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Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 350-353

John J. BUCKLAND, a successful boot and shoe dealer at No. 309 Kishwaukee Street, Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], where he has been engaged in business since 1876, was born in Carlshacun Province, Blaken, Sweden, 03 May 1834, and was the first of the family to come to America.  He secured a good education in the city schools and when yet under age came to this country, landing at NY City after an ocean voyage of nine weeks.

In the early part of 1859 he went to Denver, CO, which city then consisted of a couple of shanties, and there Mr. BUCKLAND was offered a block in the center of that great city in exchange for a mule he owned.  He saw no money in the trade at the time, and shortly afterward, he, with over 60 others, went up in the mountains on a gold exploring expedition.  After stopping for a short time at Mt. McGregor Mines, the whole party decided to go farther up the mountain, and with only ten days rations they started out.   They ventured too far away and were lost for 20 days.  They suffered untold agonies from hunger, having nothing for days but raw meat without salt, and some of the time were unable to get that.  After four days of fasting they had decided to sacrifice the mule, when one of the party killed an elk.  They were so nearly starved that they could hardly wait for their portion, and very little meat was left on the bones after they had dined.  After that a deer was occasionally killed, but they were half starved all the time.  At one time the captain of the company gave each about two or three pounds of meat and instructed them not to eat their portion until the day closed.   The men were so hungry, however, that when eveing came all had devoured their share, except the captain, who had a very small piece left.  It was in this way that the company got back to Denver.  This is in part a review of Mr. BUCKLAND's experience in going to Pike's Peak.  He was afflicted with the mountain fever when first starting out, and for three days had to be steadied on his mule by ropes.  It was he and his partner, a Mr. LEWIS, of Kankakee [Kankakee County], IL, from which place they started, who discovered the McGregor claim or diggings, now the site of Central City [Gilpin County], CO.  Mr. BUCKLAND was the only Swede in the company.

In the latter part of 1859 our subject returned to IL and located in Rockford.  In the fall of 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army, from this city, in the Silver Spar Battery, and served in the 15th Corps, under Gen. Sherman, but later under Gen. Logan.   He participated in 27 active engagements, besides numerous skirmishes, and was never absent from duty.  He was in the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, AR Post, Hot Springs, Jackson, Vicksburg and other intermediate places, Memphis, and was with Sherman in his march to the sea.  He was honorably discharged in Jun 1865, after four years of hard service.  He was slightly wounded at one time.

In 1866 after returning to Rockford, Mr. BUCKLAND went West again, and spent four and a half years as a miner in MT, after which he returned to Rockford.  Later he went to Jackson County, MN, took up a soldier's claim, and tried farming for four years.   However the grasshoppers jumped his claim so often that he gave up trying to till the soil and returned to Rockford, where he has carried on the boot and shoe business since.  He has been very successful in this venture and has a large and increasing trade.  He also owns some valuable property in Rockford and is a stockholder of the Rockford Manufacturing Company, a thriving institution.

Mr. BUCKLAND's parents, Jonas and Ellen (PEARSON) SWENSEN, passed their entire lives in Sweden, the father dying when 82 years of age, and the mother at age 60.  Both were members of the Swedish Lutheran Church.  The father followed the occupation of a farmer.  Of [p 353] the 14 children born to them, ten sons and four daughters, five are now living and all are married:  Swen, resides in Sweden, and is a banker; Otto is a goldsmith in Copenhagen [Denmark]; Joseph is a resident of Rockford, and Mrs. John JACOBSON.  [See also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of John JACOBSON.]

Our subject was married in Winnbago County, IL, to Miss Susan COLWELL, a native of Cherry Valley Township, this county, born 29 Dec 1845.  She has never lived out of the county except for a few years in MN.  Her parents were natives of the State of MD, but came to Winnebago County in the latter part of the 1830's, and were among the first settlers.  They located on a farm in Cherry Valley and there the father, Benjamin COLWELL, died when 83 years of age.  His wife lived to be quite old, but died of a cancer when 70 years of age.  They were the parents of a large family of children, seven of whom are living now, five sons and two daughters, and all are in comfortable circumstances.

Mr. and Mrs. BUCKLAND are the parents of four children:  (1)  Myrtle D., educated in the city schools; (2)  Charles E., also educated in the city schools; (3)   Izora, at home; and (4)  Zinia E., at home.  Mr. BUCKLAND and wife are well known and universally respected in Rockford.  Politically he is a sound Republican; socially he is a Master Mason and charter member of G. L. Nevius Post, G. A. R., No. 1.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.