THE SWEDES IN KNOX COUNTY
Wini Caudell contributed these pictures of Sweden. Thank you, Wini, for sharing these pictures with us and for explaining some of the local customs! The first photograph is a picturesque view of a church in the Gärdserum valley. Following this is a picture of an old cottage, many of which are used as summer homes nowadays. The third picture is another view of a farm setting. Some of these farms are two hundred years old and in excellent condition!
|Swedish Old Settlers' Picnic
(Knox County News, 1899)
|Excerpt from The History of Knox County
Vol. 1, 1912
|Overall History of Victoria
(History of Swedes of Illinois, 1908)
|Overall History of Galesburg
(History of Swedes of Illinois, 1908)
|A. W. Berggren||Harold L. Lindquist|
|Nels M. Burgland||Andrew O. Lindstrum|
|Johan Enwall||Lars Eugene Olson|
|Philip N. Granville||Peter Trued Olson|
|Wesley Holt||Louis Palmquist|
|Charles F. Hurburgh||Peter Peterson|
|Carl G. Johnson||Johan Sallstrom|
|Charles J. Johnson||P. A. Sunwall|
|C. T. E. Johnson||Oliver Swanson|
|John J. Johnson||Peter F. Swanson|
|Nels O. G. Johnson||Moses O. Williamson|
|Elias Kjellander||Hjalmar W. Willing|
Wini Caudell has compiled data on Swedish settlements in Knox County. Thank you Wini!
is an additional offsite link
that might help in your Swedish research:
Smorgasbord: The Shortcut to Sweden - Here is a web site with everything from maps, history, and culture, to regional tourist information. They also have a section devoted to genealogy.
An extensive repository of Swedish data
resides in the Swenson Center at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. If you
wish to search their records yourself, you are welcome to visit the Center. Their hours
are by appointment only, Tuesday through Friday. Please contact them via phone (309)
794-7204, fax (309) 794-7443, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Swenson Swedish
Immigration Research Center is a private, non-profit, member-supported organization
dedicated to providing resources for the study of Swedish immigration to North America.
For that reason, the fee for non-members conducting genealogy research at the Swenson
Center is $10 per day (half day $5).
To request a search in their records by a staff member, please print out the research request form at their web site and mail it to them along with your payment. Research conducted by a staff member is $30 per hour and $20 per hour for Swenson Center members. For more information, visit their web site.
(Knox County News,
Knoxville, Wednesday, Sept. 13, 1899, pg. 1,
submitted by J. Crandell)
Swedish Old Settlers Picnic
Held at Gilbert's Park on last Thursday.
Many old settlers in attendance and all had a good time. Colonel CARR spoke.
SWEDISH PEOPLE ARE INDUSTRIOUS
The Swedish settlers of Knox County held their sixth annual reunion in Gilbert's Park last Thursday. The weather was not so favorable as it has been on similar occasions, and although the attendance was very good, the extreme heat prevented many from being present. A large portion of Knox County was first settled by Swedish people, and their meeting was very interesting in reminiscence. Among those present were the following, with the days of their settling in the county:
Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Streem, Wataga, 1855.
Swan Peterson, Knoxville, 1852.
Mr. and Mrs. George Boostrum, Wataga.
Peter Nelson, Soperville 1853.
L. W. Olson, Wataga, 1849.
Eugene Olson, Oneida, about 1850
George Erickson, Wataga
John Anderson, Altona.
August Anderson, Galesburg, about 1866.
Miss Jonas Peterson, Wataga, 1849.
Mrs. Julia Peterson, Wataga, 1855.
Mrs. Christine Larson, Victoria, 1852.
O. C. Nelson, Knoxville, 1852.
John C. Nelson, Knoxville, 1852.
Mrs. Inga Nylander, Galesburg, 1854.
Mr. and Mrs. John S. Brant, Knoxville, 1853.
Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Lindberg, Knoxville, 1852.
S. B. Johnson, Knoxville, 1853 .
Swan Nelson, Cedar Township, 1852.
Rev. H. Olson, Soperville, 1852.
John C. Johnson, Knoxville, 1851.
J. O. Lander, Knoxville, 1854.
John Johnson, Knoxville, about 1895.
Galesburg was well represented by the following:
L. L. Gibson, Christ Tuverson, M. O. Williamson, Colonel C. E. Carr, John B. Olson, N. J. Engstrand, George Ecktrand, S. R. Swanson, N.J. Oleen, Mr. and Mrs. John Carlson, E. E. Velander, Mr. and Mrs. N. P. Nelson, Misses Belinda Oberg, Minnie and Edna Holmes, Ella Johnson, and Sander Anderson.
The forenoon was spent in a social way, and the exercises of the day began about two o'clock in the afternoon. The president of the association, John Harpman of Victoria, presided and began the program with a short address. Rev. Olof Johnson pastor, of the Swedish M. E. Church of Galesburg, offered prayer and Reverends Rabbe and Porter, of Victoria, sang a duet. President Harpman followed with an address entitled "Why we meet. " A song was then sweetly rendered by a quartet composed of Misses Esther Olson and Selma Oberg and Mr. Frank Johnson and Franz Melberg, of Galesburg. The address by Clark E. Carr followed, this been the principal event of the day. The address was a fine one and was heartily applauded. Miss Emma Olson, of Woodhull, sang the beautiful anthem "The Holy City".
