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Thor Halvorson Faaberg immigrated from Jostedal, Norway in 1857. He probably went by boat through the Sognefjord, and embarked in a sailing vessel from the port of Bergen. After a voyage of approximately 6 weeks, he probably landed in either New York City or Quebec City. There are no known records of his departure from Bergen, or his arrival in North America. In this time period, immigrants from Jostedal would normally travel by train to the Koshkonong settlement, near Stoughton, Dane County, Wisconsin. Here they were met by friends or relatives from their hometown in Norway. After a few days of exchanging stories of their homeland and discussing what to expect in America, they would go about the task of clearing the timber and brush for a plot of land to build a small cabin. They would remain here for a few years, to get their bearings, and then migrate farther south or west.

Thor married first to the widow, Barbra Jorgensdotter Aaberge, born 12 July 1828, Aardal, Sogn, Norway. Barbra was the mother of Nels Anderson, from her marriage to Anders Nilson Kvamme, born 20 April 1821, Sogndal, Sogn, Norway. Thor & Barbra lived in Wisconsin long enough for their daughter Lena (Halvorson) to be born in 1860.

During this period of American history, the western part of the United States was being explored by such men as Lewis & Clark, and General Zebulon Pike. Their explorations occurred during periods of intense drought and unfavorable climate conditions. This was, likewise, true of Lieutenant G.K. Warren who took extensive scientific and meteorological observations in the South Dakota country during the years 1855 to 1857. Warren, in fact, pronounced the country bordering the James River as of no value for farming purposes and having few resources. Thor, like scores of other newly arrived immigrants from Norway, was anxious to move west to the free land that was available to all who would establish homesteads and till the soil. In 1861 Thor and his family decided to migrate west to the newly organized Dakota Territory. They traveled by oxen team and covered wagon to the Missouri River Valley. Here, Thor found acceptable land in the area between Yankton and Vermillion. Again, Thor began the process of clearing the land for crops, and building a home for his family. There were so many Norwegians in this area of Clay County, they named the area, Norway Township. Thor's son John was born here in 1862. The year immediately following Thor's arrival in the Dakota Territory did not appear promising. Thor found that the normal course of events were to be interrupted by troublesome Indian relations which began with the Santee Sioux uprising in Minnesota. This inevitably affected the Norwegian settlements all along the Missouri River.

The winter of 1862 was quite severe, there were no less than five full-fledged blizzards, the last one occurred during the middle of March. The spring of 1862 witnessed a flood that virtually transformed the lowlands from Yankton to Vermillion into a vast lake. The high water reached a width of a dozen miles in places, with islands formed where Gayville and Meckling are located. Travel between Yankton and Vermillion was by boat for at least two weeks.

Crop prospects seemed good that summer, especially on the farms that had been flooded. Indian disorders beginning in August were, however, to deny the settlers the rewards of their labor. There was the ominous threat of an uprising by the Yankton Sioux. Preparations were made for defense of the area by recruiting militia and building a stockade.

The peaceful Norwegian homesteaders were not prepared for war with the Indians. In August 1862, the Norwegian settlers began to evacuate their farms, just ahead of a marauding band that began to wreak havoc upon the cabins and crops. They gathered with their fellow countrymen in the Lake Settlement at Grayville. By 5 September, the Norwegians had moved farther east to a camp just west of Vermillion. After a few days, some of the Norwegians fled to Sioux City. Ten of the Norwegian families, including Thor Halvorson Faaberg, decided to find new homes farther east in Iowa. The party included; Ole Anderson Mjalvar\Kluven (Britha's uncle), Soren Thorbjornson Faaberg (Thor's nephew), Otto & Hans (Thor's brother-in-law) Olson Nigard, and Kristian Olson Steinbakken -all these from Jostedal in Sogn; Mikkel Monson from Luster, Halvor Nilson Lysne and Jetmund Knudson Bjerke from Lardal, and Helge Mathieson and Mikkel Skare from Hardanger. Some traveled on horseback, others in vehicles drawn by either horses or oxen. Many of the conveyances consisted of the so-called "cube root wagons", a frontier type, with wheels fashioned from circular blocks cut from logs. Legion are the stories told about the evacuation, the unpredictable behavior of frightened settlers, and the terrible clatter of the wagons.

