We have retitled the “Weekly Radio Readings” to “Historic Happenings.” Each week’s story will be posted in its entirety. The stories can also be heard Sunday mornings around 10 am on WILD 102’s “Looking Back in Time” program.
Weekly radio stories are researched, compiled, and read by Sheila Winstead, RCHS Board Member.
Available recordings will also be linked to the Wild 102 “Looking Back in Time” page.
February 26, 2023
Business places in Roseau closed for the funeral of Israel Sjoberg, who died on May 26, 1940. A detailed article appeared in the Roseau Times-Region on May 30, 1940, listing the many accomplishments of his life. I’ll read that article to you today.
Sunday morning, shortly after one o’clock, the heart of Israel Sjoberg ceased its labors. Mr. Sjoberg suffered a severe stroke a few years back. While he recovered, his strong physique suffered a severe setback but was able to get back to his far-flung business activities. Less severe attacks followed but after each he rallied and went back to his desk. Last winter he had an illness and was forced to remain at home longer than before. The last few weeks his condition did not improve and although he still felt the urge and his will forced him, he spent less time at his office. Last Saturday afternoon a decided turn came in his condition and those about him knew that the end was near. He lapsed into a coma. The end came quietly, as though he entered a peaceful sleep.
Funeral services will be conducted tomorrow afternoon, Friday at 1 o’clock at the family home and at 2 o’clock in the First Lutheran church in Roseau. Interment will be made in Hope Cemetery. Rev. Aner Bloom of Grand Forks will deliver the funeral sermon and officiate at the commitment.
Honorary pallbearers will be Louis Larson, mayor of Roseau; Warner Bjorkman, president of the First Lutheran congregation; A. H. Fikkan, president of Roseau Commercial Club; A. E. Laufenburger, representing First National Bank; P. O. Fryklund, representing the Old Settlers; Ellis Grahn, representing Vesterbotten National Forening; Charles Christianson, Roseau County Agricultural Society, and Louis Enstrom, representing Roseau County. Active pallbearers will be nephews of the deceased.
In accordance with his expressed wish, the casket will not be opened in the church. The body lay in state at the Kveen & Listug Funeral Home up to last evening and will be taken to the Sjoberg home tomorrow morning. Business will close at 1:30 until 3 o’clock tomorrow afternoon in respect of Mr. Sjoberg’s memory.
Israel Sjoberg was born in Norrlan, Sweden, February 16, 1866, the son of Jonas and Catherine M (Bloom) Sjoberg. He was at his death past seventy-four years old. He received his education in the schools in Sweden and also received military training in the Swedish army.
At the age of twenty-one he emigrated to the United States. Realizing need of further training he attended a business college and studied privately. Mr. Sjoberg always prided himself upon being a self-made man. In 1889 he came to this community and laid the foundation in Roseau for the present business of Sjoberg Brothers. His brother, Peter Sjoberg, came in 1893 and the two brothers formed the partnership which has continued, with small changes, up to this time. The business will continue under the firm name.
In 1897 Israel Sjoberg married Miss Laura Miller. There were no children in this union, but other children found a home with Mr. and Mrs. Sjoberg.
Being of a dynamic and aggressive type, Mr. Sjoberg made himself felt not only in the business world but in the civic affairs of the community, county and state. This county offered a fine opportunity because it was in the embryonic stage and had to be built up.
Sjoberg Bros. firm grew from a pioneer store, necessarily not large, to one which became a department store in the full sense. Up to a year ago the firm’s business enterprise in Roseau included dry goods, groceries, clothing, hardware and machinery, and this business had been carried on for many years in addition to a well-stocked store and a seed business of large proportion at Badger and here. At the time of the coming of the railroad back in 1908, a store was also established at Salol, continuing that business until fire wiped it out a few years ago. The present fireproof building on the corner of Pearl Street and Viola Avenue in Roseau was built in two parts. The first half was erected in 1907, followed by the other half a couple of years or so afterwards.
A change in the make-up of the firm took place in 1911 when the Roseau Mercantile Company was formed by the firms of Tornquist & Tweet, Johnson & Billberg, and Lindquist & Boberg, consolidated with Sjoberg Bros. This arrangement continued until in 1920 when Sjoberg Bros. bought the interest of the other firms.
Mr. Sjoberg was a stockholder in the First National Bank up to 1919 when he, together with other business associates in this and Badger communities organized the Roseau County National Bank with Israel Sjoberg as president. In October, 1931, a consolidation was effected with the First National Bank, with the latter taking over the Roseau County National. Mr. Sjoberg became vice president of the consolidated institution, which office he held up to his death.
He kept away from holding any public office except those of local trust. He served as a member of the board of education in District 41, being its head many years before and after the Roseau school became an accredited high school. He served as mayor of Roseau several terms, was head of the Commercial Club at different times, was appointed food administrator and director of public safety in the last World War and was active in many undertakings of a local nature. He was a charter member of the First Lutheran congregation. He helped form the Roseau County Agricultural Society and served in official capacity on its directing board for many years. At the time when this section was striving to get a railroad he was at the forefront and through his wide acquaintance in the Twin Cities and with men in high positions he contributed to the culmination of the much needed transportation facility. He took an active part in the Old Settlers’ organization; in such organizations as the Red River Development Association and the Roseau Communities Association he was an active member. For several years he served as chairman of the Republican county committee.
The faith of Israel and Peter Sjoberg in the future of Roseau county is well expressed in the buildings erected for use in their business and for their homes, and by many other investments in real estate in the county. After his first severe illness Mr. Sjoberg had an opportunity to sell his business but he preferred to stay in the harness – for it was his life.
Fifteen years ago, Mr. Sjoberg made a trip to Europe, visiting Italy, Germany, France, England and the Scandinavian countries. He was interested in political and economic progress of the people, and his European trip had partly for its aim to see government worked out in different countries across the sea. The Times-Region carried a weekly letter from him on that trip and observations were very interesting.
Mr. Sjoberg is survived by his widow and by his brother, Peter Sjoberg of Badger, besides a number of nephews and nieces, most of whom are expected to be here for the last rites tomorrow.
Thank you to (www.roseauonline.com) for letting us share our county’s history with your listeners by donating air time, studio time, and production staff every week.