01 November 2019

Notes about the first Swede to settle in Jamestown, Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson [1849.026]

Dr. Gilbert Hazeltine indicated in his history of the Town of Ellicott that the first Swede to settle in Jamestown was Samuel Johnson who arrived in the village in 1849.1

Samuel Sjöstrand emigrated aboard the Norwegian ship Brødrene and reached port at New York City on 17 August 1849 with a group of at least twenty-nine Swedes who would settle in Warren and Chautauqua counties. Captain F. Nørregaard had sailed from Göteborg about 16 June with a shipload of iron commissioned to Boorman & Johnston and 142 Swedish emigrants quartered in steerage under deck and above the iron.  The group arrived in our area at the end of August or the beginning of September.

Sjöstrand's parents were Christoffer Jäensson/Jonsson and Sara Cajsa Samuelsdotter of Bockfall farm in Lönneberga parish, Kalmar län, so he was baptized Samuel Christoffersson.  But like most apprentices of this era, Samuel adopted a new surname (Sjöstrand ) during his apprenticeship. Once in America, Samuel Sjöstrand became known to Yankees as Samuel Johnson.  He likely chose his surname Johnson as an adaptation of his father's patronym Jonsson.

Samuel Johnson was the first Swedish skilled tradesman to work in Jamestown

Samuel Christoffersson Sjöstrand apprenticed with Johan Peter Fagerholm at the tannery in Vimmerby2  built by Fagerholm's father in 1804. After leaving Vimmerby, Sjöstrand worked in Målilla (where he married) and then worked in Lönneberga (from where he emigrated).

Samuel Sjöstrand arrived in Jamestown and gained employment at a tannery located next to the Chadakoin River in Jamestown.  In 1850 he was living in the household of tanner Wilford Barker and this is likewise noted in his obituary, however, Dr. Hazeltine's history indicated that Johnson first worked at the tannery of Richard W. Arnold.

His employment in 1849 makes Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson the first emigrant trained in the Swedish apprentice system to work in our area.  Immigrant tradesmen were successful in Jamestown and the surrounding communities, excelling as blacksmiths, wagonmakers, tailors, butchers and shoemakers. The furniture industry that later emerged in Jamestown became dominated by Swedish skilled labor. The first woodworking tradesman was Samuel Berg [1852.086], a wood turner (svarvare ) who had apprenticed from 1840-1844 with Anders Swensson in Linköping. The next year, master woodworker (snickare ) Svante Rydberg [1853.002] of Dalskog parish, Älvsborgs län, arrived in Jamestown. The impact of Swedish tradesmen (who had come up through the apprentice system) on the economic development of Jamestown cannot be understated.

Samuel Johnson was the first leader of the Swedish Methodists community in Jamestown

Boorman & Johnson Iron Yard was located opposite
Pier 10 on the Hudson River. The Bethel mission
 ship was moored between pier 10 and 11.
The Brødrene likely docked near the Boorman & Johnston facility adjacent to the piers on the Hudson River and close to the Methodist Bethel ship mission.  Many stories of  early Swedish immigrants indicate that they visited the Bethelskeppet mission of O.G. Hedstrom when they arrived in New York City.  There is no family story to confirm that Johnson attended church in the port, however, his obituary indicated that he had become a Methodist in 1849.3

The early Swedes in our area remained in contact with Rev. Hedstrom and in June 1851 he visited Jamestown to begin establishing a Swedish Methodist class in the village.  Samuel Johnson and his wife were converted at this meeting held at their house.  They welcomed Hedstrom back in November 1852 to formally organize the Swedish Methodist class as part of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Jamestown.

In the Third Quarterly meeting for the church in 1854, Samuel Johnson was granted license to be an Exhorter.  Also in the same meeting, Olof Hamrin's license to preach was noted.  He was the first Swedish minister in Jamestown and served as a missionary to the Swedish community in the district.  Samuel Johnson remained active in the the Swedish Methodist movement in Jamestown until his death in 1879.

Samuel Johnson and the beginning of Swedish-American political influence

Religion divided the early Swedish community in Jamestown, but the allegiance to Lincoln’s Republican Party unified all Scandinavians and shaped politics in our area for a century.  Jamestown’s local politics weren’t transformed until the government changed with its incorporation as a city in 1886.  By that time, the Swedish electorate had been exerting influence for more than a decade.

The influence of the Swedish voting bloc was noticeable as early as the 1872 presidential election. The Republican Party was split by Horace Greeley’s defection and alignment with the Democrats.  This led to political divisions locally (Chautauqua County).  An election organization named the Scandinavian Grant and Wilson Club4  was established to work for the re-election of President Grant – similar political action groups were set-up in other Swedish communities around the country.

Jamestown Daily Journal,
February 17, 1873, p 4.
Samuel Johnson was one of the leaders in 1872.  At the political rally in Jamestown held September 3rd, it was Samuel Johnson who called the 1500 Scandinavians to order and introduced the event’s main speaker, Johan A. Enander, editor of Hemlandet, the Chicago-based national Swedish-language newspaper.5  This is an indication of the significance of Samuel Johnson in Jamestown’s Swedish community.

The local conflict between Grant-Republicans and "Liberal" Republicans continued into the 1873 Town of Ellicott elections. Two Swedes were nominated at the caucus held on February 16th:  Samuel Johnson for Overseer of the Poor  and Charles Gron [1850.050] as village constable.  Samuel Johnson and Franklin Simmons defeated the incumbent "Liberal" Republicans, John Bootey and Ezra Breed and were elected the new Overseers of the Poor for the Town of Ellicott.6   A month later, Samuel Johnson's election was overturned.  The Jamestown Daily Journal wrote (March 22, p 2):  
"John Bootey, our efficient poormaster of former years, has been appointed to that office by the Justices of the Peace of the town, Mr. Samuel Johnson, who was elected at the late election, failing to qualify. No better appointment could have been made, for the good of everybody."
I have not been able to learn about these circumstances.  Regardless, this sets Samuel Johnson and Charles Gron as the first elected officials of Swedish origin in our area and would serve as a precedent for John Gelm’s election as Jamestown village trustee in 1876.