In 1863, Thor decided to settle in the Norwegian community around Crane Creek, Jacksonville Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa, near his siblings; Torborg (Mrs. Ole Olson Flatjord), Gjertrud (Mrs Hans Olson Nigard, Britha (Mrs Andrew Sorenson Vigdal), and Martha (Mrs. Ole Olson Kvale). About ten years earlier a Norwegian settlement had been established in Utica Township, at what was then known as Little Turkey and is now Saude. Under the leadership of Rev. Ulrik Vilhelm Koren, a congregation had been organized at Little Turkey in 1857. Pastor Koren began in 1864 to conduct services in the Crane Creek area.

Thor found the sandy soil around the Crane Creek community to be favorable. The land was selling at from $3 to $6 per acre. Later in 1862, in spite of the trouble with the Indians and the riggers of this new world, Thor, now known as Thomas H. Fouberg, decided to apply for US Citizenship. On 8 March 1864, at McGregor, Clayton County, Iowa, Tom renounced his fidelity to the King of Norway, and was declared a citizen of the United States. Tom's wife, Barbra Jorgensdotter died in 1867. She is buried at Jerico Lutheran Church, Jacksonville Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa. Sometime in that same year, the Crane Creek congregation was officially organized with Rev. Koren as Pastor and sixty persons as charter members. On 10 November 1868, Thor Halvorson and Britha Olsdotter Teigen, were married by Rev. Ulrick Vilhelm Koren, in the Jerico Lutheran Church. The bride was the 24 year old daughter of Ole Johnsen Teigen and Martha Andersdotter Kleven. Britha was born 11 June 1844, in Jostedal, Sogn, Norway. The sacrament of Holy Baptism was administered on 16 June 1844, and was Confirmed on 17 July 1859. Witnessess at her baptism were: John Gundersen Teigen, Anders Gjetmundsen Yttri, Marthe Olsdotter Aaspehoug, Anne Johnsdotter Teigen, and Kari Johnsdotter Teigen. On 9 April 1866, Britha, along with her parents and siblings, registered at the Jostedalkirke, to get their certificates to go to North America. They sailed from the port of Bergen on 14 May 1866, aboard the sailing vessel Dei Gratie. They arrived in Quebec, Canada on 17 June 1866.

Five of the children born to Thor and Britha, were born in Jacksonville Township, Chickasaw County, i.e., Halvor 1872, Ole 1875, Lewis 1877, Bessie 1880, and Robert 1883. The Christening records of these children, located in the Parsonage of the Saude Lutheran Church, and the Jerico Lutheran Church, will give the names of their sponsors, who probably were close relatives of the parents.

By June of 1880 Thor had changed his name to Thomas Halvorson. He and Brita were living in Jacksonville Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa. Tom's son and daughter by his first marriage were living in the household, along with Tom's sons Halvor, Ole, & Lewis.

In 1884, Tom with his wife Britha, and their children; Halvor, Ole, Lewis, Bessie, and Robert, decided to return to the Dakota Territory. Tom settled on land east of Artesian, in Sanborn County. Here on 2 November 1885, their youngest son Thomas was born. The exact location of this Homestead, i.e., Quarter, Section, Township and Range is not known. Tom farmed this land for nine years.

On 15 March 1893, Tom traveled to the Land Office at Mitchell and filed his application (No. 29666) for a Homestead on 160 acres in the NE 1/4, Section 10, Township 106N, Range 61W. The land was described as sandy, prairie land, with no timber, suitable for grazing. There was a drainage ditch on the south end of the section. In April 1893, Tom completed the construction of a house, 16 x 24 x 12 feet. They established their residence in this house in May 1894. In the first seven years, Tom cleared and cultivated 50 acres, built a house, barn and granary. Tom lived here with his family until his death in December 1899.

On 24 October 1900, at the Land Office at Mitchell, Betsey Fouberg, widow of Thomas H. Fouberg, was presented Final Homestead Certificate, No. 12257. The Fouberg Homestead was located one mile south and one mile west of the town of Forestburg. Ruskin Park, where the Fouberg family spent many pleasant hours relaxing from the riggers of prairie life, was just one mile to the east, on the James River. Britha continued to live on the family homestead until 1911, when she moved to Forestburg to live with her only daughter Bessie and her husband Sievert Gere. Britha died in Forestburg, on 1 May 1926.

