- Project Runeberg -  Year-book of the Swedish-American Historical Society / Volume 7 (1921-1922) /
8

(1908-1925) [MARC]
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together formed many of the early Scandinavian
settlements, have not played a conspicuous part both in
numbers and efficiency. Not to mention the clearing and
breaking of the land and the building of homes and
farmsteads, but in railroad construction prior to 1900,
arid in the erection of public and private structures of
our rapidly growing towns and cities, the Swedish
immigrants and their descendants have been prominent.

Since I lack the information a historian should
possess I must confine myself to personal observations of
the Swedish immigrants in the settlement where I was
born and spent the first 19 years of my life. The
impressions of youth and childhood may be superficial
and faulty and the recollection somewhat dimmed after
these many years, but it is the best I have to offer.
From my general knowledge, I think, it may also be
safely asserted that the men and women who came to
the Swedish settlement of East and West Union, near
Carver, between 1853 and up to say 1875, were typical
of those from the same country who sought homes in
other places in this and other states during that period.

Prior to the middle of the 19th century the
educational advantages were meager in Sweden, except to
those of means and social standing. Consequently,
knowledge of what other countries offered in the way
of opportunities for acquiring a home and gaining a
livelihood did not easily reach those who stood most in
need thereof. No parish or other common schools
existed in the country districts of Sweden when my parents
grew up. The children, however, were taught to read
by their elders in the family. For, under the established
order of things, to know how to read was necessary in
order to be confirmed. And unless a person was

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