Emigration till Amerika år 1879

Utvandrardag 1879-08-01                                               e-post   mats@wallbring.se
Utresehamn Göteborg
Destination Chicago
Ur cd-skivan Emigranter.

Min farfarfars syster Lovisa Eriksdotter född 1839-10-06 Wallby, Långtora, Uppsala län gift med soldaten Magnus Spång född 1840-05-31 Rebro, Tillberga, Västmanlands län emigrerade till Vilas, Kansas, USA,  åkte 1879-08-01 från Göteborg med ångfartyget Rollo till Hull, England. Därifrån med tåg till Liverpool där de avreste med fartyget City of New York  till Amerika och ankom till New York 1879-08-18. Fortsatte därefter till Chigago och sen Vilas, Kansas.

((Många emigranter menade att de knappa två dygnen till England var den värsta delen av resan eftersom Wilsonlinjen också fraktade boskap, vilket gjorde att båtarna mer eller mindre var som ladugårdar. Båtarna erbjöd mycket primitiv inkvartering och rullade dessutom svårt på Nordsjöns ofta stormiga hav. Fram till 1869 fick man ta med egen matsäck, men efter det serverades "välsmakande mat i generösa portioner" (välling, kött och potatis ansågs vara fullgod mat) – man fick dock fortsatt ta med mugg, tallrik och bestick... Wilsons "skorvar" var från början ganska små, men i takt med den ökande emigrationen satte man in större båtar. De största båtarna (t. ex. "Rollo") kunde från 1870 ta upp mot 1 000 passagerare.

Båtarna över Atlanten var till en början inte mycket bättre - fram till 1885 måste man t ex ta med sig en madrass om man inte ville sova direkt på plankorna (på Sillgatan i Göteborg erbjöds randiga halmmadrasser just för detta ändamål). ))

Wilson-linjens "Orlando" (1870-1909)
Wilson-linjens "Rollo" " (1870-1909)

(4 st.  brev från USA, som jag fick kopior av från släkten på Vallby gård, Långtora, som i sin tur har fått dem av Michael Andersson i Sverige , släkt med de 2 systrarna Hulda och Olga Andersson):

Brev 1.

Janet Ebert
S.Wilson Chanute, Kansas

Alex Spong was born about 2 miles west of Vilas, Kansas to Magnus (Spång) Spong and Lovisa (Ersdotter) Spong on Sept, 23 1883. His parents came from Sweden in 1879. He attended Golden Ridge Scool. Magnus died in 1897. His funeral was at the home with a Rev, Bayless having the servic, and burial was in Vilas Cemetery. In 1901 Lovisa and her sons, Theodore and Alex moved to another farm east and north of the old homestead, in the Sorghum Valley neighborhood. Alex and Theodore graduated from Salina Business College in Salina, Kansas in 1905.
The brothers had become friends with 2 of Adolph Andersons daughters, Olga and Hulda, in the Colfax neighborhood. Olga and Theodore were married in 1906, and Hulda and Alex were married on March 6, 1907. Both couples were married in the home of the brides´ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Andersson, by Rev. A.H. Coffield of the Colfax Baptist, Church. Theodore and Olga lived in Fredonia. They had 2 sons and 1 daughter.
Alex and Hulda stayed with Lovisa and ran the farm. Alex was member of the Sorghum Valley School Board. They were the parents of 2 sons and 2 daughters: Violet was born jan. 18, 1908; Ivan on April 8, 1910; Verne on March 9, 1913; and Edith on March 17, 1917.
Lovisa never did learn to speak English. Her granddaughter Violet learned to speak Swedish in order to converse with her. Lovisa died in 1916. The funeral was in Vilas Luthern Church and burial in Vilas cemetery beside her husband. One daughter is also buried there, and another is buried back in Sweden.

After Lovisas death, Alex and Hulda made the farmhouse larger, and installed a pressure water tank in the basement with the water pumped by a wind mill. They had running water in the sink, something no_one else had at that time. They also put a furnace in the basement giving them a nice warm house, upstairs and down. The children recall carrying wood sawn by their father to a basement window where it slid down a chute into the basement. Alex sawed wood with a buzz saw which he powered by putting a belt on the rear wheels of their Ford car somehow.

