Louisa Mathilda Thorin-1

Louisa Mathilda Thorin was born on March 3rd, 1907 in Hills, Minnesota to Joseph Arvid Thorin and Matilda Dahl. She was the sixth of ten children born to the farming family, and the second daughter in the bunch. Louisa, with the rest of her siblings, was a first generation American, her father and mother both having emigrated from Sweden and Norway, respectively.

Life was sweet but short for the ill-fated Louisa. Two months before her 17th birthday, on the night of January 24th, 1924, Louisa was riding with her father in the family car when they were hit by a train as they tried to cross the tracks. It was a terrible accident and the train stopped to see what had happened. Her father, Joseph Arvid Thorin, had been driving and was relatively unscathed, but Louisa had suffered life-threatening injuries. Since the train was headed towards Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the town with the nearest hospital capable of treating Louisa’s extensive injuries, Joseph and the train conductor loaded Louisa onto the train in an attempt to reach the hospital as quickly as possible.

Louisa did not survive the night, and possibly not even the 45 minute train ride to the hospital at her father’s side; and though Joseph survived physically unharmed, the event would end up leaving deep emotional scars. His youngest daughter, Alice, who was nine years old at the time, had a toy dolly that would weep when tilted upright; from the day of the accident onward, Joseph could not bear the sight of the crying cherub and had it removed from his home as it only brought the memories of that terrible night back to his mind.

A painted photo portrait of Louisa as a young teenager.
A painted photo portrait of Louisa as a young teenager.

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