Monday, August 11, 2008

A few reunion photos

It was great to get together in July for the family Reunion. I didn't take very many pictures...but here are a few...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Handene Ka, Sweden

I can't believe its already been over 2 years since I had the opportunity to visit Sweden, and to meet Svante Blomberg and his family, who are distant relatives and live in the same town as Axel. When grandma June and grandpa Jiggs went to Sweden, they stayed with Svante and his family. I met Svante early in the morning on a Saturday, and he toured me around the whole area showing me different family sites, a local museum, and then had me over for dinner. It was a very fun day despite the fact that Svante speaks almost no English. He was able to say names, and the rest was just hand signals with about 30 other English words. Most of the time he would start laughing because he knew I couldn't understand a word he was saying. He is a farmer, and still farms the land that Axle and his family owned when they were alive. It was a great experience to see where we came from, and how they live. Sweden in general has a great understanding of how the earth gives us everything, and it is very apparent in the way they treat their homes, business, and communities. Recycling is everywhere, everything is orderly and maintained, and in it's proper place. They show a different appreciation for what they have than what we are used to. His son Stefan spent a few hours with us at the museum, which was great because his English was good, and got me caught up from the mornings site seeing. I took a bunch of pictures, and will try to find the folder I've saved them to, but here are a couple I've got saved on my work PC. If you look on a map, or in Google Maps, Skara is the closest town to Handene Ka, where the majority of the property of the Lundgren's appeared to me to be in. I look forward to getting back to Sweden again some time soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lundgren Legacy directory

Thanks to all for a great reunion. And thanks to Marty for getting the Lundgrens into the digital age. We should be able to keep in touch with each other much better this way...especially those of us in the hinterlands!

Please check the directory...It really is a first draft. There are no doubt corrections/additions to be made. You can post them here or send an email to me

My home phone is 703-759-5739

I'll send the corrections out to everybody.

So nice to see all of you at the reunion..


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Agnes, by Marty

Agnes Matilda Lavin was born December 1, 1890, in Salt Lake City.  Her mother, Tilda Lovisa Borjesson Lavin and her father, Anders Peter Lavin lived on Regent Street, one of the busy streets in the city.  The little family lived in an apartment above a tailor shop.  When she was six weeks old, her parents moved to Quince Street, and later to Grape Street, in what was called the Marmalade District of Salt Lake City.  Agnes had two younger brothers born there, both of whom died as tiny children.  That left just Agnes and her older brother, George.

The next move took them to Social Hall Avenue, where Tilda organized a boarding house.  Anders Peter Lavin was a carpenter, furniture maker, and violin craftsman. When the LDS church called for skilled tradesmen for work on the SL Temple, Anders responded and helped do finishing work in the temple. 

Anders left his wife and family when Agnes was eight years of age.  Though they couldn't seem to live together as husband and wife, they remained friends for the rest of their lives.  When Agnes and her brother George were grown with their own families, it was routine for Grandma Tilda to attend family parties with her new husband Gus, and her ex-husband Anders.  They even arrived together as a three-some.  When Tilda lay dying at a party on Christmas Eve, Uncle Gus played host, while Anders tended to Tilda's needs and sat by her side, holding her hand.  

Agnes was involved in the social scene of the time.  She carried flags and wore sashes in a parade when the Brigham Young Monument at South Temple and Main Street was unveiled.  She remembered when soldiers marched off to the Spanish American War. When they returned they marched through a great arch built from the four corners of 2nd South and Main Street. Agnes was there.

Agnes loved theater, and was part of the wonderful "Nineties" which involved Social Hall Avenue, the great Salt Lake Theater, wooden sidewalks on Main Street, genteel ladies dressed in log sweeping gowns, with furry boas, and big plumed hats.  She loved hats and loved to tell her children of one which was known in that day as a white leghorn.  Very expensive, it had lilly-of-the-valley flowers all around it with little black velvet bows tied here and there.  She had a hat decorated with colored ostrich tips, and another of a fine blue and white felt, with a costly plaid ribbon which was wide and nearly a half yard long, fixed gracefully around the crown and floating down her back.

Agnes was able to travel by steamer across the ocean in 1910 to visit England and Sweden at the time her brother George was released from his mission.  She was a childhood actor and thrilled to tell the stories of playing in Ben Hur on the old SL Theater Stage.  She wrote pageants and Christmas programs for her own seven children, which were admittedly, stellar productions.

Axel, by Marty

Axel Herman Lundgren was born in Skeby, Skaraborgslan, Sweden on August 29, 1885. His family moved to Hendened when he was two years old where they lived on a farm.

Axel started school when he was eight, walking a mile each way, sometimes in very deep snow.  When he was fourteen he left school to work.  At age seventeen he said goodbye to his family and his homeland, and came to America. He landed in Boston June 13, 1903, and traveled to Rockford, Illinois where he lived with an uncle who owned a beer parlor.  Two years later he moved to Utah, having heard from friends that there were mining jobs in abundance.

In Salt Lake City, Axel first found work laying streetcar tracks.  He worked ten hour days for $1.75 per day.  Later he became a tool sharpener and machine miner in Ophir, Utah, where he worked on and off for about fourteen years.  One time as he was coming into Salt Lake with a little savings, he was robbed of every cent.  

