Biography of Hon. Erick J. Berdahl

Hon. Erick J. Berdahl, born in Norway in 1850, immigrated to the United States at a young age. He settled in South Dakota, where he developed a thriving farm under the homestead law. Over the years, Berdahl actively contributed to the development of Minnehaha County and became a respected Republican figure. He held various official positions, including justice of the peace and treasurer of the Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company. Berdahl’s dedication to his community, combined with his success as an agriculturist, earned him recognition and admiration from both Democrats and Republicans alike. He is known for his firmness, honesty, and genuine concern for the welfare of others.

Hon. Erick J. Berdahl is a native of Norway, where his birth occurred on the 8th day of August, 1850. When six years old, he was brought to the United States by his parents, and from that time until 1860 lived at the family home in Winneshiek County, Iowa, removing the latter year to Houston County, Minnesota, where he worked on the farm and attended school during the six years following. In 1866, he accompanied the family to Fillmore County, in the latter state, and after living there until 1873, came to South Dakota, settling on a farm in Sverdrup Township, Minnehaha County, which he still owns and which he took up under the homestead law soon after his arrival. Mr. Berdahl has been actively identified with the material interests of Minnehaha County during the twenty years of his residence therein, and few, if any, have exercised a more beneficial influence upon its development or have contributed in a more marked degree to the various agencies and enterprises making for its progress. From the original homestead of wild land in a sparsely settled locality, he has developed one of the finest and most valuable farms of its area in the county, a beautiful place of one hundred and sixty acres, all under cultivation, containing substantial improvements and presenting the appearance of a home in which few comforts and conveniences are lacking. As an agriculturist, Mr. Berdahl stands in the front rank, and the ample competence he now commands, and the fine condition of his home, attest the energy and success with which he has prosecuted his life’s work. Mr. Berdahl, on the 2nd day of April, 1873, was united in the bonds of wedlock with Miss Hannah Brandvold, who was born July 5, 1848, in Norway, and who came to the United States about two years prior to her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Berdahl are the parents of ten children, only three of whom are living, namely, John E., Carrie, and Henry; the deceased are Christina, who married Erick Langness and died in her twenty-fourth year; Albert, Carrie, Anna, Alma, and Anna, the last five dying in childhood.

Mr. Berdahl has been an influential Republican ever since attaining his majority and, by reason of his activity in party circles and services rendered in different campaigns, he has been, from time to time, honored with various official positions. He served for some years as justice of the peace, also as chairman of the township board, and for several years past has been treasurer of the Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Company of Minnehaha County, a position of great responsibility, requiring of the incumbent much more than ordinary business talent. He also represented the county of Minnehaha one term in the general assembly, and as a legislator, sustained the high reputation in which he was held by the people, fully meeting the expectations of his constituents, Democrats as well as Republicans. Mr. Berdahl is a man of great firmness, honest in his convictions, and ready at all times to maintain the soundness of his opinions. While diligent in the prosecution of his own affairs and successful in carrying them to a conclusion, he is also interested in the welfare of the community and spares no reasonable sacrifice in encouraging agencies and enterprises for the promotion of the same. A pleasing presence combined with a genial disposition makes him popular with all classes and conditions of people, and his manly conduct and genuine worth are recognized and appreciated by those coming within the range of his influence.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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