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Contributed by Carl C. Bloomquist, March 2001





by Eva G. Magnusson
(Estimated date 1963)

Entered into Computer  7/30/1998 - 8/2/1998
By Carl C. Bloomquist 1st cousin 1ce removed


My father, Anders Gustaf Carlsson, was born at Rårgården, Norra Redum, Sweden, in 1843.  He died at Härobacka February 8th, 1884, the immediate cause being pneumonia.  He had three sisters, born at the same place.  Anna Carlsson was born June 5, 1845.  She died October 21, 1928.  Johanna Christina was born January 31st, 1854.  She died March 8, 1892.  I have no record when Lotta was born.  She died after father’s death but how many years I do not know.

Lotta had several children.  In 1929 her daughter Hilma, a widow, lived in Canada.  A son, Arvid, had this address: Ed. Larsson, Marson, Ontario, Canada.  A daughter, Fru Ellen Johansson, lived at Ahlsborg, Öxnered, Sweden.  (Cousin Ellen gave the above information early in the year 1929, after Aunt Anna’s death.)

My father had a twin brother who died either at birth or shortly thereafter.  He went away to college.  He was very bashful as a young man.  (Mother’s information.)  Aunt Augusta Knight said he could read and speak English.  My impression was that he attended agricultural college, but Hilma says she had never heard that.  She says, “I heard several times that he was almost sufficiently educated to become a minister and that some people wanted him to preach, but that he did not wish to go into it.

Father’s mother died at Rårgården.  I have a faint impression that father was left an orphan while a mere boy, probably when twelve years, grandfather dying early.

At some time or another either father or grandfather lived on a place called “Duk-gården”, because he was sometimes called “Carlsson of Duke”.

My grandfather bought Härebacka, the place where Anna, Carl, Hilma and I were born.  I had an idea that a whole wheelbarrow of money was paid for it, but that must be in error.  That memory likely refers to some other place that great-grandfather bought.

Hilma writes, “Father had not made a will and died so unexpectedly that he had no chance of making a deathbed will.  The lawyer who handled father’s estate claimed that the Swedish law required that all the proceeds from the sale of estate should go to the children.  The relatives often discussed this, some saying that the lawyer was in the wrong or that he followed some obsolete law.”

She adds: “Referring again to father’s education, he must have had a bookkeeping course, because among the things we brought from Sweden were several large, heavily bound bookkeeping books in which were a number of father’s entries, which we often looked through.  He had a large, handsome chirography.  I remember we often remarked between us that that was the reason we children were exceptionally proficient in arithmetic.”

She also says “the immediate cause of his death was attributed to his taking the wrong bottle in the medicine cabinet.” (Aug. 5, 1938.)  And, “After father died we moved into a small house finished on the outside with unpainted boards.”

Carl writes: “The summer before father died, he was offered, by a retired sea captain, 54,000 crowns for Härebacka.  At the auction, not properly advertised, it was sold for 36,000 crowns, to a Herr Anderson, a distant cousin, I believe.  Mother always thought this auction sale was framed, collusion with judge.”

My mother was born November 9, 1847, in Värmland, Sweden.  She was the second child of Nils and Katarina Blomquist.  Christina (Ockerman) was older than mother.  After mother Sophia (Fugate), Lovisa (Stark), Gustaf, Johannes, Anders, and Augusta (Knight).  Other children died in infancy and one or two at birth.  I believe there were sixteen children.

Grandfather Nils was a fisherman and a painter who was not overly successful in providing for his family.  Often there was no milk in the home (and grandmother was unable to nurse any of her children).  However, they did not eat bark bread as some did, because he was a kind provider whenever able and so at least kept them with coarse rye bread.  Carl adds to this “Grandfather was a top notch housepainter in a day when it required knowledge and skill to mix paint.  And he knew how to fish.  Both brought in money, but alcohol took it away.  When he quit alcohol he was also past productive age.  For integrity or honesty and industry he was A-1.”  At the time of his death, years later, Carl said of him that he was the finest example of a Christian gentleman.

Mother went out to earn her living at the age of eight.  She watched cattle in the pasture, and did errands for her board and keep.  She was more courageous than her older sister, Christina, and therefore was the first to go away.  She often had hard places in which to work, but probably none as hard as where Christina worked when she did go out first.  Christina did not get enough to eat.  When she would go on errands others would give her something to eat and she would try to save it so as to have some on other days, but her landlady would find it and take it away from her even when she had hid it under the mattress.  If she had succeeded in hiding any part of it, the only place where she could eat it in peace was to run out to the outside toilet.  Christina told how once the little daughter of the house was dancing around to show off a new dress, she told her mistress, “A new dress can’t dance but a full stomach does.”

Mother worked in many places as helper, as cook, or as dairymaid.  I think she worked at three different creameries.  At least two.  The first one she came to she was asked to milk twenty cows with bulging udders.  It was distressingly hard coming from a home where she had only milked one or two scrawny cows.  Her arms swelled terribly the first few days.  She was well liked and had some pleasant memories from these places.  She went to work at one place in order to be taught to do fancy weaving.  However, she only had the opportunity to learn to weave various designs in squares because she was kept so busy cooking for the hired folks that there was no time for more weaving.  The regular cook was lazy and loved to read stories and often let the mush burn, and she rarely washed out the crock of sour milk.  So the men were very glad when mother cooked.  Regular fare there was sour milk and mush, and at noon herring and potatoes and more sour milk.  I suppose they also had hard tack.

Mother worked at Härebacka and there is where my father fell in love with her.  They had a wedding lasting a week.  Father bought lovely silk dresses for her and she was quite a lady.  Her greatest trouble was that she found it hard to boss the servants.  She had been bossed so long that it was not easy to order others around.  We had several maids and several hired men on the place.  Maids did all the milking and took care of cows and chickens in those times.  They also worked out in the fields to harvest hay and grain.  They carded and wove also.

Carl says, “I believe there were five horses on the place, but most of the field work was done with oxen; there were several yoke of them.”  I recall the names of three horses, Perla, Balder, and Prince.  I believe it was Prince that liked to run away.  Did it once, anyway, when father was driving home from town.  Father would not let go the lines even though he was dragged a long distance before the horse stopped.  Said it would ruin the horse if allowed to run away.

Aunt Augusta Knight came to our place for mother’s wedding and she was quite thrilled with mother’s many fine silk dresses.  Our parlor (salon) had floors scrubbed snowy white, and across the floor in various places were long runners of snowy white carpet.  All floors were scrubbed white but this one also had the carpets white.  Aunt Augusta also came there when or after Anna was born.  She tells that father had a keen sense of humor.  He enjoyed a joke.  That was very unusual as the men were generally stern in those early days.  Both times when she was there, he gave her lovely new dresses and so of course she thought him some marvelous man.  At one time he asked her to build a fire in the fireplace and she did.  After a bit he came running to her quite excited, saying “Run for a bucket of water; there is fire in the house!”  She ran to the well for water and rushed back with a brimming bucket only to find that her fire hadn’t even started.  And how he laughed at her!  She was so provoked.

Mother told how it was the custom in those days not to have any fire in the churches, but father was instrumental in introducing stoves into the church where he worshipped.  Another thing: his father was very strict and on Communion Sunday he would not let any of the folks eat before going to church, but father believed that that was all wrong, because it made him so uncomfortable so he did not get any good out of the sermon.  So he would manage to eat first.  Communion Service probably lasted until three or four in the afternoon.  Father was very just with his men.  He would not tolerate drunkenness, although he himself drank some wine and also homemade “dricka”.  It was the custom to treat honored guests to small glasses of wine.  Carl writes “Härebacka” had a brewery, the building below the north of orchard; a part of this building was a blacksmith shop, and the pond at its west side was the one that nearly claimed me when Anna and I made mud pies on the plank used when clothes were rinsed when washing.”  Fortunately Carl had a heavy shock of hair or he would not be here to tell the story.  He fell into the pond and would have drowned had not some one came in the last minute and grabbed him by the hair and pulled him up.

