The brothers Alfred and Walter John Swoffer came to Minnesota together, in 1871 from Dover, Kent, England. They worked for several months for the Northern Pacific railway in St. Paul, Minnesota and in the spring of 1872, they took adjoining homesteads in Waterbury Township, Redwood County, being among the first three settlers in that township. Walter John's wife, Catherine (Kate) Ann Wrightson SWOFFER followed in July 1872, having stayed in Dover to await the birth of their son, Alfred John (born 8 Feb 1871) in Dover. Catherine traveled in the company of her older brother John Mowll Wrightson and his young family as well as her older sister, Lucy Wrightson MOATE and her young family.

Brian Swoffer remembers hearing that the communal house the brothers built straddled the property line of both quarter sections. In 1882 they moved to Walnut Grove and opened a general merchandise store. They also operated a creamery and egg business. In 1888, their father paid them a visit from England and in his diary, described the community, the people, their homes and businesses. Later, Alfred went into the grain and feed business, eventually relinquishing it to his son Walter Alfred and his nephew E.Walter Swoffer (W.J.'s second son, born in 1876).

Comments above and photo's below courtesy of Brian Swoffer, grandson of Walter Alfred Swoffer.

Early Swoffer Family Photo's in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

(Click on Photo for Larger Image)

Walter and Kate (front row). Back row their children Flora, Alfred J. (aka "California Al", the one who moved to Calif), Walter A (nephew raised by them after his mother died), and Edward W. "Ted"

Walter, Kate and Walter A in front of home in Walnut Grove Minnesota

Walter John Swoffer (husband of Catherine Ann "Kate" Wrightson) in front of general store in Walnut Grove MN owned by Walter and brother Alfred, circa 1890

Made with Macintosh Fait avec Macintosh
Copyright © 2014 Rick Wrightson