Centennial Baby and First Babies

Cooperstown's Centennial Baby

Christine Olga Gundersen, born January 27 in Griggs County Hospital, is the first baby born in Cooperstown in 1982; the year Cooperstown celebrates its Centennial.

By stretching the facts just a little, she could be said to be the daughter of Norwegian immigrants.

Christine's parents are Americans who have lived several years in Norway, and have recently returned to the United States.

Pastor Willmore Gundersen, her father, lived and worked in Norway about fifteen years.  Three of their four older children were born there.  In 1981, he accepted a call to serve Zion (Westley) Lutheran Church in Cooperstown, and the family moved here in June.

Christine's mother, the former Joanne Aarhus, is a registered nurse who worked two years as an outpatient missionary nurse in Cameroun, Africa, before her marriage.

The older children in the family are Betty, Lisa, Steven, and Daniel.  All but Steven were born in Norway.


Cooperstown's First Babies

The first family to come to Cooperstown was that of Knud Thompson in January of 1883.

Mr. Thompson was noted for his ready wit and his willingness to dicker.

William Glass, who for a time was the only resident on the brand new townsite, remembered Knud Thompson's arrival, and his comment to the effect that Cooperstown was a fast growing community.  "Today I have seen the population of Cooperstown double in size," he said.  Thompson opened the first store in Cooperstown January 5, 1883.

After the store was built, the Thompson family, which included Knud, his wife, Anna, and small sons Theodore and Adolph, moved into living quarters in the back.  Grace Thompson was born there in May of 1883.  A doctor was brought from Mardell to assist.  Her brother, Oscar, was also born in the living quarters behind the store.

The August 8, 1883, Courier announced that "Mrs. Marquardt, the German woman, has increased Cooperstown's population by the birth of a hearty boy."  Otto Marquardt, the second child born in Cooperstown, lived here nearly all his life.  Like his parents, he and his wife Belle were in the restaurant business.

Back to the Thompson family.  The mercantile business and farming were Knud Thompson's living but horses and dickering seemed to be his first loves.  Family members tell that very often Thompson arrived at his destination driving a different team than he had when he left home.

Of all the original settlers in Cooperstown, in that first year, the Knud Thompsons are the only family still represented in Griggs County.  His great-granddaughter, Mrs. David (Beth) Stokka, and her children, Gretchen and Nathan, live on a farm near Sutton.  Beth is the daughter of Carolyn Thompson Pfeifer, who is Oscar Thompson’s daughter.

David Stokka is also a fourth-generation resident of the county.

Griggs County's First Baby

Anna Mathilda Torfin was born September 11, 1880 in a 9'x 14' log cabin on Section 26 of Washburn Township.  Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Torfin came to Griggs County from Iowa in the spring of 1880 by covered wagon.  The Torfins lived on the homestead in Washburn Township for many years.  Later they moved to Minnesota, returned to Griggs County, this time in Romness Township, and retired in Aneta.

Anna Torfin was married May 6, 1900 to Olaf M. Sloulin, a druggist.  They lived in Aneta for many years.

The second white child born here was Katherine Opheim, October 4, 1880-1 the third Anton Olson January 31, 1881, and the fourth Elmer Mathisen May 17, 1881.


Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial Page 7

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