Mother was considerate of the workers.  It was not customary to give the workingmen eggs except for Easter, but she served eggs every Sunday to them.  (Eggs must have been precious because I recall hearing that one of the things Carl expected to have in America, was eggs for breakfast every day.)

Aunt Sophia, who visited at our home, said mother worked terribly hard there.  Hitherto she had worked hard and I suppose she found much to do in her new home, both in and out.  She has never been known to save herself.  Aunt Christine visited there some time and she said father was highly respected in the community and that he was kind and fair.

We have different versions of father’s death.  My impression from things I heard is that some time late in 1883 he had a bad cold and in the dusk went into medicine cabinet for a swallow of brandy, or whatever was considered the thing for colds.  In the dusk he took a bottle containing lead.  He never told mother but from that time on he was not well.  She happened to overhear him tell some friend about it.  That was probably the beginning of the end.  Mother did not think he had T.B., but that is what the doctors said he had.  Said it was the “galloping” variety.  Aunt Augusta thought he had T.B.  Mother did not think it acted like T.B.

Here is what Carl says on the subject: “When I bought life insurance in 1907 I gave cause of father’s death, T.B.  But I was always uncertain on that point so later I wrote and asked mother.  I think when she lived with Hilma in Minneapolis, Hilma, for mother, informed me that father died from the effects of one drink of poison, and in a very short time.  I judged a matter of hours.  One night he suffered with stomach cramps or similar pain, and in the dark mixed what he thought was “brandy and bitters”.  One ingredient was poison.  Hilma did not say what kind.  A doctor was hurriedly called, but when he came it was too late for effective treatment.  I believe father was not afflicted with T.B. in any degree.”

(Two of father’s cousins, sisters, died of T.B., both in the same week.  That must have been before his death.  His sister Christina died of T.B.  She had been engaged to a very fine “Trädgårdsmästare” but he was poor and she had money and she wanted them to live on her money, but he said, “nothing doing.  We live on my income or we do not marry.”  So she broke the engagement and spent the rest of her days grieving, and contracted T.B.  He married someone else.)

On the north next to our place was father’s uncle’s estate, “Björgården”.  I can recall mother taking us over there in the spring of 1887.  We climbed a fence and then she picked me up and we jumped over a ditch.  The three older children did their own jumping.  Then we walked through woods where there were many large pools of water where Carl stopped and played with bark boats he had made.  Or maybe he only floated sticks and called them boats.  I visualize Björgården as a large place.  On one side was a “gråtta” or arbour, probably of lilac bushes, and around that bloomed columbines of various colors; lavender, white and purple.  Leading from the kitchen door was a short walk to the edge of yard.  Along this edge stretching in both directions from walk were long rows of jonquils or daffodils, known as påsk lilja (Easter lily).  There were also white lilies of the same type.  (Every time I see daffodils or narcissus, there flashes before my mind’s eye that hedge of flowers.  Also when I see soft colored columbines I see again that “gråtta”.)

Beyond the daffodils, on a little lower ground, were the barns.  To the side of the barns was a little kennel to which was chained a vicious dog, the one that only aunt Tilda dared to feed.  One day I walked out to this ugly dog as he slept in his kennel.  He rushed out and I screamed and fell down in my hurry to escape, but he only stood and looked at me until aunt Tilda came and rescued me.  They turned him loose in their fruit orchard when in bearing so that no thieves ventured in to steal.

We called all the young people at Björgården aunt and uncle, but they were really father’s cousins.  I do not recall the names of all.  Gustaf later married and had a family.  Alfred never married.  We used to correspond with Tilda while we were small.  There were some other girls.  Alfred was the finest one in the bunch.  Mother always said he was kind and considerate to her.  Carl adds, “About the time my sister Anna attended G.A.C., Alfred Bengtson wrote to mother and made Anna a marriage offer.”  (Most of father’s relatives could not forgive mother, a working girl, for having married him.  Aunt Christine, however, was lovely to mother.)

Below our home flowed a stream; along the edges grew Marsh Marigolds or what some call cowslips.  In Swedish called kabeljo.  I have a deep-rooted love for those flowers.  I feel delicious thrills all over me when I see them; it is a feeling of being in a beautiful spot where grass is green, water flowing, trees are young and bushes are budding.  It must be because I saw them there.  Some distance from our house I had a flowerbed of for-get-me-nots.  Our cow got in and ate them up.  I seem to see woodlands where blue hepaticas grow on flat grassy land, damp and fresh.

In regard to great aunt and uncle Bengtson, both died of pneumonia within twenty-four hours of each other, some years after we came to America.  Uncle Alfred bought out the rights to the estate from his brothers and sisters.  Alfred died about 1901 or 02, after some accident.

Aunt Augusta claimed that we had several “torpare” on Härebacka.  Carl says, “There were at least three, one a blacksmith, who had homes on Härebacka.”  The name of one was Troge Lars and his wife was Stina.  When his wife died he had the customary funeral “kalas” that lasted a week.  When our father died, mother did not like a “kalas” and so she merely gave food to the long distance visitors, and that was all, and so Troge Lars said he loved his wife more than mother loved her husband because she did not have any party for him.

In Sweden there was always rivalry between the people of the different provinces, each thinking their own best.  We were all born in Västergötland and so were Västergöter.  Proverbially a Västergöt made fun of a Smålänning, but Father made this notable statement, “Before God we are all smålänningar.”

At Härebacka the first child was a boy, stillborn.  Anna was born March 2, 1878.  Carl was born August 5, 1879; Hilma, June 6, 1882; Eva, November 29, 1883.

On his deathbed father sang the Swedish Psalm number 400 out of the Psalmbok.  They were his last words.  I have made here a free translation.


I nåd du, Herre, på oss tänkt;

In mercy, Lord, Thou of us thought;

Vår jord din rikdom hyser,

Our earth Thy riches hideth,

Dess frukt, uti dess sköt vi sänkt,

The fruit we in its bosom placed,

I gyllne mognad lyser.

In golden harvest shineth.

Välsignelse Blott du kan ge:

Rich Blessings Thou alone canst give;

Din högra hand Åt våra land

Thy good right Hand unto our land

Har gifvit korn och kärna.

Hath given grain and kernel.



So, axet fälles till vår fot,

Behold the grain falls at our feet,

Oss fäller dödens glafven.

Ourselves by death are gathered.

Af ladan tas vår skörd emot,

The granaries receive our crops,

Och skördaren af graven.

The grave receives the grower.

Kanske besår Om några år

A few years hence, perhaps is sown

En odlare, ovetande,

By gardener, to him unknown,

Den terfva som oss höljer.

The turf our body hideth.



Den jord vi ägt, oss äger då;

The land we owned, us owneth now,

Vårt goda äga andra.

Our goods are owned by others.

Och nya tjäll kring nejden stå,

And other homes the valleys fill,

Där nya siäkten vandra;

Where other tribes now wonder;

Men, Herre, du Skall liksom nu,

Then wilt Thou, Lord, the same as now,

Ock låta då Din sol uppgå

Let rise Thy sun upon the earth

Och skördar pryda jorden.

That crops may grow and ripen.



Allt världsligt flyr, förgår så fort,

All earthly fades, destroyed so fast,

Ej må vi därför sörja!

May we not therefore sorrow.

I lifvet vi din godhet sport:

In life Thy goodness we have known,

I döden vi den spörja.

In death we know it fully.

Ty den på dig Förlitar sig,

For he who on Thy grace doth rest,

Af död ej rörd Skall som din akörd

By death not touched is like Thy grain

Till dina hyddor samlas.

Into Thy mansions garnered.

