Wandering the spiritual desert

The Swedish settlement in southeastern Allen County was home to a rich culture, transplanted from a storied land. Many remnants of it can still be found today.

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November 11, 2020 - 9:41 AM

The steeple of the Friends Home Lutheran Church reaches into a bright blue sky dotted by the moon. REGISTER/TREVOR HOAG

Watching as the snow glided slowly to the earth, I wondered if the swirling white flakes would have reminded Swan Olson of home.

He’d crossed the Atlantic from Sweden to eventually find himself in southeastern Allen County by way of Illinois, trading wind-swept mountains for endless open plains.

It was a gambit Olson and others like Peter Hawkinson were willing to take, rather than perish in the agonies of famine.

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