In the late 19th and early 20th centuries millions of immigrants from around the world set sail for America and the hope of a better life. Germans, Italians, Irish and Russians headed for New York, Boston, Chicago and other large cities, while many Scandinavians settled in North Dakota and Minnesota on land that closely resembled their homesteads in Sweden and Norway.
August Swanson left his home in Sweden and headed to North Dakota in the mid-1890s, making his new home in Fargo. He met and married Selma Nelson and in 1915 their son Leland was born. Raised on the plains of North Dakota, Leland grew to appreciate nature and the beauty of wheat and barley fields waving in the summer breeze.