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Who's Who in the Thompson Cemetery

Havana Township, Steele County, Minnesota

     When I was a little girl, my mother and sister and I would go to the Thompson Cemetery every Memorial Day to plant geraniums on the graves of two sets of my great grandparents and a great aunt. There we would meet other great aunts and uncles who came to plant on the graves of other relatives. Even as a child, I was fascinated with the place, and as I have researched the family history, I have come to realize that pretty much everyone buried there is connected to me in some way.

     The Thompson Cemetery is a small place tucked away on what was once the farm of Lars Toreson Nedste Ljøsno and Veljer Simonsdatter Mid Bø, also known in America as Lewis and Velda Thompson (their monument calls them Lars Lysne Thoreson and Veljer Thoreson). They left Lærdal kommune in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway in 1853, staying in Dane County, Wisconsin for a time before settling in Havana Township, Steele County, Minnesota in 1856 or 1857. They were among the earliest Norwegian settlers in the area, and their descendants account for many of the burials in the Thompson Cemetery. Around 1865, Veljer's cousin Randi Olsdatter Kjodnes and her husband Torsten Nilsson Saltkjelen (Thomas and Rosa Nelson) settled nearby, and their descendants account for a number of the burials there, too. Torsten's sister Anna had a daughter, Guri, with Veljer's brother Johannes. Guri and her husband Agrim are the ancestors of some of the Johnsons, while the rest are descendants of Agrim's half brother John and his wife Guri, who was the daughter of Lars and Veljer. Confused yet? Throw in a handful of immigrants from Hafslo in Sogn og Fjordane, and that takes care of almost everybody buried there. Click here to see the relationships.

     Something over a hundred people are known to be buried in the Thompson Cemetery, the first burial reportedly being that of Lars and Veljer's granddaughter Metta Nielson in 1865. The Thompson Cemetery Association was formed in 1908, and while new burials are rare, the cemetery is still active. It is secluded and well-maintained, but as of August 2008 there were fallen trees across the road leading to the entrance. The markers range from barely legible to well-preserved, with one monument broken so that only the base remains. This transcription was completed on Memorial Day 2001 and will be supplemented by information from other sources as I come across it. Photos were taken in August 2008 and I'm aware that I missed a few stones. That's what I get for being in a hurry and not bringing a list.

     Other transcriptions of this cemetery have been done by Ron Houghtelin and John Dalby. You can find Houghtelin's transcription here and Dalby's here. My purpose is to offer something different, something more -- biographical and genealogical information on the people buried in the Thompson Cemetery, regardless of whether or not a tombstone marks an individual's final resting place. This is my tribute to my ancestors and to the entire generation of immigrants who left their homelands to begin new lives in America. I feel that it is important to reestablish the connection between the two halves of their lives, to pull together the pieces into one whole narrative. Let their stories be told.

About this Transcription:


Anderson, Anna     1866-1925
Anderson, Thomas M.     1858-1937
Anna: CertID# 1925-MN-015099
Thomas: CertID# 1937-MN-015776
Anderson, Celina     [January 24, 1871-January 1, 1872]
Anderson, Baby Boy     [June 5, 1877-June 6, 1877]
No marker
Parents were Mons and Martha Anderson. The baby boy is listed on the cemetery map, but I have no actual proof that Celina is here, too. There may also have been a third child who died young.
Anderson, Dean     1930-1940
Anderson, Erwin W.     1899-1935
Anderson, Martha     May 2, 1832-October 2, 1925 [sic]
Anderson, Mons     January 14, 1825-January 31, 1899 [sic]
Mons died in 1898, not 1899, and Martha died in 1924. It is possible he is or was initially buried in the Aurora cemetery in the plot belonging to his daughter Ingrid Monson.
Martha: CertID# 1924-MN-014803
Anderson, Norman O.     March 2, 1896-December 2, 1907 Died in Amery, Wisconsin after falling and hitting his head on the railroad tracks. Parents James and Hannah (Nelson) Anderson are buried in Amery.

Andriesen, Andrew     Died July 24, 1887
Anderson, Kari     [Abt. 1817-1877]
The inscription states that he was 61 years old. I have no proof that she is buried here too, but it seems likely.

