Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label HELSTEN Eric. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HELSTEN Eric. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

John CARLSON vs Eric HELSTEN: John's testimony

As I mentioned in the earlier posts, John CARLSON came to Eric HELSTEN.  John's  Ggrand daughter had a picture of him in a suit.  Her family story was that John was apprenticed to Eric for 7 years and at the end got $100 and that suit.  Being a good family historian, "listen carefully to the stories and then check it out" led Chris to try to find evidence of John's apprenticeship with Eric.  She traveled to Gaylordsville CT, checked all the records she could find.  How did he end up in Gaylordsville all the way from Sweden?  Was he a distant relative?   Was he a family friend (Eric and John both came come Uppsala)?   She checked the records in Sweden.  No luck any where documenting him in Gaylordsville, in an apprenticeship or connected to Eric.  Then we connected and have been working both directions:  from my records and hers.

I found this deposition in a court case:  John Carlson vs Eric Helsten.  We have not found the court record, just this pencil copy of the deposition.  We don't even know what the case is about.

Here is John's testimony and that of Rufus Beeman:

John Carlson                                  Before Reynolds Justice
Eric A. Helsten                                    Sept. 8, 1866                                                                       
John Carlson
I came to this country in the fall of 1858.  I am a Swede.  I came here to work.  There was nothing said.  I want to be …….father for me.  No time mentioned  He said he would like have me stay till 21.  I did not make any bargain.  I was 14 going on 15 when I went there.  I worked 22 months.  I left there 27 Aug 1860, always worked in the tan yard.  When I was sick I did not work.  I had the scarlet fever.  I had Dr. St. John 2 or 3 times.  I had no other time.  I believed I worked all the time.  My foot got hit by falling over the stone wall.  I slipped.  It was in the winter.  I worked all the time.  It pained all the time.  It was a little time after that I told him I wanted a doctor.  I was sent over to see the doctor.  I worked all this time.  He said it let you so far.  It pained me ever since even or less.  He said if he had known he said he thought I run to because I did not want to work.  I could not work this Spring because I hurt my ankle.  He said he would see Dr. Benti.  He said he had not seen him.  I told him I did not wish to dy.  When I left he gave me 85 cents before that he had give 25 cents.  He furnished a pair of boots and one pair of shoes  2 new shirts, brand new mittens, wool hat.  There might have been some old clothes.  I told Helsten I did.  He said he did not know but he would give me something.  I was treated well up to this time.  Later at this time 8 or 10 dollars above the board as before.  I think for a couple of months.
Cross Examination
I think it must have been in the latter part of the winter.  I ……  I think I had the shoes on when I went to the doctor.  I believe the day I was hurt. … Helsten I … He said he would  go and see Dr. St. John when I was in the wood house.  It was the same as before.  It got out of joint when I got out of joint, but I did walk on it.  I went to see Dr. … … 2 times.  I think Helsten bought 2 bottles for me.  I might have more if … …   I told him it pained me the same as before.  We slip as before.  That is the always as before you even.  I was not as lame as when I left the same.  I did not tell Mr. Helsten why I wished to leave   I wore the tighter boots, as before the same you know that you owe but I did not owe him.  Helsten sew months before.  I think he asked me soon afterwards.  I told him I did not know what was the matter.  I came to Jonas H. McMahn soon after Election day.  As before… … …   he said if I would stay he would give me money to go to Sweden.  I may have had some clothing I don’t think of.
Direct Examination Record
He went over to see Dr. and I went that day or the next when we were in the wood house.
Rufus Berman (Beeman?)
 I should think John earns at work work faithful for 4-6 dollars per month.  I think the board
it was Mrs. Berman.  I can’t answer the question as to how much work was with his board.
… …  John came to my house in August 1860.  The boy came and wanted to stay all night.  He stayed with me for 4 years.  He was a good boy to work  12 or 15 dollars above his board.  I let him go to school.  Seemed to be very lame in the left leg and hip, as before this runs as you can go.  I called  Dr. Taylor.  He did not work for me in the tanning  He worked very well when he came thru  he could have worked.  I could have bound him from 15 and bound then boarded him.  It appeared he was a skilled workman.

There is more testimony to come in another post.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Eric HELSTEN and Mary HEARTY HELSTEN

Eric A
1822 - 1903
Mary Hearty
his wife
1823 - 1902

I have been writing about Eric HELSTEN and his apprentice John CARLSON along with sharing his letter from his mother  yesterday.  I found Chris in her search for Eric and John when she posted this picture of Eric & Mary's tombstone in Gaylordsville Connecticut.

