My brother Jeff Swanson of Gull Lake, Minnesota, says that our cousin Tom (son of Telford) has some evidence that Abraham D. Swanson spent time in Fargo before embarking for Canada, where he founded the town of Swanson, Saskatchewan. Perhaps Fargo was a staging point for homesteading in Saskatchewan. Fargo is just across the Red River from Moorhead. Might this be a picture of Abraham?
Postcard to A.D.S., Swanson, Sask, 1909
To: Postmaster |Swanson P.O. | Sask | Canada ADS am shipping you car of potatoes for seed thats the kind we have here. Will write soon Warner Postmarked Minneapolis, June 19, 1909.
W3 = West of 3rd Meridian The 2nd Meridian is 102° west, forming the northern part of the Manitoba–Saskatchewan boundary The 3rd Meridian at 106° west, near Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan. Township 31 – Range 8 — West of the Third. Abraham David Swanson homesteaded on the north-west corner of section 30 sometime before 1907.
Each township had 36 sections and had an area of 6 miles by 6 miles. Each section of land was one mile by one mile in size. One section of land has 4 quarter sections . Each quarter section was denoted as north west, north east, south west or south east.
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.
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, 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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Abraham founded the town of Swanson, Saskatchewan, Canada. The hamlet is located southwest of Saskatoon along Highway 45 along the Canadian National Railway.
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
Intersection of Highway 45 and Township Rd. 315
Selmer and Clarence also have homestead records but not nearby.
His birth certificate says Russel Swanson, born July 24, 1910. Perhaps Russel was an error in recording.
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.
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.
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.