In the 1918 flu epidemic Alex  suffered a lingering effect which left his lungs weak. In 1920, because of his health, in order to move to town, they had a sale. One thing still remembered was how wild their herd of Black Angus cattle were that day. Because these cattle were only used to Alex and the hired hand taking care of them, they were really scared of the crowd, making for interesting stories to be retold in later years.
Alex and Hulda purchased a home, 19 S. Wilson in Chanute, and moved their family into it, Alex operated a tire shop on N. Lincoln across from the Post Office (where there is still a tire shop today). In 1925 after having pneumonia which left him still weaker, he sold the shop, and in hopes of improving his health, he and Hulda went to Arizona, leaving the 4 children at home in Chanute with Huldas parents who came from Erie to stay with them, Alex and Hulda stayed in Peoria, outside of Phoenix, but he never regained his health and died Feb. 3, 1926. The body was returned to Chanute by train. The funeral was in the Presbyterian Church, where both were members, with Rev Fred Shaw presiding.
Hulda and the children continued to live in Chanute, and all graduated from Chanute High School. Violet married Orval Ebert June 12, 1929, and are the parents of 2 girls. Ivan learned to fly,. which he loved, at the Chanute airport. In Wichita he taught flying and was a test pilot. During WW II he flew unarmed cargo planes to Europe, making over 100 trips. He was married to Jean Shaffer of Mo. They adopted a son, Michael. After the war Ivan became a pilot for TWA. He was killed in a crash near Albuquerque, New Mexico Feb, 19, 1955. Services were held in Kansas City and in Chanute Gibson-Koch Chapel with Rev, Paul Life. Burial was in Memorial Park Cemetary, Chanute. Jean died in Mo. Dec. 12. 1970 and is buried beside Ivan. Mike served in the Viet Nam War, now living on west coast.

Verne went to California as a young man. He married Betty Brown, and they had 3 sons, Bill, Jim, and Bob. During WW II he was with the 8th Air Force in England, Germany, and France repairing airplanes. After the war he became a carpenter. He now resides in a retirement community in Seal Beach, California. His sons live in California also.

Edith married Kenneth Venard of Iola in Olathe Feb. 19, 1941. They lived in Chanute, and Topeka before moving to Arizona for his health. Hulda spent winters with them and summers in Chanute with Orval and Violet. The Venards still live in Phoenix, had no children.

Hulda passed away Jan. 31, 1972. Servicec were held in Gibson-Koch Chapel with Rev. Paul Hett presiding. She is buried in Elmwood Cemetery beside Alex, and next to Olga and Theodore. Thus the 2 sisters and the 2 brothers now rent in peace together.

Brev 2.

Dear Michael Andersson,

I was very pleased to receive your recent letter. I have for many years wondered if we had relatives still living in Sweden. Yes, I am one of several descendants of Magnus Spång and Lovisa Ersdotter. They are my great-grandparents and Magnus Theodor was my grandfather. I have some remembrance of Magnus Theodor; he died when I was 6 years old. Of course, I never knew Magnus Spång and Lovisa Ersdotter, but I do have a very old Swedish Bible which was presented to Lovisa in 1855. Magnus Theodor married Olga Andersson (also from Sweden) and they lived for many years on a farm near Chanute, Kansas. I have enclosed several pictures of Magnus Theodor and Olga and their three children. My father used to take me on enjoyable hikes on their farm when I was a child. Magnus Theodor and Olgas children were: Clarence (my father - now deceased), Lester ( to whom you also sent a letter in Wichita, Kansas), and Margaret (who now lives in Phoenix, Arizona). In  their later years Magnus Theodor and Olga retired to Phoenix, Arizona where Magnus purchased some land and continued farming, growing cotton. In addition to being a farmer in Kansas, Magnus also held an elected position as Register of Deeds.

My father, Clarence, was a mathematics teacher and high scool superintendent; Lester became a chemistry teacher in Great Bend, Kansas and Margret has worked as a secretary and now lives in Phoenix, Arizona. I have one brother who is an economist for the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City (to whom you sent a copy of your letter) and one sister (lives in Brighton, Michigan) who works on computer software. Lester had two children: Richard (lives in Joplin, Missouri) and Caroline (lives in Ithaca, New York). I grew up in Syracuse and Stafford, Kansas until I was about 14 at which time we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona (near Phoenix) where I went to high scool and university. I did my graduate work at the University of Michigan. Lester, Clarence and Margaret made arrangements for Magnus Theodors name to be included on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor as you found.

I have enclosed a copy of an old family history which discusses both the Spongs and the Anderson families along with a family tree of our ancestors from Sweden. I would be very interested in any information you might have with respect to the Swedish roots of our family, as well as currently descendants. I also have other family history information I could dig up if that is of interest. We were told that the name changes which occurred in the Swedish family tree (i.e., Reberg - > Spong) were caused when someone joined the Army. Apparently, they were assigned a new namn, because too many people in Sweden at that time had the similar last names.

There is a Spong world-wide web page at http://www.erie.net/~wcg/spong/index.html that you might be interested in looking at if you have internet access. Many of these Spongs seem to have originally come originally from England. I have not been able to determine that there is any link to our family. I will pass your letter on to other members of our family as I think they will find it of great interest.

I have web-pages related to the research work I do at Oak Ridge National Laboratory located at: http://www.ornl.gov/fed/mhd/da_spong.html and http://www.ornl.gov/fed/mhd/mhd.html . I am a physicist working in the area of magnetic fusion energy research. I have traveled twice now to Sweden for conferences on the research I do. I have been to the conference center at Apenas (near Goteborg) and have also visited Stockholm. Perhaps we could meet if I get a chance to return. I am now 50 years old, married and have one 9 year old daughter. I have scanned in a recent picture taken of me below.

