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John Swanson


Theresa Rabe


There were many business tycoons in the rough and tumblepioneer days. Men who did much gambling and speculation in the businessworld Some of these men were Andrew Carnegie and James J. Hill. These menwere widely known throughout our nation. But in a tiny pioneer town of Hallock,Minnesota there was another business tycoon flourishing. This man wouldnever be as great as Andrew Carnegie and James J. Hill, but he would makehis small contribution to the county. This man is John Swanson.

He has managed the Hallock Farmer Store for some 60 oddyears. His son is part owner in the store, now. Even if his son is partowner and handles most of the business aspects. John still has a most significantjob in the business, like writing out the invoices and all the checks. Johnsaid, "I do these things to keep my mind alert and to keep busy".

John Swanson came from Sweden when he was only 17 yearsold, in the year 1890. His uncle was the one who persuaded him to come tothe United States, by sending him a $50 boat ticket. So John got on a shipand set sail for Boston. From Boston he went directly to Kennedy, Minnesota.There John was recommended by friends to work in a store, so he did. Johnsaid, "This is what gave me the idea that some day I wanted to runa store".

John didn't stay at this job long till he was off to Bowesmont,North Dakota. There he worked on a farm. He didn't stay at this job longeither. After this job he and his brother opened a store in Bowesmont. Afterthe store shut down in Bowesmont, he came to Hallock. In Hallock he boughtthe Farmer Store and made it into the outstanding store it is today.

John walked into the immigration office in Pembina, NorthDakota, in the year 1890, speaking with a Swedish brogue. He had waitedthe 5 years it takes to become a U.S. citizen and was ready to obtain hiscitizenship.

These were some of the conditions that John remembers aboutthe period since he gained his citizenship.

1. There were no roads just endless stretches of prairiegrass.

2. All the people in Minnesota were children and middle-aged,hardly any of the people were over 50.

John has done extensive traveling through 17 states andseen 20 presidents come into office. John always votes Republican.

Before his sight got poor and his hearing started to failhe did lots of hunting, fishing, and was the first person to introduce curlinginto the county.

Most of his early schooling was in Sweden. One of the mainsubjects John studied in Sweden was penmanship which gave him the graceof beautiful printing. While in the United States he went to school threeparts of a winter to learn English. John says, "It's the hardest languageto master". He also studied Commercial Law so he would know his legalright's when involved in business transactions.

For being 98 years old he has many philosophies on modernlife. John said, "That the world in 1971 is so upset that it has tocome to a halt but he says it hasn't yet".

John is a person who values friendship very much. He said,"When you run a store and travel as I have done, you meet interestingpeople around every corner you turn". You walk into his storeand just see the old people in there, all of these people are his friends.Friends that come into his office and hash over the good old days.

John Swanson never got as famous as Andrew Carnegie orJames J. Hill but he was a man full of ideas and philosophies and friendsto one and all who did just as much to help his county as Andrew Carnegieand James J. Hill did for the nation.


Winters, Sheldon (Mrs.) Hallock, Minnesota January, 1971

Swanson, John (Mr.) Hallock, Minnesota, January, 1971


=+1>Swanson, John (Mr.) Hallock, Minnesota, January, 1971