Prairie Nurseries Ltd.

Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

Prairie Nurseries Limited was established in 1911, as a Subsidiary of the Northwest Nursery Company, based in Valley City, North Dakota, USA.
The Northwest Nursery Co., Valley City, ND.

Logo 1924
“Prairie Trees for Prairie Homes”

  • Ernest C. Hilborn, Of Valley City,
  • E. A. Pray, of Valley City,
  • P. A. Pickett, of Leal, ND.
  • Ernest C. Hilborn, President; (see note 1)
  • William James Perkins QC, Vice-President; (see note 2)
  • Theodore Andrew Torgeson, Manager (see note 3)

Note 1-

Ernest C. Hilborn
b- Dec 31, 1876 in Ripon, Wisconsin,
d- Aug 26, 1953 in Stutsman County, ND, age 76.
the son of Edwin Hilborn and Celia A. Hilborn, nee Pond.
His father, Ed Hilborn, was actually born in Ontario, Canada, and worked as a tanner in Appleton in 1881.
When Ernest was 4, in 1881, he lived at Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin.
Ernest was orphaned at eleven years of age.
Ernest was taken in by his sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Sandberg, who lived at Rogers, North Dakota.
Later she moved to Valley City ND. Valley City is located just SE of Rogers ND. Ernest had 3 sisters and 2 brothers.
He actually took training to be a Teacher, like his oldest sister, Flora Adella Sandberg, nee Hilborn, who raised him.
When he died he was living in Barnes County, ND.
Buried in a Valley City Cemetery, Barnes County, ND.
During his lifetime, He was elected President of the National Association of Nurseries.

Note 2

William James Perkins QC,
b- Feb 3, 1884 in Winnipeg Manitoba
d- Mar 12, 1982 in Victoria BC. age 98
Lawyer, He was one of the Crown Prosecutors, at the trail of the 13 Miners, involved in the Estevan Riot in 1931.
(I think Perkins St. would be named after him)
His mother was Agnes Berger,
He married Margaretta (Margaret) Irene McBeath, Sept 16, 1911 in Winnipeg MB.
His sister Helen Margaret Perkins, was his law office Stenographer in 1911.
Mr. W. J. Perkins played the organ in the Catholic Church in Estevan, for 27 consecutive years.
One of his daughters Florence Ann Perkins, died in Victoria, on Oct 1, 2006.
Another daughter Marjorie L. Mooney, nee Perkins, actually attended ECI. We also show a Florence (Flo) that attended, but not sure if that is the same as the daughter above.

Note 3-

Controlling interest in Prairie Nursery Limited, was bought by Mr. Torgeson, from Mr. E. C. Hilborn, ca Dec 1912. He then became President, and General Manager.

President of Prairie Nurseries Ltd.
Theodore (Torge) Andrew Torgeson
b- Feb 19, 1885 in Ada, Minnesota, USA
d- Apr 22, 1976 in Boulder Colorado, USA, age 91
Funeral St. Paul's United Church, Estevan
buried in Souris Valley Memorial Gardens, Estevan

Member of the Estevan Masonic Lodge, appointed S.W. in 1919
Retired to Boulder in 1975 when the Company was sold
Received his elementary education in Hendrum, Norman Co, Minnesota, USA
Attended High School in Ada from 1900-1903
then taught school in Hendrum for 3 years.
Attended University of ND 1906, graduating in 1912, with degrees in arts and law.
Called to the bar in ND in 1912, but never did practice Law.

Married first Alice Eunice McFadden of Neche, ND, on June 24, 1915
b- ?
d- May 6, 1920
remarried Elsie Adelaide Gallaway of Estevan, on July 5, 1923.
b- May 7, 1895 in Estevan
d- July 24, 1980 in Vancouver BC, age 85
buried in Souris Valley Memorial Gardens in Estevan
Father- John Thomas Galloway
Mother- Elizabeth Ann Davis

Father- Osmond (Ormund?) (Osmund?) Torgeson
b- 1858 in Norway
1880 painter living in Madison, Dane Co, Wisconsin.
Postmaster in Village of Hendrum, Norman Co., Minnesota, in 1905
Immigrated to USA in 1861

Mother- Karen (Carrie?) (Mana?) Torgeson
b- June 1863 in Wisconsin, USA
d- before 1910

