BIOGRAPHY OF THE SANDBURG FAMILY
FEBRUARY 1st 1951
by CHARLES J. SANDBURG
Biography of Sandburg Family
February 1st 1951
I am going to try and write a Biography of the Sandburg family as I happen to be one of them.
My father and mother came from Smaland, which is the southern part or Sweden, in the year 1869. At that time the poor people had it very hard, so that all who were able to came to the United States. There were lots of relatives as well as friends who sent money to those coming to this country to help them. It must have been very hard for them to leave their old Homeland.
Father and Mother had to leave two of the children with their grandparents, because when they came to the boat they were too old. Their money was gone and they were unable to pay the childrens fare, so they had to go back to their grandparents. It took my parents three weeks from the time they left Sweden until they arrived in the New York Harbor. Most of the food they had to eat was brought with them. There has been some changes in 82 years.
My father was born November 21, 1834 and my Mother was born November 13, 1836. They were married in their church at Skede, Jonkoping Lan Smaland, Sweden. They were members of the Alskede Church.
They left Sweden for North America the 17th of April, and arrived at their destination May 20th. They came to Freehold, Warren county, Pa. They had friends and relatives from the old country to receive them.
There was a big movement to this locality during the years 1865 to 1875. There was a settlement located of Swedish people around this section they called Freehold.
A Lutheran Church was organized on Ascension Day 1868, with Pastor C. O. Hultgren present. The name decided on being “Berea.” The Church was built the following year 1869. The Swedish language was used altogether.
During the summer months Swedish School was held if a resident pastor or student from the Seminary were here to conduct the same. As late as 1918 the last Swedish School session was held over in the Miles Run Schoolhouse.
The preaching was in Swedish. The people were very much in favor of staying by their language. However, there have been no Swedish sermons preached since 1938. Rev. A. A. Fant preached one Swedish sermon each month. All congregational meetings were conducted in Swedish up until 1932. The first Church Secretary Book to be written in English was at the yearly meeting January 6, 1932. At the present time the Swedish language is almost forgotten. My brothers and sisters were confirmed in the Swedish language which I have not forgotten, and I do enjoy a Swedish sermon, but very seldom hear one.
There were eight children in our family. Five boys and Three girls. Christene M. born in Skede Sweden, 4/17/1863, Jonas Peter born in Skede Sweden 1/8/1865, Edith Louise born in Skede Sweden, 11/19/1866, Victor Emanuel born in Skede Sweden 3/9/1869, Charles J. born in Freehold, Pa. 3/29/1871, Emma Josephine born in Columbus, Pa. 8/25/1873, Amil Oscar born in Columbus Pa. 5/5/1875, and Albert Luther born in Columbus, Pa. 10/27/1877.
My parents went to keeping house in Miles Run, Pittsfield township, Warren county, Pennsylvania. Moving from there to Pittsfield, Pa. and from there to Columbus, Pennsylvania on a piece of land that was mostly all woods. They built a very plain house out of very plain lumber. It was not too warm in the winter, but there was lots of good wood to burn in the stove, so we did not suffer much. In the spring father built on a summer kitchen, and this gave us more room in the other part of the house. There we lived and spent our childhood days!
Father had to work in the lumber woods. He would be gone during the week but come home for Sunday. We were always glad when Saturday came so we could see Father. Of course we quieted down some when he was around.
I must say we had a wonderful Mother. She was a good Christian woman. A very good singer too. She entertained us by reading the Bible and singing Christian songs and hymns. They were very strict with us children. We were not allowed to go out during service hours. We could not attend Church as our Church was five miles away.
Father and Mother would walk to Church quite often. After a while we got a horse. We really thought that was wonderful.
At that time most of the farmers did their farm work with oxen. It was very common to drive five or six miles with these oxen.
I remember they would yoke up an ox team when the sleighing was good, and pick up a load of young folks and drive four or five miles to some farm house and spend most of the night visiting, playing games, dancing, etc. Those were the good old times!
We built a new house in 1890. The family was very proud and very happy when we moved in. But part of the children were then grown up and some were married and had homes or their own.
I was 15 years old at the time I worked on a farm and I got $7.00 a month. As soon as we got old enough, we had to get out end earn our keep. We never got very much schooling.
We were lucky there was not much sickness in the family so we did not pay out for Doctor bills, but I remember once, my sister was taken sick, and they sent me for the Doctor. I had to walk five miles, but I was lucky. Got a chance to ride back with the Doctor, and they insisted I sat dinner with them before We started back. I certainly enjoyed that ride. It was good sleighing and he had a very nice horse and cutter, and a nice robe to keep us warm. Best of all, the Doctor did not have to come - only that once - she was soon well.
