by Samuel Howard Sloan

My name is Sam Sloan. I am the son of Helen Marjorie Jacobson Sloan, who is the daughter of Wesley Jacobson, who was the son of Axel Jacobson and Carrie Cassel. Carrie Cassel was the daughter of Peter Cassel and his wife Cathrina Ingeborg, who emigrated from Kisa, Östergötland, Sweden in 1845. Axel Jacobson was the son of Jacob Axel Johansson, who was also from Kisa, Östergötland, Sweden.
Jacob Axel Johansson in about 1873

According to the Museum of Emigration in Kisa, Sweden, my great-great-grandfather, Peter Cassel, was from Bjerkeryd in the parish of Kisa, and was a farmer and master builder who led the first large group of Emigrants from Southern Östergötland and Northern Småland to America.

I have continued to find relatives on my Swedish side. I now know that my great-great-great grandmother was named Stina Sophia Jonsdotter and that she was married to my great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Axel Johansson, on July 6, 1833 in Kisa, Östergötland, Sweden.

My great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Axel Hojer, who was born in 1710 in Hycklinge, Östergötland, Sweden. His wife was Catharina Arfvidsson. Their son was Christopher Axelsson.

Christopher Axelsson was christened on 18 Nov. 1739 in Norra Vi, Östergötland, Sweden. His wife was Catharina Wistrand. Their son was Johannes Christoffersson.

Johannes Christoffersson was born in 1789 in Hycklinge, Östergötland, Sweden. His wife was Anna Maja Olofsdottir. Their son was Jacob Axel Johansson.

Jacob Axel Johansson was born on 1 Aug. 1810 in Hycklinge, Östergötland, Sweden. His wife was Stina Sophia Jonsson. Their son was Axel Jacobson.

My mother's paternal great grandfather was Jacob Axel Johansson. I have a letter he wrote in Swedish from Washington dated June 29, 1873. He lived in Kisa, Östergötland, Sweden and presumably died there. I got this information from an old box of family records which was on the verge of being taken to a garbage dumpster. The box appears to contain records collected by my great aunt, Henrietta Jacobson. The box I found contained at least 200 or 300 very old photographs, plus dozens of letters and published articles, many of which are in the Swedish language, which I cannot read. I presume that the old photograph of him in the box was sent from Sweden, or else that he came to America for a visit, and then went back to Sweden.

Jacob Axel Johansson had two sons who came to America: August Jacobson and Axel Jacobson. Axel Jacobson was born in Kisa, Sweden in 1843 and came to America in 1867. Here, he married Carrie Sophia Cassel on January 6, 1876. Their children were Elmer, Wesley and Henrietta Jacobson. Wesley Jacobson (born April 16, 1877 - died Sept. 1963) was my mother's father. Elmer and Henrietta never married.

Carrie Sophia Cassel (born August 14, 1851 - died March 16, 1942) was the daughter of Peter Cassel (born October 10, 1790 - died March 4, 1857) and Cathrina Ingeborg (born September 9, 1807- died May 3, 1877). Peter Cassel was the leader of a group of 36 persons which, in 1845, established the first Swedish settlement in the Territory of Iowa, which was also the second Swedish settlement in rural America. His group departed from Kisa, Sweden in April, 1845. They boarded a ship in Goteborg and came to New York with a plan to join a colony in Pine Lake, Wisconsin. Upon arrival in America, they were greeted by Pehr Dahlberg, who told them that there was better farm land available in the Territory of Iowa, so they went there instead. The route they took was via rail and canal to Pittsburgh, then down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi, and finally up the Skunk River, reaching a place they named New Sweden, which is near Bush Creek, Jefferson County, near what is now Fairfield, Iowa. They arrived on September 13, 1845 with less than a dollar.

Peter Cassel thereupon sent letters back to Sweden urging others to come. The second party arrived the next year, but failed to follow the directions exactly. Instead of going up the Mississippi to the Skunk River, they made a wrong left turn at the Des Moines River, and went 200 miles up that river, crossing wild Indian territory. They finally realized their mistake at some distance north of Fort Des Moines. Some of the party turned back to join the Peter Cassel group, but four families stayed where they were and established a place which they called Swede Point, which is now known as Madrid, Iowa and is near Ames.

These two groups wrote more letters to Sweden encouraging others to come, and the Swedish population of Iowa grew.

Each year in Kisa they have a Peter Cassel Dag (Day), usually in mid-June. The next will be held on June 15, 1997. All descendants who emigrated to Iowa (or anywhere in the US) are welcomed back.

