REV. AUGUST WALGREN.
No history of Jefferson county would be complete were there failure to make mention of Rev. August Walgren, now
one of the most venerable citizens, having passed the eighty fourth milestone on life's journey. The greater part
of this period has been spent in Iowa and Jefferson county has long numbered him among its most worthy citizens.
He attained a high degree of success in life through earnest, persistent labor, and at the same time developed
a Christian character in keeping with his professions as a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Rev. Walgren
was horn in Sweden, September 11, 1827, a son of Peter and Christine (Walgren) Peterson. The father died on his
way to Iowa in 1849. He was a tailor by trade and also owned and cultivated a farm. Following his demise his widow
came with her children to the new world, reaching Burlington, Iowa, in 1850. There were four sons and a daughter
in the family and all that they had left when they arrived at Burlington was ten dollars in cash. Of the children
August was the eldest and the others were: John, who died in California; Andrew, who served for ninety days in
the First Iowa Infantry during the Civil war and is now living in Burlington; Louis P., who enlisted in the Seventh
Iowa Cavalry and afterward served for about two years in a Nebraska regiment, becoming subsequent to the war a
resident of Texas, where his death occurred; and Mrs. Caroline Hillery, who died in Jefferson county.
Rev. August Walgren was a young man of about twenty three years when he came with his mother and the younger members
of the family to the new world. His education had been acquired in his native land at his mother's knee and his
home training taught him the value of industry and perseverance. There were so many Petersons living in the county
that after his arrival in the United States he changed his name to Walgren. The first work that he did was to chop
wood at fifty cents per cord and thus he made enough money to pay his board. In 1851 he went to Lockridge township,
Jefferson county, where he bargained for sixty acres of land. He had no money with which to make payment but agreed
to pay twenty per cent interest and thus at the outset of his career assumed an indebtedness that under the circumstances
would have utterly discouraged and disheartened many a man of less resolute purpose. He at once sought employment,
working for from forty cents to a dollar per day and using whatever time he could to develop his own farm. He walked
to and from Burlington, a distance of forty two miles, in order to cultivate his land which was covered with timber
that he cleared away as he found opportunity. In time the fields were ready for cultivation, crops were planted
and in due time substantial harvests were gathered. Taking up his abode upon the property he continued to make
his home there until the time of his enlistment for service in the Civil war. In the opening year of the contest
between the north and the south he joined Company M of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry and was at the front for three years
and three months, serving in the hospital corps toward the end of the time. His health became so impaired through
the rigors and hardships of war that for about three years after the cessation of hostilities he was unable to
work. However he labored earnestly in behalf of Christianity, serving for ten years as a minister of the Methodist
Episcopal church. When his health had so improved that he could once more undertake the task of cultivating the
fields he bent his energies toward the further development and improvement of his property and as his financial
resources increased he added to his holdings until he had six hundred acres north of Lockridge, becoming one of
the extensive farmers of the community. Of this he has since sold one hundred and twenty acres so that his holdings
at the present writing are four hundred and eighty acres. He engaged in farming until advanced age came upon him
when he retired to Fairfield about seven years ago. He had erected a fine residence upon his land and left it well
improved for he had brought his fields under a high state of cultivation and had added all of the equipment and
accessories of a model farm. His home was a large three story residence with French roof, the first story being
built of dimension rock and the remainder of brick. The house contains eleven rooms and was erected in 1890. He
put in an artificial pond by the house covering two acres which was well stocked with fish and he set out a fine
grove, making personal selection of all the trees. The lawn, too, was kept in splendid condition and his home was
the finest in Lockridge township. Everything about the place indicated his progressive spirit and practical methods.
In 1888 he built a large bank barn, fifty by sixty feet, there being a stone wall on an average of nine feet under
this for the superstructure was of heavy timbers. He spared neither time nor expense in beautifying his home as
well as making it comfortable and convenient and the Waigren farm became one of the finest in the county. In his
business affairs Mr. Walgren displayed keen sagacity and discernment and to indefatigable industry he added careful
management so that the years brought him substantial, well merited and gratifying success.
On the 28th of January, 1851, occurred the marriage of August Walgren and Miss Anna Peterson, who was born in Sweden
in 1829 and came to Burlington in 1849 with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Peterson, the journey being made in
a lumber wagon from Chicago, for there were no railroads at that day. The father died soon after his arrival here.
Mr. and Mrs. Waigren became the parents of a large family: Andrew, living in Galesburg, Illinois; Albert, who occupies
his father's farm in Lockridge township: Joseph Oscar, a resident of California: Arthur, of Idaho; Louis, residing
in Denver; Wesley Grant: who occupies one of his father's farms: Franklin B., a resident farmer of Lockridge township;
Anna Caroline, at, home; Emma, the wife of William Crunpoltz, of Lockridge: Etta, residing in Wyoming; and Boswick,
at home. There was also a (laughter who died in infancy; another, Emily, who died at the age of eight years; while
Frances passed away at the age of five years, there being altogether fourteen children in the family. Mr. and Mrs.
Walgren also have reared four of their grandchildren. For more than sixty years they have traveled life's journeyi
together, sharing with each other its joys and sorrows, its adversity and prosperity. In politics Mr. Waigren is
a stanch republican, never faltering in his advocacy of the principles of the party which was the defense of the
Union in the dark days of the Civil war and has always been the party of reform and progress. He maintains pleasant
relations with his old army comrades through his membership in George Strong Post No. 19, G. A. R. of Fairfield.
His has indeed been a well spent life. He came to the new world a young man empty handed, unfamiliar with the language
and the customs of the people, and in the early period of his residence in Iowa he worked near Burlington for Hon.
Charles Mason, the first supreme court judge of the state. Carefully saving his earnings he was enabled at length
to make his payments upon his property and later to acid to his holdings until a notable measure of success was
his. The record of his life commands admiration for it indicates the strength of his character and the extent of
his resources and ability. He has today passed the eighty fourth milestone on life's journey and can look back
over the past without regret for he has neglected few opportunities, having on the contrary made wise use of his
time and talents, nor has he been self centered in his work for his labors have been an element in the agricultural
development of the district and in various other ways he has cooperated in the work of general improvement and
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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