Bingham, Elma R.     1893-1973
Bingham, John R.     1884-1933
Elma: CertID# 1973-MN-029895
Edwardson, Anna     1882-1887I believe her to be the daughter of Jens and Anna Edwardson, who had a daughter Anna born in 1880 who died in 1885.
Edwardson, Julia     August 26, 1840-December 10, 1920
Edwardson, Nels     August 9, 1837-January 4, 1926
Julia: CertID# 1920-MN-015719 (indexed under first name Julies)
Nels: CertID# 1926-MN-015196

Edwardson, Sam N.     1885-1938
Edwardson, Velda H.     1885-1976
Sam: CertID# 1938-MN-013148
Velda: CertID# 1976-MN-031591
Edwardson, Sidney V.     January 17, 1915-February 2, 1915Parents were Sam and Velda (Quam) Edwardson
Edwardson, Stanley P.     1917-1943 U.S. Navy WWII
Died at sea November 7, 1943
Halvorson, Gjorond     [1813-1888]
Halvorson, Jacob     [1814-?]
Marker simply says JH
Both are probably buried here, but I have no proof of that.
Hansen, Russell A.     July 21, 1938-September 2, 2001
Hansen, Sonya A.     Presumed living
Russell: CertID# 2001-MN-525870
Harlicker, George Sr.     1863-1930
Harlicker, Randy     1872-1931
George: CertID# 1930-MN-015268 (indexed under surname Harlicher)
Randy: CertID# 1931-MN-014774 (indexed under surname Harhcken)
Harlicker, Gilbert W.     [August 10, 1909-September 4, 1909]
Harlicker, Harold     [May 7, 1898-Bef. 1900]
Harlicker, Lars     [June 27, 1899-July 7, 1899]
Harlicker, Mary Alice     [March 21, 1901-Bef. 1910]
Harlicker, Wilbert Ernest     [March 30, 1902-Bef. 1910]
The markers for these and the other Harlicker children simply say "Baby," but they are listed on the cemetery map. Parents were George Harlicker Sr. and Randy (Johnson) Harlicker
Gilbert: CertID# 1909-MN-012718  
Harlicker, Kenneth     [March 29, 1915-June 14, 1915] No individual marker other than the one that says "Baby" for all the Harlicker children
Parents were George Harlicker and Agnes (Skalicky) Harlicker
CertID# 1915-MN-013977 (indexed under surname Harlacker)
Harlicker, LaVon     [October 8, 1933-October 15, 1933]
Harlicker, Mary Alice     [August 28, 1936-October 4, 1936]
No individual marker other than the one that says "Baby" for all the Harlicker children
Parents were Harry Harlicker and Berniece (Jacobsen) Harlicker
LaVon: CertID# 1933-MN-014911
Mary: CertID# 1936-MN-016651
Hillestad, Christopher     1858-1934
Hillestad, Olena     1863-1956
Christopher: CertID# 1934-MN-015674
Olena: CertID# 1956-MN-004962
Hillestad, Clarence     1892-1935
Hillestad, Olena B.     1898-1988
Clarence was killed in an elevator accident while visiting his brother Richard in Rock Rapids, IA.
Olena: CertID# 1988-MN-002605
Hinckley, Adelaide     Presumed living
Hoganson, Ole     [Abt. 1819-February 10, 1891]
Hoganson, Turi     [Abt. 1817-Aft. 1895]
There is a monument in the cemetery where the only part left is the base and a few chunks. I have no proof, but the people most likely to be buried in the Thompson cemetery who are otherwise unaccounted for would be the Hogansons.
Iverson, Hatie     1885-1954
Iverson, John O.     1877-1945
Hattie: CertID# 1954-MN-016188
John: CertID# 1945-MN-015585
Iverson, Milton L.     September 22, 1919-December 11, 1974 CertID# 1974-MN-032472

Johnson, Agrim     February 15, 1825-October 17, 1894
Johnson, Guri     November 8, 1829-March 27, 1903
Johnson, Bertha     1855-1936 [sic] Died in 1934, not 1936
Husband John L. Johnson buried in Havana Cemetery with his parents
CertID# 1934-MN-009105
Johnson, (Child)     
Johnson, Baby Girl     [June 23, 1882-June 24, 1882]
Johnson, Ingebald     [March 1860-Bef. 1865]
Johnson, Jens     [Bet. 1860 and 1865-Bef. 1870]
Johnson, Simon     [July 3, 1879-February 20, 1880]
Johnson, Veljer     [Bet. 1860 and 1865-Bef. 1868]
Johnson, Veljer     [Abt. 1868-Bef. 1873]
Of John and Guri Johnson's thirteen children, seven died young. I have no proof that these children are buried here, but it seems reasonable that they would be. They were grandchildren of Lars and Veljer Thompson, on whose land the cemetery lay.
Johnson, Ole     March 7, 1858-June 15, 1882
Johnson, Joseph     April 7, 1868-April 8, 1893
Johnson, Elsa     March 6, 1866-July 11, 1893
Parents were Agrim and Guri Johnson
Johnson, James     1871-1913Parents were John and Guri Johnson
CertID# 1913-MN-013963
Johnson, James A.     July 20, 1855-July 4, 1915Parents were Agrim and Guri Johnson
CertID# 1915-MN-009140
Johnson, John A.     February 15, 1864 [sic]-December 19, 1938 Parents were Agrim and Guri Johnson.
Born 1874, not 1864. He spent the last 34 years of his life in the Hastings State Hospital. The diagnosis was listed as "pubescent," which would seem to indicate mental retardation to me, or perhaps some sort of brain damage later in life.
CertID# 1938-MN-003475

