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Early Settlers - Nels and Johanna Erickson – Hillside Cemetery, Kinsley, Edwards County, Kansas

Nels Erickson was born in Sweden in 1832. His father was a small farmer and wished his son to take a different path. When Nels was old enough, his father apprenticed him to a tailor. Nels was looking for more adventure so he ran away and tried his luck on a boat. He remained in that occupation until he turned 25. His brother, Pete, emigrated to America in 1855 and settled in Illinois. Nels joined him two years later.

On January 2, 1862, Nels married Johanna Jacobson while living in Illinois. She was born in 1841 and was from the same province in Sweden in which Nels lived. She came to America with her family at the age of 13. Nels and Johanna were the parents of five children.

The family left Illinois in 1881 and settled in Iowa. They stayed for six years and finally gave in and joined the immigration pull of Kansas. Nels, Johanna, and their two youngest sons loaded a boxcar with their possessions and headed west. They established their homestead six miles north and one mile east of Kinsley.

That first year was a challenge. Nels had to find work as a farm laborer to provide an income for the family. Eventually, good crops were raised.

The youngest child, Herman, “had a stroke of paralysis” and did not recover. He died at the age of 18. Their oldest son, Cornelius, was in poor health. He purchased a barbershop in Kinsley. He died at the age of 22 and is buried in Iowa.

Lawrence took over the running of the farm as Joseph and Johanna moved into Offerle. Johanna died in 1921 and Joseph the following year. They are buried at Hillside Cemetery with Herman, Lawrence, and his family.

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