I have shared my grandmother's story of her mother's passage across the Atlantic and North America, and now here is the story of her father's journey. Humboldt County, California, with its booming redwood logging industry, was a destination for Swedish immigrants 100 years ago, and so speaking only Swedish was not as big a barrier as it would be today.
I should warn you: this story rabbit trails quite a bit, but it exemplifies Mormor's favorite phrase, "but I digress." The story is more jumbled than Mormor's other tales, which could be because it was not one of the many spoken-word stories that she knew by heart and told frequently, or that she wrote the story down in the twilight of her life, when it was a struggle for her to accomplish everyday tasks. Mormor hid most of her struggles from everyone, but I digress.
Therefore Dad worked at various jobs such as peat digging, brickyard work, and in the beet sugar mill as soon as he was out of school. Later he learned to make shoes and had quite a few customers when he was called into the army. (To digress a moment, he was the best shot in his company and expected that all his children-to-be would do as well.) During that six month period he lost his clientele, so began to think of some other way to earn money.
Laurie jumping in here a moment: I had always been told that my great-grandfather Martin was a draft dodger from the Swedish army. Huh.
I neglected to mention that Dad and Alfred crossed the Atlantic in December 1899 in a very bad storm. The sailors got sick; Dad did not, so he earned some money doing the crew's jobs. Otherwise, he might not have had the money to get as far west as Nebraska.
One day when he was working in a field Martin saw in the distance a black funnel-shaped cloud. He'd been told to hurry to shelter if that happened, so he ran the horses toward the barn. They insisted on stopping at the water trough as per routine, so Martin got hit with quite a few large hailstones on the way to their stalls. Then Dad joined the rest of the family in the cyclone cellar. After a bit he was about to open the trap door to see what was happening outside, but was stopped when all the rest screamed, "Don't open the door yet!" Later he found out that there had been very little damage nearby -- just a neighbor's poor cow had been carried a short distance and her leg broken when she was let down with a bump.
[The cow story filled my imagination from a very young age, and to this day when I think of tornados, I worry about the cows.]
Dad found that hauling the bolts to the mill paid quite well so, as soon as he saved enough money, he bought a team and began hauling. Later, Swedish friends began teaching my father how to fall the huge redwood trees, and told him that was where the money was. Soon Dad became a faller and found a partner.
Meantime, my mother was working at a beer garden near her home in Sweden, for she was saving money to join my father. You see, they were engaged before Dad left for America, and both were saving for Mom's passage to Eureka, where they were planning to be married.
My father found the most work in Fortuna, so we moved there, and he rented several places until we moved to Camp Grant in the fall of 1912. Dad leased the ranch at first, but finally bought it. He sold it to Jim Patmore in 1950 (I think) but reserved the right to live in the cabin we had built there. Dad and Mother lived there until her death in 1953, at which time my father moved to a cabin on Art's place at Miranda. He spent the winters with us in Monterey until a massive stroke made rest home care necessary. Dad died in 1965 and is buried beside Mom at Sunrise Cemetery on Newburg Road in Fortuna.
[My great-grandfather Martin died about two weeks after I was born, so I never got to meet him. "Momone," my great-grandmother Elise, had been gone a dozen years by then. I have been to their graves several times.]