John Berrgren

This biographical portrait is found in the "Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay, and Riley Counties, Kansas"; Chicago; Chapman Bros; 1890, pg. 1014.; 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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Mr. Berggren was born in the Southern part of Sweden, Nov. 2, 1843, and was there reared on a farm. His education was obtained in the schools of that county, which are also well known as giving thorough fundamental work. His parents, Samuel and Baugte (Christianson) Berggren, were natives of Sweden, and members of the Lutheran Church, as were their ancestors so far as known. In 1869, our subject came to the United States, crossing the Atlantic on the steamer "Germany", which after a voyage of sixteen days landed at Quebec.

After landing on American soil, Mr. Berggren turned his steps directly to the Mississippi Valley, and reached Junction City, Kansas, via Chicago, on the 10th of May, 1869. He at once began work on the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was then being constructed. When he arrived at Junction City he had just money enough left to buy some working clothes. He had saved $60, by his work on the railroad, when he was taken sick, and continued ill until his money was gone and he was in debt $15 for board. He sold his best clothes, which he had brought from Sweden, for $10, which he applied on his board bill, and as soon as able to do so again went to work. He saved money and paid the balance of his indebtedness, and then went to Neosho Falls, where he worked until March, 1870.

Returning to Junction City at that time, Mr. Berggren met Peter Palmquist and a Mr. Colgren, both Swedes, who had three yoke of steers and a wagon. Three young men with the ox-team went to Concordia, and each took a homestead near that town. At that time the prairies were full of prairie dogs and rattlesnakes, and Indians were quite numerous in the vicinity. The savages would steal horses and do considerable pilfering, and frequently threatened the settlers, but did no serious damage. Various kinds of game were still to be found on the Western prairies, and buffalo were sometimes seen. When Mr. Berggren first located he went on a buffalo hunt and returned with two calves, which he had caught. His first house was cottonwood board shanty, 12x14, feet in which he kept "back" for six months. He then went back to Junction City, and sp0ent two months as a laborer there. Thence he returned to Concordia to his claim, making the distance of about seventy-five miles on foot. After working a short time on the claim he again returned to Junction City on foot, and went to work there. He remained until he had made enough money to prove up on a homestead, when he again walked to his claim, which he proved up and for which he got his deed.

Again traveling to Junction City on foot, Mr. Berggren worked there until he had obtained money enough to take him to Topeka, where he found work on the Santa Fe Railroad. After a stay of two and a half months he returned to Junction City to collect $70 that was due him there. ON arrival, he found that his former employer had failed, and all he could secure in payment of his claim was a cow. He started to lead the animal to his farm, and at Clifton was overtaken by a heavy snowstorm. This detained him three days, and he chopped wood for his board and feed for the cow.

Reaching his homestead, Mr. Berggren stayed long enough to dig the potatoes that had been raised, and then went to Junction City, where he began work as a porter in the Hale House. He continued at that employment for two and a half years, and then engaged in farming on the place where he now resides. In 1874 he sold his homestead, and in 1875 bought the present estate, which was at that time owned by the widowed mother of his wife. He has brought the place to a highly improved condition, and made of it an attractive and very comfortable home. He devotes his attention chiefly to feeding cattle, and makes a specialty of good grades of Poland-China hogs.

The marriage of Mr. Berggren took place on the 20th of April, 1874, the bride being Miss Christina Line, a native of Ore Dahlbyn, Sweden. She came to the United States with her parents in August, 1870, and her father filed on the land which now belongs to Mr. Berggren. Mr. Lane died the next year and his widow proved up the claim, which she afterward sold to her son-in-law. The ancestors of Mrs. Berggren were Swedes and members of the Lutheran Church. She has borne her husband eight children, one of whom, Selma M., has been taken from them by death. The survivors are: Axtel F., Hilma G., Albert W., Selma, Emma, Bertha and Fred M.

Mr. And Mrs. Berggren belong to the Lutheran Church, in the faith of which they were reared. Their financial success and labors in the development of the county are recognized by their fellow-citizens, by whom they are held in good repute for this and for their private characters.

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