As Louis and Lisa Stina settled into their new home in Kansas, Lisa Stina’s parent Jonas and Anna Hultman remained in Illinois with their young children. In this post, we’ll follow both of these families from 1865 to about 1890.
Before the war, Jonas Peter Hultman and his family were living in Eliza Township, Mercer County, Illinois. Their daughter Lisa Stina had recently left home to be married. Two more children were added to the Hultman family with the birth of Andrew and Louis. The Illinois state census records for 1865 are a mess so I’ve been unable to locate them immediately after the war. But by 1870 they were on a farm in Cambridge Township in Henry County – a move of about 60 miles straight east from where they were, assuming they hadn’t lived anywhere else in between. They were still on a rented farm and owned no property of their own.
They were probably still victims of the high land prices in Illinois. I got a book through Interlibrary Loan this week that tells the story of the Swedes associated with the Galesburg Land Company, and who left Illinois and founded the town of Lindsborg, Kansas1.
The Swedes in Illinois were experiencing great economic difficulty. Land near the Swedish settlements was already under production, or else very expensive to purchase. (p.42)
By the mid 1860s, unemployment was very high and newcomers found it almost impossible to find work. (p. 44)
I would imagine they were doing okay on a rented farm – I remember looking at Gust Rudeen’s probate papers and seeing that his family had quite a thriving farm operation, albeit small, even though they owned no land. But the Hultmans worked hard and hung in there and by 1880 they owned their own place in Drury Township in Rock Island County. A trip to the courthouse will be needed to track down the exact number of acres. But the 1880 Agriculture Supplement to the census gives us a pretty good picture of the overall scope of their farming operation:
- 14 acres tilled
- value of farm $1200
- value of machinery $50
- value of livestock $300
- labor costs $12
- value of production $370
- mowed grassland 8 acres; production 16 tons
- 4 milk cows
- 4 other cattle; 4 sold
- 200 lbs butter produced
- 15 acres corn; production 900 bushels
- 1 acre potatoes; production 200 bushels
- 1/2 acre apple trees; production 45 bushels
That’s a lot of butter.
By this time, Jonas is 67 years old. I don’t know how much farming he was capable of by then. Fortunately, he still had four kids at home: Louis (18), Andrew (20), Edna (22), and Joseph (29). Besides Lisa Stina, other kids who’d left home by now were Lena Karin (42), Anna Louisa (40), Claus August (32), and Frank Oscar (26).
I have fascinating information about Joseph coming up soon…oh my gosh!
So meanwhile in Kansas, we can follow Louis and Lisa Stina and see how they are doing. Kansas has great census records; between the Federal and State records, we can check in on this family every 5 years.
1865 – Well, we get off to a bad start actually. The Kansas State Census was collected in June, 1865 and we know that their son Edward was born in Kansas in April. They should be in the records somewhere, but perhaps they were in a somewhat transient situation at the time having just moved there.
1870 – Now we find them on their farm in Jackson Township just a mile west of Randolph, Kansas. They have four kids in the family: Emma and Frank (born in Illinois) and Edward and Louise Juliana “Julie” (born in Kansas). The ag census shows a cute little farm operation:
- 25 acres improved
- 8 acres woodland
- 127 acres unimproved
- value of farm $1100
- Value of improvements and machinery $70
- value of livestock $300
- Wages paid $40
- 2 horses
- 3 milch cows
- 4 other cattle
- 3 swine
- 60 bushels spring wheat
- 800 bushels corn
- 50 bushels oats
Pretty comparable to what Jonas Peter would have in Illinois by 1880 – but Louis has a 10-year headstart.
1875 – Two more children have been added to the family, Alfred and Edna.
1880 – A daughter Effie has been added to the family, and Emma has moved out, perhaps to work for someone else. Another daughter, Esther Olive, was born in 1876 and died in 1880 before her fourth birthday. I do not know the cause of death, probably a childhood disease.
The ag census shows considerable growth of the farming operation:
- 40 acres tilled; 10 acres woodland; 120 acres unimproved
- value of farm $2200
- value of machinery $200
- value of livestock $600
- value of production (left blank)
- mowed grassland 25 acres; production 40 tons
- 5 horses
- 4 milk cows; 4 calves
- 13 other cattle; 7 sold
- 190 lbs butter produced
- 10 swine
- 90 poultry, 1000 eggs
- 16 acres corn; production 700 bushels
- 3 acres oats; 66 bushels
- 11 acres wheat; 70 bushels
- 1 acre sorghum; 100 gallons molasses
This farming operation is more diverse and valuable than the Hultman farm in Illinois.
Louis and Lisa Stina also have new neighbors – Hans Hanson, his wife and 6 children have moved to Jackson Township in Riley County. Hans is Louis’ older brother! I have much research to do on this family. It’s intriguing to think that there may be a whole bunch of Hanson cousins in Kansas that we’ve lost track of.
At some point after 1880, Jonas Peter and his wife Anna Christina decide to sell their farm in Rock Island County and buy land near their daughter Lisa Stina. Some of the children who had already left home will also make their way to Kansas with their own young families.
In 1885 in the Hanson household, Louis and Lisa Stina have added another daughter Clarinda to the family. A few miles to the north, Jonas Peter and Anna Christina have settled onto a farm with son Joseph (32), daughter Edna (26), son Andrew (24) and son Louis (22). Jonas is now 72 years old and I’m sure his sons are doing the farming for him.
The Hansons and Hultmans are on the cusp of a lot of changes in their lives. In the next 15 years, there will be both weddings and funerals…and an unfolding mystery about Joseph Hultman.
1“Pioneer Cross, Swedish Settlements Along the Smoky Hill Bluffs”, Thomas N. Holmquist, 1994,