Biography of John F. Strass

John F. Strass, a Norwegian-born journalist, editor, and publisher, established the influential Fremad newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With its extensive readership and support, the Fremad became one of the most prominent and influential Scandinavian papers in the region. Strass also operated a successful printing establishment and dealt in Norwegian literature. He was highly respected as a business leader, a political influencer, and a public-spirited citizen. His integrity, forward-thinking approach, and dedication to the welfare of his community earned him esteem among his fellow countrymen and the general public alike.

John F. Strass, born on November 1, 1862, in Trondjhem, Norway, was a journalist, editor, and publisher of the Fremad, a prominent Norwegian newspaper in the United States. He was raised and educated in Norway until 1878 when he immigrated to the United States and settled in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Soon after his arrival, he began learning the printer’s trade and worked in various newspaper offices, honing his skills as a printer.

In 1881, Strass started a Scandinavian newspaper in Fergus Falls, which quickly gained a wide readership. After publishing the paper for a year, he sold the publication and returned to working as a printer in different locations until the early part of 1894. It was then that he moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the intention of establishing a Populist newspaper in the Norwegian language. Encouraged by positive feedback, he launched the Fremad on May 17th of that year. The newspaper was warmly received by his fellow countrymen in South Dakota who supported the People’s Party’s principles.

Over time, the Fremad garnered a substantial following and became one of the most widely circulated weekly newspapers in South Dakota. It gained significant popularity among the Scandinavian community and played a crucial role in promoting their interests and influencing political circles. The Fremad’s success both in terms of readership and advertising revenue established it as one of the best-supported and influential newspapers in the region, advocating for the People’s Party and contributing to its electoral success.

In addition to his newspaper venture, Strass operated a well-equipped printing establishment that provided printing services with efficiency and promptness. He also had a significant involvement in the trade of Norwegian literature, maintaining a stock of leading books and periodicals published in Norway. His business thrived due to the growing demand for Norwegian literature among the community. His printing plant was highly regarded in the state and spoke to Strass’s ability, tact, and excellent judgment in his undertakings.

John F. Strass was not only esteemed by his fellow countrymen but also held in high regard by the general public. He was seen as a trustworthy and forward-thinking businessman, as well as a thought leader and influential figure in political matters. He actively participated in the Scandinavian Working Men’s Association of Sioux Falls, playing a prominent role in the organization. Strass’s name frequently appeared in endeavors aimed at improving the welfare of the city and its residents. He was a public-spirited and progressive citizen, known for his integrity and open character.

On March 10, 1888, John F. Strass married Miss Lena Brown, a resident of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. They had several children together, namely Clara E., Carl T., Olaf C, Lewis F., Harrold E., John F., Albert E., and Helen T.


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

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top