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Austin Texas Swedish Settlers

Austin Texas Swedish Settlers

We all have a unique history. Mine is very unique to Texas. I just love geneology and love to learn about Texas History especially as it relates to my family and other people I know. My mother’s family came to the Austin, Texas area from Sweden about 1870 settling in the New Sweden and Lund areas of Travis County just east of Austin, Texas. Later addresses were 1903 Red River in Swede Hill, which is now part of the University of Texas and 608 Texas Avenue in Austin, Texas in the Hyde Park area. I hung out at our family home at 608 Texas Avenue as a child, walking the Waller Creek from Hancock Golf Course to the UT Campus was a favorite thing to to. In those days Waller Creek was flowing and beautiful, naturally. My grandmother was Betty Signe Bengston, then Sandstrom. My grandfather, O.W. Sandstrom attended the University of Texas and graduated with a Law Degree. He practiced law in early Austin, Texas until his untimely death in the 1930’s. Oscar W. Sandstrom practiced law in the old Gracy Building at 205 W. 7th Street which is no longer there.

One of the best books I have found on Swedish Texans is simply called The Swedish Texans by Larry E. Scott Copyright 1990. This book has many pictures of my family in it and a lot of Austin TX area history. I also have the two volume set on the Swedish settlers in Texas entirely in the Swedish language that have been passed down to me from my mother and grandmother. This book, Swedes in Texas was published in 1918 but there is a second edition published in English in 1988 and it is also available now on the web.

New Sweden, Texas is located east of Pflugerville, Texas and northeast of Manor, Texas. The beautiful New Sweden Church was organized Sunday, February 23, 1876. Back at that time, the area had been known as Knight’s Ranch. The original church stood over where the New Sweden Cemetery is. The new church at 12809 New Sweden Church Rd., Manor, Texas 78653 (512) 281-0056 was built in 1921. Back at this time, the area had been known as Knight’s Ranch. My forefather, Gustav Ax and his wife Johanna Swenson Ax are the first ones in the New Sweden Church book. I actually have copies of this information so graciously shared with me from the folks at Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Chicago. Gustav Ax was born in Svenarum parish, Småland in Sweden and became known as Corporal Ax because of his service to the Swedish Crown. He came to the New Sweden area in the early 1870’s.

There is a Scandinavian Club in Austin Texas to learn more about this culture. The Austin Texas Scandinavian Club meets at Gethsemane Lutheran Church every second Friday of the month. There is also a Texas Swedish Pioneers Association. Swedes In Texas.com is a great online resource I use and have contributed information and photos to.

What is your family’s history? I’d love to hear! Contact Betty Saenz by e-mail or by phone at (512) 785-5050 I am a Native Texan REALTOR ready to help you buy or sell your home, condo or land! Specializing in sellers who are ready to sell – I get the job done.