Tollef (Tolly) Carlson (1860 - 1952)
Tollef (Tolly) Carlson (or Tollef Karlsen as his name was in Norway) was born
July 1860(# 91) on Hjelmen farm, Fitjar in Hordaland County, Norway. He died
Dec. 29, 1952 in Stoughton, WI. (Riverside Cemetery, Stoughton, WI.) Tollef was
son of Karl Andreas Thomsen
and Anna Hansdatter.
Tollef was never married.
Tollef (Tolly) Carlson
was confirmed, Oct.
3, 1875(# 3) in Fitjar church. His grade was: Knowledge - very good, Diligence
- very good, Behaviour - very good. At that time, he was living on Hjelmen farm.
was 31 years old when he emigrated to America, April 16, 1891. He is then mentioned
as unmarried, sailor and stowaway.
was visiting in Norway 1895 - 1896. He went back to America, Apr. 16, 1896. He
was then traveling with the Beaver Line, and he is mentioned as an unmarried farm
worker and living in America.
the 1900 census report we can see that Tollef Carlson was living with his sister
Martha and her family at that time. They were farming in Rutland township near
Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA. In 1920 Tollef was still unmarried and living in Stoughton.
by Doug Stokstad
now in my old age I remember an old man I knew in those depression
years, long ago. He was a short, gray haired, man with tired sunken eyes. His
face reflected the hard life he must have lived. He was from Norway, uneducated,
but still kind and unresentful of his lot. My parents gave him a job washing dishes
in their restaurant, not because they needed him, but rather to help him earn
a living, meager as it had to be. They of course, in those hard years, didnt
need a dish washer, but they had to help him, and they did.
was his name! I dont know if that was his first name or his last name. Thats
what everybody called him, Carlsen. I dont remember much about
him, where he went, or when he went. What I do remember is this.
was the middle of a very cold, cold winter. Carlsen would come into the restaurant
shivering from the cold. He was dressed in threadbare old clothes that were meant
for summer wear, not the sub-zero weather we were having. No hat, no boots, no
overcoat, because he had none to wear.
dont remember how I had this overcoat, I just dont remember. It was
a brown, cloth overcoat that couldnt have been mine to wear because I was
just a boy. Still it wasnt a large size, so it could have been a hand-me-down
from one of the relatives. At any rate, it was mine, as I remember it!
was on one of those cold mornings when Carlsen came to work that I brought the
coat to him. We (mother or dad) helped Carlsen put the coat on. I felt so bad
because it really didnt fit him! It was too small! He could hardly button
it. But it didnt matter!
can still see his face! The tears rolled from his eyes, and he said over and over,
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! This is the best thing that ever happened
to me! He was so grateful, so happy, for the warmth.
how good we all felt, to see this old man so happy!
was just a boy, but I learned that day what great joy can be had from helping
others, and that very little can mean a lot to someone else! Heres to you,
Carlsen! May God Bless you sir.
Tollef's obituary in Stoughton Courier
Hub Newspaper, Dec. 29, 1952:
T. Carlson Dies Today At
Tollef Carlson, 92, died early today at the Oregon Nursing
Home after a lingering illness of Several months.
He was born June 24,
1860, in Bergen, Norway, and came to the United States in 1891. Before immigrating,
he served a term in the Norwegian Navy.
At one time he was a caretaker
at the old First Lutheran church in Stoughton. He never married. Several nieces
and nephews survive.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday from the Booth
funeral home, Oregon, with the Rev. Robert Berthelson officiating. Burial will
be in Prairie Mound cemetery. 1)
Steinsbø: Fitjar bygdebok bind I, page 434 - 435.
Jacob Aaland: Fitjar
Bygdeskipnad og bygdesoge.
The 1900 census report.
The 1920 census report.
Thanks to Ervin
Erdahl for information.
Thanks to Janet Minett for the picture.
county, Fitjar, Parish register (official) nr. A 1 (1862-1881), Confirmation records
1875, page 142.
Thanks to Erv Erdahl, Ardys Virgine (Severson) Lawrence and
her daughter Margaret Ann (Peggy) Lawrence for sending me the obituary.