Saturday, August 20, 2011
John CARLSON vs Eric HELSTEN
In July I was looking for some paperwork on Edward DAKIN. I was looking through a notebook with old documents from the family. I found something written in very light pencil. It seemed to be evidence taken in a court case of "John Carlson vs Eric Helsten, 8 September 1866 before Reynolds Justice".
I e-mailed Chris and asked her if this was her John Carlson.
Chris: "That's my John! Can you send me a copy?"
Next e-mail: "So excited I can't think straight!!!!
Yes- he came to Conn. in 1858 and was bonded to your Eric for 7 years!
This would be the first solid evidence other than a handwritten note from his 2nd wife - my great -grandmother - telling about his indenture - but not naming Eric specifically.
This is what I looked for for so many years - solid evidence of where he was between 1858 and his 1867 1st marriage."
I wanted to share the document with Chris as quickly as I could.
I tried scanning it. It was so light that the scanner didn't pick up the writing. I did take a couple of photographs (above) but those were hardly readable. The final solution was to photocopy it and enlarged it. I sent Chris a copy of the enlargement to see if she could decipher any better than I can.
I spent the weekend trying to transcribe the multiple pages with the interviews of various people. This was a court deposition!
I'm not quite sure why Eric Helsten had this copy of the court deposition.
John Carlson had arrived from NY unexpectedly when Eric had asked for an apprentice and John came along with the worker. Eric talked of his arrival without even a clean shirt to wear nor the ability to speak English. He fed, clothed him and tried to teach him English in addition to having him work.
By the end of the weekend I was convinced that John had been rather young, age 15, when he came to Eric and probably wanted to be treated more like a son than a worker. There was some testimony of what I think might be sledding when they were told not to do it with Eric & Mary's son William and getting injured. This sledding injury might be the basis for his injured foot and limp. Also, I'm not sure he stayed the full 7 years, if I read this document correctly.
My transcription of the document is 4 pages long and has lots of missing words and sentences.
Chris has the document now along with the photocopies. She is spending this weekend with her daughter to try to improve on my transcription of the document. I'm looking forward to reading it once they finish. I figure two sets of eyes are better than one, you have someone to help guess what a word might be.
Stay tuned for the update on the translation of the transcription of the document.
Also, this raises a whole new question: what happened with the court case?