Galesburg

Carl Sandburg's Birth place.

The first Swedish settlers in Galesburg arrived about in the mid forties. In 1847 as far as known the only Swedes were the following John Youngberg and family, one of the early colonists who moved to Galva but returned to Galesburg before going to California in 1860. Nils Hedström a tailor by trade, who afterwards settled in the Victoria colony. Anders Thorsell, a shoe maker from Djursby Vestmanland, who came over in 1846 with one of the first parties of Erik Jansonites, a family by the name od Modin; Kristina Muhr, a widow and Olof Nelson, a shoe maker. Thorsell, who is said to have been a skilled workan, plied his trade for some time with so great success that he accumulated a small fortune. Had he stuck to his trade and shunned the bottle, he would have become the wealthiest Swede in Galesburg but unfortunately he became a slave to the liquor habit. He died in 1870 leaving a widow and one child.

 

The majority of the Swedes who settled in Galesburg earlier than 1854 were such as had deserted Bishop Hill, having become dissatisfied with conditions at the colony. In the year last named, however, the influx of immigrants brought many Swedish settlers directly to Galesburg and from that day it’s Swedish population had constantly grown numbering at the close of 1905 about 5,000, American born descendants included. That this numerous element has made its self felt in the development of the city and set its impress on its general character goes without saying. In every line of activity in Galesburg Swedes are engaged. We find them as city and county officials, as merchants, and in all various trades. They are employed in considerable numbers on the railroads and at the Burlington shops.

The Swedish colony of Galesburg furnished a proportionate number of recruits to the Union Army during the Cicil War. Company C 43 rd Illinois Volunteers was made up exclusively of Swedish Americans from Galesburg and the vicinity.

 

These data establish Galesburg’s claim to an eminent place in the history of the Swedes, not only of Illinois but of the country at large.

 

From Swedes in Illinois-1908

 

 

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