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.

From the land of the midnight sun, Torge Thompson came to America. He was born in Norway, February 27, 1863, and is a son of Thomas A. and Segri Thompson, who were also natives of that country. In 1869 the father came to the United States with his family, making his way into the interior of the country and settling in Clay County, South Dakota, where he secured one hundred and sixty acres of government land. The first home of the family was a log cabin in which they lived in true pioneer style. The work of farming was carried on until the old homestead was placed under a high state of cultivation and good buildings erected. In the flood of 1881, the father suffered a loss of two thousand dollars, but he possessed a resolute spirit and courage and with characteristic diligence set to work to retrieve his possessions. He has been a successful man and one who owes his financial advancement entirely to his own efforts. In politics he is a Republican and both he and his wife are members of the Lutheran church. Their family numbers six children, of whom Torge is the eldest; Anna is the wife of L. A. Larson, a farmer of Clay County, South Dakota, who served as postmaster at Lincoln for several years and who has a family of nine children; Lewis, Sarah, and Thomas Verner are now deceased; Severin Lewis married Dina Steie, and is a professor in the Lutheran College of Decorah, Iowa, and they have one child.

Mr. Thompson of this review acquired his education in the public schools and in the University of South Dakota, at Vermillion, where he was only allowed to pursue his studies for several winter terms. When twenty years of age he took charge of the home farm. His mother died in 1895, and his father died January 6, 1904. In 1900 he bought six hundred and forty acres of land in Yankton County and in 1901 he sold the farm in Clay County, taking up his abode at his new home. He has a splendidly improved property, has erected a fine residence, has rebuilt the barns and has artesian wells, several good springs, and two miles of riverfront upon his land. He carries on mixed farming and has four hundred acres of his land under the plow, while thirty acres are planted to alfalfa, forty acres are meadowland, thirty acres are covered with good oak timber, and three acres are covered with fruit trees. In addition to the cultivation of grain, he raises horses, cattle, sheep, and Poland-China hogs and is recognized as one of the most active, practical, and energetic young farmers of his community.

On the 12th of June, 1889, Mr. Thompson was married to Bertha Brake, a daughter of Andrew Nelson. Her father was a tailor by trade, as was Mr. Thompson’s father. Unto the subject and his wife have been born five children: Sarah Maria, born March 6, 1890; Thomas Anders, born April 9, 1892; Torge Barthol, born September 17, 1894; Lewis Verner, born October 4, 1896; and Arthur Oliver, born January 8, 1903.

The parents hold membership in the Lutheran church and Mr. Thompson is deeply interested in the educational and moral development of his locality. He has served as a school officer for several terms and in politics he is a Republican. Well known in Yankton County, his friends accord him a high position as a representative farmer and as one who is entirely worthy of public confidence and respect.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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