E. G. Geijer.



After father died all, or most, of our belongings were sold.  The relatives said they had to be sold.  They even sold mother’s coffee grinder.  Aunt Lotta said mother could grind her coffee as others did, with a bottle rolled over a hard surface.  Mother, however, went to the store and bought herself a small black coffee grinder.  (I’ve always been glad that she showed that much spunk.  She was otherwise so meek and always avoided giving offense.)  Father had a library of some 206 or more fine volumes.  These were sold, except two volumes of “Vallins Fredikningar” and six volumes of “Familjejornalen”, and a book of poems by Esaias Tegner.  Mother had of course her own Psalmbok and Bible.  She also had a large illustrated book of the early martyrs and an illustrated book “Den Heliga Striden” by John Bunyan.  I believe she had these with her from Sweden.  Anna had a few schoolbooks from Sweden.  When we left Sweden mother brought with her her spinning wheel, a copper coffee pot, copper kettle, copper bucket, a brass mortar, twelve silver forks, a silver sugar spreader, a silver-pewter coffee pot, blue and white dishes, a few pewter spoons, wooden spoons, some weaving equipment (shuttles and spoons).  She brought sheets and tablecloths and napkins that she had woven, of linen.  Heavy woolen blankets like army blankets of today.  We called them “filtar”.  There was one lined with sheepskin with the wool on; that was called “FÄll”.  She had a couple of coarse gray linen sheets that we children liked very much in the summer when we were all itchy with mosquito bites.  They were scratchy.  There were many other things.

  Old Swedish Map by Carl Carlsson

The above drawings are a copy of one made by Carl, October 3, 1938.

Wilma says that after father died we moved into a small house finished on the outside with unpainted boards.  Carl writes: “For a time the first summer we lived in the carpenter shop, the north half of the ground floor of “drängatugan”, (servants quarters).  The south half of ground floor was ice pit and milk house.  Top floor was used for sleeping quarters of hired men.  At this time a log house was built for mother about a half mile west and on the north side of a straight stretch of road leading to school and church.  A quarter mile farther west was the boundary of Härebacka, both sides of road.  This log house, one room and lean-to wood shed, stood in a small grove of trees, many of them rowan or mountain ash.”

I believe that Drängstugan” was the original house on the estate; this was the house that was haunted.

Carl has a note about an estate that was lost because of going bond for a friend.  Maybe that gave rise to father’s oft repeated, “Den som går I borgen, ?år (can’t read) sårgen.”  “He who goes bond, goes into sorrow.”

Härebacka was located on a hill.  (Carl says the haunted graves were on a still higher hill.  There is something haunting my memory in regard to those graves but the picture is not clear.  I do not know if I ever saw them but I heard talk about them.)  From our home we could see Kinnekulle, a noted beauty spot of Sweden.  Travelers often go there because of its exquisite beauty.  There is an old verse about it that will interest you:

“Om du förgäta slrulle

If you should ere forget

Add Guds natur är akön

The beauty of God’s world,

Så stig på Kinnekulle

Then climb to Kinnekulle

Och blicka ut åt ajön.”

And gaze across the sea.

Mother told of picking “hjortron” on this mountain.  “Hjortron” is the ultimate word in deliciousness.  They are called “cloudberry”, an Arctic or alpine species of raspberry producing an amber colored berry.  There are natural stone steps all the way to the top of the mountain or hill.

As to our home: once before mother came there, there was a cloud burst and so much water fell that it reached even the hill on which our house stood, carrying off hay stacks.  We had a fine orchard near the house containing many varieties of apples, cherries, pears, peaches.  I heard talk of apricots but am not sure if we had them there.  Of course there were berries, currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries.  Once we had so many cherries that father let folks from the city come and pick, but they ruined the trees, breaking branches.  So he never invited them again.  In those days, folks did not can fruit.  You ate it while fresh and dried the varieties that could be dried, the rest you gave away.  Sjörngården also had a fine orchard.

One of the families that lived on our estate had a girl named Annette.  My sister Anna chummed with her and corresponded with her several years after our coming to America.  One time she wanted Anna to address the letter to “Jungfru Annette.”  That was a title not much used.  It means “virgin”.  Another family had a son with whom we played.  He was older than any of us as he worked as “vallpojk” (hearder).  He showed Carl and Anna how to play cards.  This was not supposed to be done.  Before we left, he secured a good job as wagon painter, at good wages.  His name has been forgotten but not that he taught us to play cards.

After we lived in the log house, mother and Anna took turns in going to church.  One had to be home to take care of the smaller ones.  Carl says we belonged to Råda socken and that church was on road leading to school, but he has no recollection of the church building, the graveyard or of father’s grave.  Rather, he says the church was beyond the school but on the same road.  Mother often told how she liked to have Anna go because she could remember and repeat the whole sermon when she returned.  Mother could not do that.  Anna was fond of books from infancy.  While yet a baby she wanted the newspaper.  If they gave her an old one she became very angry; somehow she recognized it was not fresh.  Possibly it was the smell of printers ink that enticed her.  She walked at nine months.

Anna’s godfather was Baron Kruse.  Carl’s was great uncle Bengtson of Björngården.  Wilma’s I do not know.  Eva’s was “djurläkare” Karlsson, a veterinarian.

There was not a great deal of money left after the auction.  Father had had debts on the farm.  Carl writes, “So far as I am aware, the only debts were father’s obligations to his sisters.  He had bought their share of the estate.  Härebacka, and the short years he lived were insufficient to clear that.  And at a fair sale Härebacka would have brought a lot more money.”  I can see where the money went if he paid for the three sister’s shares.  A guardian was appointed to take care of the money for us four children.  That should never have been but mother could not do differently, and one had to be appointed in America before we came here.  Our relatives here arranged to have Lars Stark serve.  He was the father of three that had married into her family: Lottie Stark married Gustaf; Tilda Stark married John; Sander Stark (actually Alexander / John Stark) married Lovisa.

When we came to this country the money had shrunk to about $500.00 for each of us four children.  Then when Aunt Christina in Sweden died, there was about $200.00 for each of us added to the amount.  The exchange was 4 crowns to $1.00.

It is doubtful that mother would have come to America if the relatives in Minnesota had not sent her a ticket to come.  I doubt she had planned to come.  When she came to Minnesota she found that the relatives had borrowed the money from Lars Stark and she had to repay it.  She was of course considered rich!

A few more of my recollections from Sweden: One time we children were playing in the pasture under the trees when a large sow came grunting, and all scattered except little me who climbed up on a rock and cried till I was rescued.  In fact as a baby I was quite efficient at crying, they said.  I cried so much that Troge Lars said to mother, “Ja henne har du allt fått fätt för synna skull.”  “Her you surely got as a punishment for sin.”  When still in the cradle I had the measles.  I was told that one day Anna came rushing in to mother saying that Eva was red all over.  Well, that was the measles.  Once we played outside in the yard, at keeping house, and I was the baby.  They tucked me in with blankets in a little hollow, with just my head sticking out.  I can recall thinking how cute I must look!  So early I started!  And I’ve felt quite important ever since!

Another game we played was for four to hold on to the corners of a heavy blanket (filt) over the backs of four chairs; some one would be on the blanket and be lifted up and down.  Being smallest, likely it fell to my lot often to be chosen as the one to be tossed up and down.

There is a memory of a high white bed in which Anna and Hilma slept, and also of a low folding or extending sofa where mother, Carl and I slept.  It seems as though it had to be propped up at night.

The haunted house.  The story goes that this house was haunted for three nights at midnight, every twenty years.  It must have been haunted shortly before father was married because mother does not tell the story as if she had been there.  She told it as if father had told it to her.  Anyway, one night at the proper time, the hired men who slept there were terribly disturbed at midnight by a noise as if large timbers were being torn out of the house, and the upstairs door flew open.  They refused to sleep there another night.  Also folks living near had seen lights shining brightly in the upper windows.  It was the dark of the moon.  Father laughed at them and said there were no such things as ghosts.  He said he would go with them.  He did and took his big gun along.  They all slept, or tried to, downstairs.  At midnight the same racket began and the door flew open.  Then they all went upstairs with a light and with the gun and looked around but could see nothing out of the way and everything was quiet.  So they closed the door and went down again.  After all was quiet the racket upstairs began again and the door flew open as before.  Once more they all went upstairs with a light but nothing had been disturbed.  It was repeated a third time and they tried again.  As long as they were upstairs, no noise; when they went down and all was quiet, the racket began.  Anyway father, who had no faith in ghosts was unable to explain the phenomenon.

Our nearest town was Lidköping.  From our home we could see five (or seven) churches.  That indicates that we were quite high up.

