Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

1928 advertising for car repair.

Here is an ad for maintaining your car sent out in 1928.  Enjoy.

Joe Martos shared this with  his e-mail friends.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Eric HELLSTEN, Lovisa C ROBERT

Since I had chosen the HELSTEN/HELLSTEN name for Surname Saturday, I thought it would be appropriate to include the only tombstone picture I have from Sweden.

This is the 1984 photo I took in my trip to Sweden.  It is in Uppsala and it is for Eric HELLSTEN (1786 - 1839) and his wife Lovisa Charlotta ROBBERT/ROBERT (1795 - 1863).  Most often I see Lovisa's last name spelled with 2 b's, here it is just one.  There are 13 gold stars on the top front edge of the stone, these stand for their 13 children.

These are the parents of Eric Adolf HELSTEN who came to the US and was the person who employed John CARLSON who I've written about in recent posts.    When I traveled to Uppsala, I stayed with Alice HELLSTEN, the granddaughter of Theodor (Manne) Emanual HELLSTEN.  She died in 1990.

If any other descendants of Eric and Lovisa read this, I would love to hear from you.  I do not have contact with any other HELLSTEN descendants.  I would love to share family information.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Surname Saturday: HELSTEN a.k.a. HELLSTEN: Stockholm > Uppsala > NY > CT

Olof Household Listing 1767, Canton, Lovö, Stockholm, Sweden.
All week I've been writing about John CARLSON and Eric HELSTEN.  So, I decided for my first post for Surname Saturday, I should choose HELSTEN a.k.a HELLSTEN.

born 1730 in Vrena, Södermanland, Sweden.  He married Catarina WINQVIST (VINQVIST)
She was born in 1732 or 1737 in Stockholm, Sweden.  She died 31 May 1777 in China, Lövo, Stockholm, Sweden.
Olof was a master tailor.

I have not found birth records for him or marriage records for them.  Whether he was the first HELLSTEN, or not, I do not know.

According to Your Swedish Roots, Per Clememsson & Kjell Andersson, 2004, for many years Swedes used a patronymic naming system.
Example:  Olor Andersson’s son Erik would be Erik Olofsson and his daughter would be Britta Olofsdotter.
Some families chose names.  “Many townspeople and others who didn’t want to be perceived as “common folks” or wanted to distance themselves from the peasants adopted special family names. 
 The name was an important social marker. ... Many of these names are composed of features of nature, and they types of family names are sometimes called called “nature names.”  The names are just combinations of nature features; the combinations don’t necessarily make sense, as with Dalberg, which is composed of “dal” (valley) and “berg” (mountain).”

Hellsten is made up of hell meaning “flat rock” and sten meaning “stone.”
Maybe it doesn’t make sense, maybe it described the landscape where they lived at the time.  I remember riding thru the Sweden countryside, parts were rolling hills with lots of stones.

a. Johan Peter (13 February 1765 - ?)
b. Jonas (21 September 1767- abt 1820)

2. Jonas HELLSTEN,
born 21 September 1767 in Lövo, Stockholm, Sweden he died about 1820.  I have found no information on his wife.

Jonas was a tanner and represented the Tanners Guild as an alderman in Uppsala, Sweden.