Samuel Johnson and the beginning of Swede Hill

A community of Swedes developed around Samuel Johnson's home and eventually extended up what would become Swede Hill.   In 1850 Johnson was living in the Wilford Barker household. In 1851 he and his family had moved to a house on Barrow Street, near Willard Street (possibly on the corner). In 1855 Jacob Bredberg, the Swedish Methodist minister, lived next door to Samuel Johnson.  His listing in 1873 notes that he farmed 2 acres on Willard Street. In 1875 his address was listed as 63 Willard Street. His last family home was up the hill at 269 Willard street.

Confusion about Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson's emigration 

It is highly unusual to find errors in the work of Nils William Olsson — who literally wrote the book on early Swedish immigration.  His notes about the emigration of Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson and his family are factually accurate, however, his descriptions have led to confusion.7   Olsson wrote that Sjöstrand "fled" and "deserted" his wife and children, but there is nothing in the documents or family history that suggest events that were so dramatic.  Instead, their emigration in two stages (husband first, followed by wife and children later) was an arrangement that was quite normal during this period.

Lönneberga (F, H) AI:10 (1843-1850) p 36.  Detail from Arkivdigital image 
(AID: v21007.b46.s36, NAD: SE/VALA/00237)
"Repnd[?] till N. Amerika 1849"  is the note in the household register of Lönneberga parish that records Sjöstrand's departure in 1849; the absence of a permit (besked ) number further indicates that Sjöstrand left without permission of the local priest.8  The writing looks like Repnd, possibly rymt, or rymdh  (runaway) and this is likely the basis for Olsson's use of the term fled

The motive behind Sjöstrand's decision not to ask the parish priest for permission is not known.  It may have been religious, but that is conjecture.

A year later, Sjöstrand's wife, Lovisa Petersdotter and their children were accompanied by Lovisa's younger brother (age 21), Otto Petterson, plus her older sister, Anna  Petersdotter and her daughter on their journey aboard the Minona to America.  An amerikabrev written by fellow passenger Erick Johan Petersson indicates that Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson met his family in Buffalo and escorted the group to Jamestown. Olsson's note that Sjöstrand  had "deserted" his family appears to be a misinterpretation of the facts and misleading.9   Their arrival in Jamestown marks the beginning of the emigration from Vimmerby to our area.10 


Samuel Christoffersson Sjöstrand lived and worked in Blekholmen Södra Qvarteret, Kungsholmen parish from age 18 to 25 (1833-1840).  This area is highlighed in yellow in this 1844 map of Stockholm.  Joseph Meyer. "Plan von Stockholm, 1844" Grosser Hand-Atlas uber alle Theile der Erde in 170 Karten..Verlag des Bibliograph. Instituts zu Hildburghsn., Amsterdam, Paris u. Philadelphia, (1860), p 83.
David Rumsey collection, Image No 4807085. 
  1. Swedes had been coming through Jamestown since the arrival of the Johnson girls in 1846.

    The first Swede to work as a servant for a family in Jamestown was Johanna Charlotta Johnson [1848.007] who arrived in June 1849 — in the 1850 census she was listed as working in the household of the school teacher/principal of the Jamestown Academy, Edward A. Dickenson.

    The first Swede to settle in the village was Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson [1849.046] who arrived in August/September 1849.

    The Hazeltine family began employing Swedes as early as 1850. Two Swedes were listed in the household of Laban Hazeltine in Pine Grove Township, Warren County and a Louisa Johnson (age 18, identity uncertain) was listed in the household of Dr. Gilbert Hazeltine in the Town of Ellicott. Hazeltine was a close associate of Robert Falconer and his family.
    Gilbert W. Hazeltine. The early history of the town of Ellicott, Chautauqua County.  Jamestown, N.Y., Journal Printing Co., 1887, p 424.
    Digital edition: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/loc.ark:/13960/t71v5sh75?urlappend=%3Bseq=448

    Jamestown to-day boasts of a population of several thousand Swedes. We have no better citizens than our Scandinavian population. A prominent one of them said to us a few days ago, "Please not speak of us as Swedes. There are a few Swedes among us, late comers, who have not yet obtained their naturalization papers, but as soon as they do they will claim, as I do now, that they are Yankees and have ceased to be Swedes. We love our country, the United States, and you well know that many of us have fought for it, and what is better, will fight for it whenever the country calls." It is nearly, if not quite fifty years ago that the first Swede man and family settled at the foot of English hill. That man was

    Samuel Johnson. — He was a tanner by trade and worked for R. W. Arnold. We named a child of Samuel Johnson after our own baby daughter, Katie, who has gone. Katie Johnson, we are informed, became the wife of Capt. Conrad Hult.

    Soon after Johnson settled in Jamestown other families came, and in a few years our Swede population could be counted by the hundred. Since that time they have become numerous, and are counted by the thousand. As citizens they are not excelled by any others.

    Rev. Julius Lincoln's history of  the Jamestown area (Minnes-Album i Ord och bild, utgifvet af Första Svenska Evangelisk- Lutherska Församlingen i Jamestown, Chautauqua County, N.Y. med anledning af dess Femtio-Års Jubileum, den 1-5 Augusti 1907. 1856-1907. Rock Island, Illinois: Augustana Book Concerns Tryckeri, 1907, p 11-12) indicated that the first Swedes in Jamestown were members of his Lutheran congregation (he omitted any mention of the Methodist Samuel Sjöstrand Johnson):
    Johanna Charlotta Johnson, eller som hon är allmänt känd, mrs Frank Peterson i Levant är den svensk-amerikanska koloniens i Jamestown moder. Hatten af för henne, värda läsare och du yngre släkte! Hon lefver ännu och är i besittning af både kropps- och själs-krafter till en för hennes ålder förunderlig grad. Från hennes egen mun hafva vi också erhållit det värdefullaste bidraget om gamla tiden för denna historik. ... Den 9 juni 1849 kom Johanna Charlotta Johnson från Sugar Grove till Jametown, och till dess efter en tid Liss Lena Anderson också kom, var hon den ende personen af svensk börd i staden. År 1850 anlände några personer till. De allra flesta af de ursprungliga Jamestown-svenskarn ankommo dock åren 1851 och 1852.