When we left for America our belongings were packed into one square red trunk, about two and a half feet square, and another gray and ironbound trunk that was probably four or more feet long but otherwise as deep and high as the other.  Then we carried a wicker basket about 18x18x24 inches.  We had other bags and boxes because we had to take with us enough food to last for the entire journey.  Mother bought food along the way.  Either in Göteborg or Köpenhamn she bought some terribly sour bread that we were not happy to have with us.

On our way to America we stopped at Göteborg, a beautiful little city.  There we sat in a park on benches under blooming lilac bushes.  I do not know the date we left our home.  It was probably late in June, 1887.  In the park we sat where we could see “ankedammen” (the duck pond).  There were many beautiful white ducks floating around.  I wonder, would there have been swans?  I distinctly recall the beautiful white birds.

Aunts Anna and Christina came over to Göteborg to see us off on our trip.  Aunt Anna who was always economical gave me one of her discarded hats, a “nackhatt”.  That was a ladies’ had that only partly covered the head, leaving the neck and back part of head exposed.  ON the ocean one day it blew off, and no one cried!

We went via Copenhagen, or Köpenhamn, Denmark.  My mother’s sister Sofia was working there.  There we visited the Zoological gardens.  I recall seeing an elephant dance.  We also picked a hat off a man and tossed away.  As we passed the pens of the bison, they roared terribly and I was frightened.  Then two goats with exceptionally long hair impressed me.  The hair reached the ground.  It was in Copenhagen we slept between feather mattresses instead of under quilts.  We visited Aunt Sophie but I do not know how long we stayed in the city.

Next we went via England but did no sightseeing there as far as I know.  It seems mother said it took us two weeks on the ocean, but it may have been less.  On the boat, Anna, who was more adventurous than the rest of us, got her finger badly squeezed in some of the riggings.

Arriving at New York we were locked up with all immigrants at Castle Garden, now Ellis Island.  While there mother said some men came in to sell food at exorbitant prices.  Mother was glad that she had all she needed for the balance of the trip.  It was there that I had my first experience with a “water” closet.  Someone stepped on something at the wrong moment and I got the benefit of the water.  It either flushed automatically or as you stepped off onto the floor.

In New York mother had to look after our baggage before leaving.  Some official charged extra fees.  After she had paid them she found some notice in Swedish and other languages, saying that no fees were to be paid.  Too late.  After she put us four on the train with our bundles and baskets, she had to attend to baggage and when she came back on train, we were not where she had left us.  We little innocents got tired of waiting for her and went from car to car looking for her.  She found us in the last car.  These must have been agonizing moments for mother!  She did not understand any English.  Anna was picking up a few words little by little.  She was nine and had attended school considerably in Sweden.  Carl had also gone to school there.  He was almost eight at this time.  Hilma was five and I was over three and a half.

On the train leaving New York some kind lady gave us each a boiled egg.  Carl lost his through the open window.  That was tragedy.  I cannot recall the food we ate on the way, except for the sour bread that none of us liked.  Very likely the food consisted of bread, mostly hard tack, cheese and sausage, and maybe ham.

Mother lost a parcel of baggage in New York.  Most travelers did, it seemed.   Grandfather Blomquist also did.  Not speaking English, what could they do?

In St. Paul we waited in the immigrant room for the next train.  It was several hours wait.  There someone turned on the water faucet and did not know how to turn it off again and so flooded the floor with water.  The attendant was quite provoked.

At Harris, Minnesota, we were met at the station at about one o’clock in the night, by Aunt Augusta and Uncle Gustaf.  (I could not see any difference in those two names and thought it was funny.)   The only other thing I recall about our arrival at Grandfather Blomquist’s place was that Uncle Andrew was among the members that was up to greet us and he was not fully clad.  I understand that the relatives had hired a team to take us as far as the road went, about a mile.  We walked about three-quarters of a mile through the woods on narrow trails.  Hilma says it was an ox-team that met us.  We got off at the corner of “snus-Nelson’s” place and as we walked in the dark, mother asked if there were any dangerous animals.  She was told there were none, but the only bothersome animals were the skunks, and their fine qualities were told!  Anna was quite worried and watched her step all the way because she thought them as small as mice!  Thus we arrived at the home of mother’s parents in America.  And that ends the first chapter.  God had watched over us all the way.  Mother was a woman of prayer and a firm faith in God.



I believe we arrived at Harris, Minnesota, July 28, 1887.  Our first home was with grandfather and grandmother Blomquist.  Hilma writes, “While we were living at grandfather’s place, one thing impressed itself indelibly on my memory and that was that after the lights were out every night grandfather got down on his knees by his bed in the front room, clasping his hands in silent prayer.”  We lived here for almost a year.  Grandfather had a little home on a few acres just west of Uncle Gustaf’s place.  In fact the land belonged to Uncle Gustaf but grandfather had cleared the acres and so was allowed to use them as long as he lived.

The house consisted of two rooms and a lean-to.  The front room held a folding bed and one or two folding sofas.  The sofas were made the length of a bed and when shoved together were about two feet wide.  They had a wood cover or lid on which we sat during the day.  Inside were kept the mattress filled with straw or cornhusks, the pillows and quilts.  Other furniture were:  a dresser, chiffonier, two rockers, some chairs, a couple of tables, and a heater, with home woven rugs on the floor.  The dining room-kitchen held another sofa and all the necessities for eating.  In the summer the lean-to was used as a kitchen.  There was a long closet or storeroom which was a continuation of the lean-to.  There was a low attic reached by a ladder.  This was used as a storeroom.  When we were older we had the fun of cleaning that out once a year.  It was dusty but interesting work.

Many people stayed here most of the time.  Mother went away to work whenever she could, sometimes for pay and sometimes not.  Anna spent many weeks at Uncle Ockerman’s.  I believe she spent most of that first year there, going to school three miles away.  (Andrew Ockerman had married mother’s oldest sister, Christina.  They came to America a few years ahead of us.)  All of mother’s sisters and brothers had come to America ahead of her, except Sophie who was in Denmark.

In the summer of 1888 mother bought twenty acres of land from Uncle John Blomquist.  (He was married and had three boys by that time.)  This land was about three fourths of a mile west of grandfather’s place.  Directly south of it was Uncle Ockerman’s twenty acres and his home.  To get to this place we walked through a wooded pasture where all people who lived near could pasture their cows free.

It was hot summer when we moved to the new home which consisted of a large room and a lean-to.  We had no cooking stove and I asked mother where she cooked and she replied, “on the wall,” it was so hot.  I half believed her.  I know now that she must have cooked at Ockermans, a distance of a city block.  Our furniture we had bought with the farm as Uncle John moved to Washington to take up a homestead.  We had a folding bed, a folding sofa, a reed organ that Uncle John had made, a table, three chairs, a heating stove.  Later a bed was added for Carl.  In the winter we also cooked and ate in this room.  In the summer we used the side room as a kitchen and dining room.  Half of this room had floor, the balance was used as woodshed and storeroom.  As there were not chairs enough to go around, nor boxes either, some of us always had to stand to eat.  We were told it would make us grow.

With the place went a pretty large barn, a cow, and about a dozen chickens.  The latter were all named and became great pets.  I recall some names: “Halta” (Kalta, Malta? -- can’t read) who was lame; “Blinda”, who was blind; “Vita” was white; “Krok-näbba” who had a crooked upper beak which required special care in feeding; “Tras-räva” who had some trouble inside so that at times part of her internals protruded.  All these lived to a ripe old age, traveling with us to our new home and finally ending up in the kettle.  All except the infirm one who was honorably killed and buried.  The name of our cow was “Rosa”.  She was red.  Uncle John had used her to pull the plow.  We did not so disgrace her.

I suppose that the money for this house as well as the trip across the Atlantic, came from the inheritance, and so it may be that some part had been apportioned to mother.  Or else our share must have been more than $500 each if she used of our money for this purchase.

Mother had not before seen fireflies, bats, or skunks until she came here.  One day shortly after coming to grandfathers, she had gone out for wood and came rushing in to tell her father, “There is such a strange animal out here.”  He rushed for his big “blunder-bus” and hurried out only to find a little innocent bat!

