Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Friday, September 30, 2011

53. Gustav Albert Swenson

     Gustav Albert Swenson was Jonas Victor Swnson's younger brother.  He was the eighth child of Sven Jonsson and Greta Pehrsdotter.  He was born on September 17, 1848.  He was born in Lonningehult, Horn, Ostergotland, Sweden, the farm lived on by some of the family since 1787, until they bought Spakarp in 1850. All of his brothers and sisters except for the two youngest were born in Loningshult.  
Gustav Albert Swenson
     My daughter and I visited this farm in 2006.  It was mostly on flat land and had large wheat fields at the time.  The couple who lived there showed us remains of very old villages that used to be on the property.  There were perhaps ten homes in a circle for protection.   There were also wolf traps still visible on the property.  At that time, wolves were a danger to humans and animals alike.
     (Gustav) Albert is the brother at Spakarp who receives the letters written by Jonas Victor Swenson.  It is his descendants who finally inherit or buy Spakarp from the rest of the family.
Swenson Family Home at Lonningehult in Sweden

Most of the Swenson family used their second name rather than the first.  That must have been a Swedish tradition because my father and his siblings more commonly used their second names.  Many of the men used their initials as their first names.
     Albert gave some consideration to coming to America and asked many questions of his brothers who were already here.  It was a difficult time in Sweden and people were hungry for land and the ability to make a living.    
     He did stay in Sweden and his descendants have kept Spakarp, for which we are thankful.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

52. January 1916

There are no saved letters from Jonas Victor Swenson after 1909 until this one in 1916, when he tells of his wife's cancer but says their "health is good for their age".  At the end he speaks of World War I.   Roselyn

Cleburne, Ks
January 1916
Dear Brother with Family,
     I have not heard anything from you since we received the portraits of the home and the church, so therefore, I will write and say thanks for the portraits.  We sent one to Olsons (his brother in law).  It was so touching to see the old home.  It took a long time before we received the portraits.  We received the letter a month before.
     At that time we were in Omaha,(several sons lived in Omaha, NE then) because my wife was at a hospital there for 5 months.  She had two bad operations for cancer.  In one operation they took away the lower part of her backbone, and in the other, something a little over the groin.  It is a marvel that she is alive in spite of her age.  We took her to the best doctor we could get and she had strength enough.
     I have been feeble all Christmas, so I have been inside.  By the way, we are well for our age.
   Last summer we received much rain, so the grain was good.  The years before were rather dry, so the grain was not as good, but the wheat and oats were good.  Cattle and pigs are expensive and have been so for several years.
     About the spiritual domain, it seems like before.  No special religious revival now.  The people in the country live a decent life.  The young people are growing up sober.  It is shameful to booze.
     You, Albert, are a good writer.  Let me know how it is with Oscar and Alfred.  Where are they and how they are doing?  It would also be nice to know how Selma, who is married to Anders Petter from Hamra and Johan Petter in Hamra are, and where they live.
     We had a fine autumn with almost no frost before Christmas, and then we got snow and cold.  We will live at the farm as long as we can take care of ourselves.  We think it is the best for us.  The old people move to the towns.
     I am not a good writer, so I finish with many kindly greetings to all of you.  Brother Albert, do write and let me know how it is both with your spirit life and body, and also if you got a good harvest in the marsh and bog.
     Here everything is expensive, owing to the war in Europe.  When shall that terrible killing of the powerful young men cease?     God with you and us all.
     J.V. Svenson

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

51. June 20, 1909

This is the last letter from Anton Gustafsson, nephew of Jonas Victor Swenson.  There is only part of the letter.  He did return to Sweden.  His daughter, Lillian, said she thought he liked America, but he did not like the weather.   Roselyn

Cleburne, Kansas.  June 20, 1909
Dear Brother in the native country.
     I thought I would answer your letter at once, but the thoughts go that way, then they go away. It seems to be the easiest connection with the old country, to lie and think.  If I was sure that you did not wait to hear from me, I would be silent.  I know that Mother perhaps often asks when you fetch the mail, if there is a letter from Anton.  That is why I reproach myself for my delay.  Then I want to answer your letter.  
     Your words were not many, but they were the most sensible I could hear from anybody, who thinks of traveling to America.  When I read that, I thought:  "God's fear is the wisdom's  beginning".  I hope and cannot think anything else than that you remain in "the wisdom's beginning".  If you do that, you are a hero.
     With relief, I left home when I saw that you had come to faith.  It was something that reproached me, because I felt that I should take care of my brother, but I could not.  I had to take care of myself.  Conscious of that, I left you alone in the world and in the fight.  I can yet reach you an encouraging hand over the sea.  Do keep your faith!
     I have always felt that a higher force has driven me here, which I begin to be surer of.  For the first time, I feel that I am in the right place in my life, in spite of being a stranger in a country with a harder climate. If I had walked some other life, I think that I would not have come here.  Because of sin, we have to go many detours before we can understand ourselves.
     To tell all that has happened since I went away, is not possible in a little letter.  It will try to touch some thoughts and experiences.  
     The weather is very changeable.  It can be so warm at Christmas that the pigs "dawdle".  When I arrived on March 2, the weather was like mild summer.  March 9, we had a snow blizzard, but it was soon gone away, of course.  Another year at the same time it can be as warm as today.  It is about 90-95 degrees in the shade.  Body warmth is 100 degrees.  It is better than you would think.  It is very difficult to sleep.  The warmest months are July and August.
This letter from Anton Gustafsson ends here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

50. March 7, 1909

Another letter from Anton Gustafsson, in his twenties and nephew of Jonas Victor Swenson.  He arrived in Cleburne and is giving his impression of America.     Roselyn

