After emigrating from Sweden in 1871 and working for six years at the Galveston docks and Cedar Bayou brickyards, John Peter Sjolander moved to Philadelphia to write for a popular magazine. But the cold northeast weather and his longing for Cedar Bayou brought him back to Texas a few months later. Eric had returned to Sweden in 1873 but four years later came back to Cedar Bayou with their mother, Margreta.
When John Peter returned to Cedar Bayou he hit the ground running. In the winter of 1877 he and Eric purchased 66 acres on the east side of today’s Sjolander Road. The land was formerly a brickyard owned by Hugh Pritchard who had built many of the landmark structures in Galveston during the 1870s. I have not been able to find out if he continued brickmaking at that yard but the brick industry was going full steam on Cedar Bayou and like so many residents in the area, he and Eric worked at the brickyards. John P. also worked as a bookkeeper for Joseph Ellender’s brick company. His involvement with the brick industry would continue for many years and he would serve it in several capacities. In fact he and Eric brought another brickyard from Robert Palliser in 1894. Palliser was another prolific brick contractor in Galveston and the Grand Opera House he built in Galveston that year was among dozens of Galveston buildings constructed with brick made on the property.