All of his family letters have the theme: "I want to see you."

He arrived as an immigrant in the United States on 16 December 1845 from Gavle, Sweden on the Neptunis.  There was discussion in some letters of his upcoming trip in 1858.  I've not found any evidence yet of his having made that trip.  I have evidence of his visiting his family in July 1877 (sailing from Göteborg to NYC on 27 July 1877 and a family portrait taken with all 13 siblings together) and again in 1886 when he was honored at a ceremony as a past winner of a special swimming award.
On 26 August 1835, Eric won a laurel wreath in swimming at age 13.  There was a booklet published about the swimming society UPSALA Simmsällskaps Matrikel.  (1796-1859) that lists the various winners and describes the background of the organization. On 22 August 1886, there was some kind of special anniversary celebration of this race, Eric is listed on the program as Factory segaren E A Hellsten and I have the certificate he was given at the ceremony.

I do not have a lot of information on his wife Mary HEARTY.  I do have a letter from her father which I will post some day.  I don't know when she arrived.  She was born in Dorsey, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland.  She married Eric on 12 August 1849 in Patterson NY.

How she got to the US, I don't know.  I've not found her in any published records for the US passenger arrival lists in the 1840's.  Maybe she came through Canada and down the Hudson.  I understand a number of companies recruited people in Ireland to settle in Canada to fill the boats going  to Canada (the boats came back filled with lumber).  If there are any immigration records coming into Canada or boat records, I've not found them.  I'll take suggestions on other theories as to how she might have arrived here.

I also have no idea how she supported herself once she arrived before she married Eric.  I have no idea if she came with anyone she knew or set out on her own.  I've never found an official document about her other than her death certificate.  The only reason I know where and when she as born is because it was hand-written on the back of her marriage certificate given them by the pastor, Abram Davis.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Amanensis Monday: Translation of letter from Eric HELSTEN's mother, L.C. HELLSTEN, 16 May 1858 to Eric

In 1858, Eric Adolf HELSTEN was living in Gaylordsville, Connecticut.  He is married with four children.  His mother, Lovisa Charlotta ROBBERT HELSTEN was back in Uppsala Sweden.

When Lovisa Charlotta was widowed in 1839, her youngest child was 6 months old; her oldest child, was 24.  She never remarried.

Eric left home in 1854 at the age of 22.  Eric was one of 13 children, his mother is reporting on the family for him.  Letters were few and far between.  She does sound like a contemporary mother, wanting to hear from her son!

When Eric left home, his youngest brother, Oskar Eugén was 7 and his 2nd youngest brother, Knut Alfred was 9.

The original letter was basically one sentence long.  I've added punctuation and paragraphing to make the reading easier.

This was translated from the Swedish by B.B.


Uppsala 16 May [probably 1858]

My dear Eric
Now I sit down to write to you for the second time in hope of receiving an answer to both of my  letters  the last letter I received form you was 16 June 1857 then I wrote a letter to that about 6 months later but I’ve never received an answer to it.  Wherefore I now ask you to receive one as soon as you get this letter I live in a big worry over you and long 3 years.  I have understood from  your letters that you have not forgotten us so I don’t know what I should believe.  I am getting old and infirm and I don’t know how long my time will be I long very much to see you and talk to you so if you should be able to come here it would be very wonderful because I think it would be just as wonderful for you to see us all now when you left us your four youngest brothers were still children and they are now old and grownup men and are now able to earn their own money.

I should probably tell you a little about your siblings.  I don’t have a whole lot else to write about since I wrote my first letter to you at might have happened you never received an answer to it.  Your sister Lovis [Lovisa Charlota] is still in Ulltuna.  Mari [Ingrid Maria] lives in Uppsala and supports herself by sewing for other people.  Lina [Gustava Carolina] is now in Nayby.  Wennström is well they have eight children.  Mini went and lived last year, Jeny goes this year.  Tilda [Matilda Bernhardina] is in Stockholm.  Kalle [Carl Robert] is in Örebro and is well.  Otteljana is with the maternal aunt, now Otteljana is in Ulltuna because Lovis is sick.  Edla is in Vingäker with a squire Lindal.  Manne [Theodor Emanual] is his on own here in Uppsala as I have written about before and he is engaged to Mamsell Sofie Carling from Stockholm.  She is now at  ....  They have been engaged for two years.  Frans is also on his own as I wrote about in my last letter.  Knut thought of writing to you but he wants you to answer his last letter before he writes to  you.  Oskar is in Stockholm is on his own there with a watchmaker.  Oskar lives on Österlångatan #10.  If you should come to see us this summer you will probably come to Stockholm first so go then to Oskar.  Write to us about which day you come to Uppsala so that we can meet you at the steamer.

