THE ALLEN COUNTY SWEDISH PEOPLE
As the lands of the west began opening up to those peoples who lived in the eastern part of the United States, a large number of people of Swedish ethnicity began their trek west. Many Swedes came directly to the Kansas Territories from Sweden, but hundreds more came from older Swedish settlements in Illinois. Among these families are two of my ancestor families.
My great grandmother was Sophia Johanna Boo. She was the daughter of Andrus Boo who had been born in Dimbo, Skaraborg, Sweden in 1822, and Britta Christina Johnston born in Varv, Skaraborg, Sweden in 1821. Their children: John August, Gust A., Tura Albert, Maria, Clara, Anna Charlotte and Sophia Johanna were all born in Sweden and immigrated to the United States when Sophia was about 4 years of age, which would have made them come to America ca 1868.
It is not known at this time where they settled upon arrival in America but they came to Kansas at some point and lived in Allen County. Andrus and Maria Christina are both buried at the Lutheran Cemetery in Savonburg, thus my interest in the life of the Swedes in Allen County.
The following information has been taken from:
"The History of the Founding and Growth of the Swedish Settlement in Allen County"* written by Carl E. Tyler as a thesis. Published August 1938 by Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg, KS. (Kansas State Teachers College is now called Pittsburg State University)
In Tyler's thesis he stated that "Groups of colonists came from Galesburg (IL)" and settled near where the railroad lines had opened up. Many settled along land in Saline and McPherson counties and along the L.L.& G. Railroad lines in Allen County.
Another group led by Dr. C. Gran who had lived in Henry County, IL found the Neosho Valley ideally suitable and settled in that area in the 1860's. Tyler states that people from the Farmersville and Knoxville, IL areas were among the very first settlers of Allen County. This theory is very familiar to me because this is the story I have heard for years about where my family came from once they came to America, but I haven't found any proof yet.
Tyler has quoted the source for his information as coming from "Semi-Centennial Manual of the Swedish Evangelical Friends Home Congregation, 1872-1922" by the Rev. F. E. Sard and published by Augustana Book Concern, Rock Island, IL, no date. The Allen County settlers greatly desired a formal religious service to be held in their area and began working to that end. In early 1872 a congregation called the Friends Home Church was begun and by September 1872 the Friends Home Church was received into the Augustana Synod at Galesburg, IL.
Tyler writes, "The organization owns no unquestionable record of charter members. However, it appears from church registers, records and so forth, that the following must have been charter members or have joined the congregation before the first of May the same year:" (1872)
Below are the names Tyler listed in his thesis as being charter members:
* Swen Olson, his wife Hanna and 7 children
* Olaf Nelson, his wife Inga and 4 children
* Nels Olson, his wife Anna and 8 children
* W.S. Holmes, his wife Karna and 7 children
* J.H. Johnson, his wife Elna and 3 children
* J.B. Johnson, his wife Ingjar and 4 children
* P. Hocanson, his wife Johanna and 1 child
* Lars Lauren and his wife Lorentina Cathrina
* A.G. Ryden and his wife Emma
* Peter Anderson and his wife Anna
* Nils Eilerston, Charles Nelson, Hans Laurens Laurin, Christian Overgaard, Jonas Walqvist, Ola Anderson and Caroline Holmes.
Not all in this group were Swedes. Peter Anderson and wife; Nils Eilerson and Christian Overgaard were Danes (footnote 1: Tyler, Carl. "The History of the Founding and Growth of the Swedish Settlement in Allen County; published August, 1938 by Kansas State Teachers College. Chapter ll, page 12.
*This book may be obtained through interlibrary loan from Southeast Kansas Library System in Iola, KS.
Contributed by Lonna Nevil