I am going to write a History of Father’s and Mother’s childhood days back in Sweden. What I am going to write is what I have heard from others.
There were large families on both sides with only one boy in each family. My mother’s brother died when he was young. According to father and mother they both had very happy homes, and their parents lived to be very old.
I can remember as a boy the letters they received from Sweden. Father read them aloud and I tell you we kept very quiet and sometimes he hardly could read them. I think you know the reason why!
My Father was a very quiet man. He believed in the old saying and practiced it. “If you can not say any thing good about anybody don’t say anything.”
Mother was quite different. Always looking on the bright side. She had a lot to put up with. Father was away so much, and she was left to look after us children, but she had a wonderful way with us. She never learned English very well. Around where we lived were mostly all American people, but she got along with them very well.
At home we all talked Swedish. Soon as we got old enough we attended the American schools. In our childhood we spoke perfect Swedish, but as we grew older it was partly forgotten. Though none of us forgot the language entirely there was a tendency to mix the two languages, to mix in English words in genuine Swedish American style.
I am going to give a brief history of Father’s and Mother’s sisters that came to the U.S.A.
Father had four sisters that came. One stayed here in the East, and was married to a man by the name of C. Danielson. They lived in Wilcox, Pa., she died in childbirth in 1871, and was brought to the Freehold Lutheran cemetery for burial. I was born the 29th of March and the baby girl June 14th. My mother took her and kept her. We call one another twins. She is still living (Emma D. Johnson). My Uncle by marriage went back to Sweden and brought back his second wife. There were six boys and one girl born to them. John, Edith, David, Alfred and Helmer are living. The father and mother passed away sometime ago. The house they lived in, stands just the same although unoccupied, up on Lind Hill, Pittsfield Twp. Uncle was a great worker in the Berea Church, but he did not live to be very old, he died Nov. 7th, 1909, age 66 years. The mother departed this life March 10th 1924, age 76 years. She was a remarkable woman, we enjoyed visiting her very much.
The other three sisters of my Father’s or rather my aunts went to Chicago, Illinois, and got married and they located there. One of my aunts was there during the big Chicago fire. I think that was in 1870. I have heard her tell about it. It must have been a terrible experience.
In 1893 the time of the World Fair in Chicago, I went there and spent one month. Had a grand time! My aunt lived in different parts of Chicago, and there were a lot of cousins to show me around. There was always some of them to go with me when I went down to the Fair Grounds, so I did not have to go alone. I tell you Chicago was no place for a kid like myself to be wandering around alone.
Two of my aunts came from Chicago and visited us, and one aunt came during Father’s illness and death. He was sick for a long time and quite a care.
Mother’s sisters went out to Minnesota. Married and settled down on farms. They each lived in different counties. One lived in Bigstone Co., one in Mickey Co., and the third in Chippewau county.
At the time of the Word Fair I continued my journey and made a visit to my brother Jonas home in the West, and the rest of my relation up in Minnesota. Arriving there the 1st of July.
It was quite a change from the City of Chicago to the farming country in the West. It was all prairie. No timber only where they had taken up Tree Claims. They were supposed to plant 10 acres of trees on their 160 acres of land, and take care of the trees and at the end of 10 years they could claim the land (at that time). That is the way a lot of people got good land and homes. My brother bought his land. The soil was very fertile, making wondering farming land. The main crops were oats, wheat, barley and flax.
My Uncle’s home was located along Big Stone Lake. He was brought up by a Lake in the old country. So he decided to make this his future home.
There were not many white folks at that time, but a lot of Indians. There was an Indian Reservation not far from there, but he said, “He got along with them, they seemed quite friendly.”
There was good fishing on the Lake, I used to enjoy going down to Uncle’s. I made my home with my brother he lived about two miles from my Uncle’s. My Aunt was dead then, but there were two daughters that kept house for him. They were a little younger than myself, he also had a hired man. So there was some attraction, and on Sundays the young folks from the Prairies came over and had picnics by the Lake.
I stayed at my brothers until threshing time. Uncle and his two sons had a machine of their own. It was run by horse power. There were six teams that went around in a circle. They surely could thresh out the grain.
There was a very big crop of grain that year. The price was very low, I think the wheat was only 60 cents a bushel, and oats were 15 cents a bushel. But everything was very cheap accordingly, so the farmers got along very well. After we got through threshing at my Uncle’s I left for a … [a line is cut off here] … visit, and I surely had a most enjoyable time. They were all so nice to me.
After staying with them a while I went back up to my brother’s and stayed until after Thanksgiving.
