SWEDONA, MERCER COUNTY
The town of Swedona was f:rst known as Berlin . It is situated on a plateau commanding a view of the plains stretching to the south and drained by the Edward's Creek. The growth of Swedona was stunted from the first by the lack of railway communication, New Windsor . Lynn and other neighboringtowns developed at its expense, a number of houses being moved from Swedona to these places. No other factors requisite to development having since eame into existence, the place is stilt but a small village. The country around is populous with successful farmers, largely Swedes.
The first Swede in Swedona. undoubtedly, was Nils Magnus Kihlberg from Kisa. Östergötland, who came over with a party of 300 emigrants on board the sailing vessel "Charles Tottie," in the summer of 1849. after a seven weeks' voyage from Göteborg to New York . Their original destination was New Sweden , Ia. , where Peter Cassel had settled, but the cholera and other diseases crossed their purpose and compelled them to stop in Andover and vicinity.
Late in the autumn. Kihlberg started for New Sweden , but while in Rock Island awaiting a boat for Burlington he changed his mind and returned to Andover . Shortly afterwards he located at Swedona with his family, consisting of wife and three sons. In 1880 Kihlberg and his wife were still living. The year following the arrival of Kihlberg. other Swedes settled here.
They were Gustaf Larsson and Anders Samuelsson from Sund, Ostergotland. the former with, wife and three daughters. Larsson died in the seventies. Samuelsson later removed to the vicinity of Cambridge , Henry county. In 1857 still another family was added. that of Peter Magnusson from Tare. Ostergotland. with wife and five children. Magnusson died late in the seventies: one of his sons became one of the most prominent farmers in the locality, and two daughters successively married Rev. L. P. Esbjorn.
After 1870, parties of immigrants, mostly from Småland.began to arrive and settle in Swodona. The largest influx seems to have occurred in 1865. or thereabouts, when a number of fairly well-to-do families arrived and made extensive land purchases in the neighborhood.
The Swedish Methodists were on the ground as early as 1855, when a mission was established, but not until 1865 did the congregation get its own pastor.
The Swedish Lutheran Church in Swedona was founded in 1859. Among its early pastors was Rev. A. Andreen. one of the pioneers of the Augustana Synod, and father of Gustav Am'lreen, president of August ana College , and Revs. Philip and Alexis Andreen. all ministers of the Augustana Synod.
While Swedona had a populationof 111, the Swedish Lutheran Church there numbered 400 at the close of 1905. the majority living in Cable and Sherrard and in the country roundabout Swedona, The Swedish Methodists are 36i in number, some living in New Windsor. In the Swedona neighborhood there were in 1905 approximately 250 people without church connections.
Swedes in Illinois
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