Source: Bygdebok for Rollag Buskerud at UND Special Collections Library
Book #?, pp. 62-69
Translated by Inger Nilssen, March 2003 [her comments in brackets]

Nord Lofthus

1805 - 1828

As is already mentioned, Tor Klausen Risteigen and his wife Ragnhild Knutsdotter were a “stutt”[short?] time owners in 1805. They waived the right to the farm to Nils Olsen Landsverk and his wife,Viil Knutsdotter, who farmed North Lofthus until 1811. Then Tor and Ragnhild Risteigen’s son-in-law, Stein Reiersen Rennehvammen from Urdal, bought the farm. He was married to Bergit Torsdotter Risteigen, b. 1789.

Neither did they stay as owners very long. Already in 1817, they sold the farm. The buyer was Reier Olsen M. Eie from Nore. Included in this transfer were 1/8 part of a tar distillery in Bogstrand and the right of use of a “vassag” [vass = water] in Sore Lofthus. Stein and Bergit arranged an exception for their support [foderad] that e.g. contained a claim for “heated house” and “free horses to and from church 4 times a year – whenever they ask for it, and once a year to travel to their parents-in-law (Risteigen) and once Rennehvammen in Opdal.” The purchase sum was 4200 Rd [riksdaler – dollar] DC.

Stein Reiersen and Bergit Torsdotter at their time at North Lofthus seems to have been a quiet and peaceful time. The farm Prysjorudningen was let to Sebjorn Olsen M. Eie and his wife Aslaug on June 21, 1815. Sebjorn Olsen was an uncle of Reier Olsen.

North Lofthus paid 25 spd. [speciedaler] (23+2) in silver tax to Bank of Norway in 1816.

In 1812 Stein and Bergit had a son, Reier, who probably died in his infancy. Stein passed away around 1823. During his later years, there was some discord between him and the new farmer at Lofthus. The trouble was e.g. money levy. The share in the water [source?] that Stein Reiersen had, he sold in 1819 to Peder Olsen in Bogstrand for 9 spd., but kept for North Lofthus the right of use we mentioned earlier.

The widow, Bergit Torsdotter, VII, in 1825 married Ole Olsen M. Eie, a brother of the Lofthus farmer. For some time, they had both Eie, Saelebakke and Upper Risteigen. They later moved to Kongsberg (1836). Bergit was in her older years [old age] in America for one year, and died in 1871 in Bikjenn in Kongsberg. When you read documents and hear tales from Reier Olsen’s time, you get the impression that this was a man who “set up” goals, who had the ability and power to collect and keep a fortune.

Lofthus entered a strong and eventful epoch under his leadership. He was born in Middle Eie in Nore in 1793 (The Nore Chronicle p. 1541) and he was married to Mari Herbrandsdotter Teigen in 1817. He is said to have promised her three “seats of honour” at the wedding, and he kept his promise (the two Lofthus farms and Sporan). In 1817 he bought North Lofthus and in 1828 South Lofthus as well.
Lofthus after 1828. From the “whole” [“gathered”, “together”]

Reier and Mari had 10 children – 8 grew up, 4 boys and 4 girls:

Reier Olsen himself was a tall and strong man who was also a good worker. But he did not get old. While working with felling timber on Lusehaugkastet [name of a hill?] he cut himself badly in the thigh. He managed to crawl out on the hill so he could call for help. After having been tended to [“bound up”] he lay in bed at home, but there was gangrene [? “sengehete, Koldbrand”] in the wound and Reier died from that in 1847.

At Lofthus many good things were seen after Reier. E.g. he ditched a pond/tarn above South Lofthus and thus increased the arable area of the farm. He arranged a better access to water from North Lofthus with “directing” [“leading”] the Lofthus stream down to North Lofthus. He also improved the buildings.
The “tenants” [? Foderadsfolka – those living on the farm but too old or weak to work, possibly. The Swedish meaning would be somewhat like that] were given houses of their own. New saeterhus/saeter was a summer place up in the mountains and forests where the cattle were taken for the summer [we have plenty of them, too] were built in Lokjemyrdalen as well as Lakaset. The builder was Lars Torsen [Tovsen?] Toeiet around 1840.

From 1837 Reier was a member of the “community” council. 1837-39 in the “parliament” and from 1840 until he died (1847) in the “Board” [I know nothing of the structure of this].