The list of members who have died since the last meeting was read as follows:
Galesburg -- Mrs. Ellen Fagerberg, Mrs. Elsa Bengston, Mrs. Fredrika Goldquist, Mrs. Swan Nyman, Mrs. Eskil Johnson, C. F. Larson, Mrs. Anna Lungren, Mrs. Peter Gabrielson, Mrs. Sarah Nelson, Mrs. Hannah Westergren, and John Augerson.
Knoxville -- Hawkin Besser, Mrs. Hannah Besser, Mrs. Anna Hammerstrom, and John Anderson.
Sparta -- Mrs. Hannah Eckman, Mrs. Oberg, Andrew Lindwall, Mrs. Matson Hedberg.
Ontario -- J. C. Fredricks.
Henderson -- Mrs. Elenora Nelson, Fredrick Larson.
Walnut Grove -- N. T. Wallgren, Mrs. Catherine Erickson.
Victoria and Copley -- Mrs. Helena Anderson, John Erick Nyberg, Louis Larson, Mrs. Betsy Moberg, Olof Hedlund, John Erickson, Mrs. Hannah Nelson.
Abingdon -- Mrs. Swan Nelson.
Miss Emma Peterson then gave a recitation entitled "The Prairie Fire," and was followed by Mrs. Harpman, who read a paper on "Early Recollections," which was very entertaining, and was loudly applauded.
Then came the election of officers all of the old officers being re-chosen as follows:
President -- John Harpman
Vice president -- Peter S. Nelson
Secretary -- M. O. Williamson
Treasurer -- S. W. Swanson
Hon. Nels Nelson, historian
The next meeting is to take place in Gilbert's Grove on the first Thursday in September 1900.
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Excerpt from The History of Knox County by A. Perry, Vol. I, pgs 740-746,
submitted by Janine Crandell
Knox County, Illinois, and
her chief city, Galesburg, and also lesser cities and towns, are typical American
communities in build, socially and educationally, and in customs, habits and taste as
well, and yet, as will be seen by an investigation of the facts, a good proportion,
probably fifty percent of the population, is foreign born or the descendants of
foreigners, a condition at once a tribute to the power and thoroughness and grace and ease
of American assimilation and of nice foreign adaptiveness.
Chief among foreign-born citizens and their descendants, and Knox County, are the Irish, Scotch, Germans and Swedes, the Swedes been the strongest numerically. Lately a considerable number of Italians, Austrians, Poles and Mexicans have come into Knox County, and principally to Galesburg, adding to the total foreign element, and while they are too recent an arrival to have yet made any appreciable impression, given time and opportunities they, too, no doubt, will merge beautifully into the body politic and contribute generously to the welfare and upbuilding of our commonwealth.
The first Swedish immigrants to America date back to 1638-1665, resulting in the founding of New Sweden ("Paradis Udden", or "Paradise Point") on the Delaware River, in the original project of which the king, the great Gustaf Adolph the Second, of Sweden, was interested, but which he was not permitted to consummate, that are falling instead to his chancellor, the brilliant Axel Oxenstjerna. Between the periods of 1638 and 1665, ten colonization parties were equipped and sent out to the new world, and as late as 1693, fifty-five years after the arrival of the first party of Swedish immigrants on American soil, there still remained one thousand of them in the settlement of New Sweden.
During the existence of New Sweden as a colony of Swedes thirty-five ministers or preachers were sent out to it from the mother country to minister to the three churches at Wicacoa, now Philadelphia, Kristina and Racoon, and chief among these preachers was the talented and distinguished Carl Magnus Wrangle, of the noble family of Sag and Wachel. This early Swedish settlement, it is true, lost its distinctive identity as such after a period of a third of a century, being by conquest merged into the stronger Holland settlements along the Delaware, these, too, in turn been obliged to give way to the English, but after a lapse of nearly 300 years multiplied evidences of the early presence and influence of the Swedes may be found in the city of Philadelphia and vicinity.
So far as known, the first Swedes who came to Illinois was Rafael Widen, who, January 12th, 1814, was appointed justice of the peace of St. Clair County by the territorial governor Ninan Edwards and was one of fourteen territorial justices, conducting the affairs of Randolph County from December, 1818, to May, 1819, and also a member of the fourth and fifth general assemblies, serving as president of the fourth general assembly.
Olof G. Hedstrom came to America in 1825, settling in New York, and in 1833 his brother, Jonas Hedstrom, joined him, the latter, pushing on to Victoria, Illinois, in 1838. G. Unonius, with a little party coming to America and 1841, settled on Pine Lake, near Nashotah, Wisconsin. In 1844 a company of fifty Swedish immigrants, with Daniel Larson as leader and spokesman, landed and settled in Boston, Mass., and a second company of sixty immigrants under Larson's leadership came a little later, settling in Campello and Brockton, Massachusetts. Peter Cassell and five families came to America from Sweden in 1845 and settled in New Sweden, Iowa, where his son, Andrew Cassell, and his descendants still live, honored and respected by all, Swedes and Americans alike.
