By Jurene Gjesdal, 1972
In tracing the family lineage of "Grandpa Thompson," it was a pleasure and privilege to make a third visit to his homeland in Hammersmark, Norway, in August, 1970. There on the farm, was Siri Hammersmark, the last remaining descendant of Hammersmarks still to occupy the place. From Siri I received the copy of the family history dating back to 1750. It is from this copy that the information on our ancestry has been compiled. My aim, therefore, is to give those who have not visited the country of their forefathers a clearer understanding of the life that surrounded them. Through this record, and by means of pictures and the map included here, we hope to enable you to see it as it is today. However, I will first copy some quotes from the original history as to how Hammersmark had its beginning.
The story goes that in ancient time two brothers traveled up to Sirdal's Lake. One went to Kvinen and settled there while the other settled at Finnenes. It is certain that the names of the settlers at Kvinen in many generations have been Torkel and Torger and the story tells that the one at Kvinen in ancient times recited poetry for King Harold Harfagre. The other brother at Finnenes gave his property to his two sons - one of them got Finnenes and the other got Hammersmark, the summer pasture. (It was so named because from the upper road the lay of the land resembled the shape of a hammer, the Norwegian word for hammer being the same as in the English, and "mark" meaning "land" - thus "The land resembling a hammer.") The pasture at Hammersmark that was given to Torgrim was to be broken up for farming. Torgrim did not like to break up this good pastureland, but he did so when given a cow with calf as compensation. One of his sons named Trond, drowned. The other son, Torkel, a very big man was known as "Big Torkel."
It is told that when his sons were full-grown men, the waist measurement of two of them were equal to Big Torkel's belt measurement. About his strength, it is told that with outstretched arms he could lift three of the heavy guns used at that time in this manner: In each hand he took one gun by the tip of the barrel and a third gun was laid across the end of the other two, and he would lift all three into the air.
In Kristiansand there once were four companies of soldiers. Their captains had agreed to give a prize to the company with the strongest man. The test was to lift a heavy rock. They tried and they lifted, and the best managed to lift the stone approximately one hand width above the ground. Then the captain of the company that Hammersmark was in said, "When no one could move the stone, then Big Torkel went and lifted It to his lap and threw it." Then he said, "The one who is stronger can carry it back." But nobody tried.
This son then, Big Torkel, is forming the beginning of the Hammersmark family.
1st Generation (1750)
TORKEL HAMMERSMARK (Oscar's great, great grandfather), married to Siri who had come from Skeie in Sirdal. Their children were Torleif, Gunnar, Torger and Harvard.
2nd Generation (1775)
1. TORLEIF was a farmer at Hammersmark. He was also a very clever smith. He was married to Gunhild from Virak in Bakke County. Their children were Hans, Torkel, Omund, Siri, Gunhild, Bertha and Kari.
2. GUNNAR was a farmer at Kviding in Lund. He was also I very strong. It is told that he could take a half-ton sack filled with salt by his teeth and throw it on his back. He was married to Gunhild Versland, Bakke County. Their children were Isak, Torkel, Todne, Siri, Gunhild and Inger.
3. TORGER (Oscar's great grandfather) was big and strong. He was an enthusiastic fisher as was most of his family. He was married to Lisabet Bjordal. Their children were Torkel, Omund, Torger, Halvor and Siri.
4. HALVOR lived in Sheie in Sirdal. He was married to Deres and their children were Torkel, Jorne, Bjorn and Siri.
3rd Generation (1800)
1a HANS TORLEIFSON HAMMERSMARK lived at a place called "Hala." He was married to Guri Liland, Bakke County. Their children were Torleif, Rolf, Stale, Gunhild and Gunhild Tonette.
1b TORKEL TORLEIFSON, born in 1802, lived at several places, lastly at Kristinasand, as a self-made preacher. He was married to Ester Skarland, Lunde County. Their children were Torleif, Peder, Bertha, Gunhild and Ester.
1c OMUND TORLEIFSON first lived at Sanstol, which was divided then. He was married to Tori Sanstol and later on moved to Arsvall in Sakndal. Their children were Torleif, Omund, Gunhild, Serine and Tonette.
1d SIRI TORLEIF'S daughter was married to Johannes Reirson at Gya, but they lived at Trodalsodden (point on the lake) at Hammersmark. Their children were Torkel, Reinert,
Torleif, Johannes, Guri, Gunhild, Grete, and Else.
1e GUNHILD TORLEIF'S daughter was first married to a storekeeper, Gitle Saestad in Egersund, but after his death, she went to America and was there married again and had several children, but we know nothing about them.
1f BERTHA TORLEIF'S daughter, born 1812, was married to Tollak Sanstol, born 1810. They lived some years at Hammersmark and one year near Sanstol, but then moved back to the main part of Sanstol. Their children were Torleif, Tonnes, Tobias, Severt and Grete. Seven children died, when quite small. Only one, Tori Serine, lived to an age of 14 years. Only those who lived to become adults are included here. In the second marriage, Tollak had two children, Bertine and Gurine.