Grandparents on both sides, all born in Norway
paternal- Grandfather- Torger Torgerson
Grandmother- Anna Torgerson

Brother- Clarence Oscar Torgeson
b- June 1887 in Minnesota, USA
d- Nov 11, 1971 Midland, Midland, Texas, age 84
Brother- William Torgeson- b- Jan 1890 in Minnesota, USA
Sister- Olga Torgeson- b- Oct 1892 in Minnesota, USA
Sister- Etheline A. Torgeson- b- Oct 1897 in Minnesota, USA

South view of Estevan, and Souris Valley, taken 1926, showing the Prairie Nursery farm, in the foreground
The old Estevan Water tower and ECI are visible on the horizon
Picture taken by my Aunt Rose Gesell

Main Office, of the Prairie Nursery, Lower floor of 1130 3rd st.
Photo ca: late 1930's
Building was built in 1938.

Prairie Nurseries Limited Ad

Prairie Nursery ad 1922

Mr Torgeson, Corn Show, May 1926

Inside Prairie Nursery Packing Warehouse
Located near the railway, on 6th st., Built in 1926,
120 x 80 ft building, made out of reinforced concrete.
Quite a structure for those days

Feb 26, 1927, Old picture of the staff, in front of this warehouse

Aug 10, 1923, Torgeson Wedding

June 18, 1909, Theodore Torgeson, is President of the Western League of Oratory

Feb 7, 1946, Like her father, Joan Torgeson enters oratory contest

July 11, 1926, Big convention came to Estevan, and they inspected Prairie Nurseries Property

Feb 1, 1919, Ad for Salesman

My Grandfather Gus Gesell, was a manager of the Prairie Nursery farm, south of Estevan, near the Mets Baseball park.
His employer was Mr Torgeson, the owner of the business.

My Grandfather, Gus Gesell with the hat

Gus Gesell Family Pictures taken at Prairie Nurseries Farm, which was just SE of the Mets Baseball diamond, (or just East of the Estevan Golf Course.)
Photos taken by my Aunt Rose Gesell, daughter of my grandfather Gustav (Gus) A. Gesell, who is standing with a hat in one of the photos.

Elsie and Theodore Torgeson Family Christmas cards, sent to the Gesell family.
These are all photos of Riverdene.
Riverdene was an estate, just to the SE of the Estevan Water Treatment Plant. Built in 1927.
Located on the south side of the river at that point, Across the river from RiverBend Nursery

This was the summer home of the Torgeson's. They lived upstairs above the Prairie Nursery Office building, at 1130 3rd St., for the Winter months. It was built in 1938.

Photo of Riverdene
submitted by Donna Wallace Kranyak, from her Dad, Don Wallace, and Grandfather, Herb Wallace's collection.

My Aunt Dolly tells me the story, every spring, a grand piano from the 2nd floor of the winter residence,
Had to be taken down to Riverdene for the summer, and then returned each fall.
Imagine the moving guys loved that call!

Riverdene entrance Aug 2009

Sad to report Riverdene Estate Buildings are all gone, to make way for some Water treatment work.

Torgeson Park Plaque, In Honour of Mr. and Mrs. T. A. Torgeson
Located on the east side of Hillside

Mr. Torgeson purchased good farm land by the Souris River, from Mr. George Pawson, who came to the area, much earlier, and had an established market garden operation.
His son Jack Pawson operated it for years after his father's passing.

Prairie Nurseries became North American renowned for their Northwest Poplar Trees. A species once planted, would grow tall in a short time.
An excellent windbreak for a large farm yard. There are many of their trees planted in southern Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
Another variety was the hardy Cotoneaster, which was used for hedges. By the way this plant is NOT pronounced Cotton-Easter, no matter what the lady at Canadian Tire says!
It is 100% properly Pronounced Ko - to'nee - aster! Always has been, and always will be! It is actually a genus of the Rose (Rosaceae) family.

Theodore A. Torgeson Donated the Torgeson Medal to ECI. In 1936 it was awarded for Highest Academic Standing, in 2 math classes in Grade XII.
He was a member of the Estevan School board from 1941-1944

He had 3 daughters all of whom attended ECI.


  • Last modified: 2021/03/24 18:59
  • by dlgent