The list of Choice Store operators is partially based on a list of postmasters and the date appointed that was obtained from the United States Postal Service. These postmaster dates are the only dates we know for certain. From the postmaster dates we can assume that the Choice store was started by Dec. 17, 1887. In the Rushford Standard newspaper dated 31 Jan. 1889 there is "…there is Choice down on the South Fork, started last year and doing a good business…". This would imply that the store was started in 1888 but I believe that late 1887 is the correct date.
This store was located on the south side of Highway 43 on Aygarn land. A depression where the store stood can still be seen. There are no known photos of the store but it reported to have looked like a store at Riceford.
The store burned down in Dec. 1945. A store in temporary buildings was operated for several more years. The store was closed in 1964.
Sven C. Thompson, appointed postmaster Dec. 17, 1887
We can assume that the post office was established shortly after the store was started. Sven was from Peterson, MN and was at one time the postmaster at Peterson. The birth of his son, Archie, b. 19 Apr. 1887, or the birth of his daughter Lilla, b. Feb. 1889, are not recorded in the Preble birth records. Sven may or may not have been in Choice at that time. But the birth of his son Selmer, b. 21 Apr. 1891, and his daughter Sophia, b. 26 July 1893, are recorded in Preble. They were born during his second time at the Choice store.
Sven Christian Thompson was born June 1856 in Clayton, Winnebago Co., WI, died in 1921 in Hettinger, ND. He also lived in Arendahl, Peterson and Rushford. In 1880 Sven was a grocer in Peterson. Sven was a son of Sven Torbiørnson (Thompson) and Anna Larsdtr. (Fylesvoll) Husetoft from Erfjord, Jelsa, Rogaland, Norway. In 1886 Sven married Johanna O. Ensberg, b. 14 Mar. 1864 in Land, Oppland, Norway, d. 20 Jan. 1906. She was from Arendahl, a daughter of Ole E. and Johanna Ensberg. Sven and Johanna are buried at Arendahl.
Next was Carl Melgord from Rushford. From June of 1886, Carl had been a merchant in the dry goods business in Rushford in partnership with Lars Lukkason. In May of 1889, Melgord sold his interests to his partner and bought the store in Choice from Sven Thompson.
Carl O. Magnusson Melgord was born Jan. 1837 in Beitstad, Nord-Trøndelag, Norway, d. 8 Jan. 1904. In 1865 he was living on the Melgaard farm in Beitstad and is listed as a lodger and a sailor. (Melgaard in Norwegian would be pronounced something like Melgord in English. The name has been spelled Melgord and Melgard.) Carl came to Wisconsin in 1866. He m. on 27 Nov. 1872 to Caroline Christianson. See Caroline under Christian Arntson Wennes on N33-5. In 1880 they were living in Milwaukee and Carl (Chas) is listed as a sailor. They moved to Rushford in 1886 and to Choice in 1889 and then back to Rushford. Carl came to Wisconsin in 1866 and moved to Rushford in 1886 where he lived in the village but was listed as a farmer (rented). In 1896 Carl and Caroline owned 60 acres in sections 23 and 24 of Rushford township. Caroline was the mother of 11 children, but only 9 survived to become adults. She was alive in 1920 living with unmarried children in Rushford. Carl died between 1900 and 1905 in Rushford.
In partnership in the Choice store with Melgord was Iver Boyum who was appointed postmaster on Sept. 2, 1889. Ivar A. Boyum was from Arendahl. He was married to Betsy Farenes. Ivar was the postmaster at Choice from 2 Sept. 1889 to 15 Sept. 1890. Ivar was a son on the Reverend Arne E. and Anna (Iverson) Boyum of Arendahl Township. (Arne Boyum was the president of the Hauge Synod of the Norwagian Lutheran Church.) Later Ivar and Betsy lived in Rushford and then in Northfield, MN. They had one child, Agnes Amelia Boyum, who was born in Preble.
1890-1895 (Sven is back.)
Sven C. Thompson, appointed postmaster Sept. 15, 1890
The last proprietors of this store were Joseph and John Ellefson, sons of Jacob and Maria Ellefson who lived in section 33 of Preble township. Joseph J. Elefson was appointed postmaster July 15, 1895.
A new store was build in 1899 by Ole Richardson across the road from the first store. It is said that lumber from the first store was used in building the house for the Choice store.
Richard O. Richardson was appointed postmaster Apr. 25, 1899. Richard was a son of Ole and Anna Richardson. Richard married in Norman county on 22 June 1900 to Ida Maria Dahl. Later they moved to Hettinger, Adams County, North Dakota.
Gerhard Eiken and Carl Hellerud.
Around the turn of the century, Gerhard Eiken and Carl Hellerud bought the Choice store. Carl J. Hellerud was appointed postmaster on Jan. 28, 1904. Carl was Gerhard's uncle. Carl sold his interest in the store to Gerhard in 1907 and Gerhard operated the store until 1912? (Perhaps Gerhard worked with Henry Backman.) Oscar Peterson was also in business with Gerhard. And maybe one of the Dahl boys maybe.
Henry S. Backman, a son of Andrew and Jane (Ring) Backman. Andrew owned a drug store in Whalan, MN. Henry was a school teacher and taught at the Sandsness school, district 14, in Norway Township and the Choice school, district 7, in Preble Township, Fillmore County. He married Anna Gorder. Henry operated the Choice Store from some time after 1907 until about 1912. About the same time that Henry would have operated the Choice store, his brother, J. Ogden Backman, was the director of the Choice band. J. Ogden Backman was the postmaster in Mabel, MN. Hannah and Henry's son, Allen Gorder, was born in the Choice area. Later the Bachmans lived at Winona, MN
Rushford Paper Jan. 29, 1909
"Beginning Feb. 1 and lasting for 10 days, a big sale of winter items will be held at the Choice Store, Henry Backman, prop."
Gerhard Eiken and Oscar Peterson. Gerhard and Oscar were married to sisters, Ida and Olga Nordgaard, daughters of Staal Iverson Nordgaard.
Rushford Paper, Sept. 1, 1910
"The store at Choice, which has been closed for some time, is now open under the management of Oscar Peterson and Gerhard Eiken."
Olaf Anderson operated the store but Gerhard Eiken owned it.
Clifford and Ione Eiken Larson