Flowers and trees in Minnesota were very much like those in Sweden.  Except that here grew no “Linnea”, nor were there any “lingon” or “hjortron.”  “Lingon” are small red berries something like cranberries but with a more delicate flavor.

In our new home we lived very simply.  Mother went away to work some days.  It was lonesome when she was gone.  The house sometimes became so quiet that the mice up in the attic began to frisk about.  That did not feel pleasant for us.  Sometimes she worked for Mrs. John Stolberg in Harris, about two and a half miles away.  Then she often brought home some little trinkets for us.  I recall once she had something for each of us and one extra, and so the one that got the poorest thing was to have two, but I wanted what I got and one more besides, and I cried.  I believe I won out; not sure.  Once she brought home a cup with two small cracks.  Hilma got that.  Another time it was a cup with a large crack all the way down and it smelled of turpentine.  That became my cup and how I treasured it!  Both were heavy china.  Sometimes when Hilma or Carl wanted to plague me, they would not wash my cup until the rest were all washed because they said it smelled of turpentine.  Anyway, I had it for many years.

At first we had in the house one lamp and several candles.  Mother made candles in the fall when some one had butchered a cow or steer so that she could obtain the tallow.  Sometimes we helped and made small crooked candles for the Christmas tree.  You use special soft cotton threads for wicks.  These you tie on a stick about one and a half inches apart, making them a little longer than you want the candle to be.  The tallow is in a wide kettle, melted but not hot.  Dip them in quickly and then hang up to cool while another set is dipped.  When cool they are dipped again quickly so as not to melt what is already on wick.  The process is repeated until the candles are of the required thickness, about the same size as the present commercial candles.  Always she made at least one three armed candle for Epiphany.  Sometimes we used them for Christmas.  In later years she borrowed forms in which you just fasten the wicks and then fill the forms with tallow.

At this our first home in America we could pick wild “smultron” (strawberries) early in July.  No cultivated berries could surpass the flavor of these wild ones.  (We picked them again in 1919 and the flavor was still superb.)  We had plums planted on the place, gooseberries and currants.  Mother planted all manner of vegetables and we helped all we could.  It was a treat to go out into the garden and pull us a carrot, brush and lick off the dirt and then eat it!  A turnip, rutabaga, beet, or a parsnip was also welcome eaten raw, but they had to be washed – they had so many little dirty roots.  Rhubarb was also a treat even though sour.  Our hardest summer occupation was picking potato bugs in all stages of growth, from eggs to the grandpa.  We did that also for Ockermans.  One year Hilma and I each earned a nice white apron for helping him.  We got them on the morning of Fourth of July and wore them to church picnic and at least I was mighty proud of mine.  Hilma was disappointed because she had expected something more exciting.  I had seen Aunty talking to mother and measuring out some underwear and so I had no high hopes but expected to get underwear, therefore I was really thrilled.  This was in 1891.

Late summer of 1891 mother sold her twenty acres to Uncle Ockerman and bought a forty acre farm two miles away, just north of Chain Lake, one mile west and one mile south of Harris.  We must have sold Rosa also as at the new place we had a new cow, “Netta”.  But our ancient hens went with us.

Our new place was a house with two large rooms; also an upstairs with space for two rooms.  In the deal with Uncle Ockerman we were to receive his barn.  So relatives and neighbors helped tear down and move and set up again this log barn which could house three cows and some chickens.  Also there was a separate room for hay besides the hayloft.

Before telling of the new home, I should mention that while living on the Uncle John place Anna and Carl went to the Franklin school, at the west end of Fish Lake.  In the summer of ’89 Hilma went along to Swedish school at the same place.  In the fall all three went to English school there, a distance of about three miles.  In the fall of 1890 a new school had been built at the east end of Fish Lake, about half a mile from our place.  That fall I began school.  My first teacher was Lottie Arnold.  She understood no Swedish; I no English, but I learned.  She would not let us talk Swedish in the school room during recess, so if it happened to rain so we had to stay indoors we would look at pictures in our books and whisper between us and if the teacher walked around then we would use the only English expression we knew and pointing to the pictures say, “That’s you/ that’s you.”  This was during recess and applied only to the smaller ones.  Anna could handle the English well by this time.  After Christmas, Belle Clover became our teacher.  She was very well liked by all – she understood some Swedish!  The only thing against the first one was that she was not Swedish!  The teachers had to get to school early to build the fire to warm up the schoolroom.  It sometimes was 55º (35?, can’t read) and 40º below outside.  Sometimes a teacher would hire a boy to get there early to build the fire.  Teachers were paid $30 and $35 a month.

As soon as we arrived in America we joined the Swedish Lutheran Augastana Church at Fish Lake.  From grandfather’s place it was four and a half miles; from our first place a little less.  Naturally I did not get there except for the special occasions, like the Fourth of July picnic.  Mother walked there on Sundays and I suppose Anna and Carl also.


The home north of Chain Lake we bought from a man named Staffanson.  To buy this place mother borrowed from Lars Stark $400.00.  Years later this was repaid from money which Carl, Wilma and I had left.  Anna had already then spent her share going to school and she was homesick.  We were all three glad she had had these three happy years at college.

A Year or two after moving in, we built a kitchen, also with an upstairs which was only partly finished all the years we lived there.  We had house painted and made many improvements thereon.  In the fall of ’98 or spring of ’99 we had two rooms finished upstairs together with hall and clothes closets.  After that we all slept upstairs.

On September 6 or 14, 1901, grandfather Blomquist died after a short illness.  There was much discussion as to where grandmother should live.  Finally I paid for the material for a room to be built to our house, and the relatives came over and built it.  Grandmother lived with us until her death in 1907.

We also built a granary onto the barn and a house and pen for our annual pig – the one that made good things to eat for Christmas and months after.


The Fourth of July Picnic at Fish Lake was the great event of the summer.  Sometimes the picnic was held on Midsummer Day.  From our new place we had five miles to church, but what was that for a picnic?  And we sat or walked around and talked to one another as we knew no one.  Sometimes we had a nickel between us to buy an orange or a glass of lemonade.  In prosperous years we might have both.  Can’t recall that we ever had an orange apiece though.  One year Anna had a nickel for a glass of lemonade and as she bought it cousin Hulda looked so longingly at it so she had to divide it five ways.  Then we discovered that we might ask for water free, and were we glad to get enough to drink!  Of course mother always had some coin for the offering at the table.  And what a dinner!  All you could hold of the best that all the cooks could bring.  What a day!

At the picnic was also an interesting auction.  If you had nothing else to bring, you brought bouquets of flowers and they always sold.  There were many speeches and much music, and always a Fourth of July speech to tell how wonderfully the Swedes had helped our nation acquire independence.  There was John Morton and his “Cheese box”, and many others.  If the picnic had been on the Fourth there was much shooting of firecrackers.  In the evening we watched for skyrockets around in the horizon.  We never had much of this.  After Carl earned his own he always bought some.  I do not know if it ever failed that we had a thundershower and heavy rain, or a storm on the evening of the Fourth.


Christmas was the center of the year.  We probably did not have a hog to butcher the first two years or so.  After that every year we had someone kill our one fat hog, early in December.  Then followed terribly busy days for mother.   The pieces to be smoked were separated and salted with some saltpeter in the brine.  The rest went into a salt barrel and were covered with brine.  Large quantities were chopped by hand to make sausages and head cheese.  We all helped at the chopping.  Mother had three chopping knives along from Sweden.  She also had several different sized horns prepared for use in stuffing sausages.  She had previously emptied the casings, washed and washed and washed them.  Then we all helped scraping the inside and outside; then they were soaked in salt water until used.

On the day of the killing, the blood was saved and stirred until cool and then strained and set aside to be used for “paltbröd”.  In the evening mother made a large batter with coarse rye and wheat flour.  In this was used the meat broth after cooking meats for headcheese.  The blood was added with yeast, cloves, allspice, pepper and salt.  It made a chocolate brown dough.  It was mixed in a washboiler.  About midnight she would get up to stir down the dough.  About two o’clock she would get up again to make the loaves.  Usually we children also got up to have a hand in the fun.  The loaves were about the size of a pie tin and when raised, about an inch and a quarter thick.  Always you made a large hole in the center.  After they were cooled, they were hung up to dry in a protected place in the attic, and lasted us all winter.  It was our special treat breakfast.  They were soaked in milk, fried in salt pork grease and served with white gravy made with salt pork grease, and eaten with the salt pork fried.