Between 1665 and 1846 but few Swedes emigrated to America, and such as came arrived not as parties or colonies, but as individual families or singly. However, beginning with 1845 or earlier a wanderlust for America revived in Swedish hearts on the mother soil, and in 1846 large parties and colonies of sons and daughters of the north again landed on our shores, this time not remaining in the east, as before, but instead resolutely setting their faces toward the setting sun they tirelessly continued their long journey on lake and river by boat and on land by wagon and on foot, until they reached the ridge fertile lands of Henry County, in western Illinois, where their guiding star stopped, when they too, stood still, and looking around, discovered that this was their Mecca and that they now had reached their long-sought goal.
The Swedish immigrations beginning in 1845, and resulting in the founding of the Swedish communistic colony at Bishop Hill, Henry County, Illinois, September 26th, 1846, is called the Jansonist movement, been inspired by Erik Janson, a religious leader and preacher, who with his followers, because of persecutions, imprisonment and confiscations of property in the homeland, came to America, "the land of the free and the home of the brave," that here they might worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, and without molestation engage in the pursuit of liberty, peace and happiness. Having found what they sought, these courageous, stalwart sons of the north, exponents of the simple life, and hopeful toil and labor subdued the wilderness, tilled the virgin soil, and passing, left to their descendants, a priceless heritage in character, of motive and purpose in life and material wealth as well. Bishop Hill enjoys the distinction of being the first and oldest exclusively Swedish settlement in America, subsequent to the New Sweden settlement of 1638-1665, on the Delaware, and Victoria and Galesburg in Knox, and Andover in Henry County, Illinois, follow it, but the large masses of Swedes immigrants coming to these places later than the Bishop Hill settlement found that pioneer American and individual Swede settlers had preceded them, and established an embryo civilization with which to hospitably greet later comers on arrival. All Swedish emigrations, following the Bishop Hill settlement, differ from it to, in that material welfare and advancement, not religious liberty, was the motive.
It will interest readers of Knox County history, not familiar with the facts, to know that in 15 of the 102 counties of Illinois, are many communities urban and rural, was so large a population of Swedish citizens, as to warrant calling them Swedish counties. These counties are Cook, Winnebago, Kane, DeKalb, Will, Bureau, Henry, Rock Island, Mercer, Warren, Knox, Peoria, McLean, Ford and Vermilion. Flourishing cities, towns and rural districts, in each of these counties, have Swedes numerically strong enough to make a distinct impression upon the body politic, for weal or woe, and since the Swede counties and communities rank high, if not highest in the state in point of wealth, education, refinement and Christian culture, and all that makes for good citizenship, it is conceded that the Swedes as a rule stand for the uplift and betterment of themselves and surroundings. In the counties of Illinois designated as Swedes counties are the following communities in which there are large numbers of Swedes: Galesburg, Knoxville, Wataga, Altona, Victoria, Henderson, Galva, Bishop Hill, Cambridge, Nekoma, Kewanee, Geneseo, Orion, Osco, Lynn, Woodhull ,Ophiem, Rock Island, Moline, Aledo, New Boston, Keithsburg, Swedona, Lafayette, Toulon, Monmouth, Roseville, Swan Creek, Princeton, Wyanet, New Bedford, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Elgin, DeKalb, Sycamore, Rockford,Peccatonica, Bloomington, Paxton, Danville, Peoria, Joliet and Chicago--the latter place alone with its suburbs, having an approximate Swedish population of a quarter of a million, and it has been said that starting at Galva, in Henry County, and going west to Keithsburg and New Boston, on the Mississippi River, a distance of fifty miles, a traveler may pass along all the way on soil owned or tilled by a Swede.
Daniel Robertson, the first white settler, came to Henderson, Knox County, in 1828, and in 1830 the county was organized with a population of 230 scant, and in 1836, George W. Gale and company came to the county, organizing Galesburg the following year with a population of about 232. Ten years later, in 1847, and seven years before the advent of the C. B. and Q. railroad in Knox County, Galesburg already had a Swedish population of 20, among whom were John Youngberg, Nels Hedstrom, Andrew Thorsell, Mr. Modine, Kristina Muhr and Olof Nelson.
In 1854 the stream of Swedish immigration to Galesburg became most active, continuing steadily until 1880, at which time the Swedish population was at least 3500, if not 4000. Since 1880, there has been no rival of greater parties of immigrants direct from Sweden to Galesburg, although families as such and individuals have been coming all the while, and still do, and these, together with the natural increase by birth, make the Swedish population of Galesburg, in 1912, easily 8000--a figure of no mean proportion, when considered that it constitutes more than a third of the whole population of the city.
As a rule the Swedes were poor and many penniless on arrival, having either borrowed, perhaps, or spent their all in paying for their passage, and work and wages, therefore, for them, was an immediate pressing need, and hence it was in no uncommon experience to greet a company of newcomer Swedes on the depot landing one day, with their wooden chest, bundles, bags and baggage all around them, and the next, after temporarily depositing the women, children and luggage in some friendly home or shelter, find the men already at work, beginning at the first possible moment on American soil, the foundation of success, of home and fortune, through the commendable and sure medium of labor and application.
