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This conversation with Anna Bengston Thomason and Oscar Thomason took placein their home on Dry Ridge between Troy and Deary, Idaho on Ferbruary third, 1976. The interviewer is Sam Schrager.
SAM SCHRAGER: Where were you born in Sweden?
ANNA THOMASON: I'm so hard of hearing.
SS: I asked where it was you were born.
AT: Yeah, I was just born where I was raised after that in wen we called theplace and it was close to Torsby in Varmland.
SS: And you were born just a few milea from there?
OSCAR THOMASON: Nein, from there I was born six and a half Swedish miles. More north.One Swedish mile from the Norwegian border. And they come in from Finland. 1640. And they settled all over, up in the hills, both sides of the border. It was 1640 they went in.
SS: They were from Finland before?
OT: Yeah, they come right from Finland.
SS: They were Finns and not Swedish!
OT: They were mixed probably some were Swedish Finns. You see, Sweden and Finlandbelongs to Sweden I think for around 600 years. In 1917,'18 after the the first World War, the Finn give away, Russia took it from Sweden. And in 1918 and '18 the Finnish people get away from Russia. Then Russia had to give 'em independent. There was in kind of one way a revolution.
SS: Do you think that your ancestors had come from Finland?
OT: Yeah, from inland. On my dad's side they come. But where I come from is allold Finnish names.
SS: Is that true for Anna's place too?
OT: No, there was no, that far down. No, that was more south.
SS: How did the people get along with the Finns where you lived?
OT: They get along wonderful. All of the was Finn, they nearly all come fromFinland, see. And they was all up in the hills, you know, and they could cut down trees. And they burned trees in the fall, then they seeded rye. You know what rye is. They seeded that, you see. And they build up in the woods you know, things like that. Then later on you know, the company, they don't like to see that done that, so they took the land back but they could live there and use it if they,, and then they have to pay little tax,
SS: Who was the company?
OT: There was, they called, the company was, they called it Isvala Bulog, Bulogis the same as the "company," see.
SS: Was it owned by rich Swedish people?
OT: Yeah, but it was a company, see, Like now we can call it Potlatch LumberCompanies.
SS: Same kind of things.
OT: Yeah. What it was see. And yau have to pay a little bit of tax, but therewasn't very much.
SS: When you grew up there, was your family pretty poor? They didn't have muchmoney did they?
OT: No. There wasn't much money. And they worked, they growed up and my dad, heworked for the company,see. And they don't pay very much There wasn't too much to go on, see.
SS: Was that the same, most of the people were poor there?
OT: There was some. There was some that owned the land and they owned lot oftimber, see. Timber land. The company bought them out, see. Gave them.'pretty good price and there was no price hardly on the timber. So they bought it pretty cheap. After the company get it, then look out, the price went up,
AT: Wasn't that way. Was good for some of the, that didn't have a home becausethe company used to have places for them to stay,
OT: Well they had the company build houses for them you see,
SS: Sounds like here with Potlatch. They bought the timber from the people,
OT: Yeah. Did right. They bought the timber from the people,
AT: So that helped them that they had a place to live,
OT: And the tax they payed were very little. And it was poor land, lot of rocks.
SS: So there was no farming to speal of there.
OT: No, there wasn't.
AT: You have never seen rocks like it, was there, even in the road. And the roadwas made up(both talk at onece.) It was covered with a little dirt, but, ho I walked there and could have fell ten times,
SS: Trying to walk in the road?
OT: On the county road, they were kind of big rock in them,we used to see 'emand they, what we call the highway, only they call it lundsvag.Then there were big rock that...Now they have much better road. Little wider too.
SS: You were just a child when you talk about walking on the road,
AT: Maybe so. We were up visiting his relatives and we went somplace. We wentto some friends and I thought I'd stumble and stumble on those roads. Those rocks, they weren't big, but they were kind of, the road wasn't smooth. That's what I know about.
OT: You don't remember too, but you lived out the west, they call it, there wasrock in that road. Big big rocks, see. And they drove with one horse and a wagon. And you hit the rock with your horse,
AT: So it was, they had highway that come not far from where he lived, it wasn'tfar.
SS: Was there farming where your family lived?
AT: It was farming. I don't say we had so big place, but it was farming there.
SS: How much land did your family have?
OT: You can call it, probably 20 acres. And it was pretty good land and it waslevel, see. And in those days there were some real big farmers,
AT: We had a neighbor, what they call it, they had lots of land and on the otherside of us...
OT: On the other side of the highway, you know, against the big lake, there wasbig farmers.
SS: How did your father make aliving? Could he make aliving farming alittlebit of land?
AT: He build houses.
AT: No. We, Iguess maybe we could because we had cows and had our milk and weraised pigs and things like that. Had their chickens but...
OT: He couldn't make living.
AT: No, we were so many kids too.
SS: How many kids in the family?
AT: Eight in our family. Of course, my oldest brother, he went here before theyoungest was born, so we weren't eight at one time. So, no, my dad was out working.
SS: When you were growing np as achild, what was the honse like?Did you havemuch room in the house, did all the kids sleep in one room or what?
AT: We had abig kitchen, I'll tell you, and we had rooms.Lots more room thansome.
OT: Good house, they had a good house.
SS: Did your father buld it?
