Irene says about this letter--"We wonder about this old letter. The handwriting is the same as Johan August's, but it is signed by Greta Lovisa Svensdotter." (From Roselyn--my Swedish researcher, Bertil Jonsson, told me about the house examination and this must be the same as it was in Sweden. If you missed church, the priest or elder in the church could come to your home and test you on the sermon that was given. There was some kind of punishment if you could not answer correctly!)
Rune has found that Leander Hallgren emigrated the first time in 1862 but returned to Sweden. "He was only 14 years old but his siblings were there before." Rune further found that "Leander Hallgren and his mother, who was a widow, and his remaining siblings emigrated in May, 1870, the same time as Jonas Victor. Perhaps they went together. They were not our relatives."
Andover January 2 1870
God's grace and peace to us all. Dear Father, Mother, brothers and sisters,
I thank you from my heart for your welcome letter which I received in August's letter.
I will answer your questions. You want to know if you should stay in Sweden or come here. God has promised mankind earthly possessions here on earth--clothes and food, but not without pains and labor. It is a treasure we are given that is with us in this world's fight no matter where we live or where we go.
If you want something more, it takes a long time after you get here. It is true that it is better here and you can make a better living than in Sweden. You can, after a while acquire a piece of land. I cannot say how you will do, because I have not been here long enough. When I think of all others who have been here for a long time, I can see that they have acquired more or less. Do not think that you can get anything without hard work. I do not regret coming here because it seemed that the future would have been rather bad if I had stayed in Sweden.
In church we have a sermon first on Sunday morning. There is a talk to children who want to go to Sunday School, which starts at nine o'clock. At ten o'clock, the worship begins and finishes between one o'clock and two o'clock. Then there is worship in the evening and also twice and three times during the week. The children are prepared for their confirmation in the same way as in Sweden. The participation of holy Communion and house examination, we have in our Lutheran Church like you do. Here it is voluntary. You cannot force anybody to do that. I don't have any more information for you about this.
You can go to Leander Hallgren and ask him about all the states and anything you want to know.
Now I finish and ask you our parents and siblings to remember us in your prayers. We send our kindest regards to you all.
At last it is my duty to send some lines to brother Jonas Victor and his wife, Anna Greta, because you are thinking of coming here. I cannot give you anything but I welcome you to this country both spiritually and worldly. Do not worry about clothes and food.
Friendly signed by your trifling daughter.
Greta Lovisa Svensdotter