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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information

The First Norwegians to Settle in Benton County, Iowa

Source:  "The Growth of the Scandinavian Factor in the Population of Iowa," by George T. Flom.
  The Iowa Journal of History and Politics.
Published Quarterly by The State Historical Society of Iowa,
Iowa City, Iowa.
Benjamin F. Shambaugh, Editor.
Volume IV, 1906. Page 270.
Further, the map1 also shows that the early settlements in central and southeastern Iowa were made by immigrants who came from the old Fox River settlement in Illinois, founded in La Salle County in 1834.

Among the early settlements in Iowa in direct line west from La Salle County are those of Norway, Benton County, and of Story County, as shown in the map referred to. In this connection a few words may properly be added regarding some of the first settlements between 1853 and the taking of the first State census in 1856.

The small settlement in Florence Township, Benton County, Iowa, dates back to the year 1854. The first Norwegian in the county was Sara Darnell.2  The founder of the settlement was Jonas P. Nordland,3 who came to America in 1853 and located first at Leland, Illinois. In the spring of 1854 he removed to Benton County, Iowa. In company with him at that time were Lars Strand and Sigbjorn Rosdal.4  Osmund Tuttle and Elling Ellingsen came during the summer and settled at the same place. These were the first Norwegians in the county. Jonas P. Nordland lived at Norway, Benton County, until his death which occurred on August 23, 1902.5

1  See "The Coming of the Norwegians to Iowa" by George T. Flom. The Iowa Journal of History and Politics July, 1905.
2  She was married to an American. She had probably come to the county a year or two earlier.
3  Born in Strand, Stavanger County, Norway, January 17, 1819.
4  These two, however, returned to Illinois soon after.
5  His son, L. T. Nordland, postmaster at Norway, Benton County, has kindly sent me a detailed account of the coming of his father and the first Norwegians to Benton County, which, however, I am not able to include in this sketch.

Map II - Centers of Dispersion and Course of Migration of the Norwegians
Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Vol III, 1905
By State Historical Society of Iowa

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