Nelse J. Ostenburg

NELSE J. OSTENBERG. If there is any community in Kansas where rough and rugged aspects of life as known and experienced forty years ago have been smoothed out and softened into the outlines of prosperity it is in Saline County, particularly in those districts where the Swedish colonists have made a foothold and have expressed their natural virtues of thrift and industry in the thriving farms and institutions of home, church and schools. It is of one of the older settlers of the community around Smolan in Saline County that this brief article has to speak.

A resident of Saline County forty years, Nelse J. Ostenberg has accumulated for himself prosperity as a farmer and stockman and has also done his share toward the upbuilding and welfare of the entire community. He was born in the Province of Smolan, Sweden, February 2, 1846, a son of Lars M. and Sophia (Ericson) Ostenberg. His parents were also well known in Saline County. His father was born in 1822 and died in Saline County in 1877. The mother was born in 1822 and spent her last years at Hominy, Oklahoma, where she died in 1911. They immigrated to America in 1869 and arrived in Saline County on the Kansas frontier in 1870, locating Government land in Saline County near the present Town of Smolan. Here Lars Ostenberg lived quietly and industriously as a farmer until his death. His death was due to an accidental fall from a load of hay. Lars Ostenberg and wife were married in 1842, and of their nine children the oldest is Nelse J.

Nelse J. Ostenberg came to America in 1868, a year before his parents. He was then twenty-two years of age, had been educated in the common schools of his native country, and was equipped with habits of industry and a straightforward ambition to make himself useful in the world. For about ten years he lived at Galesburg, Illinois, and during that time worked in the shops of the Burlington Railway as blacksmith. In 1877 he came out to Kansas, where his parents had located a number of years before, and bought some land near Smolan. Since then his intelligent efforts have been successfully directed to farming and stock raising.

He has always been the type of citizen who is willing to sacrifice some of his private interests for the sake of the general good. For five years he acted as trustee of Washington Township and for seven years was a member of the local school board. Mr. Ostenberg was married while living at Galesburg, Illinois, on September 27, 1868, to Miss Caroline Ericson. Mrs. Ostenberg was born in Sweden September 21, 1846. She had her part and experience in making a home in Saline County and they were happily married for nearly thirty years before she passed away February 13, 1895. Three children were born to them. Sophia was born December 27, 1869, and is still living with her father; John George, born July 22, 1872, was married in 1907 to Hattie Palmquist; Edwin Carl, the youngest child, was born November 28, 1878, and died October 13, 1904. Mr. Ostenberg and family are members of the Swedish Lutheran Church.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Adrienne Kress, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, Mach 10, 1999.

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