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Thompson, Oscar T. / Home town : some chapters in reminiscence
(May 1942)

Chapter 1,   pp. 3-4 PDF (555.5 KB)

Page 3

Chapter 1
Several months ago I was re-
quested by Mrs. Minnie McIntyre
Wallace, chairman of the Memoirs
committee of the Beloit Historical
society, to write my recollections
of Beloit.
"You are one of the older resi-
dents we have in Beloit and I am
sure you have a great many mem-
ories of things that have happened
here in your life time," she said.
"Will you not be kind enough to
write a narrative of your personal
experiences for the society?"
Late in May she again reiterated
her desire that I write my history.
I told her I had never aspired to
be a historian and furthermore
have no special literary ability,
but if she thought we competent
and would 'ike me to undertake
the task, I would do so. This ex-
plains how I have become a liter-
ary man.
I shall endeavor to clothe what
I have to say in a manner so as
to make it of interest to the gener-
al reader. I will dwell of course
on matters of factual history, but
there will also be more or less of
personal reminiscences and anec-
dotes - about things that other
people will remember as well as I.
In short it will be a combination
of history and dates as well as a
semi-autobiography of my life.
With this explanation of purpose I
will proceed and try to give the
old as well as the young a story
that I hope will prove entertaining
as well as instructive, broad in
scope but not too much in detail.
I have been to some pains to
verify facts and dates but if any
cf them are inaccurate I hope that
it will be excused.
I was born January 23, 1860 in
the upper end of Third st., now
the 900 block, and have lived here
continuously ever since, except
for a few temporary absences
while away at college and abroad.
My father, John Thompson, was
born July 15, 1828, in Norway. He
was the youngest of a family of
nine children. Education in those
days was meager-reading, writ-
ing, arithmetic, and catechism
were as much as any    poor lad
could expect to receive. My moth-
er was born June 16, 1837, and
she was also the youngest of a
family of nine. Her father was a
storthings man (same as our con-
gressman) in 1830 to 1842, just
one hundred years ago.
Father learned the blacksmith
trade working in the shipyards of
his native town. In 1850 he de-
cided to emigrate to America. He
came over on an old style sailing
ship and landed in New York.
From there he came on west by
way of the Erie Canal and steam-
boat from Buffalo to Milwaukee.
It was a long and arduous trip. He
jokingly used to recall that when
he reached Milwaukee he had just
25 cents in his pocket. However,
he obtained work immediately.
Soon thereafter he decided to go
out to the Norwegian settlements
Oscar T. Thompson

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