John Alfred Lefgren

John Alfred Lefgren (1843-1923) and Lena Sofia Kämpe Lefgren (1845-1921)

John Alfred Lefgren was born Johan Alfred Löfgren in Ryd no. 73, Järeda parish, Kalmar län, Sweden, September 13, 1843. His parents were the Ryd town soldier, Jonas Peter Johansson Snygg and Maria Jonsdotter. He was the first of six children. His brother, Klas Oskar Löfgren, was born 10 years later.

He served five years in the militia and three years in the regular army of Sweden. On July 6, 1870 he was married to Lena Sofia Kämpe. In the summer of 1871 they bid farewell to friends and relatives of the old country and left for the United States, landing in New York six weeks later. With them was their first child, newborn Carl August Gotfred Emil.

They settled in Jamestown, N.Y. Again the army life appealed to John Alfred and he served three years in the militia of that place. On a cold and blustery Thanksgiving day in 1876, the Lefgren family arrived in Essex, Iowa where they made their home until the end of their days.

John Alfred Lefgren and Lena Sofia Kämpe, about 1890, with seven of their eight children. Tallest to shortest: Charles August (19), Mary (16), Albin (12), Ernest (10), Amelia (5), Melvin (seated) (7) and Ellen (2). Alma Rosiett had already died three years previously.

John Alfred and Lena Sofia had eight children the seventh of whom was Melvin David Ardorth. Melvin married Ellen Caroline Johnson on March 17, 1915. They were the parents of Louise Vivian Lefgren, Daryl’s mother.

The family owned and farmed the center three eighths of the west one-half of section 27, Fremont Township, Page County, Iowa. This farm of 120 acres was previously owned by Lena Sofia’s brother, Charles John (Carl Johan) Kämpe. The farmhouse they lived in still stands on the property albeit with aluminum siding and a metal roof.

John Alfred’s obituary says: “Strong and robust of nature, he was a giant not only in body and work, but in mind as well. He was a dutiful father, a good friend and neighbor, and a staunch member of the Lutheran church and his place in the church was seldom vacant.”

He died two years after his wife on April 2, 1925. He and his wife are buried in the Essex, Iowa municipal cemetery.