Location: Smolan Kansas

Biography of Andrew G. Beck

Andrew G. Beck is entitled to distinction among the pioneers of Saline County, Kansas, where his family located, among the first of the Swedish colonists, nearly half a century ago. Mr. Beck’s material affairs have been wonderfully prospered. At the same time he had shouldered a large share of those responsibilities which devolve upon good citizenship. In helping himself he had helped others and his name is everywhere spoken with honor and respect. His birth occurred in Sweden May 20, 1860. His parents were Nelse Johnson and Maria (Johnson) Beck. His father was born March 1, 1832. It was in 1868, when Andrew was eight years of age, and after he had learned his first lessons in school, that the little family left their native land and immigrated to America. Nelse Beck was the first settler to locate and remain in the Salemsburg region of the Swedish colony in Saline County. He secured a tract of government land in Smolan Township. He had been able to live and support his family in Sweden, but had barely enough capital to get them all across the ocean and out to Kansas. Then followed years of effort, each one seeing him a little further along the road to prosperity. He had the trials and misfortones of the pioneer, but he surmounted all obstacles and in time was one of the largest land...

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Biography of Nelse J. Ostenberg

Nelse J. Ostenberg. If there is any community in Kansas where rough and rugged aspects of life as known and experienced forty years ago have been smoothed out and softened into the outlines of prosperity it is in Saline County, particularly in those districts where the Swedish colonists have made a foothold and have expressed their natural virtues of thrift and industry in the thriving farms and institutions of home, church and schools. It is of one of the older settlers of the community around Smolan in Saline County that this brief article had to speak. A resident of Saline County forty years, Nelse J. Ostenberg had accumulated for himself prosperity as a farmer and stockman and had also done his share toward the upbuilding and welfare of the entire community. He was born in the Province of Smolan, Sweden, February 2, 1846, a son of Lars M. and Sophia (Ericson) Ostenberg. His parents were also well known in Saline County. His father was born in 1822 and died in Saline County in 1877. The mother was born in 1822 and spent her last years at Hominy, Oklahoma, where she died in 1911. They immigrated to America in 1869 and arrived in Saline County on the Kansas frontier in 1870, locating Government land in Saline County near the present Town of Smolan. Here Lars Ostenberg lived quietly and industriously...

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Biography of Claus J. Sjogren

Claus J. Sjogren is not only one of the pioneers in the agricultural district of Saline County, but as much as any other citizen had had a part in the progress and upbuilding of that flourishing little Town of Smolan, a name that reflects and preserves the native district in Sweden from which many of the early colonists here came. Mr. Sjogren had at different times been a figure in the commercial life of Smolan, and is now well to do and influential though at one time he was dependent entirely upon his manual labor and had come to America practically penniless. He was born in the Province of Smolan, Sweden, August 9, 1845, a son of Carl and Anna (Johnson) Sjogren. He was 1½ years old when his mother died. He was the youngest in a family of six children. Claus J. Sjogren grew up in Sweden, and most of his early training there was in the nature of hard practical work. In 1868, at the age of twenty-three, he immigrated to the New World, and landed in this country with only 50 cents in money. In 1871 he sent money back to Sweden which enabled his father to come over, and his father spent his last years at Smolan, Kansas, where he died in 1892. For a time after coming to America Claus J. Sjogren lived in...

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Biography of Peter M. Pehrson

Peter M. Pehrson is numbered among the pioneers of Saline County, having gone there more than forty-five years ago when the Swedish colonists were gaining a foothold in the new district, and many years of hard toil and intelligently directed efforts have brought him rewards beyond his fondest anticipations and dreams. He is one of the largest land owners and leading farmers and stockmen in the vicinity of Smolan. Mr. Pehrson was born in Sweden January 13, 1850, son of John and Ellen (Swenson) Pehrson. He was reared and educated in his native country, and in 1871, on reaching manhood immigrated to America. He came almost at once to the Swedish colony in Saline County and for the first two years worked as a farm hand at $25 a month. For five years he was employed as a section foreman on the old Kansas Pacific Railway. Mr. Pehrson was not only a hard worker but had the thrift and good judgment which enabled him to save with a view to the future. In 1877 he bought 320 acres of land two miles east of the present Town of Smolan. That was the nucleus of the magnificent farm property he now owned. At the present time his place consists of 940 acres, all of it valuable land, and the more valuable because of the improvements he had placed there. Mr....

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Biography of Carl P. Mattson

Carl P. Mattson is a factor in that sterling element of Swedish people who in the late ’60s colonized Saline County, and by their courage as pioneers, their thrift and industry made one of the most progressive and richest farming districts of the entire state. Mr. Mattson’s prosperity had been growing and increasing, as is the case of most of his fellow countrymen, and he had not only accumulated a fine farm at Smolan, but had provided for and reared to useful man and womanhood a large household of children, who do him credit. Mr. Mattson was born in the Province of Smolan, a name that was subsequently transferred to the Kansas community. In that Swedish locality he was born August 19, 1849, a son of Carl and Sarah L. (Danielson) Mattson. Both parents were also natives of Sweden. Mr. Mattson grew up on a Swedish farm, was educated in his native language and in native schools, and was eighteen years of age when he came to America in 1867. The first two years in this country were spent at DeKalb, Illinois. There he worked as a farm hand at wages of $18 a month. In 1869 Mr. Mattson journeyed by wagon in company with John Danielson and a party of other Swedish people to Kansas. For several years he lived at Salina, working there as a stone mason...

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Biography of John Peter Drevets

John Peter Drevets. One of Saline County’s most useful and honored citizens passed away in the death of John Peter Drevets at his home farm three miles northwest of Smolan on March 23, 1914. Mr. Drevets was still comparatively young when death called him. His life’s achievements are not to be measured by length of years, but by the quality of the enterprise and the public spirit which characterized his relations among his fellow citizens in Saline County for about thirty-three years. Whether as a farmer, as a private citizen, as an official, as head of a family or member of the church he did the duty that lay nearest and earned the respect and gratitude of all around him. Mr. Drevets was born in Smolan, Sweden, December 18, 1862, and at the time of his death his age was fifty-one years, three months, five days. His father was Johan Johnson, and both parents spent all their lives in Sweden. With an education acquired in the schools and language of his native country, John Peter Drevets immigrated to America at the age of twenty. He identified himself with the Swedish colony of Saline County, and after working for others a few years he bought part of the farm on which he died. He was a progressive farmer and his prosperity enabled him to acquire a magnificent estate of 480...

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