    Roughly translated:
    Johanna Charlotta Johnson, or as she is commonly known, Mrs. Frank Peterson of Levant, is the mother of the Swedish-American colony in Jamestown's. Hats off to her, worthy readers and you younger relatives! She is still alive and is in possession of both body and soul to an extent that is marvelous at her age. From her own mouth we have also received the most valuable contribution on the ancient times of this history. ... On June 9, 1849, Johanna Charlotta Johnson came from Sugar Grove to Jamestown, and until Lisa Lena Anderson arrived shortly thereafter, she was the only person of Swedish birth in the city. In 1850 a few people arrived. However, most of the original Jamestown Swedes arrived in 1851 and 1852.

    A contradictory account was provided by Mrs. Frank Peterson's granddaughter:
    "Grandmother journeyed from Buffalo to Jamestown, where she remained for two or three weeks, and then moved to Falconer, where she gained employment in the household of Patrick Falconer, and remained in that vicinity throughout the ninety years of her life."

    Marguerite Peterson Hultquist. "Swedish Immigration to Southern Chautauqua County" Chautauqua County Historical Society lecture August 21, 1935.

  2. Samuel Christoffersson began his apprenticeship 10 years later than was common. He left Lönneberga for Stockholm in 1833 (Lönneberga kyrkoarkiv, Husförhörslängder, SE/VALA/00237/A I/7 (1831-1836), p 13). In Stockholm he lived and worked in Blekholmen for a paint maker, Johan Jansson, and during this period Samuel began to use the surname Sjöstrand. After seven years in the capital he returned to Lönneberga.

    He apprenticed with Johan Peter Fagerholm in Vimmerby from 1841-1846 and lived at the tannery located at No. 20, Södra Qvarteret. That same tannery building was disassembled and moved to Stockholm and reconstructed in 1934 in the park Skansen, so it is possible to visit this tannery today. For additional information about this tannery building see Erik Andrén. "Vimmerby Garveriet på Skansen," Nordiska Museets och Skansens Årsbok 1935. Stockholm: Victor Pettersons Bokindustriaktiebolag, 1935, p 167-186.
    Digital version: https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1234002/FULLTEXT01.pdf accessed 2019.10.23. or http://runeberg.org/fataburen/1935/0169.html

    Samuel Christophersson Sjöstrand apprenticed at this tannery from 1841-1846. Garveriet på Skansen,  photography ©Eddie Alestedt

  3. His obituary appeared December 19, 1879 on page 4 of the Jamestown Daily Journal (transcribed by Tina Scott with edits):
    Samuel Johnson, among his (Swedish) country people generally known by the name of "Father Johnson", Wednesday night departed this life at the ripe and mellow age of 66 years [sic ]. Mr. Johnson came to this country more than thirty years ago and was one of the first Swedes that settled in this township. Immediately after his arrival he obtained employment from Mr. Barker as tanner, in which trade he continued till a few years ago, when he secured a situation in Allen & Preston's Woolen Mill. Mr. Johnson brought up a large family — ten children — of whom three are dead and seven are living, all in this neighborhood. Mr. Johnson always was an enthusiastic Republican, a political leader among his countrymen, and an out-and-out temperance man. He was a good Christian, was converted to the Methodist faith in 1849, and lived and died in the same. "Jesus" was the last word that passed his lips. A large family and a large number of friends cherish his memory. The funeral will take place next Sunday at 2 o'clock p. m., from the Swedish Methodist church.

    The history of the Swedish Methodist church by A.V. Gordon appeared in their jubilee album of 1912.  He noted in Minnes-Album Ord och Bild utgivet av Första Svenska Metodist Församlingen i Jamestown, New York med anledning av dess Sextio-Ars Jubileum, den 24 November - 1 December, 1912. Jamestown, NY: Bergwall Printing Co., 1912, p 3 (rough translation):
    "...Methodist pastor O. G. Hedström, from New York, arrived in Jamestown in June 1851. He became the first Swedish pastor to preach the gospel in this city. The first gathering was held at Samuel Sjöstrand's home located on Barrows Street. The entire audience was 12 people. The result of the meeting was the conversion of its host, Samuel Sjöstrand. He then became a member of the American Methodist Church and became the first Swedish Methodist in this city. Shortly thereafter, he was approved to lead meetings in the downstairs of the United Methodist Church. At these meetings he was assisted by Andrew Peterson and John Larson. At a later visit by Pastor O. G. Hedström in November 1852, the Swedish Methodist Assembly was organized, with about a dozen members.

  4. The Scandinavian Wilson and Grant club was noteworthy for its ecumenical pan-Nordic inclusion, its leaders were:
    P. A. Norin, President [1854.020] Swede, Lutheran, long time song leader/cantor
    Axel Johnson, Vice President [1852.007] Swede, Civil War veteran, Lutheran
    C. C. Beck, Vice President [1848] Dane, shipwright, ice business entrepreneur
    Paul Rosencrantz, Secretary [unknown]
    Samuel Berg [1852.086] Swede, woodworker, Lutheran
    Andrew Brockman [1854, arrived in Jamestown about 1867] Swede, grocer, former cooper
    A. P. Gelm [1851.173] Swede, Lutheran, leader in the Hessel Valley Lutheran Church
    Samuel Johnson, [1849.026] Swede, Methodist, leader of the Swedish Methodists
    John Hintze [unknown immigration years] Dane (likely)
    L. H. Tideman [before 1860] Dane, painter
    John Lund [1863] Dane, Methodist, son-in-law of Samuel Johnson
    August Lindblad [1866] Swede, Lutheran, Lindblad & Bros.
    John Peterson, likely John A. Peterson [1849.047] Swede, Civil War Veteran, Methodist
    John Hall [before 1856] Norwegian, carpenter
    John Gelm [1851.175] Swede, not a Civil War Veteran, butcher, future village trustee (1876) and police chief 
    A. John Thomas [1867] Swede, Methodist, married daughter of John and Rebecca Jacobson
    Conrad Hult [1864, moved to Jamestown in 1872 ] Swede, Temperance leader, Methodist, Civil War veteran, son-in-law of Samuel Johnson

    For information about the club, see Jamestown Daily Journal, August 24, 1872, p 2.
    Note: the Ulysses S. Grant campaign button is from Cornell University, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Political Americana collection, Identifier 2214.TK0036

  5. For details of the political rally see Jamestown Daily Journal, Sept 4, 1872, p 2.
    For more information about Johan A. Enander, see a short biography.


