University of South Dakota

History of South Dakota vol 1 title page

Biography of Soren Mortensen

Soren Mortensen, born April 21, 1846, in Denmark, became one of the wealthiest farmers in Yankton County, South Dakota. After emigrating to the United States in 1869, he worked on a farm in Long Island for seven and a half years before moving to South Dakota in 1876. Mortensen initially focused on wheat farming but shifted to livestock after several crop failures. He built a successful operation handling cattle and Chester White hogs, amassing 1,500 acres of farmland. Mortensen married Meatha Amelia Larson in 1874, with whom he had nine children. After her death in 1896, he married Nora Grant in 1900. A dedicated Republican and respected community member, Mortensen’s achievements reflect his perseverance and effective management.

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History of South Dakota vol 1 title page

Biography of Torge Thompson

Torge Thompson, born in Norway on February 27, 1863, emigrated to the United States with his family in 1869, settling in Clay County, South Dakota. His father, Thomas A. Thompson, secured a 160-acre homestead and developed it into a prosperous farm despite setbacks like the 1881 flood. Torge, educated in local schools and at the University of South Dakota, took over the farm at age 20. In 1900, he acquired 640 acres in Yankton County, where he established a successful mixed farming operation. Torge married Bertha Brake in 1889, and they had five children. Active in community affairs, he served as a school officer and was a committed Lutheran and Republican.

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