The many sausages were salted and kept for all winter.  All the spices used, cloves, allspice, and black pepper, were pounded in the mortar brought from Sweden.  Chopping, pounding, stuffing took days of hard work, but it was interesting and there were always such spicy good odors in the kitchen and of course we would have tastes of all the new things.

Headcheese was made by boiling the head and getting the meat off, and then other meat was cooked and added.  All was chopped fine, spiced and salted, and poured up in all the low pans we could spare.  It jellied firmly.  It was kept in a cold place and sometimes frozen.  Liver sausages were made from cooked and grated liver mixed with about twice its bulk of boiled rice, spiced and salted.  Sometimes it was made as a pudding.  We ate it hot served with cranberry sauce.  After it was cold we would fry it and serve with cranberries.  Sausages were treated the same way.  Kept them cold or frozen until used.  It was a special Christmas treat.

The feet and ears were scalded and scraped to get all hairs and outer skin off; then boiled, salted and spiced, and later eaten cold.  Also a special treat.  (Anything would be a special treat as the only meat we had had since spring was the fat salt pork.  The salted meat had to be eaten before the hot days came.  No, we did have the smoked ham.  While on Uncle John’s place we had our own smoke house and obtained a superb flavor, using oak bark and juniper twigs to produce the right kind of flavor.  Naturally from one hog there was not a great deal of meat or ham to spread over the whole year for a family of five.)  Mother also made a “rullsylta”.  The fat from the lower sides was made into lard but the skins were scraped well on the outside; on the inside a little fat was left and this was sprinkled generously with our three kinds of spices, rolled tight like a jelly roll and tied; then boiled together with the prepared feet and kept in the same brine.  Served sliced thin.  (Today much is written of the vitamin value of gelatin – we got it this way nicely spiced and tasty.  We used all parts of the animal.  Maybe that is how we obtained the necessary vitamins.  Mother never used the lungs.  In later years I learned that grandmother Magnusson did.  She prepared it the same way as we did with the liver, and it tasted practically the same but somehow I could not make myself enjoy it – I had not learned it as a child!)


Then it was time for Christmas baking.  Several kinds of cookies were made.  They might have been from the same dough but mother fixed them in different ways so they were attractive.  Several varieties of coffee bread were prepared, also from one batch of dough but they turned out to be “kringlor, kransar, russinbröd.”  The snails were twisted into different kinds of shapes; the “kransar” was dough rolled and braided and made into a circle, some with and some without raisins.  All were sprinkled with cinnamon which had been pounded fine in the mortar.  The raisin bread also had a sugar and cinnamon on top.  Some was made into thin, crisp hard tack.  Fresh rye bread and “limpa” had to be made.  The latter contained scalded flour and so remained soft and delicious until consumed.  The rich would have a greater variety of foods.

For ordinary times our bread was made of rye and wheat, both coarse, and mother made it into round loaves that raised to about an inch and a half when baked.  All the neighbor children liked mother’s hard tack.  For Sunday mother made white biscuits.  About half of these were usually dried a nice golden color on Monday and used with our coffee.  This bread was sweet and usually eaten without butter.  Mother told how in Sweden little Carl had said, “Ja tan int äta annat än smö på påpa.”  Which was his way of saying, “I can’t eat anything except butter on rusks.”  (Long ago in Sweden the poor people had only hard tack all the year except at Christmas.)



Before the holidays the house was thoroughly cleaned and then all our nice things were brought out.  We children brought out all our pretty cards and they were put up.  Always there was a tree.  Spruce grew within a few miles and there was always some one who brought us a tree.  This was decorated with long veils cut out of tissue paper that had been saved during the year, for there was no money to buy such things.  If cotton for making a quilt had been bought during the year that was wrapped either in pink or blue tissue paper.  This became decorations.  Sometimes pieces of other colored paper come our way and that was saved to be used as decorations even if it were not tissue.  Little baskets were cut out of paper and in these were put hazel nuts (that we had picked in the fall).  Maybe some cookies went into the baskets, too.  These were hung on the tree.  Flowers were made of colored or white paper for the tree.  All these were saved from year to year.  Sometimes it happened that during the year some one gave us “karameller” that were wrapped in tissue paper fringed at both ends.  These papers made nice fluffy blossoms for our tree.  Or, we cut a piece of wood the size of the candy and wrapped it in the paper and hung that on the tree.  We probably each had a baked gingerbread man to hand up.  Then some kind relative might give us candy figures, made for Christmas tree decorations.  These were not eaten but were saved from year to year.  If one got too badly broken, then it was eaten, regardless of age.  Candy was rare in our home.

Christmas Eve was a busy day finishing up all the cleaning and cooking.  At noon we all gathered around the cook stove and dipped our bread in the kettle where pork meat and sausage had boiled for several hours.  That was “att doppa i grytan”, and was an integral part of Christmas.  We were given each a small part of the meat and sausage but the main part of the meal was the dipped bread, and it was exceedingly good!  About three-thirty the house was spick and spank and then we had afternoon coffee with a little of the Christmas bread.  Then the tree was brought in at four and decorated.  All had a part in the decorating, that is the children.  The homemade candles were attached and the tree looked glorious to all of us.  It was an event.  It was worth living for that moment.

A little after six o’clock came the big meal of the year.  The first course was creamy white rice much cooked with stick cinnamon and generously sprinkled cinnamon and sugar.  It was cooked in milk either in the iron or copper kettle and constantly stirred to prevent burning.  It was served with creamy milk.  Then followed “lutfisk”, potatoes and white gravy sprinkled with black pepper.  The “lutfisk” is dry Norwegian cot fish first soaked three days in water after first being sawed into appropriate sizes.  Then soaked three days in lye made from ashes of hardwood.  The next three days fresh water is put on each day, then it is ready to cook.  If done right it is firm and tender.  After that followed all the varieties of meat that the house had, sausage, boiled pork ribs, liver pudding, headcheese.  Also homemade cheese, bread, coffee breads and cookies.  Cranberries went with the liver pudding.  After the dishes were done, at which all helped, we went to sit down around the Christmas tree, mother reading the Christmas gospel; then our gifts were distributed.  After that we “danced” around the tree while we were yet small.  The tree was in the middle of the room and we all held hands and walked around and around the tree singing all the songs we knew, whether they belonged to Christmas or not.  We were happy and songs belong to happiness.  One song was:


“Nu så kommer julen,

Now Christmas is coming,

Nu är julen här,

Now Christmas is here,

Litet mörk och kulen

A little dark and gloomy

Men ändå så kär”

But all the same so dear.


There were several stanzas to this song.  Another favorite was not of Christmas:


“Lille Hans sprang ned till stranden

Little Hans ran to the sea shore

För att samla snäckor små;

For to gather little shells;

I den djupa heta sanden

In the deep and burning sand

Måste han barfotad gå.”

He must barefoot go.


This also was popular with us:


Kung Karl den unge hjälte,

King Carl, the youthful hero,

Han stod i rök och damm;

Stood firm in smoke and dust;

Han drog sitt svärd ar(? can’t read) bälte,

He drew his sword from scabbard,

I striden ryckte fram.”

Went forward in the battle.


These last two also had several verses.

You might wonder why we did not sing psalms or something sacred.  This was while we were dancing around the tree and it would not have been appropriate to sing hymns to our way of thinking at that time.

