Ole Larson's Folks

Marte Bø, Chapter 10

To read Marte’s story from the beginning, click here.

Marte Østensdatter’s execution, and the several related deaths, created a complex problem regarding the farm and fortune left behind. From Thomle:

The probate for Marte Østensdatter was held on Bø, 1 and 2 March 1695.  The estate was very prosperous.  It owned 18 cows, 11 young cattle, 4 oxen, 14 calves, 21 goats, 39 sheep, 2 hogs, and 9 horses.  Of silver, there were a goblet, heavy 11 weight, 3 spoons, and 2 riksdaler in money.  The whole estate, not including real property, came to 260 riksdaler, 2 ort, 6 shillings, of which the wife’s share of the personal property came to 130 riksdaler, 1 ort, 3 shillings.  The son Torger’s inheritance from his father the tax collector also intended to be forfeited.  But the maternal uncle, Amund Østensen, and the children’s guardians, Peder Veikle and Johannes Kongsli, intended that this could not be the case, because the judgment of the district court was pronounced 9 January 1695, while the father, Torger Torgersen, only died 31 January the same year, and the son accordingly received no inheritance from him.  The execution, of course, did not occur until 11 February.  But that was because the executioner had other business, so it could not occur before.  The matter was referred to the king’s decision.

I don’t want to get into the currency system, but just note that 260 riksdaler and change was a great deal of money. Also in dispute, along with the wealth of personal property, was Marte’s share of the land holdings, which were  extensive. In addition to the entire Bø farm, very large in itself, the estate included farm lands in several other localities, even a part of Forbrigd, which Marte would have inherited upon her father’s death, had she not been under a death sentence by that time.

In its final decisions the following year, the Crown awarded Marte’s half of both real and personal property to the  children. To be more accurate, the children were given preference over other bidders to buy the land. While it is not made clear in our texts, the children must also have received their “normal” inheritance, namely, the other half of the property. Under this ruling, their riches were greatly increased.

The children’s names were Østen, Marit (or Marte), and Tore (or Toro). Our sources do not detail what became of Østen, the only surviving son. He would be expected to become operator of the farm. Instead, the elder daughter, Marit, married Peder Tjøstelsen Harildstad, who became the owner-operator, or gaardbruger of Bø. Marit, you may recall, was the sibling who was indirectly, and perhaps apocryphally, implicated by her brother in the murder plot.

The younger daughter, Tore, married Peder’s brother, Paul Tjøstelsen Harildstad, and became my fifth great-grandmother, as follows:

1) Marte Østensdatter, b. Forbrigd (c. 1650-1695) – m. Torger Torgersen Bø
2) Tore Torgersdatter Bø – m. Paul Tjøstelsen Harildstad
3) Marit Paulsdatter Harildstad – m. Svend Paulsen Lillegard (alt. Litlgard)
4) Paul Svendsen Lillegard* – later Flaate – m. Mari Pedersdatter
5) Lars Paulsen Flaate – m. Anne Larsdatter Skurdal
6) Ole Larson Skurdal (emigrated to Wisconsin) – m. Anne Samuelsdatter Bjerke
7) Isaac Larson – m. Anna Moen
8) Lovell Larson – m. Reatha Myers
9) George Larson (b. 1947)

* There were two brothers named Paul Svendsen (alt. Poul Sveinsen) Lillegard(!). This kind of double naming happened occasionally, when both grandfathers of a family had the same given name, and under other circumstances. The other Paul Svendsen was Joanne’s ancestor.

Aside from the inheritance, one can only wonder how the children’s lives were shaped by those awful events of their youth. I also wonder if they had any better idea than we have, what possible motive there may have been …

This is pretty much the end of the facts. But of the story, so much is missing. Stay tuned for a few conjectural scenarios.

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Why, Oh, Why?