The Christopher family to the Letcher area from Lee, IL.,in 1882 -1883. The first to come were Mr and Mrs Jens Christopher. He was born on the farm known as KVALNES in Hardanger, Norway. A daughter Julia and her husband Knute Nelson Hefte, and their children came to the US in 1882, too.
In addition to building up a large stock farm in Elliott township, complete with a smoke house and a large water wheel for grinding purposes, Jens was a lay preacher and travel in eastern SD organizing Lutheran Congregations. He was named first director of the Elliott School District. He died in 1903.
In 1883, Jen's two sons, Christ and John J. Christopher came to Dakota Territory from Lee, IL. Christ and wife, Ella Thorson, brought their baby Anna, who later was Mrs Dan Tjomsland of Los Angeles. They settled in Elliott Township west of Letcher. Other children of Christ and Ella Christopher were sons, Gerhard and Elmer who went to Los Angeles, and daughters Sarah (Mrs. Rudolf Holter) and Hattie (Mrs. Elmer Shay) of the Letcher area.
John J. Christopher married Kathrine Helgeson of Haugesund, Norway in 1889. Their home was in section 26, Elliott Township. In the early days they angled wast across the prairie to trade in Letcher, following a trail past the Carter's grove, the present day Wilbur Johnson farm. In 1902 the family moved into Letcher and lived there until 1908. Mr Christopher operated a threshing rig in the area and a few years ago Joe Heinzman and Mrs Vitak (mother of the Meiers brothers) remembered this well. John rented pasture in the school section, west of Letcher Cemetery and daughter Margaret, herded cattle there. John Christopher and the Sellands also brought livestock in the area during these years and shipped it by rail to Sioux City. Their pens were located west of the tracks, on the north side of Letcher Main Street.
While living in Letcher, the family attended the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mrs Christopher was a member of the Rebeccas. The children attended Letcher Public School. During this time the house in Elliott was occupied by several families, among them P. M. Hjelm, and Pat Callahan who reportedly farrowed a sow in one of the rooms.
John J. and Kathrine Christopher were the parents of six children. Two died in childhood. Two daughters, were Margaret (Mrs A. P. Aanestad 1895-1980)) of Washington, DC and Sun City, Ariz., and Elsie (Mrs. T. M. Garborg 1900-1964 of Minneapolis). Their sons. Millard, (1894-1953) and Harry (1898-1963) farmed in Elliott Township.
About 1907 a band of traveling gypsies came to Letcher and settled down near the railroad tracks. Ellick Heljeson, a visiting Uncle of Kathrine Christopher and an old Civil War Veteran, marched up to the group, and in a thundering voice much fortified by hops and barley, ordered them to leave town at once. They left Letcher.
Harry married Amanda Roti of Howard. They were parents of three children, Richard, Donald and Nancy, all of Letcher. Donald married Patricia Buchanan of Mitchell, and their children are John, Denise and James. Nancy married Myron Sonne and their children are Christopher and Amanda.
I am not related to this family. I am just working on the Letcher, SD family sections from the 1983 Letcher History book. My own family from Norway is Moen from all Sparbu