Hatton's Heritage
A History of Hatton, North Dakota
1884 - 1959

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History Excerpt From Hatton-Eielson Museum

Additional Article
Hatton-Eielson Museum and Historical Association

Hatton has its roots in the early settlement of the Red River Valley. In the early days the rivers of this expansive valley were used for transportation as well as the timber that grew along their winding banks. As the early settlers moved north into the Valley from places like Iowa and Wisconsin, it was natural that they would settle along the banks of rivers. The wooded areas porvided shelter from the sometimes relentless prairie winds and supplied the lumber needed to build some of the first log homes in North Dakota. Before the days of the reailroad, the rivers were used as a primary source of transportation.
The early settlers of the community of Hatton chose to make their homes along the Goose River. Some of those early settlers were people such as Fingar Enger [Note: Enger Township was named after him. He and the Township is referenced frequently in Hatton's Heritage including a biography on Page 83. He is buried in Steele County and his memorial includes a extensive biography], Halvor Berg, and others who made their way up the valley in covered wagons, crossing the Red River in Breckenridge, Minnesota, and coming up on the North Dakota side. By 1878, 12 more parties had arrived in the area of Hatton, each establishing a claim to part of this rich Red River Valley.
Halvor Berg [Note: He is mentioned frequently in Hatton's Heritage including a family biography on Page 70. He is buried in family cemetery], seeing the need, established a community center on his claim, and later in 1876 opened the first post office with a mail route from Caledonia to Fargo. The present site of Hatton was really established by one of the early settlers by the name of James Hill [Note: James J. Hill, President of Great Northern Railway] who did not want to build on the river, so along with a woman by the name of Anne Vadde filed for the Hatton townsite. Anne Vadde established the first house in Hatton, a 6x5x5 sod hut. Within several years the first train came through Hatton in the year 1884. Along with the railroad came more people and that is all it took to make Hatton boom. Within several years there were a number of stores in Hatton. Some of the early stores were the Westrums store, C. J. Mastrud Hardware, Robinson Lumber, Cargill and Northwestern Elevators, and a drug store owned by J. J. Hogen. Of course there were the main stay businesses like the banks, the Bank of Hatton and the First National Bank, and as all villages must have, a blacksmith shop owned by Mr. Korsmo.
By 1901 Hatton had incorporated as a city, and the Benaret Newspaper was billed as the only Democratic Norwegian paper in the state, and the Hatton Free Press was established in the year 1905.
Throughout the years, Hatton has endured many hardships of the early pioneer days; fires, droughts, the Great Depression and so on. But the spirit of those early pioneers would not be broken, and even today that spirit lives on in the people of this Red River Valley community.

Taken from the Hatton Eielson Museum, date unknown. Transcribed for the web site by Mike Peterson.

Hatton Museum - Page 1

Hatton Museum - Page 2

Above museum pages are from the North Dakota Horizons, Winter 1981-82.

Hatton contemporary photos in Pictures of Small Towns in North Dakota
Please contact the County Coordinator if you have interesting additional items on the history of Hatton and would like to share them.