Peerson, Cleng (1782–1865)

By: Karen Yancy

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

Cleng Peerson (Kleng Pedersen), who championed the immigration of Norwegians to the United States, was born in Tysvær, Norway, on May 17, 1782. He came to the New World as a result of hardships in his native land, including the high price of farmland, the high number of drownings among fishermen, and drought. He arrived at New York City in 1821 seeking homes for fellow Norwegian Quakers (most later immigrants from Norway were Lutherans). Between 1825 and 1847 Peerson helped establish communities for Norwegian Quakers and their compatriots in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. He moved to Texas in 1850 and lived with friends near Dallas until 1854. Then he moved to newly organized Bosque County, urging fellow Norwegians in East Texas to do so as well. In recognition of his service, the Texas legislature granted Peerson 320 acres of land in Bosque County, half of which he gave to Ovee Colwick in exchange for a home. Peerson lived with Colwick until his death, on December 16, 1865. He was buried at the cemetery at Norse, Texas. King Olav V of Norway visited Norse in October 1982 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cleng Peerson. A chair made by Peerson was placed in the Clifton College museum but was later given to the Bosque Memorial Museum.

Farm and Ranch, August 21, 1926. Vertical File, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Norwegians in Texas).
  • Peoples
  • Norwegians
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Religion
  • Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Karen Yancy, “Peerson, Cleng,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995