History of Swedes in Monmouth


The city of Monmouth was founded in 1852 but made little progress up to 1855 when the railorad came. The following year the Presbyterians founded Monouth College, an institute which grew to be largely attended. The Swedes have been on the ground since the early fifties, but in such numbers as to cut much of a figure in the ciy.

The first Swede in Monmouth, it is believed Johan Lund from Helsingland, who came here in 1853 but soon moved away and is known to have died somewhere in Missouri while on a journey to Pikes Peak, Colo. In 1854 came J.O. Lundblad from Oppeby, Östergötland, who was among the pioneer settlers of Princeton also Erik Engvall. The two were for a time partners in the shoe business and after the firm dissolved Engvall, ho died in 1876, conducted a shoe store of his own for a number of years, prospering in the business.

The brothers Håkan and Lewis Nelson from Skåne arrived the same year and a year later Måns Cassell, also from Skå ne. In 1855 Johan Johnson came from Helsingland and Jacob Söderström from Visby . The former left for Iowa in 1879 while the latter continued into the eighties as a shoemaker in Monmouth. Carl Lundgren from Nyköping located here in 1856 and served in a Minnesota regiment in the Civil War. One year after Lundgren came Jonas Larson from Skåne, who moved out to Iowa in 1871. One, Holmberg, who had a military education from the old country settled in Monmouth in 1859 enlisted in the Union Army at the outbreak of the war and the last that was heard of him was his promotion to the rank of major.

So few were the Swedes in Monmouth that a Swedish Lutheran congregation could not be organized until 1868 and then there was only a very small flock, which, however has increased in the last twenty years. In 1888 a Swedish Baptist church was established with a limited membership, which has grown little since.

In 1900 the population of Monmouth was 7,460. At the end of 1905 the Swedes in Monmouth proper were 450 and in the surrounding country about 2,000.