SwedeBendIowa.com

                                                          1849-1850

   Iowa attained statehood in 1846 after being opened to settlement in 1833.  By 1840 eighteen territorial counties had been established, all along the eastern and southern portion of the territory.  By 1850 an additional 31 counties came into existance making a total of 49 (halfway there to the present 99 counties)  Of these 49 counties, Boone County was the only one in then existance near Swede Bend.  People attached to (for administrative purposes) but not in Boone County proper were enumerated with the county. The U.S. Census of 1850, Boone County, recorded three Swedish immigrant families residing in the Swede Bend area;  Peter Lawrence (Larsson in Sweden), John Linn (Johan Leonard Olofsson in Sweden,(Lynn per the 1850 census), and a Christina (Swensey).  These three families were the beginnings of the third Swedish settlement area in Iowa.

   On 10 October 1849, several families from Ulrika Parish, Östergötland län arrived at Swede Point (later named Madrid), their intended final destination.  Swede Point was settled in 1846 by the Dalander group also from Östergötland.  The Lawrences, Linns and Swenseys were informed that the Swede Point area was being reserved for friends and relatives of the Dalander's, and there was good available land up the Des Moines River.  They were escorted some 30 miles to a gradual bend in the river and left on their own.  This place would later be known as Swede Bend.

                         THE LAWRENCE"S

Peter Larsson (1794) and Sara Andersdotter were married in 1820.  They and two of their children; Brita Helena (1830) (Melinda), and Maria Christina (1840) (Mary) emigrated.  Their first residence was in Section 35, Hardin Township, east side, Webster County.  In 1865 Mary wed Olof Ferlen living in Section 20, Marion Township, hamilton County.  Peter died  in 1866 and sara in 1880.  The Ferlen's farmed until around 1900 when they moved to Stratford.  Olof died in 1925 and Mary in 1934.

                             THE LINN"S (LYNN)

    John and Mary Linn (Johan Leonard Olofsson och Britta Maria Ericksdotter) married 1 November 1848 in Sweden and received Ulrika, Östergötland moving out certificate number 14 on 25 April 1849 some thirteen days before the Lawrence's.  Mary Linn died in 1853.  John remarried on Christmas day. Mr. Linn became a Methodist minister and followed the ministry both in Iowa and Illinois. There have been several articles written about Mr. Linn.

                       THE JOHNSONS (Swensey)

   Nils Jonsson (1807) and Christina Andersdotter (1809) were married in 1838.  They had four children; Anders (1839), Anna (1842), Carl (1845) and Clara (1848).  The voyage from Sweden to New York City was uneventful.  During the trip from New York to Saint Louis (done by boat), Nils, Anders and Anna died from cholera which was of epidemic proportions in 1849-50.  Rather than attempt to return to Sweden Christina and the two remaining children continued on to Iowa.  The 1850 census indicates they were living in a separate dwelling near the other families.  The 1860 census shows Christina married to an Andrew Johnson who emigrated in 1850.  They were living with her children, one of Andrew's (Oscar) and one of their own (John) in Hardin Township, west side, Webster County.  The odd spelling of Swensey in the 1850 census probably stems from miscommunication between Swedish speaking Christina and the census taker.  Her maiden name was Svensdotter.

                                        Analysis

The 1850 census enumerated 735 individual people in Boone County including those attached for census purposes.  Fifteen of these at Swede Point and the nine in the Swede Bend area were born in Sweden. In addition to our nine Swede Bend Swedes, for example the census enumerates 73 soldiers plus six spouses and children who were members of Co. E, 6th Infantry, U.S. Army, garrisoned at Fort Clarke (later Fort Dodge, Webster County).  Those two groups themselves accounted for over ten percent of the 1859 Boone County census, ergo people were administratively enumerated with Boone
County although they lived outside of the  county in what is now Webster and Hamilton  Counties. 



                                 Lawrence Family

  The Lawrence's may have been as the first Swedish family to arrive at Swede Bend although the Linn (Lynn) family may have preceded them by weeks. Peter Lawrence with his wife Sara, (Sally according to the 1850 enumerator), daughters Brita Helena (Melissa 1850 census again) and Maria Christina (Mary) left Sweden the spring of 1849 (their moving out certificate was dated May 9,1849) aboard the vessel VIRGINIA arriving in New York August 24, 1849.  They then traveled to Swede Point(now Madrid, Boone County) which was their final destination, or so they thought. They arrived on October 10, 1849, Mary's ninth birthday.  According to an interview Mary gave to a Mr. M. Nelson in 1931,found at http://www.genealogi.se/roots/iowa.htm, the good Swedes of Swede Point(which was a family colony) told the Lawrence's that the land around Swedes Point was to locate more relatives who were coming later.  Accordingly they were conducted some thirty odd miles up the Des Moines River and were then left. Logically they would have traveled along the river until they found what appeared to be a desirable spot; land availability suitable for tilling, water, and timber. It is unknown if the family was on foot or had some four legged transportation. According to the interview, the only tools Peter had were a hand and a wood choppers axe.  I suspect they walked.

On the fly page of an 1848 Swedish bible that belonged to Mary, she wrote

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