All honor is given to those who have done the herculean task of opening the wild countries for settlement. Among the worthy pioneers of the reservation portion of Nez Perces County we are constrained to mention the gentleman whose name is at the head of this article. He came here in 1896 and took a homestead to which he could not come with a wagon. The wife and children had to walk up the lull, which is two thousand feet above the Clearwater, while Mr. Swenson pulled the cook stove on the front wheels of his wagon. He built a small log cabin, got the family settled and then went to work in the harvest fields to get bread. Mr. Swenson has been a great worker and has a fine farm, now all under cultivation, except the timber lot, while good buildings and improvements, as fences, orchard and all implements for use, testify strongly his industry and great excellence in labors.

Swen I. Swenson was born in central Norway, on August 18, 1863, and his parents, Iver and Ingri Swenson, were natives of the same place. The family came to the United States in June, 1866, and soon they were settled in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. In 1868 they went to Swift County, Minnesota, and there Swen grew to manhood, receiving his education, and there also, on November 21, 1887, he married Olive, daughter of Helge and Ingeborg Hillerud, natives of Norway, and who lived then in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, where Airs. Swenson was born, on May 21, 1869.

In 1890 Mr. Swenson came with his family to Latah County and there worked for a salary until February, 1896, the time that he came to his present place. He was one of the very first settlers on Central ridge, and since that time has labored incessantly for progress and improvement. Seven children have been born to this home: Helmar I., born June 22, 1888; Stener, born May 31, 1890; Emil and Julius, twins, born April 8, 1893, and died December 9, 1899, and May 29, 1894, respectively; Simon O., born April 28, 1895; Julius, born May 26, 1897; Emil Joseph, born October 27, 1899. On February 22, 1901, Mr. Swenson was called to mourn the death of his wife, consumption being the dread disease that look her away. Mr. Swenson has six brothers and two sisters, he being the oldest of the family. The youngest sister, who is also the youngest member of the family, is now keeping house for Mr. Swenson. Mr. Swenson’s parents are now living in Latah County.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903