Posted By: County Coordinator
Date: 3/10/2009 at 12:24:38
Eric Soderland, the fitting reward of a well spent life in honorable retirement from labor and this has been vouchsafed to Mr Soderland, who has put aside business cares and is now living a retired like in Madrid, although for thirty-seven years he was actively associated with farming interests. He is numbered among the old settlers of Iowa, dating his residence in the state from 1858, while since 1865 he has made his home in Boone county. Sweden has sent a large quota of citizens to this portion of the state and they have been important factors in advancing public progress. Among the number is Mr Soderland, who was born in Sweden June 25, 1831. During the period of his youth there he learned the shoemaker’s trade and followed it for some time. He had but little opportunity to attend school and is largely a self educated man, learning many valuable lessons in school of experience and thus supplementing the knowledge which he had gained in early manhood.
In the year 1857 he emigrated to the new world, sailing from Stockhom and going by way of Hamburg to New York city. On reaching the shores of the new world he did not delay in the east, but made his way at once to the Mississippi valley, settling in Knox county, Illinois, where he remained for more than a year, working upon a farm. In 1868 he arrived in Boone county, Iowa, and was employed as a farm hand by the month for one year. In 1859 he purchased his first land, becoming the owner of a tract of 80 acres of raw prairie in Hamilton county. This he broke and planted and enclosed it within a fence, but he put aside business cares in 1862 in order that he might aid the government in the struggle to preserve the union intact.
He enlisted at Boonesboro, as a member of company I, thirty-ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and after drilling in Des Moines and Davenport for a time, receiving uniform in the latter city, he went with his regiment tot eh south and was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee. He first participated in the battle of Parker’s Cross Roads and subsequently in the engagement at Corinth. Later the regiment was assigned to the Sixteenth Army Corps and took part in the Vicksburg campaign. After participating in numerous engagements Mr Soderland was also in the battles of Chattanooga, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and then joined the Fifteenth Army Corps and went with Sherman in the Atlanta campaign, fighting all along the line. He aided in capturing the city, then marched through to Savannah, going with Sherman on his celebrated march to the sea, which was a continual triumph. He then took part in the North Carolina campaign to Columbus, and after the destruction of that city participated in the last battle of the war at Bentonville, marching thence to Richmond and on to Washington, D C where he participated in the grand review at the close of the war. He lost very little time from sickness or other causes and returned home with a most creditable military record, being honorable discharged in Clinton, Iowa in June 1865.
Mr Soderland then made his way to Madrid and purchased land near the town, in Garden township, becoming the owner of 87 acres upon which no furrows had been turned or improvements made, but his energetic labors resulted in bringing a change in a very short course of time and the wild lands returned to him good harvests. He first built two small houses in which he lived for several years. He afterwards added 40 acres to his land and then built a good, substantial and commodious residence and also erected barns and outbuildings, while fruit and shade trees were planted and modern machinery was purchased and all the accessories of a good farm were added. There Mr Soderland continued to make his home until 1902, when he purchased residence property in Madrid and is now living retired in the town. He still owns his farm, however, and is also possessor of 300 acres of land in Lincoln county, Minnesota, of which 200 acres are under cultivation.
Mr Soderland was married January 22, 1866 in Boone county, to Miss Hattie Anderson, who was born and reared in Sweden and was a daughter of Andrew Carlson, who came to Iowa in 1854. Mr and Mrs Soderland now have six living children: Christina, they wife of Haney Johnson, of Slater, Iowa, Maggie, at home, Andrew, who is married and is operating the home farm, Emil, who is married and is now in Arizona, for his health, Siegel, who is assisting his brother on the old homestead, and Hannah, who is still under the parental roof. They also lost two children: Arthur, who met death by accident when nine years old, and Peter, who died in infancy.
Mr Soderland is a member of the Grand Army Post at Madrid, and his wife belongs to the Lutheran church there. In politics he is a pronounced Republican and probably cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln, in 1864, at Rome, Georgia, while he was serving in the army. He has never been an office seeker but has never wavered in his allegiance to Republican principles. He commenced life a poor man, coming to America with no capital. He realized, however, that energy, strong purpose and honorable methods prove an excellent foundation upon which to rear the super structure of success and as the architect of his own fortunes he has built wisely and well. During a residence of 37 years in Boone county, he has become familiar through experience with the history of its development and progress, has seen the buildings of towns and cities, the construction of railroads, the development of farms and the work of improvement also all lines leading to the substantial up building of this portion of the state. He deserves great credit for what he has accomplished in life and well does he merit representation.
1902 Boone County History Book
Boone Biographies maintained by Jan Bony.
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