The commercial interests of Paxton find a worthy representative in C. A. Nordgren, a hardware merchant, who has worked his way upward from a humble position to one of affluence and is now controlling one of the leading mercantile concerns of his adopted city. He was born in Allingsas, Westergotland, Sweden, on the 23d of October, 1861, his parents being C. A. and Caroline (Kjellstrand) Nordgren, whose family numbered seven sons, of whom three are living, C. A. Nordgren being the eldest. The others are Axel L., a minister of the Swedish Lutheran church; and G. Walter, who is chief clerk of the criminal insane asylum at Chester, Illinois, through appointment of Governor Deneen. The father was born in the locality in which the birth of C. A. Nordgren occurred, while the mother was a native of Nerike, Sweden. Both lived and died in that country, the former passing away at the age of forty-four years and the latter at the age of seventy. The father was employed at railroad work and thus provided for his family.
C. A. Nordgren spent his boyhood and youth in his parents' home and after mastering the branches of learning taught in the public schools he attended the college at Jonkoping, Sweden, to which place his parents removed in his childhood days. He pursued a four years' college course and was thus well equipped by mental discipline for the practical duties of life. At the age of seventeen he entered business circles as an employe in a hardware store of Jonkoping, but the broader business opportunities of the new world attracted him and in 1881, when nineteen years of age, he came to the United States. He did not tarry on the Atlantic coast but made his way direct to Paxton, Illinois, where lived his uncle, A. W. Kjellstrand. Not long afterward, however, Mr. Nordgren went to Chicago, where he was employed in the car shops of the street railway company for four or five months. He then came again to Paxton and accepted a position in the hardware store of Clark & Cruzen — the store which he now owns. He displayed diligence and adaptability, which won him promotion from time to time, and after eight years spent as a salesman he acquired a small interest in the business in 1890. Five years later, in 1895, the business was incorporated as the R. Cruzen Company with Mr. Nordgren as president. In 1902 he purchased the interest of his partners and became sole proprietor, since which time he has conducted alone the principal hardware store of Paxton. He carries a large and well selected line of shelf and heavy hardware and his trade is annually increasing his business proving a very profitable one. He is not unknown in financial circles, being a member of the board of directors of the First National Bank of Paxton, vice president of the Paxton Building & Loan Association and in the absence of the president for the past two years has been its acting president. It was largely through his efforts that the E. H. Stafford Manufacturing Company located its large furniture factory at Paxton.
Pleasantly situated in his home life, Mr. Nordgren was married in 1885 to Miss Emma Erickson, of Paxton, who was born in Sweden, her father, John Erickson, now deceased, having come to this city from Sweden during her childhood days. Mr. and Mrs. Nordgren hold membership in the Swedish Lutheran church. He is serving as one of the ushers in the church and as Sunday school teacher and was a member of the building committee for the erection of a new house of worship. Fraternally he is connected with Paxton Lodge, I. O. O. F.; Patton Lodge, K. P.; and Paxton Camp, No. 359, M. W. A.
He is always foremost in any progressive movement looking toward a greater city, having the interests of Paxton deeply at heart. He is justly accounted one of the leading and progressive business men and is president of the Paxton Retail Merchants' Association, an organization formed to further the business life of the city. He is a very active member of the Swedish Republican State League and in 1900 was honored with its presidency. He has the strongest attachment for the land of his adoption and while not seeking to figure prominently in any public light he is nevertheless an earnest and valued supporter of every movement that tends toward the promotion of the welfare of town and county. By perseverance, determination and honorable effort he has overthrown the obstacles which barred his path to success and reached the goal of prosperity, while his genuine worth, broad mind and public spirit have made him a director of public thought and action.

Extracted 17 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 680-682.

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