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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Louis Linstrum, a representative farmer residing on section 14, Fremont Township, was born on the 6th of June, 1834, in Gefle, Sweden, and is the second son of Ole and Caroline (Ole) Linstrum, who were also born in Gefle, where they were reared and married and had a family of three children, all sons. The eldest, Ole, met his death by drowning when he was seven years old; Louis is the second and William the youngest. The father was a shoemaker by trade, which business our subject also learned, following it until twenty-five years of age. In 1854 the Linstrum family emigrated to America, locating in Knox County, Ill., where they remained about three years, the members engaged in different kinds of employment. In the year 1858 they started on a journey with teams, their destination being Minnesota, but on arriving in this part of Iowa, on the line of their route, they found the road so impassable as the result of almost incessant rains that they could go no further. Every ravine became a river, every draw a creek and the lowlands, being submerged, had the appearance of lakes. This condition of affairs decided them to settle in Fayette County and in consequence Ole Linstrum purchased eighty acres of wild prairie land in Fremont Township, paying $5 per acre. They experienced many privations and hardships in the earlier years of their residence in this county. To market the products of the farm they had to go to McGregor, Iowa, a distance of some sixty-five miles, and four or six days were required to make the trip, according to the condition of the roads. Hard times and scarcity of money caused low prices to prevail, so that but little was realized after the expenses of the journey to market were paid. At times their supply of flour would be exhausted and Mr. Linstrum says that they have eaten many a meal where their bread was made out of grain ground in a coffee mill, for the roads, the weather or other causes would prevent them from going to mill which was distant several days' drive.
William Linstrum, the youngest son, left the parental roof in the spring of 1862 and went to Wisconsin where, shortly after his arrival, he enlisted in the Twenty-fourth Infantry, serving in that regiment until he was mustered out, when he returned home. However, he remained but a short time and then went to Minnesota, where he enlisted in a company of home guards which was organized for the purpose of fighting some troublesome Indians then on the war-path. Later, he engaged in boating on the Mississippi River, where in the year 1870 he was accidentally drowned by falling overboard. The father of our subject continued to live on his farm until his death, which occurred April 20, 1880, at the age of seventy-four years. After the decease of her husband the mother lived with Louis until she too was called home September 15, 1890, at the ripe old age of eighty-six years.
Our subject was married in October, 1861, to Augusta Lea, whose parents were residents of Fremont Township and natives of Norway, having emigrated to this country when their daughter was thirteen years old. Unto them were born four children, three daughters and one son: William E., born April 2, 1865, resides in Westgate, where he owns a house and lot, together with some eighty acres of land adjoining the old homestead, given him by his father. He wedded Mary Pentegrast, by whom he has three children, and is the present Assessor of Fremont Township; Josie, born in November, 1867, is the wife of James Smith, a tailor of Mitchell, S. D. They have two children living and have lost one. Mr. Linstrum was divorced from his wife about 1870, and on the 2d day of February, 1871, wedded Miss Martha Sylvester of Fremont Township, who is a native of Norway. She was born March 29, 1841, and came to this county in 1862. She has one brother living in this township, two sisters in Wisconsin, and one in Dakota. By the latter marriage there are six children, two sons and four daughters - Charles, born February 15, 1874; Lewis, June 7, 1875; Mary S., September 24, 1876; Rosa, September 25, 1878; Annie, July 14, 1880; and Minnie, November 17, 1882.
Mr. Linstrum is one of the extensive landowners of the county. His homestead comprises four hundred and eighty-seven of fine land under a high state of cultivation. It is well improved with excellent farm buildings and stocked with a good grade of horses and cattle. The family are members of the Lutheran Church. In politics our subject has always been a supporter of the Republican party until the election of 1889, when he voted the Democratic ticket.
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