With a rare if any exception, all began American life with common manual labor, at a prevailing low wage, first learned the language spoken, and then through sheer merit and inherent worth, rose to better and more responsible and lucrative position, as farm tenants and farm owners, mechanics and boss workmen or superintendents, clerks, merchants and bankers, or, as officials and political man, or in the professions, attained it to large and honorable places in the community and vicinity.
Among the industries of Galesburg, either past or present, with which her Swedish citizens have been identified as projectors and owners or as responsible managers and workmen in supplying brain and brawn, in founding and developing them, are the Charles Johnson brickyards, Abraham Nelson furniture shop, Industrial Machine Works, Galesburg Machine Works, the Brown Corn Planter Company, the G. D. Colton Company foundry; Frost Manufacturing Co., the O. B. Judson Furniture Co., and the C. B. and Q. Railway Company, and all of which the rank and file of workmen were and are Swedes, some of whom attained to enviable prominence in management and conduct of the business--among whom besides the personal names given above, may be mentioned, first, the brothers Charles and William Erickson, for fifty years continuously in the employ of the " Q " railway, and now foremen respectively of the round house, and machine shops where also their father before them was a trusted workman. Also may be named in this general connection, J. A. Oberg, D. L. Peterson, Claus Anderson, Alfred Lindgren, P. N. Granville, Magnus Holmes, Andrew G. Gabrielson, John Pierson, Andrew Stromstedt, F. T. Albert, W. A. Peterson, Claus Thoreen, Peter Olson, John A. Ehn, Magnus Peterson, Frank A. Olson, W. O. Nelson, Andrew P. Gustafson, Aug. Abramson, Peter Swanson, J. A. Renstrom, A. O. Peterson, Andrew Johnson, L. J. Olson, Swen, Peter, and Ernest Ekwall, S. J. Johnson, T. W. Peterson, Abram Anderson, A. J. Anderson, F. O. Peterson, C. X. Johnson, S. W. Nystrom, Frank A. Gustafson, J. W. and Claus Ekwall and many others equally deserving of mention if space would permit.
Among the early Swedish Galesburg merchants and tradesmen were: Hawkinson & Pierson, Hawkinson & Charlson, Akey Themanson, C. E. Landstrom, Nelson & Bengston, Peter Nelson, Clarkson & Johnson, Clarkson & Roadstrum, Nelson & Swenson, Olson & Hofflund, grocers; Nelson & Williamson, dry goods; Victor Velander; John Granville; Wenquist & Johnson, boot and shoe dealers; Abram Nelson, furniture; Swen Nyman, jeweler; Swen Anderson, John Peterson and N. G. Engstrand, tailors; Chas. Ferris; Clark & Anderson and John Ekwall, restaurant; A. O. Ahlenius, J. W. Anderson, butchers; Peter Gabrielson, Peter Wetterberg, J. F. Johnson and Eskil Johnson, blacksmith, wagon and carriage shop; Andrew Thorsell, Fred Lindquist and brother and C. J. Lindquist, painters and decorators.
At present out of forty-four grocery establishments doing business in Galesburg twenty-one are owned and operated exclusively by Swedes, and in all other lines, too, of mercantile activities one finds a like proportionate percent in the hands of and owned by Swedes, who by close application, careful and conscientious observance of business principle and frugality, coupled with keen knowledge and shrewd forethought, are surely, if yet slowly, accumulating a competence. Foremost among present-day Swede business establishments are such houses as the N. P. Nelson Company, dry goods; J. H. Nelson Company , Jarl Young and Co. and A. P. Wetterberg, clothing and men's furnishings; Swanson and Perceful, Hannah Holcomb, Highlander & Faulks, Johnson & Fagerburg, millinery ; A. E. Steinfeldt, jeweler; Holmes Brothers, laundry; Lindstrum & West and Oscar Thorelius, druggists; Karl Salzberg, harness and saddlery; A. O. Lindstrum, O. P. Wenquist, insurance; Eric Cederoth, W. A. Anderson & Co., shoes; P. B. Anderson, Oscar Johnson, Albert Joneson, J. I. Engstrand & Bro., tailors; A. A. Hallberg, artist; M. W. Olson, dentist; C. G. Johnson, physician; R. J. Walberg, attorney; C. A. West, undertaker and embalmer; Duvon & Brown, C. S. Peterson & Co., bakery; Lass & Larson Co., C. J. Linquist, decorators and painters; T. E. Johnson Machine Shop, A. F. Lanstrum & Co., Galesburg Machine Works, automobile and garage; Galesburg Broom Co., David Carlson, Charles Hawkinson, planing mill; Hofflund Bros., G. A. Swenson, cigars; W. M. Stromberg, Hawkinson & Kenyon, confectioners; P. T. Olson, John Dahlberg, Victor Johnson, Carl Carlson, Nels Pierson, C. E. Youngquist, P. O. Munson, C. E. Runquist, C. N. Munson, A. F. Strandberg, F. O. Munson, contractors and builders; S. H. Olson & Co., J. H. Walberg, Ericson & Larson, Galesburg Commercial Union, R. O. Ahlenius, Larsen-Hulgren Grocery Co., J. A. Oberg & Son, O. W. Johnson & Bro., J. T. Johnson & Co. and C. M. Burgland and a dozen additional grocery firms, swell, but do not complete, the list of Galesburg Swedes merchants, now actively in business.
