3. TOLLEF (1804- 1874)(1803 - 1874)
Tollef was born at Kaasa near Skien. He married Karen Andrea Axelsdatter (1802-1874) in 1830.
Tollef was a tailor and had a shop in Christiansand with several hired tailors. Later he tailored at
Farsund, for it was from there that he and his family sailed, in 1855, for Wisconsin to join his
other brothers in the U. S.
Karen Andrea's ancestry was written in an old Bible, in Thurlow T. Jacobson's possession in
1954, reveals: her father, Axel Ambrossen, was born in 1766 at Gaarden Southern Teren in
Wivestad Annex. He died in 1837. Her mother, Gunild Olsdatter, was born in 1766 on Gaarden
Northern Teren in Wivestad Annex. She died in 1836. They were engaged in 1791 and were
married that same month and moved to Haijord. Karen Andrea was one of five children. From
Thea, (Tollef and Karen Andrea's youngest child) there is a story that Karen Andrea's folks had
invested their assets in a cooperative business venture, or factory, which failed. They lost their
gaard (farm) and paid back every indebtedness (of some $10,000 in our money). They were the
last of the line to live in the house at Jarlsberg. The gaard named lay in the Jarlsberg Grevskab
(township or district) between Drammen and Larvik. (Reva and Ramnes are the gaarder
On arriving in Wisconsin, Tollef took a lumber land claim where a clearing was made that first
winter but his claim proved to have no cleat. title. Tollef and the three boys, Jacob, Gustav, and
Axel, trekked into the southern states, as far as Tennessee and Alabama, but found that
Northerners were not welcome so they went back to Wisconsin. They then again set out with oxen
teams, expecting to file for homesteads in Missouri. On their way from Wisconsin, with two span
of horses and covered wagons, through Iowa, they stopped at the recent Norwegian settlement of
1855, two or three miles southwest of Cambridge, and stayed a few days with the Seversons, then
on to Missouri. That winter, about 1858, the boys hauled wood. Thea and Tallette worked in a
hotel as maids in St. Joseph, which was the western and of the railroad line. Tallette was a baker
in the kitchen and Thea was a chambermaid. The manager wanted Thea to go into the men's
rooms in early morning, while the men were still in bed, and light their fires. This chore was
highly distasteful. Besides, Missouri was pre-war, torn over slavery. It was then decided to go to
Kansas and get a homestead but, by then, it was "Bleeding Kansas", as our history books have it.
A change then in plans led them from Council Bluffs to Sioux City, figuring on settling in the
They all walked except their mother, Karen Andrea, who wasn't able. They'd sing as they
tramped along. At Sioux City, Iowa, in 1860, they camped. Evenings, when they sang, it got to
be an attraction for folks in town who'd drive out to listen. Jacob and Gustav got government
contracts to haul supplies to Fort Yankton via Vermillion. Mrs. Bigelow a-sked Thea to come into
her home. They were fine, refined folks from Vermont. There was also a Mrs. Field, whose
husband was a brother of Marshall Fields of Chicago fame. It was here that Thea was discovered
looking at newspapers and found that she could read English. The Bigelow's encouraged her to go
to school and become a teacher. Mrs. Bigelow's mother said if she had money she would like to
take Thea East to study voice as she had an unusually lovely Soprano voice. However, life
Axel and another young man had taken supplies to Fort Yankton. They camped by the Jim River
on the return trip. That night, in early morning, snorting and stamping of their horses awakened
them. As they arose out of their wagon Axel was shot by the Indians and died. The other man
was wounded by an arrow but was not killed. The horses, curiously, got away from the Indians
and returned to Vermillion.
Thea, the next year of 1861, became ill with typhoid lever. Tallette and Jacob helped care for her
at night. It was 1862 when she started school.
In the meantime, Jacob liked land on the east side of the Missouri River and took up a claim, as
also did Gustav. In 1861, the Ellefson's, whom they'd known in Port Washington, trekked
through Minnesota. Margarethe took a stage via Sioux Falls and met Jacob at Vermillion, where
they were married. Jacob had built a log cabin on his claim and it was there, in December of 1862,
that Thurlow Tegner was born.
