Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Friday, December 30, 2011

94. November 1928 Part 1

Jonas Victor writes about the presidential election in 1928 when Calvin Coolidge was reelected.  You can receive these blogs by email if you sign your email address in the place on the right hand side below "followers".  Roselyn.

Randolph, Kansas
November 1928  Part 1

Dear Brother Albert with Family.
     Thanks for the letter.  It is always so nice to get a letter from the place where I was born and have grown up, and hear how you are.  I remember when I wrote the last time, I said that it could be the last letter.  I can say that my health is better now than it was that time, thanks to God.
     I have been with my son in Clay Center for 5 months.  Now I am with my oldest son, who lives at a farm 4 miles from Randolph.  I have a good time with my children wherever I am.  Everybody is so kind to me.  I pay well for my housing.  
     We are having beautiful weather.  It is great, brother Albert, that God has blessed us so we do not have to be thinking of poverty in our old age.  We have worked hard, and that has been our duty, but others have worked, but have not succeeded.  We have free access to God, who gives us  both what we need spiritually and bodily. 
     Now it is another day, so I have forgotten what I had thought to write.
     I can tell you that we have had a presidential election and that was good.  The Republicans won, so we have the same president (Calvin Coolidge).  He is an economical man.  He was vice president earlier, but when the sitting president died, he was the new president.  During that time many national debts have been paid.  The taxes have been a little smaller.  This is the third time I am writing.  The last time I was writing, clouds came in front of the sun, so I could not see.  
     There are many debts in the country which are enormous.  No debts to the foreign countries.  Instead there are great claims in this country.  Here, the rich people have much to claim, also those who are not as rich, and the workers, too got a chance to pay into what was called savings stamps.  They could pay 25 and 50 cents, also 1 dollar, 5, 25, 50, 100, up to 500.  They could put in for 5 years.  By then it had grown much.  If they wanted to take out the money after 5 years, they could do that.  They did not have to do that if they did not want.  I have put in 500.  I get 4 1/2 % interest, which I get every sixth month sent to my home address.  It is good, because there is no tax on this money.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

93. January 1, 1927 Part 2

Jonas Victor writes of Christmas and church customs in America.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
January 1, 1927

We are now in the Christmas week.  No church communion has early church service more than Swedes here in America, but every church has a Christmas tree, a spruce dressed up before Christmas Eve.  Everybody pays an entrance fee of 10 cents.  Many people are there, but not as many now as before, depending on how many parties there are.  The reason for the fee is that there is so much to do with decorating the church.  Many people come who never visit the church.  There is a varied program with choir singing and speech.  I think that you have it this way, too. There are not many churches in the countryside.
     I do not know what I should write about, what is interesting to you.  You say  that when everything is investigated, you will tell me how things are. Thank you for that.  We will see if we live.
     I think of Sunday School.  It is the only occasion when the children get to hear God's word and learn to know God and Jesus.  Everybody is interested in that school.  Those who never visit the church, send their children there.  There are many classes for children and young people in English.  At the church Christmas party, the children take part and everything nice is done for them.  It is the same in the English and German churches, but some of the young people go out when the Sunday School is over.
     I will now finish this letter.  While I write this, I have my feet on a warm brick with woollen cloth.  My feet are cold and the pain in my legs is worst during the night.  With the warm brick during the day, it helps me during the night.  I have it much better than many others, who are 10 to 20 years younger than I am.  They have to lie many years in bed with pain and get help like children.  In the winter I cannot go anywhere.  In the summer when it is warm and in the spring and autumn I can be out.  
     I cannot read, but my eyes are good enough that I can write.  I do not hear when the clergyman preaches.  My body is as lithe as when I was 40.  
     When you get this letter the Christmas holidays have passed.  I hope you have had a glad and happy Christmas.  We are a year closer to the end, where we will go.  May God help and lead us, so our rest will be pleasing until the resurrection's morning.
     Lovely greetings to your all.  My thoughts are often of you.
J.V. Swenson

I said that all were interested in the Sunday School.  Most people are, but not all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

92. January 1, 1927 Part 1

In this letter Jonas Victor writes about the movement, etc of his family members.  I believe it was in 1926, that Sweden passed a law that changed land ownership requiring that some people move to another place.  I saw the stone outlines of the house Jonas Victor's wife, Anna Greta, had lived in as a child.     They had to move the house to another location.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
January 1, 1927

Brother Gustav Albert,
     I have received two letters from you since I wrote to ask you to answer some of my questions, so you are probably tired of that.  Thanks for everything you told me.  Do you pay anything for my letters?  The postmaster says that it costs 5 cents.  When you write, do not pay the letter.  I pay because it is for my sake you send the letters.
     Did not Gustav get another old field?  It was the worst soil, lying fallow in Hamra.  It was waterlogged a great deal, but that was 68 years ago, so it may be otherwise now.  I think it is too little for him.  I think he should get the meadow below and the fen cultivation, which cannot be good land.  I do not think that rye can grow there.  Did Gustav get forest ground in the enclosed pasture, which borders on Spakarp?  If Gustav buys Peter's part, he will get the large courtyard. Is it the yard where Gustav and Algot lived or is it more?  Who will get the field where Gustav and Algot have their cow barns?  Where does Algot get his part of the old field and swamp cultivation? Does his land border on Solebo cottage?  Gustav and Algot have a third part and an eighth over (?) in Hamra, so they need to get more.  It will cost much money to move their houses and pay the surveyor.  Does Algot have grown boys who can help him?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

91. January 11, 1926

Jonas Victor tells of the time after harvest as being "Prayer Week", which we called Thanksgiving.   Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
January 11, 1926

