Shown in this picture is my grandmother Hilma Lindstrom's Uncle Johan Wiklund and his family. Johan is her mother, Lovisa's, brother. The closeup photo below right shows who the various family members are. Tragically, the baby Ivar died a few months later from some childhood disease.
The third picture, in color, is a picture of the home that I took in 1986 from the road. It is located in the center of farm fields. Elof (85 then) had lived there all his life with one of his brothers who had passed away shortly before I arrived. When the photo at the right was taken he was about 7 years old.
He remembered the day his cousin Hilma left for America. "She was riding a tan horse and wore a big hat," he said.
Edla, apparently the oldest girl in the photo, married a Jonsson and their child was Greta who married artist Carl-Gustaf Nordin. She (second cousin to Art and Al) guided us to all these family places and was invaluable.
Our family saga begins in Scandinavia many centuries ago, and we have data and genealogy that actually goes back to the 1600's. Those old Swedish churches kept great records.
Unfortunately, all you see is a name followed by when they were born or died. Big deal. You know nothing about them; what they did for a living, what they thought about, and basically who they were. Just a name and some approximate dates. Very hollow. But, I am going to try to put something here on paper, or on "internet" about the people whom I have some information.
First, we'll do my Dad's side, then Mom's at the bottom where we'll click and go to another page.
Let's get started.
My Dad's side of the family:
WIKLUND / LINDQUIST / LINDSTROM
One of the first photos of my Dad, 3 years old.
My Dad's name is Alvin Fridolf Lindstrom. He was born in Two Harbors, Minnesota, June 19, 1916. The lineage on my Dad's mother's side goes back to Ambrosius and Sara Nilsson in the late 1600's. The only things we know about these two relatives are that they were married, had a child Olof Amrosiusson who was born in 1709, and that Ambrosius died in 1710 and Sara died in 1745.
Poor old Amrosius, never got to see his boy's 2nd birthday. Sara outlived him by 35 years. Imagine what a hard life that was in northern Sweden in the early 1700's.
Fast forward now to PER ERIKSSON WIKLUND born in Innervik, Skelleftea Parish, Sweden, April 5, 1832. He married Christina Johansdotter, Jan. 30, 1857, in the Skelleftea Country Church. Christina was slightly older than Per, she was born Aug. 12, 1831 in Lillkageliden, Sweden. Can you imagine the weather on their wedding day? What, they couldn't wait for June? Maybe not, but I don't know the date of birth for their first born child. But, I digress.
Per was a traveling salesman, and rode his horse drawn wagon throughout Northern Sweden selling his wares. I do not know what his wares were. I did acquire his old "lunchbox" that he kept with him in his wagon. It is a big blue box with his initials stamped in the top. It is about 2 ft. square and would put any trencherman to shame. However, we must remember that he probably kept not one lunch, but many meals in that box. It is more the size of a suitcase than a lunchbox.
When old relatives were asked what he was like, they rolled their eyes skyward and said, "He was difficult." Hmmm....let's see....he was a salesman and difficult....sounds like nobody I know.
Per lived until February 1, 1923 when he died at the age of 88. His wife Christina had preceded him in death by 25 years. She passed away April 22, 1887. They both died at their home in Hebbersfors, Sweden, not far from Skelleftea.
Their marriage produced 5 children, Johan, Christina, Lovisa, Petter and Anders. The middle child Lovisa is my Great Grandmother. She was born Oct. 24, 1862 in Kagestrask, Sweden.
Over 100 years old, the home looked much the same as it did long ago. I took this photo from the road in front, in 1986.
My grandparents , John and Hilma Lindstrom,
in the 1940's.
When Lovisa Wiklund was 21 she married Salomon Lindquist, Jr. in the Skelleftea Country Church, the same place her parents were wed. The marriage took place November 3, 1883. Salomon was born at the family home in Klintforsliden, Sweden on Sept. 5, 1860. He was 23. They had 9 children; 6 boys and 3 girls. Two of the boys died within 7 days of birth leaving 4 boys and 3 girls.