It was in 1862 that Gustav was married here to an attractive widow, Mrs. Aslaug Olson, or Aase,
who had one child, Annie, later Mrs. Wallen (Annie gave Thea a blank book for her diary in
1865). It was in 1862 or 1863 that the parent'), Tollef and Karen Andrea, decided to go to
Cambridge to live, taking Tallette with them. Thea continued in school. Dakota Territory was
organized in 1862. In the book, Builders of the Empire by Moses Armstrong, it is recorded that
Jacob Jacobson, in the fall of 1861, was elected from Clay County as representative to the first
legislative meeting of Dakota Territory, and, in April 1862, Gustav Jacobson was Sargent at Arms.
This same volume records the shooting of Axel Jacobson Much unrest, because of the Indians,
was evident and many left the country.
Gustav and family, as well as Jacob and family, went back to Iowa in 1868, then to Willmar,
Minnesota, and later to Minot and Towner in North Dakota. Thea finished her schooling in Sioux
City and was on a stage coach on her way to Nevada, Iowa, where she was to take a searcher's
examination, when a horseback courier stopped the stage with the news, "Lincoln's been shot."
Thea taught school in Story Co. and lived with her parents until 1867 , when she was married to
Alfred Johnson, a Civil War veteran. They lived on a farm between Huxley and Cambridge.
Tollefand Karen Andrea lived with them until 1874 when they both died, six months apart, from
cholera. They lie buried in Palestine Cemetery, about two-and-a-half miles southwest of
Cambridge, Iowa, on Highway 210.
4. JAKOB Born in 1807 (1806). In 1829 he married Anne Hansdatter Kleven, b. 1804. They did not
( ANNE Born in 1804, apparently died as an infant.)
5. JOHANNES (1810-1888)
From NORDMAENDENE I AMERIKA by Martin Ulvestad:
"Jacobson, Johannes, emigrated from Kaasen, Holden, Lower Telemark, 1844, to Muskego,
WI, together with his brothers, Nils Jacobson and Peder Jacobson. (Latter named was the
well known "Klokker Jacobson" who is named in another place in connection with Muskego
Church.) "Nordlyset" (the first Norwegian newspaper in America began in the dirt-cellar
(dugout) where also Johannes J. lived; later (from 1867) he was a pioneer-farmer in Arctander
Township by Willmar, Minnesota. His son, Jacob Jacobson, veteran from the Civil War, is a
farmer in the same place. Another son, Peder Jacobson, also a Civil War veteran, is a
furniture maker in Louisville, Kentucky. A third son, Amos Jacobson, has been a wheat
buyer (elevator) in Kerkhoven, Minnesota since 1892." (Translated from Norwegian.)
Johannes Jacobson Kaasa (1810-1888) and Kirsten (Christine) Marie Ytterbø (1816-1890) were
married in Norway 7 August 1840. Johannes was a wagonmaker (wheelwright) in Norway. In
1844 Johannes and his family came from Holden (Holla), Telemark, to Muskego, WI, in Racine
County, south of Milwaukee. Much is written in history books about the settlement at Muskego
and their difficulties in clearing the land for farming, cholera epidemics, and the Muskego church.
The first Norwegian Lutheran congregation in the U. S. was begun at Muskego and Johannes was
involved in building the church. In 1904 the church building was moved to the campus of what is
now Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. A grandson, George Jacobson, helped with the
restoration. A picture of Johannes Jacobson hangs in the balcony of the Old Muskego church.
This picture was contributed to the seminary in the late 1930's or early 1940's by Mrs. Amos
Jacobson. Some of the descendants of Johannes bear a strong resemblance to him. There is a
similar picture of Johannes at the home of Robert Aasen, his great-grandson, which previously
was in the home of Martin and Anne Margrethe (Jacobson) Aasen's home. To our knowledge we
have no picture of Kirsten, Johannes' wife. Family members have said Kirsten refused to allow
anyone to take her picture.
Johannes and his family left Muskego in 1848 and went to Port Washington, WI, north of
Milwaukee. In July of 1867 they headed for Kandiyohi County in Minnesota, crossing the
Mississippi River at St. Cloud on the old ferry and homesteaded in Arctander Twp., near Sunburg.
Eventually the land was farmed by their son, Amos, and his wife, Emma, who sold it after a few
years. Later the land was bought by Hans and Ole Hauge. Amos and Emma moved to Kerkhoven
where Amos worked at the grain elevator and farmed southwest of Kerkhoven.