Jonas Victor Swenson Family Photos

Saturday, January 28, 2012

107 June 1, 1931 Part 2

In this second part of the letter from Jonas Victor Swenson to his brother Albert in Sweden, he talks about the weather, about how things are in Sweden and a little about what women do in the church in America.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
June 1, 1931
Part 1

     Now it is a beautiful summer time in Sweden.  The birds sing and the cuckoo calls.  It is a short time, but it is lovely.  You write about the meadow.  Those who have been to Sweden from here, say that it is so easy to walk in the summer.  But how is it in spring, autumn and winter, when there is a snowstorm?  I do remember mild winters.  I like summer best.  Then I am well.  Here I am well in autumn, spring and summer.
     I am thinking of Hamra, in Sweden.  Now it has cultivated bogs and marshes.
     As to me, I have no reason to complain.  When it is cold, rainy and nasty, I stay in my rocking chair from morning til nine o'clock in the evening.  I feel that it is tiring and the time is long, but the days pass, and my time cannot be very long, and I am satisfied with that.
     I will tell you about the convention where Mina and Alfred are (his son Alfred and wife Mina, who are working to help with the church convention.)  The women have a lot of work to do and it is costly.  They prepare enough food for 100 people.  They make coffee and more in the church lower floor (basement).  Everything is for the Lord so that makes it easier.
     June 7, it has been nine years since my wife died.  The time has been long, but short in the same way.  I have children.  I get letters from them, and they visit me, and that brings much joy to me.
     This letter is long, so I finish with greetings to you all from our old brother.

J.V. Swenson

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

106. June 1, 1931

As an aging man, Jonas Victor spends much time in his rocking chair, remembering the past.  He also talks about what he eats.  His diet was really quite modern and healthful--unusual for that time.  He mentions church work for the women.  Roselyn.

Randolph, Kansas June 1, 1931
     Thanks, brother for the letter I received yesterday.  You wrote with black ink, and then I can see to read it.
     Today, Sunday, Mina and Alfred (his son and wife who live near his old farm).  are at church, where there is a Sunday School convention.  Many congregations are there to discuss whether they think that Sunday School is good for the children.
     Perhaps you wonder why I am not with them.  It is too cold for my feet.  The floor is too cold, and then I get severe pain.
     During the night I sit wrapped in the rocking chair, and have my feet on a fur skin.  I had my breakfast in my chair.  I was so tired, so I fell asleep and slept for two hours.
     Now it is noon and the dinner is on the table.  Coffee, egg, butter, honey, milk, sugar and pie (sweet roll) are the best in the morning.  I always eat whole wheat--it is wholesome.  I mix it with raisins.  As you know, it is like grain.  It is the first thing I eat in the morning.
  I have talked about eggs.  My daughter-in-law has 400 hens and 200 roosters. The roosters are valuable to sell when they weight 1 1/2 pounds.  You should not eat too many eggs; two a day are enough or three the same day.  I always eat one.
     I have a good appetite and I sleep well.  Now I can eat more than I did several years ago.  However, I think the people in Sweden eat more than here, like potatoes.  When I was in Sweden they ate lots of potatoes.  I eat two potatoes, but Alfred, my son, eats more.

Monday, January 23, 2012

105. December 6, 1928

Jonas Victor is still remembering some money transactions from long ago in Sweden.  He also talks about the recent presidential elections in America.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
December 6, 1928.

Brother Gustav Albert and Family!
     I came here last Monday.  I have a son here, and I am sitting here alone, but not far from dinner.  I never know how it will be when I move.  When I come, I have it good.
     I like best to be quiet.  I have some problems with my feet.  I must have them on a warm brick.
     I want to tell you about a letter I got from you.  I thought I had it, but I cannot find it.  It was about some money from an inheritance.
     Now during the winter, I cannot go out.  It is too cold, so I sit in a rocking chair all the time.  Here I do not need to go out because they have a fire in the cellar, so the floors are warm.  When I am with my son on the farm home, I have to go out to bring in wood.
     I am writing to say that it is best if you can take one day at a time and rest in the comfort of my father's hands.
     As you know, I was in Omaha, Nebraska (He was living with another son there).  I always go in an automobile both ways.
     There has been more rain than we need here in Clay Center.  There is a good harvest of everything.
     I will tell you a little about the presidential election.  The Democrats put up a man who was governor of New York, the most important occupation in that state. He had a good reputation, and he was a good man, but he promised that there would be restaurants (legal alcohol).  He thought all who wanted a dram should be able to have it.  Those who did not want to have it, it was ok.  
     The Republicans were for the sobriety law.  When the day for voting came, the Republicans elected the president. (Calvin Coolidge)  The Republicans got 40 states for him and the Democrats' governor got 6 states.  You see the people did not want to have "restaurants".  Indeed, the law was passed, but it will be harder.
     Brother Albert, I see that you have passed 80, so you will be free from working.  You have sons who can do the job.  Before in Sweden, when you were 50, you would not do anything.  (they retired?).  
     Kindest regards to you.  Thanks for letters I get.  It is so nice to hear from you.  May God be with us in our different ways, and help us so will be happily saved home with God.
     From your sincere brother.
              J.V. Swenson

I wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

104. August 1928 Part 2

Jonas Victor continues in this letter, to speak about money he is owed by the family.  He mentions his daughter, Tilda, who was Matilda Swenson Skonberg, my father's mother and my grandmother. It is interesting to think that she had some kind of written connection to Anna Greta's mother. It would be nice to have some letters from women in the family.   Roselyn

Omaha, Nebraska
August, 1928  Part 2
     We had done so much for my parents-in-law.  I think they would have had difficulty living without our help.  They could not get a farmhand, so I had to work hard.  I did not cost them anything.  I had clothes, but I wore them out.  I bought new clothes when I got married.
     My mother-in-law told Tilda that Victor and Anna Geta worked hard.  Tilda told us this a year ago.  I looked in the box where my wife's gold rings were.  I saw 4 wide gold rings and 2 thin ones.  She had received them from her mother.  It was noted whom they were from, and how many carats they had. I think that her mother wanted my wife to have these rings.
     I never told my children so none of them know anything about this.  I had forgotten all of the work we did at that time.  It is such a little sum, so think nothing of it.  We have been blessed both with spiritual and physical things.
     I made a loan of $2,000 to the son of a friend, and he has not paid.  His father signed the loan.  Now the father has lost that money for his children and others, so he has no money left.  I will not get the money back, but it is no trouble for me.  It will only be that much less money after my death.
     I will now finish with kindest regards to all of you.
     I hope that God will bless us, so we may meet God.

Brotherly, Victor Swenson

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

104. August 1928 Part 1

A letter in which Jonas Victor tells about the early years and how hard his wife Anna Greta worked, sewing.  Another letter tells of all the garden she raised and canned for food for them  It is one of the few about her life.  Roselyn

Omaha, Nebraska
August, 1928

Dear Brother Albert,
     I received your letter--many thanks.  It is always nice to get a letter from you.
     I am now in Omaha, 200 miles north of my home in Randolph. Kansas.
(Then some writing about a long ago debt when his wife's estate in Hamra was settled.  It seems he was owed some money, but says he does not remember.)
     I have had so much income, so I did not need the money.  God has blessed us with so much.  If it had been during the first 13 years, I would probably have remembered.  During that time it was difficult many times.
     We had grasshoppers twice.  They ate all the harvest.  We had cattle, but they were not worth much.  Some years we had a little harvest, so we had the food we needed.  We lived in a poor house, but it was better than others, who had to dig an earthen cave or live in a sod house.  
     We had money and Mother (his wife Anna Greta) made butter, which we could exchange for what we needed.  When I look back, I can see that God helped so much.  Thanks be to God's holy name.
     During this time, my wife sewed clothes for the children--caps, sweaters, coats, waistcoats and trousers. She made everything with her hands.  She was busy late in the evening, many times after midnight.
   She wrote to her mother about our life here.  Her mother wanted to help her with sewing.  My wife answered that the biggest help would be to have a sewing machine.  Her mother sent $88.58 cents.  I do not remember, but I think that a dollar was not more than three Swedish crowns.  My mother-in-law had enough money, so she could send without any trouble.

Monday, January 16, 2012

103. July 6, 1928.

It is midsummer and Jonas Victor remembers it as a beautiful time in Sweden.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
July 6, 1928