Salomon had many jobs, but originally he owned a nice size farm with fairly decent crops and animals. Later in life he toiled as a stone worker.
The large family started out living on the family farm at Klintforsliden. But, they couldn't remain there all their lives. One night at the local saloon, after downing a few hard drinks, Salomon agreed to be a good neighbor and co-signed a note for a "friend" pledging his property. He was told it was just a formality. When the neighbor failed to perform on the note he lost just about everything including his farm. Let that be a lesson to all of us about co-signing. The consequences for his family were severe. The children had to be divided and lived among various relatives.
Living conditions were tough enough in the best of times; this situation was unbearable. Five of the children all left home as soon as possible and found their way to the U.S. and Canada.
Here's a picture of Salomon that ran in the newspaper with his obituary. They said, "He was a good and nice neighbor, widely respected and liked."
HILMA ULRIKA LINDQUIST
was my grandmother. She was born near Skelleftea, Sweden, Sept. 26, 1886. When her father lost the farm, she was sent to Dad's mother's house to be raised. Her husband (Salomon's father) had died in the 1860's. The other kids were dispersed elsewhere, so she was raised without her siblings.
Life was tough in Sweden. When Hilma was 23 she left for America. Apparently a chicken ranch owner in South Dakota had paid her way so she would work for him as an indentured servant until her passage was paid off.
What courage! Imagine, a 23 year old girl leaving her home, all of her relatives, taking a voyage across the ocean to a land where she didn't know the language, nor the folks for whom she was going to work. Four brothers would eventually make it to North America, but she was the first! And, when she left, she knew she would never see her parents or grandmother ever again.
A year later, brother Karl (known to all as Cy)came over and ended up in Two Harbors, Minnesota. During the next few years, the rest of the brothers would follow. Life on the chicken farm was no picnic. the work was hard, but worst of all, the people were mean. She wrote to her brother Karl in Two Harbors and he went to South Dakota and rescued her by paying off her debt and bringing her back to Two Harbors with him.
Karl worked on the railroad, the Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range (DM & IR). So did a man named John Lindstrom.
JOHN FRIDOLF LINDSTROM
was my grandfather. He was born in Kramfors, Angermanland, Sweden, Sept. 25, 1882. As a young man he learned shoemaking. He was in the Swedish Army when he was 21. He hated it. As a matter of fact, he hated it so much, he didn't even let his son Alvin join the Boy Scouts, thinking it was a military group.
He married Jenny Berglund who was just 2 years younger, and they had a child, Evart, who was born Dec. 21, 1904. The three of them came to America in 1910 aboard the ship Cymric.
They made their way to Two Harbors, Minnesota where John found work as a laborer on the local railroad, The Duluth Missabe and Iron Range(DM&IR)
MY GRANDFATHER JOHN LINDSTROM IN THE SWEDISH ARMY, 1903.
HE HATED IT.
THIS IS MY GREAT AUNT, SELMA LINDQUIST, HILMA'S SISTER. SHE AND HER OTHER SISTER ESTER STAYED IN SWEDEN AND NEVER MARRIED. SHE LIVED TO BE 97.
MY GRANDMOTHER, HILMA LINDQUIST-LINDSTROM.
ALVIN FRIDOLF LINDSTROM
my dad, was born June 19, 1916. A few years later came along Arthur Lindstrom, dad's younger brother and of course my uncle.
They grew up in a tiny house on 12th St. in Two Harbors. Alvin always looked forward to winter when the ponds would freeze so he could play hockey. He graduated from Two Harbors High School in 1934. It was the heart of the great depression, and jobs were not easy to come by. However, President Roosevelt had founded the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was a way for young men to have work, a place to live, and a way to send money back home to support their family. Alvin enlisted and worked as a clerk in the office.