There were mines in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Axel got a job at the Mammoth Mine in Alta.  He had to walk all the way up the canyon, and then work before he could get anything to eat.  Mining was a very dangerous career.  One of his friends was overcome with gas and fumes, and Axel dragged him out of the mine to safety.  He had other mining jobs in Arizona and was nearly killed by a large boulder and a cave-in. One time a dynamite blast knocked him down.  It was followed by ten more blasts, and Axel had to crawl in the dark to safety.

Axel's brother Gustav joined him in America a few years later.  They lived together in the Tilda Lavin Boarding House, on Social Hall Avenue in Salt Lake City. Axel fell in love with Tilda's daughter Agnes when she was only fourteen.  She taught him to read, write and speak English, and she also taught him the Gospel.  He waited for her  to grow up, hoping she'd fall in love with him, too.

In the meantime, Tilda was divorced, and attracted the attention of Gustav, who was much younger than she was.  They decided to get married, and Agnes was not excited to stay with the newlyweds.  She finally accepted Axel's proposal and they were married in 1913, within a few months of her mother. How interesting for a mother and daughter to marry brothers!  Gus was not only Axel's brother, but his father-in-law!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

grandma lundgren, by Jolyn

i don't remember gr-grandma tilda, but, i do remember grandma lundgren....most of my memories are of her after grandpa died...i think i was three when he died....i remember going to her little house on sundays...having cookies...she always had a treat jar....her house was sort of old and creaky....i remember staying overnight there was sort of scary...especially to go downstairs in the basement....i remember grandma touching her toes...she was limber even when she was old....she was so sweet to me...always had a big dad would tease her always...calling her 'sister lungreen'...must have driven her would always say that grandma taught our mom to clean really good...must have driven my mom crazy....grandma gave me madame alexander dolls for christmas...i loved them....she wasn't very tall...but, she must have been a strong woman to raise such a great family...they didn't have much but she always seemed happy....she has always been a great example to that i hope to live up to....i'm proud to come from such a wonderful woman...more later...jolyn

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Great Grandma Tilda, by Marty

Tilda Louise Borgeson about 1885

My great grandmother, Tilda Louise Borgeson Lavin Lundgren, was born in 1867, in Malmo, Sweden. She married Anders Lavin when she was just eighteen, and at nineteen had a baby boy they named Theodore. This is part of her story:

I was raised as a devout Lutheran. When my tiny boy Theodore died at just two years old I began to question God. At this time of sorrow I found a new faith that brought hope of eternal families. On February 4, 1886, the ice was cut in the river and my husband and I were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I knew I would be ridiculed by my family for what I had done, and I was right. All the members of my family turned against me. Only a few days after my baptism I met my mother on the street and she crossed to the other side so as not to speak to me. In time they became more friendly and eventually my mother, my sister and her family also joined the Church.

By then a new little boy, George, had filled the void in our hearts left by the loss of our baby. We decided to emigrate to Utah in America to join other Mormons who lived there. The ship was crowded, and the trip was long and difficult, with much sickness on board. I was very frightened, as I was only 22 years old.

When we arrived in Salt Lake City my husband was very ill. I became a dressmaker, and worked at a restaurant where I did cleaning. I went early in the morning and made sure I was through before anyone came, as I didn't want anyone to see me doing that kind of work, though it was honest labor.

If I had had any money I would have gone back to Sweden, where I could get better work. Those were trying days, and I almost lost my courage. Learning the language was a very hard task. The Lord helped me learn English and adjust to the customs.

In just three years we already had an adorable baby girl, Agnes, and another precious son, Joseph. When he was a year old he became very ill. It was the Lord's will that he should go, but it was terribly hard to lose him.

Not long after this great sorrow another beautiful blue-eyed baby was born to us. How proud we were of him. I loved to lie on the bed and look at him. He was such a healthy baby and when my friends came I was over-anxious to show him off!

One day while I was busy in my kitchen a never to be forgotten accident occurred.
I kept a wooden tub outside by the water pump. I left just a very small amount of water in the bottom of it to keep it from drying out and cracking. I had just checked on my baby and then went about my work. Within seconds I heard a terrible scream. My neighbor had come to get water and there she found my baby, Henry, face down in the very shallow water in the tub. He had died instantly, it seemed.

The sorrow was almost more than I could bear. Everyone did all they could for me, but I failed to be comforted. Baby Henry did not have a wet spot on him. His little life was just snuffed out so quickly. Oh, the shock was terrible. He was just a little over a year old. I felt the hope go out of me.

Our oldest son, George was then about seven years old. He came to me in my sorrow and tried to comfort me. I was so bereaved I scarcely knew what I said. I answered him, "Oh, you will probably die too, I guess." Instead of turning from me, he looked up at me and said, "No Mama, I'm not going to die. I will grow up and be a missionary, and make you proud. And you will be glad."

It seemed like there was magic when our eyes met. As he said this to me, something in my soul awakened. The faith my little son showed at this time acted as a tonic from heaven to me. My faith in God's love was mad stronger, and I was again able to walk through this Garden of Gethsemane. Little George's prophesy was fulfilled. He did grow up to make me proud, and I was glad.

My prayer from that day on was that I would prove to be worthy to meet my babies Theodore, Joseph, and Henry again. I always gave thanks to God that he allowed me to keep my children George and Agnes, who lived to raise seven children each. I had had much joy and gladness in my life."