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Lars N. Thoe


Posted By: Peter Gausmann (email)
Date: 2/7/2010 at 07:14:55


Lars N. Thoe, a widely known and highly esteemed retired farmer and merchant of Lake Mills, was born in Tysnes Bergen, Norway, April 14, 1848, the youngest of the five children whose parents were Nels and Martha Thoe. The father engaged in farming and both he and the mother passed away in their native country, where they are buried.

Lars N. Thoe attended the common schools until he was confirmed and in 1866, when eighteen years old came to the United States in company with his sister Ellen. He located in Madison, Wisconsin, where his brother, Zacharias Thoe, had settled a few years previously. After working upon farms in that locality for four years Lars N. Thoe came to Winnebago county, Iowa, in 1870, and purchased a farm in Center township, to the operation of which he devoted a quarter of a century. He then removed to Lake Mills and established a general store in partnership with his son, Nels L. Thoe. Five years later he sold his interest in that business and retired from active life although he owns stock in the Union department store, of which he was one of the organizers and of which his son, Nels L., is now president. He was one of the organizers and a director of the Lake Mills Lumber Company and a director and vice president of the Lake Mills Canning Company. He holds title to four hundred acres of well improved land in Center township, which he rents.

Mr. Thoe was married May 9, 1870, to Miss Inger Moen, a daughter of Eric and Ragnel Moen. They removed with their family from Norway to the United States during the girlhood of Mrs. Thoe and the voyage was made on the same ship that brought Mr. Thoe to the new world. The Moen family first settled in Winneshiek county, Iowa, but subsequently removed to Winnebago county, where both Mr. and Mrs. Moen passed away. They are buried in the Lime Creek Church cemetery. To Mr. and Mrs. Thoe have been born ten children: Nels L., an account of whose life appears below; Eric L., who is married and is living in Richland county, North Dakota; Martin J., a resident of Belmond, Iowa; Regina M., the wife of Eugene Gilbert, of Albert Lea, Minnesota; Ellen at home; Edd S., and Louis E., both of whom are married and reside in Lake Mills; Emma L., now the wife of Earl Forrester, of Ventura, Iowa; Martha M., the wife of H. E. Norskow, of Belmond, Iowa; and Eveline, now Mrs. Elmer Hylbak, of Lake Mills.

Mr. Thoe is a prohibitionist and is firm in his belief that the liquor traffic runs counter to the best interests of society in many different ways and is therefore doomed. He was school director for six years, was treasurer of Center township for seven years and for nine years was township trustee, his long official service being evidence of the high esteem in which he is held. His religious faith is evidenced by his membership in the Norwegian Methodist Episcopal church, in whose work he has taken an active part. The expectation of finding unusually favorable opportunities for advancement which led him to come to the United States has been realized and he has gained a competence which now enables him to live in ease and comfort. Upright and honorable in all relations of life, he holds in full measure the respect of all who come in contact with him and his personal friends are many.

Source: History of Winnebago County and Hancock County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement, Vol. II. Pioneer Publishing Company (Chicago), 1917. pp. 99-100.


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