City of Hatton, North Dakota

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Early Hatton

History of the Hatton community is associated with the history of three townships-- Garfield, Enger and Newburgh.  Enger and Newburgh townships were part of Traill County until 1883, when the two western tiers of townships were cut off and added to the two eastern tiers of Griggs County, to make the new county of Steele.  These three townships lay in the northwestern part of Traill County, Newburgh joining Garfield on the west.

One of the first settlers in this section was Finger (sometimes written Fingal) Enger, who "squatted on a claim in Township 147, Range 54.  This became Enger Township, being named in his honor.  He was the first settler in Steele County. 

Newburgh Townnship was settled in 1874.  Halvor Berg and son Nicolai, Andrew Stavans annd Torkel Mehus started out from Northwood, Iowa, in the same caravan.  Torkel Mehus arrived in Traill County about two weeks ahead of the rest of the party.  These three are known as the earliest settlers and builders of Newburgh Township.  Andrew Stavens settled in Section 34 and lived there continuously for 60 years.  Torkel Mehus settled in Section 28, as did Halvor Berg. 

Halvor Berg was a recognized leader in his community.  He established a store and postoffice on his land in 1876, which proved to be a blessing to the new road coming to Hatton in 1884.  The postoffice was named Newberg-later changed to Newburgh in honor of Halvor Berg.  Mail was carried to this postoffice from Caledonia.

Garfield Township is located in the extreme northwestern part of Traill County-148-53.  It consists of one congressions township.  Some data on the history of Garfield Township is revealed through a letter written 1930 by Nels Lyste, a former resident of Garfield Township to the late Theodore Tronson of Hatton.  Mr. Lyste came in 1879.  He gives the names of others who came the same year.  Halvor and Harold Kjorlie, Peder O. Pederson, Martin Leidal, Arne Maaren, Nels Grimson, Grim Grimson, Tollef Solberg, Lars Gulbro, Asle Myrand, Borger Hanson, Erick Veltikol, Knute Selstad, Syver and Thor Koldingsness, Christian Mastrud, Christian and Anders Ness and Halvor and Peter Spoonheim.  Later in the same year came John Moe, Anton Digness, Henry Bakken, Ole and Harold Bjertness, Olaus Kamphaug, Erick and Hans Aaker, Nels Lillemoen, and Peter Lomheim and his sons.  Prof. Anderson and Torger Sulland came in 1880.  They settled along the coulee southeast of Hatton. 

He also gives information as to the first town officers and the origin of the name of Garfield Township.  We quote from his letter:

"The first town officers were: Asle Myrand, Borger Hanson and Gunder Aamens.  Ellef Gilbertson was justice of peace, Lars Gulbro, Assessor, and Tollef Solberg, Clerk.  They had not been elected but were appointed by the Traill County Commissioners at Caledonia.  The election was held in the fall of 1879 and the same officers were chosen.  The election was at the home of Tron (Texley) Foss."

Another quotation: "Evidently boundary lines were not carefully recognized at that time, for the official organization of Garfield township did not take place until 1882."

The town of Garfield was organized in 1882 after President Garfield's death.  To Mrs. Christian Tronson goes the honor of naming the township.  A group of settlers were gathered at her home at a meeting and were deciding upon on a name for the township.  She suggested that the name be Garfield would be nice as it would be a tribute to the martyred president.  All presents agreed to it and therefore Twp. 148, Range 53 was named Garfield.

Town officers after the official organization can not be given as records were destroyed by a fire.

History of Hatton community may also be linked with the southern part of Grand Forks County-many of the early settlers coming to the community and making Hatton their trading point and place to receive their mail, taking claims across the line in Grand Forks County.  Early settlers if Washington Township, Grand Forks County, were Ole and Amund Fluto, and Knut Monson.  Ole Fluto and Knute Monson, after retiring from farming, moved into Hatton and died there.

Rosa H. Johnson
Research Worker,
June, 1940.

“Equal Opportunity Provider.”