Jean Yothers


In 1870, a few Swedes led by Dr. William A. Henschen and his brother Esaias settled on Henry S. Sanford’s lands lying on the south shore of Lake Monroe. Other Swedes were not long in following them to central Florida. Sanford, in need of labor for the development of his new town and the care of his groves, employed Henschen as his agent to return to Sweden to recruit immigrants. In May 1871, Henschen returned with the first of two groups of Swedes. Many of their countrymen, hearing of the Swedish colony at New Uppsala near Sanford, came and established themselves in the nearby communities of Piedmont (an area just south of Apopka), Forest City (lying between Apopka and Altamonte Springs), and the Lake Jessup settlement, now Oviedo. Kena Fries’s father was one of those who immigrated to central Florida.