In 1867 northern Crawford County, Iowa was frontier land. Property titles were vested with the railroad land companies, veterans of United States military campaigns, political insiders, and futurists who had the vision to see the possibilities and opportunities this land provided. One of these visionaries was a Baptist minister named Rev. Denison who as on-site agent for a group of Rhode Island investors called the Providence Western Land Company had the foresight to aggregate land holdings in blocks. One of these blocks was several sections of land between the Boyer and Otter Creek valleys. It was this block of land that Rev. Denison made available to a rather poor but spiritually rich group of Swedish immigrants in July of 1867. This was the start of the Swedish settlement of Kiron, Iowa.
My American roots run deep into this influx of Swedish people. From the beginning was my great grandfather Clauson's family, and the families of two of his sisters from the parish of Misterhult on the Baltic coast in Kalmar län in Sweden. Also from the beginning was my great great grandfather Sparfeldt with son and family from the Ramsele and Edsele parishes of Västernorrlands län in northern Sweden. A couple of years later came another great great grandfather Lindblad with the families of his three daughters from the Småland communities of Ingatorp and Rumskulla near the border of Kalmar and Jönköpings län. Twenty years later came the Gustafson branch of my family from the Rolfstorp parish close to the sunny gold coast of Sweden in Halland län near Varberg.
What follows in this site is a no-frills presentation of data regarding the families of these early pioneers. The accuracy of information relative to my own ancestors is very high. The accuracy of information relative to my friends and neighbors in Kiron Kountry varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the acquisition. Data was obtained from cemetery registers; from the 1870, 1880, and 1900 federal census; from the 1885 and 1895 Iowa census; from county property, probate, birth, marriage, and death records; from county plat maps; from old copies of the Kiron News, Schleswig Leader, Odebolt Chronicle, and the Denison newspapers; from various local church histories and periodicals; from obituaries; from the prior histories and biographies that exist for some pioneers; from the archives of the data collected by the Lutheran church of Sweden; and most importantly, volunteered personal and family data from descendants who are still living in Kiron Kountry.
This is a continuing work. The presentation is focused on individuals born between 1800 and 1920. It represents only a small subset of the total data collected. It is presented here in its raw form with the belief that maybe it contains that "small clue" that will help remove a roadblock from the trail of another genealogist or historian. Because much of this data has not been validated to the satisfaction of the site owner, it would not be wise to copy without a challenging mindset.
I would love to receive updates, corrections, comments, etc. so I could make this presentation even more valuable to others. Your contribution would please me very much. You can reach me at the address given on the home page. Thank you.
Dedicated to the late Berniece Clauson Hillberg. May her tree remain ever green.
This compilation of data is the result of over 30 years of searching, collecting, analyzing, and organizing. While I am responsible for the content contained herein, many hands helped me. I would like to acknowledge major contributions of data by Berniece Clauson Hillberg, Lila Clauson Gustafson, Arlene Gustafson Benson, Elva Gustafson Coleman, and Ruby Wicksell McFarland. A little word about Berniece. Many years ago, she and I divided up the world. She would concentrate her research on this side of the ocean and I would gather data from the other side. By the time of her death, she had organized her collection in several notebooks. It is this collection that became the foundation of what you see here. Berniece, you are missed but your work lives on!
My collection started with what my Gustafson and Clauson grandparents had saved and scads of records leftover from my mother's lifetime of leadership in the community. Much of that is destined for personal memoirs but there is much to share on this site. I am the fortunate benefactor of their largesse for which I am thankful.
Much of the data presented here focuses on the families. Because so many of those who came here didn't stay here, it became quite a challenge to connect the immigrant ancestors to the succeeding family generations. This task was complicated by the Swedish patronymic naming system which produced an abundance of people with very similar names. Coordinating this effort was Lila Clauson Gustafson. The results achieved are quite impressive as seen in the many family trees generated and presented in the biography sections and in the vast improvement in the completeness of the cemetery records. For this outstanding contribution, we all own you a big thank you.
I do appreciate the way numerous relatives, friends, and neighbors joined in and shared information about their families. Without their input the 'jigsaw' puzzle of names would have never come together. We make special note of the contributions from: Annette Anderson, Elmer Anderson, Virgil Anderson, Wilma Hedstrom Anderson, Shirley Segerstrom Bailey, Raymond and Goldie Baker, Genevieve Wilson Ballentine, Gene Bergman, Audrey Bilsten, Elaine Martin Carlson, Dorothy Leathers Cedergren, Gordon Clauson, Lowell Clauson, Marilyn Malmquist Clauson, Janice Nordell DeWitt, Marilyn Carlson Dose, Darlene Winquist Ecklund, Marilyn Finders Fitzgerald, Doris Larson Frahm, Nancy Clauson Gephart, Jane Gronau, Alan Gustafson, DeArliss Swanson Gustafson, Emma Anderson Gustafson, John Gustafson, Willard Gustafson, Frank Hawley, Carol Hutchison Hedstrom, De Loris Davis Hedstrom, Shirley Daley Hedstrom, Sandy Hjelmberg, Donna Anderson Hudson, Anna-Lena Hultman, Grace Moline Hundahl, Anabel Lindberg Johnson, Howard Johnson, Lorraine Johnson, Judson Johnston, Berniece Larson Swanson Kahler, Jean Gronau Kropf, Grace Wood Langholdt, Anita Gustafson Larson, Elaine Larson, Kevin Larson, Margaret Linden Larson, Myrtle Johnson Larson, Nadine Townsend Larson, Leo Lindberg, Mary Ann Lindberg Lindgren, Ruby Mauritz Lindskoog, Chris Lindstrom, Cheryl Anderson Listamann, Inez Englund McElvain, Evelyn Hedstrom Moller, Elmer Naslund, Golden Danielson Nelson, Leona Jepsen Nelson, Milton Nelson, William Q. Norelius, Eleanora Winquist Otto, Wendy Paulson, Delette Johnson Peters, Gloria Sjogren Peterson, Kenneth Peterson, Ruby Buller Purdy, Carl-Erik Ripa, Ron Salmonson, Alice Anderson Schmidt, Adelbert Sjogren, Margaret Nordell Skarin, Ruth Fanberg Smith, Marion Turin Sonichsen, Wesley Stehlik, Betty Lindberg Sterns, Chris Hamren Stine, Herb Turin, Joan Lundberg Turin, Myrtle Turin, Rebecca Veit Ullrich, Stephanie Gibson Ullrich, Terry Gronau Ullrich, Johnny Warren, Craig Watkins, Evangeline Hedstrom Webster, Abraham Winka, Aldene Hollrah Winquist, Beverly Fries Winquist, Velma Larson Winquist, Waldo Winquist, Marie Bergin Wood, Joyce Crook Youngquist. This list is certain to grow as the web-site is discovered by more and more every month and the spirit of cooperation is wonderful.