Cleburne, Riley Co, Kansas March 7, 1909
My Dear Parents and siblings in the native land!
     I will now let you know that I have reached the travel's goal.  I am now sitting in my room in Cleburne and am well, as I was during the whole trip.
     I arrived in Cleburne last Tuesday.  I had sent a telegram from New York.  I was afraid it would be hard to find my way.  For that reason, my Uncle asked a person from the town to meet me on Monday, because they thought I would come that day.  On Tuesday, nobody met me and my Uncle was not at home.  He arrived that evening.  
     It was easier than I thought, because nearly all are Swedes or talked Swedish. (Roselyn--at that time the Cleburne area was a Swedish community with many Swedish immigrants living there)   It was very nice to come here and hear my own language.  Since I left Chicago, I had only talked to two who could speak Swedish, and they were civil servants on the railway.
     It is two miles to Uncle's farm (6 1/2 English miles=1 Swedish mile).  The farm where I am staying is 4 1/2 miles from Cleburne in the opposite direction, 6 1/2 miles from here and to Uncle's house.   Farms have no names here.  I am staying with a family named Velen. (Roselyn--HF, son of Jonas Victor married Ida Velen later.  They had been neighbors).
     At every station there is a town, where you can buy what you need.  Swedish and American churches are here, but only in the towns.  A special part of the country belongs to the towns.
     With the mail, at every farm,  there is a mail box, where you fetch and and leave your mail.  Then there is a mailman who visits these boxes twice a day.  Of course, nearly all have a telephone, but not Uncle Victor.  Aunt Anna does not like to hear the ringing.
     I moved here last Friday, when my " house farmer" fetched me last Wednesday.  I went with Uncle and Aunt to Randolph 4 miles away and on last Thursday, we went to Cleburne (Uncle and I).  
     We have two big horses.  It is not like Sweden, where you walk on the hills.  Here there are only deciduous trees and fruit trees, and there are large hills.  There are no roads on the large hills.
     At last I will tell you that I am well, and have not yet regretted my travel, and have not been deceived about my ideas about this country.  Everything is good if I stay well.
     I have seen that the work must be done quickly here, but the work is easy.  There is not enough paper to tell you about what I have already seen in America.
     Greetings from Anton L.(Leander)  Gustafsson.

Do read at last!  Do not forget that there is no rule without exception.  So it is also with what I have written.  This is not Sweden.  It is America.  (Roselyn--Could he be quoting his Uncle Victor?)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

49. February 1909

This is a letter from Anton Leander Gustafsson, son of Gustaf Albert, who is a brother to Jonas Victor.  Anton is his nephew, who is on his way to America to see what it is like.  Roselyn

Anton Gustafsson
Chicago, Ill
February 28, 1909
Dear Parents, and siblings in the native country.
     Because I have time here, I will write something about my trip up to now.  I had not thought to write before I got to Cleburne, but the trip has been longer than I thought.  I expected to celebrate my birthday in the place of my destination.  
     We went back to Southampton, where I was when you last heard from me.  We left from there at dinner time on Wednesday, February 17.  It was calm, beautiful weather.  The same day before twilight, the steamer passed Cherbourg in France, where some passengers stepped on board from one of the outgoing steamers.  
     The day after that when we had nearly finished dinner, we passed Ireland in the same way.  The Irish came on board with trade;  apples, oranges, pastry and wool--for example, shawls and scarves.  The wool from Ireland is the best.  The funny thing was how the Irish stepped on board.  They came in small boats and threw up lines.  The passengers helped them on board.  
     When we left Ireland, the wind began to blow, so much that many got sea sick.  I was not so sea sick that I vomited, but I felt sick and lost my appetite for two days.  On Saturday, I felt nearly as well as I did on land.  Then it began to be a heavy sea.  If I had not been used to it I would have been quite sick, but now I was well.  I realized that sea sickness is very troublesome.  Some of the passengers had to stay in bed nearly the whole time.  I loathe the sea trip.    
      The food is rather good on the ship.  We had breakfast at seven o'clock, dinner at twelve and supper at five.  Then we had an extra meal at eight o'clock.  If you are not sick, you manage with that food.  I had no food with me, but I did not starve.  The worst of it was that they do not have anything other than wheat bread.  They had only a little crisp bread, which was finished quickly, but there was plenty of wheat bread.
     As I said, the high seas began on Saturday and continued the whole time with some decrease last Wednesday, but blew much worse the day after.  We were not far from land, so the waves were not as big.
     We arrived in New York last Thursday evening, but were not allowed to land until Friday.  
    When you read this you must realize that the time is about seven hours later here in Chicago, six hours later in New York and it will be about eight hours later in Cleburne.
     We left New York at eight o'clock and arrived in Chicago at four o'clock in the morning.  We will leave here at half past nine this evening.  The time is now six o'clock here and where you are it is one o'clock in the morning.
     If everything goes well, I will be in Cleburne at last on Tuesday, March 2.  I feel good.
                                                                Dear greetings from Anton

Saturday, September 24, 2011

May, 1907 Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary of Jonas Victor and Anna Greta Swenson

Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary of Jonas Victor and Anna Greta Swenson in 1907
Back Row:  P.L., Alfred, G.A., John Skonberg (Husband of Tilda Swenson) C.W., H.F., and his wife Ida
Next Row, seated:  Cora, wife of p.L., Jonas Victor, Anna Greta, and Tilda (Matilda)
Seated in front of Cora is T.O., then a widower.  Son Otto William died in 1901.
In Front:  Laura (C.W.'s daughter), Ruby and Ruth (H.F.'s twin daughters), Mildred (P.L.'s daughter, Rozella (H.F.'s daughter and Bess (C.W.'s daughter)    Click on picture to enlarge
     On may 1907, Jonas Victor and Anna Greta Swenson had been married for 50 years.  Sometime that summer, the family gathered at the old limestone home in Cleburne, Kansas to celebrate the event.  The only child missing was Otto William, who had died in 1901.      
     None of John and Matilda Skonberg's children appear in the picture and may not have attended this celebration.  Some of the older children had left home, but there were still others living at home.
     Matilda, the only daughter of Jonas Victor and Anna Greta, at age 16, eloped with handsome John Skonberg, age 27, who was one of the hired men on Christmas Day, 1873.  According to family lore, her mother, Anna Greta really never forgave her for this, and relations were never close after that.  At the time of this picture, even though John and Matilda have been happily married for 34 years and have 11 children, Anna Greta has not accepted him.     A family story, only verified by hearsay, is that Anna Greta did not want John Skonberg in the family picture but Matilda insisted.  If you look closely Matilda has turned around and is holding on to John's watch chain to keep him there.  Of course, she may only be holding on to Anna Greta's chair--who knows?  But that story has come down through the years and has some validity to it!


