Lensmenn in Haltdalen, Sør Trøndelag, Norway

Lensmenn in Haltdalen
Haltdalen og Haltdalingen
Jens Halstein Nygård
1949 Bind I Pages 54-57
Translated by Olaf Kringhaug®

The sheriffs

The sheriff in earlier times had a great deal to say, probably because those who were given that office were the most educated and respected farmers who had previously had much to say in the community, a tradition inherited from the ancient chieftains. Otherwise there was not such great demand for knowledge in the position of sheriff. He had to be able to read, for he often received letters from the authorities that he had to read for the people. He also had to write a little, for it happened that the authorities had to have answers to their letters. Very little more was demanded, but just this made him stand high over the people. It could happen that the
sheriffs in earlier times could use this position to further their own interests, and it likely happened since they were the only one who understood writing and obtained things that properly should have been others. But it also happened that they were dismissed quickly for, even though we know of no such circumstance from our community. However, the pay
was poor, and we see that several of them quit. The honour was hard to live off.

When the sheriff was to summon someone to court, he brought along two witnesses. Later they had to appear in court to make an oath that the summoning was legally carried out. This was a solemn occasion.

The first sheriff we know of in the community is Einar Grote, who was the sheriff here in 1609. 1657 it is Olle Heksem, 1663 Erich Flotberrig, 1690 Bersvend Megård, 1698 Haldor Flatberg (probably the son of Erich), 1722 Peder Grot (he was also for a time sheriff in Ålen), 1730 Hans Flatberg, 1741 Olle Grot, 1750 Anders Megaard, 1757 Johan Ingebrigtsen Bjorgum, 1766 Lars Grot, 1769 Bersvend Nesvold (together with Ålen), 1776 Gunder Gilset (dismissed because of financial difficulties), 1784 Ole P. Fjeset (together with Singsås), and then in 1808 came Ole Svendsen Midtaune.

Ole Svendsen was from Andersaune, and at first was a teacher. When he became sheriff he traded farms with his brother-in-law, and came to Ramlo. On the sheriff's farm there was also a jail (above the gate and and the manure cellar). Here often there were prisoners, but they had it rather easy. It is told that school revelers in Knuten would put cakes up in the window for
those who were on bread and water. The sheriffs also used the prisoners for work
on their farms. This is how the 'sheriff's mound' at Rimstad was built by prisoners..

In 1824 Schjodt became the priest here. He was a quarrelsome fellow, and he and the sheriff had many conflicts. They were like two bigwigs in a sack. The sheriff jad once let a prisoner escape. The priest reported this, so the sheriff got a fine of 5 speciedaler This made for bad blood. Soon the sheriff caught the priest at something, so there was a clerical court for him. Later the sheriff had let a life prisoner 'run around the community and eat with his friends and fight his enemies instead of keeping him in arrest.' The priest reported this to the county administration, which made difficulties for the sheriff.

Another time there was conflict was one night 'in the dark, some night birds came in my barn and made frightful disorder by running around in the same with lit torches' as the priest said. The sheriff asked the priest not to report this, for among the night birds there was a discharged prisoner who the shefiff had recently transported to Seden, but who had returned and had
been welcomed because he was a skilled blacksmith. The priest would not go along with this, but at a school board meeting it suited the sheriff to aggravate the priest, and he was quick-tempered and mispoke, and later had to go through a difficult reconciliation.

It was believed that among these night birds was the Sheriff's son, Jonas. This the sheriff could not stand hearing, and declared that he 'encourage my children and servants to conduct themselves with good morals and watch out for the night birds, therefore I can happily say that everyone in my house conducts themselve kindly, decorously and decently, on the contrary one
should not be surprised over the disorder in the parsonage, since the priest encourages the youth to take part in dancing and other sinful pleasures.' This the priest could not accept and suggested that it was not always so orderly in the sheriff's home, and that the children of the sheriff were hardly good examples of propriety.

Sheriff Svendsen also taught school as well as being the sheriff. Later he got help from his son Svend Olsen, who from 1835 functioned as sheriff, and took over the position after his father. He was also sheriff in Ålen about 1840, and the two communities have since been one sheriff district. In 1862 Svend Olsen became chairman of the board of revision and gave up the sheriff position.

After him came Ole Hansen from Tynset. He had the position until he died in 1890. Then came his son Morten Sandvold. He died in 1901, and his son Olaf Sandvold got the place after his father. In 1938 his son Andreas Sandvold took over. He had run thesheriff's office for his father the last years, when he was sick. Andreas Sandvold was a trained engineer, He got a position
in 1941 at Norges Tekniske Hogskole, an was succeeded by his brother-in-law Andreas Reitan during the occupation.

In 1946 K. Karlsen was appointed. He was born in Borsa 1904, has gone to 'folkehogskule'
(college), business school, police academy and a fire inspection course. Has been sheriff's deputy, and from 1938 to 1946 head clerk at Vemundsvik municipal office.

The court location has been at various places.First at Heksem in 1676, 1713, and later in 1809. Grot was the site 1757-1796 and in 1851, Yset in 1810, and Ramlo in 1845. Now Ramlo has been the site for a long time, and is so still.