Hugo Frederick Swanstrom

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Hugo Frederick Swanstrom (Svanström)

Swedish: Hugo Ferdinand Svanström
Birthplace: Dunketorp u Åsebo, Gärdserum, Åtvidaberg, Östergötlands län, Sweden
Death: Died in Fresno, Fresno County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Adolph Frederick Augustus Swanstrom and Josephine Caroline Swanstrom
Brother of Martin John Swanstrom; Esther Frances Porter; Ellen Sophie Hinkle; Hildur Marie Luce and Harry William Swanström

Occupation: Cabinetmaker
Managed by: Justin Swanström
Last Updated:

About Hugo Frederick Swanstrom

His birth name was Hugo Ferdinand Svanström. He was a cabinet maker, farmer and mechanic. He came to America with his parents at the age of 4. He and his 3 year old brother Martin were very excited at first to see the ocean and to be going on a ship, but after a time at sea their interest waned and they became very bored, always wanting to know when they would get to "Amerika."

When the family did get to America, Hugo was very anxious to start school here and learn the English language. The Svanströms, like almost all immigrants, knew and spoke only their native language. When that first day of school arrived Hugo was very excited to finally be going, but he came home that night very disappointed that he had not learned English. It was only a matter of months before he did learn the language, but by then the novelty had worn off.

Hugo's parents were very devout and his father was the church organist in Chetek, Wisconsin. Hugo often recounted his memory of one particular Sunday when he sang a solo while his father played the organ. Throughout the entire performance Hugo was so nervous he was afraid his knees would give way and he would fall down in front of the congregation. That he made it through without this happening, he considered to have been a miracle.

Hugo was nearly 18 when his father died. He became the principle support to his mother after his father's death. Hugo took over the farm work as far as he was able, while continuing to work as an apprentice cabinet maker. Thus he learned his trade and continued to care for his mother throughout the rest of her life.

After Adolf's death, the Swanströms were having trouble making ends meet, so about 1906 they moved to Burlingame, Kansas where they had relatives. Here, as in Chetek, Hugo was both farmer and cabinet maker. The 1910 census shows him as a farmer.

When the federal government opened land to homesteading to promote a new reclamation project in Wyoming, the Swanströms availed themselves of this opportunity and settled a farm on Muddy Creek near Marbleton. Here Hugo built up a truck farm (potatoes and chickens), while his mother and sister operated the Marbleton Hotel. On 23 March 1914 he recorded the H Lazy S brand, but did not renew in 1925.

"Farmers in this section are now cutting their grain. Those in the field at present are Hugo Swanstrom, C. W. Carlson, A. B. Stout, F. D. Ball, W. E. Spencer and the River Forks folk. But we must take our hats off to Hugo Swanstrom as the real farmer. Mr. Swanstrom has eighty-eight acres of as fine oats as anyone ever saw in this country, and the yield is estimated at thirty bushels per acre and forty-five pounds per bushel. We repeat again, that the right kind of people can farm grain successfully here, and that our land should be valued according to what it is capable of producing. Mr. Swanstrom has raised thoroly matured grain every year since he located under the Cottonwood Canal and his yields have always been satisfactory. (Pinedale Roundup, Pinedale, Wyo., Thurs., Sep. 20, 1917).

Hugo registered for the World War I draft: Hugo Ferdinand Swanstrom, age 32, naturalized citizen, self-employed rancher at Marbleton, Wyoming.

Unfortunately, the Green River Supply Canal Project never resolved its organizational problems, and the Swanströms never proved their homestead claim.

About 1920 Hugo, his mother, and his brother Harry, moved to Rock Springs. Hugo went in with a friend of his and bought an automobile dealership, which was quite prosperous until the night his friend ran off with the cash and tools. The 1930 census shows him as a laborer, working in a garage. He owned his house at 311 Gail Street, which he reported as valued at $4,500. His mother was living with him.

He moved to California in the 1930s. He was listed on the 1934, 1942 and 1944 voter registration roll of Fresno as a Democrat. In 1934 he was a "garg." at 3632 McKenzie, and his mother was at the same address. In 1942 and 1944 he was a carpenter at 4604 Grant.

Hugo is remembered by his nieces and nephews as being very proper.


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Hugo Frederick Swanstrom's Timeline

May 19, 1886
Gärdserum, Åtvidaberg, Östergötlands län, Sweden
January 27, 1971
Age 84
Fresno, Fresno County, California, United States