In June 1983, Alice Hellsten read the book Uppsala City  History 1786-1862 and sent me the following information about Jonas:
“In March 1793 the 200 year celebration of Uppsala's church meeting  was celebrated as an unusually democratic addition to the procession from  the castle to the cathedral at the side of the magistrate was the  chairman of the Elders, the tanner Jonas Hellsten and store owner Anders  Yttraeus. ... In the spring of 1794 the falisfication of protocol was debated and  the tanner Jonas Hellsten insisted that Yttraeus had falsified it and  should be brought to court and now the interesting thing happened that no  less than 13 of the Bergers who had participated in the meeting of the  Elders immediately agreed with Hellsten. ... In the year 1808 he is mentioned as a newly elected treasurer. ... Around 1790 a number of upperclass citizens brought a complaint that  the water in Fyrisan River was so badly polluted that it was unusable for  all household use.  One person about who it was complained was Jonas  Hellsten and his tannery and it was requested that the tannery should be  moved but Hellsten protested.  And as he belonged to the leaders of the  Elders, it was with a certain degree of relief of the Elders that they  decided they did not have the power to prescribe such a measure that so  strongly interferred with a single member's professional work. .... In 1810 (after the war against Russia) it was discussed about the  payment and release of the soldiers.  They wanted to entice young farm  hands with high salaries to dress in the uniform of the state.  They  wanted to have special agreements with the people who signed up.  It was  felt that this was a difficult job and it was entrusted to a number of  experienced elders and among them was found yet again alderman Hellsten. ... In May 1816 a general council was held and now the cities were  supposed to regulate the salaries for the city workers.  Dyntation should  study this question and among them was found now the old Elder alderman  Hellsten.”

a. Eric (2 March 1786 - 24 March 1839)

born 2 March 1786 in Sweden, died 24 March 1839 in Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden.  On 6 January 1815 in Norrtälje, Stockholm, Sweden he married Lovisa Charlotta ROBBERT.  She was born 21 August 1795 in Norrtälja, Stockholm, Sweden and died 25 November 1863 in Uppsala, Sweden.

Death of Eric HELLSTEN, 24 March 1839
in Uppsala, Domkyrkofösamling, Sweden.
Like is father, Eric was a tanner.  He had a tannery on the Fyrisån River, maybe the same one his father had before him.  When he died, his youngest child was 4 months old!

a. Lovisa Charlott (15 October 1815 - 7 November 1890)
b. Ingrid (Mari) Maria (11 February 1817 - 23 Jun 1880)
c. Gustava (Lina) Carolina (4 November 1818 -  21 February 1880)
d. Erica Wilhelmina (2 February 1820 - 27 April 1884)
e. Eric Adolf (27 February 1822 - 4 January 1903)
f. Matilda (Tilda) Bernhardina (22 April 1824 - 23 December 1889)
g. Carl Robert (14 June 1826 - 13 December 1909)
h. Ottiljana Josephina (20 March 1828 - 20 May 1910)
i. Edla Cecilia (25 July 1830 - 13 March 1910)
j. Theodor (Manne) Emanual (1 November 1832 - 9 June 1910)
k. Frans Elof (17 October 1833 - 27 December 1880)
l. Knut Alfred ( 27 January 1836 - 21 November 1891)
m. Oskar Eugén (5 November 1838 - 1 July 1900)

4. Eric Adolf HELSTEN,
born 27 February 1822, Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden, died in Gaylordsville, Litchfield,  Connecticut on 4 January 1903.  On 12 August 1849 in Patterson, New York he married Mary HEARTY.  She was born in March 1823 in Dorsey, Parish Creggan, County Armagh, Ireland and died 17 September 1902 in Gaylordsville, Litchfield, Connecticut.

Birth of Eric Adolf HELSTEN in
Uppsala, Domkyrkoförsamling, Sweden.
a. Mary Louisa (7 June 1850 - 23 May 1942)
b. William Henry (7 September 1852 - 22 June 1917)
c. Caroline Matilda (13 February 1855 - 9 December 1918)
d. Sarah Jane (20 July 1860 - ?)

Eric Adolf was was the Eric HELSTEN who immigrated to the United States, changed the spelling of his last name slightly.  He was trained as a tanner in Uppsala and opened a tannery in Gaylordsville.  He is the person who took in John CARLSON and was later sued by John.

