GAS FROM FURNACE FATAL TO TOFTHAGEN
Thursday, November 21, 1929
Another pioneer of Nelson county was called to his reward on Wednesday night when A.M. Tofthagen, 71, a resident of Nelson county for the past 47 years, passed away. The exact cause of death is not known, but it is believed that he was overcome by gas from a broken furnace flu at the local library, in which building he had his apartment.
The body was found Thursday morning at about seven o'clock by Chief of Police D.C. Hullett, lying at the head of the stairs leading to the furnace room of the library. He was partly dressed and it is believed that he had gone to the basement to learn the trouble and was overcome by the fumes.
After viewing the body, County Coroner H. Chas. Graham decided that it was unnecessary to hold a inquest.
At the time The American went to press arrangements had not been completed for the funeral, pending the arrival of a brother from Canada. Interment will be made in the Lakota cemetery.
Mr. Tofthagen was in the best of health Wednesday evening and spent the evening with friends. He planned to leave Thursday for Egypt and had secured his ticket and passport.
He is survived by one sister, Mrs. Mary Troen of Black River Falls, Wis., and one brother at the same place, while another brother resides at Edmonton, Alberta, Can.
Two years ago Mr. Tofthagen had the Tofthagen Library-Museum erected and equipped it with a large number of books, curios, paintings and other articles collected during his travels, and donated the entire building and equipment, valued at approximately $25,000 to Lakota city and Nelson county. He reserved one room in the building for his own use during the short time he spends here each year.
A.M. Tofthagen was born at Hundorp, Norway, Nov. 12, 1858. When quite young he came to this country with his parents and settled at Black River Falls, Wis., in the spring of 1871. His father filed on a homestead in the fall of 1872. Later he was employed as clerk in the dry goods emporium of S.P. and R.C. Jones at Black River Falls, which position he held for two years. On January 1, 1882 he accepted a position to manage the dry goods department of store at Grand Forks, and arrived there on March 14th of the same year.
The following month he filed on a homestead in what is now Bergen township and proved up on this land in 1883. In the spring of 1885 he was appointed the first county auditor of Nelson county, and was elected to the same office in 1886. In 1888 he was elected register of deeds of Nelson county and re-elected in 1890. He did not run for office again when his second tern expired. In the summer of 1895 he organized the Lakota Mercantile Co., the corporation sonsisting of Samuel Thal, Jacob Thal and himself. Mr. Tofthagen was elected president of the corporation. He was still interested in the store at the time of his death. In 1906 he was elected presidential elector on the republican ticket under the administration of President McKinley.
Mr. Tofthagen has not been actively engaged in business for the past 23 years, spending most of his time during the past quarter of a century reading, traveling and studying. During this time he has traveled more than a quarter of a million miles, has visited practically every country in the world. He had a hobby of collecting painting of fine and liberal art, securing specimens in the various countries, and also took a large number of pictures of scenes during his travels, many of which have been enlarged and are now on display at the local library.
The above obituary appeared in the "Lakota American" newspaper, Lakota, North Dakota (Nelson County).