Concerning his servants [employees?] he kept somewhat shorter reins than his predecessors. From Lofthus there are from Reier’s time several servants’ contracts in the local judicial unit [ting]. They are all notable in that the relations between the tenants and the central farm are clear from the first moment. The tenants have their unavoidable rights, but they also have clear duties concerning the cultivation and upkeep of their “place” [homestead?] and also concerning work at certain times on the central farm – spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The whole property was to work as a unit, without any problems [dissonances?]. If the tenants did not obey the contract, they were dismissed according to the word of the contract. This happened to the widow Ragnhild Kristensdotter in Saelebote 1824.

These contracts are documents of great social interest:

North Lofthus is added to the “sameigeutskiftinga” [sameige = joint property, I think; utskiftning = to spit out, I think] together with South Lofthus, Bogstrand and Arvelta in 1826.

Typical for Reier are the many documents he left. Right from his youth he dealt in trade of different sorts, in particular with cattle. But he also traded in property, lent money and even himself borrowed money. He was summoned to the forlikskommisjonen [committee? Forlikning = come to an agreement] many times and brought many complaints [saker = things, matters] before the committee. So he may well have been a somewhat “stri” [bellicose, easily irritated?] man. But things have also prospered after because of him. To go through all the material left by Reier would “take us too far.”

But some sentences will be included:

In 1822 he was, after asking for it, given a “passport” from the provincial governor Collett, saying that he was allowed to travel in the “Akershus, Christiansands, Bergens and Trondhjem dioceses, to buy and trade with horses, cows [?] and victuals, together with the people necessary for helping with this trade – 1 to 2 Men.” This activity was followed by his having large sums coming to him that had to be extracted with judicial aid.

The large proceedings concerning “delet” [? Del = part, dele = to share, to partition] against Brattrud from 1827 to 1837 is dealt with under Brattrud. This was lost by Reier. See Brattrud.

The brother Ole Olsen Eie was of the same “stuff” as Reier. These brothers had some economical matters together, and were not always of the same mind, so from time to time they had to resort to solemn written contracts.

Concerning economical “oppgjer” [gjer = taxation; oppgjer = to pay taxes or rents or whatever] Kongsbergmarken [the market at Kongsberg] often served as a meeting place and “paying” time. Tilhovet [? no idea] to the neighbor Nils Olsen in South Lofthus had already been dealt with. After the property now was united, he ruled all of it “with a strong hand.”

Reier Olsen in 1826 had taken over a “panteobligasjon” [pante = collateral] of upper Skarpmoen, which Reier then bought for 756 spd. and soon after sold for 800 spd to Kittil K. Fikkan. But Reier Olsen also had many other “things in the fire” [cooking?]. A number of years he ran the postal transport through the valley. The last four years he lived, he hired Ola Kristoffersen Bakkan for the “post run.” When Reier Olsen died in 1847, his widow, Mari Herbrandsdotter, was allowed to remain “i uskifta bu” [remain in a complete nest = the heirs had to wait for their inheritance till she died] by royal consent.
She went on with “a steady hand” and brought order in the many dealings that Reier so unexpectedly had left. She also was helped by her children, who now one after the other got married and left home. Mari tried to help them on their way with advances on their inheritance, loan, etc. It was son number 2, Herbrand, who took over the home and in a deed of Feb 28 1859 (t.l.? 1.3. 1859) took over the farm for 2000 spd with the addition [tillegg = t.l.?] of a large allowance [of e.g. food and living] for Mari.
One March 7, 1859 there was an auction on the movable things belonging to widow Mari Herbrandsdotter. The buyers were the children and their married partners (in-law children). The things were sold for a total of 184 spd 4 ort [?] and 22 shillings.

So, in 1859, Herbrand Reiersson, b. 1820 d. 1906, and Helga Pedersdotter, b. 1840 d. 1931, took over. They also took over North Glaim in 1884, Helga’s father’s farm, and worked both farms until 1905, but lived most of the time at Lofthus.

They had these children:

At the census of 1867 what they owed in tax was between 4 d (spd) 20 [?] 6 shillings to 3/3/12. [Can’t cope with this.]

Arable area:

Herbrand and Helga were wealthy people from the time when they took over the farms. The forest more and more became an important part of the farm in the latter part of last century [late 1800s]. Already in 1852 Mari Herbrandsdotter had sold most of the Lofthus forest in a ten-year contract for uthogst [hewing down, cutting] with Carl Seeberg in Drammen. The price was 2500 spd. After 10 years the contract was nullified. Now the tradesman G. Skamarken bought the Lofthus forest for cutting for five years for 500 spd. This time marked trees to a certain lowest measure.