Friday, September 23, 2011

48. January 1906

In this letter we hear for the first time about the start of a large store in Omaha, Nebraska.  Roselyn

Click on picture to enlarge
Dear Brother Albert and All of You,
     Now the day after CHristmas Day, I sit down and write some lines to let you know that we are well.  Our children have been at home except for two, who could not come, so we have had a lot of company.  
     We will miss them for they will move a long way off to a larger town (Omaha, Nebraska) and have a larger store, or a wholesale, where they will sell to other stores.  They will begin with about $100.  It is 160 miles from here.  Up to now we have been able to visit them often and they us.  Now it will not be as often.  We think it will be lonely.  There are difficulties and troubles in this world.
     Many thanks, Brother Albert for the letter I got from you and that you told us how everything was.  I am satisfied with everything.  It is not everybody who gets an inheritance from Sweden and been treated as well as we have.  Thanks for your work.  Send regards to Algot in Hamra and tell him that I am grateful to him.
     The spiritual life now is not as good as before, but the people are healthy.  They have had a good harvest the last years.  The land estate has increased much in value and the workers are high priced.
     I have often talked to people who had been in Sweden, and they say it is not profitable to own land in Sweden and hire people.  It is not profitable because the workers are too expensive.  I understand that where it is stony, the farms are not as expensive, but where it is flat land, it is different.
     This autumn and last year, many old and young have died, and perhaps it is our turn.  (After that there are lines about God's grace and goodness).
     Kindest regards to all of you and Johan Petter in Hamra and our relatives.
                                                           J.V. Svenson
I should also say that we have had beautiful weather all autumn.  No frost in the ground.  Today we had snow for the first time, but it seems to disappear.  Brother, do send a letter when you have time.  It would be so nice to hear how Fredrik and his family are.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

47. October 2, 1905

In this letter, there is much talk of settling the inheritance from Jonas Victor Swenson's mother.  It is a little confusing.  Doing international business takes time.

Cleburne, Riley Co, Kansas
October 2, 1905
 Dear Brother Albert with Family.
     God's grace and Peace.
     It has been some time since I wrote to you and also heard anything from you.  We are all well, both we who are old and our children and grandchildren.
     This letter I write specially to you, Brother, to ask how much the inheritance tax was after our mother's death.  The reason is, that I received a bank money order from the post office for $118.36 and a letter from Algot in Hamra, but in the letter he did not say whether I should send money to Hans Olson in Nebraska.  He only asked for the receipt of the money.  I also received the documents and my name was not listed but Olson and his children were listed.  I cannot understand.  Have I been in America too long?  At once I wrote to Algot in Hamra and said that I had received the money and the documents, but that my name was not listed.
     He answered that he had made a mistake at the post office and sent them to me instead of Olson in Nebraska and asked me to send them to Olson's, but the money he did not say anything about.  So I thought the money was mine, but I thought that it was more than I had expected.  Mother had perhaps lent money to somebody.  I cannot remember how much it cost for her to live in a separate house.  
     After that I sent the documents to Olson's in Nebraska as Algot had asked me.  I received the answer that they had not received the documents, but asked where they should get the money.  Then I thought that I had received both my and their money.  I sent the letters I had received from Algot about this, so Olson's would be able to find out how it was, better than I could.
     Had I got their money?  In that case I should send it to them.  I have not received an answer yet.  It seems to be more difficult getting a letter to them than to you, because I am a bad writer.
     Dear Brother, let me know how much my inheritance is after all costs are paid, so I can do the right thing.
     We sent a little money to you, which Johannes and Fia in Norget should have.  I think you have received it.
     Greetings to all of you.

46. January 1905

This is the first letter of 1905 from Jonas Victor Swenson.  There is snow and he plans a sleigh ride!

Cleburne,  January 9, 1905
Dear Brother Albert with Family in Spakarp.
     We wish you everything good.  I can tell you that we are well, thanks be to God.  We are not very strong, but it is no wonder, because I am soon seventy and my wife some months younger. We live in the same house as before, and we have built a new house for the people who rent the farm.  We get the milk from two cows and food for two horses, so we can go wherever we want.  We also have some hens.  We have a good life as long as we can  take care of ourselves.
     We have survived Christmas.  All except Tilda (Matilda) were here.  She and her husband have 11 children.
     Besides the milk and horses, we get half of all corn, cattle and swine when we sell them.  Then we have eight bee-hives, which we look after, but the people who rent the farm have no part in the bee-hives.  There are a lot of bees here.  In our woods you can find six hollow trees with bees.
     As I write you, we have a lot of snow.  It is the best weather for sleighing we have had the last two years.  The people will have a nice time.  I have my sleigh in order, so we will give it a try.  Last year I did not use the sleigh.
     Send a letter when you can.
                                                      V. Svenson         

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

45. August 1905 ?

Another letter from Jonas Victor with no date.  Three Swenson sons take a trip by train to "see the country".  Two take their wives along.

Cleburne, Riley Co, Kansas August   1905 ?
Dear Brother Albert and family in Spakarp.
     We wish you everything good!  I will write you and let you know that we are all well.  As you know, we are alone now.  None of our children lives at home.  Three of our sons are on a journey by train.  Two of them have their wives along.  The youngest has not married since his wife died.  They will visit Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Minnesota and Canada.  These states they will go partly across.  They bought round trip tickets.  They got them cheaply, but it will cost nearly as much as a trip to Sweden.  They think they will be gone for two months, but perhaps they will get tired and not be gone that long.  They are going to see the country.
     The harvest of all kinds is very good this year.  The weather is warm and has been for a time, so now it is rather dry.  We have had good weather for the crops the whole time.  If we get rain now, it would be a good grain harvest.  If we don't get rain soon, the harvest will not be as good.  
     I mentioned in my last letter that we will give a little money to Fia in Norget from the money I received from Spakarp.  The money was already sent, so I was too late.  Now we will send a money order of $5.  Please give it to Johannes' wife Sofia in Norget.  I would appreciate it if you would do that.  She gave us such good service when we were in Gnost.  She received some money, but it was too little.  If you have some trouble with the money, you should take compensation of this money.  
     If you have time, please send a letter to us so we know how you are, and whether you bought half of Spakarp or not.
     Our kindest regards to all of you.
                         J.V. Svenson

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

43. June 26, 1904

In this letter, Jonas Victor Swenson learns that his mother has died.  It seems that times in Sweden are becoming harder and he worries about his younger brothers.  Every letter tells that he is always a business man and obviously passed that on to his sons!

