Final Morrison County Influentials

Well, here they are. The last five Morrison County Influentials. It is hard to believe that we have come to the end. Mary and I are sure that more will crop up. The list does not seem long enough, even though we allowed the number to be 150 in order to tie in with Minnesota’s Sesquicentennial. Hopefully we have added to the knowledge of those Morrison County residents who have been or still are influential.

146. Jack Niewohner (1921-1985). Airport. John “Jack” James Niewohner was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, to Frederick and Lucile (Edwards) Niewohner. Jack worked as a truck driver for various trucking companies, including DeZurik Corporation of Sartell, Minnesota. Jack was instrumental in reopening the Little Falls/Morrison County Airport in 1960. Jack solicited donations to have the buildings fixed up and the runways, which were grass strips, mowed and repainted. He also helped to encourage the City of Little Falls to enter into a lease for the airport with the Little Falls Flying Club, an organization composed mainly of members of the local Civil Air Patrol. Jack was Senior Commander of the Civil Air Patrol in Little Falls at the time. Jack married LoRayne A. Johnson on 24 October 1942 in Swanville, Minnesota. Jack and LoRayne had three children – Ronald, Joanne and Janet.

147. Henning Landahl (1864-1941). Real Estate. Henning Landahl was born in Sweden to Mr. and Mrs. Fredrik Landahl. Landahl came to the United States in 1887. He worked in North Dakota for a few months and then moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he started work with the A. E. Johnson Company. The company sold land for the Northern Pacific railway. In 1889, Landahl came to Little Falls to establish an office for the company. After disposing of the railroad property, he purchased several tracts of land in the Little Falls community, securing control of what was then owned by the Little Falls Improvement Company, a corporation based in Louisville, Kentucky. Landahl was responsible for encouraging settlers to purchase and improve thousands of acres of land in Morrison County. Clara Fuller, author of History of Morrison and Todd Counties, Minnesota, stated that all the large and prosperous Swedish settlements in the county, except for Upsala, were founded by Landahl. Henning married Amy Borchert in 1890. Henning and Amy had two children – Olga and Carine.

148. Joanne Gibson Fluke (c.1943-). Writer. Joanne Gibson Fluke was born to O. C. (Olicer) “Clifford” and Esther (Kaun) Gibson of Swanville. Joanne’s father owned and operated the Gibson Funeral Home in Swanville. A popular mystery writer, Joanne has also written suspense novels, humorous nonfiction and romance. Her various pen names include Kathryn Kirkwood, R. J. Fischer, Gina Jackson, Joanne Fluke, Jo Gibson, Chris Hunter and John Fischer. Her many published books include The Stepchild (1980), Video Kill (1989) and the popular Hannah Swensen mysteries (i.e. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder, Blueberry Muffin Murder). Joanne’s husband, Ruel E. Fischmann, is a television writer who taught philosophy at St. Cloud State University from 1968 until 1984. Joanne and Ruel have five children.

149. Arthur P. Blanchard (1862-1907). Lawyer. Arthur Palmer Blanchard was born in Zumbrota, Minnesota. In 1884, Blanchard was admitted to the bar in the state of Illinois. By March of 1887 he had moved to Little Falls, where he worked with Crawford Sheldon in the firm of Blanchard & Crawford. When the firm dissolved, he went to Ft. Madison, Iowa, for a short time. After returning to Little Falls, he became a partner with Charles A. Lindbergh. Lindbergh and Blanchard were partners from 1893 until 1906. Blanchard served as the City Attorney for Little Falls, was the President of the local Commercial Club and was a member of library board. At the time of his death, he was the local attorney for the Northern Pacific railroad. Blanchard married Jenny Lind Brown in 1906. Blanchard had two children from a former marriage – Mary and Margaret.

150. Elliot Kidder (1831-1911). Politician, Businessman. Elliot Joslin Kidder was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, to John and Lidia/Lydia Kidder. At the age of six, Kidder moved to Iowa City, Iowa, with his family. In 1853, he came to Little Falls with his father and opened a store. The store was operated by Kidder until the summer of 1864. Kidder remained in the then village of Little Falls until 1877, when he moved to a farm south of the city. Kidder was one of the first county commissioners of Morrison County and held several local offices. Elliot married Mathilda Trimble on 25 December 1853 in Iowa City, Iowa. Elliot and Mathilda had nine children, six of whom survived – Lydia, John, Carrie, Jeanette, Irene and Viola.

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