5. Caroline Matilda HELSTEN,
born 13 February 1855 in New Milford, Connecticut and died in Danbury, Connecticut on 9 December 1918.  She married  Charles Harold EVANS on 26 May 1881 in New Milford, Connecticut.  He was born 23 May 1853 in Sherman, Connecticut and died 18 February 1928 on the train from Florida to NYC (near Savannah, Georgia).

a. Harold H (8 January 1883 - 8 May 1884)
b. Clarice Theodora (21 April 1884 - 7 July 1953)
c. Marion Elizabeth (11 February 1886 - 4 July 1974)
d. Howard Eric (7 July  1893 - January 1972)

6. Marion Elizabeth EVANS,
born 11 February 1886 in Sherman, Connecticut and died 4 July 1974 in New Milford, Connecticut.
On 13 September 1913 in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, she married Robert Edward DAKIN.  He was born 2 July 1888 in Gaylordsville, Connecticut and died 15 December 1918 in Danbury, Connecticut.

a. Robert Edward (25 May 1915 - 26 Ma 1915)
b. Theodore Robert (11 November 1916 - 1972)
c. Edward Evans (28 January 1918 - 10 December 1918)

7. Theodore Robert DAKIN,
born 11 November 1916 in New Haven, Connecticut and died 20 November 1972 in Berwyn, Illinois.  On 8 January 1943 he married Alice Josephine RICHARDSON in Albany New York.  She was born 26 January 1917 in Oak Park, Cook, Illinois and died 16 January 2001 in in Oak Park, Cook, Illinois.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thoughts on the contents of the testimony in John CARLSON vs Eric HELSTEN

Back on 26 July, I posted on my G+ page that I was trying to transcribe the document that I have posted here in my last few blog posts.
On the 27th, I commented on the first part, based on Eric's testimony:

 Finished transcribing the document. There were whole chunks of it that I couldn’t make out. It sounds like John was an orphan from Sweden that Eric took in when he was 14 going on 15 in 1858. He was given clothes, shoes, boots and room and board in trade for work. I think he might have left after 2 years and gone to live with a different family. It sounds like Eric didn’t think he was always truthful. At some point he was injured and I suspect this suit was about the injury and his lameness. Did it happen in a sledding accident with William (Eric’s son) or did it happen at work? Fascinating. Now I wonder how the court suit was settled.

Once I sent Chris the document and she spent time trying to transcribe the testimony (her transcription was very close to mine), she had her own comments:  

    The intrigue of this "deposition" escalates as I finish - for now - the attempt at translating the 145 year-old handwritten in pencil faded pages into a coherent narrative.  Three of us have now tried our best to decipher the barely visible words on brittle paper.  There are still omissions and probably many errors, but the intent of the writer is becoming more understandable with each attempt at transcribing.
    My guess is that the sentences and words are choppy because of multiple factors.  English was a second language for both Eric Helsten and John Carlson.  Mrs. Helsten was Irish.  I believe Dr. St. John was quite old at this time, and William, son of Eric, was quite young when the accident in question happened.  In addition, it appears that much of the recorded dialogue is answers to questions - and the questions themselves are not written down.  There are many responses of "same as before" as if they are answering a question that had been previously asked in another session and they all respond "same as before".
    A final observation is that possibly there were two injuries or accidents or that John originally came to Eric lame to some extent.  I just get the feeling as I read and re-read that there is so much more missing than what we have here.
    If I had to say what I think happened I would probably say it went something like this.  John was a small orphaned boy who went to work for Eric.  He had nothing when he came to their door and they gave him clothing and shelter in exchange for John working in Eric's tannery on the river.  John had problems - he was not always truthful and he ran away on more than one occasion, but always went back.  When sledding on the hill, probably near Eric's dam on the river, John slipped and went over the dam hurting his ankle or foot.  Eric, also a shoemaker, had a special boot made for John with a brace of some sort which John did not want to wear.  There were arguments over John's visits to the doctor and his behavior about the injury.  Maybe he could work - maybe he could not.  At some point John goes to Rufus Beeman's house, a Gaylordsville neighbor, and lives there 4 years.  It is unclear whether or not John continued to work for Eric in the tannery, however my family records would indicate he did fulfill the 7 year apprenticeship with Eric Helsten.
    Why John is suing Eric is a major puzzle.  It would seem it would have been Eric suing John!  The search for answers continues!!

