Through well directed business activity and enterprise Thomas Knudtson has gained recognition as one of the progressive farmers of Allamakee county. He owns a highly improved tract of land of one hundred and sixty acres on section 15, Makee township, and has here resided since 1893, during which time his labors have not only contributed to his own prosperity but have proven effective forces in advancing the general welfare. He is a native of Allamakee county and a representative of one of the most honored and highly respected pioneer families in the state, his father having settled in Makee township in 1851. Thomas Knudtson was born upon the home farm September 8, 1862, his parents being Knudt and Rhenild (Ambrose) Knudtson, natives of Norway, the former born September 28, 1818. He grew to manhood in his native country and in 1847 crossed the Atlantic to America, locating in Wisconsin, where he spent four years. In 1851 he bought two yoke of oxen and, placing some household goods in a covered wagon, drove across the plains to Iowa. On the way he lost his frying pan and this much needed article of daily use he was obliged to replace by a flat stone which he heated and upon which he prepared his meals for some time thereafter. Knudt Knudtson purchased a claim of one hundred and sixty acres in Makee township, this county, and settled upon it when pioneer conditions prevailed everywhere, when the wilderness stretched around him for miles in all directions, when there were no neighbors within walking distance and when the Indians were frequent visitors to his cabin. With characteristic energy he cleared the timber, broke the raw soil and began the work of development which gradually transformed his property into an attractive and productive farm. He built upon his holdings a little log cabin in which he resided until 1856, when he replaced it by a modern dwelling which still stands upon the property. The years brought him steadily increasing success and from time to time he added to his holdings, accumulating three hundred and thirty acres. By virtue of his energy, ability and perseverance he won a place among the substantial agriculturists of this community, commanding and holding the high respect and esteem o all who were associated with him. His death, which occurred on his farm in August, 1902, when he was eighty-three years of age, was therefore the occasion of deep and widespread regret and deprived Allamakee county of one of her valued and representative citizens and one of the earliest and finest of her pioneers. Knudt Knudtson married in Lansing Miss Rhenild Ambrose, a native of Norway, and they became the parents of seven children, of whom four are living: Mrs. Cornelia Banks, a widow, residing in Tacoma, Washington; Mrs. Anna Johnson Engrav, of Waukon, Iowa, who has a son, Robert Johnson Engrav, a talented pianist; Thomas, of this review; and Charles, who owns the old home farm.
Thomas Knudtson was reared upon the home farm and acquired his education in the country schools and in Decorah College. In his childhood and youth he helped to improve and operate the farm and upon his twenty- first birthday his father gave him one hundred and sixty acres of the estate, upon which he has since resided. The land lies on sections 15 and 16, Makee township, and Mr. Knudtson has carried forward the work of development in an intelligent and able manner, erecting substantial barns and outbuildings and installing modern machinery. The farm is valuable and well improved in every particular, its owner being a practical and able agriculturist who never neglects anything that will add to the attractive appearance or value of his place. In addition to raising grain Mr. Knudtson does an extensive dairy business and has important stock-raising interests. He is a stockholder in the Farmers Cooperative Creamery of Waukon, of which he served as first vice- president, and also in the Farmers Stock & Produce Company, and in business circles is regarded as a resourceful, farsighted and able man.
In Makee township, on March 8, 1893, Mr. Knudtson was united in marriage to Miss Clara Hansen, who was born and reared in Winneshiek county, and they have become the parents of five children: Rosa M., of Waterloo, Iowa; and Lulu K., Anna C., Hazel J., and Thomas C., at home. Mr. Knudtson gives his political allegiance to the democratic party, having cast his first vote for Grover Cleveland and his last for Woodrow Wilson. He has never sought nor desired public office, preferring to devote his attention to his business affairs, which, being carefully and capably conducted, have brought him a gratifying measure of 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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