The town of Swedona was first known as Berlin. It is situated on a plateau commanding a view of the plains stretching to the south and drained by Edwards Creek. The growth of Swedona was stunted from the first by the lack of railway communications. New Windsor, Lynn and other neighboring towns developed at its expense,a number of houses being moved from Swedona to these places. No other factors requisite to development having since came into existence, the place is still but a small village. The country around is populous with successful farmers, mostly Swedes.
The first Swede in Swedona,undoubtedly, was Nils Magnus Kihlberg from Kisa, Östergötland who came over with a party of 300 emigrants onboard the sailing vessel “Charles Tottie” in the summer of 1849, after a seven week voyage from Göteborg to New Yrok. Their original destination was New Sweden, Iowa 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, Kihlburg started for New Sweden but while in Rock Island awaiting a boat for Burlington he changed his mind and returned to Andover. Shortly after he located at Swedona with his family consisting of his 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 Larson and Anders Samuelsson from Sund, Östergötland, the former with wife and three daughters. Larson 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 of Ydre, Östergötland with his wife and three daughters. Magnusson died late in the seventies; one of his sons became one of the most pprominent farmers in the locality, and two daughters successively married Rev. L.P. Esbjörn.
After 1870, parties of immigrants, mostly from Småland, began to arrive and settle in Swedona. 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 earley as 1855 when a mission wa established, but not until 1863 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 Gustaf Andreen, president of Augustana College and Revs Phillip and Alexis Andreen, all ministers of the Augustana Synod.
While Swedona had a population of 111. The Swedish Lutheran Church there numbered 490 at the close of 1905, the majority living in Cable and Sherrard and in the country roundabout Swedona. The Swedish Methodists are 36 in number, some living in New Windsor. In the Swedona neighborhood there were in 1905 approximately 250 people without church connection
From: Swedes in Illinois-1908
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