Welcome to the Swede Bend, Iowa website
There are numerous websites dealing with Swedish immigration in Iowa. Swede Bend is mentioned in some but none have focused entirely on this area although Swedes began arriving in 1849. Many queries have appeared on various Genweb sites seeking information about ancestors or asking the whereabouts of Swede Bend. This site is primarily about the history and geography of the area albeit it is hoped to be of help in the search for ancestors who came to Swede Bend and sometimes later left.
Swede Bend is not, nor ever was, a city, town, village or even a post office. Technically it is a specific gradual bend of the Des Moines River that curves from approximately the northern Boone County line for roughly six miles through Hardin Township, Webster County. The name Swede Bend came into usage after enough Swedes settled in the area to become a geographical reference. To be precise Swede Bend should probably be defined as Hardin Township. However no one town developed as a focal
point and as the population increased looking for land to settle, the
Swedes (and others) dispersed to surrounding areas.
In the 1990s a non-profit corporation named "The Swedish Foundation of Iowa's "Swede Bend" Settlement, Inc." was established. For their purposes their literature defined the greater Swede Bend area as including various townships and towns with post office identifiers. For this website the Swede Bend area will encompass the present day: Grant, Pilot Mound and Dodge townships in Boone County, Clear Lake, Marion, and Webster townships in Hamilton County, and Dayton, Gowrie, Hardin, Lost Grove, Webster and Yell townships in Webster County. With exception of the period 1849-1850, the development and population of the area will be looked at in ten year increments to coincide with the federal census years up to and including 1930. The website will be further developed as research is completed for each era.
Any comments, corrections, additions, or questions regarding this site would be appreciated, please contact us. We would be happy to do Federal Census name lookups insofar as the sections are completed.
Left picture - Des Moines River in Hardin Township, Webster, Co.
Middle picture - A family of Swedish immigrants and their Iowa children, circa 1900.
Right picture - Gävleborgs län, Sweden, home to many immigrants to the Swede Bend area.