Presents probably consisted of much needed stockings that mother had knitted, mittens maybe, or a scarf or “muddar”.  The latter were short wristlets knitted from wool yarn.  There were sometimes some tin toys from grandpa or aunties.  My first one was a turtle that you could wind up and it would crawl across the floor.  But Christmas was happy.  When I was seven years old, Uncle Ockerman gave me a Mother Goose book of rhymes.  Hilma received another one.  All the verses were memorized.  Those books were carefully guarded until given away about nine years later.  When I was eight Aunt Augusta gave each of us another Mother Goose book.  Mine had a verse for each letter in the alphabet and after fifty years I can still repeat all but three.  (Wish I could repeat the catechism and psalms that I memorized as well.)  When I was eight Hilma and I received our first real dolls.  Aunt Augusta gave them.   They were ten or twelve inches long and had real hair and were dressed.  The same Christmas mother had given each of us a small glass doll about three inches.  It was china, not glass.  When I was seven we were at Uncle Ockermans for Christmas Eve and had our first American Christmas in that Uncle was dressed as Santa and carried a sack on his back with our gifts in it.  I cannot recall that it impressed us any.  We had not been taught to look for Santa Claus, and we knew it was Uncle even if he had red pants and coat and a white beard.  Now I realize it was quite an event in their lives to do that for us children.  They had no children of their own.  I do not recall the gifts Carl or Anna received generally but this Christmas Uncle gave Anna a “music box”.  It was a little box in which were a little man and maybe a woman and when you turned a crank, this man played a tune on something.  It was very “cute”; maybe not musical.

To Aunt Christine and Uncle Ockerman, Anna was the ideal child; she did all things well and was sensible.  Aunt had many beautiful flowers in her house and cut in the yard during the summer.  She loved flowers and could make anything grow and bloom.  She also did much beautiful crocheting and had much of that in her house.  She made many fancy rugs.  Hilma and I were rather afraid of Aunt and Uncle.  Uncle liked to tease us and plague us.  Once Hilma and I were sent with a small bucket of milk to a neighbor, Sander Stark.  Two small children carrying one bucket without a tight cover, what might happen?  It did.  We never dared to tell aunt about it and often wondered if she ever found out that the milk did not arrive.


By the time I was six I helped out and sew carpet rags.  Aunt Christine thought our carpet rags were lumpy and uneven, but I suppose that mother was so glad to get something done, and also glad to keep us occupied, that she was not so critical.  Planting, hoeing, digging in the summer, picking fruit, taking care of our cow, working for others as well as taking care of us four kept her so busy she was glad of all the help she could get.  She borrowed or rented a loom and put up in our crowded living-sleeping-eating-room and there she wove carpets to cover our floors.  Carpets were needed to help keep the floors warm in the winter.  Mother also spun all the yarn needed for our stockings, mittens, hoods and scarves.  We helped card the wool she bought but she did all the spinning.  As we grew older we learned to twine the yarn but none of us learned to spin well.  It was our job to unwind the bobbin after she had spun it full.  She did considerable knitting for neighbors.

At seven I could knit stocking legs.  Mother would finish the feet.  At eight I knitted my only pair of mittens.  I made a few complete stockings but not many.  After I was seven, every Saturday we brought out our clothes for Sunday and all my underwear had to be mended by myself; and stockings mended.  It took a long time before I learned to weave when darning stockings.  As soon as we were able we had to mend all our clothes.  Saturday all our shoes had to be polished for Sunday whether we went to church or not.  Mother would read a sermon to us when we did not go to church.  Saturday enough wood had to be brought in to last till Monday and the house was put in order.  No unnecessary work was done on Sunday.

When I was seven and a half mother said, “This summer you have to learn to crochet.”  I cried and said “I don’t know how.”  I learned and by next year had narrow lace on most of my underwear.

We learned about life from observation.  Before I was six a cow of heifer had been butchered on uncle’s place, and we saw the animal cut up.  That a cow has two large stomachs I knew because I saw them, in fact I sat on one of them.  It was like climbing up on a large rock.  Some time later Uncle’s cow had a calf and Hilma and I discussed and wondered where it came out; we knew where it came from.  Before I was eight I came into our barn and saw our cow, Netta, beginning to give birth to a calf, the foot was protruding, so I hurried to get mother.  She would not let us be around though.  It was not strange, birth was a natural thing.  We saw kittens arrive and chickens crack the eggs and come out.  After we lived at Chain Lake mother bought a heifer together with some of the relatives.  This was butchered for meat.  Believe that was while we had building going on and so had several workers on the place.  Sometimes a calf would be butchered and shared with a neighbor.  Usually we sold the calves.  After some time we added a white heifer to our barn.  She had long silky hair.  Her skin would have made a lovely fur.  She was the only soft haired cow I knew of.  She was mine and named, “Vita”.  She never was a good milker, like Netta who could give up to six gallons a day right after coming fresh.  Mother was a good manager for although we only had two cows all the time we lived on this farm, we always had milk.  Often neighbors that had a dozen cows would be without milk at some time of the year and come to us for a supply.  We children learned to milk but never became efficient; mother preferred to do it.  In the summer one of us would have to hold the cows tail while mother milked, and also keep brushing flies and mosquitoes off the cow.  Half the year we carried water for the cows; the rest of time there was water in the meadow.

Before Christmas ’93 (or ’94) mother went to Minneapolis where Aunt Augusta and Aunt Sofie, cousin Anna and cousin Eva worked.  Here she bought a second hand sewing machine which was still in use long after I was married.  She also brought home a nice bag of candy which was a great treat for us.  The only other times we had candy was when she paid up some grocery bill and the grocer felt generous and gave her a bag.  (A bag being about half a cup full.)  Sometimes in later years Mrs. Stohlberg would give us a little candy when we traded there.  Not often.

At Harris the school desks and benches had room for two; sometimes three had to squeeze for a short time.  For most of the terms Mabel Starkweather was my seatmate, by her choice.  I was too bashful to ask favors.  She was an only child of a local storekeeper and was always nicely dressed but never proud.  She was kind to the poor new children.  School was fun.  Lessons were not too hard even though we generally took books home and studied hard at home.  There were two rooms at Harris school.  Fish Lake had only one room.  My first teacher here was Tillie Taylor and the second one was Belle Clover.  (She has us three on her prayer list and now and then writes us a card)

Early the boys at school nicknamed me, “squaw”.  Never knew why and did not care a bit.  Probably it was because I braided my own hair and always had a lopsided pigtail hanging behind.  Or maybe it was my clothes.  They were funny at times – as mixed as salad.  I had the advantage of the pass-me-downs, being the last in line.  We got many of our school and other clothes from Aunt Augusta.  She would bring home from Minneapolis the discarded clothes of children in the homes where she worked.  Sometimes we had real fancy dresses, so I thought.  Also, the other kind.  I well recall an outfit consisting of a green skirt that had been Anna’s; on top of that an old coarse red waist buttoned all the way down the front and extending below the belt line about four inches; and of course white woolen stockings to match!  Sometimes I wore the waist under the skirt and had a different colored belt.  That waist surely was one aunt Sophie had from Denmark.  It embarrassed Hilma terribly because someone had said something.  There is something about being well born.  No matter how poor we were, I was conscious that I was as good as any of them.  Had I stayed in Sweden I would have been a “frökan”.  That title was not used by the common folks.  I was not proud or stuck up but I was confident.  I had my lessons better then the rest, generally, so why should I worry about clothes.  That was my attitude and it surely helped me over many a hurdle.

In later years I earned the title, “mule”.  I earned it well and honestly.  It was only the big boys that ever teased me.  For some reason they liked to tease me and would grab me and hold me and the only defense I had was to kick them, and I did that effectively – and thus the title!  I can’t recall that it ever bothered me.  The town school was generally considered tougher than the country school, but in all the years I went there I can only recall one crude thing said to me, that might be considered immoral, just once.  No, somebody started a lingo which was undecent that ran to a tune and they would tap off the tune with their hands but rarely whisper the words.  I do not know if any of us at school knew the meaning.  I heard the expression some thirty years later and then for the first time had an inkling of what it meant.  This thing did not stay long in the school; someone said it wasn’t nice and so we quit and others did too.  That is a pretty good record having attended there almost eight years.  They were really a nice bunch.  We discussed religion quite often: if it was a sin to dance, etc.  We were a thinking bunch.