Thanks for the letter I received from you.  It is always nice to hear from you.  At midsummer, it is a beautiful time in Sweden.  I received your letter on July 4.
     We have had cold weather until a week ago.  Now it is warm with a south wind.  In the room where I am sitting, the thermometer shows 90 degrees, and in Randolph it is 100 degrees inside.  Outdoors it is hot in the sunshine.
     When we received your letter, we had eaten new potatoes for two weeks.  They are cheap here.   The potatoes in the South are so cheap, it is not profitable to pick them, so there are several thousand acres there that will not be picked.  The potatoes cannot keep hiding. (?)
     I see in your letter that Anton is a Pentecostalist.  I have read about them in Sweden.  We do not know any here.  Perhaps he is a Pentecostalist for a while, and then he belongs to another sect.  
     Is he busy repairing shoes and making new?  He has probably earned much money.
      I have three children in Omaha, Nebraska.  Now they want me to go there.  They come get me with the automobile.  It is 180 miles away.  At my age, you want to live in peace and quiet.  Young people do not understand what old age feels in its heart.  On the other hand, it is not as hot in Omaha.  Here it is sultry warm, and then my eyes get worse.  If it is cooler, I can see well. 
     Thanks to God, I am rather well, but I have pain in my feet, so I have to get up every night.
     On June 7, it was six years ago that Mother died.  Life is best when there is hard work to do.
     We are in an evil world.  May God help us, so we will be saved to a better land.  We can see the members of our family and dear friends there.  We will also see Jesus.
     Dear Regards to You.
           J.V. Swenson

Friday, January 13, 2012

102. February 18, 1928 Part 2

Jonas Victor is remembering his parents and times back at Sparkarp--his old home in Sweden.   Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
February 18, 1928  Part 2
     I have thought many times of Father's and Mother's last years.  How good I have it compared to them.  I think I remember that you told me that Mother was sad before she died.  It was difficult for her to be in bed for 8 years. I do not know if she could sit up in bed.  It was hard enough with that.  
     I have been wondering what it was that made her so sad.  Could it be Oskar?  I heard that he was bad and troublesome.  The clergyman came and talked to Oskar, but Oskar felt superior, so the clergyman could not do anything.  I do not know if it was true.  I have heard that, and then I wonder if Mother was sad about that.  
     I do not think that any of her children in America made her sad.  She used to say:  "If they go to America, they will have a good life."
     When I am sitting here, I remember the time since my childhood.  As long as I was on the farm, I did not think of all the work there was to do during that time.  When I now look back, I can see the buildings in Spakarp, pear trees and cherry trees.  We used to sell pears and cherries.  The cow barn was far away.  It was a long walk to go there.  Perhaps, it would not be as long if I were there now.
     I think of all the changes in Hamra.  We also change.  I have thought of the words that the clergy man had said "We are given notice to move".  I have moved many times from one place to another, particularly in Sweden.
     I want to depart this life and be with Christ, which will be much better.  That time is coming.  May God help us to go home in peace.

Dear Greetings to you from the old brother.

The reunion remains.

Do you know if sister Fia (Anna Sofia) is in her house again?  Since I wrote this, I have had dinner and been out and went in the car in the town's streets, which are cemented, smooth and fine.  

When you get time, send me a letter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

101. February 18, 1928 Part 1

Jonas Victor is again writing about Spakarp and about the movement of houses. Roselyn.

Clay Center, Kansas
February 18, 1928  Part 1

Dear Brother and Family,
     I have the great advantage to have good health for my age.  When I am sitting in my solitude, I sometimes feel lonely.  I think the time goes slowly, but sometimes it goes quickly.   It is now soon 6 years since my beloved wife died. 
     I am now in Clay Center with my son (Peter Luther). I arrived January 9, and I am leaving from here the first of next month, if God give me health and strength, and if it does not change, because I shall go to the dentist.  He has been away, but he is back in a week.  I do not know if it will be to fill the old teeth, or to do new.  That can change the time I go home.  
     It does not matter.  I have a good time where I am.  Here it is better for my feet.  Home at Alfred's, I have my feet on a warm brick.  Here they have a fire in the cellar from where there is a flue to every room in the whole house.  The floors are just right warm for my feet.  I have no pain in the night.  It takes much coal to have fire to heat such a big house.  There are 6 rooms in the upper floor and some of them are big.
      By now, I think they have begun to pull down the house for moving in Hamra.  I think of the questions in my last letter when I asked for an answer.  It was lack of wisdom about the widow in Dunkullen if she got anything of what they had improved there and with the payment to Oskar.  I have nothing to do with that.  I do not remember if I asked if you had the right to stamp or sell as many trees you wanted, or if you only get to sell perhaps a separate part per year.  It would be interesting if you would tell me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

100. January 10, 1928 Part 2.

This second part of the letter is unfinished, a little unclear and parts are gone, but he is thinking about the partition of the land and the past.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
January 10, 1926