AT: No. I'm sure papa didn't build that,
AT: But Iwas born and raised there. My oldest brother, how old was Jalmar?Werner was born there, the first one, that was the third in the family down. He was born there where we live. So and after that, all the rest of us, of course.
SS: Jalmar came to the U,S. when he was just a young man?
AT: Most of my brothers went here when they were young. They weren't very old.
OT: Jalmar came here in 1905.
AT: He come here, my mother had abrother in Idaho and he went there. Andthen after one went, then it was easy for the other to go. So.
SS: Had your mother's brother ever come back from Sweden? To talk about whatit was like here or did he just find out from letters?
AT: I didn't know, I was quite young. But he was back there, oh yes,
OT: He asked your mother's brother if he come back to Sweden and you know yourUncle Sven come back.
AT: Yeah, they was my mother's brother,
OT: He was asking if he said something about America around here, how it washere.
AT: Maybe he did.
SS: I'm just wondering how Jalmar decided that he should come here
AT: America was Jalmar's(home) so he thought a lot of Anerica,
OT: How did he find out if he never went here?
AT: He find put before you come here from Jalmar how things were here. He gotyou started,
OT: His uncle was here with us, you see,
SS: What did they say about Aperica?
AT: That I can't explain exactly. There was things he told, he felt that were good,about Anerica, I can't say anything else because. It was too bad he culdn't come back, because he sure thought a lot of America, And Troy,
SS: Jalmar couldn't come back, why
AT: His wife didn't like, he married, one time when he was home. He married andshe didn't want to come. And he come back here, because he thogut maybe she will come, he even had the ticket and all, but she didn't come either so it was just the same for papa as it was for Jalmar, And both of my brothers and my dad went home when the wife didn't want to come,
SS: He even bought her a ticket?
AT: yes, they said papa and I never discussed that, But I heard that said, becausethat was long before I was here, born. But they said that he bought the ticket, but she didn't want to come. So,
SS: Why do you think women wouldn't want to leave Sweden, why would women wantto stay?
AT: I don't know.
OT: They were afraid of the water.
OT: They were afraid for the water. To go over the ocean. Go on the boat,
AT: I don't know.
OT: I think your mother was,
AT: Yal I think so, because that was a long time ago,
OT: It took a long time,
AT: To go on the ocean,
OT: You had to go on the boat,
SS: You think maybe they didn't want to give up their friends?
AT: Oh yeah. And like for Jalmar's wife, it was her parents was getting old. Sothat had to do with it too. Because she had a brother, though, that stayed home with mother, mama and daddy. But I don't know if Marie ever want to go anyway.
SS: It must have made it hard for families to be separated.
AT: I tried it, so I know how it is. He went ahead of me. But for me to go toAmerica, that was different, because I had so many of my family,
OT: You had so many brothers that went over, so that was kind of hard for yourmother and even your dad, they had left, all of them, you see,
AT: One after another left. Dad, never that I know, talked to the boys, thatwere the first ones, that they shouldn't go, I don't know why, He took everyone to Torsby,to put them on the train there and that was something he did. But he was really a thinking man too, so I guess maybe he saw it would be better for them,
SS: Was this after he had gone back to Sweden to stay?
AT: Ya. Oh yes. He was in Sweden and he worked hard too, Of course, when hewas here in America it wasn't cars and things so he couldn't tell them anything about that either, 1 don't know it if ever was a car
SS: What do you think people in Sweden thought Anerica Christmas going to be like?
AT: Oh of course long, long time ago, I heard it said that you cut gold witha knife and (laughs)it wasn't any bad things.
OT: Then they talked about the Wild West. Some afraid, you know, to come, theycalled it Wild West, you know, even. Indian and stuff. They all them red skin.
SS: In Sweden the people knew about that?
OT: We knew about that when we went to school,
AT: We heard about that.
SS: What was the Wild West supposed to be like?
OT: There were wild Indians. Have to fight them.
AT: It was bad.
OT: And they were talking about that, you see,
AT: They talked about, and sometime when they wrote, it was funny, they wroteabout the Wild West, on their address outside they wrote, but they quit, and of course, then they write "Wild West" sometime to be fun. Of course, papa was here, and I think he would have rather seen the kids come here.
SS: Because there was more opportunity, is that why?
AT: Oh papa thought had that thinking I know, but he didn't decide for anyone,
OT: There was more opportunity here to make it, to raise a family, see,
AT: But then of course papa worked here for farmers back east and he said hewas shocking grain here and he said it was hot and it wasn't so hot in Sweden,And he said,"I'd lift those bundles,"he said,"the sweat was pouring." So he knew what that was. Then he went, he was in Seattle before he decided to come home.
SS: He must have been pretty disappointed that your mother wouldn't come,
AT: Yeah. If he was, he was a man that wouldn't have said anything to mama. Hewas so good to her. He wouldn't hurt her feelings. My brothers in Seattle, they know where papa had had a lot. In Seattle. He bought that, but then when he decided to go home that he left there for taxes. So that, the boys, my brothers know where it was. Just about middle of Seattle, So you see, that was...But he worked and was...
SS: When you were growing up, what did they teach you that girls should know?
