This is the first letter from Kansas we have, though Jonas Victor and family arrived there in June, 1870. jonas Victor Swenson was my great grandfather. We have no letters about the trip. Jonas Victor's wife, Anna Greta traveled to America with four children, while pregnant with a fifth, Peter Luther, who was born in November of that year. Any letters from her might not have been very happy! We know she was not pleased to be leaving Sweden, and who can blame her? I think they had rather primitive housing when they first arrived. This letter tells of the birth of another son, Otto Wilhem, born in February, 1873. She had children for 20 years, twelve in all, including four who died in infancy. I always long for letters from Anna Greta, but how would she have had time? Jonas Victor was ever the farmer, always giving weather and crop reports.
Randolph, Kansas was in Riley County, Kansas. I believe it is now under water because of the Tuttle Creek Dam.
Randolph, KS 29 November 1873
I will with God's grace send you a short letter. I understand that you are paying for my letters, which is wrong, because I have already paid in full.
God has given us all good health until now and increased the family by a son, whose name is Otto Wilhelm.
We had a good wheat harvest this year and the oats was good too, but not the grain or potatoes. It has been too dry. No rain from Midsummer until September 24 when we got a hard thunderstorm. A family who lived not far from us was killed. They were building a new house, but they did not have the roof on, so they were in the stable protecting themselves during the storm. It burned (probably from lightning). The family had two children. The paternal grandfather was also there. He had helped them with the new house. Even the two horses and a cow were burned to death. It was a tragedy.
I have received a letter from brother Johan August (in Andover, Illinois). He writes he is very ill. He says that you had sent him a letter and told about all your work. He also says that Fredrik (their sister Anna Sofia's husband) has bought a farm in Aggebo and that he is displeased that he was not allowed to buy Spakarp. I think it is a little strange. Perhaps you had too many sellers. (Irene says--It seems the family had discussed this to and fro. I cannot understand what he refers to). I will not tell you what to do. You should decide what you think will be the best.
Now I finish my letter with greetings to all of you.
Jonas Victor Svenson
This is the second letter I have written since I received one from you.