Carolyn Spargo and Sharon Eklund used this book, published by the Andrew Peterson Society in Sweden, for its glossary of words, as they worked on an updated translation of Peterson’s diaries.

Anders Pettersson emigrated to America from Sweden in 1850, and changed his name to Andrew Peterson.

Andrew documented his life through his diaries that were written in daily, documenting the everyday life of an immigrant. Andrew settled in Carver County at the corner of Highway 5 and Parley Lake Road.

Working as a horticulturist, Andrew developed many varieties of apples. His diaries inspired the Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg, who wrote “The Immigrants.” In Moberg’s books, Andrew’s name was changed to Karl-Oskar and Andrew’s wife, Elsa, was Kristina. The story was moved to Chisago City. There are many parallels in the books to Andrew’s diaries.

Andrew Peterson’s diaries are stored at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul. Long-time Waconia resident Jo Milhelich wrote an in-depth book of Andrew Peterson, “The Andrew Peterson Story.”

This book inspired further research.

The Carver County Historical Society received a grant to have the Swedish diaries translated from Swedish or Swinglish, a blend of both Swedish and English, to English.

Sharon Eklund from Victoria and myself were chosen to translate these diaries. We are both immigrant’s children. Sharon’s mother and father came from an area near Andrew Peterson’s Swedish homestead. My father was also a Swedish immigrant.

We both grew up hearing thick accents and Swinglish that could be related to the diary translations. It took almost a year to read the microfilm off the “beast,” an old portable microfilm reader from the 1970s.

These diaries have now been published.

At the Nordic meeting at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, Sharon and I will share stories of Andrew Peterson and stories of the fun and troubles of translating these diaries. We meet at the Victoria Recreation Center for the gathering and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments are always served and all ages are always welcome.

The Nordic Heritage Club meets the second Friday of the month from September to May at the Victoria Recreation Center, 8475 Kochia Lane. Refreshments are served after the program. These meetings are open to everyone and is family friendly. For more information, write Carolyn Spargo at

Carolyn Spargo lives on the border of Chaska and Victoria, and is active in all things Scandinavian, including the Nordic Heritage Club. Her column appears monthly in the newspaper.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.