About Peter Cassel
Peter Cassel – the first land owning emigrant
The miller Peter Cassel (1790-1857) was born in Asby parish in the southern part of the province of Ostergotland. He was described by his contemporaries as an enterprising, imaginative and gifted jack of all trades. Shortly after his second marriage he moved to Bjerkeryd just outside Kisa, where he took over his parents-in-laws´ farm. As a land owner he reached the position of a rather wealthy and very well trusted man. In spite of this he could not reconcile himself to the situation in Sweden. He was searching for something else and in doing so, he found an equal in the apothecary Carl Gustaf Sundius. Sundius´ very radical thoughts and his ideas of leaving Sweden for a new future in America had a great influence on Cassel.
In 1845 Peter Cassel sells his farm. The whole family of eight people, together with some relatives and close friends, emigrate to America. In total it is a company of 21 persons that in May of the same year leave Kisa and travel to Gothenburg. The first part of the journey they go by steamer across the country on the Göta Canal via the locks at Berg. On the fifteenth of June 1845 they enter upon the second part of the journey and leave Sweden on board the brig Superb.
The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean takes 58 days and nights. After landing in New York more adventurous travelling awaits them before they reach Iowa, where they settle and found the colony which they call New Sweden. Some of Cassel´s positive letters back home are published in the local paper and they influence many people to think of leaving. Now the great wave of emigration starts. In the year of 1846 Gustav Sundius gets a state permission to open Sweden´s first emigration office in his pharmacy. During the period of the great emigration 1845-1920 more than 6 000 people emigrated from the Kinda area.