Name: Torbjørn Knudson SVINALI1,2
Father: Knud Helgesen TYSVÆR/GRINDE/SVINALI (1719 - 1766)
Mother: Martha (Marta) Sjursdtr. SVINALI/AUKLAND (1732 - 1794)
Birth 1765 Svinali, Tysvær, Rogaland, Norway
General: He has been called "the Quaker pioneer," because he was one of the first to bring these beliefs to Norway. The following is from the Tysvær bygdebok, vol. 4, p. 22, with translation help from Rotraud Slogvik:
It might surprise us that none of the children of Marta's from her first marriage to Knut Helgeson took over the farm. It was them who belonged to the old owners with roots at Ile. Many of their children were established at other places when Marta died. Once again other places than the "home-farm" were preferred.
The youngest male and bachelor Torbjørn Knutson had, on the other hand, had not established himself permanently. He entered the military service and went to sea. He ended up in English captivity (on a prison ship!) as a result of Napoleon's wars. He got well known for taking back home the Quaker religious beliefs. Well after he was back from prison in England, he lived not only at the home farm here (Svinali Nedra), but also at Bringedal in Tysvær, in Sandnes "near Stavanger" and at Høye, also in the south of Stavanger area. He died at the farm Meling at Talgje in Finnøy, at the home of married Marta Knutsdotter, daughter to his half-brother Knut Størkerson. There Torbjørn took himself "flet-føring", that means that he could live with Marta's family on the condition of inheritance.
Torbjørn did bring the Quaker religion to his closest relatives.. Siri Eriksdotter from Kringeland, the wife of half brother Knut Størkerson, had a sister which was married at Stakland and another sister which was married at Årek. These two farms came together with Nedra Svinali to become the "Quaker farms" in Søra (south) Skjold.
These new thoughts, that Torbjørn did import, met resistance and many of the adherents did not see any other solution for themselves, but to export them again by emigrating to America. Many of Torbjørn's relatives were going to emigrate. It is a possibility that all children of his half-brother Knut Størkerson did emigrate. The exception was Størker Knutson, who took over after his father and did run the home farm. (Tysvær bygdebok #4)
In the historical novel Cleng Peerson written by Alfred Hauge and translated into English by Friis, the following is said about Torbjørn as if Cleng were speaking: "... a fellow from my home district, had been imprisoned at Chatham -- on board a ship called the 'Belliquer.' At that time he had been a Haugean, but during his imprisonment he had converted to the teachings of the Quakers."
1. Østrem, Nils Olav. Tysvær, Gard og ætt 4, Skjoldastraumen (Vol. 4 of "Tysvær Bygdebok" or local history book for "farms and families" for Skjoldastraumen, Tysvær kommune, Rogaland county, Norway). Stavanger, Norway: Tysvær Kommune, 1999. pp. 22,26.
2. Hauge, Alfred. Cleng Peerson, Volume 1 & 2, Translated from the Norwegian by Erik J. Friis. (Historical novel/fictionalized biography originally published in 3 volumes by Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, Oslo.). Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1975. Vol. 1, p. 239.
O. Keith Wheeler
Mad River, CA 95552