Historical Projects

Friman Family Historical Marker in Genoa City, Wisconsin

Carl Friman (1781-1862) emigrated from Sweden with five sons in 1838 and purchased 80 acres near Genoa City.  The Friman family members were recognized as the first Swedes to settle permanently in Wisconsin.  Returning to his homeland, Friman corresponded regularly with his sons who remained here.   Their letters from Wisconsin appeared in Swedish newspapers, stimulating interest in opportunities and conditions in America.

The Friman family was the vanguard of the 19th century Swedish immigration to the United States.  By 1900,  over  1.1  million  persons  of Swedish birth or descent resided in the United  States,  and  nearly  49,000 individuals  born  in  Sweden  lived  in Wisconsin.

Gustaf  Unonius Memorial in Nashotah, Wisconsin

Gustaf Unonius (1810-1902), a graduate of the University of Uppsala, Sweden, immigrated to Wisconsin in 1841 and established a settlement at Pine Lake.   In 1842, Unonius encouraged  to  enter  Nashotah House Seminary to study for Holy Orders.

Unonius, Nashotah House’s first graduate, was ordained in 1845 and served congregations in Pine Lake, Ashippun and Manitowoc before moving to Chicago in 1849.  He helped found St. Ansgarius Church there and remained until returning permanently to Sweden in 1858.

Rambo Apple Trees at Old World Wisconsin, Eagle, Wisconsin  (planted 2008)

When Swedish immigrant Peter Gunnarsson arrived in America on the second sailing of the sailing ship Kalmar Nyckel in 1640, he brought the seeds from his favorite apple tree.  Changing his name to Peter Rambo his life and career flourished in American and his Rambo apple trees still grow in the Pennsylvania and Ohio.  To honor Swedish immigrants who have settled in Wisconsin, Swedish American Historical Society has sponsored the planting of two Rambo apple trees on the Finnish farm grounds at Old World Wisconsin.

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