Knut J. Hertsgaard was one of the first settlers in Cass County's Norman Township. He was born in Hallingdal, Norway on October 8, 1843. He was reared and educated in Norway and in 1869 immigrated to Wisconsin with his mother, brother, and three sisters. In 1871, Hertsgaard entered a homestead claim in Section 34. He erected a log cabin and began to break the prairie soil for crops.
Hertsgaard married Christie Maikin, a native of Norway, in 1877. There were ten children who survived childhood, Jorgen K., Gustava, Otto, Iver, Inger, Hendrick, Selma, Carl, Albert and Clara.