Family farmed northwest of Fergus Falls in OTC

Contributed photo
The Luther family in 1957. Front: Eleanor and Leonard Luther. Back: Lois, Dick, Bill and Bob Luther.

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

Henry Luther, a second-born son, met Karolina Haarstick who in 1911 lived about three miles east of the Luther farm northwest of Fergus Falls. They were married in May, 1912, one month before Henry’s older brother Christian married.

As promised, Sophie Luther transferred the farm ownership to Henry shortly after his marriage. Henry and Karolina had five children, Alvina, Harold, Leonard, Edwin and Henry, Jr.

The elder Henry died in the influenza pandemic in 1918 at the age of 36. His son, Edwin, and his brother’s wife also died of the pandemic during the same year.

Karolina continued to own and operate the farm with her four surviving children. When the United States entered World War II, three of her children (Alvina, Harold and Henry) enlisted in the Armed Forces. That left Leonard to operate the farm for the Luther family.

After the end of World War II, Karolina sold the farm to Leonard who had married Eleanor Svenneby of Fergus Falls in 1943. They had four children, Dick, Bill, Lois and Bob.

Dick, the oldest of the children, said, “It’s hard to imagine today the hard work that was required by our entire family and all farm families back then. But it gave us all the work ethic and a good start in life.”

Leonard and Eleanor operated and expanded the grain and dairy farm over a span of 30 years from the 1940s to the 1970s. With the encouragement of their children, the dairy cows were sold in 1978 and they continued to farm the land.

Today two of the Luther children still own the land and farm house, following the passing of their parents. The farmland is rented out.