Dear Brother Albert and Family,
     I have got your letter some time ago, so now I know how old you are.  Thank you so much.
     I can tell you that I am in good health, and I wish the same to you.
     Now we have begun a new year.  The old is behind us with sorrows, joys and troubles.  God has been our help, leader and comfort with everything.  We do not know what the new year is bearing in its bosom, but we know that God is the same, loving and merciful as He always has been.  He will help us this year, too.
     If I look back, the time has passed quickly.  If I did not know which year I was born, I would not think that I am 90 years old.
     Now we have a little snow, but is not more than that the ground is white.  No cold and no frost in the ground.  It is good weather for an old man, but I like it best if there is no snow on the ground.
     Here in the eastern part of the state, the harvest of all sorts is good.  Thirty miles to the west, the harvest was bad or no harvest at all.  The autumn was fine and there was time to get in the harvest before Christmas.  On my old farm, which now my children own, there was 7,000 bushels of grain in spite of the fact that on 10 acres they had wheat and oats.  
     When they have now done with the work with the harvest, they have "Prayer Week", and there are gatherings in various places for thanking God for his goodness.  He is worth thanks and praises.  The weather must be warm and fine  for me to be able to be there.
     I read in your letter that Gustav's son in Hamra is at home from "Sletten" and now has been out and shot moose.  If I understood Selma's letter, he has been there for two years and has another three years.  How old should they be when they are allowed to begin and how many years will they stay there?  (Is he talking about a school?  I am not sure).     It is difficult to see today.  It is cloudy and has been that way for a long time.  I am old so something is wrong with my seeing.
     Now I will finish for this time.  May God help us so we will be happily saved.  The person who will believe in God to the end will find salvation.

Your brother JV. Svenson.

Please write to me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

90. November 5, 1925 Part 2

Jonas Victor talks of problems of smaller churches--says "preacher must speak English" for younger ones.   In Sweden there was a law passed that changed the farms, so some had to move from their homes.  He asks about it in Hamra.  Roselyn

Randolph, KS November 5, 1925  Part 2

     The small churches have difficulty paying the preacher because the salary is high.  The preacher must speak English, or the young people will go to the American churches.  There are several churches that cannot pay a preacher.  The small churches are closing.  The big towns have large mission churches.
     There are big revivals in this country.  The largest churches are all unanimous against anything new.  They have been gathering together for several days.  It seems that they do not believe more than what they can see and what the brain can understand.  It is good to know that God has the power to do what is best.
      There has always been a disagreement about the Bible, but the Bible will exist when heaven and earth come to an end.  The colleges are a danger for the young people.
     My thoughts are with you, and I wonder how you are feeling.  Dear brother, if you are well and can, write to me.  I want to know how everything is, if Fia (his sister Sofia) in Aggebo still is alive and how it is in Hamra. There should be a lawful partition in Hamra.  If it has been done, let me know the results.  Perhaps some had to move away.  It is nice to hear about the place where I used to live.
     It is good for us that we may have our hope and trust in God.  When I go around, my old friends are gone, and I ask myself why I am here so long.  I want to be beside my wife, but at the same time, I want to be satisfied with God's leadership and care.  The day is coming soon, when I will do my last moving.
     I am doing well.  Everybody is kind to me and do the best they can for my well being.  God is good.  Until now the Lord has helped us sinners.  He forgives.
     I hope that my letter finds you in good health and well being.


JV. Svenson.

I would like an answer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

89. November 5, 1925 Part 1

Jonas Victor is "home" with his oldest son in Randolph, Kansas, near his old home where he feels the weather is "fine".  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
November 5, 1925

Dear Brother Albert and the Whole Family,
     God's peace preserves our hearts in Jesus Christ.
     I thought I would write a letter to you.  I have time.  I am now at home.  I went from here June 15 to Clay Center.  I stayed there until August 23.  In June and July, it was hot, and I felt that I had difficulties to keep going on as before.  I felt that my health had become worse during the last year.
     Now it is difficult for me, both with hot and cold weather.  Here there is such fine weather, autumn and spring, neither too hot nor too cold.
     We have fine weather now.  In Clay Center and also in Osage (where his daughter, Matilda Skonberg, lived) the ground is not good for barley, but here we have fine barley and it is a rush to find people for picking.
     On my farm, the renter's farmhand and a boy, who is 15 years old, do the work. They get 6 cents a bushel.  They earn 5 dollars a day each or more.  The farmhands earn generally 40 dollars a month.
     When it is time for barley picking, they say that they want to be paid per bushel.  When they can earn 5 dollars a day, it will be different. 
     Next Saturday, the Mission Church will go to my farm to pick the barley.  Both girls and boys and whole families are coming with horses and carriages.  They bring their food and have a nice time.  They can pick barley, and the church gets the money they earn.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

88. April, 1925. Part 2

Randolph, Kansas
April, 1925  Part 2

To brother Albert,      
My thoughts are with you and the area where I was born in Horn's parish.
     I stopped the paper.  I did not know if you liked that.  There are many papers in Sweden now, which you perhaps have.  If you want the paper, let me know.  You should not worry about the costs.  It is not very much.  Tell me if you want the paper, and I will send that.
    I have been at home quite a lot.  During the winter, it is too cold.  I went to church on Easter Day.  We always go by automobile and are quickly there.  It is   difficult for me to hear everything and my eyes are weak, but I am glad that it is as good as it is.  It could be worse.  Here there are many who are blind when they are old.  There is a woman not far from here who is not as old as I am, and she is blind.  She says that the time goes so slowly.
     It has been a few days since I wrote the previous to you.  I have to finish.  I am incompetent to write.  You can see that, when you read the letter.
     How is it in Hamra and with the wood's business?  I will pay for the letter.  You do not need to put on some post money.
     I enclose me and you in God's protection and help, so we will be happily saved and can meet with God.
     Kindly greetings to all of you from your affectionate brother.
                  J.V. Swenson

Let me know you need to pay for my letters.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

87. April, 1925 Part 1

Jonas Victor writes about his life staying with his son near the old farm.  He tells that his children have moved far away.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
April, 1925