Before the days of the internet there was only one practical way of gathering genealogical data. That was the system of libraries set up by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which are located through out the United States. Imagine my surprise when I went to Sweden to research in the Swedish libraries and to be told that it would be easier to stay at home and look at the same material microfilmed by the Mormons! To the folks who operated the library in Springfield, Virginia and especially the personnel here at the Thousand Oaks, California branch, my heartfelt thanks.
What is probably not widely known here is that there are excellent sources and contacts in Sweden. I received valuable insight from one-time Kiron Kountry resident Gustaf Karlsson who had returned to live in Sweden. Up in the north country, we discovered that the postmistress of Edsele, Sonja Sörlin, was related. And Frans Bergvall, the elder statesman of that community, gave us the million dollar tour of the area including showing us the old school books with records of Kiron Kountry immigrants. Down in Kristdala we discovered Birger Bring and Åke Larsson who are related to the Becks of Kiron Kountry. And one of the managers at the Oskarshamn library is Thor Sjöberg, a source of much help, and a possible relative of Lovisa Duncan of Kiron Kountry. Carl-Erik Ripa in Kristianstads län has an internet site that includes many names of Kiron Kountry families. Anna-Lena Hultman, who has family in the Alta/Marathon area, provided details on many immigrants to Kiron Kountry who came from Västergotland. Abraham Winka in Varberg has written local histories of a couple of Valinge farms naming families whose descendants emigrated to Kiron Kountry. Veronica Alvarsson is my newly found distant cousin who lives in Grimeton, not far from my grandfathers birthplace. Nils Stockagård, proprietor of a Göteborg book store, goes to great lengths to be of help supplying maps and other historic data. Ingemar Rosengren, a Swedish historian, provides interpretive information and insights that enrich the meaning of historic records. And this is only the start. The internet has made the world a very small place and more overseas acquaintances continue to be made.
Lastly, I am grateful to have had the opportunity as a little 5 year
old lad to have heard the masterful presentation of my heritage by the
Rev. S. Bruce Fleming and his challenge to never forget the significance
of those acts of faith and sacrifice by those brave emigrants. This
is my act of remembering. We will not forget.
Glenn William Gustafson - 1998
For those who like to look under the hood, this site depends on databases. Microsoft Access is the engine behind much of tabular data. Family Origins is the workhorse that associates myriads of what seems to be unrelated facts together. It is a dream come true for profiling. Family Tree Maker is used to produce tasteful output. We use Netscape Composer to do as much of the page layout as possible. Getting lists and tables from the Family Origins and MS Access databases formatted correctly for inclusion here sometimes requires getting down close to the code for which we use HomeSite Version 3. The HomeSite product seems to do a good job of preventing 'code bloat'. We are experimenting with the utility, 'Net-It-Now' to see if we can simplify the process. Of course, the advanced editor on Geocities is used for tweaking and repairing all those broken links, but I wouldn't want to use it as the editor of first choice. As you may have noticed, we will not follow the trendy and use pointless graphics. However, that is not to say we aren't longing for the day when we have time to include pictures. But, we do have to identify the folks first and as I'm sure anyone faced with a box of old, old photos knows, that isn't always easy!
A Word About Copyrights
Why is there a copyright notice on this website when this site mostly contains information gleaned from the public domain? Well, designing and editing web sites takes a lot of time. Hunting down and transcribing data from a variety of public domain sources also takes time and hours of labor. With this in mind, all information presentation, web site design and personal transcriptions are off limits for use by commercial entities or other groups who may be tempted to "borrow" my work without asking first. Moving it to another server is NOT ok, nor is publishing it for profit. However, information on these pages is free for use by individual researchers who may make one copy for their personal use. Such usage is encouraged. Any other usage requires written permission. This restriction is aimed in particular at preventing the theft of this material by individuals who in the past have taken files, altered or unaltered, and placed them on other personal or business sites without the consent of the original transcribers and authors. This information presentation is designed to assist individuals, not for someone else's archives or commercial schemes.