I consider Spring Grove to be the "melting pot" of Norway, meaning that people from all areas of Norway came to Spring Grove from their first destinations in Wisconsin and Illinois and other eastern states and at times even directly from Norway. Spring Grove became the first permanent Norwegian settlement in Minnesota.

Carl Aaby's grandparents, Aslak Andersen Aaby, and his wife, Aaste "Ester" Nilsdatter Grovum, came from Telemark, Norway, in the 1840s.

Carl appears much later in our Spring Grove history, a transplant from Canisteo, Dodge County, Minn., born there March 7, 1881, as Carl Herman Aaby to his parents Nils Aslakson Aaby and Ingeborg Georgine Johnsen Gronsten.

On June 8, 1916, Carl married Ida Pederson, whose father, Iver Pederson, was the founder of Ettrick, Wis.

To say how Carl came to live in Spring Grove would be mostly a guess on my part, but if anyone knows the actual story, I would like to hear the details.

There are two possible reasons why he moved to Spring Grove and both probably came into play at the time.

Firstly, his sister, Aaste Aaby, had married Peter Jensen, the son of Pastor Eskild and Annette Olsen Jensen. Peter ran "The Blue Ribbon Bakery" here in Spring Grove. He baked the bread for the local stores until 1933, when large outside bakeries could offer the merchants a cheaper loaf of bread.

If memory serves me right, Peter continued in the restaurant business under the name of The Blue Ribbon Bakery. I recall going into this restaurant or coffee shop when I was a youngster. It was located where the Hair Affair is today.

The second reason, Carl may have moved to Spring Grove was that when the Four Square Co-op Oil Company was organized in 1928, and it advertised for a general manager, Carl might have applied and became a Spring Grove resident when he got the job. He was its general manager until March 21, 1939, when he resigned.

One interesting side note about the Four Square Co-op Oil Company is how they decided on their name.

The first name they came up with was "Consumers' Co-op Oil Company," but discovering that this name was already in use, they decided on "Four Square Co-op" because this name came from the square formed by the counties of Houston and Fillmore in Minnesota and Winneshiek and Allamakee in Iowa.

Carl Aaby was a member of the Houston County Selective Service Board during part or all of World War II.

The Selective Service Local Board was a group of five citizen volunteers whose mission, upon a draft, was to decide who among the registrants in their community would receive deferments, postponements or exemption from military service based on the individual registrant's circumstances.

In 1946, Carl was presented with the Selective Service Medal at Mankato by then Governor Edward Thye. The award was given to persons with more than two years of service in this capacity.

Carl Aaby also sold insurance, which I believe was for the New York Life Insurance Company.

Carl's wife, Ida, died in 1959. His children, Mary, Carlyle and Irene, had all moved away. His sister, Mrs. Peter Jensen, had also died, so in October of 1951, Carl had an auction and went to live with another sister in Kasson, Minn. He died March 2, 1968, and is buried at Ettrick, Wis.

Any additions or corrections to the story of Carl H. Aaby would be appreciated. You can contact me via email at rosefarm@springgrove.coop or mail 21566 County 4, Spring Grove, MN 55974.

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