12 Otto August la Cour

August, as he was called, was born on 12 February 1796 at Gamle-Skivehus manor, and his parents were Niels la Cour (no. 02) and Georgia Nicoline la Cour. According to the 1801 census, he lived at the address of St. Ibsgade 24 in Viborg. After his mother’s death in 1804, he was taken in by Counsellor Schönau in Lemvig, in whose office he was later employed. In 1812, August bought Svendsholm, a farming estate in Staby parish that was part of the Pallesbjærg estate: both were owned by his future father-in-law, a grocer named Christen Strandby- gaard.

On 3 February 1816, at Rammegård farm, August married Ane Cathrine la Cour (née Strandbygaard), a daughter of Christen Strandbygaard, a merchant, and Christiane Dorthea Rindom, born in Ringkøbing on 21 October 1796.

August sold Svendsholm (for 3200 rix-dollars*) in 1822 to his brother-in-law, N.A. Strandbygaard. For a time he was a tenant farmer* at Østergård, an farm parcelled off from the Rydhave estate, but in 1824 he bought Øgelstrup, a farm near Vosborg, and lived there until 1827, when he sold it to his brother-in-law, Lars Jepsen. That same year he bought Thimgaard, a farm (in Thim parish) he sold again in 1840.

In 1834, August was elected as a delegate to the Estates of the Realm* for the manor farm owners of the Viborg-Ribe diocese*, and as such took part in the assemblies held in 1836 and 1838 in Viborg. Along with a gentleman farmer named Fønss, he formally presented a proposal in 1836 to change the regulations governing farm animals as a way of promoting private property rights. A committee was established, but his proposal was not adopted. That same year, on 15 May, he advocated government accountability for its officials: his proposal was that the government should assume liability for losses caused by the dishonesty of public trustees and officials supervising estate administration. The Assembly considered it “advisable with certain modifications” and, with a vote of 33 to 16, it was decided that such a petition should be submitted to the government. During the assembly held in 1838, he particularly spoke out in favour of the Jutland horse breed which “the entirety of western Jutland…would like to keep…as pure as possible….there are no full- or half-blood stallions in Thisted, Ringkøbing or Ribe Counties, and neither are any such desired” (Stændertidende, 1838).

Indeed, August had his own verse in what was then a highly popular Estates of the Realm song:

And if you want a model
Of Jutland character in a cattle dealer,
La Cour is one, just as much
As Joseph was a model of chastity.

Like most of the other verses in the song, this one had its origins in comments from J.P. With, a district judge who in his notes described August as follows: “Only had a sense of the west country and manor owners. He declaimed greatly against the emancipation of peasants” (Samlinger til Jysk Historie og Topografi, a periodical published by Det Jyske Historisk-Topografiske Selskab, 3rd series, vol. 6, p.154).

The year before he sold the Thimgaard farming estate, August purchased Stensmark, a farm near Grenaa, but in 1845 sold it to his son-in-law, Niels Peter la Cour. The year before the sale, August lived there with his wife Ane Cathrine, their seven children and nine servants. He owned Sarlyst, a farm near Aarhus, from 1844 to 1851 and Aabjerg, a farming estate outside Ringkøbing, from 1851 to 1857. He was also tithing commissioner for Aarhus county from 1850 to 1853. After selling Aabjerg, he and his family moved to the city of Aarhus, outside which he built Katrinebjærg farm, which was their home from the autumn of 1858. August was an active, capable and honest man who could be very lively and entertaining, but was sometimes also temperamental. August died on 8 August 1860. Ane Cathrine remained at Katrinebjærg for fourteen years, but sold it in 1874 and moved to Aarhus. She died on 8 March 1879. (Eleven children: nos. 28–38.)