Johnson, John (Broin)     July 8, 1821-December 23, 1890
Johnson, Guri     [Feb. 6, 1836-Nov. 23, 1925]
He was also known as John Johnson Hegg. There is no marker for Guri.
Guri: CertID# 1925-MN-014993 (indexed under first name Julia)
Johnson, Lewis     [Dec. 28, 1844-Nov. 13, 1882]
(Johnson) Odegard, Mary     [Sept. 9, 1849-Feb. 3, 1932]
According to the map, there is or was a marker for Lewis Johnson in the shrubbery, which was not seen by Houghtelin, Dalby or me. There is no marker for Mary but her obituary says she was buried here. Her second husband Lars (Lewis) Odegard is buried in Rock Dell, MN.
Johnson, Wilda     January 27, 1873-November 22, 1917Parents were John and Guri Johnson
Jorgenson, Fred     1889-1962
Jorgenson, Theolena R.     1891-1928
Jorgenson, Forest A.     1913-1915
Knutson, Milford K.     1915-1976
Knutson, Frances     1918-2004
Knutson, Jeanette     [July 9, 1939-December 31, 1940] No Marker
Parents were Wilfred Knutson and Frances Lushine
Cert ID# 1940-MN-015634
Knutson, Baby Boy     [Stillborn April 1, 1942] No Marker
Mother was Ruth Knutson

Larson, Arthur S.     March 7, 1920-June 13, 1971
Larson, Dolores     Presumed living
Lehman, Ralph William     [June 20, 1921-June 21, 1921] No individual marker other than the one that says "Baby" for all the Harlicker children
Parents were Charles Lehman and Hazel (Harlicker) Lehman
Lewison, Alice     1907-1907 [sic]
Lewison, Judith     1910-1911 [sic]
Lewison, Marvelene     1906-1907 [sic]
Parents were James and Marie (Quam) Lewison
Alice July 17, 1910-Oct. 29, 1910
Judith Sept. 18, 1906-Nov. 2, 1906
Marvelene Jan. 28, 1905-Nov. 16, 1906

Lewison, James     1872-1950
Lewison, Marie     1881-1962
Loney, Arlene T.     Presumed living
Loney, Roy A.     1904-1978
Massengill, Agnes E.     1888-1960
Massengill, George F.     1885-1973
Mellem, Edna L.     1904-1926Parents were Robert and Gertrude Mellem
Edna died of tuberculosis in the Glen Lake Sanatorium in Minnetonka, MN
Mellem, Gertrude     1861-1942
Mellem, Robert     1863-1943

Moe, Anna     April 6, 1863-December 23, 1938
Moe, Erick J.     April 4, 1857-January 14, 1937

Moe, Halvor     1871-1943
Moe, Randy     1871-1943
Nelson, Anna     January 1, 1801-June 21, 1887
Nelson, Gjertina     [Abt. 1869-Bef. 1875] The youngest daughter of Nils and Gjertrud Nelson. There is no marker and I have no proof that she is buried here. It just makes sense.
Nelson, Gjertrud     March 16, 1829-March 27, 1909
Nelson, Nils     May 30, 1830-March 27, 1909
Nils and Gjertrud both died of old age on the same day. Nils had been ill for some time, and when he was told that Gjertrud had died unexpectedly, he declared that he was ready to go too. And within hours, he did.
Nelson, Malina     September 20, 1869-July 4, 1882
Nelson, Ragnelde     March 25, 1880-July 11, 1882
Parents were Thomas T. Nelson and his first wife Olena (Mellem) Nelson.
Steele County death records list the following dates for the girls:
Malina April 26, 1870-July 1, 1882
Ragnelde March 23, 1880-July 7, 1882. I believe Malina's birthdate on the marker is more accurate than the one in the death record.
Malina died of diphtheria, and it seems likely that Ragnelde did as well.

Nelson, Olena     November 10, 1843-December 28, 1896
Nelson, Thomas T.     October 10, 1841-November 9, 1901
Nelson, Edgar Orlando     August 29, 1900-July 10, 1902
Orlando's parents were Thomas T. Nelson and his second wife Agnes Lee Erickson Nelson. He drowned in a water trough while visiting the Christ and Olena Hillestad family with his mother. Agnes is buried in Rock Dell, Minnesota with her third husband Knute Brakke.
Nelson, Randi     May 1, 1853-October 28, 1920

Nelson, Randi     [January 11, 1802-November 6, 1883]
Nelson, Torsten     [December 24, 1804-January 26, 1889]
There are two small markers, side by side, that simply say TN and RN.
Nielson, Anna     January 18, 1863-June 30, 1867
Nielson, Anna     May 2, 1872-August 12, 1874
Nielson, Johannes     March 1, 1865-July 30, 1867
Nielson, Metta     February 17, 1852-February 4, 1865
This tombstone was not seen by me but was reported in John Dalby's transcription and the children are listed on the cemetery map. The parents, John and Anna Nielson/Nelson (later known as Quam) moved to Kandiyohi County in 1878.