Dear Brother Albert,
      I thought I would try to write a letter to you to let you know how it is here.  
      I have, thanks to God, fairly good health, so I am up every day and do not need to lie in bed with pain, as many have to do.  I am with my son Alfred.  I have my home there.  I will be going to stay with my son in Clay Center and stay there for two months this summer.  It is nicer in that town the warm time of the year.  I will also see old friends.  I have a good time wherever I am.  
     Now it is beautiful here.  The trees are blooming in different colors and the weather is fine.  The weather has changed.  It was raining for the whole night but now it lasts no more than half an hour.
     Alfred has much work to do.  He is working until nine 'clock in the evening.  His wife has much work with her hens and taking care of the eggs.  She lays hens at least twice a week.  The baby chicks that hatch from three hens are given to one hen. That hen now has about 30 baby chicks to take care of.  Alfred's wife has many hens now, that are out with the chickens.  The hens produce many eggs, sometimes up to 18 dozen eggs a day.
     Not much wheat is grown in Kansas this year, but around here it seems to be good.  It is not used so much here.  They grow more barley.
     The farmers have to work hard.  It is difficult to get a farm hand.  They want to earn forty dollars a month.  The young people are in school until they are 25 years or more.  Then they go to the bigger towns, and those who are talented and are reliable can earn a lot of money.  Some become very bad people.  It is very different these days.
     My children are spreading wide around.  The nearest son, who lives in Clay Center is 30 miles away.  My daughter lives 88 miles to the south.  Three sons live in Omaha, 180 miles north of here.  Our youngest son, I don't know for certain, but it is at least 250 miles northwest of here.  
     I cannot speak to them so often, but I get letters from them.  When they come it is always by automobile.

Monday, November 28, 2011

86. January 6, 1925

Jonas Victor writes about Christmas in Randolph.  He asks about things back in Hamra, Sweden. There were (and still are) lots of wooded areas in this part of Sweden.  In the winters of the late 1800's, the Swenson family cut some of the woods to make charcoal for the trains.  There is still a very large basket/sled in the barn at Spakarp that was used to haul charcoal to the train.    Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas,
January 6, 1925

Dear Brother Albert.
     Thanks for your letter which I got the day before New Year's Eve.  I am so happy when I hear from you and the places around.  I am glad to hear that you have good health.  Now we have begun a new year and we do not know what will happen.
     Hamra must be odd looking with a plain between the "Beren", but they will plant wood again.  If not, it seems to me that it is like it was waste and the birch usually grow on special places and also grass.
     You wrote your letter on December 12.  Until that time we had fine weather, but then it began to be cold with snow.  We have received more snow, so it is eight or ten inches.  It is the most for many years.  The snow is not gone away, but it is not as cold.  
     Now all parties are over, which are held during Christmas time.  The Sunday after New Year's Day, prayer week begins.  There is a gathering in the churches every evening.  They have prayer gathering once a week the whole year--both Americans and everybody, but no gatherings are as little attended as the prayer gatherings.
     I have been at home the whole of Christmas.  It must be warm for me to be out of doors.
     The war did great damage.  If there would have been no war, the times and wood should still have been the same.  Now it seems that all countries have to buy grain.  We ship out much from America.  It has been very expensive here.  It is very expensive to get it ready to ship.  They need it.  The cattle are cheap so they lose money on them.  Many people here are poor and especially the renters.
     Brother, I think that you know that it is so great that we can send letters to each other.  The postman says that a letter abroad costs 5 cents.  I have put on 6 cents.  Let me know if you need to pay for my letters.  I want to pay for the ones you send.
    I can say that it is good weather for a sled, but I have not seen anybody use one.
     Now I finish this letter with dear greetings to you and enclose us all in God's protection and I pray to God that we will be happy, saved home to Him.

   Yours sincerely, Brother.

    J.V. Swenson

      When you get time, do send me a letter.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

85. November, 1922. Part 2.

Jonas Victor tells of some family business of money loaned.  He also writes about the schools and education in America.

Omaha, Nebraska
November 8, 1922  Part 2
     On the farm near Cleburne, I think that Anton knows Anderson and his son Karl, who have borrowed money from him.  They are carpenters and earn much money.  They have built houses here and there.  When the war was over, the building stopped.  The son, Karl Anderson, has moved to Kansas City.  In that town several hundreds of people live, and the town does not have too many carpenters.  Anderson, who has borrowed money from Anton, works with repairing a roof, so he earns money.  When I wrote to you, brother Albert, I said that they could pay because their earnings were so good.  You answered that Anton did not know that.  Then I thought that Anton had the same idea.  I do not know if Smitt has sent something.  I thought that he paid and sent it himself to Anton. I feel badly that Anton cannot get his money because he needs it.  
     Workers on farms earn $45-55 a month.  Farm-hands receive this and food and a place to live.  All farmers cannot pay a high salary, because they cannot make as much money, when they sell something from their farms.  The machines and tools are expensive to buy.  The tax is high, because you have to pay tax to the schools.
     Every district has to keep a school like in Cleburne, about 2 1/2 miles apart and pay the teachers and maintain the buildings.  Some teachers earn about $2,000 or more.  It works well for the farmers who have sons.  They come home three months during the summer, when it is a busy time.  Those who have no sons, have to work hard.  You must send the children to school.
     Here in Omaha, a school is ready now after two years' work. The master builder had a contract of three million dollars.  There are 3,000 students fourteen to sixteen years old.  They go to this school for four years.  (This would be what we call a high school). In another part of the town they are building another school in the same way at the same cost.  That school will be ready next year.  After the children have finished this school, they continue at high school (college?).  
     The children go to school from six to twenty years and more.  Both poor and rich children go.  All want to learn as much as possible.   

