Aronson, J. Hugo (John Hugo), 1891-1978

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J. Hugo Aronson was born in Gallstad, Sweden on September 1, 1891, a son of Aron Johanson (1856-1927), a tenant farmer, and Rika Ryding Johannsen (1857-1940). The Johannsens had five children: Anna, Karl, Julia, John Hugo, and Erik Johannsen Aronson. Anna Aronson married Karl Skold and the couple had three children: Gunnar, Karin, and Allan. Julia Aronson Joseffson had two sons. Sven Johanson was also a nephew of J. Hugo Aronson. J. Hugo Aronson was educated in the public schools of Gallstad, Sweden. He left school at the age of 14 to work. Hugo came to the United States from Sweden in 1911, penniless, except for the 25 dollar immigration fee required. His brothers and sisters remained residents of Sweden. After working at various jobs through thirty-eight states, Hugo arrived in Columbus, Montana in 1914. While working for Frank Young in Columbus he got the nickname "The Galloping Swede." In 1915 Hugo filed for a 320-acre homestead in Elk Basin. On December 8, 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at Billings and served as a private with the 20th Engineers in France. On June 3, 1919, while in France with the American Expeditionary Forces, Aronson married Matilda Langane, who was in charge of the French-American Red Cross group and had been one of premier Georges Clemenceau's secretaries. He was honorably discharged on July 17, 1919, as a private first class at Hoboken, New Jersey.

Aronson returned to Columbus with his wife and rented a farm which he operated while working in the oil fields at Elk Basin, Wyoming. In January 1923, Hugo went to Sunburst, Montana where he was a tool dresser, or driller's helper, for a drilling company. In 1924, another rig-builder, Roy Berrey, and Hugo became partners in the Sunburst Construction Company. It was a profitable business but only after a year Roy decided to sell Hugo out. Hugo then operated his own rig-building outfit under his own name and started advertising as "The Galloping Swede." Matilda was the bookkeeper. He added a trucking business to the rig-building company, and at the time Hugo was the largest rig-builder in Montana. When oil was discovered in Kevin-Sunburst fields in Montana, Hugo built the first building in Oilmont. In 1928 he founded Gallop City near Conrad. It was the largest of the oil-fields camps, a community which boasted 500 inhabitants. Hugo and Matilda Aronson traveled to Sweden and France to visit family in 1924. That same year, they traveled to Glacier National Park and Waterton. They also visited California, Nevada, and Utah. Matilda died in Paris, France in 1936 of cancer.

On September 25, 1944, J. Hugo Aronson married Rose McClure in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rose McClure Aronson was born in Mondovi, Washington in 1904, the daughter of rancher Evan McClure and Bertha Brink McClure. An educator, she was superintendent of schools in Glacier County at the time of her marriage. The Aronsons had one daughter, Rika Berthevan Aronson, who was born in Cut Bank on December 13, 1945. She married Gary Robert Mogolis and the couple had two children: Joani Michele (born Oct. 1, 1967) and John Robert.

Aronson's political career began with his election as Cut Bank City Alderman in 1934. A Republican, he served three terms in the Montana House of Representatives as a member from Glacier County (1939-1944), and for the next eight years was a member of the Montana State Senate, also representing Glacier County. Aronson served on the board of directors of the Montana Motor Transport Association for many years. He was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) and the American Legion. He was a member of the Algeria Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Blue Lodge, York Rite, and Scottish Rite Masonic bodies. J. Hugo Aronson was elected governor of Montana on November 4, 1952. George Gosman was elected lieutenant governor. Other executive officers included Attorney General Arnold Olsen, Secretary of State Sam W. Mitchell, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Mary M. Condon. Hugh Adair was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Montana; Alex Stephenson, Chief of the Highway Patrol; and Wesley Castles was Aronson's executive secretary. Aronson was elected to a second term in 1956. Democrat Paul Cannon was elected lieutenant governor. Edna J. Hinman served as Clerk of the Supreme Court; Forrest H. Anderson as Attorney General; Harriett Miller as Superintendent of Public Instruction; and S.H. Mitchell was the Adjutant General. As Governor, Hugo battled over oil and gas leasing that arose out of the discovery of oil in the Williston Basin in 1951; he worked for better schools, for prisoner rehabilitation, for oil conservation, and for highway development. In 1959, a new governors' residence was built and the Aronsons became the first family to reside there.