I would add a further comment.  I think Eric had sent to NY for an apprentice as he had done before; and I think he was expecting someone to arrive, but instead, or in addition, John arrived.  From the description of his arrived, it sounds like John was more of a child than someone ready to learn a trade.  He needed clean clothes immediately upon arrival, he wet his bed, he was reluctant to learn English, he wanted to play with Eric's son William.  Eric and Mary took him in, tried to provide for him, teach him the language and give him work.  

Who knows whether it was a successful apprenticeship.  We do know that they took in an orphan who probably had nowhere else to go and did give him work and a home.  If Eric was solely making the decision about taking in this person who arrived at his door as a business manner, looking at just who would be a good apprentice, John probably would not have gotten the job.

We do know John did become an adult, with a limp, who made his way in the world in Indiana after leaving Connecticut.   I don't think he worked as a tanner there.

John CARLSON vs Eric HELSTEN: Eric's testimony along with Mrs Helsten, son William and Dr St John

The box where Eric HELSTEN stored his important papers (including this document).
The "footprint" of the box is 11" by 5".

If you have been following the story of the deposition in this case, you know that we have a pencil copy of the depositions but don't actually know what the suit was or how it was resolved. The writing is VERY light, the handwriting inconsistent (sometimes abbreviated or close to scribble) and the paper fragile and so it is very hard to read.  This might have been a "scratch copy" and then recopied in ink for the court.  What you have below is the rest of the testimony after three of us have tried to transcribe the document (this is the best we can decipher!).  Why Eric HELSTEN even had this copy is another puzzle.

Reading this does not answer the question as to what the suit was about or how it was resolved.  It DOES give some real personalities to Eric and Mary HELSTEN and to John CARLSON.