Galesburg's first fire department was organized in 1856, and nine years later, in 1865, an all Swede Fire Company, called Ericson Engine Company No. 2, numbering sixty men, was formed, captained by O. P. Pearson, and soon after a Swedish fire hose Company, captained by D. L. Peterson, was organized. Between the Swedish companies and the other Galesburg fire company, the Tornado, and the Peoria and Quincy companies, friendly but sharp contest of superiority often occurred, leading to a high degree of efficiency and skill, and on two occasions the Swede fire laddies captured from their worthy opponent the prizes of two hundred and fifty dollars offered the winner. In this day and age Galesburg boasts a paid fire department, but even so the spirit of the old Swedish volunteer firefighters seems to move a younger and later generation of Swedes, for a respectable number of the personnel of the present department, including its capable chief, Martin Peterson, are Swedish lads, who time and again have demonstrated, like their " landsmen " of old, that they understand the science and art of fighting and subduing fire.
Among early Swedish societies in Galesburg was Scandia, a literary organization formed in 1866. Its first president was Lewis Peterson, now deceased. Its second president, the Hon. H. W. Berggren, many times honored with high political preferment by his fellow townsman, respected and esteemed by all Swedes who know him, still lives, hale, hardy and active, apparently wholly untouched by the weight of passing years, a typical, ideal, self-made, becomingly modest man. Svea Independent Order Of Good Templars was formed in 1867, A. O. Peterson, P. B. Anderson, L. L. Gibson, Honorable Nels Nelson and A. Youngreen, the first two still living and residents of Galesburg, been prominent in its organization.
First Scandinavian Lodge, No. 446, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was organized in 1871 with Honorable A. W. Berggren , N. G.; A. Klingberg, V. G.; P. B. Anders, R. S.; John Clarkson, treasurer. Present Swedish Galesburg fraternal organizations are Svea I. O. G. T., First Scandinavian Lodge, No. 446, I. O. O. F., and Vasa Lodge 210, Independent Order of Svithiod, each of which is active, aggressive and prosperous.
Galesburg Swedish citizens of remote years, as well as those of a later day and present period, aspired and attain to political honors in the community. In 1860-1-2, P. L. Hawkinson was street superintendent. P. Shoberg in 1863 was the first Swede to be elected to the Galesburg common council as alderman; Lewis Bergland was elected street commissioner in 1865; John Peterson alderman, 1867 and 1868. Beginning with 1871, the Hon. Nels Nelson, recently deceased, was repeatedly honored with long terms with the office of city treasurer and city clerk, and the Hon. A. W. Berggren, late in the '60s and during the '70s and '80s, was successively elected to the office of justice of the peace, sheriff and state senator and later, by appointment, served with distinction, too, as warden of the Joliet penitentiary. Other Swedes men, too, notably P. N. Granville, Albert Truedson, and N. J. Oleen, have filled spaces honorably in Galesburg officials family, and in the common council and at present honorable C. F. Hurburgh is state senator; F. F. Seaman, sheriff, and Charles H. Westerberg, circuit clerk, while no inconsiderable number of Swedes men enjoyed the distinction of being members of the honorable body of supervisors.
Galesburg Swedish churches, strictly speaking, are five in number, namely: First Evangelical Lutheran, Emanuel Methodist Episcopal, St. John's Episcopal, Covenant or Congregational and Baptist Church, but the Lutheran and Covenant churches each maintain a chapel and Sunday school in outlying districts, and in addition Swedes constitute fully ninety-five percent of the membership of Trinity Lutheran Church, which by courtesy is called an English church, because its services are conducted in that language. But since each of these church societies is to be treated separately in this work by competent writers, it is needless to enlarge upon them here beyond this point.
Patriotism, loyalty and courage are marked features in Swedish character, and therefore when in the dark and trying years of 1861-65 the fate of the American nation hung in the balance Swedes everywhere, with other valiant sons, responded in large numbers to the country's call for men tried and true, and Galesburg sent out her full quota of these. Company C, Illinois Volunteers, 43rd Regiment, was recruited in Galesburg and organized in Camp Butler in September, 1861, all in its enrollment been Swedes, with the exception of two men. February 6th, 1862, the company was ordered to Fort Henry, and on February 18th to Fort Donaldson and was joined to General Ross' s brigade of General McClellan's division.
With its regiment, Company C went to Pittsburg Landing, and there after participated in the Battle of Shiloh, in which engagement Capt. Olof S. Edvall fell, together with comrades Lars O. Berglof and Carl Samuelson. The company also distinguished itself at the Siege of Corinth and in battle with General Forrest, in capture of guerrilla forces and at Little Rock in battle with General Shelby's brigade and in the assault of Prairie d'Anne and Camden. At Jenkins Ferry Company C fought in the memorable battle when 4,000 Union soldiers repulsed 20,000 of the rebel force under Kirby Smith's army division, entailing a loss of 2,000 of the enemies at a cost of 700 Union soldiers.