AT: I don't think there was anything we, we followed along, I don't thinkso. If I had gone to school, that's what I would have wanted, to go to more school, but I couldn't do that,
SS: You started to school and then you had to quit?
AT: It was the ordinary grade school. I couldn't, mama was sick and I had threebrothers younger than I was. And papa had to go out, work, and of course, so that was why I asked if I could be home then And our teacher, we knew him real well. He knew how it was. But I can'g see how a teacher could do that, these days, let me out of school. But he did.
SS: What grade were you in then?
AT: Yeah, I was 12, I really don't know what they call the grades there but I hadsix weeks in the winter that we always have that to go over, reapeat the years. And that of course, we all, I had to go to. And that was pretty rough too, because we were supposed to know quite a bit when we are going through those years. So, but anyway, that I had. I was 12 when I was really out, but not those six weeks, I had left,
SS: Were you sorry you had to leave school?
AT: Of course, I would have wanted to go to school, with the kids I liked, butI had plenty to do so I was busy. Was a good thing I was strong. It was really too hard, manytimes, I'd be out in the fields and work and do things, but of course, I was too heavy, I know that, be we didn't think about that. I ugess we were hungry and we ate and we put on weight, that was the way.
SS: So you had to do the field work too?
AT: Ya. The women always did, we helped with that. Of course, I didn't drive anyhorses or anytning. I didn't do that,
SS: What did you do, in the field?
AT: When it was havine. of course, and thev hune ud the hav there nn raila. thevplut on, Oscar can expain the posts and then there were rails there. And the hay you see, they had to hang up the hay to get it dry. Where I come from, it was a different place. So that was to carry that hay. Papa used to stand nearby that thing and rake it so it was kind of straightened out and lay it there and that's the way.
SS: Did you have to carry big bundles of hay?
AT: Oh yeah, my brothers and I, we used to carry over to him that hay. And thenwhen it got to, of course if we had had a big place, maybe they would have done cutting more like they do here. But we were a small place and we did it mostly by hand. And then of course when they cut the rye, the women was there making the bundles. And with the oasts and things like that. That's what we did.
SS: Did you tie the rye with twine?
AT: Uh huh. No, not with twine. Some men went and scythe it down with the scythe.And they were good some of those men, it lay so nice to pick up. Papa was good. Oscar's dad, I was there one time and tied those bundles, he was really good. Now the younger ones, I don't think would have done so good at first. So we took it up, went and took it up and we had enough for a bundle. We lay it down and then we took so many straws of that amd made a twist on it and then we divided it and took around that what we had laying there. Then we twisted like that and then we'd tuck it under it.
OT: Tied it. Then what did you do with it?
AT: Maybe just would sit there, I see out on the porch. We have company. Hedda'sI get the little girl here this morning was visiting me, neighbor girl. She help me so many times. She will be three in June, She's so sweet.
SS: When you were being brought up in Sweden, do you think it's very differentfrom the way kids are brought up now?
AT: Oh nowadays, it isn't that way now there in Sweden. I guess they are outhelping in the fields or so, but that's not, I don't know. I think they had more help if had lots Co do.out in the field, because my youngest brother's wife married with a Swedish girl and she helped them there and they were two at least in the hired in there. So,
SS: Did you have to work around the house too very much when you mother was sick?
AT: Oh yes. My little brothers of course, always called on me, but it was anatural thing
SS: Does that mean you cooked meals?
AT: Ya, but you know, we were young kids all, it had to be the way it was. Butwe cooked but none of us starved. Was one of my brothers next to the youngest he was thin, but the rest of us were heavy otherwise. But he was thinner and I don't know why, because he was, is kind of worried for him because he was more thin. He's alright, he lives in Seattle and he's alright. But we can talk about things. Oh yes. No, and the boys and I all those boys, but we get along good, I don't know, I always thought the one that had a sister was the luckiest. Was lucky if like I didn't have any sisters. But the boys and I, we get along too,
SS: You were the only girl?
AT: Ya. I was the only girl and seven boys. So, but like I say.
SS: You must have had to do a lot of the kitchen work.
AT: Oh ys, I did that, But like I say, the boys was good too, run get wood forme and things lifee that,
SS: What number were you in the family in order of the kids?
AT: I have to think. There were three younger than I was. And it was almostbeing the fifth one that way. And I'm in the middle,the fourth,
SS: Was your mother sick for a long time?
AT: Ya. She was sick for a long time. So we never, we were used to that, and wenever expect her to do, oh sometimes she was up when we were right in the haying and worked or sometimes she was up cooking coffee for us, we were in for afternoon coffee and things like that. So she was up in between and helped. But it was Jalmar's wife's mother, she said her kids, they had three kids and the oldest was so much older, she had those three kids and they were poor to eat and she'd fuss with them and all, try to cook the first things so they would eat and she said about us kidsthey run and take themselves bread and butter and they are fat, she said. There she sturggled with her two, oh how she to try to get something so that they would, so they would eat. So I guess we just worked and we were never fussed with, that's for sure. We had good appetite. And that's the way it was.
SS: Some of the proverbs that you were telling to Edith, some of those sayings,one of them was about Maria's stinginess. Do you remember that? I wrote it down. There's no end to Maria's stinginess,
AT: That's stinginess, is, what that mean?
