By Tom Everts

My grandparents, E.A. and Rozella Everts arrived in Otter Tail County June 1, 1871.  They took a homestead (now owned by Leta Hanson) in Section 27 Township 133N, a township that was subsequently named for them. 

E.A. Everts had been a Union soldier in the Civil War and there had met Eben E. Corliss.  The two became lifelong friends.  Corliss came to Clitherall Township in 1870 and two years later, he became the first county attorney for Otter Tail County.  

Eben wrote to E.A. Everts, who was farming in Fillmore county, near Chatfield, MN, praising Otter Tail County and urged him to hasten here.  Grandfather E.A. Everts heeded his advice, loaded his belongings, his bride, and his two-year-old son into a wagon and headed north.

E.A. farmed his homestead for about 10 years with some success.  He was in need of building materials to make some improvements to his farm.  There was a saw mill at Frazee, so he went there via horse and buggy and bought a carload of lumber. It was the year 1882.  This carload came on the very first train carrying merchandise on the new Northern Pacific railway branch Staples to Oaks, ND.  

My uncle Harry Everts who was 14 years old at that time told that many settlers in the area had come to see this train, and when they saw the lumber, they wanted to buy it, so Grandfather sold it and ordered another carload, and that one went the same way.  So you see it was as easy as “falling off a log” for Grandfather to go into the lumber business.

Hartshead Sir Ralph

Hartshead Sir Ralph

April 12,1957 - April 25, 1970

“Ralph” was the unofficial mascot of Everts Lumber for much of his life. If he missed his ride to “work” with Tom Everts, he would trot in on his own to help out with daily activity at Everts Lumber.

Everts Lumber 1920 Snowstorm

Everts Lumber – April 1920 after a snowstorm.

Ed Everts

Ed Everts studying the accounts. Ed continued to assist with accounting at the family business into his retirement years. He passed away in 1986.

Original office

This is the original Everts lumber office and sheds circa 1905. Fred Everts (center) and nephew, Ambrose Everts. Bert and Emma MacAteer, when first married, lived in the upper story. Bert said in winter it was colder than outside!

John and Peter Evert

Following in the footsteps of patriarch Edmund were his son Fred (1905); Fred’s sons Ed and Tom (1954), Tom’s sons John and Peter. Current owners are John Everts and his sons Rezin and Ambrose. They are the fifth generation of Everts to own the lumber company in Battle Lake.

Everts 1954

Sunday morning after church about 1954. John, Peter and Tom Everts posed showing exterior remodel job.

House 1882

This house was built in 1882 by E.A. Everts. The Everts and the Thorstad families lived in this home prior to its current owners. Doug and DeeAnn Trosdahl, who purchased it in 1994.

House 2008

The Trosdahl Family
Shelby and dog Max, Allison, DeeAnn, Adam and daughter Kaylee and Doug Trosdahl.
July 2008.

Rail Car

Richard Hochstein and John Everts unloading rail car of ponderosa pine lumber.
January 1980

Present Day Everts Lumber Co.

Present day exterior view of Everts Lumber Co. “Prairie Needles”, Andrea Everts’ yarn store now occupies the north portion of the building.

Current Store

The current store, which is to the south, was built in 1978 and houses the hardware store and offices. An addition was added to the east end in 1995 and houses the paint department and an office.

Pole Shed Exterior

Pole Shed Interior

Built in 2006, a 60’ x 200’ pole shed was erected to house building materials.

Edmund Everts

Great-Grandfather Edmund Everts started the business in 1882, almost by accident. Planning to do some building on the farm that he had homesteaded on West Battle Lake, Everts had ordered a load of lumber to be delivered by train. When the train arrived and other townspeople saw the lumber, those eager to build houses and other structures asked Everts if he would consider selling some of his shipment. The rest is history.


Invoice for materials used in building a granary in 1891.

Everts 1970

Everts Lumber 1970.

Fred Evert

Fred was the second generation owner of Everts Lumber.

Thomas D. Evert

Thomas D. Everts at work Feb. 1980. “Maybeline” the Everts family dog was “assisting”. Tom is retired, and he and his wife Elaine reside in Battle Lake. They are the current occupants of the home built for Fred and Charolotte Everts in 1910.

Sunday Drive

A Sunday drive. One horse shay circa 1900. Fred Everts and girlfriends.


Centennial Book
Excerpts about Everts Lumber