     I will finish writing for today, because the weather has been so cloudy and misty.  As I have not received any letter from you, I wonder if I, in my last letter, wrote something offensive.  In that case I want to ask your forgiveness. Have you received the paper?
     Dear Brother, if you are well, write to me.  I am in good health for my age, thanks to God.  Old memories come now and then.
     Greetings to all of you from your brother and friend.
     J.V. Svenson

Saturday, November 26, 2011

84. November 8, 1922 Part 1

     This letter does not have the year stated, and 1922 is just a guess.  
     Jonas Victor mentions a terrible storm that struck the area that he calls a hurricane.  I have found a record of a bad tornado that struck Omaha, NE on November 4, 1922, so this must be the correct date.
     After the death of his wife, Anna Greta, in June 1922, Jonas Victor lived part time with his children, mostly in Omaha, Nebraska, and Randolph, Clay Center  and Cleburne, Kansas. 
     I wish he had written what work the women in his family did.  I do know that my aunt Huldah, daughter of Grandma Matilda Swenson Skonberg, worked in a store the Swenson Brothers had set up near Osage City, Kansas.  Roselyn

Omaha, Nebraska
November 8, 1922

Dear Brother Albert and Family.
     Now in my life's evening, I will try to write a letter to you.  I cannot verbally talk to you, but my thoughts are often of you, and I wonder how you are.
     I am still in Omaha, but if I am still alive when you get this letter, I will be with my son Alfred in Randolph, Kansas, a big town like Omaha.  (I never knew Randolph to be nearly that size-Roselyn).   There is so much to see. Everything moves so quickly.  If you are in the shopping center among the big buildings, some are from four to eight stories, there are many automobiles and trucks there.  It is nearly impossible to cross the street, and everybody is in a hurry.
     I think that in forty years it will be another generation.  Of those who are now living, not many will be alive.  Everything is vanity and perishes under the sun.  It I go to a park, there are many flowers and it is very beautiful and nice to see.  There are thousands of people there, and they talk to each other and enjoy it.  You do not see any discord.
     A week ago there was a hurricane in the south part of town;  about four miles from here, trees were pulled up by the roots.  The houses were destroyed,  with large floods and five people were killed and five hundred were homeless.
     In a little town twenty-five miles from here, there was a burial of 118 people, some from Illinois, who were in the same house after the burial, were killed.  (I am not sure what he means here--Roselyn).  The rain and the hurricane destroyed the house.  Such accidents do not happen in Sweden.  I think that you can read in the newspaper what happens in other countries, that never happens to you.
    Here in Omaha they have built several hundred houses in summer.  The people go to the bigger towns, especially the young.  If they have knowledge and are clever they earn a lot of money.  They have short working hours.  In the evening they visit different places of amusement.
     Even the girls earn much money.  My daughter (Matilda), has a daughter who makes $175 a month.  She works seven and a half hours a day.  Saturday afternoon is free.  My daughter (Matilda), has a daughter in law who makes $175 a month.  They have no children and her husband is sick.  Many people do not earn that much money.  Girls who have grown up on a farm can work for a rich family and earn $15 a week.  
     The railway workers say what they want to earn.  If they do not get that, they go on strike.  When there are hundreds of thousands, and the trains stop, no power can do anything against them.  The bigger towns grow quickly.  In the smaller towns there is not much work.  The carpenters receive $1.25-1.50 an hour.  In small towns they do not build anything.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

83. May, 1924. Part 2

Jonas Victor continues with his letter saying the boys go to school so they won't farm, people are spending more than they can afford, etc.  He gives advice to his brother Albert, about selling some of the wood in the forest on their land.  We do not have the end of this letter.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
May, 1924  Part 2

     The young boys are studying, and then they will not work at the farms.  The employees receive big pay, but nobody is satisfied.  These are troubled times.  The people have lived greatly in everything, so they do not have enough money.  There is much anxiety between the countries.  We do not know what will happen.
     You say that the forest affairs are good, so there will be a shortage of wood.  They have to plant where they cut down.....from Hamra forest. I understand what is causing this.
     Brother Albert, I cannot say that you should do as I say.  You know better than I do, but if it was I, and the prices were so high, I would sell.  There can be a forest fire and burn it up.  There can be a crisis so the affairs end, but if the times go ahead as it seems to do, the forest will get a higher price.  The price of boards and planks are unusually high here.  If I sold the wood, I would be careful until I received the money.  Now you do not need to take advice I have given you.  I have only said what I would do.
     In the Church, it is as you can see in the paper.  I can only say that, because Anton knows how it is in Cleburne, where there is a good clergyman, so it is a blessing.
     I will tell you that I have given Smitt $5 for taking care of Mother's (his wife's) grave.  I told him the he should send the money and give something to Anton.  I wrote to Anderson that he should try to add something, too, so they could send $8 to make it nearly 30 Skr.  Smitt said that he would try.  He has been not been well this winter and it is hard to get interested.

Monday, November 21, 2011

82. May, about 1924.

Jonas Victor is saying some things I heard from the "old Swedes" as I was growing up.  They regretted that most or all of the sermons at church were now in English instead of the familiar Swedish. The next generation spoke English.   Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
May, about 1924.

Dear Brother Albert and Family.
     Grace and peace I wish you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
     I thought I would write a letter to you.  When I am sitting in my solitude, my thoughts often go to you.
     I am now with my son Alfred, and have it good.  I pay for it.  They are kind to me.  I have it much better than other people my age.  Here I can have contact with God in private.  My health is good for my age.  I walk a mile every day if the weather is fine.
     I miss my companion.  Many times I wish to move to her side.  May God help me.
     I can see and read when it is clear and sunny, but if it is cloudy, I must strain my eyes to see.  I can not hear when the clergyman preaches.  If I know the lesson, I can understand the contents.  Now most is in English and I can not follow that.  I feel that I am not as strong as I was a year ago.  (In spite of often feeling he will soon die, Jonas Victor lives on for at least 10 more years).
     The weather is dry and cold.  In May people tended to plant grain.  The wheat and oats are tall.
     I have paid the newspaper, so you will have it until the first of April, 1925.  I have not written anything the last week, because the weather has been cloudy and cold, and I could not see to write.  Yesterday I got your letter.  Thank you so much.
     We also have a late and cold spring.  First in April we had warm weather, so Alfred sowed oats, and it grew tall so the hens go there to eat every day. The first of May, the cattle were let out so they had pasture then.
     Before the war I did not know any farmer who had declared bankruptcy;  now there are many.  It depends so much on the automobiles.  They cost a lot to have, but for them who can afford to have automobiles, it is good.  Then the taxes and employers are expensive.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

81. April 1922 or 1923 Part 2.

This is a difficult letter to read.  Jonas Victor is remembering his brother Hans, who had mental illness.  I have read of others who had "religious insanity" at that time.  The treatment of mental illness in Sweden is similar to that which other countries used in the 1800's.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
April 1922 or 1923

