mother of 4 children: Peter, Kari, Kristin (m. Johathan Fischer) and Catherine. After Lois graduated from high school she worked in Decorah, IA for a year and then married James Tollefsrud. They became the parents of a son Mikal (m. Shannon Murphy) and a daughter Kelly (m. Bryan Wood).

Peter and Agnes had purchased the farm from Charles and Eli Miner who lived there with their children James and Ellen from 1898-1949. Charles and Eli had purchased the farm from Charles' parents, Daniel and Helen Miner, in 1898. Daniel and Helen had purchasd the farm in 1856. The farm was in the Miner family continuously for 93 years, 1856-1949. Before 1856 it was in the hands of other people for only one year after its original purchase in 1855 by George and Lydia Waldron.

All three families (Tollefsrud, Swenson, Miner) attended the Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church about one-half mile away, which is the center of the “Ridge" community. Jim and Lois are always busy with church activities, as were the Swenson and Miner families in the past. Ellen Miner played organ for services many, many years. Agnes Swenson played organ at Waterloo Ridge from 1953 to 1993. On 25 Dec 1994 she had played her 41 st consecutive Christmas service!

Bio Photo

JI-LO Acres

From 1873 to 1892 there were 2 separate organized congregations of the Lutheran Church in the Waterloo Ridge community. In 1877 one acre was purchased from Daniel Miner by the Waterloo Ridge Norsk Evangelisk Lutherske Menighed for a parsonage and cemetery, but the parsonage was never realized. A cemetery does exist, however, holding about 20 graves on the present Tollefsrud farm.

The original portion of the 3-bedroom wood frame house in which the Tollefsruds currently live was built by Daniel and Helen Miner in the late 1850’s. It was remodeled extensively by Peter and Agnes Swenson and also by Jim and Lois. Improvements were made in the farm buildings by both families.

In the farm's woods when Peter and Agnes lived on the farm, while getting the cows one time, Agnes found not only evidence in stone of aquatic life long ago in the valley, but also stone Indian tools, indicating that this farmland was home to Indians first of all. The stone tools were found near the edge of the valley’s east rim, in the woods above a beautiful spring edged with wide flat stones in several places.

On the south rim of the valley the nearest farm is the original Swenson farm where Peter grew up. Presently Peter's brother Sander and wife Shirley live there. Agnes (Rud) Swenson’s home place is only 1 1/2 miles east of the present Tollefsrud farm, so needless to say, Swensons, Ruds and Tollefsruds have known each other for many, many years.

Torgeson, Kottie (Tostenson)

(Hazel Hoyt Markovetz)

Kottie Torgeson came to this country in 1872 with her 10-year-old daughter Kristi. They left Norway by steamship and had a good journey except for about a week when they encountered a terrible storm on the North Sea and it was feared that the steamer would go down.

It seems that Kottie had young friends of her age in Decorah. In Norway she had worked for a family with large holdings and she would take her little daughter with her when they took the goats and the cattle to the high mountains for summer pasturing. There the goats were milked, cattle herded and cheese and butter made for the land owner to sell.

Coming to Decorah, she worked as a maid for wealthy families with little Kristi first helping her, then going to positions by herself of maid and child-care duties.

After Kristi was married Kottie made her home with her daughter and husband helping there with the work and children, if needed, and going to others who needed help with work and mid-wifery.

Like the Oen family into which daughter Kristi married, the place of her birth is not certain. Stavanger, Trondheim, Drammen, Eggedal and Oslo are names that were frequently referred to so apparently both the Oens and the Torgesons were familiar names there.

Kottie was born 29 Sep 1839 in Norway the daughter of Tosten Berg and Annlet (Bernd) Tostenson. She died 9 Nov 1909 and is buried in the Madison Church Cemetery. My grandmother Kristi used to tell me that Kari was the English version of Kottie. Records show the name of Torgeson is sometimes spelled Torgerson. Kottie was listed on death records as a widow but when she left Norway she had not seen her daughter’s father for years. They had separated because Torger’s father had insisted that he not marry a young woman who was not from a wealthy family.

Torresdal, Elizabeth

(Elizabeth Torresdal)

Elizabeth Torresdal was born 27 Jul 1902 on a farm about 2 miles north of Ossian, IA in Springfield Twp, Winneshiek Co. Her parents were Lars W. and Margit (Tovson) Torresdal. Lars was born in 1856 in Stavanger, Norway. He emigrated to the United States in 1890. Margit was born in 1865 in Winneshiek Co. Lars and Margit were married 5 Dec 1890. Lars died 1 May 1935 and Margit


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