Regards, Donald A. Spong

e-mail: spongda@aol.com

Brev 3

Dear Michael,

My brother, Don Spong, gave me copies of both the letters that you wrote to him and I wanted to write to you too. We were all excited to be able to write to a relative in Sweden.

My name is Virginia Ruth (Spong) Reid and I am an older sister to Don and Ken. My husband Dave and I live in Brighton, Michigan. Our youngest son, Eric, lives at home with us when he not at college studying electrical engineering and computer science. We have married daughter in Indiana, who has 3 children, and a married son in Michigan, who has one son. We have lived here for 12 years but did live in Indiana and California. We both work for a small company that writes the software and installs it at diesel engine plants all over the U.S. We also travel to England and will both be there in August for 2 weeks.

My husband is the one who has the FamilyTreeMaker program. He put in all the information about his family and I put in as much as we knew of my relatives. He sent our information into the company who then put it on the internet. We were so glad you found it all there.

Last week, our uncle died in Arizona but was brought back to Kansas to be buried. This was our aunt Margaret (Spong) Bailey`s husband. Since both Don and Ken were there along with our Spongs cousins, we went to 3 cemeteries to look for relatives. We found the graves of Magnus and Lovisa Spong and also Magnus Theodore and Olga Spong and Alex and Hulda Spong. Alex is a younger brother to Magnus Theodore and was born in the U.S. Next to Magnus and Lovisas graves, there was another stone but we could not read all of it because it was so old. The name on it was Annie Mae Spong. We are guessing that this was a daughter of Magnus and Lovisa (also a sister to Magnus and Alex). Could this be the Anna you wrote about in your first letter?

We do not know why Magnus and Lovisa immigrated to the United States and why they settled in southeast Kansas. It would be very interesting to know. There were a lot of other people from Sweden in the same area. Our grandmother Olga (Anderson) Spong was born here but her parents were born in Sweden. We have all wondered why the last name of Spong was picked for Magnus and why his fathers last name was Reborg. Most of the people in the U.S. whose last name is Spong are English.

I don`t know much about Magnus and Lovisa but know Magnus Theodore and Olga were able to support their family well. The title ' Register of Deeds' means he was a city government official who kept track of what person owed each farm or piece of land. They were able to help our Uncle Lester with college expenses but did not have enough to help our father, Clarence. He had to work 3 jobs during college to pay for his tuition and living expenses. He also had scholarship for sports. Our Aunt Margaret did not go to college and worked as a secretary.

I don't know what all Don told you but will stop here. You don't have to write each one of us separatly but I will enjoy hearing the same letter as Don. I am sending you some papers printed from FamilyTreeMaker - one set is Descendents of Magnus Spong so you will know about all of us and another set of Ancestors of Magnus Theodore Spong. The ancestors set does not list death dates but I do have some of this information. If you find anything wrong, please let me know and I can correct it.

Virginia Reid 

Brev 4

Översättning av brev från Don Spong, ankommet 6/9-98:

" Jag är ledsen att jag varit lite långsam med att skriva den senaste tiden. Jag har läst dina två brev med intresse. Vi var alla i Kansas omkring Fjärde juli, vid begravniongen av Fred Baily, make till min faster Margaret. Violet var där och jag gav henne kopior av dina två första brev. Violets två döttrar var också där och jag gav även dem breven. Jag har adressen till en av hennes döttrar: Janet Crownover, 1404 South Denman, Chanute, Kansas 66720. Janet bjöd oss alla på en god middag efter begravningen. Det var en ganska komplett släktträff. Därefter har jag hört att Violet har haft vissa hälsoproblem, men hon åkte i den bil jag körde och gav oss vägvisningar. Hon verkade tämligen mentalt alert för sin ålder. Någonting vi gjorde när vi var i Chanute var att åka runt och besöka de begravningsplatser där familjerna Spong och Andersson är begravda. Jag har foton på gravstenarna som jag kan skicka till dig om du är intresserad. Din tidigare fråga om Anna Spong (syster till Magnus Theodore) har fångat vårt intresse eftersom ingen i Violets och min fasters generation verkar veta någonting om henne. Hursomhelst, när vi besökte Magnus och Lovisa Spongs grav så fanns där till höger en liten sten med namnet Annie Spong knappt läsbart på den. Vi försökte med hjälp av 'spårningspapper' att läsa resten av texten, men det var alltför eroderat för att vara möjligt. Det faktum att det var en liten sten visar dock normalt att hon dog innan hon nådde vuxen ålder, men vi vet inte när hon dog. Naturligtvis var ingen av de nu levande ännu född när hon dog, men man kan tycka att de borde veta någonting om henne. Vi besökte också gravarna efter Olga och Magnus Theodore samt efter Adolf och Christina. Dessa gravar finns på tre olika begravningsplatser i eller nära Chanute."

Mina anmärkningar: Fjärde Juli är den amerikanska nationaldagen. Violet är 90 år gammal. Spårningspapper vet jag inte vad det är, men jag gissar på karbonpapper. Adolf och Christina var föräldrar till Olga och Hulda som gifte sig med varsin broder Spong.

Michael Andersson.

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