Sac county was established in 1851, and granted separate jurisdiction in 1856 The. name was derived from the Sac tribe of Indians. From the beginning the county seat was located at Sac City. The first settlement in the county was made in 1853 by Otto Williams from Michigan, who took up a claim in the timber, near what is now Grant City. He and his family were the first white settlers in the county, but quite a few more moved in during the next two years. In 1856, when the county was organized, there were but 85 voters In the county, and mail had to be carried by able-bodied men from Fort Dodge. Sac county has now a population of 17,641. The Swedes in the county number -1,045, and are found mostly in the southwestern part around Odebolt, and adjoining the Kiron settlement across the line in Crawford county. Some Swedish families are also found in and around the towns of Sac City and Wall Lake.
The history of the Swedish settlement in the southwestern part of Sac
county merges into the history of the Kiron settlement, described under
Crawford county. The Kiron postoffice, established in 1873 was located
only a mile south of the Sac county line, and from Kiron the settlement
soon expanded into Sac county. Among the first Swedish settlers to erect
homes in Sac county at this point were the families of John Nordell, John
Larson, Erick Olson and N. Lindblad. Mr. Sol Peterson, who represented
the Swedish people that worked in the coal mines of Boone county, established
his home in Sac county in 1874, and soon after him came Andrew Dolk and
family. Henry Hanson and wife arrived from New York state. John Baker was
one of the first to break the virgin sod, and raise a crop. The community
spirit was strong among these pioneers, and, after the building of the
new railroad north of the settlement, a society was organized, called the
Swedish Farm Society, for buying and selling grain and live stock at the
new town of Odebolt.
Odebolt was laid out in 1877 by the Blair Town Lot and Land Company, and the railroad which connects it with Mapleton and Wall Lake was finished to Odebolt November 19 of the same year. The town was incorporated in 1879. How it received its name is a debateable question. The most credible version is, that it was named for an early French hunter, Jean O'Debo, who with his wife occupied a log house by the creek where the first home seekers found them in 1855. They named the stream Odebo creek, and the town received the same name which was afterwards changed to Odebolt.
In the early history of the town the Swedes were not very numerous in Odebolt, but a considerable number of them have moved in from the adjoining settlement in later years. In 1885, when the town had a population of 954, only 89 of them were registered as born in Sweden. Now the population of Odebolt is 1,388, of whom about one third are of Swedish nationality. The town is well planted with shade trees, and its residence section and its boulevards are very creditable. for a community of this size.
Several of the Swedish residents of Odebolt have made themselves noted for the active part they have taken in the development of the town. Among them is Henry Hanson, who came here in 1874 from New York, acquired a tract of land, and, when Odebolt was started, established himself as a grain dealer in the new town, and became the owner of a grain elevator and a mill. For a while he was mayor of the town, and did much for its beautifying by the construction of the Hanson Boulevard, and the planting of a park which is a credit to the town. Although now past eighty (he was born in Höja, Skåne, in 1849) he is still active, and enjoying the fruit of his labor. Albert E. Teaquist, who at 4 years of age came here with his parents in 1879, and settled near Odebolt, has become famous as the leading auctioneer in Sac and Crawford counties. He moved to Odebolt in 1899.
Alfred Krusenstjerna, whose name indicates his noble Swedish ancestry, was born in Helgebodafors, Värmland, in 1856, emigrated to America in 1880, and was engaged in grain and stock business in Odebolt during a number of years. He is now retired, but a son of his is proprietor of one of the hardware stores in Odebolt. Another Swede with noble blood in his veins who spent his last years in Odebolt, and died there in 1882, was Carl Fredrik Lind of Hageby, known here by the more common name of Lindquist. In company with a son he went to America in 1869, resided first in Kansas City, Mo., and then in Vail, Ia., locating finally in Odebolt. He died there in 1882, and his son in 1910, and the remains of both rest in the Odebolt cemetery. Another son still living, resides in Sioux City, Ia.
Noteable among the Swedes in Odebolt are also the Brynteson family, consisting of three brothers, Olof, Per and Brynte, and a sister, Mrs. Betty Williams. Another brother, Nels Brynteson, resides in Sioux City, Ia. Brynte Brynteson is proprietor of a clothing store in Odebolt. The Brynteson Brothers were all born in Eda parish, Värmland, and were nephews of the above named Carl Fredrick Lindquist, junior, and children of Brynte Olson, who, according to Swedish Genealogies (Svenska Ättartal) was fourth cousin of John Ericsson, the inventor of the, Monitor, and was able to trace his ancestry back to the fourteenth century.
Odebolt has two Swedish churches. The Swedish Mission Church was organized March 10, 1887, with seven charter members. The congregation has now a membership of 86. Various Swedish Lutheran ministers visited the community, and held meetings there during 1887-90. A Lutheran Church Society was organized in 1891, and a church established in January, 1892, with a charter membership of 27. The congregation has now 145 members, and is served by the same minister as the Swedish Lutheran Church at Kiron.
Odebolt is widely known for the extensive popcorn industry carried on in the surrounding territory. Millions of pounds of this product are produced yearly on the farms around Odebolt, and two large Chicago houses, The Cracker Jack Company and The Albert Dickinson Company, have large elevators and mills located in the town. The former concern is said to consume some 20 million pounds of white rice-popcorn in its Odebolt mills every year.
In the near vicinity of Odebolt is also located one of the largest single
unit farms in the middle states. The original tract consisting of 7,000
acres, was bought of the railroad company in 1871 by H. C. Wheeler, a Chicago
elevator man, for the purpose of establishing a dairy farm on a large scale.
His holdings in Sac county, comprising at that time about 6,000 acres,
were sold in 1896 for $185,000. The farm now belongs to Mr. Adams, senior
member of the Adams Express Company, and embraces 12 sections of land,
reaching to within 1 1/2 miles southwest of Odebolt.
Sac City, the county seat of Sac county, was platted in 1855, and incorporated in 1875. It is located at the junction of the Northwestern and the Milwaukee railroads, 95 miles east of Sioux City, and is a thriving town with 2,854 inhabitants. Only a few Swedish families reside in town. Five of its business men and professional men are of Swedish nationality.
Wall Lake is a smaller town, situated on the Northwestern and the Illinois Central railroads, 11 miles southeast of Odebolt. It was platted in 1877. Several Swedish families settled early in Wall Lake. The first building in town was a saloon, erected by a Mr. Donaldson, but the first actual settler was 0. Anderson. Mr. P. A. Elfstrand opened a shoe store there in 1877. The first child in town was born to Mrs. O. A. Olson. Wall Lake was incorporated in 1881, and has now a population of 749. The number of Swedes in town has diminished during later years, and only a few families now remain. Of the several Swedes who formerly engaged in business in Wall Lake only is still active in that capacity.