Peter Cassel arrived in Iowa with his wife, Cathrina, plus three sons and two daughters. Carrie Sophia Cassel, my great grandmother, was thereafter born in Iowa on August 14, 1851. Note that Peter Cassel was 61 years old at the time of this birth and his wife was 44. This apparently was his second wife, as Carrie Cassel is listed as having a half-brother named Carl Johan Cassel (born Dec. 26, 1821- died Nov. 25, 1902). Carl Johan Cassel moved from New Sweden to the Swede Point settlement in 1849. There were five full brothers and sisters of Carrie Cassel. These were Andrew Frederick Cassel (born December 3, 1831 - died July 29, 1915), who married Louisa Peterson on November 13, 1857 and was the father of ten children, Marie Matilda Cassel (born Jan. 27, 1834), (who was twice married. Her first marriage was to John Peterson. Their daughter, Carrie Henrietta Peterson, was born in New Sweden on January 10, 1859, married N. G. Nelson and died on November 18, 1907. Later, Matilda Cassel married Frank Danielson in September 1866. Their daughter, Della, died of Black diphtheria when she was nine years old), Gustaf A. Cassel (born Nov. 11, 1838, died as a soldier in the American Civil War on Dec. 26, 1862 and was buried in Helena, Arkansas), Catherine Cassel (born Feb. 4, 1836, died 1846), and Peter Edward Cassel (born July 9, 1849, died January 13, 1875). Carrie Cassel was the youngest and all but one of her siblings were born in Sweden.

There are numerous letters in original Swedish which I am unable to read but which I suspect contain important information. One is a letter from Carrie Cassel Jacobson of Creston, Iowa, dated April 24, 1876. This letter was written only three months after she married Axel Jacobson. She wrote in Swedish, even though she was born in America. This seems to be a letter to her mother, who died in 1877.

The following is an incompletely dated letter from one of the children of Wesley and Mary Graham Jacobson (most likely Alden Jacobson) who had apparently gone to Sweden and collected some of this information:

"Dec 31

"Dear Henrietta & Uncle Elmer-

"We were very glad to get your nice letter but were sorry to hear that your health is not so good. We hope that you are better now & that you had a nice Christmas.

"I had a note from Binger Ponten who tells me that great grandfather Jacob Axel Johansson lived at Zullingso about 2 miles from Kisa. From there he moved to Sommerras about 10 miles west of Kisa & then finally settled about 30 km south of Kisa at a place called Haggark. Have you ever heard of these places & could you tell me about when he lived at each place & when did he die & where was he buried?

"I wonder if you could some time give me a family tree of the Jacobsons in America & also one of the Cassel family. The Cassel family was well known around Kisa. A Mr. Sundquist at Kisa gave me the enclosed history on the Cassel family which I think is quite interesting despite the fact that I can't read it. I'll send you the negative of the picture of Peter Cassell's home one of these days. Mr. Sundquist who showed me where it was did not know the people who lived there or I would have tried for more pictures."

[There is no signature on this letter. The last page appears to be missing.]

There are many missing gaps and no doubt mistakes in what I have just stated. I do not even have a date for the death of Axel Jacobson, except that I know he was still alive on November 26, 1935, at which time he was 92 years old. (I believe that he died right after that and that his funeral was held on November 30, 1935.) I have a lot of photographs of David Jacobson of Chicago, Illinois, his wife, Hulda, their son, Nels D. Jacobson (born 1911), and their families, but have no idea of who they are. I believe that David was the son of Almine and Anna Jacobson. Johannes Almine Jacobson was born in Svanhals, Ostergotland, Sweden on March 23, 1873, came to Creston, Iowa in 1893, married Anna Sophia Hoglund in 1914 and died on Sept. 24, 1920. Always remember that the name Jacobson simply means that he was the son of a man named Jacob. Almine Jacobson and David Jacobson were not necessarily our blood relations, and, if they were, they must have been very distant relations.

There is an obituary of Sarah Elizabeth Anderson Castile (born July 24, 1824 in Kisa, Sweden - died February 14, 1916 at Fairfield, Iowa). She appears possibly to have been the sister or a relative of Cathrina Ingeborg Cassel, the mother of Carrie Cassel, but this is very uncertain. She had 12 children.

George Burdette was our close relative, but I do not know in which way. He and his son, Robert Burdette, aged 9, attended the golden wedding anniversary of Axel and Carrie Jacobson, which was held on January 6, 1926 on their farm three miles south of Orient, Iowa. Bob Burdette graduated from high school in 1933. I believe that Clara was the wife of George Burdette, and, since she always refers to "Uncle Axel and Aunt Carrie" in her numerous letters, her or her husband's mother must have been the sister to one of them. Anna Burdette I think was the sister of Bob Burdette.

As noted previously, I got most of this information from an old box of family records which was on the verge of being taken to a garbage dumpster. The box appears to contain records collected by my great aunt, Henrietta Jacobson. The box I found contained at least 200 or 300 very old photographs, plus dozens of letters and published articles, many of which are in the Swedish language, which I cannot read. Included, are letters from a relative named Urban Ponten of Lund, Sweden, plus a photograph of his children or grandchildren. He apparently is a descendant of one of the children of Jacob Axel Johansson who did not come to America. He had an uncle named Harold Ponten. Urban Pontén came to America in 1966 to attend a congress of neurosurgeons and to visit relatives.

From this, I was able to reconstruct most of my mother's family history, dating back to before my ancestor's emigration from Sweden.

Sam Sloan

For a newspaper clipping, 1926, in Swedish of Axel Jacobson (1843-1935) and Carrie Cassel (1851-1942) on the occasion of their 50 th wedding anniversary, see: The Golden Wedding Anniversary

For a photo of Carrie Cassel, see: My great grandmother, Carrie Cassel Jacobson

For a photo of Jacob Axel Johansson, see: My great-great grandfather, Jacob Axel Johansson

For a photo of my mother, see: Dr. Marjorie Jacobson

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