Dokken, Maria Kleven; Day County - 1880

A PIONEER MOTHER by Mrs. Harrison

Maria Kleven was born in North Fron "Guebrausdalen", Norway on January 12, 1862. She had two brothers and three sisters, who all lived to be in their 80’s.

At the age of 12, in 1874 she emigrated to the U.S.A. With her parents and three sisters, they came to Pope Co. Minnesota near Starbuck, where she was confirmed and spent some years. In her 20’s she came out to Webster, South Dakota where she filed on a homestead 14 miles north of Webster. In the meantime, she worked in Webster. She used to tell how hard she had to work for $1.50 a week, (top wages at that time.) Sheriff Hanson was one place where she worked.

Later she sold her claims, and in 1887 married Anton Dokken, who also homesteaded in the neighborhood. He was the first to file on a homestead in Liberty township. He walked all the way to Watertown to file on this land. She went through all the hardships of early pioneer life—blizzards, droughts, hailstorms, grasshoppers, etc.—and burned twisted hay and cow chips for heat in wither. They had a flax straw burner. It was like a 50 gal. oil barrel in shape, and the bottom had a cover which was taken off when it was taken outside to be filled, which had to be done once a day.

She had seven children - three sons and four daughters. She did not have a doctor for any of her confinements. A neighbor lady came over and helped out for a couple or three days while she was in bed.

She and her husband were charter members of Fron Church. They were present when sod was broken for church and cemetery. Not they are both resting there.

They celebrated their golden anniversary in July 1937 in the old Fron Church with the reception in the Parrish Hall. Her husband died in 1938.

She died April 29, 1944 at the Peabody Hospital from the effects of a broken hip suffered on April 16th. At the age of 82 years 3 months, and 17 days she left her seven children, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.