     I remember how it was with Hans.  He had begun to study the Bible.  He was filled with agony and had a troubled mind.  Mother and Father mourned him.  He was a kindly man.  He was merry, not annoying.  When he was "feebleminded" (troubled) he went around and preached.  Many people began to think that he could hurt somebody.
     We had to put a chain with a lock around his foot and chain him to the bed.  On Sundays after dinner, I loosened him so he could go out.  When it was evening, I put on the chain again, and he never complained about that.  He was so manageable.  He had many difficulties.
     I remember that in Hessleby parish there was a woman with a daughter and a son.  He was a lieutenant.  They were not rich and had a fine little home.  She could cure illness.  Hans went there and I went with him. When he was there they gave him medicine, which he spit out.  When he refused to take the medicine, the lieutenant took a long whip like a twig and beat Hans three times.  It was very painful, so after that Hans would take the medicine.  We were there three days, but Hans did not get better.
     Little by little he got better and then he decided to go to America with different climate and nobody there to take care of him.  He had to work.  He saw that, and the result was death.  (All of this is told in Letter 21 from his brother who was in Andover, Illinois where Hans committed suicide). He should have stayed at home with his parents and worked when he could and they could have taken care of him.  Perhaps he could have had a good life.     
     I see that you have much to do with wood and the costs with selling it.  You have sold wood before and made money.  Perhaps you will have a good harvest.  If you have good pastures, you can have animals and get money from them.
     (Then he returns to talking about Hans and others who seemed to go insane over religion.)  It was not only Hans who had mental problems at that time.  Many people began to study the Bible and were made crazy by it, specially in Stockholm, when Valdenstrom preached.  In that time they did not believe in resurrection.  (Irene writes "Then there is much about different persons in the Bible and God's grace, among other things).

Your devoted brother J.V. Svenson

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

80. April 1922 or 1923 Part 1

Jonas Victor writes of difficult problems that were in his Swedish family.   Hans and Oskar are Jonas Victor's brothers.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
April 1922 or 1923

Brother Albert,
     I received your letter several days ago.  Thanks for telling me how life is going for you.
     As you see, I am with my son in Clay Center.  I will go home next week.  I have been here since January 9.  It is good for my feet here during the wintertime.  They make a fire in the cellar, so the floors are warm in all the rooms.
     When I read your letter, I could not hold back tears.  I thought of Hans and Mother's and Father's sorrow.  I have never thought that Fransen was Oskar's son, even though you told me that Oskar and Anlovis (Anna Lovisa) had a son together.  It was difficult to understand why Oskar did not marry her.  Both the clergyman and Mother and perhaps her parents had ordered him to marry her.  If they had married, perhaps she would not have committed suicide.
     Their life was unhappy.  I can not leave the thought that it was a spirit which controlled him, but when she died everything was pulled up for him.  Perhaps he saw the life they had lived together, all the pressures he got.  The most difficult thing for him was he perhaps felt guilty because of her death.  And perhaps that is why his mind became bothered.
     If they had asked God to forgive them, everything would have been good.  Nobody who has not experienced death of someone close, can understand the feeling of the one who survived.
     I did what I could for my wife, when she was sick.  I picked flowers along the roads in the spring and also flowers in the garden, and we talked much.  She was happy.  I should have been with her the whole time her last week, so sometimes I have gloomy thoughts.  I feel that I neglected something.  
In the next part Jonas Victor tells about the mental problems Hans had and the cruel methods used for treatment of people with mental illness.   Roselyn

Monday, November 14, 2011

79. March 26, 1923. Part 3.

This is the final part of a letter.  He misses his wife, and as usual, he wonders about the "bog" and farm back home in Sweden.   Roselyn

Since Mother (his wife) died, I feel so alone and my thoughts are often of her, but I have it better than many others.  I have God's peace in Jesus Christ.  When I am at the cemetery, I think of "near and dear" and it is sorrowful for me.  When I come to my wife's grave where I have my great companion, then it is difficult to hold back the tears.  It will not be a long time before my body will be buried with her.  The reunion will be soon.  
     Here we have a burial plot for every family member and nobody else can be buried there.  Like many others, there is a cemented wall around the grave, 8 inches high and 20 inches deep and a gravestone in the middle with the name on. When I go to the cemetery, I find most of my old friends there.  I read their names and the year when they were born and also the year when they died.  It is cut into stones of granite, and it will not disappear in hundreds of years.  It does not feel good to see this, but it must be, so a new generation comes instead. Everything under the sun is perishable.
     You mentioned 3 crowns.  I always thought that you charged too little for your troubles about the inheritance from Gottfrid.  
     Brother Albert, do not forget to write and tell how it is with Algot, Johan Peters' son, and also about the harvest from the bogs, how much the wood is worth and if you can sell it.
     Let me know if you have a Sunday School in the neighborhood.  May we meet at home with God.  That is what I wish, and it is in my prayers.
     Kindest regards to all of you.
                     J.V. Svenson

The postmaster in Randolph said that a letter to Sweden does not cost more than 5 cents.  Let me know if you have to pay something.
     Let me know how old you are and also your wife and children.  
     I am happy that I got a letter from you and happy to write to you.  Do not wait so long to send letters.
     May God help us so we will meet our "near and dear" with God.  It feels strange sometimes, but God is the same as he always has been--loving, merciful and forgiving.
     From your brother.  Kindest regards to all of you.  J.V. Svenson

Thursday, November 10, 2011

78. March 26, 1923. Part 2

This part goes into some wrongdoing by a family member with money and the result.  Then he goes on to ask about the price of wood in Sweden and about his livestock and his gifts of money to his children.  Roselyn     

