Children of John J. Svee


LINKS: Home Page, Site Map,

This Page Updated
11 July 2006

There are separate pages for my mother, Celia Svee, and her sister Bernice Svee.

Information about the other Svee children is listed at the bottom of this page.

John Svee Family about 1909.  Pictured from left to right:

Henry Svee, 1888-1948; John Svee, 1855-1931; Lena Svee Lewis, 1894-1987; Bernice Svee Flotterud, 1899-1965; Thena Svee Iwen, 1903-1996; Julius Svee, 1890-1952; George Marshall Svee, 1901-1984; Celia Svee Satrum, 1906-1957; Emma Svee Kvam, 1886-1918; Bertha (Berit) Rokke (Rykkja) Svee, 1863-1931 (front row); Julia Svee Raasch, 1892-1962; Arthur L. Svee, 1897-1988.

John and Bertha Svee had 10 children of their own and raised one grandson, Kenneth Luverne ("Bud") Svee as their own child.  Information of each of those children follows:  A separate page may be used if there is a large amount of information on that child.

Emma Svee

Ole Kvam

Henry Svee

Clara Olson

Julius Svee

Carmen Refke

Julia Svee

George Raasch

Lena Svee

Arthur S. Lewis

Arthur L. Svee

Bernice Svee

Ole Flotterud
Abt. 1893-???

George Marshall Svee

Carolyn Zeller

Thena Svee

Wilbert Iwen

Celia Svee

Henry Satrum

Minnesota Death Index has shows George Marshall born in 1901 and died in 1984--NEED TO RESOLVE THIS!


Celia Svee, my mother, has her own web page at this site.

Information about her that is similar to that below for the other Svee children includes the fact that she graduated from Zumbrota High School in 1923.  There were 24 people in her class, 14 girls and 10 boys.  One of her class mates was a life-long friend, Dora Starz.

Bernice  Josephine Svee, graduated from Zumbrota High School in 1915.  There were 20 people in her class, 11 girls and 9 boys.

Because of the amount of information on
Bernice Josephine Svee and her husband, Ole Flotterud, they have a separate page as well.

Information on the other Svee children follows:

The Svee family had a strong emphasis on education.  Most of the girls attended college and several were schoolteachers.  Some family members noticed the coincidence that Lena Svee taught at a location knows as  "Lena Station".

Emma Svee, graduated from Zumbrota High School in 1906.  There were 9 people in her class, 7 girls and 2 boys.  Emma died of a blood clot after her son Orville (Kvam's) birth.  While we don't have a record of Orville's World War II service, he was listed as a "World War II veteran who served at the Commander of American Legion Post No. 183 (Zumbrota)".

Henry Svee had 2 children who were adopted (Melvin Andrew--adopted by a Greseth family, Luella Marie--adopted by a Romo family.  While we don't have a record of Henry's World War II service, he was listed as a "World War II veteran who served at the Commander of American Legion Post No. 183 (Zumbrota)".

Lena Svee, was born at home. She graduated from Zumbrota High School in 1912.  There were 17 people in her class, 11 girls and 6 boys.  She attended Winona State Teachers College was a rural school teacher teaching at a location referred to as "Lena Station" about 2 miles northeast of her family home.

In 1910, at the age of 16,
Lena was on the town's girl's basketball team - the tallest girl on the team.  On the team with her were: Florence Anderson, Georgia Morgan, Stella Paulson, Agnes Nerhaugen, Ovida Berg and Constance Svee.  Later in her life, when reminiscing, she would often say how much she like playing basketball.  Loving the game like she did, it must have been especially difficult for her when she contracted polio at the age of 18.



Lena went through a series of treatments referred to as the "Kenny" (named after Sister Kenny) treatments which involved wrapping joints with warm, moist cloths; and exercise, including making her walk.  Basically she had to re-learn how to walk and use her body.  The rest of her life, she had a terrible limp in one leg.  The limp was so severe that her leg would turn slightly backwards with her knee going behind the line of her leg.  Later when she moved from the farm to the town of Zumbrota, she always used a cane to help her walk.  Her outlook was almost always positive.  A member of the Womans Christian Temperance Union she did not drink alcohol.  Later she had Meniere's disease and gave up drinking coffee but would have a cup of hot water when others were having coffee.

When Lena was young, she worked as a house keeper for a family who had indoor plumbing but the family would not let Lena use the family's bathroom.

She married Arthur Lewis.  They lived on a farm south and west of her father's farm (Svee farm #2).  On the 1877 plat book of Pine Island Township, Art and Lena's farm was listed as belonging to "Benjamin Lewis" who we assume to be Arthur's father.   In the early 1950's Art and Lena Lewis' farm south of Zumbrota, Minnesota still did not have running water or indoor plumbing.  There was a wash basin and a small hand pump in her kitchen.  The kitchen stove was wood burning and later converted to burn fuel oil.   There was an "ice box" on their entry porch and they did not get a refrigerator until they got electricity in the 1950's.

There was a wood burning stove that was later converted to use oil.  In the corner of the living room was a heater.  In the late 1940's they were still doing threshing with the machine driven by a long belt from a tractor.  We are not sure if they were still using a steam tractor at that time. 

Art Reiling(SP?) worked as a "hired man" for Art and Lena Lewis and was referred to as "Little Art".

Lena was involved with the American Legion Auxiliary where she and her sisters, Celia and Bernice were officers.  Bernice served as Department President in 1954-1955 and District President in 1947-1948 and in 1956 was National Committeewoman.  Lena was elected District President in 1935. Celia also served as District President in 1941 and also served 2 years as District Secretary.   She was also President of the local Zumbrota American Legion Auxiliary in 1931, 1944, and 1950.

Arthur Svee, as a soldier in World War I, was gassed during an attack.  While we don't have a record of Arthur's World War II service, he was listed as a "World War II veteran who served at the Commander of American Legion Post No. 183 (Zumbrota)".

Thena Svee, graduated from Zumbrota High School in 1920.  There were 21 people in her class, 12 girls and 9 boys.  Thena married Wilbert P. Iwen on July 27, 1931.  They had 1 child, a girl.

Kenneth  ("bud") Svee, a grandson and the son of Emma Svee, was raised as one of John and Bertha's children.  Family members always treated and referred to Kenneth as one of the children.  Kenneth graduated from Zumbrota High School in 1928.  There were 29 people in his class, 11 girls and 9 boys.


Add thumbnails to larger pictures of individual children.

If I only have a picture, put a larger version on the web site and link any reference to the Svee child's name to that picture.

Add notes about individual children.