aase (Winloss) Johnson, were of Norwegian birth. When our subject was about twelve years of age the family settled in Worth County, Iowa, and there he remained at home until he attained his majority, receiving his common school education. He went to Dakota to visit his cousin Mr. Winloss in the spring of 1880 and filed claim on land on Section 11 in Norway Township. He built a small dwelling place, half dug out, and arranged a place for cooking outside, and with an oyster can for a coffee pot, and friendly gophers for companions he began a life not wholly devoid of charms. After he had made filings on his land his finances consisted of seven cents, and with himself and a team of horses to keep he saw but a few idle minuets. As he characteristically expresses, "In those days there was nothing to Dakota but mosquitoes and distance." The distance was unbroken by habitation of men, and the mosquitoes were lank and hungry for a taste of the sturdy pioneer.
Mr. Johnson passes the first winter with Mr. Winloss, in the latter's shanty, and the following summer was joined by his mother who took charge of the home.
Mr. Johnson was married in 1883 to Antonette Anderson. Nine children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson as follows: Albert, Andrew, Christine, Oscar, Carl, Nettie, Betsy, Selmer and Hilma. Carl and Nettie are twins. Mr. Johnson is an active member of the Lutheran Church and is man of exemplary character. He has held various offices in the county and township. He was one of the organizers of Norway Township and was then assessor for five years and was chairman of the board of supervisors several terms and is the present township clerk having held the office four years and district clerk since 1896. He is well known as a populist in political sentiment and is an ardent worker for reform principles, attending Co. and State conventions of his party, and is identified with all of the affairs of public interest. He is a man universally respected and highly esteemed.
- Julia, Esther, Alpha and Elvina were born after this article was written.
- Knut assessed the township until he was past 80, making the rounds in a Model A Ford.
Article taken from "History of North Dakota," published in 1900.
Transcribed by Marvin Johnson, email@example.com, Aug 8, 2003