Thorbjorn N. Mohn

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Thorbjorn Mohn
1st President of St. Olaf College
In office
Succeeded by John N. Kildahl
Personal details
BornJuly 15, 1844
Skien, Norway
DiedNovember 18, 1899
Nationality Norwegian, American
Alma mater Luther College, Concordia Seminary

Thorbjorn N. Mohn (July 15, 1844 - November 18, 1899) was an American Lutheran church leader and the first president of St. Olaf College.

St. Olaf College Private liberal arts college

St. Olaf College is a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota. It was founded in 1874 by Bernt Julius Muus and a group of Norwegian-American immigrant pastors and farmers, led by Pastor Bernt Julius Muus. The college is named after the King and the Patron Saint Olaf II of Norway and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.



Thorbjorn N. Mohn was born in Saude, Skien municipality in Telemark county, Norway. He was the youngest of eight children of Nils Torbjornson Mohn and Ragnild Johnson Rui. He emigrated from Norway with his family in 1852 at age nine. The family first settled in Columbia County, Wisconsin. Eventually they moved to rural Dodge County, Minnesota in 1860. He graduated in 1870 from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis in 1873. He was ordained into the Norwegian Synod in 1873.

Skien Municipality in Telemark, Norway

Skien[²ʃeːən](listen) is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county.

Telemark County in Norway

Telemark[²teːləmɑrk](listen) is a traditional region and county in Norway. The region borders Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland and Aust-Agder. Telemark means the "mark of the Thelir", the ancient North Germanic tribe that inhabited what is now known as Upper Telemark in the Migration Period and the Viking Age. Telemark will cease to be an administrative entity on 1 January 2020, when the county is set to merge with neighboring Vestfold to form the combined Telemark og Vestfold administrative region.

Norway Country in Northern Europe

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.


In May, 1873, Mohn received a call from the congregation of St. Paul's Norwegian Evangelical Church in Chicago from Herman Amberg Preus, President of the Norwegian Synod. Mohn was called the following year as principal of the newly founded St. Olaf's School and pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota. St. Olaf opened on January 8, 1875, as an academy or preparatory school in an old public school building that the Northfield community had outgrown. The religious intentions of the institution were clear, but the school began without the official endorsement of any Lutheran church body. [1]

Herman Amberg Preus American writer

Herman Amberg Preus was an American Lutheran clergyman and church leader. Ordained in 1848, he became a key figure in organizing the Norwegian Synod.

Northfield, Minnesota City in Minnesota, United States

Northfield is a city in Dakota and Rice counties in the State of Minnesota. The city is mostly in Rice County, with a small portion in Dakota County. The population was 20,007 during the 2010 census.

The Anti-Missourian Brotherhood began to function as an entity within the Norwegian Synod in 1886. About one third of its congregations left the Synod at its annual meeting in Stoughton, Wisconsin in 1887. Thorbjorn N. Mohn was among the leading advocates of the anti-Missourian position together with Bernt Julius Muus and John N. Kildahl as well as Luther Seminary Professor Marcus Olaus Bøckmann. These dissenting "Anti-Missourian Brotherhood" congregations joined in 1890 with the Norwegian Augustana Synod and the Norwegian-Danish Conference to form the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America. The United Norwegian Lutheran Church first adopted and then abandoned St. Olaf as its official college. Mohn worked for the college's re-adoption by the Church, which occurred in 1899. [2]

The Anti-Missourian Brotherhood was the name of a group of Lutheran pastors and churches in the United States that left the Synod of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Stoughton, Wisconsin City in Wisconsin, United States

Stoughton is a city in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States. It straddles the Yahara River about 20 miles southeast of the state capital, Madison. Stoughton is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,611.

Bernt Julius Muus American clergy

Bernt Julius Muus was a Norwegian-American Lutheran minister and church leader. He helped found St. Olaf College, a private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota.

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