SS: Not being generous,
AT: Oh no, that wasn't in our home, no. That they should be stingy, even if wedidn't have everything to overflow, but that we had always plenty of food and thingsl like that. That we had, Ya, we can, we have been back to Sweden. Oscar and I was back in '48, And then my brother and his wife and Oscar and I what year was it we were there?
AT: But I say I have liked America, and America has been good to me. I like tobe in America. I do. That's for sure. Everyone was so friendly and so good to me when I came. And they still are, Everbne still are(is), So I like America. I say if I should for some reason have to go home and stay, I wouldn't fuss with that either. Of course. But I rather is here,
SS: When you were growing up in your family, didfrou kids go out and start workingpretty young?
OT: Ya. Pretty young. And there was work in the woods. That's all there was, Therewas no factory or nothing,
SS: How old were you when you started to work in the woods?T: I was with my dad I think I was about nine years old in the woods, you know I couldn't do very much. I had an axe and he failed a tree for me, I can remember. And then you have to peel it. So one day I peeled three trees, you know. They were small, those trees. And I had to use the axe. Otherwise you use a spud.
AT: Didn't they use a saw there to cut down trees?
OT: You use a saw to saw 'em down.
AT: I was never out cutting rees.
SS: So your father, he was working for the company then?
OT: The company, some owned the land, nay,he don't own the land. But my dad,he owned the building.
SS: He owned the house?
OT: Ya, he owned the house and the bam and things and all were made of logs.
SS: But he could just barely make a living, the company didn't pay too muchfor the work.
OT: No, work was down, you don't have hardly no money over, And then you haveto sign the contract. And you have to get them timber out. Otherwise they fine you for so much timber left in the woods, you have to pay for that. You don't pay for the whole value, but you pay for each trees that were down. You have to pay for that.
SS: Did your father work by himself with his family?
OT: Ya. Sometimes there were two. One of them had a horse you see and startingin the fall, they cut the paper(pulp) woods, that went to the paper mill. Some that the4nade lumber of. you can't cut them too early, see, or they dry out, So you cut them later on. But the paper work you can cut all summer. So I don't do that. Soon as I get a little older, then the work was rough, Hard. Hard wor^ see. nd then they were taking the log drive.
SS: Log dr ive on the river?
OT: Uh huh. I remember I had one seventy five, it would be one crown and seventyfive. Cents you can call it. We call it cent. We though that was pretty good, I done that for many years, four or five years there,
SS: You worked on the river drive?
OT: Uh huh.
SS: What did you do on that?
OT: Oh you see, they hauled the logs in the wintertime, they deced them up, seeand they put the skid in between. And they were up pretty high, I think they was up to twenty feet high, right to the river, see. And then they roll 'em in the river, see. And they had a dam, they open up the dam and the water went way up and that took the logs, the timber, and keep on going. There were many dams, see,
SS: Did you work on the river to get the logs loose? Did you have to do thattoo?
OT: No. They could be. It was so far from the river you left them, see. And theywould happen to some to be iim the ice, you have to cut them out, see. I work on the river one winter, 1917. And decked them up you see, there were two of us. And we had to come and scale them, see. Then you had to put the marker on. For the different, could be different company. See, they come down to the big lake, there they sort them, see. There was peoples done that, but that took long, well six Swedish miles to a big lake close by (where) Anna was living. That lake was big,
SS: Did you get to school very much?
OT: Very little, We had school in the spring and in the fall, and I think therewas only two monts at a time, The wintertime was pretty rought those days, the kids have to walk quite a ways to school. Me, I lived close to school. And then no hot lunches. We have to take, I remember when kids come and they have their little bottle of milk and sandwiches. That wasn't enough, Cold lunch and milk was cold too, but warm up a little bit in the school house, fire.
SS: What was the school like to learn in?
OT: Well there was benches like they have here. We had long benches you know,we can sit, we sit four in each bench. And there was a pulpit where the teacher was sitting, you know. And talking. And we had a bad teacher. Was a man teacher and he was drinking. He was fifty years old and he died. Big man, he'd been sick for I think it was over two years. Then we would get other teachers and then there was lady teachers and they were nice. They learn us that man don't learn us, he expect us to know everything. And he hit us, slap us pretty hard. It was not easy to go to school. Then we come home, we took our books home and we'd have to read in the evening and then we would have to know it by heart. That was really awful, that really was. That was really awful. So we made up after we'd get out of the school, that teacher was gonna get it, see, And then he got sick and he died. I think they'd been attacking him. Beat him up. He beat us up se bad,
SS: What was the town that you grew up in?
OT: Well there wasn't really a town. There was store, and post office, therewere two stores and post office.
SS: Did it have a name?
OT: They called it, the county they called it Serdia^finnscuga you see,- Finn thatcome in. They called them after that you see, Finnscuga, see. And they had the first that come there, Neesuga, when they come, then you heard them, they come from that county, talk more like the Finn do, see,
SS: How many families lived right around the store in that area?
OT: Well we was I think probably there was about 10 families that lived rightthere. And there was school and store. But then just about 15,20 minutes from there, walking through the woods, there was 7 families. And they were in all directions. And they come to the school,
SS: Were the families together in groups?
OT: Yes they was, they was in a group. They was see. We know all the people, yousee, even in -fne Norwegian border.
