Putnam County


Lars Matson carries on farming on a tract of choice land of three hundred acres just outside the corporation limits of Granville. His life record began in Sweden on the 12th of June, 1862. His father, Mathias Olson, was a farmer in Sweden and died when his son Lars was but fourteen years of age. The mother. Mrs. Carrie Olson, died when the son was twenty years of age, and in the meantime he had come to America. Following has father's death, however, he remained at home for some time and took care of his mother until 1880, when he resolved to seek a fortune in the new world and crossed the Atlantic to the United States. Like the majority of the emigrants from Europe, he was in limited financial circumstances, having barely enough to pay his passage to America. He journeyed into the interior of the country, his destination being Putnam county, and. here he began work on the farm of A. W. Hopkins at a wage of ten dollars per month. He could not speak a word of English at the time and in order to familiarize himself with the language spoken in this country he attended the country school one winter. For four years he remained in the employ of Mr. Hopkins and his wages were increased after he had acquainted himself with the English tongue and the methods of work in this country. Saving his earnings, he at length was enabled to purchase teams and tools and through the succeeding fourteen years he was engaged actively in the operation of rented land in Granville township. He worked almost incessantly, managed his interests with ability and owing to the careful direction of his labors and his unfaltering perseverance he prospered in his undertakings. Seven years ago he purchased two hundred acres of land where he now resides, for which he paid seventy dollars per acre. Later he bought one hundred acres more, an improved farm which has comfortable buildings upon it, and here he is engaged in general agricultural pursuits and stock-raising. The land is well adapted for the latter purpose and he makes the raising of hogs his principal source of income, his specialty being the Poland China breed. In this work he has been quite successful and is now one of the more prosperous farmers of Granville township.

About nineteen years ago Mr. Matson was united in marriage to Miss Mary Johnson, who was born in the same neighborhood in Sweden in which her husband's birth occurred, and they were schoolmates there in childhood days. She came to America about three years prior to her marriage and has become the mother of nine children: Nelson J., Arthur W., Anna K., John A., Oscar L., Edna M., Lawrence D. and George W., who are still living; and one deceased.

Although reared in the faith of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church, Mr. Matson is a zealous and devoted member of the Congregational church in Granville. He has voted the prohibition ticket for years and is strictly temperate, living a life in harmony with high principles and ethics. He follows closely those lines of conduct which work for upright character and honorable manhood and his wife is in hearty sympathy with him in all this and is likewise a member of the church. Mr. Matson is now serving for the third year as school director and has the keenest appreciation for the value of education. Since coming to America he has learned to read and write the English language and in conversation displays a mastery of the tongue which is surprising for one uneducated in the English language. He keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, political and otherwise. Such a life record should serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others, showing what may be accomplished when one has determination, energy and laudable ambition.

Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 500.

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