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Thomas Knutson & Jennie Gunderson Knutson


Thomas Knutson                                                             Thomas Knutson

Birth:  February 13, 1887
Place:  Mandal or Tveidt, Aaseral Parish; Norway
Death:  June 29,  1964
Place:  Grand Rapids, Mi
Burial:  Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Mi
Wife:  Jennie Elizabeth Gunderson
Marriage: October 26,  1920
Place:  Sisseton, SD
Number of Children:  9
Occupation:  Grinder- Blackmer Pump Co.

Thomas (Tore) Knutson was born in Norway in 1887 to Knud Nilsen and Tone Torsdatter.  He was their second child.  Knud died in the summer of 1885, after which Tone remarried Soren Sorensen of Mindrebo Farm.  According to Thomas's children, he did not get along with his new stepfather, Soren, and left Norway in 1903.  At age 16, Thomas arrived at Ellis Island on March 21, 1903, aboard The Cedric. (view more)  He then moved to LaSalle County, Illinios.  The 1910 census shows him living with August Erickson as a servant, age 23, occupation Farm Laborer.  Sometime between 1910 and 1920, Thomas moved to Roberts County, South Dakota.  The 1920 census shows him as head of household, age 32, single, and occupation Farmer.  Living with him is his younger brother Olaf(age 24, occ. farm laborer), Olaf's wife Annie L. (Gunderson)(age18), and their daughter, Zelma(age 7ms.).  According to family, Jennie Gunderson came to South Dakota to help her sister, Annie, with the birth of her child.  Thomas Knutson and Jennie Gunderson were married Oct 26, 1920,  in Sisseton, Roberts Co., SD. (view more)  Thomas was 33yrs old and Jennie was 17yrs old.  Thier first child, Kenneth Thomas Knutson, was born May 9, 1921 in Sisseton, SD, followed by 3 more children.  Sometime between 1928 and 1930, Thomas and Jennie lost their farm in South Dakota and moved to Grand Rapids, Mi.  The 1930 census shows Thomas (age 43), Jennie (age 25) and their 4 children living in G.R., Kent County, Mi.  Thomas is now said to be working in an iron foundry.  Five more children were born between 1931 and 1943. (Children's names aren't mentioned because many are still living).  Thomas Knutson was naturalized sometime in the 1950's.  He also suffered from cancer of the pancreas, of which he ultimatly died from.  He also was the first man in Michigan (or West MI) to have his stomach completely artificially replaced, also occurred in the 1950's. (There are news articles on both the naturalization and stomach surgery, I just haven't gotten them yet)  Thomas Knutson died on June 29, 1964, in his home, at age 77.  He was burried next to his son Kenneth Knutson, who preceeded him in death in 1955, in Greenwood Cemetery, G.R., Mi.


Jennie Elizabeth Gunderson (Knutson)           

Birth:  May 30, 1904
Place:  Ottawa, IL
Death:  December 21,  2001
Place:  Grand Rapids, Mi
Burial: Greenwood Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Mi
Husband:  Thomas Knutson
Marriage:  October 26, 1920
Place:  Sisseton, SD
Number of Children:  9
Occupation:  Housewife

Jennie Elizabeth was born May 30, 1904, to Gunder Charles Gunderson and Elida Anderson Gunderson, in Ottawa, Illinois.  She was the third of seven children.  The 1910 census shows her living with her parents in Ottawa, Illinois, age 5.  Her name is listed as Jenenieve, this is the only time she is called that, as far as I know.  Her birth certificate was edited in 1940, a Supplemental Report of Birth-Name of Child was submitted.  Originally, no name was reported on the birth certificate, after the supplemental report, she was named Jennie Elizabeth.  Why this occurred??  I can only assume she needed proof of birth for something she applied for in 1940, like we so often do today.  As I wrote above, Jennie and Thomas Knutson were married on Oct. 26, 1920 in Sisseton, SD.  They moved to Grand Rapids, Mi.  Jennie lived a long life,  she passed at the old age of 97.  Granted the last 10-15 yrs or so she lived in a nursing home, after falling and breaking her hip at home, and wasn't completely aware of where or what year it was.  She died,  Dec 21,  2001 at Christian Rest Home, Grand Rapids, Mi. (view orbit)  Jennie Knutson was burried at Greenwood Cemetery, G.R., Mi.


Children of Thomas and Jennie Knutson that have passed:  (5 currently living)


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Documents I have for this family:

  • Jennie's Birth Certificate and Supplemental Birth Report
  • Thomas and Jennie's Marriage Certificate
  • Thomas's Immigrant Ship Manifest
  • Thomas's WW1 draft card
  • Thomas's Social Security Death Index Records (note, not the actual application)
  • Thomas's Death Certificate
  • Thomas and Jennie's Grave photos
  • Jennie's Obituary
  • Kenneth's Obituary and News article about his death
  • Clara's Obituary
  • A few photo's
  • 1910 Census
  • 1920 Census
  • 1930 Census

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