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Hammond native writes book about Norwegian migration

Hammond native Ole-Bjorn Tobiassen wrote “Thorhilde: The Viking Queen”, a book about Norwegian migrations to the United States. (Photo by Jason Schulte)

A passion for history led Hammond native Ole-Bjorn Tobiassen to write his first book, “Thorhilde: The Viking Queen.”

The book is the first in a three-part series which tells tales of Norwegian migrations to the United States. “Thorhilde” is the first migration to America through Iceland and Greenland.

The story focuses on those who live in the Northwest Settlement in Greenland around the 13th century. Those settlers do not want to give up their freedom to those living in Norway, as the book states, as the rest of their countrymen have done.

Therefore, they have chosen Thorhilde, a direct descendant from both the King of Norway and the King of Ireland, to be their queen. At the age of 32, she leads them on a migration to the south and west of Greenland, which becomes America.

“She is highly respected, widowed, childless and with no favoritism,” text inside the cover of the hardcover edition reads. “She is also schooled in the history of the world and unusually well trained in combat strategies.”

Thorhilde meets her demise in a combat battle, and according to Viking custom, explained Tobiassen, is burned on her ship on what will become the Mississippi River.

Tobiassen, who grew up in Norway and studied history at the University of Oslo, said the interest in the subject never went away. In preparation for “Thorhilde,” he spent two years of research making sure all facts and events were correct.

However, that wasn’t his toughest challenge about the book.

“It was writing it in English as it’s not my native language,” he said.

Tobiassen spent 35 years working for the Navy and 21 years with the Merchant Marines. He also spent six years each in the naval shipyards and academies.

He now works as a substitute teacher having spent time in Hudson, Somerset, Prescott, Glenwood City, New Richmond middle and high schools and St. Croix Central.

“I like it,” he said. “My wife says I’m a workaholic I want to work for as long as I’m capable of.”

He and wife Tove have seven children, 23 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The book is published through Author House and can be purchased on the following websites as well: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, AuthorHouse, Google and Bing.

Tobiassen concluded the second book will cover the migration to America through Holland, England and Normandy while the final one deals with half of the Norwegian population left for America.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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