Quaestad, Carl Engebretson (1815–1886)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: June 1, 1995

Carl Engebretson Quaestad (Karl Kvæstad), colonizer and amateur scientist, was born in Loiten, Norway, in 1815. As a young man he was employed by Norwegian gentry as a hunting and fishing guide. He supplemented his income by working as a blacksmith. In 1841 he married Sedsel Olsdatter Ringnæs. The couple had two children. During the 1840s fellow Norwegian Johan Reinert Reiersen advocated emigration to the United States as the only recourse for those who did not belong to the upper classes. In 1850 Quaestad left his native land to join a growing number of countrymen who heeded Reiersen's advice. He reached Texas the following year and settled near the Four Mile Settlement in Kaufman County. He worked as a farmer and blacksmith and quickly developed a reputation as a skilled stonemason. In 1853 he was part of the advance party of fellow immigrants who explored the region along the Bosque River. In 1854 he purchased land in newly established Bosque County, near the site of present Norse. There he built a masonry house that still stands. In addition to perfecting skills as a stonemason and blacksmith, Quaestad collected samples and literature on a variety of subjects peculiar to that region of Texas. In the summer of 1874 he sent the Bergens Museum in Norway a sample of his collection, including one spearhead and twenty-two fossils. He also supplemented the research efforts of Gustave W. Belfrage by providing the Swedish naturalist with a home and workshop from 1870 to 1879. In 1882 Quaestad sent the Bergens Museum an additional sixteen arrow points. In 1886 he died at his farm and was buried beside fellow colonizer Cleng Peerson in Norse.

C. A. Clausen, ed., The Lady with the Pen: Elise Wärenskjold in Texas (Northfield, Minnesota: Norwegian-American Historical Association, 1961; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1979). William C. Pool, Bosque Territory (Kyle, Texas: Chaparral, 1964). University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, The Norwegian Texans (San Antonio: Encino, 1970). Lyder L. Unstad, "Norwegian Migration to Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 43 (October 1939).
  • Peoples
  • Norwegians
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Science
  • Inventors
  • Scientists and Researchers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

David Minor, “Quaestad, Carl Engebretson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/quaestad-carl-engebretson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995