On May 3rd, 1865, Company C return to Little Rock, at which time and place it was mustered out of service. A roster of the rank and file of the man composing Company C cannot be given here, but appended is a list of the officers of the company, all gallant men, heroes in peace or war call all of whom, so far as the writer knows, with the great majority of their comrades in arms, have responded to " taps ", put out the lights and lained down to well earned, peaceful, undisturbed rest.
List of Officers of Company C:
Hugo A. Starkoff, Olof S. Edvall, Carl Arocenius, captains.
Olof S. Edvall, John P. Arendberg, first lieutenants
Nels C. McCool, Nels Knutson, second lieutenants
Magnus M. Holt, first sergeant
Nels Peterson, Nels Knutson, Nels Nelson, Nels Anderson, sergeants
Gust Anderson, Charles Kling, John W. Erickson, Olof A. Hallfast, Peter Bergstrom, Adolph
Larson, Magnus Larson, John Paulson, corporals.
Andrew Engstrom, musician.
In monetary matters Swedes in Galesburg have taken a proper place in the community corresponding to their character, numbers and influence as a people. Invariably the Swedish householder owns his own home, has good remunerative employment or is in business for himself, an independent usually, whatever his vocation or calling maybe and in each of the five strong, splendid banks or financial institutions of Galesburg, the Swedes also are given marked recognition in directory boards, and in official and clerical force.
The Bank of Galesburg, an institution with capital surplus and undivided profits of more than four hundred and fifty thousand dollars, deposits in excess of one million and assets beyond a million and a half dollars, organized, mainly capitalized, largely officered and generally patronized by Swedes, is commonly spoken of as the Swede bank. N. O. G. Johnson is its vice president, P. N. Granville, a cashier, and C. E. Johnson, assistant cashier, each of whom are directors too, together with Thomas W. Peterson and Sam R. Swanson, all Swede men. Hon. M. O. Williamson, a Swede, and formerly treasurer of the state of Illinois, is president of the People's Trust and Savings Bank, of which bank too, Senator C. F. Hurburgh is a director, and honorable A. W. Berggren for many years has been and still is the efficient and respected vice president of the Galesburg National Bank.
Galesburg is favorably known far and wide as an educational center, and no class of her
citizens, not excepting the original settlers who made it a school and college community, have benefited more by its halls and avenues of learning, that her Swedish population. To finish the grade and high school courses, is the general practice of Galesburg young people, and many go on to college and university, distinguishing themselves in scholarship, in professional and higher walks of life, or win fame in the vocational affairs of men.
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Excerpt from the History of the Swedes of Illinois, Vol. 1 (1908), edited by Ernst W. Olson, pgs 279-281, submitted by J. Crandell
Victoria, Knox County
Victoria is located on a rolling prairie in the northeastern part of Knox county. Its first white inhabitants were Edward Brown, John Essex, and one Mr. Frazier, all of whom settled there in 1835. The first marriage solemnized there took place in 1838, between Peter Sonberger and Phebe Wilbur. The first house was built in 1837 on a plain near the subsequent site of the town. The first sermon was preached in Victoria in 1836 by Rev. Charles Bostie, a Methodist minister.
In course of time, a number of other settlers arrived, the first Swede among them being Jonas Hedstrom, the Methodist preacher. He came in 1838, from Farmington, Fulton county, his first place of residence on Illinois soil. For several years Hedstrom was the only Swede in Victoria, but after the Erik Janssonists began to settle at Bishop Hill, a number of these were by him attracted to Victoria. We have already related how Olof Olsson, their first envoy, with his family came there in 1845 and was housed in a rude hut of logs situated in Copley township; also how Erik Jansson himself and his kindred found shelter in the same log cabin the following year. Not long afterwards, Sven Larsson, Olof Norlund, and Jonas Jansson arrived from Soderala, Helsingland.,and Jonas Hedin from Hede, Herjedalen. Norlund and Jansson soon succumbed to the cholera, and the others left Victoria for Red Oak Grove after a stay of only a few weeks.
