11 April 2009

A.K. Finseth, Minnesota state senator, 1875-78

I browse Flickr each week; this week on a whim I typed in a family name, and lo and behold, was greeted by the bewhiskered visage of my great granduncle (my grandfather's uncle).

A.K. (Anders Knut) Finseth was Norwegian, from the Hemsedal/Hallingdal region of Norway, born in 1836. When he was 17 years old, he emigrated with his brother, O.K. Finseth, to the United States in 1853. They arrived in Wisconsin in 1854, then moved on to Goodhue County, in what at the time was the "Minnesota Territory."
In the fall of 1854 Jens Ottun made a claim and built a sod hut on section 33, where he commenced breaking the land in May, 1855. On May 27 there arrived A. K. Finseth, K. K. Finseth, H. K. Finseth and Ole J. Bakke.
These were pioneers in the truest sense of the word. The area wouldn't achieve statehood for another three years in 1858. A.K. Finseth eventually cleared and farmed over 300 acres, was elected to the Minnesota state senate in 1874 and was one of the presidential electors in 1876. His brother, Ole K. Finseth, was the father of my grandfather, Knut Olaus Finseth.

About a century later, another distant relative would become Governor of Minnesota - but that's another story...

Thanks, Amanjo, for posting the photo on Flickr.


  1. It's so nice to see old pictures from family members.. Men in my family used to be jockeys, and famous enough to have their portraits in newspapers, etc. I was so happy when I was able to find some of those pictures in old dusty, 19th century newspapers! I never used Flickr, but I might give it a try.

  2. That is pretty awesome. Sadly a lot of my family names are too common for googling/flickring. We did find a great photo of one relative at his livery stable in Chicago and we were able to trace down the address in the picture (the street numbers changed a couple times over the years). Lo and behold the building still stands... looking much as it did in the past

  3. I'm so glad you were able to find the picture! Thanks for giving more history behind this man. I will link your blog post to my picture.

  4. I have a booklet by A K Finseth..."Quarterly Report of Milk, Butter, Cheese.......1891"....any value???

  5. My great great grandfather ! Exciting to see

    1. Anders K. had nine children - Knut A. Martinus, Anne Marie, Martha Oline, Sissel Catherine, Clara, Amelia, Arthur Cornelius, Karl Herman, and Walter Haugen. One of them would have been your grandparent.

      And his sister Anne married Halvor Kvi, part of the (anglicized) Quie family, including future Minnesota governor (1979-83) Al Quie.


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