No element in the complex personnel of our national commonwealth has had a more vitalizing and permeating influence than that contributed by the hardy sons of the Norseland. From the fair shores of Norway and Sweden, with their beautiful fjords and quaint cities, have come to the United States men and women of sturdy integrity, alert mentality and unflagging industry, and these have furnished to our country a most valuable order of citizenship. In the early settlement of Latah county, Idaho, there came to this part of the territory a number of the ambitious and industrious sons of Norway, who sought to here establish homes for themselves and their families and to attain a due measure of success by honest toil and endeavor. They secured tracts of government land, and set vigorously at work to develop and improve the same. The results have been alike creditable to them and of distinct value to this section of the Gem state, which they have honored by their presence and labors. Of this number is William Kilde, who is known as a man of unimpeachable integrity and as one of the prosperous and representative farmers of the county.
William Kilde comes from a long line of sturdy Norwegian ancestors, his birth having occurred in the far distant land of the north on the 23d of November 1848. His family were Lutherans in their religious faith, and his father was an officer in the army of Norway, being a farmer by occupation and standing as a representative of one of the worthy families of that country. He attained the venerable age of ninety-five years, and his estimable and devoted wife passed away at the age of sixty-five years. They became the parents of ten children, of which number eight are still living, the subject of this review having been the youngest in the family.
William Kilde received his educational discipline in his native land, and at the age of seventeen years severed the tender ties which bound him to the home and friends of his childhood and came to the United States, for the purpose of making a home for himself in the “land of the free.” That the young emigrant was animated by a courageous spirit may readily be understood when we revert to the fact that when he arrived in this distant land he was ignorant of the language of the country and was without financial reinforcement. He was, however, amply fortified by marked intelligence, a large, strong and healthy body, and by habits of industry, these have been the forces by which he has wrought out for himself a gratifying and worthy success in temporal affairs, and his life has been so ordered that in his adopted country he has won and retained the respect and esteem of all with whom he has come in contact. No one can look without admiration upon a success and prestige thus won by the emigrant lad who faced the problem of life and its duties without flinching.
Mr. Kilde located at first in Wisconsin, where he found employment at farm work. He was economical in his habits, saved his wages and ever had in mind his cherished ambition of owning a home of his own. He was eventually able to realize his aim, for he became the owner of a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, in LaCrosse County, Wisconsin.
In 1869 occurred an important event in the life of Mr. Kilde, for he was then united in marriage to Miss Carrie Paulson, who like himself was born in Norway, the daughter of Gilbert and Ann Paulson, whom, as a child, she accompanied on their emigration to the United States. Our subject and his wife continued to reside in Wisconsin for several years after their marriage, and there two children were born to them, Annie M. and Lena A. After their removal to Idaho other children came to brighten the family circle, namely: Henry, Mary, John, Gilbert, Paul, (who died in infancy), Matilda, and Paul, (2d). Mrs. Kilde’s mother is still living, having attained the venerable age of eighty-six years.
In the year 1878 Mr. Kilde removed with his family to Idaho, and they took up their abode on their present farm, in what is now Latah County, the original tract comprising one hundred and sixty acres of government land. Here our subject built a little log house, having completed this work while his wife, with her two little daughters, was coming to him from Portland, Oregon. While Mrs. Kilde was in the city mentioned, however, she was called upon to bear a burden of great grief and care, for the little daughter Annie there died, from an attack of diphtheria. She continued her saddened journey and in due time reached the little home prepared by her husband.
As prosperity attended the efforts of Mr. Kilde he added to his landed possessions, until he now has a valuable and highly productive farm of two hundred and forty acres, well improved. For a number of years the family continued to reside in the primitive house of logs, but they have now a commodious and attractive farm residence, supplied with all necessary conveniences, while a large barn has also been erected. The stock on the place, as well as the fertile fields, shows the care and attention of the discriminating proprietor. Mr. Kilde raises all kinds of crops, including vegetables and fruits, but makes the cultivation of wheat his principal line, having secured as high a yield of this cereal as fortyfive bushels to the acre.
In politics Mr. Kilde is a Republican, and he has served as a trustee of his school district for a number of years, doing all in his power to promote the legitimate interests of this section of the state. He is a man of strong physique and the fine climate of Idaho promotes continued good health to him and his family.
Living goodly lives, industrious in habits, kindly in all their relations with their fellow men, they enjoy the cordial esteem and good will of a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and the success which has been achieved has been won by none but worthy means.