Evidence taken Sept. 8th
Before Reynolds Justice
Deposition from John Carlson
                          Eric A. Helsten
     It was 1858, he came at my house.  He was a small boy came along and inquired for me.  He had been sent up by someone from New York.  He wanted to stay with me, my wife.  He came….of everything.  I did not make any bargain with him.  I made a bargain with him to give him his board and clothes.  I would finish him with way to go back to Sweden.  His father and mother were dead.  It appeared to me that he had been sent here to avoid when he came said was 15.  He called himself a year older than he was.  I clothed him right off – gave him clothes.  The first night we had a clean shirt put on him.  We had a good deal of trouble with him for the first year  he wet the bed.  He was a small poor boy.  I …. ….  Pictures have this clothes.  He runs.  He did not understand the English language.  I taught him many things and spelling and reading  I always avoided speaking Swedish  to him on this  I took special pains to try to learn him the language.  I thought I could give him better instruction myself as before.  He was well to understand English.  He start tell about the time he stolen himself.  One fault I had against him he sometimes would tell some wrong stories, always tell the truth anytime.  I did not consider no labor than over than his board and clothes.  I kept him at work as before as he could work as you can go.  I favored him because he was lame.  The first I ever heard of his leg hurt was my boy says John liked to get killed the other day  I got a story from both round and on Sunday he was hurt when he came to the top.  William went down the hill to hunt him  John said he was not hurt.  I spoke up said it is a great wonder you did not get killed did not you.  He use ax.  He said he had to let it go.  I got the story from both of them.  After that I forbid both of the boys to slide down hill.  Many evenings I find John sliding down hill.  I took the sled away from him and sent him into the house.  I think it was 6 weeks after that I heard him complain of his foot.  I did not believe at the time he got his foot out of joint and kept it concealed so long.  I asked him if he was hurt and he always denied it.  I went with him over to Dr. St. Johns office.  I went to Dr. St. John’s Office and he never owned up to Dr. that it was hurt,  to my knowledge, how it happened, Dr. was going to examine his foot.  John would not let him touch it.  Pulled it back.  He did not seem to know what it was.  His foot was swollen pretty bad.  John used up that linament and I told him to go and get more.  He went and got more and after that the doctor saw the foot inflamed and the swelling was down.  He said that foot is out of joint.  Run and get a supporter an Spig (some type of screw)  he wear our shirts   This spig was made and put on the boot and fixed for him.  John wore it and after awhile he broke it and I had another one made.  Dr. St. John said he must wear it.  I had another spig put on a new boot for him.  He did not like to wear it  But summer came on and he would rather go barefooted.  He went off but came back again.  I did not know what to think of it.  He always denied being hurt again.  I had seen before that his foot was hurt.  That has always been big influence.  I estimated it at about six weeks when he went off the wall  at this time   If I have know that his ankle was out of join I should have him in doctor right off.
Cross- examination
     He went to work as usual during this time.  I asked him many times if he was hurt.  He did what he could.  He went away the latter part of summer.
He grew very fast when he came.
William Helsten
     Son of Mr. Helsten
     When he went out out over of all of it.  That week on Saturday I think it was sometime after that he began.  I did not notice it that week nor the next.  I guess he did not (tan –maybe)  I don’t remember whether I did or not
Cross examination
     I am 14  I think it was 7 or eight.  I have heard father speak of it.  I think it was in the ….  One foot on each side  I did not see him go lame.  I could not tell whether he was the same as before.
Mrs. Mary Helsten
     He was a poor school boy and I take him  he was a little boy came in.  I want you to go home  ..shall freeze to death.  Said I we we will put up same as before.  I clothed him  I …. The same before run as you do us the same  Then says I intended to do well by him  I could not understand a word as before  Well says I wonder that he was not killed.  I did not notice that he was lame for sometime as before.  John would not let him touch it  we thought it was a swelling, as before then, as before you came
Dr. St. John
     I think its first time.  He came with an ankle badly swelled.  He was very hesitantly to how as this was.  He did not.  I inquired to know the cause of the trouble.  After I think Mr. Helsten told me what William said about him going over the wall.  Have the same as before.  He did not admit that very absolutely  I continue the same as before.  I think it could have been straightened with the support.  Boys sometimes as before you can make the worked as before.  I considered the injury.  I don’t know as this was anything said about this.
He might have the ….
Cross examination
     Ex. A. (Eric A. Helsten)?
     I thought it might be much nothing, but I don’t think be.  I don’t know when he might have done work.  He says he could not do a full days work.  He might have done some work.
Mr. Helsten
     He did not work while he was sick.  I kept him comfortable.
     I think is about 2 years ago he said his hip was out of joint.  He said Dr. ought to have seen it.  He said I always say no   I knew I didn’t   know as you will give me any the….
Know as the same as before

My next post will be Chris's summary of what she has learned from reading this document -- the first thing that has given her any information on her great grandfather John CARLSON when he came to the US.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Unexpected Discovery with the reading of John CARLSON's testimony!

Yesterday, I posted John CARLSON's deposition in the case of John Carlson vs Eric Helsten.  He mentioned that he ran away to Rufus BEEMAN or BERMAN (hard to read).  I checked and there was a Rufus BERMAN in New Milford CT in the 1840 census, but not after and there was a farm laborer Rufus BEEMAN in New Milford CT in the 1860 and 1870 census.  Unfortunately, John CARLSON was in the area between census taking so I couldn't confirm for sure, but I suspected that he went to Rufus BEEMAN.

Then I got some excited e-mails from Chris.  I'll let her finish today's post:

     As so often happens in my genealogy research, I go searching for one thing and find another.  It’s happened again!! My Swedish Great-grandfather, Carl Johan Augustinius Carlsson, aka John C. Carlson, somehow found his way as a 14 year-old boy to Gaylordsville, CT from Ödeshög, Sweden in the late fall of 1858. He knocks on the door of the tanner Eric Helsten, himself a Swede.  According to my family records John is then bonded to Eric for 7 years and learns tanning and shoemaking.

