- Project Runeberg -  Year-book of the Swedish-American Historical Society / Volume 7 (1921-1922) /
13

(1908-1925) [MARC]
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Red Wing. In the early days there were no free
homesteads, but there was the pre-emption right under which
land could be bought for as low as $1.25 an acre. Few,
however, could manage to secure as much as 160 acres,
even though the terms were so generous. At any rate,
whether the acreage was large or small, the owner set
to work to make a living thereon and his permanent
home. His hopes and aspirations as citizen became
fixed in the United States. There was no intention of
ever severing allegiance to this country. Among the
newcomers, when beset by homesickness, as they called
it, you may have heard regrets expressed for having left
the old country, and occasionally, though rarely, a
desire to return. Yet I do not recall a single instance of
hearing of one who had secured a piece of land, even
though in debt for the whole purchase price, express an
intention ever to go back to Sweden to live.

It may also be stated that integrity and honesty
characterized the early Swedish settlers. The exceptions
were rare. In my boyhood days no one thought of
locking doors at night, or even when the whole family
had occasion to leave the home for a day, unless there
were Indians in the vicinity. It may be said that there
was nothing worth taking, but those who lightly regard
the property rights of others are generally ready to lay
their hands upon anything regardless of intrinsic value.

As a rule, immigrants from Sweden who came to this
state prior to 1875 desired church connection, or, at
least, were impelled to attend religious services
whenever opportunity offered. Many were genuinely pious
and exerted quite an influence for good in the
community. Membership in the church having been
compulsory, so to speak, in the country where they came

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