    The Scandinavian Meeting.

    At one p. m., on Tuesday of this week, the boom of the canon announced the approach of the Sugar Grove and Busti delegation, which, about 250 strong, came in wagons, bearing flags and banners with appropriate mottoes. The procession was met by the marshals of the day at the south end of the bridge,and preceded by the Jamestown Band, turned down Warren and Allen streets to Foote's Avenue, where they were met by a delegation from Frewsburg and that vicinity, turning north the procession passed the Avenue bridge to Chandler street, where they were met by the Scandinavian Grant and Wilson Club, to the number of 230. They then marched west to Second street, crossing Main to Lafayette street, up Lafayette street to West Fifth street, thence east on West Filth to Main street, and thence down Main street to the Rink. The procession had received accessions all along its march, and extended at its close, from the Rink to Fifth street, a large portion being on foot in tolerably close order and four deep.

    When we entered the Rink we were surprised at the number present. Large numbers of Scandinavians and others were there who had not marched in the procession. We think there were full as many present as were at Kilpatrick's meeting, and estimate the number at fully 1,500 persons, and nearly all Scandinavians. After music by the Band, the meeting was called to order by Samuel Johnson of this place, who briefly addressed the people in the Swedish language and introduced the Speaker of the day, John Enander, Esq., of Chicago, who was received with applauses.

    Mr. Enander then spoke in the Swedish language for full two hours. Not understanding this language we are unable to give any synopsis of the speech, but hope for some account of it from the Secretary of the Scandinavian Club. The orator succeeded fully in retaining the attention and interest of his hearers, who frequently gave tokens of their approbation and applause, while occasionally some stroke of wit would set them in a roar of laughter.

    At the conclusion of his speech, the meeting was addressed in the English language by D H. Waite, Esq., who spoke for about fifteen minutes, alluding particularly to what the republican party had done the laboring man, and to Grant's official action to prevent the plunder and abuse of emigrants at New York City and other seaport towns, and provide for their safe and economical transportation to such inland locations as they may have selected for their future homes. He also reminded them that the great issue of the campaign was whether or not the government which had so gloriously carried the nation through all its perils, accomplished such great reforms in civil rights and placed it upon its present pinnacle of prosperity, should be surrendered into the hands of those who had done all In their power to destroy it, and bad opposed every reform which had been accomplished, and every enlargement of liberty and civil rights.

    The speaker congratulated them upon the patriotism which had induced them to leave all the endearments of a home in a foreign land, to cross the wide ocean and become citizens of this great republic which had opened wide its arms to receive them and under its laws of naturalization placed them upon an equality before the law with the native born. He said many of them had given the highest proof of love of country any citizen could give, in that they had bravely fought for their country on the field of battle, [some] of them even to a glorious death, and he closed by congratulating them upon their undivided support of Grant and Wilson, the candidates of that party which had accomplished so much for the preservation of our liberties, and whose continued power was our only safeguard for their future security.

    The meeting then adjourned, with three rousing cheers.

  6. The election of Samuel Johnson is noted in the Jamestown Daily Journal's listing of elected officials from 28 February - 22 March 1873.  Likewise, Samuel Johnson was listed as Johnson, Samuel, overseer of the poor and farmer 2, Willard in the Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chautauqua County, N.Y., for 1873-4, Syracuse: Hamilton Child, p 351.

  7. Nils William Olsson & Eric Wikén. Swedish passenger arrivals in the United States, 1820-1850. Stockholm: Schmidts Boktryckeri AB, 1995, p 355 and 393.
    3127. Samuel Sjöstrand was b. in Båckfall, Lönneberga Parish (Kalm.) 1 April 1815, s. Christopher Jænsson, farmer (frälsebonde), and Sara Cajsa Samuelsdotter. He was employed as a tanner in Dahl's Tannery in Lönneberga when he fled to America, leaving his wife and two children behind. They followed him a year later, however (according to Lönneberga A I book). He settled in Jamestown, NY, where his family also arrived, after having disembarked in Boston 2 July 1850 (see notes 3784-3786). He d. in Jamestown 17 Dec. 1879 and the widow 31 March 1899. In the U.S. Sjöstrand used the surname Johnson. He was one of the founders of the Swedish Methodist Church in Jamestown and because of his zeal and devotion was sometimes known as “Father Johnson." - VLA; Folkets Röst (Jamestown) 25 Dec. 1879; M. Lorimer Moe, Saga from the Hills , pp. 19, 21; information courtesy Johan Hjertberg, Stockholm.

    3783. Otto Pehrsson was b. in Norra Lund, Vimmerby Country Parish (Kalm.) 3 March 1829, s. Peter Nilsson and Anna Johansdotter and a brother of Lovisa Petersdotter Sjöstrand (see note 3784) and Anna Lena Pehrsdotter (see note 3787). He was a servant in Dahl's Tannery in Lönneberga Parish (Kalm.), working for the tanner there, Samuel Sjöstrand. The latter had deserted his family the year before and had arr. in New York aboard the ship Brødrene (see note 3127). Now Otto Pehrsson was arriving together with Mrs. Sjöstrand and her two children (see note 3784). Otto Pehrsson settled in Oil City, PA, where he had a family. He later moved to Jamestown, NY, where he d. 25 Nov. 1903. He m. 1852 Lisa Lena Andersdotter (see note 2498). - VLA; Vårt Land (Jamestown) 26 Nov. and 3 Dec. 1903; information courtesy Johan Hjertberg, Stockholm.

