Over the next 30 years more than 350 families from the province of Dalarna in Sweden pick up and move to Isanti County. They recongregate around their parish churches.
This emigration represents a second wave from Sweden, driven by hunger during lean years (1863-1877) in their native land.*
There were many reasons Swedes were disenchanted with life in their homeland in this era. Norway and Sweden were ruled by a shared aristocracy and common people allegedly despised the arrogance of monarch Charles XV and his tone-deaf response to their plights. Uppsala graduate Gustaf Unonius left Sweden for the Midwest, and his writings in the Swedish newspaper “Aftonbladet” drew interest in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota.**
Though this wave came from Dalarna, many future Minnesotans came from Smaland (Southern Sweden) where the poor soil and small plots made it difficult to survive. Imagine their surprise when one could buy an acre of excellent land for $1.25?! The climate of Midwest was familiar and pleasant to these northern peoples.
Numerous other factors tipped the scales towards them in the eyes of their American neighbors. “They are not peddlers, nor organ grinders, nor beggars; they do not sell ready-made clothing nor keep pawn shops, they do not seek the shelter of the American flag merely to introduce and foster among us … socialism, nihilism, etc … they are more like Americans than are any other foreign peoples.” ***
Lord, thank you for the gift that Swedes have been to our state! Thank you that they could find this new place to begin again! Will You bless every Minnesotan of Swedish ancestry; them, their generations, and their dwellings by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Jesus, forgive our judgments of these immigrants. Forgive us when we do not remember the trials of their homeland. Most Minnesotans’ of today do not realize that our Swedish ancestors fought starvation, various forms of slavery, political disenfranchisement, and religious persecution.
Lord, will You forgive our bitter judgments of Swedish-Americans! Forgive any counter judgments that enslave them! May we be Your forgiving and free people! Ljuset skringrar varje morker! Gud valsigne Sverige!
*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out!