Want to mention at this time it gets very cold in Minnesota and already in November the ice on the Lake was six inches thick. I made up my mind I did not want to spend the winter there. So I started back East, stopped in Chicago on my way. A change had taken place. It was during President Grover Cleveland’s administration when the hard times hit the country. There was no work and the men were walking the streets. I did not stay there long, I was glad to start for home arriving a few days before Christmas. It was good to be back. It was a wonderful experience.
In the year 1938, my son Albert, daughter Margaret, my niece Manda and myself took a motor trip where I spent some time over 50 years ago.
There were surely great changes. The old folks had passed on, but the younger ones had taken over and made good. The land was all under cultivation. There were nice farm buildings and improved roads. When I was there before the farmers did not plant much corn. At the present time corn was their best paying crop, and hogs their best income. We traveled in the other counties also. They had all made good. One of my Uncle’s had sold the old Homestead and the young folks were living in town. We spent one day with them. (At each home we visited they drove their cars so all we did was to sit back and relax and enjoy the scenery.)
After dinner we went out sight seeing. One stop was made at the Park. My cousin told us “During the time of the Indians a battle had been fought between the whites and the Indians and most of the white settlers were massacred.” There was a monument in their memory in this park.
When we came through Chicago we went over to see the Stock yards. That really was some sight.
We had a lovely trip, with no bad luck. We did not have to change water in the radiator. The old Swedish saying “Borta ar bra men hemma ar bast” meaning the best part to going away is the getting home again, proved true in our case. We were glad to get back to Pennsylvania and familiar surroundings.
In 1912 Father and Mother celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Five of their children were there and three were not present. They had 32 grandchildren and 22 were present. (8 were in Minnesota, and the others in the state of Washington.) It was too bad they could not have been with us. It was a joyous occasion and one that could never be forgotten.
We thank the Lord he gave us health and we could meet together. There had been a great change since in our family. Of course that is the way of life. Some day we too will say Farewell to our Dear Ones and be gone forever. We do not know when that time will be, but it is up to us to be ready.
There is now just two of us left of our family, my sister in Jamestown and myself. We both have a lot to be thankful for. We are well enough to be around and take care of ourselves.
Will now give you a History of my brothers and sisters families. My sister Christene was born in Sweden. She came to this country when she was quite a young girl. Was married to Oscar Sandberg 1886. There were 9 children born to them. Seven girls and two boys. Their children are all alive except one boy. The Father passed away in 1926 at the age of 65 years, and my sister in 1948 and she was 84 years of age. She died at her daughter Emma’s (Mrs. Arthur Nelson, Titusville) home. Christene was a patient sweet dispositioned person. To know her was to love her. They are buried in Freehold cemetery.
Jonas Peter was born in Sweden came to the United States when quite young. As a young man he went to Minnesota, he married there, and spent the rest of his life in the West. There were 8 children in their family, four girls and four boys. There are 3 boys and 2 girls left. The rest of the family has passed on.
Edith Louise was born in Sweden. She came to the U.S.A. with her parents when she was a little girl. Went out to the state of Washington. Was married to Ed Carlson and spent the rest of her life at the coast. They had four children, two boys and two girls. My sister and her husband have passed on, but the children are all living.
Victor was born in Sweden and was only 3 weeks old when his parents started for America. Spent his boyhood days in Warren county, Pa. He learned the carpenter trade and married Ricka Hanson. They settled in Corry, Pa., where they made their home and where he spent his life. He died in 1944 at 75 years of age. His wife is still living. They had two children, Raymond and Dorothy. They daughter lives in Warren, Pa., and the son in Corry, Pa. They had 2 grandchildren.
Charles J. that is myself was born in Pittsfield Township, Warren County., Pa., in 1871. After I got old enough to work, I spent most of my time in the lumber woods. I bought a farm in 1900, and was married to Josephine Anderson in 1901. She came from Sweden when she was 15 years old. We were married at her brother’s home near Bear Lake, Pa., Oct. 24, 1901. We went to housekeeping on the farm at Blue Eye. There were 3 babies born to us, one died at birth, and the other two are still living. My wife passed away September 28, 1932. She was sick for a long time and suffered very much. It was a relief when God took her as long as there was no hopes of her ever getting well. She was a good Christian woman, a good wife and mother. Always so cheerful and seemed to get so much out of life. She was only 58 years of age when she passed away. She was the first to be buried in the new cemetery plot at Freehold. My daughter stayed with me and made a home for me. Altogether I lived on the farm over 40 years. I got crippled up and could not get around very well, so I sold the farm and we bought a home on North Main St., in Youngsville, Pa, in 1943. My daughter married George Abbott in April 1950. He had a home of his own, so ours was sold. I am living with my son and daughter-in-law. Albert married Miss Zella Carroll. I have 2 grandchildren Charles Alan and Dexter Amil Sandburg. I am quite well and thankful I can get around and help myself.