Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

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

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