Biography of John Cederstrum

John Cederstrum, a Swedish immigrant, is a prominent figure in Dayton township, Lincoln County, South Dakota. Born in 1847, he faced early hardships after the death of his parents, working as a farm laborer until the age of 22. In 1869, he embarked on a journey to America with twelve companions, eventually settling in South Dakota in 1871. Cederstrum worked in the railroad industry before purchasing land in Dayton township in 1881. A dedicated farmer, he cultivates his land, raises livestock, and actively participates in public affairs. Cederstrum is highly regarded for his integrity and contributions to his community.

JOHN CEDERSTRUM.— This gentleman, who is engaged in farming and stock raising in Dayton township, Lincoln county, South Dakota, hails from Sweden and, like the majority of his sturdy nationality, possesses in an eminent degree the attributes essential to a high order of American citizenship. He was born on November 30, 1847, being the son of Ludwig and Anna Cederstrum, both natives of Sweden, the father a farmer by occupation and a man of sterling worth in his day. By reason of the death of his parents, which occurred when he was a small boy, the subject was early thrown upon his own resources and for a number of years gained his livelihood as a farm laborer. He continued to work in this way until about twenty-two years old, when he decided to leave the land of his birth and seek better opportunities in the great country across the sea, of which he had heard and read so much, and to which many of his friends and countrymen had already emigrated. Accordingly, in 1869, with twelve companions, he set sail for America and in due time landed at Quebec, Canada, and thence proceeded to Red Wing, Minnesota, and a little later to the city of St. Paul.

Shortly after his arrival at the latter place, Mr. Cederstrum secured employment on the Northern Pacific Railroad, where he worked for about one year, and during the ensuing sixteen years, he was similarly engaged with the Chicago & Northwestern and other railroads in the course of construction. He continued railroad work in various states until the fall of 1871 when he came to South Dakota, locating at Sioux Falls, where he remained for about ten years, removing in 1881 to Lincoln County and purchasing land in Dayton township, which he has since cultivated and otherwise improved. Mr. Cederstrum has reduced the greater part of his land to tillage and in addition thereto rents land from his neighbors. He also works at intervals at railroading, especially during the seasons when his presence is not particularly needed on the farm. He devotes his attention to general agriculture, raises considerable livestock, and though not as large a landowner as some of his neighbors, his efforts in the main have been crowned with success, and he is today in very comfortable circumstances.

Mr. Cederstrum has been a member of the town board for several years, has served on the local board of education, and takes an active interest in public and political affairs, being a zealous supporter of the Republican party, but in no sense an aspirant for official honors. He was married in the year 1881 to Miss Cecelia Peterson, a native of Sweden, and their union was terminated by the death of his wife after six years of happy wedded experience. Mrs. Cederstrum departed this life in 1887, leaving one son, Melvin L., an intelligent and enterprising young man who is now his father’s able assistant on the farm. Religiously, the subject is a member of the Lutheran Church, in which faith he was reared and to which he has always remained true. His wife was also identified with this communion. Mr. Cederstrum is a loyal citizen of his adopted country, a great admirer of its institutions, and combines all the qualities and attributes of the up-to-date American, except in the matter of birth. Honorable in all his dealings, faithful to his every obligation, and earnest in his endeavors to advance the interests of his fellow men, he is much esteemed by all who know him and occupies a conspicuous place among the representative citizens of the township and county in which he lives.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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