Biography of Martin Thorson
Saunders County, NE Biographies





Martin Thorson is a retired farmer now living in Wahoo and belongs to that class of representative citizens to whom success has come as a reward of earnest, persistent and intelligently directed effort. He is a son of Thore and Ellen (Svenson) Johnson and was born at Horby, Skane, Sweden, February 16, 1849, and was there reared upon a farm, while his educational opportunities were those afforded by the public schools. Favorable reports reached him concerning business conditions and opportunities in the new world and when nineteen years of age he bade adieu to friends and native land and sailed for the United States landing at New York on the 1st of July, 1868. He did not tarry on the Atlantic coast, however, but at once made his way westward to Omaha, accompanied by his brother Karl. His first employment was on a ferry boat, on which he worked for ten days, after which he made his way to Medicine Bow, on the Union Pacific Railroad, where he worked for three months on the section. He afterward went into the timber in Colorado and made ties for the railroad for seventeen days but did not get a cent for it, and at the end of that time work was suspended. Mr. Thorson afterward secured employment in a sawmill, where he remained until the spring of 1869. In March of that year he arrived in Saunders county, walking from Omaha, and secured a homestead in Marietta precinct of eighty acres. His brother, Karl Thorson, and Louis Johnson, obtained adjoining claims. They purchased a team in Omaha, bought a little shack and brought it out to their claims to put it up upon the land owned by Martin. Thorson. He remained upon his claim, carefully developing and improving it, until he converted it from a tract of raw prairie into richly cultivated fields. In 1878 he purchased eighty acres of railway land, for which he paid ten dollars per acre, and to his holding he added from time to time until he was the owner of four hundred and forty acres in three different farms. Year after year he carefully and persistently carried on general agricultural pursuits and then retired in 1909, when he took up his abode in Wahoo. In the intervening period he had dealt in land, winning considerable success in that connection and at the same time he carried on general farming and stock raising, his labors bringing him substantial profits.

On the 7th of August, 1874, Mr. Thorson was married to Miss Augusta F. Johnson, who is a daughter of John and Aka Johnson and was born in Aisheda, Sweden, on the 20th of April, 1855. Her mother died when she was young and in May, 1870, with her father and a sister she came to the United States, making her way to Omaha, where she made her home until her marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Thorson have become the parents of six children - Albert H., who married Miss Esther Henning and lives on one of his father's farms; Freda, who died in infancy; William J., who married Miss Naomi Lundahl, now deceased, and who is practicing dentistry in Chicago; Holder E., the wife of Arthur L. Anderson, of Wahoo; and Arthur O. and Anton K, twins, both of whom are farming in Saunders county and the latter of whom married Miss Anna Erickson.

In his political views Mr. Thorson is an independent democrat. He served as school director for several years and has been offered various offices but has always refused to accept. He was, however, the first director in his school district and the cause of education has found in him a warm friend. He belongs to the Lutheran church, of which he is serving as trustee, and he was a member of the committee that built the first Lutheran church in Mead. He has never regretted his determination to come to America, for although he met the various hardships and difficulties during the early days, he has steadily progressed and is now one of the substantial residents of Saunders county, having become the possessor of a handsome competence which enables him to live retired, his record proving what may be accomplished through industry and determination.

From:
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
Vol. II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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