     I read in your letter that there was a good demand for wood and the price is good.  You got 4 in the calf pasture.  I think it is the same in.....It is closer to drive, and according to the price it seems to be a good time to sell.  The price will be is going up quickly and it will be in order after the war (?--what war?  World War I ended in 1918--10 years before)
     Now I finish with dear greetings to you.  I feel gratitude to God for every morning I can get up from my bed.
     When we think of father or our parents, there was perhaps a good side of him. They inherited much, so they had drinking parties.  Then they signed a guarantee connection.  After several years they had to pay the whole debt.  It took so much of what they had, so they had to leave house and home.  It happened more up to the flat land.  Down in the wood land it was never so.  When they bought Spakarp, it Hamra Fralse, it was an advantage.  Father liked to party.
     If a withdrawal was made, it cost money to get it out.  The interest deducts when they got the loan.  In 30 years the sum is gone.
     Now some questions about Oskar.  When his money is used up, can he stay there without paying or who will pay for him?  Did the widow receive money for improving Dunkullen?  Can you sell as much wood as you want, so they stamp that?  When you sell both wood and brushwood, do you have to plant again?  When you sell wood, do you get all the money yourself?  It seems right that you get all.  Brother Albert, you are probably tired of all my questions.
    We have beautiful weather.  We had a week with snow, which now has melted. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

99. January 10, 1928 Part 1

Jonas Victor says he has to dress up more formally when he is at his son's home. He has more questions about the Agricultural Removal in Sweden when many had to move away or move their houses.  Obviously, this Reform caused much upheaval among farmers.  For many years, farm communities were made up of 10 or 12 farm houses who shared all the land surrounding them  They had been built in a circle for protection and had to farm together.  It was a very inefficient and unprofitable way, so the communities were set up so some of the farmers received a plot of land, and other farms had to move.  When I was in Sweden, we saw the foundations of what had been Ann Greta (Jonas Victor's wife's family) home in Hamra.  They had to move their house to another place.  Of course, Jonas Victor was interested in how things worked out for his family.  Spakarp was not involved in this--it had been on royal land and contained over 600 acres.

Clay Center, Kansas
January 10, 1928

Dear Brother Albert and Family,
     Many thanks for the letter.  I learned so much.
     I am now in Clay Center with my son here.  I have good health.  I have it well where I am staying, but I most like to be at the farm, where I can wear everyday clothes, and only wear dress clothes on Sundays.  Here I have to be dressed up in a starched shirt and a bow tie before I have breakfast.  It is ok when you are used to it.
     It is better here for my feet.  At the farm, I must have them on a warm brick.  Here they have a fire in the cellar under the house and the whole house is warm.  When I am sitting to write, the floor is warm enough for my feet.  It is also warm in the bedroom on the second floor.  It is nice when I come.
     The people are in a hurry everywhere I go--at the farm to get the work done, in the town their businesses.
     You write about the sharing of Hamra.  When I think of that, it seems that the "gentlemen" (maybe from the government ?) had influence on the surveyor.  They got all the good ground and pasture, which was so good, and perhaps the "gentlemen" knew that during the whole time the surveyor was there.
       Gustav received everything in parts.  When he gets it in order, it will be good.  He has part bad fields, but also a another part is good.  It costs money, but they have received much money for their wood.  Those who did not have to move, had to pay those who must move.
Oskar Swenson, brother of
 Jonas Victor
Click on photo to enlarge.
     In your letter you said something about Dunkullen (another farm).  It seems that the income shall be maintained by Oskar (one of his brothers). Dunkullen has sold.  Was it the guardian who did that?  In another letter, I see that Oskar's son lived in Dunkullen.  He cultivated the bog and marsh.  He had a threshing machine.  He built a new cow barn, and had four cows and a horse.  Now I hear they lost Dunkullen.  Did the widow get money?  They had improved Dunkullen so much.

Friday, January 6, 2012

98. April, 1927 Part 3.

Jonas Victor Swenson again remembers his childhood country, and misses his wife five years after her death.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
April, 1927 Part 3

     How are you?  Have they done anything with the moving of houses in Hamra?  Is there any business with the wood?  Have they been able to sell? 
     I did not know how to reward you for what I learned in your letters, so I thought I would send the newspaper.  Perhaps you have received it.  Let me know.
     When I am sitting alone, my thoughts go to Sweden where my childhood was. I know that I have it better here, than what I would have had it there.  I remember my native country and appreciate it.  For forty years, I cultivated my farm here, and as long as I did that, I did not think so much about my native country.
     It has been five years, June 7, since my wife died.  I think the time has gone relatively quickly, but many days have been long, and many times my eyes have been filled with tears.
     During this time, everybody has taken good care of me, but what I miss is "my great companion".  The day is coming soon when I will be at my wife's side.  My God's will happen!
     Now I finish my long letter.  My wish is that you all are well.  The reunion will come.       
    Now, I just think how valuable it is that we can have contact with letters, though my writing is bad.
     When you can, do send me a letter, so I get to know how you are and what is happening in Hamra.

