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History of The First Swedish Pioneers

By: C. J. Johnson, 1915



For some time have I been requested to write a history concerning the first settlers of the community of Kiron. This means the Swedish pioneers, as they were the first ones who located in and around what is now called Kiron. I have been hesitating about whether I should undertake the task or not on account of the fact that I did not consider myself capable of undertaking such a work as this and, also, I was doubtful as to whether it should be written in the Swedish or English language, if it should be commenced. For my own part, I have had a limited education in the Swedish language, and it was about fifty years ago that I left my native country and, as for the English, or as I would rather call it, the American language, I have had no education in the least, except what I have picked up myself through daily conversation and reading and, in all, I have been to school in this country about five or six weeks. The reader can tell at a glance how well fitted I am to undertake work of this kind, but, finally, I decided that I would make the effort and see what I could do. I decided to write in the English language as a majority of the older people are gone and the younger generation prefer the English language. And now I am commencing the history of our people and hope that all who read this book may excuse me as I am doing my best and that is all that anyone can do.

Now, in order to commence, I have made brief mention as to who the first European people were that came to this great state of Iowa to find the Indians alone, as early as 1673 A. D. Summing up when the Indians were removed and white settlers allowed to come to Iowa and the territory was finally admitted as a state into the union, I come down to the time when the first white people settled down in Crawford county and to relate some of their hardships as I have heard them personally told me by them, also, when the railroads were built and the country commenced to look a little civilized and, at last, to tell about the first Swedish pioneers who came from Swedebend, Webster county, Iowa, and came to Crawford county, from 1867 to 1869 and during the following years.

I intend to show to the younger generation what hard times their forefathers have had to open up a country which now looks almost like a paradise compared with that of forty-eight years ago, when the Otter Creek valley, as well as Missouri valley, was nothing but a wilderness where the grass in the summers grew up as high as a man's head and deer were roaming over the prairie and rattlesnakes had their habitations as well as other wild animals.

I also intend to give a religious history of our people for the purpose of showing what they have accomplished during the period in which they have been here on Iowa soil; what churches they have organized.

The intentions are, in a brief way, to tell what has been done by the Swedish people since they came to the community of Kiron, including the country from Denison and as far as Odebolt, Arthur and Ida Grove. About twenty-five years ago there were a good many Swedish people in Denizen, but a few are dead and a great many have moved away from there, as well as from around Kiron.

Trusting that my writing may be of interest to someone, and it will be only to those who have lived or are yet living in the community, I intend to give a history, to this end, and will now commence my subject.

Yours truly,

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