Monday, March 25, 2013

Idaho Territory Sesquicentennial ~ Askersund, Sweden to Colorado to Idaho

Today I am pleased to present my first guest post written by blogger Sharon McConnel from Sharon's Hodge-Podge for the continuing Idaho Territory Sesquicentennial series.

My Swedish-born great-grandfather John Carlson immigrated in the early 1880's. He and his younger brother George settled in the east central Colorado where they worked in the mines and then farmed. At some point John became friends with the family of Cephas and Celestia (“Lettie”) Barker. Cephas and three of the children died of typhoid fever and John eventually married Lettie. Their daughter Alma was grandmother.

In 1903 John brought his family to Idaho: wife Celestia, her son Ira, her daughter Francis and their daughter Alma. Alma was nine years old at the time. Carlsons and two other families rented a railroad box car. They loaded their belongings, farm equipment and teams on the freight car and came to Idaho, to Weiser, which had been well-advertised and promoted.

John worked for Butterfield Livestock in the Price Valley area and Lettie cooked at the ranch. The following year, John and Mr. Long, one of the neighbors from Colorado, heard of work in Emmett building a canal. They both had teams of horses so they checked it out. Carlsons stayed and Longs went back to Weiser.

Two years later Carlsons bought the relinquishment papers on a High Valley ranch, northeast of Ola. There was a 12' x 14' cabin on the property and John added onto it. The Carlson ranch became the stage stop between Ola and Smith’s Ferry. In a 1911 photograph the sign reads Jno. Carlsons Wood Side Home. I can only image how High Valley’s alpine setting must have reminded John of his native Sweden. John died four years before my father was born, so what little I know of him has been passed down through my grandmother's stories and the occasional appearance in public record. One of my favorite stories is how he walked from the High Valley Ranch to the then county seat of Idaho City to file his homestead papers, roughly a round trip of a hundred miles. I wish I could have known him!

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