I could have much more to write about but I hope to be able to talk to you personally this summer, you promised me in your last letter that you would come last summer but we had to wait in vain.  Don’t let us wait in vain this summer.  Now write soon and let us know about the great  happiness that  you will come to  us t his summer.  I suppose that Marie and the children also will come and it would be a great happiness to us to see all of yours.

I sent you greetings from Lars K[?].  He has just come back home.  He has ben away at Finspångs estate as a tutor for a little over a year now.  He is home to rest t hen he will go back there again.  He is very tall and looks a lot like his father but more happy and outgoing.  My sister is having a very hard time because her son is not closer to home and Oteljana is so often away.  My sister is now getting old and not as  healthy as she used to be and as I am.  

There have been two big fires here in Uppsala this  year.  God be praised we  have not been unlucky and have not any problems from them.  Uppsala has changed a lot since you were here so that if you come now, you would not recognize yourself.  There are man new houses and many new people here in Svartbecken.  

There are not many only ones left, just me and a few others.  I live with Frans.  He lives outside Salins farm in Svartbecken on former merchant Nyman’s farm.  Knut also lives with Frans.  He rents one room from  him.  In the last letter I received from Kalle, he asked me to ask you that if you come to Uppsala if you would finally come to visit him.  He would like me to come now and I would very much like to do that because I have never been with son Kalle.  He built a place in the country 10 Km from Örebro and is now supposed to do very well.  He has a store there and he [?] was in town anyway.  
I wrote to  you once and told you Kalle Berggren is in New York.  Maybe you have met him.  It would be fun for you there.  He is an acquaintance of Hjorten who is also in New York.  Merchant Werdin, you will remember they were wealthy at one time but they are very poor now.  They have had an auction of everything they own, even the farm.  It can become very hard for them because they’re both old.  One son is in town and the other one is a tanner apprentice.  

In the last letter, I received from you there was a gold coin that I will thank you for, even as I did in my last letter to you but I suppose you never received it.  I will thank you so much for that I have everything that I have received fro you and I wish to keep it as long a I live.  I wish and hope you promised  me once to send me a picture of you and  your family it out be so nice for me to have that when you come to us.  An I now wish with all my heart to receive an answer to this letter as soon as possible and find out what you’re thinking about and if yo think of your old mother.  I think of you daily and no day goes by without me talking about  you and wondering what you are doing since you never write to us.  Sometimes I  think that you are not here anymore but in the other world.  Then of course I can’t hear anything more of you but if it should be t hat sad there should be somebody that could notify me of the sad event however hard it would be.  But I would have to be satisfied with that we shall all pass that way.  We are not here forever.
We have been ill quite a few of us among the relatives.  Frans has been badly ill in his lungs but is now well.  I don’t want to talk about me because one day I can be well enough but the other day I’m in bad shape.   But that’s my age.  My strength is gone.  My sight is poor.  My hearing is also worse.  

I want to say a little about Kalle since they were in Uppsala five years ago with Johanna.  I liked Johanna very much.  She is a clever and industrious person.  Kalle is very careful with money.  They have three children, one girl and two boys --one boy dead.  Their place is called Stenbro [stonebridge].  They don’t live very far from Hellsten’s birth place, but there are now no more living relatives of his.  
Now I will send 1000 greetings from us all relatives and acquaintances and wish that this letter will find  you in good health.  I wish that with all my heart.
I live a benignant mother,
L.C. Hellsten

Saturday, August 20, 2011


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?

John CARLSON, his suit of clothes, and our hunt for information, part 2

Chris was disappointed that the letter that had offered her hope of finding SOMETHING about her great grandfather didn't turn out to be written by the correct person.    She had already traveled to Gaylordsville last year and had tracked down all the local records she could find for Eric HELSTEN (land records, vital records, historical society, etc).  What could we try next?

