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In 1909, Kirkelie Township was organized with the following people signing the petition: Chas. T. Kirkelie, Thor E. Kirkelie, Hans B. Hansen, R. Haaland, Adrian Jensen, Albert Burtch, Paul Museh, Wm. Allen, Adam Esser, L.N.O. Goebel, Bill Burkofsky, Thos. Scriver, F.V. Bryant, Matt Goebel, F.B. Sowle, Evan Lloyd, Frank Gilbert, Gust Kirkelie, A.B. Hills, Fred Goebel, Henry Buee, John Sheehan, Halvor Kirkelie, Thoreson Olson, Thomas K. Neubeck, J.P. Goebel, Joseph Haider, Joseph Hennes, Franz Herzig, Adolph Herzig, Andrew Lazaris, Frank Uljrh (?). Conore Buee, W.E. Bryant, Chas. Scribner, A. Boschert, J.A. Goebel, M.H. St. John, C.G. Kittleson, H.M. Graves and Luis Anderson.
The naming of Kirkelie Township was supposed to have occurred after the surveying of the area was completed in 1887. The residents of the township gathered and placed the names of the three earliest settlers in a hat. Frank Kirkelie's name was pulled from the hat.
Dreng E. "Frank" Kirkelie, a widower, came to Minot on the first passenger train early in October 1886. He spent the first months picking buffalo bones and hauling them to Minot to sell. He picked the bones up the Des Lacs Valley as far as the future site of Bowbells and so knew the lay of the land very well. He settled northwest of Burlington on some land that had the Des Lacs River running through it which meant some timber for firewood and water for horses and cattle and a large field north of the river with heavy soil for raising grain and feed for the livestock.
Kirkelie was born Dec. 4, 1843 in Norway and came to the U.S. in 1846 with his parents. They settled in Wisconsin in 1846 and moved to Fillmore County, Minn. in 1855. He grew up there and married Mary Joel in 1865. In 1869, they moved to Yellow Medicine County, Minn. They had one son and four daughters before Mrs. Kirkelie died in 1874.
In 1879, Kirkelie moved to the Grafton, Dakota Territory area, before moving to Ward County. In 1890, he was elected a Ward County Commissioner and served one term. In 1906, he sold his farm and moved to Carbondale Township, near Donnybrook, where his two surviving daughters lived. One daughter, Belle, was married to Michael King and the other, Jane, to John King, Jr.
He died at the Michael King farm on March 18, 1923 at the age of 79.