12 October 2014

Jamestown as a Destination (Part 3)

A previous blog discussed the general factors of location and cheap land  that brought Swedish immigrants to the Jamestown area.  This is the second blog that looks at the specific reasons for the next wave of immigrants.

The Second Wave (1846/1848)

The second wave of Swedish immigrants arrived in America in 1846 and settled in Sugar Grove township in 1848.  They chose Warren County as a consequence of difficult circumstances. Their story has been repeated for more than a century and is the de facto first chapter of Swedish-American history for the area.1
The story has been retold for so long2 that it is helpful to examine the facts behind this saga and identify the inconsistencies of various histories.  The next three blogs will look at the documentation of the events in this story:  a description of the origins of the emigrants, an accounting of their subsistence in Buffalo (1846-1848), and the documentation of their first years of settlement in Sugar Grove.
The immigrants who established the first Swedish community in Warren County were all from the same area of Sweden located along the border between Östergötland, Kalmar and Jönköping.  They emigrated from four parishes: Hässleby, Kisa, Oppeby and Lönneberga.
The 1846-1848 Swedish emigrants were from these Swedish parishes
The settlers in 1848 can be considered as four groups:  
  • Frederick J. Johnson and family  plus his two brothers and a sister (five adults and two children) from Hässleby,
  •  Germund Johnson and family (two adults and three children) from Kisa,
  • Peter Oberg and family  (two adults and three children) from Oppeby,  and 
  • the Lönneberga group of unmarried workers (Samuel Dahl, 29; Carolina Dahl, 20; Lena Lovisa Petersdotter, 23; and Lisa Lena Andersdotter, 15). 
Listed below are these first Swedish settlers in Sugar Grove Township.  Included in this table are columns indicating social class and mobility (the number of household moves that an individual made prior to emigrating).  The names in bold type  are Louisa and Sara Sophia (Josephine) Johnson whose experiences were the basis for this saga and Johanna Charlotta Jonsdotter who was noted as the first Swede to move to Jamestown (actually Falconer) in June 1849.  Not included is the retired soldier named Norman3  who appears in the histories but has not been identified in manifests or censuses nor otherwise documented.

Ref ImmigrantNameBirthSexParish Social ClassMovesEmigrationDeathLocation
1846.003Frederick J. JohnsonJonas Fredrik Jonsson1818MHässlebyfarmer, son of kyrkvärd (church vestryman) Olsson 1967:1531
Påtorp, Hässleby
1904Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York
1846.004Mrs. Frederick J. (Charlotta) JohnsonCharlotte Svensdotter1820FLönnebergamilitary family31905Sugar Grove, Warren County, Pennsylvania
1846.005Fredericka L. JohnsonLovisa1843FHässlebyfarmer01925Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York
i0187Sven Johan JohnsonSven Johan1845MHässlebyfarmer01846At sea aboard the VIRGINIA
i0166Caroline JohnsonCarolina1847FErie County, New Yorkimmigrant farmworkers0First generation Swedish-American1865Sugar Grove, Warren County, Pennsylvania
1846.006Charles M. JohnsonCarl Magnus Jonsson1826MHässlebyfarmer1Påtorp, Hässleby1890Paxton, Ford County, Illinois
1848.006Andrew P. JohnsonAnders Peter Jonsson1821MHässlebyfarmer2Marriane- lund, Hässleby1879Vasa, Goodhue County, Minnesota
1848.007Mrs. Frank A. (Charlotte) PetersonJohanna Charlotta Jonsdotter1831FHässlebyfarmer2Överarps, Hässleby1921Falconer, Chautauqua County, New York
1846.007Germund JohnsonGermund Jonsson1815MVästra Enebycrofter1
Varbo, Kisa
Hancock, Stevens County, Minnesota
1846.008Mrs. Germund (Catherine) JohnsonCatharina Jonsdotter1809FVästra Enebycrofter31887
1846.009Mrs. William S. (Louisa) GrowInga Lovisa1837FVästra Enebycrofter11922Maxwell, Lac Qui Parle County, Minnesota
1846.010Mrs. William G. (Josephine) AllenSara Sophia1840FVästra Enebycrofter11891St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
1846.011Mrs.John C. (Charlotta) SundellCharlotta1844FKisacrofter01931Stevens County, Minnesota
i0120Eliza Jane JohnsonEliza Jane1848FWarren County, Pennsylvaniaimmigrant farmworkers0First generation Swedish-American1875Minnesota
1848.001Peter ObergPeter Håkansson Åberg1798MOppebycrofter

Nöden, Oppeby
New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana
1848.002Mrs. Peter (Margareta) ObergMaja Greta Eliasdotter1799FÅtvid crofter
1848.003Pontius ObergPontius1829MOppebycrofter
1848.004Oscar OburgAnsgarius1833MOppebycrofter
1919Ashville, Chautauqua County, New York
1848.005Frank OburgFrans Victor1838MOppebycrofter
1903Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
1846.001Samuel DahlSamuel Petersson Dahl1819MLönnebergamilitary family6Saxemåla Säteri, Lönneberga1866Sugar Grove, Warren County, Pennsylvania
1846.002Mrs. Charles M. (Carolina) JohnsonCarolina Petersdotter Dahl1828FLönnebergamilitary family3Saxemåla Säteri, Lönneberga1909Paxton, Ford County, Illinois
1848.008Mrs. Eric M. (Lena Louisa) AndersonLena Lovisa Petersdotter1825FLönnebergarusthållere (farmer)2Sjöarp, Lönneberga1908Vasa, Goodhue County, Minnesota
1848.009Mrs. Otto (Lisa Lena) PetersonLisa Lena Andersdotter1833FPelarnehemmansbru- kare (farmer), orphan>3Saxemåla Säteri, Lönneberga1921Jamestown, Chautauqua County, New York

