Swedish Settlements.The settlement of Swedes in Kansas dates from 1855, when John A. Johnson arrived from Galesburg, Ill., to make his home in the new territory. His brother, N. P. Johnson, arrived the following year. In 1857 C. J. Dahlberg and Peter Carlson and families arrived. Andrew Palm, of Lund, Sweden, took up his abode in Lawrence in 1858, bringing machinery with him from Sweden and building the windmill so long a familiar landmark in that section. Peter From of Ockelbo, Sweden, settled in Marshall county in 1858, and was instrumental in inducing others to locate there. John P. Swenson settled in the Smoky Hill valley in 1864, being the first Swede in that section. A hollow log first served him for a home, then a dugout, and later a log cabin. In April, 1866, a small colony of Swedes settled along the Smoky Hill river where Lindsborg now stands. They were joined in 1867 by others, but the formation of the first Swedish agricultural society in Chicago in 1868 brought the greatest influx of settlers into western Kansas.
Many of these early settlers were without means and during the first season labored in and around the military posts, on the railroads, or at anything to obtain a living while their crops were growing. The cheap lands of the railroads and the low rate of railroad fare from Chicago and other eastern points were also potent factors in inducing immigration. The Galesburg Colonization Society was organized in 1868, the prime mover of the enterprise being Rev. A. W. Dahlsten, pastor of the Galesburg (Ill.) Lutheran church. At a meeting in his place of worship, attended by over 300 persons, it was decided to send a committee to Kansas to investigate conditions for settlement. This committee visited the valley of the Smoky Hill and was delighted with the location. A quantity of land was purchased in Saline and McPherson counties, and the report of the committee resulted in the bringing of hundreds of Swedes to the state.
On Feb. 28, 1870, the first Swedish agricultural company of McPherson county adopted a charter in pursuance of an act passed by the legislature of 1868. Briefly the charter provided that the company should be named as above; that its purposes were the promotion of immigration; encouragement of agriculture; the purchase, location and laying out of town sites, and the sale and conveyance of the same; that the business should be transacted at Lindsborg, Kan., and Chicago, Ill.; that the corporation should exist for 20 years; that the number of directors should be 11, and for the next ensuing year should be the following named persons: John Ferm and John Henry Johnson of McPherson county, Kan.; Andrew M. Olson of Saline county, Kan.; Peter Colseth, Andrew P. Monten, John O. Lind, Swen Samuelson, John C. Bergsten, Nils Johnson, Carl A. Johnson and August P. Brandt of Chicago. The corporation had no capital stock, but owned certain parcels of land in Saline and McPherson counties, which had been contracted for from the Union Pacific Railway company, on which payments of principal and interest had been made, together with certain improvements on the property.
Lindsborg (q. v.) is the central city of the Swedish settlements in the state and is a city of over 2,000 population, nearly all of whom are of Swedish descent. Salina, Fremont, Salemsburg, Assaria, Falun, Marquette and Smolan are situated within the territory controlled by the old Galesburg company, Salina being the distributing point on account of its superior railroad facilities. Smaller colonies of these people are to be found at Enterprise, McPherson, New Gottland, New Andover, Marion Hill, Burdick, Hutchinson, Garfield, Page, Sharon Springs and Stockholm, the Swedish Colonization company, organzied at Lindsborg, June 11, 1887, being responsible for the last three. Healy, Gove county, has a colony which settled in that section about 1885. Another colony of about the same number is located in Trego county. Larger settlements of these people are to be found along the Solomon, Blue and Republican rivers, as well as in the cities of Topeka, Kansas City, Iola, Chanute, Ottawa, St. Marys, Osage City, Savonburg and Vilas.
In politics the influence of these people has been considerable, one serving the state as superintendent of public instruction, many having been elected to the legislature and to various county offices, and others being prominently identified in newspaper work and in educational and business circles. It is estimated that there were at least 50,000 people of Swedish descent in the state in 1910. About 20,000 of this number are located in central Kansas and about 10,000 in the western part of the state.Pages 792-793 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project