Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Thor Knudsen Løftingsbakken

Thor Knudsen Løftingsbakken
 My great great grandfather Thor Knudsen Løftingsbakken was born 23rd August 1823 on the small farm Løftingsbakken (or Lyftingsbakken) in Lesja, Oppland, Norway and was christened in Lesja church on 21st September.  He was 5th in line of the eight children of Knud Olsen Løftingsbakken and Anne Amundsdatter Ommundstad.  Løftingsbakken was a small mountain farm with only enough outcome to feed one family, and the children had to seek work elsewhere soon after confirmation. The oldest son, Ole, died young and the second son, Amund, took over the farm. Thor, the third son, was confirmed 21st October 1838 in Lesja church, and shortly after this, he left Lesja.

The nickel works in Espedalen attracted workers from a large part of the mountain regions of inland Norway, and Thor Knudsen was one of the many men from Lesja to seek work in the quarries. He was also one of the many young men who found a wife in Espedalen. 6th September 1851 he married Ingeborg Pedersdatter Megrund, one of the daughters of Peder Olsen Børde (see my former blog) - they had a son Knut born 10th June 1851, and later a daughter Marith and two sons, Anton and Peder, all born on Megrund farm. The Espedalen quarries were, however, badly hit by the falling price on nickel, and closed officially in September 1855 - although the work went on for a few more years. One of the founders of the quarries, David Forbes, went on to direct new quarries in Bamble, in southern Telemark, and many of the miners followed him to seek work there. Among them were Thor Knudsen. He must have left Espedalen between 1862 and 1865: his son Anton was born in Espedalen in May 1862 while the family was well established on Langøy near Kragerø durng the 1865 census, and the youngest son Ole was born there in June 1865. Officially, however, the family is registered as inhabitants of Langøy 3rd September 1867.

They settled on the farm "Himmyr" (later named "Skogen"), a farm that apparently belonged to the quarries and which Thor Knudsen rented. His neighbours on all sides were miners from Espedalen. He worked in the iron quarries on Langøy for the rest of his life, and died on 4th August 1886. He was buried in the small graveyard on Langøy.

The photograph above is as far as I can ascertain, probably of Thor Knudsen. It must have been taken around 1880, and my guess is that the photo was one given to Marith Thorsdatter when leaving for the US; a copy of the photo was sent to me by one of my US relations, and to my surprise I found the same photo in one of my old photo albums.