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Sweden, 1836
     
     

My great-grandmother Anna Swenson’s brother Swante Magnus Swenson (better known merely as S.M. Swenson) brought her to this country in 1847 after having himself come from Sweden at the age of 20 in 1836. He was born February 24, 1816 in Lattarp, Barkeryds Parish, Jonkopings, Sweden.

Swenson seemed to have the Midas touch in that everything he touched turned to money. He started out as a merchant in partnership with his uncle Swante Palm whom he had previously brought to this country in 1844. The businesses were so successful that Swenson soon began to invest in land, which was very cheap at that time, eventually acquiring 128,000 acres in Travis County [Texas] and about 300,000 acres in parts of six West Texas counties. He obtained much of this by purchasing the land grants, which the original owners had been given by the government. In later years, he founded the Freeport Sulphur Co. and also a private bank, Swenson and Sons, at 80 Wall Street in New York. Many interesting stories about Swenson’s life are told in a 340 page book by Margaret Clark titled The Swenson Saga and the SMS Ranches - published by the Jenkins Book Publishing Co., Austin, Texas.

 

Swante Palm, the uncle, was knighted by the King of Sweden on the occasion of a visit back to Sweden in 1884. He served the Swedish government as a Consul in both Houston and Austin for several years.

One of the Swenson’s legacies was his sponsorship of several thousand Swedes who immigrated to the United States, most of whom settled in or established small communities in South Central Texas, some in West Texas.

 

Gretchen Morgan, stories at immigrantjourneys Dot com, P.O. Box 661467, Sacramento, CA 95866-1467

 
 
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