My great-grandparents on my father's side were born in Sweden and emigrated as children with their families from Sweden to the United States. Like most Swedish immigrants to the USA, they were grateful to be American citizens while they celebrated their Swedish heritage.
Maria Lovisa Hörling and her sister Albertina Hörling were born in the Döderhult parish of Småland. Maria was my great grandmother. She was born in 1840 to her parents Anders Fredrik Hörling and Lovisa Westerström. I am still learning about Maria's upbringing. I am not sure where she met her husband, my great grandfather Bengt Jönsson. They lived in Stockholm (Vasastan) before leaving for the United States. Their youngest daughter, Anna Margareta, became my grandmother.
My paternal grandmother, Anna Margareta Jönsson, was born in Stockholm, the youngest of four daughters of Bengt Jönsson and Maria Lovisa Hörling. The family lived at Rörstrandsgatan in Vasastaden (known as "Vasastan") in the Norrmalm district of Stockholm, not far from the Kungsbron, the bridge over Klara Sjö from Norrmalm to Kungsholmen. They were some of the earliest members of the Swedish Mission Church (Svenskamissionskyrkan) which was founded in Stockholm in August 1878. The Swedish Mission Friends were followers of Carl Olof Rosenius (1816-1868) and later Paul Peter Waldenström (1838 - 1917) who were leaders of the Pietistic Free Church movement in Sweden. The first chucrh to affiliate with the Swedish Mission Friends was Asgårdskyrkan which is a short distance across the Kungsbron bridge on Kungsholmen, not far from where Bengt and Maria Johnson lived.
The Johnson family emigrated from Stockholm on May 29, 1887 to the USA by way of Kalmar and Karlskrona, Sweden. They traveled by ship on June 2, 1887 from Karlskrona to Rotterdam, Netherlands. On June 4, 1887 the Jönsson family continued by ship to the New York State Immigrant Processing Center at Castle Garden in New York City, arriving June 18, 1887. On June 19, 1887 they traveled by boat and then by train to Worcester, Massachusetts where they stayed with relatives, Albertine Hörling Ossene and her husband Julius Ossene. In 1888 or 1889 they moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts. We have not yet found a record of where they lived prior to purchasing the house at 269 Norfolk Street in Cambridge in May 1902. The City of Worcester annual record of residents shows that the Johnsons had left Worcester in 1888 or 1889.
After securing employment in Cambridge, the Johnsons left Worcester for Cambridge, Massachusetts where Bengt built Victorian piano cases for the Ivers and Pond Company of Boston. Bengt had been a fine woodworker in Stockholm where he built furniture with carved faces as was popular at the time. Bengt Jonsson founded the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church in Cambridge at Norfolk and Hampshire Streets. The church moved twice, once to a former Methodist church in Cambridgeport, and later to a new church building built in 1965 in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Swedish Evangelical Church had become affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church of North Park, Illinois and was renamed "Trinity Covenant Church" in Lexington.
Of the four Johnson daughters, Anna was the most musically gifted. She played piano, organ and guitar. Anna Margareta Johnson was the organist at the Swedish Mission Church. This is where she introduced her son Franklin Leroy Anderson, to the organ when Leroy was about 8 years old. This was when the church had successfully raised the money to purchase an organ. Brewer Anderson was the chair of the Organ Fundraising Committee. Leroy eventually studied with Henry Gideon, organist of Temple Beth Israel in Boston. It was Henry Gideon who was the first person to play the new organ at the Swedish Mission Church in Cambridge at its dedication. Leroy Anderson became the organist and choir director at the East Milton (Massachusetts) Congregational Church when he was __ years old.
My paternal grandfather, Bror Anton Andersson, came from the small village of Övarp, parish of Norra Strö, near the city of Kristianstad ( spelled Christianstad from 1614 to 1906). This area is in the northeast corner of the province of Skåne, located in southern Sweden. Bror Anton Andersson was the seventh of eight children born to Nils Andersson and Hanna Nilsdotter who were crofters (toparen), working as farmers on land they rented. They decided to leave Sweden after Nils co-signed a loan for a friend who could not repay the loan. Nils could not earn enough money in Sweden to repay the loan himself so the family moved to the United States and sent money back to Sweden until the loan was repaid.
Nils Andersson, his wife Hanna, and their eight children traveled on a steamship from Göteborg, Sweden to Boston, Massachusetts via London in March 1882, one month shy of Bror's third birthday. The Andersons first lived in Chicago, Illinois and later moved to suburban Maywood, Illinois. Nils Olof Anderson enrolled in North Park College in January 1896. Bror Anton Anderson enrolled in North Park College in June 1897. Nils Olof completed his studies in December 1897. Bror Anton Anderson completed his studies in June 1898.
The two brothers moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1899. They shared an apartment which they rented at 241 Putname Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts. While the building exterior is unchanged, the building is now a scientific research facility. They were some of the earliest members of the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church. As a young man, Bror played mandolin and banjo.
Many emigrants' names changed when they arrived in America. In my family, Jönsson became Johnson, Andersson became Anderson, and my paternal grandfather, Bror, ("brother" in English) became Brewer.
A lot of 2,870 feet of land, with frame building, on Norfolk street, near Hampshire street, is conveyed by Hannah R. Welch, executrix and trustee, to Bengt Johnson.
My great grandparents, Bengt Johnson and Maria Lovisa Johnson, bought a house close to where the Swedish Evangelical Mission church was being built. Their daughter, Anna Margareta Johnson, married Brewer Anton Anderson in 1904. They lived at Anna's parents' house at 269 Norfolk Street. This is where their son, my father, Leroy Anderson was born in 1908.
