Biography - Peter Swanson

PETER F. SWANSON was born in Gumlosa, Skane, Sweden, Jan. 12, 1866. He graduated from high school at the age of fourteen with highest honors in a class of 50. The father died when Peter was only a child not yet a year old. After leaving school at the age of fourteen he had to work for a living, and for three years was engaged in farm labor, also learning the butcher's trade. As his father had been a carpenter and builder, the son, however, inclined to artisanship and began to work for P. Ljungberg in Hessleholm, then operating a large wagonshop. After serving his apprenticeship as a wagonmaker, he continued in this shop until he was seized with a desire to emigrate to America. Leaving Sweden in March, 1886, he went to Galesburg, which has since been his home. After working on a farm for four years, he again turned to carpentry and affiliated himself with the Carpenters' and Joiners' Union, soon becoming one of the leading members of that body, and for four successive terms held the office of financial secretary. He also represented this body for two terms in the Trades and Labor assembly, holding the same office there. Having had no schooling in this country and desirous of a business education, he joined the night school of Brown's Business College in the fall of 1893. Not satisfied with night school, he entered for the full business course, which he did not complete owing to the opening of the spring work. A year later he started in business for himself as general contractor and builder. He employs only skilled labor and pays good wages, believing that to his employes he owes much of his success.
Mr. Swanson was married Nov. 27, 1895, to Miss Anna Nieleu of Sioux City, Iowa, and they reside at 146 N. Whitesboro st.
In politics Mr. Swanson is a strong Republican and has represented his ward at a number of conventions. He has served on the central committee for two terms, and at the last McKinley election was vice-president of a McKinley club. He represented the Fourth ward in Galesburg City Council in 1901-02.
Mr. Swanson is a member of the Swedish- American Republican League of Illinois, and of a number of social and fraternity societies; he is a prominent Odd Fellow, holding the post of secretary of the Joint Board of Odd Fellows and executive committee of Galesburg.

Extracted 17 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from the History of the Swedes of Illinois, published in 1908 by Engberg-Holmberg Publishing Company, Part 2, Knox County, pages 30-48.

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