In 1877 Herbrand sold the “home forest” [nearest the farm?] in Lofthus to Asle and Knut Strand from Sigdal and Nils O. Hoff for cutting for seven years. Now the price of the sale was 1800 spd or 7200 kroner [crowns – now we are in modern times].

At this time (1892) Prysjo was “skylddelt” [possibly skyld = debt, delt = partitioned] and separated as “bruk” [cultivation, farming unit] nr. 3 with 26 ore debt [rent?]. The buyer this time was Torkel Sebjornsen Prysjo.


The next change in 1887 and 1894 in ownership came when Herbrand Reiersen [left?] North and South Lofthus to two of his sons: North Lofthus to Peder on Sept 9, 1887, and South Lofthus to Halvor Herbrandsen in 1894. Peder [left] North Lofthus to Halvor who now until December 27, 1929 was the owner of Lofthus. Then his son, Harald Halvorsen Gladheim, took over.

At the same time there was signed a “foderadskontrakt” [contract for lodging, etc.] from Harald to his father. Halvor Herbrandsen Gladheim and Anna Hansen were most of their time living in Kongsberg where Halvor had a wholesale shop selling foodstuffs: Hansen and Gladheim. He did this until he was quite old. His wife, Anna, was the daughter of his partner Hansen.

H. H. Gladheim [which one?] in 1895 bought the Brattrud places [farms?] Hoghaug and Leinin with some forest [debt? 23 ore] and in 1899 Brattrudjordskogen [farm forest] (debt/rent 40 ore), and in 1903 Kulterudskogen (8 ore). These were afterwards worked together with the Lofthus property.
In 1905 Prysjoskogen (forest) was separated from Prysjo (4 ore) and taken over by H. H. Gladheim (died Sept 12, 1905).

Of other things that happened to the property Lofthus during this time, we must mention the expropriation by NVE [electricity company] for the building of a high tension line for the Noreworks in 1925.

Halvor and Anna Gladheim had these children:


Harald Halvorson Gladheim and his wife Magnhild took over the farm Dec 27, 1929. They have these children:

In 1960 Mykstufoss power station was built by the Buskerud electricity company. For this construction, a great dam was built in the river by Lofthus. Most of the arable land, about 60 “da” [whatever that is?] and 20 “da” forest were submerged. In 1956, Harald Gladheim signed a contract for lease with Knut Aarvelta about a construction site “Rikhaug.” This land was in 1968 set aside [?].

In 1965, Lokjeset and Pontedalen were [partitioned, set aside, sold?] to Sigrid Louise Overby. Harald Gladheim is educated in forestry and has taken a great interest in the large forests belonging to the property. Some years he owned a sawmill in South Lofthus. The old house in North Lofthus is repaired. Many of the old and beautiful things that have followed the farm are collected there. The large “stabburet” [typical Scandinavian structure standing on four pillars for storage, etc.] that Ola Nilsen built at South Lofthus about 1725, has been moved by Harald to North Lofthus. A “stove” [small house?] from South Lofthus was at one time moved to Prysjo.

From the days of Reier Olsen, North Lofthus has been the main farm. At South Lofthus there now remains only the “laven” [barn?] to show where the old farmyard was.

Of the many things that kept Harald Gladheim occupied, we should mention that for 40 years he was the chairman of the “forliksradet” [forlikning = come to an agreement; could it be an appellate committee? Somewhere you went to clear up a misunderstanding? this was a local thing] of the area. He was also one of those who agitated for the electricity overseeing/superintending in Rollag. For 30 years he was the chairman of the board of the electricity company. During the war he gave a wholehearted support to the Heimefronten [the partisan organization] and was the local “boss” until the end of the war when for a time from 1945 he also served as sheriff for Rollag.


In 1982 Halvor and Liv Gladheim took over the property. They have these children:

For many years, Halvor Gladheim has had an entrepreneurial business.About the “Places” tenements? under Lofthus - The first “husmannen” [houseman? tenant?] in Lofthus we hear about is Ola Husmand in North Lofthus, who, in 1710, paid 12 shillings in tax for himself and his wife. But where he came from is impossible to find out. Probably it was from Prysjo. This is likely to be the oldest “place.”

During the great legal proceedings against Svein Olsson Kvisle 1703-1708, there were heard several witnesses, who probably were “husmannsfolk” [tenants?] under Lofthus. But it is impossible to distinguish them. There was also a husmanns couple who lost their son in the next killing at Lofthus in 1729, when Kristen Natstad took the life of Torkel Pedersen.

Things were better from 1753, when Nils Bjornsson pawned Matrand for 60 rdl [riksdaler = another form of dollar] to Torstein Svendsen as pawn to be used for life.

