Rev. Gustaf ERIKSON, minister of the Bethany Lutheran church at Wenona, was born at Stora Tuna, Falulan, Sweden, June 12, 1867, his parents being Erick HANSON and Anna (JOHNSON) HANSON, who were natives of Sweden. The father was a farmer by occupation and both he and his wife died in their native land. They had five children, three daughters and two sons.
Rev. Gustaf ERIKSON was educated in the public schools of Sweden and was reared to the work of the farm. In 1888 he sailed for America, landing at New York and there passing through the famous Castle Garden. He went to Negaunee, Michigan, where he worked in a sawmill for several months and afterward removed to Republic, Michigan, where he was employed in the ore mines for about a year. On the expiration of that period he proceeded to Rock Island, Illinois, having determined to enter the ministry, and in that city he matriculated in Augustana College, where ho pursued the regular theological course, being ordained in Moline, Illinois, in June, 1897. He immediately came to Wenona, Illinois, where he has since had charge of the Bethany Lutheran church and here he has done a splendid work, building up a large congregation, the membership now numbering about three hundred and fifty, this being a growth of two hundred during his pastorate, for the church numbered only one hundred and fifty at the time of his arrival. The attendance at the Sunday-school has also largely grown, there being now more than one hundred children. Mr. ERIKSON has made many friends in this section of the state. He has also conducted a small church at Streator, one at Granville and another at Utica, to all of which he gives his personal care and supervision. His life is a very busy one, devoted to the welfare of mankind and the dissemination of the truths of the gospel. In Wenona the congregation owns a good house of worship and also a handsome parsonage. Mr. ERIKSON in connection with his other church work publishes a small Swedish magazine, the Betania Hemmet, which has a circulation of about fifteen hundred copies among his parishioners. It is published in the Index office at Wenona.
On the 27th of April, 1898, was celebrated the marriage of Rev. ERIKSON and Miss Marie EDE, a native of Rock Island, Illinois. She is of much assistance to him in the work of the church and among his parishioners. Of firm purpose and of unfaltering zeal, giving his life for the benefit of his fellowmen. Rev. ERIKSON has accomplished a great and good work in Wenona and in this part of the state.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.
ERIKSON, minister of the Augustana Synod of the Lutheran Church,
was born on the farm of his father, at Tolsbo, Stora Tuna, Dalarne, Sweden,
June 12, 1867. His parents, Erik Hanson and Anna Janson, both died there a
few years ago. In his native place he attended the primary and people's
schools. Emigrating in 1888, he stopped for three months at Negaunee, Mich.,
working in a saw-mill and then located at Republic, remaining there until
the fall of 1890. While there he worked in the mines, spending his leisure
time in private study under the tutorship of A. Forsberg, a mining engineer.
At the opening of the school year in 1890 he matriculated at Augustana
College. In the fall of 1894 he was enrolled in the Augustana Seminary,
graduating in 1897 and being ordained to the ministry in the Augustana Synod
the same spring. His first pastoral charge after ordination was the Bethany
Swedish Lutheran Church of Wenona, which he still serves, together with the
Zion Church of Streator.
Rev. Erikson is the editor of Betania-Hemmet , a monthly local church paper, his literary activities, however, have not been confined within this narrow compass. While a student, he evinced ability as a poet, which has been cultivated since, resulting in a large number of poems, mainly religious. In 1906 he published a book entitled "Minnen och Bilder fran Hembygden."
Rev. Erikson was united in marriage April 27, 1898, with Miss Marie Ede, daughter of Hokan and Anna Ede of Moline, Ill., born Jan. 14, 1866. Mrs. Erikson died Sept. 8, 1907.
Extracted 17 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from the History of the Swedes of Illinois, published in 1908 by Engberg-Holmberg Publishing Company, Part 2, page 205.