Tom and Britha, as well as many of their progeny, are buried in Silver Creek Cemetery. Silver Creek Cemetery is on one acre of land, in the SE corner of NW 1/4, Section 15, Silver Creek Township, donated by Peter Larson Rygg. The cemetery was dedicated on 14 October 1885, by Prof. D. Lyanes, assisted by Carl Olson and Pastor, C.K. Larson. Members of the Fouberg family have been prominent members of the Forestburg Lutheran Church. This church observed its 25th Anniversary on 26 May 1946. In conjunction with the commemoration of this event, gifts were presented to the church in memory of Bessie Fouberg Gere, and Harold Fouberg.

Written by James Harold Johnson, Escondido, CA, August 2009.


A pioneer journalist, was born at Victor, Ontario County, New York, December 27, 1833. He was educated at Hamilton Academy, later studying law, and came to Iowa in 1855 before being admitted to the bar. Mr. Felt located in Clayton County and the following year became associate editor of the North Iowa Times of McGregor. He was admitted to the bar in Chickasaw County and established the Cedar Valley News at Bradford, attending to law business and editing his paper. In 1860 he renewed his editorial connection with the North Iowa Times until the Civil War began when he enlisted in Company B, Seventh Iowa Volunteers. At the Battle of Belmont, he was taken prisoner, remaining in captivity for a year, when he was exchanged and joined his regiment at Corinth. After returning from the army Mr. Felt established the Public Record at West Union, and in 1867 the Nashua Post which he conducted until 1874 when he purchased an interest in the Waterloo Courier. He was originally a Democrat but became a Republican during the war period. He was a delegate to the National Republican Convention at Chicago which, in 1868, nominated General Grant for President and was chosen one of the secretaries. Later he removed to Kansas where he became prominent in public affairs and was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the State.

Source: History of Iowa, Volume Four.

Among the very few country journalists who have left the editor's chair to start a bank is Andrew J. Felt, a native of the Empire State. He was born at Victor, Ontario county, on the 27th of December, 1833, his parents being Warren Felt, merchant and farmer, and Cynthia Stowell. The Felts were from Massachusetts. His grandfather was a participant in the second war with England. Andrew was educated at the Hamilton Academy, Madison county; at sixteen commenced teaching; followed that profession three winters; at nineteen commenced reading law with Thomas Frothingham, of Rochester, finishing his legal studies with Judge Nichols, of Sherburne, Chenango county and being seized violently with the western fever, came to Iowa before being admitted to the bar.
Mr. Felt reached this state in the autumn of 1855, and the following winter taught a school in a blacksmith shop upon the spot where Luana, Clayton county, now stands. In 1856 he became connected editorially with the "North Iowa Times," of McGregor, published by A. P. Richardson, remaining in that position till March, 1857. A short time after this date he was admitted to the bar of Chickasaw county, Judge Murdock presiding, but before commencing practice he started, in the spring of 1857, the "Cedar Valley News," at Bradford, running the paper and a law office one year, when he sold his interest in the newspaper and practiced law a year in company with M. V. Burdick, of Decorah, Winneshiek county. In 1860 he renewed his editorial connection with the "North Iowa Times," and held that position when the national flag was stricken down at the south. His patriotic heart was instantly fired, and he enlisted as a private in the first company which was raised in Chickasaw county - Company B, 7th Iowa Infantry. He was taken prisoner at Belmont, Missouri, on the 7th of November, 1861; remained in the hands of the rebels one year less twenty days; was in the hospital at Annapolis, Maryland from October, 1862, to February, 1863; joined the regiment at Corinth, Mississippi; was promoted to sergeant, and returned to Iowa the next spring.
Mr. Felt went immediately to West Union, Fayette county, and established the "Public Record," conducting it until 1866, when he sold out to Judge Edmonds. In the month of May of the following year he started the Nashua "Post," and conducted it until February, 1874, when he sold out to Grawe Brothers, and purchased the interest of M. C. Woodruff in the Waterloo "Courier." In October, 1875, he abandoned journalism and started a private bank in Nashua. This course seemed to be regretted by many of the editorial brotherhood of Iowa, for he was a keen and pointed writer, and his journalistic career was eminently creditable to the Iowa Press.
Mr. Felt was postmaster at Nashua from 1869 to 1874, resigning the office to go to Waterloo.
In politics, he was a democrat until he saw the old flag insulted in 1861, since which time he has acted heartily with the republicans. He was a delegate to the national conventions which nominated and re nominated General Grant, being one of the secretaries of the Chicago convention in 1868. He was president of the congressional convention which nominated N. C. Deering in August, 1876, and without being a candidate before the convention, was suddenly brought out, and although persisting that he was not a candidate, came within seven votes of being nominated. He has sometimes taken part in a political canvass, where he has shown himself to be a fluent and effective off-hand speaker.
Mr. Felt is a Royal Arch Mason, a member of the Congregational church, where he teaches a bible class, and a man of very pure character. He has a very small body, barely enough, Sydney Smith would say, to cover his mind.
The wife of Mr. Felt was Miss Emily Rutherford, of Fairfield, Ohio. They were married at Bradford on the 21st of February, 1858; have had five children, and have two boys and one girl living. Mrs. Felt is a true wife and mother, and a woman possessed of very excellent qualities of mind and heart.

