Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Monday, September 5, 2011

32. After 1868

This is an informative letter that probably was sent earlier than the Jonas Victor Swenson letters.  It seems to have been dictated by Johan August Swenson early after his arrival in 1868, in Andover, IL. and actually penned by a neighbor or friend, Johannes Peter Hultgren.  Johan August is not happy in America, complains about almost everything.  Many new immigrants could have felt like writing the same kind of letter, as they struggled with the challenge of a new country, culture and language.  I think that the women who came West or were immigrants, discovered a freedom they had never known before.  Single women were often a rarity, and realizing their value, thought they should be respected.  He is surely exaggerating some!

Spakarp---The Home Johan August Missed
J.P. Hutlgren
Andover, IL  ?  After 1868

Those who want to know if they can make the future secure by coming here, I will say some important and true words.

America is not a heaven.  It is a land of soil that you must work as hard as in Sweden.   You get nothing without earning it.  The most troublesome is when you come here, you lose the cozy atmosphere and your cheerful temperament and your manpower gets reduced, because the air and the warm sunshine is hard and heavier than in Sweden.  Many write about the good and fine food here.  It is true, but it gives not the same energy as in Swedish food.  The stomach and the body are not satisfied in spite of fine food.  It should have sustenance in it, too.  Of everything here, nothing is as good as the good taste of the butter in Sweden.

It is not as nice here as in Sweden in all parts, both spiritual and worldly things.  The whole nature is gloomy.  Animals and birds here are rather silent.  Most people bleach and are thin and easily susceptible to the air's changing.  The health here cannot be treated as it needs.

Many have written to Sweden and said that devoutness here is greater with better order than in Sweden.  But you can be as devout as you want.  Everybody has the freedom here.

The woman has the greatest worth.  The male is nearly a slave for the woman.  If there is a quarrel between a woman and a male, the woman's word counts.  If a male annoys a woman with words, and she kills the male, she does not receive any punishment for that.   If a male meets a woman on the side walk and does not get out of her way, he has to pay $5 if she reports it.

For my first mentioned reasons, it is impossible to be able be sure about coming here.

If a hundred persons come here, ninety would say "cursed is the person who secured me to go" after half the trip.  "It would be better that I was home than to be in this misery." That was not the most difficult.  After they came here they had not forgotten all troubles.  All sadness was not gone.  It was difficult that they could not talk to the American people.  That was not the worst.  Most were not satisfied.  Perhaps 10 persons were satisfied.

After 5 years nobody complains.  You need that much time.  Then it depends on how you feel.

Therefore, it is not easy to say if you should come or not.  Many persons write advantageous letters to Sweden, but do not tell the disadvantageous troubles.  I say to my friends, that if you can earn your daily bread in Sweden, you eat it with greater pleasure than here, in the greatest abundance.  For the poor person, it is not so difficult to earn enough for food here, as in sweden.

For they who come here and do not have anything, it will be as hard as it is in Sweden.  You can earn money faster here, but if you need to buy anything, the money is soon gone.  Only food is not as expensive here.

Signed with the best wisdom.  J. P. Hultgren

As Johannes Peter knows better how to express, he has written this letter.  I agree with it and send it to you and anybody who wants to see it.

J. A. Swenson

Greetings to our parents and tell them that we got the letter which was addressed to August and we have good health.  J.P.H.  Matilda   (Johannes Peter's wife or sister)

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