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The outlook was good for the kingdom of Sweden in 1854. The distant Crimean War had begun, sealing off the ports on the Black Sea. Without these ports the Russian grains could not reach Western Europe. This meant that the Swedish grain exports could move in to fill the gap. This was an economic boom for Sweden. Production of grains among the peasant farmers was beginning to rise, as progressive farms in the south began to use new methods of farming. The milling trade became a lucrative occupation, as much of the grain was milled prior to export. One of these millers was Anders Magnus OLSON.

He and his wife, Augusta NORDFELDT, had their second son that year. The child was their sixth. The boy was born on August 18, 1854 and christened Charles Nicholas at the parish Church of Vesterland, Bohus Län (state) that same day.

Anders and his wife, Augusta, had lived in the parish for about nine years and would stay another two years before moving back to the family’s home parish of Vässända. Vässända (pronounced Veh-sehn-dah) parish includes Vennersborg, one of Sweden’s many inland ports. These ports were used for centuries to move produce and merchandise over the great lakes and rivers of central Sweden. We don’t know whether Anders Magnus found better work in Vässända at the peak of the Crimean War or if family and relatives drew him back. His paternal family had lived in Vässända for over 300 years.

The end of the Crimean War brought the Russian grains back to Europe. This slowed the market for Swedish grains. Anders Magnus began to look for work elsewhere. In 1862 Anders Magnus moved his family to the far north of Sweden, on the borders of the Lap Provinces. Anders Magnus worked there for over five years before returning to Vässända. He worked various jobs around the parish for about four years. Apparently, work was hard to find for a miller by then. The new farming methods, like those appearing from the United States, were slow to catch on, especially in the traditionalist north. Also, the economy was slow to recover from the depression that resulted from the end of the Crimean War. The American Civil War did help revive the economy in the early 1860’s. The war interrupted the American grain shipments to Europe. Once the fighting in America ended, their grains inundated the European market cutting into Swedish exports. In 1872, Ander Magnus left Vässända for Oscarshamn, on the Swedish Baltic coast. At this point, Anders Magnus disappears from the records.

Anders Magnus’ second son, Charles Nicholas, learned boat building either in Stockholm or in Vennersborg from his uncle-by-marriage, Sven OLSON. Sven was a master boat builder in Vennersborg and took care of Anders Magnus’ family for a while in 1868. Later, Charles Nicholas is said to have been a sailor, but no record of this service could be found in the Crown Archives of Sweden.

Traditionally, the children of a family would work for their passage across the ocean but sometimes the family would put up some of the money. As his family was working class, it is fairly certain that Charles Nicholas worked for his passage and probable that his sisters did likewise.

Anders Magnus’ youngest daughter, Karoline Elisabeth (Lena), was the first to make the journey, arriving in Kansas in 1879. Lena , while staying with a cousin, found work and later a home in Garrison, Pottowatomi County, Kansas. Four years later her older sister, Maria Christine, and brother, Charles Nicholas, left Sweden and arrived in New York City. They took the train west to Kansas to join their sister, Lena. As many of the young Swedish women did, Lena and Maria found work as domestics until they married. At first, Charles worked as a farm hand around Garrison on the Blue River and then went further afield. He worked in the Bellegarde community (where Maria eventually settled), Swede Creek in Riley county, and around Westmoreland (the Pottowatomi county seat). Charles Nicholas most likely had some money left over after his crossing, since he was able to buy his own farm after only four years in America. The rest of the Anders Magnus OLSON’s family is said to have stayed in Stockholm.

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