Our History

May 7, 1963 - Perham Enterprise Bulletin

Letters to the Editor - Recalls Childhood in Becker County


Bothell, Wash. - May 7, 1963

Dear Sirs:


You will likely be surprised to receive this letter, but my sister-in-law from Spruce Grove sent me your write-up of the history of Spruce Grove Township.


The part about hunting and the men from Moorhead and Fargo interested me, as my father usually went with them as a guide and cook.  I am sending you a picture taken of one of those hunting parties taken on Red Eye River.  The camp was on the farm owned by Edgar Jensen, and at that time was wild land.


My father was Carroll H. Clifford, usually called "Cad" by everyone.  He moved to Spruce Grove in 1886 from Evergreen Township in March of the same year.  I am 77 years old but I remember my childhood days when a happy time was swimming in Red Eye River.  We lived within a few yards of it.  There were so many flowers, beautiful woods to roam around in, berries to pick, the picnics we had with neighbors in those first years, and the sugar bushes we had on the Baumbart place.  Schram's and Milton's had theirs on Section 25.  Chas. Mahelen had his on his own place.  Young people danced to the good music of mouth organ, violin and tamborine.  Then in winter we went ice-skating, on sliding parties and skiing to school and other places.  My first remembrance of riding was behind oxen before my father go his first team of horses.


I remember the Beckman twins.  They both died on the farm and were buried there.  My sister and brother and I used to walk two miles in the spring and place the first flowers on their graves; the wood lily, babes in the woods.  Mayflowers and violets.  We thought they might be lonesome as the place was empty for years after the Beckman's moved.


I will close now saying I enjoyed the article very much and hope to hear more.


Mrs. C. O. Hanson (Bonnibel Clifford)

18306 - 94 N.E.

Bothell, Washington

Twins born to August & Marie Beckman


The first children born to August & Marie Beckman were twins named Albert & Martha.  They did not live long and they were buried on the farm that August & Marie were living on at the time.  The exact date of their birth is unknown but it would have been around 1883-1884.  August & Marie's next child, Emma, was born in November 1885.  The twins also have the distinction of being the first babies born in the township of Spruce Grove.


The following is an article in a column entitled "Our History"  from the Perham Enterprise Bulletin in 1963 and a follow-up article about that story that was a 'letter to the editor'.

The information in the Our History column was taken from "A Pioneer History of Becker County Minnesota" compiled in 1907 by Mrs. Jessie C. West.

Chapter XLVI is entitled "History of Spruce Grove Township" and the information is from this chapter.  The book has been copied to ancestry.com under stories, memories, and histories.  


​​​  FLATAU / BECKMAN

The Beckman Twins​ and the History of Spruce Grove

Our History

April 18, 1963 - Perham Enterprise Bulletin

Spruce Grove Township


This township was organized in 1889.  The first township election was held January 19th of that year at the home of Alfred Blanchard.  Their first town board consisted of: Chairman, Henry Shafer; treasurer, Charles Maehler, and clerk, Perry Vincent.


As the prominent timber in this township was evergreens, it was called Spruce Grove.  The township was heavily timbered with five million feet of pine.  Spruce, balsam, oak, poplar, birch, elm, basswood, ironwood, and tamarac were in lesser quantities.  It was noted for its wild fruits consisting of plums, cherries, currants, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, gooseberries, and juneberries.


It has lakes and rivers abounding in pike, bass, pickerel, sunfish, red-horse, and suckers.


Game was plentiful then with moose, deer, bear, wolves, lynx, wild cats, skunks, mink, muskrats, etc., partridges, chickens, and ducks.


School District No. 52 was organized September 10, 1887.  The first school was held in the fall of 1887 at the private house of Fred Bonan with Miss Addie Coombs of Detroit Lakes as the teacher.  The schoolhouse was built of logs in 1888.


The first settlers were Jorgen Dornbush and wife in January of 1880.  Mrs. Dornbush died in 1884 and was buried at Perham.  He remarried and lived in Spruce Grove for 22 years before moving to Alberta, Canada.


The first marriage was of Fred Voight of Spruce Grove and Mrs. Elizabeth Meyers (widow) of Gormantown.  The Rev. Krattchmer officiated.


The first children born were a set of twins to Mr. and Mrs. August Beckman, a girl and a boy.


The first death in Spruce Grove Jorgen Dornbush's father at the age of 73 in 1881.


In the early days, hunting parties came from Moorhead and Fargo and east from Chicago and other cities, after deer and other game.  The Chippewa Indians were allowed to hunt here and secured large quantities of venison.