Source: Iowa Biographical Dictionary, 1878, Page 317.
Transcribed By Mike Peterson

...If there is a self-made man in Chickasaw county, Iowa, that man is John Foley. He came to this state a poor boy twenty years ago; worked hard on a farm, and educated himself largely by studying during the evenings, fitting himself for a teacher and for general business.
...Mr. Foley is a native of Ireland, and was born in the county of Galway on the 14th of August, 1840. His parents were Thomas and Catherine (Lyden) Foley, who immigrated to this country when John was a child. His father died in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1852, and his mother in Iowa in the spring of 1857. John came with her to this state in June, 1857, and settled on a farm in Jacksonville township, ten miles from New Hampton. There he worked until 1871, being very industrious in his manual labor, and commencing to teach during the winters as soon as he could fit himself. This he did by giving to study hours which many young men give wholly to amusements, and some to dissipation.
...Six years ago he was nominated for the office of treasurer of the county, and elected by a fair majority. So well did he discharge his duties that he has been three times reelected, each time by a vote which showed that the people had an increasing knowledge of his eminent fitness for the office. After he had served the county nearly two years, the New Hampton "Courier" of the 4th of October, 1873, thus spoke of his official work.
...Attentive to the duties of this office, cordial in his intercourse with the taxpayers, and correct in his business, he has made scores of friends, and not a single enemy. It is infinitely to his credit that, without fear without favor, and without prejudice, he has sought to perform the duties of the place rather than to build up a clique who should conspire to keep him in office. A man of the people, he has faithfully performed the people's work, with an eye single to their interest.
...He found the finances of the county embarrassed, its credit depressed, and distrust of its financial condition and management universal. When he took possession of the treasurer's office county warrants had not been redeemed over its counter for years, but had been hawked about the streets and peddled from hand to hand till they finally found their way into the hands of the money brokers at a discount, to the people of from ten to thirty per cent.
...His advent in the treasurer's office changed all this in a single day. Public confidence rose as by magic. The ability of the county to meet its obligations promptly was no longer doubted. County warrants commanded their face in greenbacks on the street and in the treasurers office. They have continued to do so up to this hour.
...The people of Chickasaw county owe Mr. Foley a debt of gratitude. He has done their work ably, faithfully, and for the compensation fixed by law. In his official capacity he has known no friends, and no enemies. He has favored no organized rings, and sought to build up no special interests; but with rigid impartiality has dealt honorably with all. More than this, at the time of his election he was perhaps the only man in the county upon whom all the elements of opposition to treasury misrule could have been concentrated. He accepted the office of treasurer at a positive sacrifice of his private business interests.
...Prior to holding the office of treasurer Mr. Foley had been a member of the board of supervisors for one term and was for nine years connected with the school board of his town. He is an ardent friend of education, and labors assiduously for its advancement. Mr. Foley was reared in the Catholic faith, and steadfastly adheres to the religious teaching of his ancestors.

Source: Iowa Biographical Dictionary, 1878, Page 258.
Transcribed By Mike Peterson