Swanson, Saskatchewan

The hamlet of Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada, is located on the Canadian National Railway about70 km southwest of Saskatoon along Highway 45.

Swanson, Saskatchewan
Click to open in Google Maps

Photos of Swanson, Saskatchewan, from the family collection

Canadian threshing crew. Swanson, Sask Canada. No date.
Grain elevators along CN rail line in Swanson, Saskatchewan.
Fire. Swanson, Sask. Canada

Information from other sources

Canada-Rail

Canadian Northern Railway station at Swanson. Source: Johnnie Bachusky, circa 1913

Prairie Towns

Town of Swanson, circa 1915

The photo was likely taken from the railway water tower located NE of the Railway Station. The stores pictured across the intersection from the RR Station are as follows starting from the far left of the photo.

  • Hotel operated by Mr. Belton & Sydney Pipe
  • Chinese Laundry operated by Joe Lee
  • General Store & Post Office operated by T.E. Warner
  • Swanson Mercantile operated by Mr. Stone & Mr. Cosgrove
  • Colley Hardware operated by Thomas Colley (It also housed Skjeie Meat Market)
    rounding the corner … the long building was * Dalton Wall Lumber Yard.

On a March night in 1921 a fire fanned by high winds destroyed all the buildings marked with an * above. Most were never rebuilt. Other businesses (not pictured, across the street, from those above escaped the fire). Fortunately, none of the Swanson residences were burned in that fire. However, several families were left homeless due to the fact that they lived in quarters at the back of their family’s business.

Post office opened on June 1, 1907. Closed on February 26, 1976.

Historical information courtesy of Pat Girwing

Saskatchewan History Album

Walter Sutherland

Walter and Ruth Sunderland came to Winnipeg, Manitoba, from England in 1904. A year later, brother Abram arrived, and in April, 1906, they moved to homestead north of Swanson, Saskatchewan on Section 12-32-9-W3.

We have many happy memories of our childhood days in Swanson: like Ethel’s first day of school. The teacher closed the classroom door, and it locked. So, Ruth drove the horse and buggy near the school window where Ethel and Mack Gilmour crawled in through the window. There were many times when the boys of the school hung Vera out the school window, and then waited until they saw the teacher coming back from lunch before they would haul her in again.

In the winter of 1912, Ruth took Ethel and Vera in to Swanson to see a traveling picture show, held in Anderson’s Hall above the hardware store. During the evening, the film caught fire. The audience all escaped, but the camera operator was badly burned trying to put out the fire.

Our first recollection of radio was listening, with ear phones on, at Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Wooltorton’s. Each of us had a turn for five minutes. Mrs. Wooltorton always had icing sugar sandwiches for lunch.

Sunderland and Beaton family plots are located in St. Ambrose Cemetery, southwest of Swanson.

William Beaton

William Beaton, the youngest member of a family of eleven, was born in Milan, Quebec, in 1877. His parents and grandparents had come with other Scottish settlers in 1840 from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.

In 1902, he went to North Dakota, where he farmed. In 1905 he took a homestead south of Wiseton, Saskatchewan. He left when a rerouting of the proposed CNR left his land far from the proposed town site. He bored many wells in the Wiseton, Hanley and Dundurn areas, and also broke many broncos. In 1907 he bought land in the Ardath-Swanson district, and in 1909 married Florence Sunderland, whose family lived north of Swanson. William and Florence resided on S. E. 21-31-9-W3 until 1935 when they moved to S. E. 28-31-0.

Florence had come to Swanson in 1906 with her parents Edward and Elizabeth, to visit her brothers Abram and Walter (Ruth).

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan

Homestead Records

Tp. 031 Rg. 08 W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NW 30-31-08-W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NE 30-31-08-W3

Swanson, Selmer : NE 19-22-12-W3
Swanson, Selmer : NW 5-34-02-W2
Swanson, Clarence : NE 5-34-02-W2

The land system in western Canada that was based on a grid survey developed for the Prairies by the Canadian government. The basic unit of the survey was the 36-square mile township that was divided into 36 sections. Each section was about one square mile (640 acres) and were divided into four quarters or into sixteen legal sub-divisions. Townships were numbered from south to north starting at the United States border, and numbered from 1 to 129. Ranges in Saskatchewan and Alberta (and parts of British Columbia) are numbered from east to west starting from each meridian, and ranges are numbered 1 to 34. Surveyors established seven meridians, which acted as baselines for surveying and numbering the townships.

W3 = UF West of 3rd Meridian


Abraham David Swanson

Saskatchewan eHealth Genealogy Index
Death Record Number: 1298
Last Name: SWANSON
First Name: ABRAHAM D
Sex: M
Death Date (yyyy/mm/dd) 1912/ 5/ 10
Place of Death:

Abraham David Swanson is buried in the St. Ambrose Cemetery located near Swanson, Saskatchewan. His headstone records the same date as the death record and gives his age at 30 years 6 months, placing his birth around November 1881. Abraham is the only Swanson in the cemetery. According to his son Roy, Abraham died of illness.

