I have a picture of the stone house in my book that was just published. My great-great-uncle Simon Hoel built the house with help from his brothers, Ole and Eston. Part of this house remains on a little Hill just East of the State Park at Lake Poinsett South Dakota. Simon came to homestead there with his cousin Torsten Estensen in the 1880s. They worked at the copper mines near Hancock, Michigan, and started families there before coming West to Dakota territory to homestead land and begin farming. They were both lay preachers in the old Apostolic Church. Church services were held at the Estensen homestead until a church got built near Lake Norden.
Torsten became a minister in the Apostolic Church West of Lake Norden. Simon had all daughters, so my grand-father Andrew Olson gave up work at the iron mines in northern Minnesota to help his Uncle Simon on the farm. Andrew and Minnie rented the old Kurkela farm for over 40 years. It was initially a sod house that got enclosed with wood in later years. The walls were about three feet thick on the east side of the house.
Simon’s brother Ole lost his wife during childbirth shortly before they left Norway. He also had a son Olaf who died at about three years of age. His sons, Andrew and Gideon and daughter Etta came with him. Eston was married in Michigan and had two or three children, several more later. He started farming near Lake Norden and was the Mail carrier from Nitterberg South Dakota to Estelline. They lost everything in a Prairie fire. Eston and family along with Ole moved to Ryder North Dakota and farmed near Rice Lake for a few years. Drought drove them out of North Dakota. They ended up finally settling in Alberta, Canada near Rocky Mountain House Where they remained for the rest of their lives. There were about 13 children in Eston’s family. A lot of them came back to the United States and worked in the lumber industry on the West Coast. A few finally ended up working for Weyerhaeuser In North Carolina.