    3784-3786. Lovisa Petersdotter Sjöstrand was the wife of Samuel Sjöstrand, who emigr. 1849 (see note 3127). She was b. in Pettersborg, Vimmerby Country Parish (Kalm.) 3 Oct. 1823, dau. Peter Nilsson, crofter, and Anna Johansdotter and a sister of Otto Pehrsson (see note 3783). According to a letter written by a fellow passenger, Erik Johan Petersson (see note 3798), dated Sugar Grove, PA 22 Sept. 1850 and published in Östgötha-Correspondenten 28 Dec. 1850, her husband (Sjöstrand) came from Jamestown, NY to Buffalo to meet his family. Her two children were - Johan Christer (see note 3785) and Lovisa Sophia (see note 3786). She d. in Jamestown 31 March 1899, - VLA; Moe, Saga from the Hills, p.19.
    3785. Johan Christer Sjöstrand was b. in Målilla Parish (Kalm.) 25 July 1846, s. Samuel Sjöstrand (see note 3127) and Lovisa Petersdotter (see note 3784). He m. Clara Södergren and had with her two children. He res. in Jamestown, NY and d. there 29 May 1883. - VLA; Folkets Röst (Jamestown, NY), 31 May and 7 June 1883; information courtesy Johan Hjertberg.
    3786. Lovisa Sophia Sjöstrand was b. in Lönneberga Parish (Kalm.) 17 Oct. 1848, dau. Samuel Sjöstrand (see note 3127) and Lovisa Petersdotter (see note 3784). She m. in Jamestown, NY 13 Jan. 1869 John Lund. She d. there 24 March 1876. - VLA; Folkets Röst (Jamestown, NY) 31 March 1876; information courtesy Johan Hjertberg.

    Note: Lönneberga parish has two places with similar place names: Bäckefall and Bockfall (also Båckfall, now Bockefall). Christoffer Jænsson and Sara Cajsa Samuelsdotter lived at Bockfall not at Bäckefall.

  8. There is no parish list of migration (inflyttning/utflyttning ) for this year to corroborate or provide additional information.  Lönneberga kyrkoarkiv, Husförhörslängder, SE/VALA/00237/A I/10 (1843-1850), p 36

    The administration at the Lönneberga parish was likely in turmoil at this same time.  The priest Johan Constans Lundvall  died 12 May 1846 (age 40).  The assistant minister (pastorsadjunkt)  Johan Hanell then died in 1849 (age 38). In 1849 several church thefts began, (including Edhult, Pelarne and Hässleby) ultimately tied to the priest A.P. Ekborn (appointed to Lönneberga parish in 1848) and a notable thief, Samuel Johan Lif.  Ekborn was later found guilty of organizing the thefts and fencing the melted silver religious objects.  See blog entry by Anna Grönborg about Samuel Johan Lif that includes the short biography "Ekborn och silveraffären" (https://lifven.wordpress.com/ekborn/ accessed 2019.11.09) and Folkets Röst (Kalmar), 22 January 1853, p 2.

  9.  Erick Johan Petersson wrote about his voyage and the overland travel from Boston to Buffalo and then to Jamestown and Sugar Grove. After a short stay in the area he continued west to Oneida, Knox County, Illinois. His letter was published in the Östgöta Correspondenten on 28 December 1850, p 2-3.
    När wi kommo till Buffalo, fingo wi weta, at choleran grasserade bort i Illinois och Chicago, fä att jag beslör, att icke resa dit, utan följde med en fru, som war på samma fartyg öfwer sjön, som jag, och som bade sin man, hwilken reste bit i waras ett år sedan, i en stad, som heter Jamestown. Hon skref till honom från Buffalo, sä att han kom dit och hemtade henne, ty hon hade inga penningar att frakta sig med. Han war till professionen garfware, och wi woro 16 personer, som földe med dem 48 Engelska mil i nordost från Buffalo men de andra Tjarstadboarne och all de andra gingo till Chicago, och sedan har jag icke sport något ifrän dem.

    This letter was referenced by Olsson.  It was translated by Gerald Heglund in Nordstjernan, May 14, 1992, and submitted by Dr. Julie Boozer in Barbara Ann Hillman Jones (ed..), Our Scandinavian Heritage: A Collection of Memories by the Norden Clubs, Xlibris.com, 2012, p 162.
    "When we arrived in Buffalo we learned that cholera was rampant in Illinois and especially in Chicago.  I then decided not to travel there but decided to accompany a lady who was on the same boat as I, whose husband settled in Jamestown a year earlier.  She wrote to him from Buffalo so that he would come there to meet her since she had no money for travel.  He was a tanner by trade. We were about 16 persons who set out with them and traveled and 48 (actually 71) English miles from Buffalo.  The other countrymen from Tjärstad plus the remaining passengers continued on to Chicago.  We have heard nothing since (their departure)."

  10. For details about the emigration from Vimmerby, see John Hjertberg and Olle Hjertberg. Utvandrare från Vimmerby 1850-1914. Stockholm : J & O Hjertberg, 1988. Copies are available at Fenton History Center, Jamestown Community College and SUNY at Fredonia libraries.

    Mrs. Samuel (Lovisa Petersdotter) Johnson [1850.004] was the daughter of Peter Nilsson (1784-1837) and Anna Johansdotter Wigren (1784-1844) of Vimmerby. The authors are descendants from this same family.  The family retains a photograph taken of Lovisa and Anna Petersdotter - an early photographic portrait said to have been one of the first seen in Vimmerby (the photographer and studio are unknown). 
Photograph of Lovisa and Anna Petersdotter, date unknown.  ©2019 Johan Hjertberg.

Edited image of Mrs. Samuel (Lovisa Petersdotter) Johnson (left) and Anna Petersdotter (right) from Vimmerby who came with their brother, Otto Peterson, to Jamestown in 1850.