SS: Knew all the families,
OT: Knew all the families and they had their name on the house I think, wherethey lived. So we know the first name on the people but the last name we don't know hardly.
SS: They had the first name on the house,
OT: The first name. And then...
SS: Were most of the families just working for the company?
OT: Ya, they work for the company except some, they own land, they had it alittle better, they work for the company too and so probably sometime they sold timber to them and they wasn't that much paid. Very little, see. So we had just as good to be under the company, they owned the land you see, we always get work first, see. And there was prperty tax not really small, they don't charge very much, the company,
SS: Did your ancestors always live in that area?
OT: Ya, they did. My mother you know, she was born in the woods, There werethree families come in there and settled down, nd their was my grandparents on my mother's dside and then on my mother's side there was two boys and four girls: six. And there was four others over here in Duluth, Minnesota, And one went back,
AT: This is just snapshots, but this is people,
SS: Where is that?
AT: Here is Torsby, the depot there,
OT: We have other (pictures) from the time we went home,(pause in tape,)
AT: And he was kinda forgetful when we were home. He's my godfather. Ya, andwe had to go there and he forgot but he said,"Are you Anna?" he said, "Are you home from America?" And he asked me so many, many times, Of course he was my godfather when I was baptized, of course. Here's his wife and they did that there, they had someone to take them. Take the kids
OT: Bad times, you know?
AT: And he never, all through the years we were neighbors and all that, but thatwas something, he was my godfather,
SS: It was important, your godfather was important?
AT: Ya, of course we were used to it, but he sure thought a lot of me becausehe was my godfather. So they took that picture and that's why I was gonna explain I had it and I had to see the horse,
SS: Was he picked to be your godfather because he was a good friend of your parents?
OT: Ya, they were neighbors, y«yu know.
AT: We were neighbors, like I was the only girl, they had to pick, some special.Well I was baptized among all the boys. So I didn't know that til I was old enough to know that he was my godfahter, but he sure, sometime when its Christmas morning when we came from church, and we walked, we kids. And he stopped and said, and I was with the and he says,"Anna you come and get a ride now, you get a ride home,"he says. He always was kind of special to me. Because he was my godfather,(Both talk at once) He was a good man. But when we were home, he was so forgetful,(pause in tape)
SS: Was the church, a separate building from the schoo?
OT: Church was two Swedish miles from where we live, the church, see.And thenwe went up to school, we had to go and get comfirmed in Lutheran, see. And we had to go during the week there and I went 42 times. I went Saturday morning and then we were studing Saturday and Sunday we went to go to church, and after the service so they keep us after, we have to study then. So we stayed overnight in one place, you know when they were full. Three boys of us and the girls was upstairs, three of 'em. The man we stayed with, you know, he was a butcher and he had a rig and he went out and sold meat. One time the girls come down, see, and we were used to that, they'd come down and we had a blanket on us. The old man came home and he went upstairs. Went up and bawled them out, he said,"I should throw you through the window." The girls neyer come back any more that way, They never come to talk about either, you see, no that man was dangerous. He said in the morning to his wife',' Them boys were alright, but them girls."
OT: Yeah. Saturday night, Then we have to go to the meeting, to church andsometimes they keep us after to study. Study the bible. 1915, in the middle of October, then I went over close to the Norwegian border and cut logs. Oh, I worked pretty hard. And then I have to do my own cooking and I went home Saturday afternoon, went back Monday morning and I had one crown and 25 cents, you can call it. And it was 2,50 for a kilo of side pork, but I don't have money, Ibought a half a liko and that had to last all week. That was all. We didn't get much to eat. We growed up, we got big and we got tough. It was nothing. If you got sic, there was no doctor. You'd have to lay there, you get sick, you would be laying in bed. You got the flu, you see. Many times. We had when we were kids, skiing.
SS: For fun?
OT: yeah. And we ski all day, I remember we come home it was cold you know,coldweather, so my mother come out and have to get my ski off. Wet sometimestoo, you know, but they went alright. Even after I growed up,many days I worked in rain you know, when it was snow and things, and I worked went in.I done it here too. We keep farm working. And then home, we had real good clothes, you know. We wear real good homemade, hand the wool clothes you see. When we get wet that way, the snow went through you see.
SS: When you were learning the bible they expected you to learn a lot,
OT: They did. You see when we went to school we had one day , one hour everyday we study the catechism,
SS: In school.
OT: In school And we had to learn it by heart, And then when we went to getconfirmed, there was the Bible, And we went over the bible too. The Reverend, the pastor, he took over then, you see.
SS: Were those your brothers that were staying too in the house?
OT: No, just who I went to school with. There were three of us. But not countingthem girls. When I saw the girl I never talked to them after that, I saw them, one of them. She lived right close to the border, 1924. They come in from Norway, She looked at me but she never said noting, (Anna offers coffee),
AT: Years ago we never asked that because everybody took cream,
OT: It would be nice sometime if you could make a trip over,
SS: I: would love to see it,
OT: A lot of things you know, but like you, you know, you can take other thingsto talk about, lot of things to write down,
SS: Was it only onec that the girl came downstairs?
OT: There were four of them, The old man was home and they don't know that.
