Nathaniel J. Thorstenberg, merchant, manufacturer and for twelve years mayor of Lindsborg, was born at Galesburg, Ill., April 15, 1860, and is the son of John H. and Christine (Peterson) Thorstenberg, both of whom were natives of Bleking Province, Sweden. They immigrated to the United States in 1854, locating first at Galesburg, later at Altona, Ill., and then came to Kansas in 1870, settling in Assyria, Saline county. John H. Thorstenberg, the father, became a successful and prosperous farmer. He was one of the founders of Bethany College at Lindsborg, was a member of its board of trustees and was ever a liberal contributor towards its support. He died Jan. 1, 1885.
Nathaniel J. Thorstenberg was educated in the public schools of Saline county and graduated in the Salina High School in 1880. He then entered the employ of C. R. Underwood & Co., grain dealers at Salina. He was thus employed until 1887, when he established a hardware, farm implement and grain business in Assyria. In 1890 he sold that business and established the Thorstenberg Grain Co., of Lindsborg, of which he was president and manager until he sold the business in 1903. He next established the firm of Thorstenberg & Co., McPherson county's leading firm engaged in the retail clothing and men's furnishing business, and still owns a controlling interest in the business. He was one of the organizers in 1907 of the Hagstrom Bros. Manufacturing Co., of which Mr. Thorstenberg was elected vice-president. In January, 1911, he was made general manager of the business which is the largest manufacturing enterprise in McPherson county, which gives employment to skilled labor only and distributes $50,000 per annum in wages. The company manufactures automobile specialties and covers the markets of the world. Mr. Thorstenberg is president of the Farmers' State Bank of Assyria, which he helped to organize in 1908. He was also one of the organizers of the Commercial State Bank of Lindsborg and is vice-president of the same. His interests are the most varied and extensive of any citizen of Lindsborg. Possessed of a keen business sense and executive ability of a high order, he has been a power in furthering not only his own commercial interests, but also the civic and municipal progress of his home town and county.
In politics he is a Republican. He has served two terms as city clerk of Lindsborg and has been its mayor twelve years from 1899 to 1911. While in the latter office he secured for the city the sewer and waterworks plant at a cost of $43,000 and the electric light plant at a cost of $50,000, and supervised the construction of each. His labor for these municipal improvements concluded, he refused renomination for mayor in 1911, and now rests on his laurels. He gave to the city a clean administration with a record of work ably done. He has twice been a delegate to the Republican state convention and is an active and influential worker in party affairs. In 1885 he succeeded his father on the board of trustees of Bethany College, is a member of the executive committee and has contributed liberally of time and money to its betterment.
On Nov. 5, 1883, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Thorstenberg and Miss Ida Runbeck, who was born in Sweden, and came to America when a young girl. They are the parents of four children: Lawrence, who graduated from Bethany College, Lindsborg, in 1904; Philip Oliver, who became an alumnus of Bethany College in 1910; Evelyn Irene and Ingalls are both students at Bethany College at the present time (1911). The Thorstenberg family occupy an enviable position in the social circles of Lindsborg and the hospitality of their pleasant home is greatly enjoyed by their many friends.Pages 415-416 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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