Algot, Johan Peter's son, did wrong with much money and that is a sin, and ends with sorrow.  If Johan Peter had said no, Karl Johan would have been under a guardian and then nobody would be suffering.  It would have been better for Algot.  It was bad for Algot.
     I can tell you that in America, I have never heard of anybody who has stood surety for a person.  Those who have debts have to take out a mortgage on their land, horses, cattle and implements.  I have never heard that anybody has been without insurance, but if the landowners cannot pay, the owners of the mortgages have to sell by auction, but the people get no pay. There is no insurance on the bill or the debt note.
     How is it on the cultivated bogs?  Probably you get lots of feed.  How much is the inspected wood in Hamra worth?  They must be small trees.  It is odd that they can sell them.  I think it times are very poor in Europe.  We have always been happy that we moved from Hamra.  When you write the next time tell me about the bogs and the price of the wood.  It would be good for you if the price is high.  The price of lumber here is very high.
     Next week if the price stays the same, my leaseholder will send our cattle to the slaughterhouse to sell.  We have 55 cattle;  some are calves.  The calves that have been with the cows during the summer are bigger.  The price is not very high.  These are the last I will sell.
     I have given the children 1000 acres of arable land, 90 cattle and swine and other things.  I wanted to arrange it so I did not have to work with it.
     I get $600 a year for as long as I live.  I also have income from another place.  I do not need all that, but many people ask for money for the hospital, children's home, compassion for old people, the home for lung diseases and also money for the churches in Cleburne.
     When God has blessed us, I do not want to lose the way and not see directions in God's word.  You cannot give money to all.  If I get sick and have to be in the hospital, I must pay for that.        

Thursday, November 3, 2011

77. March 26, 1923 Part 1

In this rather long letter, Jonas Victor is grateful for his children.  He writes about the economy in the country .   Roselyn

Randolph, March 26, 1923
Brother Albert with Family.  God's Peace!
     Thanks very much for the letter.  I learned so much.  It is nice to get a letter from Sweden, and especially from the place where my parents' house is and hear how you are.
     I am with my son, Alfred, and I feel well.  It is so quiet in the house.  They have no children.  They have a foster-daughter, but she is in school.  She is a teacher now and seldom at home.  How poor it is without children.  If I had no children it would be so boring to live.
     Nearly every week I get one or two letters, and also they visit me sometimes. I write to them.  There would not be as many letters if the postman did not come every day to the house both take and leave the mail.
     My health is good.  Thanks to God!  There have been changes for me.  On the farm I had much to do.  We had about 150 hens, which I cared for.  It was more work than I wanted.  Now I walk one mile every day if the weather is fine.  It keeps my nerves in order.  I was 87 years old the first of October last autumn.
     Albert gets about 15 dozen eggs a day from his hens.  They are cheap now.  We have not had snow this winter to amount to anything.
     I paid for the newspaper 2.50 this year.  I have proof of that.  I have written to Oskar about that.  They ought to have the newspaper.  Let me know if you get it.
     The workers here do not work more than 8 hours a day.  They have a big daily allowance.  There were 1 million bushels of potatoes that were not picked up in the northern states.  The work for doing it was too expensive.  The railway workers have a big daily allowance.  (Wages).  The result was that freight was expensive for the businessman, who would take the potatoes home and sell.  There was a big harvest so the potatoes were cheap.  The factories do not have enough workers, so nobody needs to be unemployed.
     The youth who go to school until they finish college or even longer, do not want to do heavy work.  So there are many vagrants.  The workers earn lots of money, but they use it to buy automobiles.  It is nearly impossible in the country for farmers to get help, so they trade between themselves.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

76. July After 1922 Part 4,

Jonas Victor writes about his health and about some relatives.    Roselyn

Omaha, Nebraska
July After 1922

When I came to Omaha, I met the clergyman Gullen and his family and Hulda, who was with us for six years.  He said that he had visited Miss Larson, your wife's sister.  She is living with one of her daughters in the country. She is sick with an illness that causes her hands to shake a lot.  It was not because of her age.  They did not say if she had much pain.  There is much illness in the world.
     I have been around in the town and I have seen so many beautiful parks and farms.  I have also visited old people's homes and hospitals.  There are so many sick people.  I could not stand that, so I had to leave.  I prayed to God for good health.  
     I think often of Oscar, (his brother, Franz Oskar) if God could save him so he would be obedient.  I have gone around a lot, and I think I have it better now than earlier, when my wife lived, because I had so much to do.  But I feel more and more that I, most of all, want to be by my wife's side in the grave.  As long as God wishes me to live, I will be thankful.  I have reason to be thankful, because I am in good health for my age.
     I talked to Smitt in Cleburne.  He said that he had written to Anton Gustafsson, and he says he will pay his debt.  I think that he will do that, and send it to Gustavsson.  Andersson could perhaps send a little every time, so it would be paid in one or two years.  He is old, but his daily allowance is good.
     The carpenters in the land don't have much to do.  I think often of you.  I know from newspapers, that it is much better in Sweden now than before.
     I wrote to Chicago about the newspaper to you, and they said that you should get it until the first of April next year.
     When I read this letter, I see that I have written very badly, so I have to correct it.  It will be difficult for you to read it.
   Dear Brother, do write to me, so I know how you are and how it is in Hamra and how life is for Algot, Johan Petter's son.
     Perhaps this is my last letter, before I leave here.  I will go to Alfred's over the winter.

This letter is not signed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

75. July after 1922, Part 3.

Jonas Victor goes to visit his son, Henry, in Omaha.  He tells about the large wholesale store that Henry and Charles have there.   The brothers owned several retail stores in small towns in Kansas and Nebraska, as well as other properties and businesses.  I believe they opened a store in Omaha around 1906 and they soon changed it into a warehouse, providing wares for the many salesmen who came to Omaha, Nebraska. The last listing of it as a business was in 1945.  Roselyn

Letter head of Swenson Bros Wholesale Business.
Click on photo to enlarge
When the reunion at my old home was over, I went to Omaha, Nebraska, and now I am in Henry's house.  The building you see on the letter paper is Henry's and Charlie's store.  That building is a four storied building, 135 feet long and 65 feet wide.  It is built of brick.  
     The labor is expensive and what the farmers have to sell is too cheap.  Wheat is now 70 cents a bushel.  The taxes are high, but not for paying for the war.  It is for schools and roads, but perhaps a little for the war, too.  You say that America has demanded money from all countries.  That is true, but the government owed in this country what they borrowed during the war, from both rich and those who did not have much money.  I had to lend 5,000 with 4 1/2 percent interest, but that was good because I did not have to pay tax on it.  I receive money back every six months.
     My children and their families do their best for me.  I always meet nice and helpful people.  I have done that since I came to America.  In "bad places" in towns, there can be discord and fights.  Here there are no bars.  I never see anybody intoxicated, but I know that some smuggle schnapps.  The authorities fine (penalize-they must pay money) them. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

74. July, after 1922. Part 2

All of the Swenson children meet at the old home for a reunion for a few days.