SS: They didn't know that he was home,
OT: No. And we got so scared we were so afraid. He went upstairs and he bawledthem out and he sid in the morning he would throw them throught the window. It was second story window. We'd eat with them, you see, breakfast. And then he told his wife, about that, He was a rough man,
SS: But he didn't kick you out?
OT: No, no, we never done nothing, And he don't kick those other girls out either,
SS: They were learning catechism too?
OT: Yes, you bet.
SS: Didn't you tell me that once you went in the front door by mistake? What wasthe story there?
OT: Yeah, that was a story there, I went there to get the papers, I was gonnaget the passport. And that was 1918, and 1 had to go to the preacher to get the passport, parsonage, you see, reverend you call it here, And I went in on the wrong door, see, I was supposed to go around the house and come in more the kitchen and then he had the office there, see, And he had an office and Tuesday and Thursday 1 think we could go see him* And he started to bawl me out, that I come in there. But bigger people, you know that had the party or and things like that,they come in the other door, come in the front,
SS: The well to do people you mean?
OT: Wealthy people, they could go in there, and I couldn't,And I don't know.So his wife said,"He don't know what to come in and go in there." She told him about it. And he asked me,"Do you think you can appear and get the pass and go to Norway?""Yes, I think so." I said. 1918, I was 17 years olfl.. They couldn't ask the men there. We always done that. 1920 I never had, for the work, we were four brother of us. One was in Seattle, the oldest brother. And we went there we don't have no passports. We get order from the church to see if we had passports with us. We had to turn that into the church. So we had to go home and go into a bigger city to get the passports,(break).
SS: They didn't even tell her, they'd go ahead and do it,(Mattie Harris of LittleBear Ridge.)
AT: But who was it that picked her up?
OT: No that was Arthur Anderson.He was full of the dickens, you know, and hecome from Troy and she had been to Troy, I suppose, walking, unless she rode with him both ways, I don't know and Arthur said,"You can come closer. Sit closer to me, " "Oh that couldn't be! Your wife probably don't like it," she says,(laughs)
SS: I'd heard that, Ken Sandquist told me that she and Emile had a fight overthe boundary, between the place. He put up a new fence and she was out watching him every step of the way,
AT: I know that they used to feel sorry for her sometime, was it Christmas timethat they took stuff and was going home and,,,
OT: They left it in the mailbox you know, she never took it,
SS: She wouldn't accept?
AT: No. So maybe it was Hilliard she kind of thought it was alright
OT: Well with Stanley, I think she rode with tanley to town,
SS: I'd never heard about the time she ran off the assessor, that's a new story,I didn't hear that one. She really ran him off?
OT: Yeah, that she did, She ran him off, and he was assessor you know, tookup values. I always remember he ate here, he took up all the places. She chaced him off, you see. And the next time he had to have the sheiff in. And the sheriff went there and he was I don't know, and he went to Moscow you see, and decided they couldn't do nothing with her. And took things down in the paper see.
SS: Did you ever talk to her?
OT: No, I never talked to her,
SS: Because I can't figure out what made her so different, that she didn't likepeople. Seems that the people were so friendly around that it seems like it would be hard not to like people,
OT: Well they were friendly people, all of the neighbors were nice neighborshere. I know she was so independent, you know. Well, how it was, Russll:- Olson he is on the county road now, you see, here. He kind of liked him, so he bought the place, He could buy the place andjfor to get the logs on the right side he turned there, you see, belonged to Mattie Harris, And he logged that and then he sold it to Ken Sandquist, the place, and she tried to stop it. Yeah,
SS: But shefd already sold her place?
OT: See, after he was not supposed to sell it to Sandquist? see, No, no, that wasnothing said in the paper. He bought it? so he sold it,,
SS: She just didn't like him because he was related to Emile?
OT: yeah.. Emile, She was against him,
SS: I: thought Enile was her neighbor, maybe that's why,
AT: I know they said they felt sorry for her, they'd like to take over things,but thi ngs they had made in a package or something
OT: She had the brother st-ay with her. And I think there was another one too,But he wouldn't stay there. And that fella should've anyway and I don't know, went to a doctor and he got cancer in his lungs and his face,
SS: That's what I heard,
OT: Name of Milton Harris, He was home there and he died, Probably she was somean that he couldn't go to the doctor, he didn't go to the doctor right right away and he probably wouldn't have died and they probably could have fixed that.
SS: She didn't...
OT: He might be cold.
SS: He didn't really ever get treated for it?
OT: No, he never got treated for it.
SS: I heard that after he died, she just left him there in the house and ittook awhile before they found him,
OT: Yes. And they said the whole face was kind of eating off, Cancer, He couldhave went to the doctor right away, but he stayed with her.
SS: I wonder why she disliked people, I don'4 know if she just didn't like Swedishpeople.
OT: Could be that she didn't like the Sedes. Em ile was a nice man. Oh my, he was.And Sandquist, she was against them too, you know, Emile was married to a Sandquist girl, you see. And she wore kind of different clothes on. She had a skirt that went way down to her shoes. And there were many layers on, I could see them.
AT: That's stylish now,
OT: I should have talked, I could have bought the place from her, if I'd beentalking to her,
SS: If you didn't tell her who your friends were,(laughs)
OT: I never think about it, though,
AT: You couldn't she couldn't never have gotten better peole and neighbors thatshe had when she had Emile Pierson.