If that birthdate is correct, Abraham was around 17 when his son Selmer was born in Minnesota in 1898. Abraham’s wife Theolene Moen was born in 1873, so she was around 25 when Selmer was born.

According to an unverified version of the family tree, Abraham and Theolene were born in Houston township in south-eastern Minnesota.

Abraham had at least two sisters, Ida and Isabel, according to the postcard from Turtle River and an unidentified photo.

Abraham founded the town of Swanson. The town had a post office by 1907, and the birth of Abraham and Theolene’s fourth son Grant is recorded for that same year. Information on the St. Ambrose Cemetery website says Abraham Swanson “homesteaded in this area in 1905 and founded the town of Swanson.”

Abraham and Theolene had five sons:

Selmer 1898-1985, born in Minnesota
Telford 1902– 1989, full name Addison Telford, born “out of state”
Clarence 1904 ?–1943 ?
Grant (called Richard on his birth record) 1907-1966, born in Swanson
Roy (called Russel on his birth certificate) 1910–1996 (my father), born in Swanson

Abraham put down his occupation as farmer on Roy’s birth certificate.

Southeast Minnesota

In the late 50s-early 60s, our family used to go to Spring Grove for a picnic with a bunch of other members of the Swanson family.

Houston, Minnesota

The Houston, Minnesota, region was the birthplace of both Abraham and his wife Theolene Moen, according to the unverified family tree. In the 1950s and 60s our family and others from the Swanson side would go to Spring Grove to get together with a bunch of relatives from Spring Grove. I only saw those relatives once a year for a few years.

Houston was incorporated in 1874. The community was named after Sam Houston, first president of the Republic of Texas. In 1852, William McSpadden platted the original site of the Village of Houston. McSpadden had served under Sam Houston in the Mexican–American War. Pioneers followed him into the area and by 1854 there were stores and a school among the approximately 40 buildings in the settlement.

Spring Grove, Minnesota

A post office has been in operation at Spring Grove since 1855. The community was named for a spring and a grove near the original town site. On the town website it’s claimed that Spring Grove is the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota.

Swanson, Saskatchewan

Abraham founded the town of Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada. The hamlet is located southwest of Saskatoon along Highway 45 along the Canadian National Railway.

Click for the Wikipedia article on Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada

Homestead Records from the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan
No dates are given in the on-line finding aids.

Sections NW30 and NE30 – Township 31 – Range 8 – W3 (west of the Third Meridian, 106° west, near Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)

Swanson, Abraham D. : NW 30-31-08-W3
Swanson, Abraham D. : NE 30-31-08-W3
Statement of coordinates (cartographic): ca. 51.6925, ca. -107.1377

Search of 51.6925° N, 107.1377° W on Google Maps.

Intersection of Highway 45 and Township Rd. 315

Selmer and Clarence also have homestead records but not nearby.

Clarence Swanson

1904–1943 ?

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan Homestead Records
No dates are given in the finding aid.

Swanson, Clarence: NE 5-34-02-W2
(Selmer has a homestead record for an adjacent quarter: NW 5-34-02-W2, so this is probably our Clarence. These locations are not near the town of Swanson.)

There do not seem to be any pertinent records in the Minnesota People Records Search, comprising birth records from 1900 to 1934, and death records from 1904 to 2001.

Minnesota Death Records – possible matches
Clarence H. died January 17, 1934, Hennepin County
Clarence. died , April 1, 1941, Ramsey County

Clarence was one of my father Roy Swanson‘s four brothers. My father recalled that their mother Theolene sometimes sent him (Roy) to bring Clarence back from a beer joint. He died of alcoholism, according to Roy.

My brother Jeff has heard that Clarence died in Chicago.

Clarence Swanson

Photos with Clarence

Clarence, Grant, and Roy Swanson as youths in undated photograph.
Clarence, Grant, and Roy Swanson as youths in undated photograph.
Theolene Swanson (neé Moen) and Roy (Russel?) Albert Swanson in front. Behind: Grant (1907-1966), Clarence (1904?-1943?), Selmer (1898-1985), Telford (1902-1989)

Possible photos with Clarence

In front, Roy, children (Telford’s ?), Telford. In back, Theolene, Clarence?
Unidentified 8×10 photo. Small octagonal embossing in lower right corner: REMEMBRANDT MINNEAPOLIS.

The Directory of Minnesota Photographers / Galleries and Studios lists a Remembrandt Grand Studio with a Minneapolis address. The studio operated from 1813 to 1923. Clarence would have been 19 in 1923 if he was born in 1904.

Roy Albert Swanson

Death Certificate Index
Death: November 27, 1996
County of Death: Hennepin County, Minnesota
Mother’s Maiden Name: MOEN,
Date of Birth: Jul 24 1910
Place of Birth: OUT OF STATE

Roy Albert Swanson

Registration of Birth in Saskatchewan, Canada

Father: Abraham Swanson, native country: US. Occupation: farmer.
Mother: Theoline (?) Moen, native country: US.

His birth certificate says Russel Swanson, born July 24, 1910. Perhaps Russel was an error in recording.

