Pages 54-55, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


54 HISTORY OF ALLEN AND  

The Swedish Settlement

BY CARL A. REYNOLDS.

In 1869 some Swedes in Illinois, following the tide of immigration westward in search of cheap homes, were attracted toward Kansas by the opening to settlement of the Osage Indian reservation which had been ceded to the Government and subjected by it to pre-emption at $1.25 per acre.

The original settlers were Peter Hawkinson and Swan Olson from Farmersville, Illinois, who reached Allen County in October, 1869. February 8, 1870, Olof Nelson and son Charles, John B. and John H. Johnson emigrated from Knoxville, Illinois, and on March 12, 1870, they were joined by W. S. Holmes and Nels Olson and families from Farmersville. They brought with them little of this world's goods, but possessed undaunted courage, industry and frugality, and set themselves bravely to the difficult task of building their homes in a new and undeveloped country.

But sorrow was in store, not only for these, but all other people who had settled here, for the railroads had also seen that these lands were beautiful and productive, and laid claim. Finally, in 1876, after a lawsuit of national renown, the United States Supreme Court vested the title in the Government. This decision was joyfully accepted by the settlers who at once redoubled efforts for the improvement and beautification of their homes.

In May, 1870, the first school house was built in what is now District 38.

Death invaded the settlement in October, 1870. This caused the location of the Swedish cemetery, now one of the best kept and most beautiful cemeteries in the country.

The settlers having all been reared in the Lutheran church, soon felt the need of religious services and so a Sunday school was organized which for social reasons, was held in rotation in the homes of the various families. Early in the fall of 1870 the settlement was visited by Rev. Andreen of the Augustana Synod, and later a catechrist or colporteur came regularly and held religious services until February, 1872, when, by the arrival of other settlers, the number had increased sufficiently to organize a congregation. This was done by Rev. S. J. Osterberg, now deceased. A few years after the organization a great number was added by those who came from Moline and Woodhull, Illinois. They built their first church in 1878, now used by the Free Mission Society, of which Rev. Alfred Johnson is the local pastor.

In 1898 the Lutheran congregation had so increased as to number 250

  WOODSON COUNTIES, KANSAS. 55

communicants and, including the baptized children, more than 450. So it was very apparent that they should build a new and more commodious church to accommodate this large and fast growing congregation.

The accompanying half-tone engraving is of the Swedish Lutheran church. This handsome edifice was erected in 1898 and dedicated May 14, 1899. Its dimensions are 36x54 feet with an addition of 24x26 feet, and a steeple 65 feet high. The total cost of the church and all appurtenances will aggregate $3,300.00 to say nothing of the gratuitous labor

Swedish Lutheran Church

which would have amounted to several hundred dollars. The furnishings are fine. The bell, one of the largest and best in Kansas, was made in St. Louis by the Henry Stuckstade Foundry. The architect was Olof Z. Cervin, of Rock Island, Illinois. The builders were Huff Brothers of Savonburg.

This church is three miles west of Savonburg, in the midst of the Swedish settlement of East Cottage Grove and Elsmore townships. Rev. O. Moren, the estimable pastor, is a highly educated gentleman and contributes largely to the social, intellectual and moral life of this community. The Swedish people composing the congregation are of the best type of citizenship, honest, thrifty and provident.

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Pages 54-55, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.


Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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