1g KARl TORLEIF'S daughter was married to Gjermund Valevatn in Sirdal where they lived. Their children were Torger, Torleif, Gjermund, Gunhild, Gunhild Tonette, and Anna.
2a ISAK GUNNARSON was married to Anne Tonette Espedistol. Their children were Ole, Grete and Anna.
2b TORKEL GUNNARSON was married to Anne Olene Ostrem and they lived at Saetra in Lundsogn. Their children were Grete, Ane Sofie, Gunnar, Kristine, Tonette, Tecline and Bendikte.
2c Gunhild GUNNAR'S daughter was married to Adne P. Sollid. Their children were Feder Daniel, Grete, Anne Dortea, Gunnar and Salve Andreas. They first lived in Sollid, but later went to America.
2d GUNHILD GUNNAR'S daughter was married to Tollak Virak Bakkesogn. Their children were Martine, Gunhild Tonette, Grete Lisa, Tonne and Lars Kristian.
2e INGER GUNNAR'S daughter was married to Tollak Mydeland in Lundsogn. Their children were Tollak, Gabriel, Grete, Tonnes, Isak, Jonas, Torkel and Tonette.
3a TORKEL TORGERSON HAMMERSMARK (1823) (Oscar's father) was married to Adlou Liland. Their children were Torger, Elisabet, Asbjorn (Oscar), Siri and Aseline.
3b OMUND TORGERSON was married to Signe Fintland. They first lived in Hammersmark, but moved later to Eic in Heskestad. Their children were Torger, Torkel, Elisabet, Signe and Alette.
3c OLE TORGERSON lived with his brother, Torkel, in Hammersmark, unmarried until his death.
3d TORGER TORGERSON was married to Torberg Espetveit where they lived. Their children were Torger, Asbjorn, Ole, Borni and Tonnes Mikal.
3e HALVAR TORGERSON was married to Bertha Berland and they lived in Hammersmark. After her death he married Signi Rusdal and they lived at Oveland in Lund. Their children were Torger (Tom) Halverson, Harold, Lisa Marie, Sigrid, Kristine and Signe.
3f SIRI TORGER'S daughter was married to Jonas Handeland in Lund. Their children were Ole, Torger and Ane Elisabet.
4th Generation (1845)
* It is understandable that to continue through with the offspring of each of the family of Oscar's father would make this rather lengthy; therefore, we will now follow only the family of his brother and three sisters. During that time we find the occupations changing to sergeants, Navy men; bakers, pastors, school teachers, editors, pilots, sheriffs, engineers, brokers, wholesale merchants, advisors, bankers and smiths, and we also learn that many of them moved to America at this time.
3a-1 TORGER TORKELSON HAMMERSMARK was married to Barni Espetveit. Their children were Torkel, Mikal, Alette and Gudrun.
3a-2 ELISABET TORKEL'S daughter was married to Asser Sol-lid where they lived at one time, but moved to America. Their children were Asbjorn, Rachel, Torkel, Alette and Abel.
3a-3 ASBJORN TORKELSON (Oscar Thompson), Oct. 6, 1848- March 8, 1925, was married to Elsie Johan's daughter, Sanstol, on June 18, 1879.
(Elsie Christine Sanstol was born to Jonas Banstol in Sanstol, Norway, Oct. 21, 1859, and died April 20, 1941. She had one sister, Lettie, married to Andrew Thompson and lived in North Dakota. Their children are Charles, Lawrence, Lizzie, Millen, Carrie, Annie, George and Celia.
Three brothers: 1) Tunnis Sanstol, born in Norway, buried in Aurora County, S. Dakota 2) Nels Sanstol - children: Lottie, Tillie, Julia, Sopie, Myrtle, Selmer and Victor; 3) Jonas Sanstol, son, Pete, and stepdaughters, Inger and Lisa.)
They immigrated to America in 1880 and located at Strand, Iowa. In the spring of 1882 they moved to Dakota and homesteaded in Belford Township, Aurora County, S. Dakota, where they resided until their death.
Both Oscar and Elsie were charter members of the Storla Lutheran Church. Their children are: Torkel (Tom), Anna, Jonas (John), Lotte (died in infancy), Tobias (Lewis), Olaus (Peter), Lisa, Ella, and Alida.
3a-4 SIRI TORKEL'S daughter was married to Lars J. Mydland. Their children are Johan, Else Genette, Alida and Teodora.
3a-5 ASSELINE TORKEL'S daughter was married to Elias T. Kvelland in Lund where they lived. They had no children.
3b, 3c, 3d, 3f - Refer to previous page.
3e-1 TORGER HALVARSON (Tom) is married and lives in America.
3e-2 HAROLD HALVARSON lives in America.
3e-3 LISA MARIE HALVAR'S daughter, Tvelandstrand, is married to Sven Skogen. Their children are Sigurd, Ida, Henrik and Sigvard.
3e-4 SIGRID HALVAR'S daughter is married to Johan Skjeggestad. Their children are Elisabet, Signe, Ragnhild, Hanna, Amanda and Rolf.
