Biography of Ernest Fritchof Swanson

Ernest Fritchof Swanson. While Kansas gave its approval by liberal majority to the national administration in the election of 1916, it is noteworthy that the normally republican counties retained their political complexion and with few exceptions returned republicans to local offices. One of these exceptions occurred in Saline County, where with a normal republican majority of 500, Ernest Fritchof Swanson, the democratic candidate, was elected sheriff by a majority of 1,243 over his republican opponent. Long experience in the sheriff’s office, unusual qualifications for his official duties, and strong personal popularity were no doubt the principal factors in Mr. Swanson’s election.

Mr. Swanson is a native of Saline County and belongs to one of the Swedish families that came with the original Swedish colonization movement to Saline County in 1870. Sheriff Swanson was born February 15, 1871, and his birthplaec was a house whose location is now described as 226 North Third Street in the City of Salina. His parents were Andrew Peter and Emma Christina (Lindgren) Swanson. His father was born in Sweden June 10, 1831. In 1869 he emigrated with his family to America, and in 1870 came with a large colony of Swedish people to Saline County. While most of his compatriots located in the southern part of the county, he himself established a home in Salina. He was a cabinetmaker by trade, and learned that occupation in Sweden, and for ten years he was employed in a furniture store at Salina. He was industrious and thrifty and from his earnings he saved enough capital to buy 160 acres of raw land, which he subsequently developed as a fine farm and which is still his home. This old farm with its many fine improvements and comforts is located in Smoky View Township, fourteen miles southwest of Salina. He and his family are members of the Swedish Lutheran Church, and in politics he is a democrat.

Andrew Peter Swanson was married in Sweden in 1858. His wife was born in 1835, a daughter of Nels P. Lindgren, who came to America in 1869 with his daughter and died at Lindsborg, Kansas, in 1904. Mrs. Andrew Peter Swanson died at Salina October 14, 1887. She was a very religious woman, and exerted all her influence to bring up her children in the fear of the Lord. She was the mother of seven children, four sons and three daughters, and the five oldest were born in Sweden. Carl, born October 6, 1860, is now a farmer in Saline County; Emma, born November 3, 1863, was married December 31, 1883, to August J. Engborg, also a native of Sweden and now a retired farmer at Salina; William died in infancy. The fourth child, Anna, also died in infancy. Emil S., born February 9, 1868, is a cigar manufacturer at Salina. The sixth in the family is Ernest F. Jennie H., born in Salina August 25, 1873, was married in 1900 to Charles A. Hanson, a native of Saline County, and their children are Clarence, Floyd and Bernice.

Sheriff Swanson acquired his early education in the Salina public schools. Much of his early experience was as a farmer, and he continued agricultural pursuits in Saline County until 1900. In that year he returned to Salina and became associated with his brother Emil in the cigar manufacturing business. He was at that five years, and in 1905 took a position as receiving clerk in a wholesale grocery establishment at Salina. He was there three years and then for five years was a salesman. In 1909 he was appointed under-sheriff of Saline County, and filled that office three years. Following that came another year in which he sold goods, and in 1913 he was again appointed under-sheriff. He thus had about six years of practical experience in the sheriff’s office before his election as chief of the office in 1915.

Mr. Swanson stands high in Masonic circles, being affiliated with Salina Consistory No. 3 of the Scottish Rite. He belongs to the Swedish Lutheran Church. On November 12, 1895, in Saline County, he married Miss Mary Hanson. She was born on a farm in Smoky View Township of Saline County March 15, 1872, a daughter of Erick and Brita Hanson, both natives of Sweden. Her parents came to America in 1870 and are now deceased.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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