Jonas Victor Swenson
Cleburne, Kansas
June 26, 1904

Dear Brother Albert and Family.
     Much grace and peace.  Many thanks for the letter and its contents.  It was good to hear that our old Mother has ended her days.  We hope that she is home with God.
     I also see that you have had the same experience as we by your daughter's illness and death.  It is a reminder of how uncertain life is.  It brings comfort to know they can go home in peace.
     Our youngest son left the place here and we have new farm renters.  They give us half of everything.  We have cattle and swine together and he looks after them.  When anything is sold, we each take half, but I have to pay the tax.  Then he feeds a couple of horses, which we also have. We have the right to milk 2 cows, or one fifth of all milk, which we want as long as we are here, so we will have something to do.  Other than that, things are as usual here.
     Many people our age have died.  This spring there has been much sickness and many both young and old have died.  Surgeries are a daily thing.  For us it isn't possible, because of our age.
     You talk about authorization.  I think it is not necessary for such a little sum, but I will send one if you can approve that.  I do not know where to go without a lot of trouble, so I do it for myself.  A notary has signed that I have signed with my own hand.  If it is not good enough,         
perhaps Oskar (his younger brother) can write one and send to me, so I can sign it.  
     I would like to know how Oskar is.  
     Please ask Johan Petter's son, Albert, that he does the work on my part.
     We have received much rain here, so the work with the wheat was late.  Now the wheat and oats are ripe.  This year there was lots of fruit here.
 Now I finish.  I think it might be difficult to read my letter.
                J. Victor Swenson

44 1905?

This is only part of a letter Irene thinks was written some time in 1905.  He regrets that part of Spakarp has been sold.  Albert, Oskar and Gottfried are his younger brothers.

.........our  daughter Matilda, has 5 sons and 6 daughters, Alfred has no children.  They have a foster-daughter.  Karl Victor has 2 daughters and 1 son.  Henry has 4 daughters.  Gustaf has 1 daughter and 1 son.  Petter Luther has 1 daughter.  Theodore is not married.  He was married for 10 months before his wife died.  He has not married again.  He mourns for his wife yet.  
     The harvest this year is not so good.  We have had too much rain in the early summer, so the fields could not be worked.  We had 13 acres of wheat and we got 429 bushels when it was threshed.  It makes good feed-stuff.  We had a fine summer and autumn.  We have not had snow yet.
     Brother Albert, I have thought that it was not right that half of Spakarp should be in other peoples's hands.  I don't know who the new owner is now.  If I had thought that would happen, I would have tried to buy it.  I am glad to hear that you live a just and peaceable life and go to prayer meetings.
     However, I am sorry to hear how Oskar and Gottfried spend their days.  May God convince them they are in sin so they will be better.
     When I look around here, I find that nearly all of my age have gone away.  What I hear from you is that there are only some who are 70 years of age there.
     May God keep us to be ready when he comes.  Dear regards from us to all of you.

J. V. Svenson

Monday, September 19, 2011

42 July 28 1903

Jonas Victor Swenson had planned to visit Sweden but writes that his health is preventing that.

Cleburne July 28, 1902.
Give this to Albert in Spakarp

     Brother Albert, many thanks for the letter.  It is good that we can send a message to each other.  In that way we get to hear about both boys and sorrows.
     I had decided to visit you before Midsummer and go around and see special places in Sweden.  Also stay with you and visit you for a little while, but my health got weak, so I did not dare.
     Our youngest son cultivates the farm where we live.  I have two fifths and he has three.  We have cattle and horses together.  We have 152 cattle and 10 horses together, so he has three fifths and I two.  If we sell for $500, he gets $300 and I get $200.  Usually the tenant gets half, so he has good conditions.  The owner pays the taxes and I pay about $1000, sometimes more, sometimes less.
     Now it is very hot, but I feel better with that than with the cold weather.
    Please let us know if Selma is well.
     Many lovely greetings to all of you and my Mother.
                Kindly, Victor Svenson.

I am sending a picture of our youngest son and his wife.  His wife has died as you can see in Johan Petter's letter.  You can get the picture from Selma in Hamra.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

41. October 22 1900

In this letter Jonas Victor talks about the presidential election, his family and, as always, the farm and his business and the weather.  He is also thinking of home and his Mother.  All the letters mention their health and their business.  We do not remember the many who came to America and failed to make it financially and the many deaths that occurred with epidemics, and children dying so I guess, it is no wonder they mention their health and business, which were important.  How nice it would have been to have letters from the women, so we could hear what running a household was like. Lots of hard work, I am sure. Roselyn

Cleburne October 22 1900

Dear Brother Albert in Spakarp and all.   I wish you everything good.
     I will tell you something from us.  I have received your letter and the portrait from Selma.  Thanks so much.  We are happy to hear from you.  We are rather well.  There are my wife and I and our servants.  The days pass from one day to another.  Soon we are at the end of life.  We are having a nice time. We are missing nothing as we are able to get the work done.
     The harvest is bad this year.  We have less than half the harvest of all sorts.  The fruit has been good.  This year I have no more than 21 bullocks to fatten.  That is not enough.  Last year we had more than 50.  Swine and cattle are expensive.  Everything is high priced and the servants are also expensive.  The farm hands get high compensations.  At the same time we have quite a lot of money.  The banks do not give much interest.
     It would be nice to be with you for one or two months and see how everything is and go around and visit.  I would like to go and see where my cradle stood.  For some time now, I have thought a lot about traveling to Sweden to meet and speak to all of you.  I know that I cannot do that without feeling bad.  When I have been away a couple of days, I want to go home.  I am fond of my home.  If I live, we will see how it is.
     In America, there is a fight about presidents.  The presidential election will be November 6.  There are two great parties, Republicans and Democrats.  They are too close to tell who will be elected. (The Republican candidate was William McKinley and the Democratic candidate was William Jennings Bryan.  President Mckinley was elected but was assassinated in 1901, and his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt, became president).  There are great speakers who go around the country and make speeches for their party members to give the advantages of electing their candidate.  All men of age (21 years) vote.
     I will let you know how our children are doing.  Our daughter, who is the oldest, lives on a farm.  They have much land.  They have 11 children, 8 girls and 3 boys.  Their oldest daughter married last winter.  Our oldest son, Alfred, is married but has no children.  They live on a farm and are doing well.  The next son, Charles Victor is married and has 2 girls.  He lives in a town and has a store.  Gustaf Alexander is married to an American girl. They married last year.  They have no children, live in the same town and have a store.  Hans Ferdinand (Henry) is married.  They have 3 girls and live 2 miles from us in a town  They have a store and also a farm.  Petter Luther lives in a town and has a store and a stone mill.  He is not married.  Otto and Theodore are together and live in a town and have stores.  Otto is married to a German girl, no children.  Theodore is not married.  All together, they have 5 stores and 21 employees.

 (Roselyn--please note that any of the brides that were not Swedish were considered as one from another country, though they were American citizens. This feeling in Swedish communities probably lasted until WW II.  In small Swedish communities and churches, young people were urged to "marry good Swedes"--meaning members of their churches.  On a personal note, there was some surprise when my Swedish father, Vic Skonberg married my Scotch/Irish/German mother, Hazel Lynch, a Methodist.  I am happy to report that it turned out to be a very successful and happy marriage!)