William J. McKeever has sold his two-family house numbered 101 Antrim street, with 3500 feet ("square feet") of land, to August Westlund and Nils O. Anderson, who will occupy the same. The estate ("the property") is assessed for $4,300.
My great uncle, Nils Olof Anderson, bought a house on Antrim Street with his future brother-in-law August Westlund. (See following article titled "Swedish Double Wedding".) This house on Antrim Street was not far from 12 Chatham Street at the corner with Crawford Street. It was at 12 Chatham Street that Nils Olof Anderson and his brother Brewer Anton Anderson built a three-story apartment building where Brewer and his wife Anna would live with their sons Leroy and Russell Anderson and Anna's two unmarried sisters Charlotta ("Lottie") Johnson and Albertina ("Tina") Johnson.
Messrs. August Westlund and Nils Anderson, both of this city, were respectively married. Saturday evening, to Misses Anna U. Örtegren and Augusta C. Örtegren, both of Boston. It was a Swedish double wedding and took place In the Swedish Congregational Church, corner of Hampshire and. Ruggles streets. Boston. The ceremonies were performed by Rev. August Ericson, of the Boston church, assisted by Rev. John Udd, of this city, and the choir of the Ruggles street church. The brides were dressed in white lansdowne cut "en tralne" and trimmed with appliqué lace and medallions. Their tulle veils were held in place by wreaths of myrtle, which is after the old Swedish manner. Miss Anna Ortegren. who was married first, was attended by Miss Annie Johnson, of this city and Miss Minnie Anderson, of Malden, while Miss Augusta C. Örtegren was attended by her sister, Miss Maria Örtegren, and Miss Karin Danielson. Best men were Gustaf Westlund and Alvin Anderson for August Westlund and Edward Anderson1 and Gustaf Rydberg for Nils Anderson. Following the ceremony the couples held a joint reception in the vestry of the church, which was decorated. In addition to the large gathering of friends and relatives, there were messages of congratulation from Chicago. Minnesota and Sweden. There were many presents. Following a wedding tour Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Westlund will reside on Antrim street, this city, where the husbands have bought a house together.
Cambridge Tribune, Volume XXVI, Number 11, 16 May 1903 - Swedish Double Wedding
The Swedish church, corner of Hampshire and Ruggles street, Boston, was the scene of a double wedding last Saturday evening. The contracting couples were Miss Anna U. Ortegren, of Boston, and August Westlund of this city, and Miss Augusta C. Ortegren, and Nelson O. Anderson2, of this city. The brides are members of the Swedish Congregational church in Boston, while the grooms are members of the same denomination in this city. Mr. Anderson is a clerk in the registry division of the Boston post office. The ceremonies were performed by Rev. August Ericson, of the Boston church, assisted by Rev. John Udd, of Cambridge, and the choir of the Ruggles Street church. The brides were dressed in white lansdowne cut "en traine" and trimmed with appliqué lace and medallions. Their tulle veils were held in place by wreaths of myrtle, which Is after the old Swedish manner. Miss Anna Ortegren. who was married first was attended by her sister, Miss Maria Ortegren and Miss Karin Danielson, while Miss Augusta C. Ortegren was attended by Miss Annie M. Johnson and Miss Minnie Anderson, of Malden. The best men were Gustaf Westlund and Alvln Anderson - for August Westlund and B. A. Anderson3 and Gustaf Rydberg for Nelson O. Anderson. Following the ceremony, the couples held a joint reception in the vestry of the church, which was handsomely decorated. In addition to the large gathering of friends and relatives, there were messages of congratulation from Chicago, Minneapolis and Sweden. There were a large number of presents, including one from Mr. Anderson's fellow clerks in the post office.4 Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Westlund will reside on Antrim street, this city, where the husbands have bought a house together.
Cambridge Chronicle, 16 May 1903 - DOUBLE WEDDING.
Thursday the proper papers were filed at the registry of deeds office which gave official life to a recently-organized association known as the North Cambridge Real Estate Co. The Officers are: President. L. J. Reynolds, financial secretary and treasurer. Edward Griffin, recording secretary, and Al Lynen. These, together with Nils O. Anderson5 and J. B. Burgess, will constitute the Board of trustees. The new concern, which has a membership of twenty, with a waiting list, and a capitalization of $20,000, will be conducted on lines similar to Co-Operatlve banks and buildings, - monthly payments being made on each share. The trustees are now looking around for real estate properties in which to invest the accumulating funds. The business is being conducted from the real estate office of Edward Griffin, which will shortly be moved to Taylor's new block, on the corner of Dudley and Massachusetts Avenue.
This was the notice in the newspaper that my Great Uncle Nils Olof Anderson had formed a building construction company in Cambridge. Nils Anderson went on to build many houses in Cambridge, Belmont, Somerville, Watertown and Lexington.Footnotes
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anna Margareta Johnson and Brewer Anton Anderson were married in October 1904 at the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church in Cambridge which Anna's father Bengt Jonsson had founded. My father, Leroy Anderson, was born in 1908. His only other sibling, Russell Brewer Anderson, was born in 1911.
Nils Olof Anderson was my Great Uncle. He was a brother to Bror Anton Anderson, who was my father's father. Nils Olof Anderson and August Westlund were close friends and partners in a building construction company. The descendants of August Westlund remain good friends with the descendants of Nils Olof Anderson, the Bergstroms, who are my close cousins.
This was the notice in the newspaper that my grandparents had married.
- Rolf Anderson