As time went by, there was a massive exodus from the Lofthus “places” [farms] and one after the other was deserted.

Of the Lofthus farms [?] only f.t. [as mentioned above?] Prysjo is used as farming land [see Brattrud farm number 2, book number 1]. In Pontedalen at the moment, the land around the houses. The “hine” [other?] places are overgrown by forest.Pontedalen/Matrand/Marstrand/Sonstedalen (1875)

The first time we see a name for this place is in 1753, when it is called Matrand. In 1785 in a change of owner it is called Pontedalen. A contract of tenancy in 1786 uses the name “Marstrand” or “Pontedalen,” in 1807 “Marstrand or Pontedalen,” 1859 “Pontedal or Marstrand,” 1885 “a place called Pontedalen.”

All these names in themselves are unusual. Whether Martrand or Marstrand is the oldest name, it seems to be a “oppkallingsnamn” [named after something]. Matrand is the name of the parsonage at Eidskog – 2 mil (12 miles) south from Kongsvingen [which is near the Swedish border]. The name is in particular known from the war with Sweden [after the Napoleonic wars when Sweden took over Norway from Denmark]. The name is a combination of “mat” and “rand” – an “edge” – how far you could walk before you needed food again – a day’s march.

Marstrand is the name of an old Bohuslensk [Bohuslaw now a Swedish province – the stretch along the sea from Gothenburg to Norway, by the sea] fishing village, the site of the fortress Karlsten [Charles’ Stone]. The name is above all known from Tordenskjold’s [he was a Danish admiral] enterprise in the Great Nordic War 1711 – a well known and popular [not to the Swedes] historical “happening.” [!]
The name Pontedalen – at times written Puntedalen – is hardly older than the latter part of the 18th century. There is no old Norwegian word behind it. “It may enter one’s mind” thoughts if the name has not first been Pantedalen [pant = pawn]– see that the place was used in 1753 as a pawn.

In Kongsberg is an old family Ponth, that probably originated in Holstein, Germany. We do not know that anyone with that name has had anything to do with Pontedalen. Otherwise, there could be a connection here.

This place is south of Lofthus, thus the name Sonstedalen [South Valley]. Most of the fields here – the Pontedals fields – bordered to the Bogstrand stream. The houses were comfortably situated on a small flat area somewhat higher up on the slope. Pontedalen was without doubt one of the better "places" for tenants.

Those we know who have cultivated Pontedalen are:

In 1807 Nils Olsen renewed the tenants contract for the family at Pontedalen. The "place" was settled for "their daughter Ragnhild and her 'expected' husband" for life. Ragnhild was probably engaged b y then. We do not know from where her husband, Gisle Halvorsen, came or when he was born. He evidently came from outside the parish. Ragnhild and her husband must have taken over by 1815 when they became customers at the granary. Then they had their first child.

We know of three children in all:

Ola Gislesson and his wife, Guri Eilevsdotter, in 1852 had a son Gisle. We do not know any more about this family at Pontedalen. Perhaps they moved out soon afterward.


The next people we know about in Pontedalen are Torkild Anfinsen, [Melvin Torkelson's grandfather] XIV (see also p. 69 XXIV Saelebote), b. 1832 in Saelebote, and his wife, Sigrid Olsdotter, from Nore, b. about 1831. In the 1865 census they lived with three children in Pontedalen. Probably they took over in 1864. Fodsla [what gave them food] in Pontedalen were then: But as time went by, there were more children. At the 1875 census there were seven:

Apart from these there also lived "legdslemet" [I think this is one who had, for whatever reason, by contract, to be taken care of, probably for life] Aslaug Torkildsdotter b. 1800 [she was Torkild's mother] - in all ten people living in the tiny house.

All of this family went to America in 1880. Before they left there was an auction on the furniture and all "loose" things belonging to Torkild Anfinsen.

In 1885 Pontedalen was "let" to a new couple, Knut Simensen, b. 1847 in Sonde, and Ase Knutsdotter Kvisleeiet, (Skorra), b. 1851. They stayed in Pontedalen until 1891 when they, after an agreement with Herbrand Reiersen Lofthus, moved out. Knut was a shoemaker and was in the USA for a couple of years in his youth. Knut and Ase first lived for a time in Svarteberg [Black Hill] under Kvisle. From Pontedalen they moved into a house of their own in Svingen.