    After an unsuccessful attempt to find a family connection between young John and Eric, I posted the “tree” I had created on Eric’s family on and I was soon contacted by Eric’s great-great-granddaughter, Erica. This ultimately led to the most fascinating discovery to date as far as my genealogy.  Erica discovered deposition testimony of John and Eric over some as yet undetermined dispute between them.  The insight into my John’s 7 years in Connecticut is priceless!

    Now to the most unusual discovery of all.  At some point during the dispute between John and Eric, John runs away and ends up at the door of Rufus Beeman near Gaylordsville.  According to Beeman’s testimony in the deposition, John then stays with him for 4 years.

     In trying to determine what Rufus’s occupation was, I decided to research his family tree a little.  I ended up on Roots Web and printed out his ahnentafel.  I immediately began recognizing names!!  Turns out Rufus is my 4th cousin 4X removed!!  Good grief!!  Rufus and I are both descended from Nathaniel Parke and Sarah Geer.  This is through my dad’s mother’s side – the Quaker connection in my tree.  I amazingly report my unbelievable discovery to Erica – who then relates that she, too, is descended from the very same line of Parke’s!!  We are distant cousins!!!

     I just love genealogy!!!!
Christine Cross Finland
August 25, 2011

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: John CARSON

John Carlson
1842 - 1908
Anna wife of
John C Carlson
died Mar. 17, 1891
85 yrs. 10 mos. 21 ds.

After I posted the Tombstone Tuesday today for Eric Helsten and Mary Hearty, Chris sent me three pictures, this tombstone, his house (with family) and funeral card.

I've posted Chris's comments for  your reading pleasure.

The picture was taken in front of the Carlson family homestead in Clinton Township, Elkhart Indiana about 1900.  That's my great-grandmother, Lizzie - John's 2nd wife - and my grandmother, Anna - his only child - at about 3 years old.  Sitting down is John, of course (lame leg) with step-son Ora Weister and step-daughter Zulia Weister standing.  

I go to this farm frequently today to visit the Amish family who now owns it.  My grandma's bedroom is the same as it was 110 years!  I have the little oil lamp she carried up the stairs every night on her way to bed.

The John Carlson tombstone is also in Clinton Township just down the road from the farmhouse.  It is Eldridge Cemetery.  There are about 400 graves in the old cemetery and I'm probably related to most of the residents!!  I just love old cemeteries.  One day a year ago my friend and I photographed every grave!!

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.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

wonderful site to check out

There is a wonderful site at U Conn for historic maps, mostly in Connecticut were I spent time investigating today, thanks to my new-found DAKIN researcher, Melanie Marks.

That's where I found the map of  Kent (I showed a piece of it in the posting on South Kent 1874 map below).  They have labeled it 1867 (as in the Beer's book), however, some folks are saying that the Kent map was from 1874,  and since Edward DAKIN probably wasn't in Kent in 1867 and didn't buy the store until 1872, I think the 1874 date is probably more accurate.  Also, it is similar to the map for Waterbury, labeled 1874.  Maybe the maps were both part of the same series.

Check it out.

South Kent in 1874

Here is a piece of an 1874 map showing the store and post office next to the depot for the Housatonic Rail Road.  The post office and general store were in a house.  SO, was Miss Fanton renting a room from Edward DAKIN?  Edward DAKIN bought the house where the store was located, we think in 1872.

It looks like the label for the building is
"Miss E. Fanton & E. Dakin
Store & P.O."
I don't think it is two buildings (one with Miss E Fanton & E Dakin and the other with the store) since there seems to be a line from the names to across the road to one dot (next to the one labeled "Depot" and there are not two dots on the east side of the road.

So, who is Miss E FANTON?
There were other FANTONs in So. Kent, as well a just over the town line in Gaylordsville.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Fortuitous E-mail Waiting in Spam!