Chris made a generous suggestion.  What about translating the 6 letters from Sweden written to Eric during the years just before  John CARLSON came through the time he was in Gaylordsville?  Maybe someone would mention John and say something about his apprenticeship and Swedish family.  That would be from 1858 through 1863.

These letters are not the easiest things to read, even if my language was Swedish.  Eric was from a large family, he was one of 13 children.  As many family members who happened to be around in one part of Sweden at a time would take one piece of paper, fold in half, and each write to Eric.  So, the  letter pictured here was written in December 1863.

I scanned the 6 letters, she printed and mailed them to Sweden and over the next three months they were translated.

We learned a lot about how tough life was for those in Sweden.  We learned the everyday nitty gritty of life and trying to get by.  I learned more about each of the siblings. BUT we DIDN'T learn anything about John Carlson and his family!

Friday, August 19, 2011

John CARLSON, his suit of clothes, and our hunt for information, part 1

John Carlson in his suit
As I mentioned in my last post, John CARLSON was to get $100 and a suit of clothes when he finished his apprenticeship.  The family story with this picture is that it is the suit that he received.
John went to Chicago about 1866 or 7, so he must have come to the United States in the late 1850's.

My GGgrandfather Eric HELSTEN had saved all his letters from his family after he arrived in 1845 until he died in 1903.  When my grandmother died in 1974, I found all the letters tied together in a desk drawer.  She never told me about the letters (and what I've learned from them is another story) and I don't read Swedish, so I took the letters home and saved them.  A few years later I worked with a wonderful woman from Sweden, who translated a bunch of the letters.

I spent a weekend reading all of the translations that I had to see if any mentioned John Carlsson.   No luck.  Then I decided to look over the other letters to see if I could recognize the name John Carlsson in the body of any of the letters.  Chris suggested that I not only look for  John, but also look for Johan, Carl, Karl, or Charles.  Those were other names that he went by.

Then I found a letter dated 12 February 1856 from Jonas Augustus Carlsson written in Swedish from Brookfield, Connecticut.  Chris was ecstatic.  Carl Johan Augustus Carlsson was her great grandfather's name in Sweden!  This would put him in the the US two years earlier than she thought he came, but maybe he did come then.

Chris wished she might have some had writing to compare it to, but all she has is a signature from 40 years later.

I scanned the letter and e-mailed it to Chris [isn't modern technology great?] and she sent it to relatives in Sweden to be translated.

A couple days later Chris sent me the translation with a note.  His wasn't her great grandfather!  This Jonas Augustus Carlsson talks of missing his parents and siblings in Sweden, but does comment that life is tougher there so even though it isn't great here, it is better than there.

Eric HELSTEN, Mary HEARTY and his apprentice John CARLSON

Last February, I was checking to see if anything new could be found on my GGgrandparents Eric HELSTEN or his wife Mary HEARTY.  Eric came from Uppsala, Sweden in 1845.  Mary came from Dorsey, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland around the same time.  They were married in Patterson, NY 12 August 1849 and moved over the New York/Connecticut line to Gaylordsville, CT.  In 1842, Eric was apprenticed as a tanner in Sweden and so it was not surprising to discover that when he settled in Gaylordsville that he started a tannery in 1853.

I discovered someone else was searching for Eric and Mary.  I was pleased.  I am descended from their daughter Caroline Matilda HELSTEN who married Charles H EVANS. I don't know what happended to two of their four children, Mary Louisa HELSTEN and William HELSTEN.    Maybe one of their descendants was searching.

So I sent a message asking how she was related to Eric and Mary.

However, it was someone NOT descended from Eric and Mary.  It was Chris Finland who was searching her ancestor John CARLSON [Carl Johan Augustus CARLSSON].  John was an orphan who came from Sweden after his grandparents, who had been raising him, died.  John was apprenticed to Eric HELSTEN. Chis has a paper saying that John got a new suit of clothes and $100 for his 7 years of apprenticeship as a tanner and shoemaker.  Chris didn't know anything about John's early years but figured that maybe Eric was a distant relative or family friend who had taken him in -- how else might he have gotten here from Sweden?

John's mother was from just south of Uppsala and Eric came from Uppsala. Chris has been searching for years.  She has found relatives in Sweden, traveled there, and had been working on a family tree for Eric HELSTEN in hopes of finding a connection, anywhere.  No success.

This has led to our working together to see if we can find anything about  John CARLSON and to figure out his relationship to Eric HELSTEN.