Jonas Victor Swenson
Randolph, KS April 1, 1886
|Table at Spakarp in 2006|
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.