Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: WWI
Home Town: Eddy Township
Lars Bjorbeck was born March 9, 1888 in Hillsboro, North Dakota to Ole L. and Marit Orsun Bjorbeck. Ole and his family had immigrated to America from Norway in 1873 when Ole was ten years old. Marit immigrated in 1883. Marit and Ole were married in 1887 and settled in Hillsboro. When land opened for homesteading in Clearwater County, Minnesota in 1896 Ole filed for homestead on 160 acres in section 22 of Eddy Township. He put up buildings and made necessary preparations for Marit and his children. When they were old enough, Lars and his brother Julius, born just two years after him, helped with the farm. Rounding out the family were Mamie, born in November of 1891 and Amanda in 1903. Lars’ sister Mamie died at age 16 I 1907 of unknown causes. The family was a member of Concordia Lutheran Church in Eddy Township since its organization.
Mail for the Bjorbeck family was delivered to the Willborg Post Office. Lars and his neighbors would take turns walking to Willborg to get the mail. When they returned, they would put their neighbor’s mail into a covered wooden box in a certain pine tree and it would remain there until they had time to fetch it.
Lars was 29 years old when he registered for the draft on June 5, 1917, stating that he was tall with dark blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was single and claimed no exemptions that would keep him from being drafted. It is unknown what date Lars entered the Army, but he is listed as a member of the 128th infantry Regiment, 32nd Division when he embarked from Hoboken, New Jersey with Company H on the troop transport ship Olympic on August 9, 1918.
The 32nd Division served on the front line during World War I from May 18, 1918 until the end of the War on November 11. In the closing months of the war, the 128th Infantry participated in several major campaigns including Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne and Meuse-Argonne. It was the first American Division to pierce the famed “Hindenburg Line,” fought in four major offensives and earned the name “Les Terrible” from the French for their fury in combat.
On October 5, 1918, Lars was listed as killed in action in France. His body was buried in Plot B, Grave 28 in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France. His cross is inscribed, “Lars Bjorbeck, 128th Infantry, 32nd Division.”
The Bjorbeck family remained on the farm in Eddy until their deaths when son Julius took it over. Daughter Amanda married Melvin Edeen and settled in the area.