        J.V. Svenson
        My address is as usual,
        J.V. Svenson
        Randolph, Kansas, America


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

97. April, 1927 Part 2

Jonas Victor is remembering the past with his wife and deciding to come to America.  Roselyn

Clay Center, Kansas
April 1927 Part 2

When I am sitting alone, my thoughts go back to my childhood, and I find so much lack of wisdom.  That which my wife and I thought was difficult to leave, was our happiness.  Mother thought that Gnost was the nicest place she could live.  There were two old persons who should have exception. (his parents?)  We had debts for the half and servants (?)  There was no meaning, how we worked and kept house.  There was nothing left.  We wanted to find happiness, so we sold and went to America.
     If we had not had any debt, we would still be sitting there, and our children would have been born in Sweden.  We would have lived there satisfied, as the others in the neighborhood, but we came to America.
     The children were small.  We went to Kanas.  It was the only sober state in America.  There was no restaurant, but some served schnapps.  There was no demand to do military service.
     The children turned out well.  Of course, it was hard the first years.  The economy has been better than we hoped.  It is...and what is it worth when we die?  We had to think that what we were doing was not going to hurt our spiritual life.  When you get old and cannot do very much, the best is to leave it.  But you have to get what you need.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

96. April 1927

This letter may be out of order.  Sometimes it is difficult to figure out the date as many of them have no date.  Jonas Victor writes of the problems of old age. Fia is Anna Sofia, his older sister.  Roselyn.

Clay Center, Kansas
April, 1927 

Dear Brother Albert and Family,
     As you can see, I am at my son's home, but only for a couple of weeks.  I have nothing to do, so I thought I would try to write a letter to you.  
     I am in good health for my age.  I do not have the advantage as Fia has, who can see and hear, but I can stand up every morning.  If the weather is fine and the road dry, I walk about one English mile per day.
     I have thought of sister Fia.  She causes trouble for the close family and to know that, is hard.  What does she want to do?
     I am with my children, but I pay.  They do everything they can for me.  Here it is very fine, so I have to be dressed up.  When I go from my room to the dining table I wear "Banros" (bow tie)? around my neck and a jacket.  There is a very fine cloth on the table, and I have to avoid a drop of coffee and use a fork.  The knife is only used a little.  If I use a knife, they do not say anything, but I want to do the same way as the others.
     The weather is fine here.  The winter has been nice.  It has been snowing a couple of times, but is melted away after a couple of days.  I like it when the snow melts, so I can walk.
     Oats was sown here in the beginning of March.  Wheat and everything looks good.  It has been raining, so grass and everything--both the meadow and pastures can grow.
     Many are dependent on other people, who are used to living a great life.  The automobiles take so much from people of small means.  They want to have automobiles, and there is a high tax according to size.  Now everybody wants to have big automobiles.  It is good for those who can afford.  The horses get the largest gain.

Monday, January 2, 2012

95. November 1928 Part 2

Jonas Victor continues his writing about taxes, education and farming.  Roselyn

Randolph, Kansas
November 1928  Part 2

     Otherwise we have to pay tax for the money in America.  The workers have to work 8 hours a day, but must work very hard.  In America everything must be done quickly.  In the factories they have to do special work.  On the farms they have to work from the morning to the evening, but it is not as it was when I was in Sweden.  Then you sometime had to get up at four o'clock for cutting.
     We have fine weather, but it is dry for the wheat.  Where I have been this last summer, the wheat did not grow.
     When I was in Clay Center, the people came both from the country and the town and visited what they called 'Pitses tratik" (I do not know what this is-Roselyn).  It costs from 25 to 50 cents per person, not as much for the children.  Much madness is showed and the people go mad.  Somebody is there every evening.  The rich people do not do this.  
     There are many people there who have many debts, and they are going downhill.  You wonder how it will be in the future, when young people and children grow up with this.  They go to school up to 25 years.  When they have finished, there are some who come back to the farm, but preferably they stay in town.  Some will be bad people.
     You write that you need rye and wheat.  That is true not only in Sweden. It is so everywhere.  If Sweden gets a month's out shipping, it would be enough. During September, shipping costs 480 millions dollars, mostly grain.
     Now I must finish my letter.  I have come to think that Fia (his older sister) was to.....and "The Old" receive loving proofs.  The times have changed since my youth--much to the better.  Many were poor.  Some of the old people you made fun of.
    May God lead us so we get to be together home with God.
     J.V. Svenson