THURE CARLSON. An Edwards County pioneer of interesting experience is Thure Carlson, now living retired at Kinsley. Edwards County has been his permanent home for over thirty years, and he first came here in 1877, entering a timber claim in Brown Township. He performed what the law required of him in the way of raising timber but did not remain to improve the property, going back to Louisvile,[sic] Kentucky, and working at his trade for several years.
Through all the years of his claim taking and home making Mr. Carlson has never married and has worked out his destiny alone. He is living now far from the home and kindred of his youth. He was born at Saderkoping in East Jutland, Sweden, on December 6, 1845. He was one of the ten children of Carl Carlson and wife. Two of these children came to the United States, Mr. Carlson's sister, Mrs. Sophie Malmquist, being now a resident of Los Angeles, California.
Mr. Carlson's father was a blacksmith and under him he also learned the trade in Sweden. On leaving home he worked in factories in Swedish cities and for a time was employed in the great Black factories at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. In that factory was built the first railroad locomotive ever constructed, and while Mr. Carlson was there the plant had many thousands of employes.
On leaving England he sailed from Liverpool to Boston, and went from there to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he was first employed in a locomotive works. A few months later he was at Providence, Rhode Island, and was blacksmith in a locomotive plant in that city. Coming still further west to Chicago, he worked at his trade in plow factories and for a time was with the Marsh Harvester Company making plows at Sycamore, Illinois. He then returned to Chicago and from there went to Louisville, Kentucky, where he became a blacksmith for B. F. Avery & Sons, manufacturers of plows and other farm implements. It was while with that concern that he came out to Kansas and took up his tree claim, and somewhat later abandoned his home in cities and factories to make a home on the great American desert of Kansas.
Edwards County was still a frontier region when he came. He had been here only a short time when one day he lost himself on the prairies. There was not a house on the south side of the Arkansas River in his region when he settled there. The country offered every opportunity for a lover of out-of-doors and of big game sport. He shot antelopes, saw the flocks of prairie chickens that sang their doleful morning songs, and shot the wild geese in fall and winter as they swam in the shallow water of the Arkansas or sat upon the sandbars of that stream.
About 1885 Mr. Carlson came out to Kansas to make his permanent home. He moved on to his claim and was sheltered in a two-room frame and adobe house which he had built. He afterwards homesteaded the same claim and proved up. Being a blacksmith, he established a shop on his farm. That shop was quite a convenience to the country, since he was 7 1/2 miles southeast of Kinsley. With a single cow he laid the foundation of his participation in the cattle industry. This cow gave him the start by which he accumulated a herd of cattle. With his stock and the raising of grain he was able to provide for his needs and pay his obligations as they came due. Like other settlers he tried wheat, and on the whole he feels that this crop was the chief source of his prosperity. Sometimes wheat sold for only 40 cents a bushel, and he sold corn at 15 cents a bushel. Some steers that would now command $75 apiece he sold in the early days as cheap as $14 a head.
As a man of many resources and of modest needs Mr. Carlson experienced few of the discouragements that other early homesteaders met. He liked the country of Western Kansas and it has satisfied his every ideal for a home. He bought some of the land and acquired altogether a half section. He might have bought much more, but was content with a half section, and that has more than sufficed for all his needs. Having less land than many other settlers, he was able to concentrate upon its improvements, and he left it a finely developed farm. His last home on the farm was a six-room house and he also had good barns, a granary with a capacity of 3,000 bushels and also the equipment needed. Mr. Carison continued to occupy his farm until August, 1916. when he moved to Kinsley to spend his last years.
As a member of the community he entered into the spirit of co-operative enterprise in the matters of schools and other affairs. He filled all the offices of the school district and served as treasurer of Brown Township. In 1908 he was elected a county commissioner to succeed Commissioner Thompson. He took office in January, 1909, and served four years, He was on the board with Commissioner David Gibson and William Fravel. The board during that four years in addition to the routine business paid off some of the old railroad bonds, and refunded some other bonds for the sake of reducing the interest rate. The board also did considerable road work and bridge building, and gave definite direction to the movement by which Edwards County now has a number of miles of first class highway.
Politically Mr. Carlson is not a partisan. He began voting as a republican, and afterwards joined the people's party. When a candidate for the office of commissioner he was elected on a democratic ticket in a republican district. He has taken stock in and helped to organize the Farmers Elevator at Lewis and subsequently the Farmers Elevator at Kinsley. Mr. Carlson was reared a Lutheran but has joined the Presbyterian Church at Kinsley, and he was also a factor in the Union Sabbath School organized in his country community.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project