Plights and Perils of Persevering Pioneers

My new book, Plights, and Perils of Persevering Pioneers got released on March 31st, which is about the time all of the libraries in the United States closed. I have attached links to the book for those of you who have Internet access. I hope to get our local libraries interested in carrying the book for those without the internet. The first link below is for Austin Macauley, then Barnes and Noble, or go to

Or Goodreads.

Flu is Not New

Pictures by Herb Schwede

These pictures were taken at the old Pioneer Cemetery in Ward County North Dakota near Rice Lake. Many from our family we’re living there in sod houses at that time. The Cemetery was started because of scarlet fever or a virus similar to the Spanish influenza. The Antillans were Eston Olson’s wife’s parents. There are many other graves at the pioneer Cemetery with no markers. Most of the family was driven farther North by a severe drought. There small oxen powered wagon train continued North and most of the survivors settled in Alberta Canada near Rocky Mountain House.  A few stayed on the windy prairies of Saskatchewan.

Why Corona Virus, why now? It doesn’t take much action from my wild imagination to come up with a possible healing scenario. A healing virus is being sent by some higher power. A plan to send out a wake up call to this world. That power finally decided since nobody could get along with each other, love one another or care about one another, he would put us all on an equal playing field.
The plan is to bring us together as one people. No matter how it shakes out, it’s going to bring some disastrous results for many with the loss of life. Most Generals fight at least one big nasty battle in their plan to win a war.
This battles gain would be a world that is stronger, much stronger and united. The last terrible, deadly virus was the Spanish influenza about 100 years ago. It is possible people need to be turned around and sent in the proper direction about every 100 years.
It was a little over a 100 years ago when my ancestors came to this country from Finland and Norway. They had nothing but faith, and hope. With much hard work, hardship, suffering, perseverance, pride and love for their neighbors they built this country up from nothing. It became an industrialized, computerized, huge miracle. In the process many have lost their way. We now have abundant hours while confined to our homes to sit back and reflect on our life walk to this point, while contemplating the condition of our hearts and souls. All changes worldwide must come from one person at a time.
We should all prey for the caregivers, they are the soldiers fighting on the front lines of this war. May God give them the strength and endurance to continue and stay healthy in the process. I send condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
There are a lot of laboratories racing to find a cure or a vaccine for Corona virus I hope they consider the possibilities of a natural substance called Tea Tree Oil. It is a great thing for fighting infectious wounds, skin conditions and many other things.
God’s peace to this World, from an old Finlander.

The Olaf Person Family

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Olaf Person Family

Olof Person was born on December 15th, 1853 at Gunarskog, Sweden. It 1876 he immigrated to America and lived in Goodhue County, Minnesota. He later came to Dakota and settled on the east shore of Lake John. Throughout his lifetime, He was very proud of that land. In 1880 Olaf wrote to his parents and brother Andrew and invited them to join him. Andrew also farmed in Hamlin County for over 60 years.

Olof married Emma Olson, daughter of Olof Christensen on November 21, 1881, at Watertown. She also was a Swedish immigrant born June 8th, 1857 at Iville, Bohuslan, Sweden. She immigrated to America in 1880 with her father and two sisters. Anna and Josephine. Her Mother had died in Sweden and the family came to America to join Emma’s Brothers.

Olof and Charlie Johnson would drive as much as 50 miles with horse and buggy to get a minister on occasions. The family would provide lodging and transportation for them.

The Person family suffered much tragedy in the Years 1903 to 1905, with the experience of 5 deaths. Fredolph, son of Olof died in 1903. In 1904 Andrew Person lost his wife Ophelia and baby daughter Edla. In 1905 Andrew and Olof’s mother Brita died in March and Olof’s wife Emma died the following day.

It was Olof Person’s dream to build a new building for the Old Swedish Covenant Church as soon as he arrived in the Dakota territory. If you believe that there is a Creator and also an evil one, or the devil you would almost have to think Olof was being tested in the early nineteen hundreds with family tragedies. The Bible talks about Job being tested, he did not waiver he did not lose his faith, neither did Olof Person.

Norwegian Vikings

Rune Temte as Ubba, the most senior-ranking Dane, in BBC AMERICA’s ‘The Last Kingdom.’ (Photo: BBC AMERICA)
“When you think of the Vikings, do you envision savage brutes wielding swords and shields while wearing helmets with pointy horns? Well, part of that is true. To celebrate this Saturday’s Viking invasion of BBC AMERICA with the epic new drama The Last Kingdom, we separate the truth from mere myth. Who were the Vikings really?”

In response to The Daily Post’ “Ripped from the Headlines!.”

My latest experience with Vikings has been with a football team from Minnesota, or reading joke books full of Ole and Lena stories. I must not forget the famous Norwegian Lutefisk Suppers! When we hear the word Viking, raping, pillaging and plundering come to mind from their past adventures. I would imagine a bit of that went on after a menacing looking Viking boat landed at some villages on the North Sea. From the history books it sounds like those Vikings were not welcome at all ports. Sailors still have a reputation of getting a little rowdy. Huge Viking men were depicted as a hardy lot, they no doubt could put away large quantities of rum and tables full of food at one sitting. The oarsmen no doubt had extremely large muscles, similar to the Viking football players, a very hairy, heavy, hardy, hungry, muscular group.

My ancestors were Norwegian Vikings. Maybe something was wrong with our Viking genes? All of them that I heard about were a very easy going and quiet, a very reserved group of people. They were hardy pioneers coming to America in 1868 with everything they owned in a few steamer trunks and bed rolls. After leaving Ellis Island they made their way west where they worked in the copper mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After working under the lake for a time they moved further west to the iron mines of Northern Minnesota.

After a few years working in the open pit mines they moved west to South Dakota to begin farming. Turning the virgin sod with an ox and a plow. They learned to live off the land when they had to. The life would have been considered more than just hard. It must have been almost unbearable. Blistering hot summers and freezing cold winters, living in a sod house. The family oxen were brought into the old sod shanty for their own good and for the heat from their body’s during a blizzard.

Part of our family stayed in South Dakota, others moved to Alberta Canada. Their pioneer spirit finally found them settled at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. A beautiful place on the east slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. They started clearing small areas of forested low ground and turning it into farmland. My great-grandfather and his brother were in their sixties at that time. A rather advanced age for someone to start a new life! A large family grew up there, many returned to become American citizens.

My Vikings are sure a disappointment when it comes to the revelry, raping and pillaging, but that is on the don’t do list in these modern days anyhow. Some did square dance until they were a 100 years old. There is a lesson here, hard work never hurt anyone. In my mind, I think I would have been a happy young Viking touring all the countries bordering the North seas. All the LUTEFISK I could eat too! Yeah right?