Among the earliest settlers here may be mentioned Olof Olsson from Ofvanaker, Helsingland. who came to Bishop Hill in 1846, but after three months bade farewell to the prophet and his colony and moved to Victoria, where he bought a small farm. Olsson also died shortly after his arrival. Jonas Hellstrom, a tailor, left Bishop Hill in 1847 and opened a tailor shop at Victoria, where he plied his trade until 1850, when he caught the gold fever and went to California. After a year he returned to his old trade at Victoria. At the outbreak of the Civil War. he enlisted as sergeant in Company C. 83rd Illinois Volunteers, being advanced in 1864 to the rank of first lieutenant in the 8th U. S. Artillery. He died shortly afterward, leaving a wife and one son. ''Old Man Back" from Bollnas, Helsingland, an eccentric character, was another of the Bishop Hill settlers who moved to Victoria, where he purchased a small farm in Copley township. He is said to have considered himself the most important personage in the entire community. Olof Olsson from Alfta, another Erik Janssonist, simultaneously with Back moved to Copley township and became one of Victoria's first landowners. Then came in rapid succession Hillberg, Hans Hansson, Carl Magnus Pettersson, Sven Larsson. Lars Larsson, and Peter Kallman. The last named accompanied the first party of Erik Janssonists to Chicago, remaining in that city a few years, subsequently living three years in Galesburg. finally settling in Victoria in 1853. He died in 1877, leaving a family. Furthermore, we find among the Swedish pioneers at Victoria Charles Pettersson from Osterunda. Upland, who also came with the first Erik Janssonist party, remaining two years in New York, and coming to Victoria in 1848. He also went to California in 1850 as a gold seeker, and eventually settled on the coast. John E. Seline was another Erik Janssonist who deserted Bishop Hill, going to Galesburg in 1849. whence he moved to Victoria, where he was employed as a building contractor until 1856, when he purchased a farm. This man was one of Erik Jansson's twelve apostles. Seline later in life became an agnostic and a stanch follower of Robert G. Ingersoll. One Petter Skoglund, who came over with the Esbjorn party of emigrants, settled down in Victoria as a tailor, but later went to farming. He was still living in 1880, in comfortable circumstances. Peter Dahlgren from Osterunda severed his allegiance to Erik Jansson after half a year's stay in the colony and established himself in Victoria township as a farmer in 1853. He was accidentally killed in 1856 by falling earth.
The Town of Victoria was organized May 11, 1849, by John Becker, John W. Spalding, G. F. Reynolds, A. Arnold, Jonas Hedstrom, W. L. Shurtleff, Jonas Hellstrom, Joseph Freed and J. J. Knopp. The site then selected was not the same as the present one, being a mile and a half southeast, where Hedstrom had a blacksmith shop. Becker a general store, and Reynolds a hotel. The present village of Victoria slowly grew up to one side of this starting-point.
The large Swedish settlement of which Victoria forms the center early grew to be one of the most flourishing localities in the state. Prosperity was general owing partly to the fact that the Swedes almost from the start became owners of the soil, partly to the circumstance that Methodism gained a firm foothold there from the first, making for industry, temperance and good morals. Furthermore, this settlement is the most Americanized Swedish community in the whole state. resulting from early stoppage of immigration, the great majority of its present inhabitants having been born and reared in this country. From the very start Methodism became a power in that community and is still firmly rooted there. The Swedish Methodist church is the only house of worship in the place and almost the entire population of the village and the surrounding country are members of that congregation. Neither Lutherans, Baptists, nor Mission Friends have sought to establish missions there, and encroachment by secular organizations in this stronghold of Methodism is out of the question.
The population of the town of Victoria in 1900 was 329. The
number of Swedish-Americans in the village proper together with
the surrounding settlement we have been unable to ascertain.
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Excerpt from the History of the Swedes of Illinois, Vol. 1 (1908), edited by Ernst W. Olson, pgs 281-285, submitted by J. Crandell
Galesburg, Knox County
The city of Galesburg is situated on a rolling plain, 164 miles southwest of Chicago, on the Chicago. Burlington and Quincy railway line. It was named from George W. Gale, who, together with several others, came there from Oneida county, N. Y., in 1836 and purchased 11,000 acres of land in Knox county. On this tract he laid out a town site, the sale of lots and the building of houses progressing nicely at first. In one year the population increased to 232. From 1837 to 1850 progress was slow, owing to lack of communications. The outlook for a railroad line through the place brightened during the latter year, however, causing increased business activity in the little town.
During the first decade of its existence Galesburg had a formidable rival in the neighboring town of Henderson, now Knoxville, which had certain advantages through permitting the sale of liquors, a traffic absolutely prohibited in Galesburg. So strict were the authorities in this respect that they inserted in every deed to property sold within the town limits a clause specifically prohibiting the sale of spirituous liquors on the premises. In the meantime, the liquor traffic flourished in Henderson, where the Galesburg people also had to go when in need of the cup that cheers. The rapid growth of the town soon inspired dreams of greatness in the Hendersonites, mingled with pity for Galesburg. which town seemed doomed to perpetual stagnation. A certain Swede, who was particularly hopeful for the future of Henderson, bought two building lots there for $200, although he might have got them in Galesburg at a much lower figure. Only a few years later, he sold his two lots for $20. The slump in realty values in Henderson came when Galesburg got its railroad. On Dec. 7, 1854, the first locomotive steamed into Galesburg over the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy road, which was then almost completed. On Jan. 1, 1840, the town got its first newspaper. "The Knox Intelligencer." In 1873 it became the county seat of Knox county.