Picture of the Jonas Victor Swenson Home
Where family gathered in about 1923
Click on the picture to enlarge

Omaha, Nebraska, July after 1922
     The children decided that everybody should come to my old farm the 12th of July.
     My daughter (Matilda) and I went from Osage City to my home.  When I left that home I did not sell anything.  Everything was like it had been before, with furniture, bedclothes and household things of all sorts.  We had everything we needed.
    Among other things, there were 200 canned foods with fruits of all sorts, 10 gallons of wine, which was twenty years old.  My wife had made it partly of wild grapes and tame as we had at home.  You could not get better wine.  We did not use it and we did not now, either.  During that time, you were allowed to use it, and my wife served the wine when clergymen or other guests came.
     I forgot to mention that Alfred got the best bedclothes and silver and clocks.  The clock we had received on our 50 year wedding day, and it had worked for fourteen years with only one wind up a year.
     We were in my old home together for several days.  It was nice.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

73. July after 1922 Part 1

This letter is interesting because Jonas Victor tells why he moved from his home after his wife died.  He also says he visited his daughter, Matilda, (my grandmother).  I never knew he was ever in the house I grew up in.   Roselyn

Omaha, Nebraska
July   after 1922

Dear Brother Albert and Family.  God' Peace!
     I am now in Omaha, Nebraska, and will try to write a "travel letter".  When my wife died, I was without an earthly home.  My home did not feel like my home any longer.  If any of the children had been living there, it would be have been otherwise.  In that case I would have been there most of the time.  It is good to know that our right home is with God.
     I moved to the home of my oldest son, because he lives nearest to the farm and Cleburne.  I could care for my wife's grave as I wanted.  Alfred and his wife wanted me to move into their home with them.  They have no children, a poor home, though rich.  I would feel poor, if I had no children.  It is a pleasure to visit my children and grandchildren.  Alfred and his wife wanted to have a child, so they have adopted a girl.
     I was at Alfred's home til the end of May, when my travel began.  I went to my son in Clay Center.  He is married to an American woman.  They have a child, and did everything they could for me.  I stayed there for three weeks.  My old friends there were dead, but I found new ones.  When you come to a town, you get into contact with people, and that is nicer.
     Then I went to Osage City, where my only daughter lives.  She has nine children who are living, three who have died.  All the children are married except for the two youngest boys. (One of those boys was my father, J.V. Skonberg).
They live at home and work on the farm.  Two of the married ones live close to the farm. (These two would have been Will Skonberg and Hulda Lindbloom.) 
     There, as everywhere, they travel by automobile.  On Sundays, we went to church.  There was always some dinner party or supper after church.  The harvest of wheat was bad, as there had been too much rain.
     There, like other places I had a nice time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

72. September, after 1922.

Jonas Victor writes his brother Albert about the weather and harvest--ever the farmer!   Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
September--after 1922    
Dear brother Albert.
     I think I shall write a little letter.  My eyes are not so good, so I cannot write much.  When a letter to you does not cost more than 5 cents, it is good.
     I am now in a town named Clay Center, with one of my sons.  (Peter Luther).
     Around here and also in Randolph there was a bad harvest.  It has been too dry, so the harvest of grain will be nothing.
     I am writing this letter because I am thinking of Karl Magnus, Lotta's husband. Lotta, our sister, is dead.  I do not know whether Karl Magnus went to jail after he drove into the gate by the railway with his horse and carriage.  Let me know when you write how it was in Hamra after the surveyor had been there.  How is Karl Magnus?  Is he alive? If he is, how is he?
     He drank too much.  Otherwise he was a good man.  He did a good job on the farm.  He and Lotta leased the vicarage in Tuna parish and he bought Smedserum, also in Tuna parish.     
     My health is good for someone my age.
     I do not remember if I have written to you since I got your letter, where you were telling me about selling wood.  Thank you for letting me know how you are.
     May God help us so we will be happily saved home with God.  The reunion is left.
    I have been here for two months, but my address is usually J.V. Svenson, Randolph, Kansas.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

71. July, about 1923. Part 2

This is Part 2 of a letter written by Jonas Victor, who is staying with his son Peter Luther Swenson in Clay Center, Kansas.  He misses his wife, and also writes about religion in America.   Roselyn

Part 2.
     We think of our family members.  Not a day passes without thinking of my wife.  She was Christian and was happy, so it was good that she did not suffer more.  I think that I soon will be by her.
     Brother, I think that it is great that we have contact with each other, when we are old.  Perhaps you have told me your age and I have forgotten that.  It would be nice to know both yours and your wife's ages.  When you write next time, do not forget that.  I am waiting to get a letter from you.
     You wrote that Algot had received some money.  What I understand in Selma's letter, is that he had an eighth part "there up" (?).  Perhaps it was not known, but it was an inheritance from Johan Petter.
     Now I do not know what to write about the religious situation.  I can see people going to church.  It is a German church.  On the other side of the street there are two big churches as far as it is to your barn.  The people pass the house where I am.  I do not hear the clergyman preach, as I stay at home.  
     It is nice to see the children when they go to Sunday School, and when they come back they are happy.  They have their Sunday School papers and run.  In most cases the whole family goes to church.  I asked my daughter-in-law how many people in town belong to some church.  She said that hardly more than half belong to a church.  The others amuse themselves with pleasures or sitting in the park talking.
     The best part is that you never see anybody who is drunk.  There are no advertisements about pubs or beer.
     It is a favor that God will lead us so we will be happy.