We do not have the end of this letter.

Friday, September 16, 2011

40. January 29 1900

Another letter from Jonas Victor telling of his farm, the family and the weather.   Roselyn

Cleburne,  Riley Co. Kansas  January 29, 1900
Dear Relatives in Spakarp.  God's Peace!
     The long contemplated job of writing to you I will now do.  But what shall I write?  If I write about the real circumstances of how it is here, you will perhaps not believe that.  People who have gone to Sweden and then come back, say that they tell how many swine and cattle a farmer can have, and how many people they have to do the work, they answer that you lie.
     Our talk and thoughts are often of you.  Perhaps you know that none of our children are at home.  My wife and I do as well as we can.  
     At present we have only one farm hand.  Two months ago the maid and a farm hand moved. The pay for a farm hand is high, $20 a month the whole year around.  Everything else is also expensive, especially the cattle.  It does not matter that the people are expensive.  Last Friday I sold 15 heifers, nearly two years old for which I got $36 each and 7 bullocks for $75 each, then all expenses were paid.  The 22 cattle were loaded on the train car.  Then we have 27 bullocks, which we will have for two or three months longer, so they will be fat.  They eat mostly barley and hay.  
     Last year the harvest was good.  The weather was suitable the whole summer and autumn was fine.  An unusual fine winter, no snow yet. There has been frost in the morning, but when the sun comes up it goes away.  Yesterday it was cold and it has frozen a little.  The fruit was not as good last year, but we got as much as we need.  We still have apples.
     Mother and I have had good health for our age, but now I have pain in my back.  I have been inside some days because of that.  My wife takes care of me as well as she can.
     As you know our sons are in business, six of them.  Alfred the oldest is a farmer and lives on the farm.  The three oldest and the next youngest are married.  The oldest son has no children, the next has two daughters, number three has three daughters, the next youngest has no children.  Three of the sons are unmarried.  Our daughter, who is the oldest, has ten children.  The two oldest work in stores.  One of them has worked for several years.
     Now there are good times, plenty of money.  The people seem to be richer.  Mostly, with some exceptions , the land is high priced.   
      Some words to you, my dear Mother, if you are still alive.  I do not know, but the desire to talk to you has been great many times.  The distance is too far.  We will meet at the "Grace Chair" and will be welcome there.  The time is short until we will finish our earthly life.  May nobody of us be missed, do receive the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus.
     Now I finish with many dear greetings from us to all of you.
                 J. V .Svenson

Do send us a letter, so we may hear how you are.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

39. October 1898

This is a short letter from Jonas Victor. He tells about his sons and their businesses. He was always the business man and farmer and tells of the weather and prices.    Roselyn

Swenson Brothers
Top: C.W. and H.F. Swenson
Bottom:  G.A. and P.L. Swenson
Cleburne  October 25 1898
Dear Brother Albert and all in Spakarp.  God's Peace!
     I will send you some lines and let you know how we are.  We have rather good health.  None of our children are at home.  They are traders.  They have five stores.  (Roselyn---By this time the brothers were active in business with stores in Cleburne, Morganville, Clay Center, Leonardville, and Garrison , all in Kansas)      
     We have farm hands and a maid to do the work.  In the summer we have three farm hands and in the winter two.     
     It has been bad weather this summer.  In the spring we got too much rain, but in the summer it was dry, so the grain was not so good, but hay, oats and potatoes were good.  The cattle are very expensive, the horses are cheap.  It seems that we will get winter early this year.  It is cold, and last night we got three inches of snow.  Since we came to American, it has not snowed this early, so we have to move the cattle.
     I heard that my old mother is still alive.  If it is so, give her our kindest regards.  I also heard that the saw mill by Smehemmet burned.  Let me know who lost it.  I have thought that if the damage was yours, it was very bad.  Do  send a letter so we get to know how you are.
     Now I finish my simple letter and send many dear greetings to all of you and enclose you and us in God's protection.

Kindly,   J.V. Swenson

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

38. July 25 1897

Some of the Swenson letters were found in parts.  These seem to be parts of three letters--perhaps not all the same date.

Jonas Victor Swenson
Randolph, Kansas July 25, 1897

Dear brother Albert and Family,

I have plenty of time so I thought I should write a letter.  We have good health, but I am feeling my age.  You remember that Hanse and Lovisa had two children, Alfred and Hulda, who used to go to Spakarp as did our children Tilda and Alfred.  (Roselyn--I think he means that these children were visiting their grandparents, Sven Jonsson and Greta Pehrsdotter.  When I was at Spakarp, it was nice for me to think of my Grandmother Tilda (Matilda Swenson Skonberg) playing in the yard around Spakarp.)

Hulda is here now.  Her sister is married to a Lutheran clergyman.  They were here and spent the night.  Hulda is not married.  She lives with her sister and the clergyman.  She stayed here a couple of weeks.  She was with us when Mother was bad five years ago.  Hulda took care of her and kept the house.  She got $15 a month when she was here.  When she moved, we gave her $500.  She has just taken out the interest.  It seems that Hulda's sister has problems.  The clergyman ought to have a good life, but it is difficult for them to "keep up".  The family is devout and are kind people.  The others I am not sure about.

Another partial letter--probably at a later date--I am and have my home at my oldest son, Alfred.  The last year the harvest was bad here, both with wheat and grain, nearly everything.  This year we had a good harvest of everything.

Yesterday we went to Cleburne.  Hulda wanted to see Mother's (his wife, Anna Greta's?)  grave.  Many beautiful flowers were on the grave, which were planted on "Kondisingday" (In Sweden this is called Memory Day and is celebrated the first of November.  Families get the graves ready for cold weather and winter).   On that day nearly everybody goes to the graves with flowers.  It is a holiday for everyone.  The postman is free.  Even workers in the towns and in the country.

We went with a family and the people we met on the way--everybody said that they could not remember when the grain harvest was so good.  Perhaps it is not so everywhere.  There was not crop failure everywhere last year.  Just as well as it seems there is never enough for everybody.  It depends on the automobile.  Everybody wants to be big and it costs with taxes, loans, more oil.  But for the horse, the automobile is good.  They do not need to go to town after work.  Working people are expensive.  The farm hand gets $50 a month.

Because I have not heard anything from you, I wonder how it is going.

Another partial letter--I have forgotten where our 92 year old mother was when she died.  She had feeble eyes.  Were they bad to the end?   Have they finished with the distribution in Hamra?

Now I finish the letter.  Here in America everything goes so fast.  I am thinking much of you.  May God help us, so we will be saved and the reunion comes.