A number of years ago, I corresponded with a wonderful person who was writing a book on early Kent, Connecticut families.  She had traced their families from town records listed in Connecticut files.  I, of course, bought her helpful book:  Francelia C Johnson, A Register of Some of the Families that have lived in Kent, CT.  1739-1999, 2000.  I learned about her work when I wrote the Town Clerk in Kent CT inquiring about the availability of birth, marriage and death certificates for my SMITH and DAKIN relatives and the helpful clerk asked if I'd like to be put in contact!  Would I like to talk to her?  ABSOLUTELY Amazing!

Recently, I was trying to see if there were any new records available in Kent CT about my DAKIN ancestors and so I wrote to the Kent Historical Society.  I was hoping that the Historical Society might have information on Edward DAKIN, the first postmaster in Sourth Kent and his wife Mary Alice SMITH who was a school teacher there.

Unfortunately, and fortuitously, my e-mail ended up in the SPAM of the Historical Society.  A while after I wrote, the historian was looking for an expected e-mail which hadn't arrived so she looked in the Spam mailbox and discovered my letter!   She contacted me and we started talking about what records weren't destroyed by fire (as some school records had).

The next day, Melanie Beal Marks, of Connecticut House Histories, LLC, stopped by the Kent Historical Society to continue some work she was doing on some local families who owned the homes she is currently researching.  One of the houses was originally owned by the CHASE family.

Edward DAKIN had sold his General Store/Post Office to Wm GEER in 1882 who sold it to Fred CHASE in 1883.  Since Melanie was descended from Preserved Fish DAKIN who had lived just over the border in Oblong NY before moving to Ohio, she wondered if this Edward DAKIN  was also from just over the border in New York.

I got an e-mail from the Historian, saying she couldn't believe it!  Two people asking about Edward DAKIN on consecutive days, after years of no one asking anything about him.  Did I want to contact this other person?  Did I want her contact information?  ABSOLUTELY!!

Melanie sent me some information, I sent her information.  It turns out that her Preserved Fish DAKIN was the brother of my Paul DAKIN.  Her Hiram DAKIN and my Edward DAKIN were 2nd cousins!

We have joined forces along with Melanie's sister on researching the DAKINs.  It turns out there was one more connection.  My great grandfather Edward DAKIN married Mary Alice SMITH; Fred CHASE (part of the family she is researching) married Mary Alice's sister Clara Wright SMITH.

Definitely a fortuitous e-mail and question and a wonderful Historian who recognized the connection and put us together just as the Town Clerk had done for me years ago!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Edward DAKIN, First Postmaster, South Kent, Connecticut

My great grandfather, Edward DAKIN was postmaster of the So Kent CT post office, I think from 1872 through 1882.
I went back and was reading the post office application paperwork for So. Kent CT.

My reading of the documents:
•23 August 1872, Edward Dakin applies for a new post office to be called South Kent. It is to be located in Kent, Litchfield County, Connecticut. The mail is currently on the Bridgeport CT to Pittsfield MA route arriving 6 days/week. It will be on the Housatonic RR (4 rods away). It is 3 miles from Gaylordsville and 4 miles from Kent, and 2 miles from the Housatonic River. It would serve 300 persons.
Edward Dakin signs it on 31 August 1872 and
Burritt Eaton, postmaster of Kent verifies the application.
•21 April 1884, George Hufcut Sain (?) applies for a new post office at Bulls Bridge. The nearest post office is So Kent which is 2.5 miles away and on the other side is Webotuck NY (2.5 miles). It is near the Housatonic RR (2.75 miles from Mervinsville station where mail is delivered) and the Housatonic River and will serve 130 people. 
It is signed by W. C. Camp, Webotuck NY
Along with the application is a map showing the locations of the Kent, South Kent, Gaylordsville and Webotuck Postoffices.
• 25 August 1898, Fred Chase, responds to the Post Office Dep’t topographer about relative positions of post offices in the area.