Claes F. Norstrom

CLAES F. NORSTROM is among the pioneer claimtaking and homesteading element of the country around Lindsborg. In fact some of the early matters of historical interest are a part of his personal record and experience.

McPherson County was a wild and untamed district when Mr. Norstrom arrived in 1868 and secured a tract of Government land adjoining the present town of Lindsborg. In that one community he has worked out his destiny and has resided there nearly half a century. Many acres were brought under cultivation and made to produce bountiful crops by his energy. His influence was not confined to his homestead. He has been a factor in the life and affairs of Lindsborg and that section. His fellow citizens have from time to time conferred upon him the responsibilities of township officer and of other positions of trust. Since it was organized in 1888 Mr. Norstrom has been treasurer of the Swedish American Insurance Company of Lindsborg. He has been a director of the First National Bank of the city since 1907. Both church and schools have been helped by him and he was one of the organizers and for twenty years has been a trustee of the Swedish Lutheran Church of Lindsborg.

One of the interesting landmarks of this section is a log house which Mr. Norstrom carefully preserves on his farm and which stands in decided contrast to the larger, more commodious and convenient buildings which have since arisen as the product of his toil and labor. This log house has an interest affecting the entire county besides Mr. Norstrom. It was the first frame building erected in McPherson County, and under its roof was conducted the first store of the county. It was also the scene of the birth of the first white child in McPherson County. This child was John K. Norstrom, son of Claes F. John Norstrom was born there January 13, 1869. When this log building was first erected all the other structures in the county were built of sod. The logs are well preserved, and it might well stand for many years to come. The log building was there long before Lindsborg was founded. In 1869 Mr. Norstrom worked as a carpenter on the first wing of the Kansas State Capitol at Topeka.

This veteran Kansan was born in Sweden April 7, 1839, a son of Eric and Hannah Norstrom. His parents spent all their lives in Sweden and of their twelve children Claes F. was the youngest. He grew up and received his early education and had his experiences as a worker in the world in his native land. He immigrated to America in 1865, and three years later arrived in Kansas and identified himself with the lot of the pioneers in McPherson County.

In the meantime, at Chicago, Illinois, on August 4, 1866, he married Miss Anna Swenson, who was born in Sweden May 29, 1845, a daughter of N. P. and Anna Swenson. Mrs. Norstrom came to America with her parents in 1866 and was married the same year. Her mother died in August, 1884, and her father in February, 1899. Mrs. Norstrom was a life long member of the Swedish Lutheran Church. She was a noble woman both at home and in her community and in the affairs of her church. Her death occurred April 12, 1905. She became the mother of the following children: Claes M., born July 22, 1867; John K., born January 13, 1869; Hannah M., born March 27, 1871; Nelse E., born February 22 1873; Eric D. born October 16, 1874, and died October 13, 18i9; Samuel A., born August 24, 1876, and died October 11, 1912; Anna H., born June 15, 1878, and died April 11, 1880; Joseph E., a twin of Anna, who died April 12, 1880; David, born November 28, 1880; Anna N., born January 24, 1884; Carl B., born November 15, 1888.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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