From Your Trifling Brother,

Victor Svenson

Monday, September 12, 2011

37. February 5 1894 Part 3

This is the last part of a rather long letter from Jonas Victor Swenson.  He wonders if his mother is still alive.  He talks of the size of his farms and is thinking he is growing old.  Actually, he lived another 39 years and died at 97 years of age.

Third Part of letter dated February 5, 1894
Cleburne Riley Co KS

It is true what you say, Brother, that if we had stayed in Sweden we would not have what we have now.  Perhaps you think that it is more than it is, but it has not always been so good.  I remember the time when we had a pair of small horses, and an old work wagon.  We put all our children in that wagon and went to church together and were happy.  Like you, we have different farms and buildings, different good and beautiful lands.  There are different farmers--one succeeds while others stand still and some go backward.

The place where we now live cost us $11,000.  We have 400 acres, 175 acres in fields, 20 acres to hay and the rest is pasture and woods.  Then we have 800 acres by the old place, where it is mostly pasture, so that land is much cheaper.  There are not such good fields there.  We have this place on lease.

When I think of Sweden, I find that those older than I, and most of the same age, and also my younger brother and older brother have left this earth, perhaps it is soon my turn.  I feel that it draws near to the afternoon.  It is good to see the light in Jesus' forgiveness and cleansing in His name.  I hope that nobody will be missed when Jesus comes.

Now some words to you, my dear Mother, if you are still alive.  Thanks so much for everything good and for the greetings we received.  Lately, I have wondered many times if my Mother has died.  Therefore, I felt good when your greetings came.  God bless you and all of us.  Many dear greetings from us to you, Mother.

I want to know how it is with the Free Church by now.  Are there any prayer or mission houses in Svinhult's parish?

Brother Albert, you talk about authorization.  I have none.  You have not said anything about that.  I thought you had written about it a long time ago.  You need to get that done.  I have not written some yet, but I will send one as soon as I can.  If the one I send is not good enough, can you write Hans Olson's and send it to me, so I can write one of the same sort as his?

Now I will finish my letter.  Many dear greetings from us to you and your family and Gottfried and Oskar (his brothers), and also Johan Petter and Karl Johan in Hamra (maybe old friends or neighbors).

God's Peace and Blessing will be with you and all of us.


J.V. Svenson

Saturday, September 10, 2011

36. February 5 1894 Part 2

The second part of the letter from Jonas Victor Swenson.    He writes more about what must have been a recession, with many people out of work.  He tells about the water system he has set up on his farm.  I have translated sizes so I hope they are correct.

Jonas Victor Swenson
Cleburne Co, KS
February 5 1894 Part 2

The people quit spending money because of the recession.  The mines and large factories closed and several hundred thousand workers were and are without work.  Those who got a job did not get paid much. The reason for this situation is that the Democrats wanted to sell goods duty free.  If it is duty free, the people will have to do their jobs for the same price as in other countries.  Because of this, the times were bad.  The cattle are very cheap.  Oxen cost a fourth of what they were before.  It is much different, but the farmers are not in danger.  Only the income will be less.  It is the workers in the towns who have a difficult situation.

Now I will reply to your questions about the photo  (which regretfully,we don't have).  Our two youngest sons are sitting in the front seat.  Otto is holding the reins. My wife and I are sitting in the back seat.  I sat so I could be seen between.  Therefore, it looks a little strange.  My wife has her winter hat on her head, so perhaps you cannot recognize her.  Pictures are not so good when taken from a long distance and outside.  Then there is the maid and the farm hand, but he stood by the side of the wagon, although it seems he is behind.  The maid stood closer to the building, although she seems to stand in front of the horses.  The animals you ask about are two dogs.  One is a little pup and he likes to jump at the bigger dog and bite him.

The tower you mention by the building is a windmill, which is for pumping water.  The windmill is right over a well that is drilled not more than 6 feet wide and is 75 feet deep and done with a machine.  Then the pump pipe goes down to the bottom.  It is about a foot wide.  At the side we have a water container, which we have dug 6 feet into the ground.  The water container is paved and plastered with cement and is watertight.  It will hold 200 barrels of water.  From the container, pipes go down about 5 feet deep in the ground so it will not freeze.  At the kitchen door we have a tap.  We can put a cup under the tap, turn the tap on and water comes out.  We also have water in the stable and cow barn, where we have a larger trough so the cattle can drink from four sides.  We never need to pump or carry water.  We have only to look in the container to see how much water is there.  We let the windmill run.  Even a ten year old child can turn it on.  The windmill is turned by the wind and pumps enough water in a half a day to last for 2  or 3 days.  The windmill is small and is a nice decoration for the place.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

35. February 5 1894 Part 1

Swenson brothers as young men.
Jonas Victor writes about the economy in 1894, which he blames on the Democrats.  So we know what his political party was.  He speaks of the Civil War, his family and his farm.  He mentions a photo, (which we don't have but would very much like to).  This picture shows some of the Swenson  brothers as young men. Notice their hats that give them a jaunty look.  They are not identified.

Jonas Victor Swenson
Cleburne, Riley Co. Kansas.  5 February 1894

Brother Albert!  God's Peace.

Thanks for the welcome letter and for the contents to which I will now reply as well as I can.  We have fairly good health.  There are not so many at home now; only our youngest son is at home and he is at school.  The others work in their stores.  This summer, the two youngest will be at home.

We have had an especially fine winter, no snow and not so cold.

A short time ago we received two letters from Hans Olson.  (His brother-in-law and husband of his sister Greta Lovisa)  He has been to Texas.  One of his sons is going to Texas this spring to stay there.  There are others who went to Texas, but they have come back.  They could not stay there, because the harvest was so bad last year.  As you know, these are bad times in America.  They say there is famine in some places, but perhaps it is not as bad as the newspapers write.  Probably it is troublesome for many in the factory towns where there are many people without work.  There is corn, meat and pork, but it is extremely cheap.

The reason is that there is a new government.  Ever since the war against the South about the slavery, when the Republicans won, John Erikson was the man, who did extremely well for the North America's navy.  The South could not resist.  John Erikson built a little armoured boat, which was the first of its kind.  When they came towards the enemy with that boat, the enemy said that it was a "cheese basket".  They thought they would down the boat with the first volley. When they shot the first volley, the men fainted, others had to go help.  They destroyed the South's navy with the little boat, so the war was over.  This was the first step to victory.  It was the Democrats who were defeated.

