Andrew M. Larson

This biographical portrait is found in the "Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay, and Riley Counties, Kansas"; Chicago; Chapman Bros; 1890, pg. 422.; located in the KANSAS Room at the Kansas City, Kansas Public Library. The Kansas Collection Librarian is Georgia Slaughter at . The Inter-Library Loan librarian is Joan Gandert at

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The sons of Scandinavia have borne no unimportant part in the settlement and development of the Great West, and they have been almost uniformly men of good habits, sober, industrious and well-to-do. The subject of this notice is one of the most worthy representatives of the Swedish nationality, and takes the lead among his countrymen in Grant Township Washington County. He has constructed one of its most valuable farms, and illustrated in a marked manner what may be accomplished by steady perseverance and industry. We now find him in the midst of comfort and plenty, a man respected by his neighbors and one who has contributed in no small degree to the welfare and prosperity of his township.

Mr. Larson was born in SEONE, in the southern part of SWEDEN, Oct 29, 1838, and lived there until a man of thirty years, receiving a practical education in the common school. He has been a reader all his life, and has thus acquired a useful fund of information. When a young man, he attended drawing school, and became quite proficient in this art. He likewise learned the trade of a brick and stone mason, at which he worked during the summer season. He thus occupied himself until coming to America. He first took up his abode in this country in Galesburg, Ill., but only remained there one year, going them to Keokuk, Iowa, in March, 1870, and remaining there until in July, 1871. In the meantime he had married, March 20, that same year, to Mrs. Annie Charlotte Anderson, the wide of Lars John Anderson. In July, leaving Keokuk with $40 in his pocket, he came to Grant Township, Washington County, and after paying his homestead fees and railroad fare, had about $6 remaining, and was in debt $10 for money borrowed. He thus was unable to send for his family until he could secure work, but this he succeeded in doing, and was joined by them in September following. He worked at his trade until the weather forbade this, then moved his family to a hole in the ground, which is now the place of his present residence, making a roof of prairie grass. They took possession of this in February, when the water was frozen in the bottom, moving in upon the ice. This constituted their dwelling for two years, Mr. Larson in the meantime being unable to make any repairs more than to put on a covering of boards. He secured a blind horse for a job of work that first fall, and when moving into their dug-out, a neighbor who had a cow for sale brought it over to them and told them they might pay for it when they could.

The next spring, by doubling teams with one of his neighbors, Mr. Larson broke three acres of ground, which, with one acre he had hired broken the year before, made four acres ready for cultivation. Mrs. Larson planted potatoes and corn with a hoe, and was successful in raising a large crop of each. By the following June ten acres had been broken, and the next season Mr. Larson raised some of the largest watermelons he had ever seen. That year also he put in ten acres of wheat, four acres of corn and potatoes. He sowed seven bushels of wheat from which he harvested seventy-five bushels in the fall. In the meantime he worked at his trade for consideration of having more breaking done and for seed wheat.

In 1871 Mr. Larson traded mason work for ten colts with one of his neighbors and he still has these, now grown to old horses. From this time on he was prospered in his labors, and in 1881 purchased the first check rower used in a corn field in this section. He kept on working at his trade and in this manner he acquired seven horses and two head of cattle, while his stepsons carried on the farm. Finally, in 1876, with his accumulated capital, he purchased the quarter section adjoining the north side of his farm, for which he paid $500. His father-in-law came over from the old country and settled on a piece of land south of him, and this land Mr. Larson also secured, paying them $235, but legal complications arose, which increased the cost to $700. In 1883 he purchased a quarter section a half mile south, for which he paid $1,300. On the two home farms, 180 acres have been broken. And on the south farm ninety acres. On the $700 place he has fifty acres broken. This has now become the property of his two stepsons, but Mr. Larson superintends the operations with hired help.

In 1876 was built the commodious stone residence now occupied by Mr. Larson and his family. This is twenty-five feet square, besides the kitchen, and the contrast between this dwelling and the dug-out is very marked. Mr. Larson's barn is 87x16 feet in dimensions, with a hay loft above and room for all his grain inside. He has two corn cribs and is now completing the third large cattle shed, this latter being 36x17 feet in dimensions. The farm is all enclosed with good fencing, and Mr. Larson has an orchard of 250 apple trees, besides quantities of plum and pear trees, and the smaller fruit. He has likewise set out large numbers of cottonwood and walnut trees to shelter his cattle, of which he has this year (1889) about sixty head. He feeds large numbers each year, buying quantities of corn for this purpose. He also has eleven horses and 200 head of swine. It will thus be seen that in a financial point of view, the man who came to Grant Township with comparatively nothing, is now independent financially.

Mrs. Larson had by her fist marriage three children, and by her union with out subject there has been born one child, Amanda, who is now a charming young lady of sixteen years, having been born in the dug-out afore-mentioned Sept 25, 1873. Amanda is quite an accomplished musician, and all of the children of this family have been given a good education. Annie, the daughter of Mrs. Larson by her first husband, is the wife of Charles Hammerback; they live near the homestead and have four children. The stepsons of Mr. Larson took his own name. Charles is married and lives on land which he homesteaded in Wallace County, this State, he has no children. Albert is married, and is also living on land which he homesteaded in the above-mentioned county. Mrs. Larson's first children were all born in Sodermanland, Sweden.

The principles of the Republican party receive the endorsement of Mr. Larson, who has served his township and county in various ways. He is now Treasurer of the School Board. He was reared in the doctrines of the Lutheran Church, to the principles of which he still adheres. The father of our subject was Lars Larson, and his mother was Kresti Monsdotter. The former was born Dec 11, 1803 and died in Sweden at the advanced age of eighty-six years, passing to rest Sept 28, 1889,while the latter died November, 1964. She was born Feb 1, 1809, and was accordingly at the time of her death, fifty-five years of age.

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