23 September 2019

Northern Chautauqua County Swedes - the Burton diaries

Jack Ericson1  and I talked about the Swedish communities in Hartfield and the other enclaves in the northern section of Chautauqua County when we met in July. Both of us had grown up near Dewittville and were ignorant of how early the Swedes had settled nearby (1851 or 1852) and that one of the earliest property deeds in Warren or Chautauqua County registered to a Swede was to Sven Lindahl for 14-1/2 acres on Plank Road transferred on 2 July 1853.2

Mr. Erickson called my attention to the farm journals/diaries of Hiram A. Burton of the Town of Portland in northern Chautauqua County. They are a wonderful collection tersely detailing the weather, chores, amount of time worked by a hired hand, and an occasional death in the community.  The Chautauqua County Historical Society has in their collection more than a decade of the Burton journals. The early years are in small printed diaries of various sizes about the size of a mobile phone.

1855 Burton Diary, O'Dell collection,  Box 10, Storage
Room A, Chautauqua County Historical Society
Hiram A. Burton3 was the grandson of a War of 1812 veteran, Simon Burton.  Burton had brought his family to Chautauqua County about 1816 and settled along Slippery Rock Creek in the Town of Portland.  The earliest journal of Hiram A. Burton in the collection is for the year 1855 and the entry on Tuesday, 10 April noted:

I made sash & worked
on the front door. Andrew
Johnson commenced work
at 50 cents per day made
fence & sawed wood &c
I winnowed wheat &c
plowed garden at night

The contracted work of Andrew Johnson on the Burton farm ended after three months.  The Wednesday, 18 July entry noted:

Andrew commenced in
the morning but left
about 9 for good he says.
I mowed some & looked 
for another hand some.

Hiram Burton was building a house in the next years and employed several Swedes from the area to work on his farm and help him in the construction.  It is likely that the Swedish enclave referred to as "Sweden" in Burton's journals was near to his farm northwest of Salem/Brocton.  Burton employed a series of workers with the Swedes comprising an important proportion of the labor pool.

Excerpts from a few of these diaries are listed below.  I have not read or transcribed all of the years, nor have I identified all of the Swedes.   Swedes began living in the area in 1851 or 1852 so it seems likely that Burton's relationship with the Swedish community began earlier than the 1855 diary.

The Burch Family

The identity of Andrew Johnson is partly corroborated by an entry on 23 April that noted:
  "Sold Burke Johnson 1 calf"

Andrew Johnson [1852.002] was part of a Swedish family that has been confusing and very difficult to document.  Like many other families in their area of origin (Älvsborgs län), Johan Björk and Carin Jonsdotter named sons both Anders and Andreas.4    The parents emigrated from Björke (Södra Björke) parish, Älvsborgs län in 1852 and arrived aboard the brig MIMOSA5  in New York City on 23 June.   They traveled with son Andreas and daughter Anna Lena to join their oldest son Anders Peter who had emigrated the year before with his wife and three young children.  The parents were admitted into the Chautauqua County Alms house in January 1853 and they do not appear in the 1855 New York State census suggesting that they died during this period.

Their oldest son, Anders Peter, became known as A.P. Burch 6  [1851.197] in America.  His wife and likely two of their children died during these first years in Chautauqua County and by the 1855 census he had remarried the young widow Eva Israelsdotter [1853.042] who was listed along with her daughter.  She had lost her husband and four other children to a cholera outbreak aboard the ship SAGADOHOCK when they had made the voyage to America in September 1853.  A. P. Burch was a prominent Swede in the area7 but moved from Portland in 1862.  He later became a Methodist minister in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Andreas took the name Andrew Johnson [1852.002] in America and married Clara, the daughter of Lausaner Westerling (Lars Håkansson Wästerlind) [1852.207] and Anna Elisabeth Johansdotter [1852.208] of Od parish, Älvsborgs län (nearby Södra Björke parish) who had also traveled with them aboard the MIMOSA.  They had three children together, Charles (1855), Joseph (1856) and Julia (1858) and were living in the Town of Portland in 1860.  The family has not been documented during the 1860s.

It is possible that they moved to Corry, Pennsylvania in 1862 and then to Moline, Illinois (1865) and then to Minnesota.8  Andrew Johnson likely died sometime in the 1860s.  Clara Westerling Johnson likely remarried William Farrell and lived in Westfield until her death in 1909.