Quam, John O.     1847-1912
Quam, Unni T.     1841-1920
Rottluff, Herman E.     1889-1970
Rottluff, Pearl J.     1899-1938
Herman died in Nebraska.
Sorenson, Bernard H.     Presumed living
Sorenson, Bernice A.     1916-1989
Thompson, Adeline     1910-1926Parents were Lewis W. and Lulla (Anderson) Thompson

Thompson, Adolph     August 16, 1881-October 12, 1881
Thompson, Lars W.     March 1, 1867-November 25, 1874
Thompson, Peter     July 4, 1869-September 5, 1869
Thompson, Theodore     July 9, 1879-April 10, 1882
Parents were Andrew L. and Anna Thompson.
Steele County death records list the following dates for Lars W.: March 12, 1868-November 25, 1874. Judging by the 1870 census, I am inclined to believe that 1867 is the correct year.
Thompson, Andrew     August 6, 1877-December 19, 1931[sic]
Thompson, Malena     September 19, 1883-June 24, 1970
Andrew died in 1930, not 1931.
Malena's second husband Knute Moe is buried in the Aurora Lutheran Church cemetery with his first wife.
Thompson, A. L.     January 13, 1840-May 31, 1920
Thompson, Anna     September 24, 1846-November 8, 1928

Thompson, Christina G.     1885-1929
Thompson, Theodore     1883-1961

Thompson, Lewis W.     1875-1930
Thompson, Lulla Anna L.     1886-1939
Thompson, Norma J.     Presumed living
Thompson, Wayne M.     1924-2000
Thompson, Osman A.     March 23, 1918-January 5, 1956 His wife, Marcella, died May 11, 2008 and is buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Owatonna.
Thompson, Simon     [October 11, 1870-December 23, 1939] No Marker
Simon and his wife Anna were estranged. Anna died at 39 and I suspect that she is buried in the Aurora cemetery with her parents, although there is no marker for her, either.
Thompson, Synneva H.     1894-1975
Thompson, William     1885-1954

Thoreson, Lars Lysne     October 14, 1799-June 11, 1883
Thoreson, Veljer     August 10, 1804-May 31, 1902
The stone reads "Her under hviler Veljer," meaning here rests Veljer. Houghtelin and Dalby both mistake hviler as part of her name. Lars and Veljer also used the Americanized surname Thompson.
Thorson, Agnes C.     February 11, 1882-July 30, 1888
Thorson, Oskar     June 21, 1878-September 30, 1879
This is probably the marker that I found to be completely illegible. It was reported in Ron Houghtelin's 1985 transcription (where Agnes is listed as Junes) and the children are listed on the cemetery map. These children belonged to Anna Thompson's sister Unni (Jenny) and her husband John Thorson, who later moved to Montana, then Washington state.
Thorson, ?     August 21, 1864-September 10, 1871 This tombstone was not seen by me but was reported in John Dalby's transcription. I suspect it might be the stone for Agnes and Oskar, the dates being the best Dalby could make out. If this is truly another child, I do not know to whom he or she might have belonged. Jenny Thorson would have been too young to have a child in 1864.
Tolefson, Alma O.     1897-1953
Tolefson, Bertha     1860-1940
Tolefson, Thomas     1858-1929
Tolefson, Thomas B., Jr.     July 24, 1899-August 1, 1899 Parents were Thomas and Bertha (Johnson) Tolefson
Houghtelin mistakenly lists his last name as Anderson
Tollefson, Anna     [Abt. 1867]-February 22, 1872
Tollefson, Henrik     [Abt. 1864-1876]
This tombstone is lying on the ground and is nearly illegible. All I was able to read was the death date February 22, 1872, which matched in the records of the Aurora Lutheran Church to Anna Tollefson, age 5. In the church records and in Ron Houghtelin's transcription she is paired with her brother Henrik, age 11. John Dalby mistakenly lists his name as Frank. The children's parents were Ole and Syneva (Henrikson) Tollefson.
Tollefson, Ole     June 5, 1829-April 18, 1908
Tollefson, Syneva     November 8, 1830-November 29, 1925
Tollefson, Ole     1860-1940



The Norwegian Community in Havana and Aurora Townships



Text copyright 1999-2003 by Chris Larson

Last Modified July 1, 2003