DAD'S HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY TEAM
Shortly after they arrived, tragedy struck. Jenny pricked herself accidentally with a sewing needle and died of blood poisoning. This left the young widower and child alone.
Soon, John was introduced to a young single girl by her brother. He courted Karl's sister Hilma, and on Jan. 9, 1915, they were married. Hilma treated John's son Evart as if he was her own. But, there were two more children to come their way.
(Click on for closeup.)
I graduated from Two Harbors High School early in June of 1934. Times were tough and there weren't many jobs available. President Roosevelt had just started the Civilian Conservation Corps. (CCC), a military style organization for young men to do public works projects, which they got a small monthly income, most of which would be sent home to help support the family.
On July 2 of that year I enrolled in the CCC as a "local experienced man." I had special skills in typing and bookkeeping and my parents were not on relief like so many of the other guys. I got paid $30 a month. I was assistant company clerk at Camp Wanless in the Superior National Forest at Schroeder, MN which was not too far from Isabella, Tofte, and Two Harbors, where the district office was located.
Since Camp Wanless was only a tent camp, it would have been impossible to spend the winter there, so we all packed up and moved to the barracks at a place called Sawville where we stayed until fall of 1935. Then we moved to Allen Junction, MN, near Aurora, MN. That was just a brief stopover because in the middle of winter, Jan, 1936, Company 703 was ordered to move across the country to Roseburg, Oregon.
This was a problem for me, a "local experienced man," since I couldn't qualify for that position far away from home. So, the Captain Carrol Patton, the Company Commander, offered me a job as his personal assistant. Now, by this time I had been making $45 a month as company clerk and camp steward, plus an additional $15 for operating the company store, or canteen, as we called it. And, I was First Sergeant, the highest rank for a non-com. But, that job was over, so I accepted the job as his personal aide.
My first job consisted of driving his car and his wife across the western U.S. to our new camp in Roseburg. I remained Captain Patton's personal assistant until August of that year when I decided the position didn't have much of a future, so I figured it was time to move on. I first considered joining the Army, but when I wrote that in a letter to my parents, my Dad wrote me the only letter I had ever received from him until that point.
He told me in no uncertain terms that the worst thing I could do is join the Army. He recounted his horrible experiences in the Swedish Army and urged me to reconsider. The worst part was how they would not even give him leave to attend his mother's funeral. He was so adamant about it that he wrote the letter on one side in English, and on the other side of the paper in Swedish. I got the point and decided he must be right. So, instead I decided to change locations and go to where I could most certainly find a future...Chicago, Illinois.
I wrote to my aunt and uncle, Nels and Alma Lindquist, mom's brother and sister-in-law, in Chicago and asked to stay with them. They wrote back and said it would be okay if I didn't mind sleeping on a cot in the dining room.
I bought a bus ticket across the country that allowed plenty of stopovers so I could see the sites. In Eureka, California I saw giant redwood trees. In San Francisco I saw the newly completed Golden Gate Bridge. I took pictures of it and also of Japanese warships in the harbor. This was 5 years before they invaded Pearl Harbor. In Reno I visited casinos but had no money for gambling. On to Salt Lake City where stayed at the Hotel Utah and saw the Mormon Temple. Also, I went out to a very famous resort on the like where they held dances and heard the popular Dick Jergens band.
About this time I was seriously running low on money so I couldn't afford any more overnight stops. It was direct to Chicago where I arrived with just seven cents in my pocket. I stayed at an inexpensive hotel on the night of my arrival and the next day used my last seven cents for bus fare to my uncle's place. How did I pay for my hotel room?
Things were different in those days of trust and no credit cards. You paid when you checked out, so I left my suitcases in the room and borrowed money from my uncle, returned to the hotel to pay and claim my luggage.
My folks had been saving money for me from the paychecks I sent home, so I had a few dollars for expenses.