Excerpts from the 1855-1858 Burton Diaries

10 April
"Andrew Johnson commenced work at .50 cents per day."
11 April
"Andrew worked for himself"
12 April
"Andrew and I plowed for wheat."
13 April
"Andrew & I plowed some A.M. & cleared out cellar."
14 April
Andrew worked 1/2 day plowing garden & for wheat in the fields, sowed wheat in garden"
15 April
"Paid Swede $6.07"
16 April
"Andrew dragged for wheat"
17 April
"Andrew built fence one half"
18 April
"Andrew & I plowed A.M. & sowed - built fence - dragged & drew rails in the afternoon. Very warm & growing time"
19 April
"Andrew & I built fence A.M. and ditched wheat & plowed some P.M."
20 April
"Andrew did not work on account of the rain.
21 April
"Andrew put up fence & loaded manure."
23 April
"Sold Burke Johnson calf. Andrew drew out manure A.M. & built fence P.M."
24 April
"Andrew worked only in the after noon dragging."
25 April
"Andrew worked at home"
26 April
"Andrew did not work"
27 April
"Andrew did not work. Sold Andrew 1/2 bu of potatoes"
28 April
"Andrew ditched & drew out manure... Paid Andrew two dollars."
29 April
"Sold Burke one calf"
30 April
"I had no help"
2 May
"Sold burke one calf"
3 May
"Sold Andrew 100 feet of hemlock lumber .65"
4 May
"Andrew helped all day."
5 May
"Andrew & myself made mortar all day."
6 May
"Paid Andrew $2.00 being 8 cents more than I owe him"
9 May
"Engaged Burke to plow tomorrow."
10 May
"Burke plowed for potatotes A.M."
11 May
"Andrew commenced work by the month."
12 May
"Andrew & I shelled corn & planted potatoes.
14 May
"Andrew & I planted potatoes A.M. & tended mason P.M."
15 May
"Andrew & Reynolds tended mason. Webster & McG[regor] plastered all day."
16 May
"Andrew & Reynolds tended mason."
17 May
"Andrew planted corn."
18 May
"Andrew did not work"
19 May
"I plowed Andrews field A.M."
21 May
"Andrew did not work for me"
15 June
"Andrew planted beans in with the corn"
18 June
"Andrew planted corn &c all day" Memorandum: "Sold Andrew 8 1/2 lbs of meat June 18"
19 June
"Andrew pointed the cellar & howed [sic] in the garden"
20 June
"Andrew cleaned the cow yard A.M. sick P.M."
21 June
"Andrew did not work"
22 June
"Andrew did not work"
23 June
"Andrew planted corn &c."
26 June
"Andrew hoed garden & corn & followed Pedler[?]"
27 June
"Andrew hoed corn"
28 June
"Andrew hoed potatoes"
29 June
"Andrew hoed corn"
30 June
"Andrew & I hoed corn"
2 July
"Andrew hoed corn 3/4 of a day sick the rest... Paid Andrew 4$ his month was out at noon & there is his due 5.85"
3 July
"Andrew worked till breakfast... Andrew was sick"
4 July
"I had no help today"
5 July
"Andrew worked all day..Paid F[?]igh 5 dollars for Andrew"
6 July
"Andrew hoed corn all day"
7 July
"Andrew hoed corn all day"
9 July
"Andrew & I howed corn one half day & then went over to the fire"
10 July
"Andrew & I hoed corn all day."
11 July
"Andrew hoed corn & pulled milkweeds from the wheat."
12 July
"Andrew did not work"
13 July
"Andrew hoed for himself"
14 July
"Andrew hoed potatoes A.M. & for himself P.M. I hoed potatoes &c. Sold Andrew one bu of flour 2.25"
18 July
Andrew commenced in the morning but left about 9 for good he says"
19 July
"Swede worked all day in haying"
20 July
"Alfred & Swede mowed until noon & then we agreed to let it alone on account of the rain"
27 July
"Francis, Salmon, Alfred, the Swede & myself worked in the hayfield all day each."
29 July
"Paid Swede $3.50 being in full"
30 July
"Alfred worked all day, Swede & Salmon worked 1/2 day each"
31 July
"Alfred, Slamon, Swede & myself worked all day"
1 August
"I had no help this day for it rained nearly all day"
7 September
"The Swede & I finished moving the barn & commenced the yellow shed. Had Burke's cattle"
8 September
"The Swede & I finished moving the yellow shed & built fence & mowed weeds. SOld Swede 9 1/4 lbs of pork $1.00"
10 September
"Swede mowed weeds & helped raise up the old house"
11 September
"Francis, Swede & myself commenced moving the old house & moved it about half way to the road."
12 September
"Francis worked 1/2 day & Swede & 1 finished moving the old buildings. Andrew paid me 3$ to be applied on judgement"
13 September
"Swede did not work. I went to the fair."
14 September
"Swede & I underpined [sic] the old stove room & picked up rubbish."
15 September
"Swede & I picked up rubbish &c...Paid Swede $2.50"
1 October
"Sold Burke 32 lbs of beef & pork"
3 October
"Sold Bure the rest of the beef $6.6 He owes me for beef & barrel $4.81 to be paid before christmas."
8 October
"Sold Burke 2 boat runners .25"
14 October
"I went after a Swede to dig potatoes"
16 October
"John Andersson dug potatoes all day"
17 October
"...went after help"
18 October
"John dug potatoes all day"
19 October
"John dug potatoes all day"
20 October
"John dug potatoes all day... paid Swede 3$"
22 November
"Swede drew corn all the after noon. Burk- returned 2 bu of wheat. Sold Lawson an old door"
23 November
"Swede drew..."
3 December
"Sold Lawson one more door. Rec for this & one that I sold before 3$ in full"
6 December
"Lawson drew corn all day"
"Lawson plowed for me all day & has agreed to ..."
19 December
"Swede husked corn all day. Rec of Andrew 1$"
20 December
"Lawson plowed corn ground for wheat... Burke returned that bu of wheat"
21 December
"Lawson dug well"
22 December
"Lawson plowed A.M. & husked corn P.M. ... Paid Lawson $3,00 in full"
27 December
"I did my chores & went down to Sweden & engaged Lawson to help me kill my hogs."
30 December
"Oscar & I went down to Sweden & engaged a Swede to work for me while I go over south - Youngs paid me $23.00 for Pork"
3 January
"Lawson husked corn at home"
4 January
"I let Lawson the job of cutting 20 cors of wood at .50 per cord - Paid him one dollar for labor"
9 January
"Thermometer stood 10 deg - below zero this morning."
15 January
"Sold Mr Birchlimb 2 bu of potatoes to be paid for next week"
16 January
I engaged 8 bu of spring wheat for seed to Burke. ...engaged a Swede to cut some wood"
17 January
"Sold Swede 2 bu of apples. Rec fifty cents for them"
19 January
"Paid Swede Delos $1.50 cts for cutting wood"
21 January
"Swede Frank commenced choping [sic] wood for me at fifty cents per cord, & has agreed to cut 6 hemlock logs for 7/ "
24 January
"Paid Delos Swede $1.50"
27 January
"Burke agrees to pay Frank $4.91 that he woes me for meat to bal. wood cuting"
11 February
"Lent Burke 3 chains"
12 February
"Burke broke my sled & returned my chains"
13 February
"Paid Mr. Lawson 2 dollars for cutting wood."
17 March
"Sold Burke 2 bu of wheat to be paid soon"
25 March
"Rec. of Andrew Johnson .50 in full."
26 March
"Went down to Sweden to hire help"
3 April
"Went over to Sweden partly engaged some help for the season."
22 April
"Sold Swede John Johnson 2 bu of wheat on trust"
23 April
"I went over to Sweden for help - engaged a man"
24 April
"Swede John Johnson plowed some & made fence"
25 April
"John & I drew manure from the cow yard & barn yard"
26 April
"John plowed for wheat most all day"
12 May
"Went after a Swede"
8 August
"Sold Burk 20 1/2 lbs of Pork at 11 cts per lb to be paid next week"
18 August
"Rec of Burk $2.00 for pork"
19 August
"Lent Burke 7 lbs 5 oun of flour"
31 August
"Borrowed of Burke his gun to kill Hawks"
9 September
"Sold Burke 30 lbs of pork at 11 center per lb $3.30 on cr."
23 October
"went over to Sweden & engaged Augustus to help me dig potatoes"
24 October
"Augustus & I dug potatoes all day"
25 October
"Augustus & I dug potatoes a.m. only - Paid Augustus the 7 1/4 lb of flour lent burke & 83 cents in money"
3 November
"Augustus & fathers hired man helped me dig potatoes all day"
4 November
"Birchlimb worked 3/4 of a day digging potatoes"
17 November
"Sold Augustus 32 lbs of flour - Rec .50"
22 November
"Memoranda. Sold Birchlimb 28 1/4 lbs of flour at .4 per lb & one peck of beans at $1.40 per bu"
13 January
"Burke skidded logs for me 1/2 day & I drew to the mill 3 logs. Took Burkes sled home."
17 February
"Sold Andrew 1/3 bu potatoes"
17 March
"Rec. of Andrew .25 for potatoes"
7 Feb
"Paid Augustus Gustavus $12.65 in full for labor last fall. Went down to Sweden to hire help. Stormy weather."
8 Feb
"Claus Danielson commence work for me. He cut wood & shelled corn. I made a wood box & helped Claus shell corn."


