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History of The First Swedish Pioneers

By: C. J. Johnson, 1915


Few Germans Among the Swedish People -- A New Post Office and Store Established.

For the first few years no other nationality was represented in the settlers in Otter Creek valley, aside from the Swedes but, after five or six years' time, there were a few German farmers who had settled down on the east line of the Swedish colony, the men being Henry Geirmann, August Baker and Henry Vosgerau, who came from Clinton county, Iowa. There was also a young blacksmith, Friedrich Franz Leopold Gronau, by name, who opened a shop and worked at his trade until he purchased an eighty acre farm of J. P. Johnson who, in turn, moved farther northeast, having acquired one hundred and twenty acres in that locality. Soon Mr. Gronau purchased another eighty acres of H. Hallander, who wished to buy more land. Now the blacksmith closed his shop and moved onto the farm and commenced farming. He continued to add to his land interest and purchased wherever and whenever he had the opportunity. He was married and reared a number of boys who assisted in the work on the farm until today he is the largest cattle feeder in western Iowa and is the possessor of more land around Kiron than any other farmer in that vicinity.

In 1873 a post office was established in the Swedish colony and the name was taken from the brook of Kidron in the bible and omitting the letter "d" reads Kiron. It was named by Andrew Norelius and Lars Olson, Mr. Norelius being appointed postmaster, which position he held until 1891, eighteen years. The office was located in his home and the position was not a paying one for the first few years. Later, however, Mr. Norelius had difficulty in being able to carry the mail from Deloit (as that post office was named later) to Kiron, the trip having to be made about twice a week. The driving was generally done on horseback by his sons if they did not happen to be in Denison on mail day. This method of carrying the mail was continued until the time when a railroad was established north of the settlement and a star route was begun between Denison and Odebolt, via Kiron and Deloit. Soon after the town of Kiron was started up to this time it having been known only as the Swedish settlement.

The first store which was opened at Kiron was owned and conducted by Erick Swede and Jonas Swede, Jr. and run under the name of Swede brothers and the buildings around it were owned by Andrew Norelius, Hans Buller, John Olof Lindblom, Nels Anderson and Erick Swede. The store was conducted under the name of this firm until Erick Swede was taken ill and was compelled to leave, leaving the business in charge of Jonas until 1890, when George Albert Norelius took charge of the stock and afterwards became Kiron's successful merchant.

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