I started out my job search with employment agencies. I was sent over to M.H. Slossen Co., a one man leather brokerage company. Located at Lake and Wells in downtown Chicago, Mr. Slossen was an agent for leather to make belts, wallets, etc. I accepted the job as secretary, bookkeeper, shipping clerk, and apprentice leather salesman.
My starting salary was $10 a week, and after a month it was doubled to $20. Everything was fine; I enjoyed the work and was learning the leather business. But, Mr. Slossen came in one day in Mar. of 1937 and announced he was retiring. The two man company closed its doors and I was back out looking for a job again.
I had interviews with Dow Chemical, Lindy Air Products, and The Diversey Corporation. I accepted a job with the latter as an accounting clerk at $75 per month.
The Diversey Corp. sold cleaning products for dairy equipment. Kochs, a rich man, started this business for his son, who ran the company. It was located in the famous Monadnock Bldg. in Chicago. It was April, 1937.
At the same time, a young woman named Grace Lovig started working at the same company. Her job was doing sales analysis by using an IBM punch card machine.
Later that year I was promoted to Supervisor of Billing, and Grace now worked for me.
I asked her out on a date and she accepted. Our first date was to part of an 8 day bicycle race. We continued to go out together. On Feb. 27, 1940 we got married and she had to quit her job. We moved into the third story of a "three-flat" brownstone building at 5000 W. Huron St. in Chicago.
As far as my income went, in April of 1938, I was raised to $80 per month; 1939 to $85; 1940 to $90; 1941 to $95. I detected a trend and thought it was time to seek my business success elsewhere. One day in the newspaper I saw an article that The International Agricultural Corp., with offices in New York and Atlanta was moving to Chicago.
I interviewed with the company and was offered a job in July of 1941 starting at $120 a month. When the Diversey Corp. received my letter of resignation, the President of the company tried to get me to stay, even offered me a substantial raise, but I rejected their last minute attempt to keep me and left for my place of business.
My new employer changed its name to International Minerals and Chemical Corp. I started my service with them as a cost accountant clerk for a fertilizer plant. In 1950 I became Chief Cost Accountant. In 1956 I became Asst. to Comptroller in charge of cost systems. I stayed with the company for almost 20 years, then left to move to Tucson.
During these years of the 1940's and 50's, my son Ray was born in 1941. In 1944 we moved to Geneva, Ill. In 1950 to Mt. Prospect, and in 1953 to Palatine.
I started all over at the bottom when I moved to Tucson in 1959. At the Duval Corporation, I started as a clerk in the accounting dept. However, within 6 years was named Resident Manager at their Esperanza Copper Mine South of Tucson. Soon I was asked to serve as a financial director of their Brussels, Belgium office, so Grace and I lived there during the middle 1970's. I wrapped up my career at their Hanford, CA plant in the 1980's(which was sold to the Simplot Corp. while I was there) and retired to Tucson.
In 1988 my beloved Grace passed away. That same year I ran into an old classmate of mine from Two Harbors, Ruth Donovan, and we married shortly thereafter.
MY DAD'S STORY...
But, let's read what my Dad has to say himself about his life:
Young Al Lindstrom on his trip through the west, 1936
The Monadnock Bldg.
MOM & DAD
in the 1980's.
Ruth and Al
Dad with his enormous golf ball collection.
Al and brother Art hunting in the 1940's
Grace and Al
Al and brother Art in a classic photo from wartime.
My Mom's side of the family:
LOVIG / BENSON (BENGTSON) / LINDSTROM
We do not have a big family, but there is more to it than this. My Dad's brother Art, and his wife June are still going strong. Art just celebrated his 80th birthday. Their kids, my cousins, Janet Logan, Barbara Barthell, and Karen Alberts have happy lives in various places around the country.
Also in Albuquerque is my Dad's cousin Rolf Lindquist. His other cousin, Doris Lindquist, has just retired from the Leo Burnett Adv. Agency and lives in Chicago.
Rolf did an amazing job of genealogy research and he kindly let me put it on my site. Take a look by clicking here.