The Galesburg of today is a live, wide-awake and somewhat aristocratic city, whose population of 18,607 at the census of 1900 had reached 20,000 at the close of 1905. It is one of the chief railway centers of the state, being the intersection of the main line of the Burlington, with several branches, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railways. The city has several beautiful parks, and its streets are shaded by avenues of trees giving to the entire city the aspect of a park. The pavements are of brick throughout. The city has a splendid street railway system, excellent waterworks, is well lighted, and has an efficient fire department. Although not a factory center, yet Galesburg has a number of manufacturing plants, including two foundries, an agricultural implement factory, flour mills, wagon factories and a broom factory. The railway shops of the Burlington road are located here, also extensive stock yards. Coal mines are found in the vicinity. Galesburg has a handsome opera house, five banks, nineteen churches, several of them Swedish, and ten public schools, including one high school. It is also a notable educational center, having several higher institutions of learning, namely, Knox College, Lombard University, and one or two Catholic schools. The courthouse, which is the seat of the Knox county government, is one of the largest and handsomest buildings of its class in the state. The city is situated in the center of one of the most fertile and prosperous farming districts in Illinois, with which it stands in direct and intimate communication. The townspeople as well as the farmers of the surrounding country are well-to-do, and, taken all in all, Galesburg is as fortunately situated and as prosperous as any of the smaller cities of the state.
The first Swedish settlers in Galesburg arrived about the middle of the forties. In 1847, as far as known, the only Swedes there were the following: John Youngberg and family, one of the early Bishop Hill colonists, who later removed to Galva, but returned to Galesburg and went from there to California in 1860; Nils Hedstrom, a tailor by trade, who afterwards settled in the Victoria colony; Anders Thorsell, a shoemaker from Djursby, Vestmanland, who came over in 1846 with one of the first parties of Erik Janssonists; a family by the name of Modin: Kristina Muhr, a widow, and Olof Nilsson, a shoemaker. Thorsell, who is said to have been a very skillful workman, plied his trade for some time with so great success that he accumulated a small fortune. Had he stuck to the last and shunned the bottle, he would have become the wealthiest Swede in Galesburg. but unfortunately he became a slave to the liquor habit. He died in 1870 leaving a widow and one child.
The majority of Swedes who settled in Galesburg earlier than 1854 were such as had deserted Bishop Hill, having become dissatisfied with conditions in that colony. In the year last named, however, the influx of immigrants brought many Swedish settlers directly to Galesburg, and from that day its Swedish population has constantly grown, numbering at the close of 1905 about 5,000, American born descendants included. That this numerous element has made itself felt in the development of the city and set its impress on its general character goes without saying. In every line of activity in Galesburg Swedes are engaged. We find them as city and county officials, as merchants. and in all the various trades. They are employed in considerable numbers on the railroads and at the Burlington shops.
In the Swedish colony here different denominations early began missionary work. As early as 1850 Swedish Methodist class meetings were held, and the following year Jonas Hedstrom organized a Swedish Methodist congregation. Simultaneously. Rev. L. P. Esbjorn, the Swedish Lutheran pastor at Andover, began work in this field, and a church was established in 1851. This, the First Swedish Lutheran Church of Galesburg, in 1853 secured as its pastor Rev. T. N. Hasselquist, another pioneer of Swedish Lutheranism in America. The Swedish Baptists in 1857 organized a church, which had dwindled down to seven members in 1880; a few years later, however, work was pushed with renewed vigor, resulting in a reorganization in 1888. In 1868 a second Swedish Lutheran church was organized, composed of former members of the first church, and other persons. We are creditably informed that the present Mission Church was formed from its membership. A third Swedish Lutheran congregation in Galesburg was organized several years ago, which now seems to have disbanded. There is also a Swedish Episcopal church in the city.
The fraternal movement was started among the Galesburg Swedes in
1866 when a sick benefit society, named Skandia. was organized. The society was
soon forced out of existence by church opposition. A lodge of Good Templars,
organized the following year under the name of Svea,
was almost equally shortlived. In 1871 a Scandinavian lodge of Odd Fellows
was formed. Among the present Swedish population of Galesburg we find no great
interest in fraternal movements based on nationality.
In local politics the Swedes of Galesburg have taken aggressive part, many having served the city or county in various capacities. At least one of their number, M. O. Williamson, has been honored with a high state office, having served as state treasurer for the term of 1901-1903.
Galesburg has the distinction of being the cradle of the Swedish-American press. Here was started in 1854, by Rev. Hasselquist. the first Swedish-American newspaper of permanence, viz.. "Hemlandet," its first number being issued Jan. 3. 1855. This paper was published at Galesburg until the close of 1858, when it was removed to Chicago. In the early part of 1859, "Frihetsvannen," another Swedish paper, was launched in Galesburg. but was discontinued in 1861. This journal was started to champion the cause of the Baptist denomination, which was the object of continuous attacks by "Hemlandet." A third Swedish organ, "Galesburgs Veckoblad," started in 1868, shared the fate of "Frihetsvannen," being discontinued after a short time. A couple of religious papers in the Swedish language have also been published here for short periods, and after the great fire in 1871, "Nya Verlden," a Swedish weekly newspaper of Chicago, was published for five months in Galesburg.
The Swedish colony of Galesburg furnished a proportionate number of recruits to the Union army during the Civil War. Company C, 43rd Illinois Volunteers, was made up exclusively of Swedish-Americans from Galesburg and vicinity.
These data establish Galesburg's claim to an eminent place in the history of the Swedes not only of Illinois but of the country at large.
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