In this letter, Jonas Victor tells a lot about his crops, etc. I wish my Dad, John Victor Skonberg, could read some of these letters about his farming operation. He would have enjoyed them. Jonas Victor mentions that their oldest son, Alfred was married. We do not have a letter telling of my Grandmother Matilda's marriage in 1873--she was 16 and he was 33 and they eloped. I am sure it would have been mentioned. By 1883, she had three children. However, I know that Anna Greta did not approve of her only daughter's marriage to John Skonberg, a recent immigrant from Skona in Southern Sweden, who was the hired man. He was handsome, gallant and very poor. She really never forgave her daughter. In addition I have learned that Skona was for hundreds of years a part of Denmark--not Sweden--and the people there resented being taken over by Sweden in 1600. There are some who still do! If you look on a map, you will see that Southern Sweden is very close to Copenhagen--just across a narrow Sound. There is now a bridge between Malmo, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark, and the two cities cooperate on schools, etc. The land is different, the architecture is Danish and Skona resembles Denmark more than most of Sweden. Even after all these years, we sensed a certain feeling similar to the North and South after the Civil War--still today! Anna Greta always looked with disfavor on John Skonberg, though he and Matilda had a long and happy marriage.
Jonas Victor Swenson
Randolph, Riley Country KS 1883
Grace and Peace to all!
Because it is rainy weather here now, I have time to write some lines. Thanks for the letters we have got and the last with the registered content. I see that you have taken much trouble for us. We are grateful for your help. When you can, you will take payment for that. I know that you need time. There is much to do until everything is sold. Here they just have an auction.
We are satisfied with the sale in Hamra. We did not think that we should get something for the cottage. The 300 Swedish Kr we have written about I know it was never paid, so I do not want to receive anything from them. It is much better to give in than to fight, because it is just.
The deposited money that you perhaps know is 500 Swedish Kr, will be paid out 6 months after the last persons death with 6 percent interest from the day of death til the paying is done. I do not remember anything more in Hamra that I need to write about. (I don't understand what this is all about--perhaps Anna Greta's family has sold their home in Hamra).
I do not have your letters here. I am not at home. I am with some people in the place we bought last autumn for $2300. We lease a farm nearby which I pay $200 for. We have much to do. I think we have more arable land to cultivate than it is in Hamra and Spakarp together. We cultivate mostly grain. We also had 25 acres of broom corn. Last year I sold it for $880--the price was high. It is a lot of work to reap it. The broom corn has to be dried with no sunshine and rain after it has been reaped.
I will also let you know we have fattened 16 oxen (steers) last winter. We put them to fattening the first of October. They were 3 years old and fat. We fed them as much grain as they wanted twice a day. We have pigs to go among them to eat the rest of the grain. We had them in a corral where we had running water. I sold them in February for $1150. They were sold by weight. We kept them til the end of March and by that time the price had dropped. I lost $200. (My Dad would have said he should have contracted for the price!) It had never been such a high price before. Cattle and pigs are bringing high prices.
The harvest was so good that I can tell you that our oldest son, Alfred, married 14 days ago to the youngest daughter of Karl Johan Peterson from Gnost, Rumskulla. (Her name was Wilhemina Louisa Peterson)
The last autumn we had more than 5000 bushels of grain. We have 108 cattle, 18 horses, 125 swine, 680 acres of arable land. We are now a company. Alfred owns 1/7, Karl Victor (Charles W.) 3/4 of 1/7, but I own $1800 of the company. We have $1000 debt for the last farm we bought. Alfred lives on the last place we bought. We go between us to where the most work is needed.
It would be of interest to know how much bog and fen are cultivated by you and if it grows good, so it is worth it to work there.
Brother, I have told about things which we will leave sooner or later as a treasure which disappears. We all have an immortal soul, which is worth more than the whole world. Many Bible quotations follow. (I wonder if he is feeling slightly guilty about his great success? He certainly worked hard enough to attain it that he should not feel guilty.)
Now I finish for this time. We are all well and hope that you have good health too. We send our kindly regards to you and children, our parents and brothers.