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Carl and Selma Hven – Garfield Cemetery

“At the age of twenty-one he left Sweden . . . sailing from Gothenburg and after ten days on the Atlantic landed in Castle Garden, New York. He had not a dollar in his pocket when he landed but as his ticket read to Woodhull, Illinois, he traveled to his destination, where he joined his uncles . . . “[1]

Carl and Per Elof “Peter” Hven joined others from their village emigrating to America in 1875. They spent four years in Illinois working as farm laborers earning $20 a month.

Carl believed the success of anyone in America was partly due to hard work and education. So, when he saved enough money to move West in 1882, Carl enrolled in Lindsborg, Kansas. After four years, he graduated with a teaching degree.

Carl and Peter came to Pawnee County in 1885 and homestead north of Garfield in Pleasant Ridge Township. Between the two brothers, they purchased one-quarter section of land and made a payment on the other. The Santa Fe Railroad charged $7.00 per acre. However, like many other farmers, drought and bad crops plagued the brothers, and they could not make the final payment on the second quarter section.

Selma Augusta Peterson was born on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea on January 5, 1868. She emigrated to America with her parents and five siblings in 1881. The two were married in Lindsborg, Kansas, on December 28, 1889. All four of their children were born in Garfield. Unfortunately, an infant died in February of 1899, and Selma passed away the following May 22 from “grippe” (influenza).

In local affairs, Charles served several years as a trustee of Garfield Township, clerk of the Garfield school board, and was elected a member of the Garfield city council. Carl and Selma believed education was beneficial, so their three children graduated from Bethany College.

Peter lived with Carl and assisted in caring for his brother’s children. He died at age seventy on January 15, 1928. Carl passed away on November 3, 1934. The brothers join the rest of their family members in the Hven family plot in Garfield Cemetery.

The rest of the story: Carl and Peter’s father, J.P. Swanson, served with the Swedish army for thirty years. Since J.P. was from the Village of Hvenshult, the military added the surname Hven to Swanson. Eventually, Swanson was dropped, and the family surname became Hven.


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