Two other teachers I recall: Hattie Starkweather and John Clover.  John later married Belle Almquist; they live now in Cambridge, Minn.  It is she who prays for us.  She is a sister to Mabel’s mother.  She and Mabel were both converted over twenty years ago.  They are Baptists.  They had always been fine upright folks but after they fully gave their hearts to the Lord, they became very happy in Him.  When I was fifteen a new schoolhouse was built just east of Harris, having four classrooms.  I attended there about a year, taking what might be called ninth grade work, studying Physical Geography, Algebra, and Civics.  At that time only three rooms were used.  Behind the school were the woods that called in the spring!  School days were happy days.


(On her father’s side mostly)

Gathered from various sources in April, 1963


My father, Anders Gustav Carlson (Anders Gustaf Carlsson), was born in Rårgården, Norra Redum, Sweden.  His three sisters were also born there.

Anders Gustav, born in 1843; died at Härebacka, Feb. 8, 1884.

     He married Anna Maria Bloomquist in 1876

His sister Anna Carlsson, born June 5, 1845; died Oct. 21, 1928.

Johanna Christina Carlsson, born Jan. 31, 1854; died March 8, 1892.

Lotta Carlsson – no record of her dates.

Father’s mother died at Rårgården.


Anna and Christina were not married.  Lotta married but have no record of her husband’s name.  Have the names of four children:

Hilma, moved to Canada and died there.  Wrote her last in 1929; no answer.

Arvid, also moved to Canada.  (have this note “his address – Ed. Larson, Marson, Ont.”  In trying to reach him in Jan. ’63, learned he moved to Sioux Narrows, Ont.  Died there)

Anna, Married to Nikolausson.  In 1949 lived in Göteborg.  No further record.

There may have been other children.  Probably another brother.

Ellen, married August Johansson, lived at Ahlsborg, Öxnered, Sweden.  (Almost forgot her even though we corresponded.)  August died in 1947, and Ellen Feb. 1949.  No children.

I believe that my grandfather’s name was Carlsson because his brother Bengt Carlsson owned Björngården.  Bengt was uncle (farbroder) to my father, Anders Gustav Carlson.  (This from Paul Anderson who now owns Björngården.  Paul’s wife was Signe Bengtson, a daughter of a son of old Bengt Carlsson.)  My father was a bit modern; he believed in retaining the family name, therefore we four children carried the name “Carlson”.  He also must have dropped one “s” because we came to America as Carlson.  Mother would not have changed our name.  I’m sure that was done by father.)

My grandfather (whose name I think was Carlsson) bought Härebacka i Råda Socken.  At some time grandfather and my father must have lived at “Duk-Gården” because father was often called “Carlson of Duke”.

My brother Carl once wrote that the summer before father died, he was offered 54,000 Crowns for Härebacka.  But when it was sold, after his death, it brought only 36,000 Crowns.  Anders Johan Anderson was the buyer, a cousin of father.  Carl was four and a half when father died, so he would have heard this later.  Could be an error.

My family record should include – Mother, Anna Marie Carlson, born Nov. 9, 1847; married in 1876 at Härebacka; the wedding lasted a week (Aunt Augusta said; she was there.)  Their children:

Anna, born March 2, 1878; died at Harris, Minn., March 1, 1903.

Carl, born August 5, 1879.  Lives near Washougal, Wash.  Not married.

Eva, born Nov. 29, 1883.  Married Herman V. Magnusson, June 23, 1906.

           Herman died July 1, 1932.

In 1884, Anders Johan Anderson (uncle to Bertha Hylander) bought Härebacka.  (He was a cousin of my father.  In 1894 Carl Anderson bought Härebacka from Anders Johan Anderson.  This Carl had a daughter Ingrid.  She married Iver Heden.  Now in 1963, Härebacka is owned and operated by Ivar and Ingred Heden (spelling differences in original so I copied them).

Miss Anna and Gerda Andersson, Grevhusgatan 3, Lidköping, are daughters of Anders Johan Andersson.  (Their father then was a cousin of my father.)

Two second cousins (syslinger) are, Fru Judith Andersson, Sjögatan 10, Jänköping; and Fru Gerda Sandquist, Mellbygatan 36, Lidköping.

In U.S.A. – Mr. Ing. Birger Nohlin, 808 Lakeside Place, Chicago 40, Ill. And Mrs. Bertha Hylander, 1980 Unionport Road, Bronx 60, New York.

Fröknarna Anna & Gerda Andersson, Grevhusgatan 3, Lidköping, are daughters of the Anders Johan Andersson who bought Härebacka after father died.




Bengt Carlsson of Björngården was a brother the father of Anders Gustav Carlson. (En farbror till min far.)  Bengt’s children (hand writing in margin with arrow pointing to preceding word (children): “These 4 were my father’s cousins, and their name probably was Bengtson”), Alfred, Hilda, Frida, and Gustav, would then be Bengtson’s, and cousins of my father.  (That agrees with my childhood impressions.)  I did write some letters to Hilda and Frida, (hand writing in margin: “It was Tilda I wrote to and maybe also Ellen”) after I was old enough to write.  Alfred wrote us while we lived in Minneapolis (at least when we lived on Last Island Ave.)

Gustav married Bertha Hylander’s father’s sister Emma, who now (1963) is 91 years old.  They owned Björngården then.  Now their daughter Signe is married to Paul Anderson, who owns and operates Björngården now.  (This from Bertha Hylander whose mother was a cousin to the four Bengtssons.  They were also cousins of my father.)


My record of aunt and uncle Bengtsson has the children’s names as (hand writing in column: “one of these lists is wrong”) Alfred, Albert, Tilda and Ellen.  It was with Aunt Tilda I used to correspond.  We called the four of them, aunt and uncle though they were really father’s cousins.  We children called the parents Farbror och faster Bengtsson, also even though they were Father’s aunt and uncle.  (If I have things right.)

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My mother, Anna Maria Blomquist (Correct spelling was with one ‘o’, not 2 as Eva typed) was born at Vasa, Värmland, Nov. 9, 1847.  Her father was Nils Gustav Blomquist and her mother Katarina.  I think they had fourteen children (actually 13 by Nils & Katarina and 1 by Drangen Nils Jonsson & Katarina named Christina Blomquist) but several died from “black diphtheria”.  Grandfather was a painter and a fisherman and life was not easy.  They had been in America a few years before my mother with her four came to live near Harris, Minn. (half ways between Minneapolis and Duluth.  We came in July 1887.  Her brothers, Gustav, John, Andrew, and sisters Kristina, Tilda, Augusta were there before us.  Sister Sophie came shortly thereafter.  So there were no near relatives on her side left in Sweden, therefore no special interest for us children about that place.  Grandpa Blomquist was born at Hammarö April 24, 1823.  And Grandpa at Olme, Värmland.  He died at Harris, Sept 6, 1901; she at Minneapolis, with us, on Sept. 7, 1907 (actually Sept. 17, 1907 per my records and gravestone).

Eva, on June 23, 1906 married Dr. Herman Victor Magnusson, at her home in Minneapolis.

Their children – Edith Evangeline, married to Chaplain Paul C. Wharton.  He is chaplain in the California Lutheran Hospital in Los Angeles (Written in margin: “1963”).

Eleanor Maria Magnusson, works at San Fernando Valley State College, Northridge, Cal., near L.A.

Harris Willard Magnusson, a chemist; married Miriam Swanson.  Have two children.

        Lois Marie, at college now; Kenneth Stanley, in High School. (1963)

The Whartons have a girl, Beverly Elaine (to graduate from college this summer.) (1963)


Dr. Magnusson’s parents born in Smôland, with five sons and four daughters – too long a story to go with this and I do not have their Sweden history.  Except the oldest son, children born in Minnesota; among them two “M.D.” and two “PhD”; three teachers; and the other two are just as clever.

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The original idea of this was to give Eleanor Marie a list of relatives in Sweden, so she might have a chance to visit some of them when she gets to Sweden in July (1963).  She plans to fly with the Lutheran World Federation Assembly tour, for Helsinki, Finland.  She will have some time for some short visits; get a little look at Sweden, Denmark; maybe a little peek at Germany.  The important spot is of course Härebacka and Björngården

Eva C. Magnusson
736 So. Fetterly Avenue
Los Angeles 22, California.
(A good place to be.)