Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthNovember 16, 1897
Place of BirthTorsas, Kalmar lan
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinFrida Maria Swanson (mother), Kenora, Ontario
Service Details
Regimental Number2306476
Battalion128th Regiment
ForceAmerican Expeditionary Forces
Branch32nd Division
Place of EnlistmentWisconsin, U.S.A.
Address at EnlistmentWisconsin, U.S.A.
Date of EnlistmentJanuary 1, 1970
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 21, 1971
Age at Death73
Buried AtOak Hill Cemetery, Neenah, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Swanson, Carl Adrian

Corporal Carl Adrian Swanson was born in Torsas, Kalmar lan (Kalmar county), Sweden on 16 November 1897. His birth name was Karl Adrian Karlsson and his parents were Karl/Carl Johan Svensson and Frida/Freda Maria Andersson. Karl and Frida were married in Torsas in 1893 and their first five children were born in Sweden: John Herbert (1893), Bertha Augusta (1895), Karl/Carl Adrian (1897), Gustaf/Gustave Bernhard (1900) and Bror Edwin (1902).

Carl’s father immigrated to Canada in 1902 and settled in the town of Rat Portage (later called Kenora) in northwestern Ontario. Frida followed a few years later with the five children. Three more sons and two more daughters were born in Kenora: Fred Wilhelm (1907), Iven Arthur Edwin (1910), Harry Walter (1911), Verna Evelin Alfrida (1913) and Irene Rita (1915). Sadly, Edwin died in a shooting accident in 1909, at age seven, and he’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. The family was living on Fourth Avenue South in Lakeside at the time and they had anglicized their surname to Swanson.

When the 1911 census was taken Carl was still living in Kenora but he moved to the U.S. three years later. The war started in 1914 and his father Karl Johan Swanson enlisted in 1916. He served in England and France with the Canadian Forestry Corps. Carl was living in Wisconsin when the U.S. entered the war in April 1917. He either enlisted or was called up for service and he was assigned to the 128th Regiment, Wisconsin National Guard. He embarked for France in March 1918 on the SS Leviathan as a Private with Casual Company No. 12 in the 32nd Division. He rejoined the 128th Regiment in France. The 128th Regiment was in the 32nd Division and they took part in several major operations in the final period of the war. In the early months of 1919 Carl was in the UK, possibly due to wounds or illness. He was sent back to France in May 1919, sailing from Liverpool to Brest on the SS Haverford as a Corporal in Casual Company No. 1019. He returned to the U.S. sometime after that.

Carl was living in Kenosha, Wisconsin when the 1920 U.S. census was taken and he was married the following year. His wife, Margaret Schanke, was the daughter of August Ferdinand Schanke/Schoenke and Louisa Althof, who were both from Berlin, Germany. Margaret was born on 24 January 1900 in Menasha, Winnebago County, Wisconsin. Carl and Margaret settled in Ladysmith, Rusk County, Wisconsin and they had three children: Marian (ca1922), Richard (1926) and Carl Jr. (1929). For both the 1930 and 1940 census Carl was listed as a steamfitter at a papermill. He was a member of the American Legion in Ladysmith and served as commander for at least one term. His brother Harry enlisted with the Canadian forces during the Second World War and he was killed in action in Italy in 1944.

In 1944 Carl and his wife moved to Menasha, Wisconsin where he was employed by Kimberley-Clark for the next twenty years. His son Carl Jr. served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s. Carl was a member of St. Timothy Lutheran Church and the Odd Fellows Lodge in Neenah-Menasha. He retired around 1965 and passed away in Menasha on 21 March 1971, at age 73. His funeral was held three days later and he’s buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Neenah, Wisconsin. His wife Margaret died in 1977 and she’s also interred at Oak Hill. Their son Richard passed in 2013 and Carl Jr. in 2015.

By Becky Johnson

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