Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Thursday, August 25, 2011

9. January 20 1869 Part 3

Swedish immigrants had a difficult time getting used to the weather in Illinois.  The heat in the summer and cold and wind in the winter caused some to leave and return to Sweden.  The high price of machinery necessary to work larger fields was a big barrier for people with not much money.

It is the warmth, which is different from Sweden, that makes you need much more water.  It is a strain for the chest.  It is like a sauna.  When it is cold it is like a sauna without heat.

You ask how much the big machines cost and if you cannot use anything else than machines.  Do you not think that plow, harrow, wagon, harness cost something plus everything else?  Everything costs something.  A machine we use for plowing on the fields is something like a tiller which whirls the soil.  Then they can use the land machines.  We can borrow, but we pay much.  Machines are used to sow and cut the grain.  We use horses to thresh.  They pull the machine.  When we cut the grain we use two pair of horses.  When we thresh we use five pair of horses and they have a lot of hard work.  Any simple machines are not used here.  If you think that you can thresh with flail and cut with the scythe and get it to the barn like in Sweden--do not think so.  It that was possible, there would be many who could do so and need only cattle for the farmer.  A pair of horses cost at least 250 dollars and then the machines you need cost a lot too.

You ask me to help you get land.  I cannot do that.  Nobody can sell land if you do not have it yourself.  The land must by built up after you have bought it.  The most you can buy is 160 acres and you must know that I don't have enough money to buy land.

You think that this country is not as expensive as it is.  You do not know how difficult it is to come to a new country, no persons close to you.  You must have at least 500 dollars.  You must have somewhere to live and get food until you have your own cottage and feed.  Before you can do that you must have draft animals and machines.  Perhaps you think that when other people have bought land that anybody can do that, too.  At first, I think they work together and rent a room in a cottage.

You ask if I think that it is better to be here than in Sweden.  I can tell you wherever you go, you have troubles, but I think it is better here.  If you want to work, you can make more money here than in Sweden.  When you first come here it is not so easy, but I think it will be better.  I have earned a hundred dollars.

Now I finish my letter for this time.  The health we all have until now.

Regards from us all to all of you.

J. A. Swenson

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