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John A. Cassel

John A. Cassel and Johanna F. Hegberg were married in Madrid May 26, 1885. John, son of C. J. and Ulrica Dalander Cassel, was born in Madrid, September 14, 1857, one of 10 children, nine of whom survived childhood. Johanna, daughter of Carl and Inga Hegberg, was born in 1865, in Jonkoping, Sweden. She immigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1869. She was one of seven children, six of whom survived. As a young man, John helped his father in various commercial enterprises and on the family farm. He and his brother, Peter, worked as miners in a Leadville, Colorado silver mine, to help their father financially, when a barge laden with meal or flour destined for sale downriver, became wet. John was also in a furniture store partnership with A. M. Sundberg from 1879-1882.

After their marriage, John and Johanna rented the John and Anna Dalander farm at Elk Rapids. Their daughter, Lillie (Mrs. Albert Bergstrom) was born there in 1886, and, thereafter, sons Elmer (Jack), Martin, and William, in 1892. In 1893, they rented the Eva (Mrs. Eric) Dalander farm, a portion of which is now owned by Harlin Keigley, where Eleonora (Ella - Mrs. Art Check), was born in 1894, and sons Edward, John H. (1897), and John Rudolph (1900) were born.

They lived in an-older house which stood on the east side of this well-traveled road from Elk Rapids to the Fairview Cemetery and north of the county line. Those were hard times. Bill Cassel remembers frequent visitors looking for a meal and a place to sleep. One cold night, a tramp arrived just as they were leaving for the children's Christmas program. The tramp said, "Go ahead. (He) would build a fire, and keep the house warm." When they returned, he was sitting by a roaring fire, waiting for them. The boys carried meals to another visitor who stayed in the barn for over a week while recovering his health. Another traveler was healthy, but seemed prepared to settle down, until the Dalander Cemetery across the road was pointed out, and someone mentioned occasional ghosts seen there!

In 1903, they purchased 90 acres for $77 per acre, on the southeast edge of Madrid (east of U.S. Highway 17, between Marco's Station and Mount Hope) where Irene (Mrs. C A. Conklin) was born. Mr. Cassel was a charter member of St. John's Lutheran Church (then the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran), and he and Johanna were active members. The family normally walked to church, not only on Sunday morning, but Sunday evenings and often times during the week.

John passed away November 3, 1938; Johanna in 1943; and they are buried in the Cassel Cemetery. Surviving children are Bill, of Slater, and Irene, of Leesburg, Florida. Lillie, who passed away in 1982, remembered walking with C. J. Cassel out to the pasture west of his house to get the cows; visiting Charles Gaston at his house east of the Elk Rapids School, and visiting at her Uncle Andrew Cassel's house in New Sweden, when he was a member of the Legislature.

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