  1. Jack Ericson is a Trustee of the Chautauqua County Historical Society and the retired Director of Special Collections, Reed Library, SUNY Fredonia.

    Mr. Ericson proposed in 1988 a Heritage Documentary Project similar in scope to jamestownswedes.org that would have used census, cemetery and newspaper sources to create a database of Swedes in the Jamestown area.  That project didn't receive funding but was ahead of its time (by a couple of decades).

  2. The Swedish community in Hartfield was started about 1852 by Sven Lindahl [1846.012] and his family.  See Chautauqua County Deed Book Volume 63, page 400.  Based on the 1855 New York State census, the nearby Mayville community likely began a year earlier founded by Andrew Peterson [1851.001] and Magnus Baker [1850.060].

    The map at right shows the community as it later developed (1881). Swedish property owners listed include: Andrew P. Peterson [1851.001], J. Sandberg, John Gron [1855.014],  John Lundquist, Mrs. A. Nelson, Augustus Gron [1851.040], Gustaf Stromgren, Andrew Nelson, Peter Gron [1851.036], S. J. Westerberg [1850.052], Olie Stromgren, John S. Johnson, Samuel Peterson, and Charles J. Sackris [1865.001] and John W. Anderson.  Map detail from F.W. DeBeers, "Town of Chautauqua," Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of Chautauqua...,1881, p 82-83.

  3. Hiram A. Burton, Jr (1822-1904) was the oldest son of Hiram Burton, the eighth child of Simon and Margaret Burton who had migrated from Massachusetts to Vermont to northern New York and settled near Salem (Brocton)  –  it was a route similar to many of the Yankee families who settled in Chautauqua County in the decade after the War of 1812.

    For more about the history of the Burton family in the Town of Portland see:

    Charles W. Burton. The Burtons 1648-1898. Rutland, VT: Tuttle Antiquarian Book, Inc, 1898.  Collection of Chautauqua County Historical Society.

    Horace C. Taylor. Historical sketches of the town of Portland : comprising also the pioneer history of Chautauqua County, with biographical sketches of the early settlers.  Fredonia, N.Y. : W. McKinstry & Son, 1873, p 353-354.   Digital edition.

    Note: Hiram A. Burton is listed as "Amos Burton" in the 1860 census and as "Addison Burton" in the 1865 New York State census and 1870 United States census.

  4. This common naming practice in Älvsborg län became confusing in America when both Anders and Andreas anglicized their name to Andrew.

  5. That ship was likely the Swedish brig MINONA travelling under an alias  –  it was probably dodging responsibility for destitute immigrants brought to New York City on previous voyages.

  6. The surname Burch might be a variant spelling of the birch tree (björk is birch in Swedish) or an adaptation of their parish of origin, Björke.

  7. Rev. Jonas Swensson relied on A.P. Burch to purchase tickets for his journey to the Northern Illinois Synod meeting ten weeks after arriving in Sugar Grove.  "Sept 25, 1856 Salem (Brocton), Chautauqua County. A. P. Björk attempted to purchase railroad tickets for Jonas Swensson to travel from Dunkirk to Chicago.  However this errand was not accomplished because the rail company would not accept bills."  from a translation of the diary of Jonas Swensson by Rev. Evald B. Lawson. "Two Primary Sources for a Study of the Life of Jonas Swensson," Augustana Historical Society Publications, Vol 17, Rock Island, Illinois, 1957, p 32.

    A.P. Burch was likely the first Swede to live in the Brocton area, pioneering a community that would be represented by both a Methodist and Lutheran church in the village.

  8. The migration of the family westward was described in a short biography of a son of A.P. Burch.

    "Isaac L. Burch was forty years old last July and has lived thirty years in Burnett county. He was born of Swedish parents at Brocton, N. Y., and from there his parents moved to Corry, Penn.; Moline, Ill, High Forest and Center City, Minn., finally settling in West Marshland, Burnett county. His father was a Swedish Methodist minister and did a lot of missionary work along both religious and immigration lines." 
    Source:  Ed L Peet.  Burnett County, Wisconsin : a pamphlet descriptive of Northern Wisconsin in general and of Burnett County in detail.  Grantsburg, Wisconsin: Journal of Burnett County Print, 1902, p 126.  Digital source:  Wisconsin Historical Society   .

    Anna Lovisa Burch [1852.206] is buried in Corry, Pennsylvania, another connection to that city that suggests that the extended family had moved there in 1862. See findagrave.com Memorial Id. 52498593.