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On September 9th, 1868 Johan left for America. He and his parents had built a plan which called for him to find work and a place to live before sending for his two oldest brothers. The three of them would then build a homestead before the rest of the family followed. John was only 19 at the time, and this was a great responsibility. He had a great uncle, Charles Appell (), who was already in Galva, Illinois and many of his neighbors had already immigrated, mostly to Minnesota, but John was the first of his immediate family to make the journey.
Johan and Kristina drove their son, Johan, to Vetlanda where he would begin his journey to Galva, Illinois. The ticket cost $98.50 and it had taken Johan and Kristina five years to save enough money to send Johan to America. He also had $16 to use on the trip and once he reached his destination.
Seven weeks of Ocean travel and another of train brought Johan to Illinois. He carried all of his belongings in a sea chest which his brother Charles (Karl) had made for him. His Bible and his clothing were places in the trunk, as well as food to supplement the ships rations of potatoes, herring and hot water with which to make soup. His mother included bread, rice, cooked ham, butter dry beans and some coffee.
Johan arrived in Galva, Illinois at 3:00 in the afternoon on November 2, 1868. The small town is located 135 west, and a little south, of Chicago. He located Charles Appell easily enough and began working for fifty cents per day plus room and board. The job he left in Sweden paid only $75 per year, and he had lived with his parents throughout his employment. 'Johan' became 'John' in the nine months he worked to earn enough money to bring his brothers Charlie adn August to America. He worked six days a week, and attended Church with the Appells on Sunday. He was treated kindly and felt confident that his brothers would also be most warmly welcomed to America.