Following his second term as governor, the Aronsons retired to Bigfork, Montana. Rose Aronson died February 25, 1968 and J. Hugo Aronson's death came on the tenth anniversary of his wife's, February 25, 1978, at the age of 86.

From the description of J. Hugo Aronson papers, 1924-1968. (Montana Historical Society Library). WorldCat record id: 226970417

J. Hugo Aronson was born in Gallstad, Sweden on September 1, 1891, a son of Aron Johanson (1856-1927), a tenant farmer, and Rika Ryding Johannsen (1857-1940). The Johannsens had five children: Anna, Karl, Julia, John Hugo, and Erik Johannsen Aronson. Anna Aronson married Karl Skold and the couple had three children: Gunnar, Karin, and Allan. Julia Aronson Joseffson had two sons. Sven Johanson was also a nephew of J. Hugo Aronson.

J. Hugo Aronson was educated in the public schools of Gallstad, Sweden. He left school at the age of 14 to work. Hugo came to the United States from Sweden in 1911, penniless, except for the $25.00 immigration fee required. His brothers and sisters remained residents of Sweden. After working at various jobs through thirty-eight states, Hugo arrived in Columbus, Montana in 1914. While working for Frank Young in Columbus he got the nickname "The Galloping Swede." In 1915 Hugo filed for a 320-acre homestead in Elk Basin.

On December 8, 1917, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at Billings and served as a private with the 20th Engineers in France. On June 3, 1919, while in France with the American Expeditionary Forces, Aronson married Matilda Langane, who was in charge of the French-American Red Cross group and had been one of premier Georges Clemenceau’s secretaries. He was honorably discharged on July 17, 1919, as a private first class at Hoboken, New Jersey.

Aronson returned to Columbus with his wife and rented a farm which he operated while working in the oil fields at Elk Basin, Wyoming. In January 1923, Hugo went to Sunburst, Montana where he was a tool dresser, or driller’s helper, for a drilling company. In 1924, another rig-builder, Roy Berrey, and Hugo became partners in the Sunburst Construction Company. It was a profitable business but only after a year Roy decided to sell Hugo out. Hugo then operated his own rig-building outfit under his own name and started advertising as "The Galloping Swede." Matilda was the bookkeeper. He added a trucking business to the rig-building company, and at the time Hugo was the largest rig-builder in Montana. When oil was discovered in Kevin-Sunburst fields in Montana, Hugo built the first building in Oilmont. In 1928 he founded Gallop City near Conrad. It was the largest of the oil-fields camps, a community which boasted 500 inhabitants.

Hugo and Matilda Aronson traveled to Sweden and France to visit family in 1924. That same year, they traveled to Glacier National Park and Waterton. They also visited California, Nevada, and Utah.

Matilda died in Paris, France in 1936 of cancer.

On September 25, 1944, J. Hugo Aronson married Rose McClure in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rose McClure Aronson was born in Mondovi, Washington in 1904, the daughter of rancher Evan McClure and Bertha Brink McClure. An educator, she was superintendent of schools in Glacier County at the time of her marriage. The Aronsons had one daughter, Rika Berthevan Aronson, who was born in Cut Bank on December 13, 1945. She married Gary Robert Mogolis and the couple had two children: Joani Michele (born Oct. 1, 1967) and John Robert.

