John Danielson Long


This material is from: "Larchwood Centennial 1872-1972,Remember the Past Build for the Future" and The LONG Family History. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher. This information transcribed by Diane Johnson and may be freely copied for non-profit purposes. All other rights reserved by the author. 

In 1868, John Danielson Long (b.17 Aug 1832, Adelöv, Jönköping, Sweden, d.13 Mar 1896, Lyon County, IA) came to America by himself, leaving his wife and two children in Sweden until he could make a home for them in the United States. He worked on railroads and did whatever work he could find to make money. Once when he had just about enough money saved to send for his family in Sweden, he was robbed, and had to start all over again. He worked his way to Iowa in 1869, where he homesteaded the 160 acres which is located about nine miles west of Larchwood, bordering the Big Sioux River. Being close to the river the locality provided water and the surrounding trees made the area an ideal place to homestead. He sent for his wife Johanna (b. 4 May 1834, Hegebyhöga, Östergötland, Sweden, d. 27 Feb 1887, Lyon County, IA) and their two children (Johanna and Carl, Ferdinand to be born in IA) after he homesteaded.

They lived in a dugout-type home until they could build their first wooden house in the 1880's. It was one of the first houses to be built on the prairie in this area. In the early days the Long home was a landmark for travelers. The road passed through the farm, near the family dwelling, to the river crossing into Dakota Territory. Hardships of pioneer life were numerous; there were blizzards, lack of bridges meant streams and rivers would flood over, travel was limited and there was a lack of many conviences we know today including telephone communications. Medical services were only sought and secured in dire circumstances. This made for closer intimate dependance on good neighbors. The nearest grocery store might be a couple of days away on foot.

Soon after coming from Sweden, Johanna (Blomstedt) Long ventured on a shopping tour to Sioux City, not realizing the distance and hazards involved. She started early one morning following a southerly path and became completely lost. Due to language difficulties, not being able to communicate with even a stranger in this sparsely populated area she was unable to chart a homeward path. After a week's inquiry and search it was discovered that she missed her way. She was found in Yankton, SD.

One day Johanna was alone at home with her family. A group of Indians came by and set up camp on the banks of the Sioux River just a few rods from their dwelling. This was a new experience for her. She listened to many stories of fierce atrocities and killings committed by unfriendly Indians. With thoughts of her helplessness to defend herself and her family, she was suddenly seized with fear, what would she do? She couldn't run away, no place to go. Could she conceal her where-abouts until her husband returned? But with children this was most difficult. Besides there were chores to do and an evening meal to prepare. Finally she hit upon a more positive strategy, she churned butter, made bread, gathered a few eggs and took them in person to the Indians. They gladly accepted these tokens, a meaningful symbol of good will and in turn offered some wild game roasting on the fire. This was a signal point of friendship. The smiling Indian chief stepped forward and gave her a gentle pat on the shoulder. Johanna returned home with assurance she had nothing to fear.

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