Elson, E. ag.jpg
Induction Category & YearGeneral 1994
Home TownHarding County, SD
Harding County, SD
Haley Cemetery, SD

   Esther Elson
Champion of Excellence

 Ester worked odd jobs, including panning for gold in Idaho and cooking in Hawaii, before she wed her husband Ken Elson in 1942.

The Elsons bought their spread in northwestern South Dakota in 1949. During the next few years, they had three children—and Esther fell in love with the land. The family didn’t have electricity or running water at first, just a shack with practically nothing in it. Despite this, Esther loved it and the ranch was just beginning to pay off when tragedy struck. <p>When Esther Elson’s husband died suddenly in 1958, he left his widowed wife with a big decision. With less than $100 in the bank, Esther and her 3 young children joined together to stay on their Perkins County farm. <p>Esther Elson operated a 550 ewe farm till the age of 84. In 1992, she was awarded Master Feeder Lamb Producer of SD, one of a few SD woman to be honored. This amazing story of a woman overcoming grief to build her own successful farm and happy life has been told in various publications including the nationally known tabloid Globe magazine. <p>

Home Town (Harding County, SD)
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