3e-5 KRISTINE HALVAR'S daughter is married to school teacher, Skaland, and their children are Olga, Solveig and Jens.
3e-6 SIGNE HALVAR'S daughter is married to a Simmsen and they have one son, Oskar.
5th Generation (1870)
3a-1a TORKEL TORGERSON HAMMERSMARK is married to Inger Marie Rionestad and their children are Tom, Sverre, Bjarne Martin, Erling, Sigvart. They live on Soyland by Flekkefjord.
3a-1b MIKAL TORGERSON HAMMERSMARK
3a-1c ALETTE TORGER'S daughter is married to Torger Bjornstad. They lived in Hammersmark and their children are Trygve, Bertine, Tonnas, Mikal, Bertha, Sofie, Anna, Bendikte, Genna, Sigurd, Selmer Selin Alma Eleonora, Thor and Alida Therese.
3a-1d GUDRUN TORGER'S daughter was married to Bernt Skregelid. They live in Flekkefjord.
3a-2a ASBJORN ASSERSEN SOLLID (died at age 20).
3a-2b RACHEL ASSE:RSEN SOLLID (moved to America with parents).
3c-2c TORKEL ASSERSEN SOLLID (moved to America with parents).
3a-2d ALETTE ASSERSEN SOLLID (moved to America with parents).
3a-2e ABEL ASSERSEN SOLLID (moved to America with parents).
3a-3a (1) TORKEL ASBJORNSON (Tom Thompson), 1880-1968.
3a-3b (2) ANNA ASBJORNSON (Anna Thompson), 1882-1971.
3a-3c (3) LOTTE (died in infancy).
3a-3d (4) JONAS ASBJORNSEN (John Thompson), 1887-1963.
3a-3e (5) LEWIS ASBJORNSEN (Lewis Thompson), 1890-1963.
3a-3f (6) OLAUS ASBJORNSEN (Pete Thompson), 1892-1958.
3a-3g (7) Lisa Thompson, 1895.
3a-3h (8) Ella Thompson, 1897.
3a-3i (9) Alida Thompson, 1901.
This is where the original history concluded. Since these last three names were not recorded in the original copy, we can assume that they were born after T. Sandstol finished the book. His closing paragraphs tell much of the character and personality of those who have gone before us. For that reason I will summarize it here. He begins by naming the many families that moved to America and that they had much success and lived under good conditions. He also mentions the longing they had for that dear old Norway with all the memories of their many loved ones left behind saying they, too, would like to "reach their brothers' hand."
The last two paragraphs I will copy verbatim:
"Now that I am going to send out this last account of these dear Hammersmarks, I would like in conclusion to extend hearty wishes and admonition, namely, that you could all live well and in truthfulness be happy, but let me add that no one can accomplish this unless he lives right in God's hand.
"Let us seriously consider this important direction for our life for we stand before an eternal existence. God's affectionate will is that we should all be happy, and would that we could only open our lives in the right fellowship with Him. Here the Judge doesn't waiver, nor are you viewed by your outward appearance, but would that we live God's life as redeemed creatures, as a child of God, and in brotherhood with those whom we come in contact." - T. Sandstol
(NOTE: Tonnes Tollakson Sanstol, born 1845, was included in the history under 3-d that was not recorded here, but reads like this: "Was first school teacher for a couple years in Lund, attended seminary in Egersund, got married there to Ingeborg Marie Olsen and was teacher there for several years. In 1877 he moved to Stavanger and was 'Friends Church' teacher for over 20 years and newspaper editor for 12 years."
Upon reaching their new home in America the immigrants in many cases gave themselves new surnames formed from their father's first name. Thus it was that "Grampa" Thompson, knowing the name "Hammersmark" was difficult to write and spell, changed his name. Torkel, his father's name, the English name being Tom, would become "Tom's Son." Tom was a nickname for Thomas in America. So it was that the first four letters "THOM" were derived. When pronouncing the combined two words, the "p" sound is excrescent, and names were spelled as they sounded. Therefore, "THOM P SON" became their American name.
TOM THOMPSON-July 3, 1880 - Sept. 9, 1968
Born in Strand, Iowa. Moved with parents to Dakota Territory in spring of 1882. Did custom threshing in his youth. Married Elfreda Nelson, Sept. 10, 1930, and worked in wholesale business in Mitchell where they lived. They had no children.
2. ANNA THOMPSON - Sept. 14, 1882 - April 19, 1971
Born in Belford Township, Aurora County, S. D. Married, Nov. 28, 1909, in Crawford County, Wisconsin, to Torkel Asbenson (Feb. 27, 1880 - May 1, 1973). Farmed first in South Dakota. Returned to Wisconsin, March, 1916. Left Wisconsin again in 1925. Remained on farm in South Dakota until movinginto Storla Sunset Home. Their children are Almer (dIed m Infancy), Laura, Arlene, Luverne (born in SD.); Thelma, Jurene, Evelyn (born in Wisc.).
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