This Second Wave of immigrants who settled in 1848 in Warren County became the basis for later Swedes to choose Jamestown as a destination in America.  More than half of these 20 settlers would later move to the Midwest but not before establishing enough of a community to attract future immigrants, become part of the first Swedes to live in Jamestown, and establish the Swedish Methodist and Lutheran Church in the area.
Two other families of Swedish immigrants arrived in America during this period (1846-1848) but are part of the later waves of Swedes who settled in the area in the 1850s.
Sven Lindahl and family from Sya Parish (Östergötland) arrived in New York in 1846 and then lived for seven years in Buffalo (Black Rock).  In 1853 they settled near Mayville in Chautauqua County.
Otto and Christina Stenberg were from Jönköping and had migrated to northern Sweden.  They emigrated from Mo Parish, Gävleborgs län and are among the very few Swedes in the Jamestown area who departed from Gävle, arriving in New York City aboard the barque NEW YORK on March 20, 1847.  They lived for eight years in a small Swedish community in Rockland Township in Sullivan County, New York (Catskills - not far from the eastern terminus of old Route 17) and moved to the Town of Busti in 1855 before settling in Columbus Township in Warren County.  The Stenbergs were the only immigrants associated with the Janssonists sect who settled in the area.

  1. The earliest published description of this saga that I have found is Eric Johnson and C.F. Peterson, Svenskarne i Illinois, 1880. p 366-7. Nearly all later versions reference the details found in this work. For one of the current repetitions online, see Richard H. Hulan, Swedes in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission website.  A description of this Swedish community that does not describe their journey was written by John Lawson, The Swedish Settlement in Chandlers Valley, Jamestown Daily Journal, February 4, 1870, p 4.
  2. In addition to Johnson and Peterson (1880), this story has been published in works by Eric Norelius (1890, Lutheran minister and historian), O.W. Anderson (1898, Newspaper editor), A.J. Lannes (1914, Newspaper editor), and J.A. Carlstrom (Lutheran minister). Each of these writers had contact with different and various individuals who were the first settlers.
  3. “En gammal soldat vid namn Norman från Horn i Östergötland” Johnson and Peterson, 1880, p 366. Horn Parish documents were destroyed by fire in 1851. There is no one on the VIRGINIA or THRACIAN manifest who fits the description as a retired soldier. Anders Johansson Norman who traveled on the VIRGINIA was not a retired soldier and he settled in Iowa (see Nilsson 1967, p 74, 75). No Swede enumerated in the 1850 census matches this description. The old soldier named Norman is a mystery (or an error).    [Further research has added some additional details]

    The historian George Flom wrote that Anders Norrman8 and his wife settled in Burlington, Iowa in 1847.  Research about the Swedish settlers in Sugar Grove has raised questions about this fact. Anders Norman is listed on the manifest of the Virginia with Inga Catherine Erlandsdotter (his second wife) and with his son Carl Gustaf (his last child by his first wife).  Johnson and Peterson in 1880 noted that the first group of settlers in Sugar Grove included “En gammal soldat vid namn Norman från Horn i Östergötland.”  It seems relatively certain that they were referring to Andrew Norman.  He has been documented as emigrating from adjacent Ulrika parish (not from Horn, whose parish records from this period were almost entirely lost due to a church fire) where he had lived for 10 years.  Before that he lived in Malexander parish and before 1825 he had served as a lifgrenadier in Storhagen, Torpa parishAnders Jonsson Norrman (aka Andrew Norman) was born in Linderås parish in 1794 and was among the oldest passengers aboard the Virginia (fifty-two years old).

    Andrew Norman has not been identified in the 1850 Census.  However, a Charles Norman (age 24) was working for Laban Hazeltine in Pine Township in Warren County and this is almost certainly Andrew's son, Carl Gustaf.

    It seems plausible that there is a connection between the settlement of Andrew Norman in Burlington in 1847 with a description of a trip made by Samuel Dahl17  in 1847 to scout locations in the West.  This trip is noted by A. J. Lannes (1915, p 9) but provides no information about the places visited, only that Dahl returned to the group in Buffalo with a negative report about the quality of the water.   It is easy to speculate that both Dahl and Norman traveled to Illinois and Iowa in the summer of 1847 and that both returned to Buffalo.  In this scenario Andrew Norman would  have remained in Buffalo until the group migrated in October 1848 to Sugar Grove and then decided to settle in Iowa (leaving his son in Warren County).  Whether Andrew Norman was in Burlington or in Sugar Grove in 1850 is open to debate. 

    Andrew Norman alone was enumerated in the 1852 Iowa state census in Burlington.  He is documented in later censuses living in Burlington with his wife Caroline.  It seems likely that Inga Catherine, his second wife had died before 1852 and that he had remarried.  Norman died in the decade before 1880.  His wife was listed as Carrie Norman and denoted as a widow in that census.  She died in Burlington in 1896.  [See more details in the article The Buffalo Years, 1846-1848 (Part 2).]

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