They had many children and read more about them under Svingen farm number 9, bygdebok number 6.
After Knut Simensen and Ase Knutsdotter, Tov Halvorsen, b. 1843, and Joran Olsdotter, b. 1845, in about 1900 moved in with their family at Pontedalen. They had earlier lived in Saghaugen, that was a place under Bogstrand. This was the last family to live at Pontedalen and farm the land.

In the 1900 census Tov and Joran lived here with three children, one farmhand and Tov's mother, Joran Halsteinsdotter, b. 1816. Tov's and Joran's children were (see Saghaugen):

Around 1925 Pontedalen was empty. Later from time to time others have lived there but the farming was not taken up again. The houses are still there and kept in good condition.

From 1965 Pontedalen and "langsetra" [a seter far away] Lokjeset were divided [?] from Lofthus – farm number 3, skyld [debt?] 5 ore, and it is Sigrid Louise Overby born Gladheim who now has "heimelen" [homestead? owns?] the property. The Overby family at this time use Pontedalen as a holiday place.

[caption for picture on p. 68: Neighbors and family prior to the journey to America in 1898.]


The name itself belongs to a large group of place names that may have implied a somewhat ironical meaning. There was a certain "belittling" in the name, even if the original signification is fine enough. It is a combination of two parts: "Sael" = happy, and "bot" which comes from bote = repay [pay a fine or suffer for something] The word Saelebote in itself was here preferably used meaning "gift to somebody who suffers" [gift of grace].

Saelebote is situated a little north of Arvelta, but on the same height [? hill, slope]. The place is totally overgrown in a large forest. There are only the remains of a "loe" [hay barn] in 1982. The lower part of the fields is flat, while the houses were on the slope above.

There still exists a photo taken in front of Saelebote, which was taken when the neighbors met there to say farewell to the last ones who lived there. They were about to leave for America.

The place [farm?] belongs to the many that were started around 1750. From the beginning it belonged to South Lofthus.

The first time we get to know people at Saelebote is in the census of population in 1801 when Torkel Torkelsson [odd that it is spelled in the Swedish way. It should have been Torkelsen, but meaning the same of course - dotter should be datter!], born in 1759 and Ragnhild Kristensdotter, born in 1759, with their household lived there. Torkel supported himself with "farming and begging."

Torkel Torkelsson [Melvin Torkelson's great-great-grandfather] was the son of Torkelsson Risteigen [Melvin Torkelson's great-great-great-grandfather], born in 1724, and Joran Toresdotter Tveiten, north, born in 1728. Ragnhild Kristensdotter came from Vamreeiet [eidet - eid in Swedish - is an old Nordic word for an isthmus between two waters over which boats could be hauled]. She was the daughter of Kristen Gunnulfsson, b. 1727, and Aslaug Nilsdotter Brattrud, born in 1726.

Torkel had a daughter before the marriage, Joran, born in 1788, married to Ola Olsson, Bogstrandeidet. Her mother was Ingebjorg Olsdotter.

Torkel's and Ragnhild's children:

Torkel was a frequent borrower of seed for sowing when the granary was started in 1802, so he probably had a field already then. In 1824 Saelebote was, through a settlement between the owners of the two Lofthus farms (Nils Olsen and Reier Olsen), transferred from South Lofthus to North Lofthus.
At the same time the widow Ragnhild Kristensdotter, who at that time “sat” [held, occupied] the farm, was given notice by the new owner Reier Olsen. Instead he granted the use of the place to Anfin Anfinsen , born in Nore, died 1844, and Aslaug Torkelsdotter (Ragnhild’s daughter). They took over in 1826 and Aslaug “sat” as a widow in Saelebote in the census of 1865.

Saelebote then supported 2 big cattle [cows?] and they sowed 1/4 barrels of barley and 1 barrel of potatoes. Aslaug died after 1875 [“did not die until”]. The last years she was “laegdslem” [?] in Pontedalen [taken care of].


Torkel Anfinsen and Sigrid Olsdotter were tenants in Pontedalen from 1851-1880. They are mentioned as living there, but it would seem that they also farmed Saelebote for some years after 1865. None of Anfin Anfinsen’s and Aslaug Torkelsdotter’s remained at Saelebote.

In any case, there were new people there in 1875, Lars Halvorsen, XXIX, b. 1827, and Joran Nilsdotter Tinnes, b. 1832. Lars was the son of Halvor Kittilsen at Fosslikose, belonging to Brattrud, b. 1797. The main part also of this family (household) went to America. Lars and Joran left in 1898.

Lars and Joran were the last to move out of the little house in Saelebote. After a few years, when the place was farmed together with the neighboring place Sonde by Holgje Simensen Sonde, it all faded away [grew quiet].