OT: Emile and Sandquists were nice people,
AT: That's the way.
OT: Couldn't do nothing with her, you see,
AT: She didn't understan that, I guess.
SS: I want to ask you more about confirmation, I was talking to Oscar about beingconfirmed. You were confirmed too, right? Did you have to learn a lot of the Bible for that?
AT: Oh yes. When we went to confirmation, we learned. It wasn't too hard becausewe had a little religion in school, Not much, but a little bit,
OT: We had plenty of it in school. We had one hour every day, We had, firstthing in the morning.
AT: So that kind of helped too,
SS: What were your confirmation classes like?
AT: We had one day a week. The period we went to confirmation. And the ministerwas there and asked us question and of course we had to read and then of course, gave us question we had to kind of have a little bit at home too, And then we would go so long then of course we were confirmed, And it was like we had to go to school. Maybe some don't belong to the Lutheran, then they had a choice,
AT: So I says, but I don't know how it is now,
SS: I understand there's a story that you know that you told Mrs, Archibald aboutthe spirit children who were dancing. What was that story?
AT: Ya I tell you, it was long ago because it. was mama's, my mother's minister,so I know, but she didn't tell it because I guess that minister didn't tell it when mama went to confirmation, but it was the same minister, because mama, he said it was so important to be baptized. That was 11 it was. To be baptized, but then he told that, it was a neighbor lady that rold me, her girl and I, we were real good friends, we were there. And she went to confirmation for the same minister mama did, Because I recognized the name. And he told, they believed it, I'm sure she did believe in it, I guess the kis were just really were seared of it, It was that they should be baptized and a minister come by the cmetery one time. Night. 1 don't know if it was really night, but it was after dark, I believe it was. And there it was kids that had joined hands and had a ring there and danced around the cemetery and had such a good time, and then others sat there and they couldn't join. Because they weren't baptized. So the minister went and and talked to them and he baptized them, so then the others opened up and let them join.
SS: Join the cirlce?
AT: Can you imagine so silly,little, us kids. And of course at the time I heardthat, you know, we weren't used to that and her daughter and I were so surprised and thought it was so terrible.
SS: You didn't believe it when you heard it?
AT: Then I believed it.
SS: You did?
AT: Of course,I believed it.But I don't believe things like that now.
SS: How old were you when you were getting confirmed?
AT: When I was told this, I can't say exactly, but it was 14,15 years old orsomething. It must have been, I couldn't say for sure.
SS: That's when you got confirmed?
AT: Ya. 15 at least. You were 14. But he had a time to live so far away andthey had to go and stay overnight.
OT: We had real good fun with them girls, you know.
AT: Listen now, how did you get there? bicycle?
SS: So when you were a kid you heard stories like that.
AT: Ya, but it was better we never heard stories when we were dumb enough tobelieve them.
OT: It wouldn't be a story otherwise. They tell a story.
AT: But we were suprised,(she) and I, when we sat there and listened to hermother that told about that, that was all the minister. His point was that we should be baptized. Because that was when that minister went in there and baptized and they opened up the cirlce, You can't imagine that's so dumb,see
OT: I believe it.
SS: You were telling me that the ministers were very high up in society.
AT: Oh yes.
OT: You can hardly talk to them. No, we were afraid to go talk to them. Hebawled me out when I come in the front door.
AT: They kept us in the book part of it, this baptizing business,
SS: I don't know if it was in the magazine story but it's what she put in thecollection from what you told her. It's a good story.
AT: I don't know what him to tell that. We were so dumb. It was a shame totell that we were so dumb.
SS: Were you afraid to talk to the pastor too?
AT: Oh no, not when we went to confirmation, Of course, we couldn't go and talkto him, but of course, he had us there and he asked questions and he called anyone he wanted, and that old minister got sick before the year was up for us to be confirmed,They had two. They had the old, the one man, they started of course when they were young when they were through their schooling and then they got older, they get tired, I guess they moved them up,
OT: They move them up like they do in the army,
AT: So he was the chief minister they call it. Then the younger ones, theybadtwo in that church. Then he had to take over when our minister got sick and died. Otherwise it was so many kids in our church that they divided it. The some south, from the church and others north from the church. And then the minister had the seuth. one year and the younger one had the north and the nefct year they change them, Everything was fair. So 1 had the old one when I started, but he died before we were confirmed, so then of course, the younger ones took us all with, his class and us, so
SS: Was your confirmation class very big?
AT: Oh yeah, it was big,
SS: Were you expected to tip your hat to the pastor when you passed him?
OT: Oh yes, yes. Even in the post office, you took your hat off, I rememberin Norway in 1918 I went into the post office, I expected letters. He was n standing and looking in the window, he had his back to me, it was a big post office, and they were Norwegian, he said, "You never said hello." I. said a good morning and a good enening, something like that. "Good day,"
AT: Good day.
OT: I told him, you had your back against me. Don't you think he told me.
SS: He was Norwegian?
OT: Ya. He was in the post office.
SS: Did you have to take your hat off to the political leaders too or just thepastor?
OT: The pastor, and you went in the bank and you went in the post office, youtake your hat off,
SS: Just to go into the bank or the post office.