Mother’s name appears to be Theoline, is spelled Theolene on her death certificate.

Enlisted in the US Navy in World War II (Evelyn’s headstone reads “Wife of RM1 Roy A. Swanson USN”. Radioman first class in the US Navy) served in the Pacific on minesweepers. He said that when he joined the military, he wanted to enlist as a US citizen, so he claimed his birthplace was Tolley, North Dakota, a town where the building housing birth records had burned down.

Married Evelyn Irene Rush, had four sons. Lived in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, until after Evelyn’s death.

Worked for Air Reduction in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Became regional manager, supervising dry ice plant in St. Paul, industrial gas plant in Minneapolis, acetylene plant in area north of Twin Cities, and plant in Fargo, North Dakota.

Roy sitting next to Theolene.
Roy in dark suit with mother Theolene and brothers Clarence (standing) ? andTelford ?.
Roy in bow tie.
Selmer and Roy, World War II. Selmer also served in WW I.
Jerome, John, Evelyn, Jeffrey, James,Roy,
Evelyn and Roy at Roy’s retirement

Evelyn Swanson née Rush

Minnesota Birth Certificate Index
Rush, Evelyn Irene
Birth: April 30 1917
County of Birth: Hennepin County, Minnesota
Mother’s Maiden Name: Gable

Oldest child of Frank Rush and Sophia Gable. Siblings Wlliam LeRoy Rush (1920–1997) and Raymond Francis Rush (1922–1995).

Married Roy Albert Swanson after he returned from the US Navy at the end of WWII. The story was Evelyn worked in the office of a pickle factory and Roy worked nearby — at Dry Ice – Airco?

Lived in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, on Beard Avenue and Crystal Lake Boulevard.

They had four sons: James Lee (b. 1947), John Allen (b. 1949), Jerome Roy (1951-1994 ), and Jeffrey Scott (b. 1957).

Death Certificate Index
Swanson, Evelyn I.
Death: July 5, 1980, Hennepin County, Minnesota
Cause of death: complications from bowel cancer.

Her headstone at Fort Snelling Cemetery says “WIFE OF RM1 ROY A. SWANSON USN”. RM1 = radioman first class, US Navy.

Jerry, John, Evelyn, Jeff, Jim, Roy
Evelyn and Roy at Roy’s retirement party

At the cabin

Sophia Rush née Gable

Sophia Gable, ca. 1892–1951

Minnesota State Census Index
Gable, Sophia
Census ID: 1709477
Census Year: 1895
Census Location: St Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
Age: 3, Gender: Female, Ethnicity: White, Birthplace: Minnesota

Death Certificate Index
Rush, Sophia M.
Death: August 28, 1951
County of Death: Hennepin County, Minnesota

Frank W. Rush (1892-1969) and Sophia M. Rush neé Gable (1892-1951)

Sophia had at least seven siblings: Elizabeth (Kuduk), Angela (Waite), Cecilia (Schmidt), Martha, Jerome, Edward.

Kuduk, Elizabeth M.
Death Certificate Number: 1988-MN-007218
Death: March 19, 1988 [this jibes with other information I have]
County of Death: Hennepin County, Minnesota
Mother’s Maiden Name: Przybylowska
Date of Birth: Feb 26 1908
Place of Birth: Minnesota

Rush, Cecilia
Census ID: 4519540
Census Year: 1905
Census Location: St Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota
Details: Age: 5, Gender: Female, Ethnicity: White,
Birthplace: Minnesota
Father’s Birthplace: Ireland
Mother’s Birthplace: Ireland

Schmidt, Cecilia Theresa
Death Certificate Number: 1984-MN-010397
Death: April 3, 1984
County of Death: St. Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Details: Mother’s Maiden Name: Kaufman
Date of Birth: Mar 28 1900
Place of Birth: Minnesota

Theolene Swanson née Moen

Minnesota Historical Society Death Records

Swanson, Theolene M.
Certificate Number: 1962-MN-007453
Death: December 24, 1962
County of Death: Hennepin County, Minnesota
Mother’s Maiden Name: PERUS
Date of Birth: Jun 6 1873
Place of Birth: MINNESOTA

Name spelled “Theoline” on Grant and Roy’s birth records.

Theolene Swanson née Moen

According to an unverified family tree, Theolene was born in Houston, Minnesota. She was married to Abraham David Swanson also of Houston and had five sons, some born in Minnesota and at least two, Richard (Grant) and Russel (Roy), born in Swanson, Saskatchewan.

On Roy’s birth certificate in 1910, her name seems to be spelled Theoline.

Some time after Abraham’s death in 1912, Theolene and other family members moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In front: Theolene Swanson (née Moen) and Roy Albert. Behind: Grant ((1907-1966), Clarence (1904?-1943?), Selmer (1898-1985), Addison Telford (1902-1989)
Isabel & Mother (Theolene) | Clossett Print
Theolene, Roy, Clarence ?, Telford ? and two children. Minneapolis.
Back: Taken 4/29/28 [?]
Telford and Theolene