Since then it has been the Republican government, and we have had good times.  The people have had work with good pay and have gone ahead at a rapid pace until the autumn of 1892, when the Democratic president was elected.  The workers had a a good life, but they still were not satisfied.  They went on strike to get more money for their work and shorter working hours.  The people thought that they should have a new government and elected a Democrat.  Then there were changes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

34. April 17, 1892

In this letter, Jonas Victor plans to build a new house.  I remember attending a family reunion here many years ago when Matilda Swenson Skonberg's son,my Uncle Harold Skonberg and family lived there.  Picture is from collection of June Skonberg Roche.

Jonas Victor Swenson
Wakefield, KS
April 17, 1892

Dear Mother and Siblings, Relatives and Friends,

I will, after a long break, write to you to let you know that we have good health and are well until now.  We have been to church today.  It is Easter Day.

We have moved half an English mile from where we have lived, so we live a little further from our land now.  We have a smaller house now, but it is better.  We moved because we did not want to give as much as $400 rent, so we rented another quarter to the west of where we lived.  We gave $360.  We shall only live here this year.  We will build some time in the summer.
New limestone house.  Jonas Victor and Anna Great Swenson in front with unidentified woman on right.

Mother, thank you so much for the money we received some time ago.  It was a little more than $6.  Mother says she would want to meet her mother one day on this earth, but it is probably impossible.

There is worship tonight in our church, but it seems to be raining so there will not be as many people there as there were this morning when the church was full.

We will send our paper "Augustana" and our Sunday paper, "The Children's Paper" to you just for fun.

Jonas Victor

Monday, September 5, 2011

32. After 1868

This is an informative letter that probably was sent earlier than the Jonas Victor Swenson letters.  It seems to have been dictated by Johan August Swenson early after his arrival in 1868, in Andover, IL. and actually penned by a neighbor or friend, Johannes Peter Hultgren.  Johan August is not happy in America, complains about almost everything.  Many new immigrants could have felt like writing the same kind of letter, as they struggled with the challenge of a new country, culture and language.  I think that the women who came West or were immigrants, discovered a freedom they had never known before.  Single women were often a rarity, and realizing their value, thought they should be respected.  He is surely exaggerating some!

Spakarp---The Home Johan August Missed
J.P. Hutlgren
Andover, IL  ?  After 1868

Those who want to know if they can make the future secure by coming here, I will say some important and true words.

America is not a heaven.  It is a land of soil that you must work as hard as in Sweden.   You get nothing without earning it.  The most troublesome is when you come here, you lose the cozy atmosphere and your cheerful temperament and your manpower gets reduced, because the air and the warm sunshine is hard and heavier than in Sweden.  Many write about the good and fine food here.  It is true, but it gives not the same energy as in Swedish food.  The stomach and the body are not satisfied in spite of fine food.  It should have sustenance in it, too.  Of everything here, nothing is as good as the good taste of the butter in Sweden.

It is not as nice here as in Sweden in all parts, both spiritual and worldly things.  The whole nature is gloomy.  Animals and birds here are rather silent.  Most people bleach and are thin and easily susceptible to the air's changing.  The health here cannot be treated as it needs.

Many have written to Sweden and said that devoutness here is greater with better order than in Sweden.  But you can be as devout as you want.  Everybody has the freedom here.

The woman has the greatest worth.  The male is nearly a slave for the woman.  If there is a quarrel between a woman and a male, the woman's word counts.  If a male annoys a woman with words, and she kills the male, she does not receive any punishment for that.   If a male meets a woman on the side walk and does not get out of her way, he has to pay $5 if she reports it.

For my first mentioned reasons, it is impossible to be able be sure about coming here.

If a hundred persons come here, ninety would say "cursed is the person who secured me to go" after half the trip.  "It would be better that I was home than to be in this misery." That was not the most difficult.  After they came here they had not forgotten all troubles.  All sadness was not gone.  It was difficult that they could not talk to the American people.  That was not the worst.  Most were not satisfied.  Perhaps 10 persons were satisfied.

After 5 years nobody complains.  You need that much time.  Then it depends on how you feel.

Therefore, it is not easy to say if you should come or not.  Many persons write advantageous letters to Sweden, but do not tell the disadvantageous troubles.  I say to my friends, that if you can earn your daily bread in Sweden, you eat it with greater pleasure than here, in the greatest abundance.  For the poor person, it is not so difficult to earn enough for food here, as in sweden.

For they who come here and do not have anything, it will be as hard as it is in Sweden.  You can earn money faster here, but if you need to buy anything, the money is soon gone.  Only food is not as expensive here.

Signed with the best wisdom.  J. P. Hultgren

As Johannes Peter knows better how to express, he has written this letter.  I agree with it and send it to you and anybody who wants to see it.

J. A. Swenson

Greetings to our parents and tell them that we got the letter which was addressed to August and we have good health.  J.P.H.  Matilda   (Johannes Peter's wife or sister)

33. July 16 1889

A letter from Jonas Victor, who now signs his name as J.V.Swenson.  Most of the brothers used initials--CW, GA, PL, etc.  He is again telling how much money you need to come to Kansas and saying it is cheaper in Western Kansas.  Actually, land got cheaper the farther west you went.  The western part of Kansas is a very dry area.  It now has irrigation which makes it very good for growing crops.  He tells a little about the family and the two brothers who begin a business.

J. V. Swenson
Cleburne, Riley Co, Ks  July 16 1889

Brother Albert with family, I wish for you good health.

Thanks for the letter, which we have received from you, and I will now answer your questions as well as I can.

I have been late to answer, because I understood in your letter that I had a letter coming from Johan Petter and Oskar.  Now I have received a letter from Johan Petter.  He said that you had agreed about the money for my share in Spakarp,  if I have understood the letter right.  I am satisfied that you buy my share in Spakarp.  I wish you happiness and success and that you can earn enough.

It is difficult to answer your questions about coming here with $1000.  It is much better to come and have $1000 than have nothing, but with $1000 you will not much to live on here.  You have to buy land because you cannot get any land or a farm around here with paying.  Therefore, $1000 will quickly be gone.  All personal property is much cheaper than it was when we came here.  A little farm here where a family can live, you cannot buy for under $2000.  If you are thrifty, you can invest $1000 but it costs $500 or $600 to provide what is necessary.

In the western part of Kansas, you can get land at a cheap price or without paying.  Perhaps $1000 would be enough there, but it is a little uncertain that you would get a good harvest.

Renting here costs much.  Anybody who can earn this money in Sweden, I say stay where you are.  I think it would be best.  It can be worse here, but it can also be much better.  It depends so much on your health, strength, high spirits and God's blessing.  I think that I have a tendency to describe the dark side more than the light.  I have told what I understand about this.

