G.A. Gilbertson


A prominent representative of the Norwegian race in Allamakee county and owner of a valuable farm of two hundred acres improved with splendid buildings, G. A. Gilbertson is one of the foremost citizens of Paint Creek township and one of its most prosperous and progressive agriculturists. He was born in Nordre land, Norway, January 16, 1848, a son of Osten Gilbertson, also a native of Norway, who emigrated to America in 1853. For two years the father worked in the pineries of Wisconsin, having a hard struggle to make a living as he came to this country empty in pocket, even owing his passage money. In 1855 he drove an ox team and covered wagon to Allamakee county and, having husbanded his savings while working in Wisconsin, was enabled to buy one hundred and sixty acres of wild land. He endured many hardships and difficulties and during his first summer lived in his covered wagon and a rail pen. He then built a small log house and as he cleared his land and brought his acres under cultivation gradually acquired the means which enabled him to supplant this primitive structure with a more substantial brick residence, which still stands today. The father died about four years ago on this farm, to the cultivation of which he had given his unwearied labor, the mother having passed away about fifteen or sixteen years before that time. Osten Gilbertson was married when he left his native land, having contracted a union there with Miss Isabelle Hanson, and to them two children were born in their native land: G. A., of this review; and Martin, who died at the age of twenty years. A sister of our subject, Isabelle, born in Allamakee county, is now Mrs. J. P. Bakke, a resident of Center township.

G. A. Gilbertson was reared under the parental roof and amid the primitive conditions of pioneer life learned endurance and the value of industry and honesty. His education was but limited and, such as it was, received in the district schools of the neighborhood, but he has since acquired much valuable knowledge in the school of life. He remained with his parents, assisting his father in the work of the farm and learning the value of thorough methods, the proper processes of cultivation and the details of stock-raising. He later came into possession of the old homestead, to which he has since added forty acres, his farm now comprising two hundred acres. What buildings were on the place he has greatly improved since taking charge and his property presents a pleasing aspect of prosperity? He follows general farming, giving attention to grain raising and live stock. As the years have passed he has became recognized as one of the most substantial men of his district and his labors have not only brought him prosperity but have been a factor in raising the agricultural standards in Allamakee county.

Mr. Gilbertson was married to Miss Isabelle Gilbertson, a native of Norway and a daughter of Andrew and Caroline Gilbertson, who came to Allamakee county about 1865. They were farming people of Makee township, where the father died several years ago. The mother subsequently made her home with Mr. and Mrs. Gilbertson of this review and passed away upon their farm in 1912. Mr. and Mrs. Gilbertson have seven children, Melia, Ida, Augusta, Oscar, Carl, George and Marcus. Of these George is married and follows agricultural pursuits in Paint Creek township.

Mr. and Mrs. Gilbertson are members of the Lutheran church, in the work of which they take an active and helpful interest. He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and has held official positions such as township trustee, in which capacity he served for one term, and has also done efficient work as a member of the school board. Although nearing his sixty-sixth birthday, Mr. Gilbertson is still actively looking after his varied interests and occupies himself with the operation of his farm. He is highly respected and esteemed in his township, not only for what he has achieved but also on account of his high qualities of mind and character which have made possible his success.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Jan Miller

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