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History of The First Swedish Pioneers

By: C. J. Johnson, 1915


Railroad Built North of Kiron -- Towns Laid Out and Town Lots Sold Along the Line.

During the year 1877 the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad company built a new railroad from Maple River Junction, near Carroll, Iowa, to Mapleton, which was the end of the road at that time. Towns near to the Swedish settlement were laid out and platted, such as Wall Lake, Odebolt, Arthur and Ida Grove. The most important of these towns to Kiron was Odebolt, it being the nearest. This road made a new life in the farming community around Kiron and especially so to our friends who had moved away not long before this time, and this opening gave them a closer market from which to buy and sell their own products, live stock and grain and they rejoiced over the good fortune. It also helped Kiron and its community to a great extent because it made the market closer by three or four miles and in some instances more than that.

The Swedish farmers were soon ready to take advantage of the improvement and it did not take long before a society was organized to buy and sell grain, and live stock as well. Henry Hanson was elected manager and J. A. Stolt as secretary. A short time later a large elevator was erected and ran in full capacity. The farmers also opened a lumber yard and coal station at Odebolt. Two other yards which had been running previously, conducted by old line companies, did all in their power to kill out the one managed by the farmers so as to advance prices on building material and coal, and as the farmers were not well united, the project did not last many years, and was sold out, as was also the elevator a little later. Someone was gaining by these transactions but the stockholders were losing as is often the case in endeavoring to build up business in a community.

Returning to the year 1875, we mention more settlers who came into Sac county and with others made a large settlement in that county, namely: August Lundell and wife, P. G. Lundell, Mr. Lindskoog, A. Lundell, father and mother, John Lundberg, Axel Fredrik Lundberg, August Lundberg, John Peterson, Lund Swen Johnson and A. Youngberg, some of whom had come from Illinois and a few from Michigan.

The towns of Odebolt and Ida Grove, as well as Arthur, had their original start through the settlement of the Swedish people and Odebolt, especially, was settled by Swedes. It now can boast of fifteen hundred inhabitants and fine business buildings and residences. The large ranch owned by H. C. Wheeler and Mr. Adams are not responsible for the upbuilding of the town as all the grain produced was shipped out of that vicinity, a large elevator on the farm holding the grain until ready for transportation. It is a great mistake to support out of town establishments, including mail order houses and wholesale firms, instead of allowing the money to be used to build up our own communities and support the home market.

After the railroad was built and we had a new town located at Odebolt a new mail route was established, running between Denison and Odebolt, via Deloit and Kiron, the stage running three days a week and carrying passengers as well as mail. This change was a great improvement for Mr. Norelius, from whose shoulders was taken the burden and trouble of carrying the mail between Kiron and Deloit, although the stage and service were not first class, as we remember, either in the way of horses or rigs.

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