Yours, J.V. Svenson

Friday, October 21, 2011

70. July after 1922. Perhaps 1923 Part 1

Some of the letters have no date on them.  We know Anna Greta died in 1922, so can date letters after or before that date.  Jonas Victor moves around to live with his sons.  This letter is Part 1 of a letter from Clay Center, Kansas, where his son, P. L. Swenson, lived.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
July   Probably 1923.

Dear Brother Albert and Family,
     Thanks for your letter.  It  is always nice to hear from you and that you are in good health.  It is not surprising that you get tired.  You are in your life's afternoon, but as long as you have something to do with your farm and the cattle, you get exercise and the time passes faster. That is my experience, particularly now that I cannot read a book or a newspaper.  I can read handwriting if it is written on white paper with black ink.
     Here both the young and old feel tired, not only in Kansas but also in Illinois, where the air is heavy and sultry.  The people here are tired in spite of no walking.  If anybody has to move twice as far as you have to your barn, they use their car.  If they plough, harrow, sow or whatever they do in the field, they use two, four or six horses, they do not walk.  In spite of that they get tired.  Only when they stack up hay and look after the animals, do they walk.  In town people have cement on the path to walk on, as I think you have and I have now, when I am with my son for weeks or perhaps months.
     I walk about an English mile to keep my body moving.  It is the best I can do.  Here it is unusually warm weather, up to 105 degrees.  We have not heard that anybody has died in the hot weather.  In Minnesota, in the cities and also in Illinois, people are dying because of the hot weather.  The air is lighter here in Kansas, but in other states, it is still better.  We live on earth in the valley of tears wherever we are.  We hardly can find the same climate here as in Sweden.
     Thanks for the fine portrait of your son. It was sad to hear what had happened.  When he wrote home he was conscious, but he felt that he would die.  Perhaps God was in his thought and he asked for forgiveness , as the robber said to Jesus, that he would think of him when he came to his realm. We know what the answer was.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

69. July 4th undated year

This is one of the last translations from Irene and Rune Elofsson.  It is from Jonas Victor and is an earlier undated one, but before 1922.  It is interesting, because he tells of the July 4th Celebration--American Independence Day.    Roselyn

July 4, undated

Brother Albert,
     Today is America's greatest day during the whole year.  We heard thundering shots at four o'clock in the morning before we had gotten up.  There were American flag floats in town and country.  Truckers and Knights (Men's service club?) are provided with flags.  On the roofs in the streets and on the gateposts you can see flags.
     Music, speech and song you hear from here and there.  It will be an enjoyable day, which is July 4, and I will sit down and write to you Mother, if you are alive, Brothers and relatives.
     I wish you God's peace and blessing.  We all have good health, but my wife and I are aging and our strengths become weaker.  For our age we are still rather well.
     God has the honor for that.  

It is unsigned.   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

68. Christmas 1922 Part 3

This is Part 3 of the Christmas letter sent by Jonas Victor to his brother Albert in Spakarp in Sweden.  He tells of his move from the home and what he took with him.   Roselyn

Randoph, Ks.
Christmas  1922
     I will tell you a little about my moving.  The children asked that I leave everything as it was, and only take the best gold and silver, the best bedclothes and clothes.  Furniture and carpets should be left, as were 200 glasses of canned fruit in the cellar.  
     I had to look through everything, and then I found a contract from when we moved from Hamra, which was signed by witnesses, Karl-Johan and Johan Petter.  The contract stated that when the first of "the old" died, we would get 300 and when the other died we would get 500.  There was 20,400 deposited, 800 for everyone.  
     I had never from that day until now, remembered that.  Mother, who had a good memory, did not remember this either.  The contract had never been in district court, so we cannot get it by law.  They had never told how much money there was when both died.  I take it as a God's leading in everything.  If Mother had gotten her right according to the contract, perhaps we would never have gone to America.  If we had remembered this and did not get the money, there might have been difficult thoughts, but now everything is good.
     Now it has taken me two days to write this letter.  I cannot write a lot each day, as my eyes are not so good.  
     I finish with many kindly greetings to you all.  "Still God is among us who are left, still he has love for us.  Hear how mildly he calls everybody, listen oh soul and come.  Lovely, lovely it will be at last, when everybody finally meets at the home of the Lord God".  May it so happen!
               Brother, JV. Svenson

We have fine weather, no snow.  My address is Randolph instead of Cleburne.

Monday, October 17, 2011

67. Christmas 1922 Part 2

This is Part 2 of a letter written around Christmas time.  Since the death of his wife, Anna Greta, he has lived with his son, Alfred,  who lives nearby.     Roselyn

Randolph, Ks
Christmas 1922
     Perhaps it has been more than ten years since Mama and I visited the Olson Family in Concord.  We also visited Clemet Larson.  He was married to a sister to Lovisa (Jonas Victor's sister).  She talked about her brother in "Tute" and also about you.  I was not well when we were there.  I have forgotten the name of the town.  I have not heard anything from them, but perhaps Selma Gulleen knows the name, so I can give you the name.  I will let you know when I get the paper.
     I have arranged it so the paper will come another year.  As I did not get a letter from you during for a while, I did not know how to send the paper, so I wrote that they should not send the paper any more.  After I got your letter, I wrote to them and asked them to send the paper to you for another year.  It does not cost very much.
     It is sad about brother Oscar.  May God forgive him his sins.  There is nothing we can do.
     The economy here is not as good as it was before the war, particularly for the farmers.  The labor is too expensive and sales are not as high.  Those who have help from their own family have it good, but those who must employ people have big costs.  The taxes are high, depending on the colleges. (?)  There is not as much tax for the war.  It is on the income that the tax comes and is comes more on the millionaires.  I have had income tax but not so much.
     The people live a good life.  The workers travel in their automobiles to their place of work.  Farmer, leaseholders and farmhands, everybody who can afford it, does that.  But there are many who cannot afford it.  The automobile is expensive to buy and maintain.  Suddenly, it becomes useless.  For those who have money, it is good to have an automobile to go from place to place quickly.