This is the last letter from either Johan August or Carolina. Such a sad time. We know that Carolina and Johan Svensson returned to Sweden in 1874 where he died a year later. Did he also have tuberculosis? We know nothing more of Carolina. She had so many tragedies in a short time. She and Sven Peter must have had big dreams before coming to America and they were doing very well until he got sick. What began so brightly, ended so sadly. She was probably in her mid thirties. I hope she found some happiness back in Sweden. The Swenson parents lost two sons in America within four months, both in their mid thirties. A third son, Johan would be dead in four years. No wonder they did not really want their daughter, Greta Lovisa to leave in 1868. She and her family stayed in America with many descendants here. A fourth son, Jonas Victor Swenson was on his way to Kansas with his wife and children (including my grandmother Matilda), when all this was happening. The next letter will be from him.
Andover, IL July 1, 1870
God's Grace and Peace will be with us in this world's fight as long as we struggle.
In my great sorrow I will send a few lines to my parents, siblings and relatives. I pray that this letter will meet you with life and health.
We are all well, except your dear son, Hans Alfred, who left your home last month and arrived here June 8 (Wednesday). During his travels he had good health and also was happy to be here in this country and it was so until Tuesday, when he said it had been better in Sweden everyday.
Saturday and Monday he worked a little and thought it was hard in this country despite the weather the last 14 days had been nice, which is seldom. Wednesday morning he was not quite well. He had a headache. After he had eaten he went to bed and was in bed until Thursday afternoon, when he got up and dressed and was a little better and was sitting in the rocking chair.
At half past four Lina brought supper to the farm hand and me. She stayed with us about one and a half hour. When she went back, Hans Alfred was not in the cottage. Lina went upstairs where he had his bed. She found him lying there and his clothes were wet through with blood. She asked him what the matter was. He was not too ill to talk. He said he had taken blood-letting. When Lina looked at his arms she found that he had cut both of them, but the blood had now stopped.
Lina came and got me and told me what had happened and I went to him and asked him why he had done this without saying something to anybody. He answered that he thought he could take care of himself. I asked why he had let it run so much. He said he cut first in the right arm and it did not run. Then he cut in the left arm and when it began to run he fell asleep.
We changed his clothes. Still he could talk, but the body and limbs were not stable. We thought he was not too bad but on Friday morning, June 17, he was not better. I went over to Lovisa and Hans'. About a quarter hour later he passed away and was excused from his wandering in this world. He could talk a little while before he died. Probably he had a stroke at the last. It was a great pleasure to have him here, but it did not last long. The pleasure turned to sorrow.
You, my brothers, who are in the old country, remember that I say it is better to be there and eat oat breads than to come here and feast. I think it wold be nice to see you, but I know what I have gone through since I came here and so it will be for others.
Dear Parents, I say thanks for the gifts we have.
Thousands of regards to all of you from us.
God, our God, bless us and the whole world, Fear the Lord.
Johan August Svensson