Land of Opportunity: Stalwart Swedes Became Iowa Homesteaders

Woman’s family comes from Sweden, and included stalwart homesteaders and railroaders.

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My uncle, C.J. Burdette, came to Creston, Iowa, from Sweden as a young man. He left Sweden for the land of opportunity because he had older brothers and property was left to the oldest son. He married Christina Danielson of another pioneer family. Her brothers were stalwart men who were homesteaders and railroaders.

People from Sweden usually went to Minnesota or the Fairfield, Iowa, area. Uncle Charley went to Fairfield. In Sweden his name was Anderson. There were so many Andersons in that area that he decided to take the name Burdette, a German name. They admired the German people.

He soon made enough money to make a trip "home," where he sold America to his younger brother as well as his sister, who became my mother. A younger brother and a cousin east of Creston welcomed them here.

Some of the men were railroaders, so some settled in Creston. Some went on to Denver and eventually to the West Coast.

One of the first who came over made enough money to send for his family. Their children all died with scarlet fever the first year. The mother came west and had another family of stalwart men and one daughter, who became my aunt. She too had a family in Creston.

I stayed with them one year to attend high school, then went to a new consolidated school. I am 84 years old. I taught school for nine years, married and had four children. My son is buying my farm now.

Mildred B. Busch
Winterset, Iowa

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.