I can tell that we have 8 children, 7 sons and 1 daughter.  She is the oldest and her name is Matilda.  She is married and has 5 children.  She lives 12 Swedish miles from us.  Alfred has been married for some years, but they have no children.  They live close to us.  Carl Victor (Charles) and Hans Ferdinand (Henry) began a business last spring, in a store by the station, as far from us as you are to Hamra.  Both are unmarried.  They have a good business.  The other 4 sons are at home,  Gustaf, Petter Luther , Otto and Theodore.  The youngest is 13 years old.  Thanks to God, everybody is well made and has a good intellect.  Those who have moved have a good life.  We have had suitable weather this year, so the harvest is good. Perhaps the rain has destroyed the oats a little, but the grain will be so much better.

We all have good health and up to now we are well.

Now I finish with kind regards to all of you.

J.V. Svenson

Write on occasion to us.  Greetings to my Mother and the brothers, Oskar and Gottfried.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

31. March 28 1887

In this letter, Jonas Victor is asking about having a young woman come to America to work as a maid at their home.  He says she will work only inside.  I think this was a way for young unmarried women to come to America. This letter, as are most of his letters,  is addressed to his brother Albert who lives at Spakarp.   

Jonas Victor Swenson
Randolph, KS  March 28, 1887

Grace and Peace to you all.

Gustav Albert Swenson
Brother Albert, thanks for your welcome letter.  It is always nice to hear from you.  You write about hard times in Sweden.  It is that here, too.  Everything is good, but the prices are low.  The people get on fine.  Many of them who do not have any land on a homestead, go from here both to west, north and south, where they can get extensive territory for nothing.

You say that many go to America, and we need a maid.  If there is a girl who wants to come here, we would send a ticket to her.  They usually stay a year.  We will give her a pair of boots and a dress.  We would want her to stay a year. The work is indoors.  She needs never be out and do something.  If we live that long, the time for the maid could be longer and we will agree how much to pay her.

We have not had maids during the winter until now.  It would be good if you can find some reliable girl, who wants to learn everything.  Sometimes girls come here who are not alone.  It is better that they stay at home, for here it is a great shame and seldom occurs. (Irene tells me that he means no unmarried young woman with a child should come)  Girls about 20 years old learn the quickest.  However, the age does not have to be exactly under or over 20.  We would like for her to come as soon as possible.  If somebody wants to come, we will do our best for her.  We would make her feel at home here.

We have mission meeting, so I have not time to write more.  We will go to church now.  I will send a letter soon.

When we see how it is with you, we are happy with our lot  here in America.

We want a girl who has been out and worked for others.

Thanks for the regards both from you and the people in Hamra.  We send our dear regards to you all in Spakarp and our relatives in Hamra and friends.

Jonas Victor Svenson

Do send an answer.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

30. April 1 1886

In this letter Jonas Victor is remembering past times when he was home with his parents in Sweden.  He writes about his family in America;  then, ever the farmer/business man, he writes about how things are going on the farm with prices, etc.  He wonders if his parents are alive.  Letters traveled so slowly then.  

Jonas Victor Swenson
Randolph, KS April 1, 1886

Table at Spakarp in 2006
Dear Parents, siblings and relatives.  I wish you everything good.

Now I am sitting to write some lines to you, I  think about the earlier times in Sweden and here.  I think about the years we have been here and it is strange.  It does not seem so long ago since we, with you siblings, were sitting round our parents table.  Now some are passed away, and we who are left are spread far and wide.  It seems only a short time.  While it has been good, it has also been work and trouble.

Dear Jesus, help us, so we are dressed in the just vestment, and that the oil in the lamps will not be missing. I can tell you that in the spiritual life here there are many different sects and there is much friction among God's children, and it seems there is an obstacle for the Lord's thing and work, most believing as God's children and unfaithfulness to the others.  The Lord can transform everything.  It is with His help, we will be preserved in blessedness.

Perhaps you want to know something about how we are.  I say thanks to the Lord that the whole family has good health.  We have moved to another place.  I have leased out part of the old place and we own the rest.  Where we now live, there is work with the railway, which goes over our land and takes more than four acres.  We got $250 for that.  The station will be near us, and in the summer it will be ready.

All our sons are in school except Karl Victor (This is Charles W. who was born one year after the first Karl Victor died at the age of 4 months in 1863 before they emigrated to America.  It was not uncommon to name another child the same name as one who died young.)   He helps me a lot, taking care of the cattle in the cold winter, which has been long and cold.  Hans Ferdinand  (Henry) has been in the town east of us in school.  The others have been in our district's school, which is near us.

The harvest last year was good with the exception of wheat, which we do not use as much.  We have to be satisfied with a small income now.  Everything that the farmer has to sell is at low prices.  I can tell you how you can lose in America.  I and all others sold broom corn for $75-$90.  After everybody had sold, the price went up to $150-$200, so I lost about $1000 for ten barrels.

This year we have one cow and 36 fat oxen.  We have had them getting fat for 6 months.  We have not sold them yet.  The prices are low this year, but the land which cost $10 some years ago, now costs $40-$50 an acre.  That which nobody hardly wants to own costs $10 now.

From here, many people go to the West and take land on a homestead with wood planting.  Some take 180 acres and some 320 acres.  Many get tired and come back.

Gardens prosper quickly here.  If you plant fruit trees, you will have fruit in 5 years.

We have not heard anything from Hans and Lovisa (his sister and her husband who live in America) for a while, so I do not know how they are.  Johan Jaenson from Snararp and his wife and others think they will go back to Sweden.  It they do, we are not sure if they will come back here.

How is it?  I think I owe you, brother Albert, something for the yarn you sent us.  (I am sure Anna Greta knit stockings because My Dad used to tell how his mother, Matilda Swenson Skonberg, knit stockings with fine yarn and very fine wire like needles)  I know that I owe you much gratitude for your troubles, which you have had so many times and the cost for the yarn.  Let me know and I will send money at once.  (I wonder--did they not have yarn for sale at the local store in Kansas?) 

I hope you forgive me for my neglect in sending a letter to you.

I would like to know something about our dear parents, if they are still alive.  How are Karl Magnus and Lotta (Charlotta, his sister) Fredrick and Fia (Anna Sofia, another sister) and children.  Also, how is it in Hamra  (where Anna Greta's family lives)?   I saw in a newspaper that Karl Olson in Hamra had been beaten by bad people in Vimmerby, if I do not remember wrong.

I pay willingly for your letters.

Victor Swenson