E-Mail Ray and Becky LewisThe information on this page was provided by Becky and Ray Lewis. If you have any questions, please e-mail them. This information is for research ONLY and may not be reprinted for the purpose of resale. We wish to thank Mr. Lewis for this contribution and hope to hear more from him on this subject.

Swedish Colony in southwest Gove County, Kansas

I have done some research on the Swedish Colony in southwest Gove County, Kansas. They started arriving in 1885, and 1886 was a boom year for the county. These Swedes were connected with the Lindsborg Swedes. I have researched in the Gove County Courthouse, Register of Deeds office, and found 121 Swedes "proved up" on their homesteads. Which means they lived on the homestead five years and made improvements. Others left before proving up.

The Swedes built a Swedish Lutheran Church in 1887 and it was supplied by visiting ministerial students from Bethany College. Bad crops, harsh conditions, etc. combined to drive most of the Swedes away. Of the remaining Swedes, they sold the church building in the early 1920's. It is still standing, but has been vandalized very badly.

My Swedes all came from Smaland. Great-grandfather Johan Oskar Larsson (b. 1 Dec 1840, d. 18 Jul 1913) was born in Odensvi, Kalmar Lan and immigrated to America in 1867 to Burlington, Iowa, settling in McDonough Co., IL. He "Americanized" his name to John Oscar Lewis in Henderson Co., IL and married Emma Christina Johnson (b. 19 Apr 1842, d. 7 Jan 1929), born in Elghult, Kronoberg Lan and immigrated 1869. They homestaded in Gove County, Kansas and married in 1887.

Their son, Francis August Lewis, my grandfather, married Lulu Victoria Anderson. Her parents were Charles Alfred Anderson (b. 2 Feb 1849, d. 5 Feb. 1915) born in Munkeryd, Odeshog Lan and immigrated in 1869 to NW Indiana. Charles married Emma Justine Johnson (b. 5 Jul 1857, d. 26 Aug 1931) born in Iroquois Co., IL. They homesteaded in Gove County, Kansas in March, 1886. Her parents (my great, great grandparents) were Sven Otto Johnson (b. 18 Jul 1828, d. 2 Feb 1883) born Fryele, Jonkoping Lan and he married Johanna Christina Svensson (b. 18 Aug 1830, d. 29 Mar 1912) born Hagshult, Jonkoping Lan. They married in Sweden in 1854 and immigrated that same year to Iroquois Co., IL.

My father was 100% Swedish descent. I am 50% Swede and Scotch-Irish/English from my mother's side.

My great uncle and aunt Thorvald Ulrick Moller and Amelia Anna Lewis lived in the Swedish colony in Republic County, Kansas in Courtland in 1912 and in Scandia during the period 1917-1924. Their older children grew up and went to high school in Scandia: Ernest, Harry, Cecil, Helen, Carl, Lyla, Marie and Angeline. IF anyone comes across the Moller name in Republic County, please be kind enough to advise.

I have census records, land records, some obituaries of those Swedes. Most of my information comes from copying land records and newspaper obituaries. The Gove County Historical Association has the original records, written in Swedish, of the Swedish Lutheran Church. The records are housed at the Historical Association Museum in Gove, Kansas. My aunt, Thelma Lewis Bretton (who turned 90 last month) runs the museum. She lives in Gove.

I wrote an article on the Gove County Swedish Colony for the "Swedish American Genealogist", Vol. XI, Sept 1991, No. 3, pp. 198-204.

I will be happy to share information on those early Gove County Swedes.

My mailing address is:
F. Ray Lewis
111 Arabian Drive
Madison, AL 35758

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