It is time for me to say goodbye to Jonas Victor Swenson. I confess I am having a difficult time leaving him. He has been a presence in my life for several months and I have enjoyed having him with me. I felt he was looking over my shoulder as I typed his letters into my computer. I wish I could have visited with him in person, but am so grateful for these letters that tell me so much about this amazing man.
I think he represents so much of what was the best of the immigrants who came to America--especially the ones from Sweden. Through these letters we have learned that it was not an easy thing. Many adjustments and adaptations had to be made. The weather was always mentioned, requiring a real adjustment to weather that was colder and hotter than in Sweden. The second thing mentioned was his state of health. With so many diseases around like cholera, tuberculosis, small pox, an immigrant's health was vital to his success in living in America, as we saw with his brothers who came here in the years before he did.
Survival depended upon intelligence, persistence and very hard work, as well as the vision to see what could be accomplished. Many came knowing they might not be very successful, but wanting to give a better chance to their children than was possible in their native country. As I read his letters, there were times when I could hear my father, Victor Skonberg, saying the same things--about business, family and life.
So, sleep well, my Great Grandfather Jonas Victor. Your wish to be next to your Great Companion and wife, Anna Greta, has been granted. Your many descendants are grateful for your life that is an example for all of us.
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Jonas Victor Swenson died March 13, 1933, in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was visiting his sons. He is buried next to his wife, Anna Greta, in Belgard Cemetery in Cleburne, Kansas.