Blesi family, Swiss pioneers, Minnesota
Some of the early settlers of New Schwanden, Minnesota left Schwanden, Switzerland on August 25th , 1853 to come to America, and after a voyage of fifty days they arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, about October 14th , 1853. They traveled up the Mississippi River by river boat to the Ohio River and then on to Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and New Glarus, Wisconsin, in search of land. Since however they were out of money, they then proceeded to work their way to St. Anthony, Minnesota, later named Minneapolis, Minnesota, arriving there in April 1854. They set out in search for land, which they found two and a half miles southwest of Champlin, Minnesota, which they named New Schwanden in honor of the Swiss city of their birth. They started cutting logs for several cabins in their new found land. Peter Blesi purchased a yoke of oxen at Anoka, Minnesota in January 1855 for $150.00, of which he was required to repay 60% within one year. During that first winter the oxen were used to roll logs up to the construction site of the cabins. Many settlers had already moved into their new cabins by March 1855. In September 1855 Hardin Nolan came into the area with the last survey of Hennepin County and found several cabins with paths leading from one cabin to the other in this primitive forest, as it was stated in the footnotes of the survey. Credit is given to John Hefti of the survey crew for naming Elm Creek after the village of Elm in his native land. The New Schwanden area covered a large region of the Champlin, Dayton, Maple Grove and Brooklyn Townships where these pioneers settled.
Blesi, Wayne C.
"The Family Blesi: Swiss Pioneers of Old Minnesota,"
Swiss American Historical Society Review: Vol. 44:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/sahs_review/vol44/iss1/4