Aronson's political career began with his election as Cut Bank City Alderman in 1934. A Republican, he served three terms in the Montana House of Representatives as a member from Glacier County (1939-1944), and for the next eight years was a member of the Montana State Senate, also representing Glacier County. Aronson served on the board of directors of the Montana Motor Transport Association for many years. He was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (V.F.W.) and the American Legion. He was a member of the Algeria Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Blue Lodge, York Rite, and Scottish Rite Masonic bodies.

J. Hugo Aronson was elected governor of Montana on November 4, 1952. George Gosman was elected lieutenant governor. Other executive officers included Attorney General Arnold Olsen, Secretary of State Sam W. Mitchell, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Mary M. Condon. Hugh Adair was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Montana; Alex Stephenson, Chief of the Highway Patrol; and Wesley Castles was Aronson's executive secretary.

Aronson was elected to a second term in 1956. Democrat Paul Cannon was elected lieutenant governor. Edna J. Hinman served as Clerk of the Supreme Court; Forrest H. Anderson as Attorney General; Harriett Miller as Superintendent of Public Instruction; and S.H. Mitchell was the Adjutant General.

As Governor, Hugo battled over oil and gas leasing that arose out of the discovery of oil in the Williston Basin in 1951; he worked for better schools, for prisoner rehabilitation, for oil conservation, and for highway development. In 1959, a new governors' residence was built and the Aronsons became the first family to reside there.

Following his second term as governor, the Aronsons retired to Bigfork, Montana. Rose Aronson died February 25, 1968 and J. Hugo Aronson's death came on the tenth anniversary of his wife's, February 25, 1978, at the age of 86.

From the guide to the J. Hugo Aronson papers, 1924-1968, (Montana Historical Society Research Center)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. JCOC 24Th FIRE POWER DEMONSTRATION OPENING THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY OF USAF
referencedIn Bob Brown oral history project, 2005-2010 University of Montana--Missoula Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections
creatorOf Montana. Governor. Records, 1871-1962. Montana Historical Society Library
creatorOf Aronson, J. Hugo (John Hugo), 1891-1978. J. Hugo Aronson papers, 1924-1968. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn Tobacco Valley Improvement Association. Records of the Tobacco Valley Improvement Association, 1945-2000. Tobacco Valley Board of History
creatorOf J. Hugo Aronson papers, 1924-1968 Montana Historical Society Research CenterArchives
referencedIn Wesley A. D'Ewart Papers, 1936-1973 Montana State University-Bozeman Library, Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. USAF PARTICIPATION IN RESCUE OF MONTANA EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS
creatorOf Craney, Edmund B., 1905-1991,. Edmund B. Craney speech collection, 1928-1952. Montana Historical Society Library
creatorOf Aronson, J. Hugo (John Hugo), 1891-1978. Fred Robinson Bridge dedication broadcast, 1959 Aug. 16. Montana Historical Society Library
referencedIn D'Ewart, Wesley Abner, 1889-1973. Wesley A. D'Ewart papers, 1936-1973. Montana State University (MSU) Library, MSU Library; Renne Library; MSU Library - Bozeman
referencedIn Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations. 1900 - 2003. Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities. 1947 - 1984. EARTHQUAKE RESCUE ACTIVITIES, WEST YELLOWSTONE, MONTANA AND HAMILTON AFB, CALIFORNIA, 18 - 22 AUGUST 1959
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aronson, Rose McClure, 1905-1968. person
associatedWith Brown, Bob, 1947 Dec. 11-, interviewer person
associatedWith Craney, Edmund B., 1905-1991, person
associatedWith D'Ewart, Wesley Abner, 1889-1973. person
associatedWith Montana. Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith Montana. Office of the Governor. corporateBody
associatedWith Republican Party (Mont.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Tobacco Valley Improvement Association. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Montana
Montana
Subject
Government and Politics
Elections--Montana
Governors--Montana
Governor
Montana
Elections
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1891-09-01

Death 1978-02-25

English

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