The Journey


This is a story of my ancestors, it was sent to me by a dear Swedish friend who happens to live in the same parish as my ancestors. It tells a little of what it was like for people leaving their homeland. Tack så mycket, Jöran min vän!


What a huge step to take….How much time they must have discussed how to do. The report they heard from the land over there, sometimes maybe exaggerated, made them probably excited and longing for a better days than they could offer their children in their homeland. Carl’s brothers Nels, Anders and Eric were already over there and his mother Brita was also making plans for travel to America. Nieces and nephews were also gone. But how they must have suffered agony to leave. The whispered conversations at night “should we or should we not”. They had to leave everything behind, their parents, their friends,their history and culture, their land all that they’ve known and loved.

Carolina’s parents Lena and Johannes were old and feeble, how would they survive?

They must have been aware it was forever and they would never see their families and land again. It was almost like death. Forever and beyond recall. How dreadful and yet hopeful they must have felt on that last day. The hectic day of packing, making sure that they had everything they and their five children would need. Carolina’s parents watching, their hearts breaking, for they were losing a much loved daughter and five grandchildren that they would never see grow up.


The following morning waking up and knowing this was good bye. Carl with the help of his elderly father-in-law Johannes, load the wagon. Shutting the door of their home for the last time. Carolina says good bye and hugs her sister, Lotta and her children. A few weeks ago Lotta had buried two sons in one week and now she was saying good-bye to her little sister, her only sister.

Finally it is time. With tears and hugs, the children are put into the wagon. Lena lovingly touches each grandchild's face as they board. Children that are unaware of the huge trip and where it will take them, unaware that they will never see this family again. The two youngest will soon be dead on the voyage to Amerika, Svante age 3 and Augusta age 5.

Carolina turns and hugs her mother and promises to write, touching the worn face of the woman who gave her life. Worrying what will happen to her and her father, wondering if this is the right thing to do. She climbs into the wagon and as it jolts to start, there is a feeling of panic, is this right,should we stay, is it too late?Slowly they begin going up the hill toward their new life. Turning back, Carl and Carolina take one last look at their home, their family. Lena Calls to Johannes to hurry back and to be careful, she tearfully watches as they disappear over the hill. Her old back slumps and she walks slowly, her footsteps heavy back to the house.

Had it been like they dreamed of, had thier longing for the homeland been severe? Did they ever regret the decision to leave? Answers we can't hear, but I think we can imagine in our souls.

A Letter from: Jöran Johansson

Submitted by Wini Caudell





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Illinois Ancestors