The subject of this sketch, Charles Kristofferson, more commonly known as "Ericson," which is his Swedish cognomen, according to the custom of that country, deserves a conspicuous place among the old settlers, who have risen from poverty to opulence. From a poor, penniless youth, a foreigner comparatively friendless and alone in the world, he has become the owner of one of the finest estates in Cloud county, and a good sized bank account.
Mr. Kristofferson is a native of Sweden, born in 1847. His father had secured employment for him on the railroad section in advance of his emigrating to this country and his employer forwarded money for his passage over, the amount to be reserved from his wages. Upon coming to America, in 1869, he first settled in Iowa and the following year came to Cloud county and homesteaded his present farm in Meredith township. In Sweden he occupied a position with a Swedish nobleman but was required to dress in livery. His wages were low and he saved nothing of his earnings. His father is Eric Kristofferson, a farmer, and preceded his son one year to America and two years later came, to Cloud county and took up a homestead adjoining his son's. The old dugout he occupied is still standing and in a good state of preservation. He is now retired and is living in Concordia, at the age of seventy-eight years. His grandfather and great-grandfather were farmers in Sweden. His mother was Johanna Jenson and died when the subject of this sketch was thirteen years of age, leaving three children, one of whom beside himself is living, a brother, Eric Ericson, a stone Mason of Concordia. He also homesteaded a place in Meredith township, the farm now owned by Peter Johnson. Their father has buried four wives. By the third wife there is one daughter, Minnie Kristofferson, aged fourteen years. Mr. Kristofferson worked as a day laborer on the Union Pacific Railroad then in course of construction through Nebraska, and witnessed the first train that passed over that road to San Francisco. In 1872 he worked on the Kansas Pacific and saw the first train that ran from Kansas City to Cheyenne. He had only money enough to pay for his homestead right; no team, no stock nor implements with which to work his claim; but his hopes were buoyed up by the thought that some day he would be able to see the uncultivated fields yielding crops of golden grain. This vision of the future filled him with hope and with a light heart he worked by the day until he had earned a yoke of oxen. Before he had secured a team he had occasion to go to Solomon City for a supply of provisions and to procure a breaking plow to use when able to hire his neighbor's oxen. In the meantime he had improvised a cart from the hindmost wheels of a wagon. With this vehicle he started from home, after eating an eleven o'clock meal, walking and pulling the cart all the way to Solomon City, arriving there by nightfall. He secured his plow, a sack of flour and a few other of the necessaries of life and the next afternoon started homeward over the roadless prairies, hauling the cart. He had hoped to find some settler who would be traveling in his direction that he might attach the vehicle, but none coming that way he left on Monday afternoon, going as far as Minneapolis, where he stayed over night. He had provided himself with a lunch for his noonday meal the next day and started on his journey before dawn. The day was hot and dusty and he was footsore, thirsty and weary. Fancy his chagrin and disappointment when preparing to rest and enjoy his lunch to discover that it had been stolen by some culprit the night before in Minneapolis: but he was more fortunate than the day previous and got a ride part of the way.
Mr. Kristofferson was married in 1875, and lived in a dugout for six years, where their first three children were born. He now owns five hundred and forty acres of wheat, corn and pasture land, and raises and feeds from eighty to one hundred head of cattle. He is grading his herd of shorthorns into Hereford breeds. He also raises a great many hogs. In 1880 he built a handsome two-story residence of seven rooms. He has good barns, his buildings are all freshly painted and has ample sheds and shelter for all his stock, The west branch of Pipe creek runs through his farm and furnishes wood and water. This farm is one of the most finely cultivated estates on Pipe creek.
Mrs. Kristofferson was Agre Lena Peterson. She came to Chicago from Sweden when twenty-nine years of age and one year later to Kansas, where they were married. They are the parents of five children, four of whom are living. Hannah Mary, wife of Alto Bergstein, a farmer of Ottawa county, near Delphos. Adolph, the eldest son, is a student of the Commercial College in Concordia. He graduated in the common branches in 1898. Hulda Josephine, wife of Frank Hounte, a farmer living near Delphos. Edward, the youngest son is aged nineteen.
Mr. Kristofferson is a citizen who votes for whoever he thinks is the best man, but rather leans to the republican side. The family are members of the Lutheran church, but in the absence of a congregation in their neighborhood, they are attendants of the Methodist Episcopal church at Bethel and New Hope. Their family of children have had good educational advantages and the daughters are both accomplished in music. The Kristofferson residence is surrounded by a beautiful lawn, and having water for irrigating purposes, is set with flowers and shrubs of many varieties.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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