OT: No. Yes,
OT: If you had a cold in the winter, you take your gloves off,(laughs)That AxelBohman, that's who it was, he come into Torsby
AT: He has been in this country of course,
OT: And he had his hat on. They told him to take off his hat, but he keep iton though.. He'd been here, you know.
AT: They were telling about when his name was Rohman. And he has been in thiscountry and he was out, was home in Sweden and he hauled logs. And then he was going in the bank, he had those heavy wool mittens. He come in there and took off his imittens, laid 'em there when he told what he wanted and I don't know if they did anything to him,
OT: No, he was a big one, he was a rich man,
SS: Who was this now?
OT: His name was Rohman. At home, you see.
AT: But he has been in this country, he has been in this country, he couldn't seethe idea. He come home to Sweden,
SS: He took his gloves off?
AT: Ya, he put 'em on the counter.
SS: You're not supposed to lay your gloves down? On the counter?
AT: Oh no, ho he wasn't supposed to take them in there, I guess,
SS: Were you supposed to take them off and leave them outside?
OT: No, you could probably put 'em in your pocket or something, like you takeyour hat, cap off when you come in.
AT: Of course, I didn't see that, but they were telling about Rohman because hewasn't afraid he couldn't see it...He had been here and he couldn't see it to go to that.
OT: He was in Torsby in 1922, I worked for him some more, a banker. So I wentinto the bank and I asked for that man. Well, he was high* His name was Larsen, I think Larsen his name was. Frank Larsen. He was in a different room, you see. So I went in there, I said,"I work, I need some money." He said,"You see my boss,"he said."he'11 give you some money," I shouldn't have done that, I should never have went in there. But he wasn't really mad when he said,"You see my boss, he'll give you money." But he had one boss,
SS: He knew the boss wouldn't give you money,
OT: No, he said,"You go to my boss, he can give you money," I thought I get itfrom him, went in the bank and he was in the other room, I don't think I took myhhat off either.
SS: So did you leave?
OT: I left and I talked to his boss.
SS: Did you talk to his boss?
OT: After that he give me money, see. Could draw a little money you see,itwasn't really pay day. In 1922, I was 21,
SS: Was he do you think he was mad at you?
OT: I don't think he was really mad, only he doh't like it, see, I asked onein the bank first when I come in the bank,Larsen was his name,
SS: He didn't like it because you went in the back to see him,
OT: No, and asking for money. In the bank.
SS: Was he the one that was running the logging?
OT: He was building a house, see. And I worked there and done some digging andstuff, put inlsome septic tanks and stuff, you know. But I think there, I think I talked to his boss first. See, to get money. I think he sent me over to that Larsen, the banker. But he was not the highest in the bank hut he probably was close to that bank president, He had a different room,
SS: Did the well to do people take off their hats when they went in the bank?
OT: They probably did. YOu see, the rich people, you know, and the poor people,we didn't have much to do with them, The working class of people, you know, they kind of look down on them. But the working class of people made the money for them. They did. They wouldn't pay very much, But here, when the union come in, look out.
SS: In Sweden?
OT: Ya. They come in there and they have to pay and these was no differenceeither
SS: After you left or before?
OT: No, before, we all belonged to the union. They left it,
SS: Do you remember when they came in?What happened?
OT: They come in, the unions come in I think in 1917 and '18, the union comein, 1927 I left, see. So I paid up and they had a book to pay up so much a week, you know.
SS: Did they have a hard time getting in there?
OT: Ya, they were kind of hard time. That had to have it kind of, well they callhere like they have a union here and they have, and so they go together, you know and try to get the price up and things like that. We don't get very much pay at first, you know. They have to recognize the union,first and then they'll start to go up, you see, The union is pretty powerful over there too, I don't know, here, the union pretty powerful, it might go too far too, you know.
SS: But when they came in over there, it sounds like they needed them.
OT: Yes, they needed the union .You know the log hauler, like my dad, long timeago, he have to have a log cutter to cut logs:. He'd have to pay them. And then you know they could d2cide we are going to have more money or we won't cut no logs for you. Well, he been signing a contract and there wasn't very much. If he was going to pay that price, he wouldn't get nothing.That's how it was. But after that, the union come in, the company have to pay them log cutters. They pay that, see. But still you know, firt the union there, ya right after union too come in them log haulers have to sign a contract. But they disappear, they don't have it no more.
SS: Do you know about what you father would make for a thousand?Was there a setprice?
OT: There was set price you know, so much, there was so much a cubic foot.
SS: A cubic foot?
OT: Ya, that's what it was. That was 35 cubic foot on the cubic meter. If therewas, the later years, you know, the longer haul you had to the river, they'd get more pay. And they have nothing to do with the log cutters. It was a good thing, you know.Then after that, they don't have to sign a contract.
SS: Did you father own horses?
OT: One horse,
SS: Couldn't haul taoo much with one hores,
OT: Well you know most of the time the roads were a little bit down hill. And therewere big loads, yes, I hauled for him for three years. Big loads too. Like here, a big difference, all together, when we come here, The company had them horses and they get the teamster. You know that anyway. And log cutter, the company had.
AT: To give you just an idea about confirmation, we talk about many, that's Oscar'sclass.
OT: That was '29 it was. Can you find me?
SS: That's going to be tough. There's too many kids to pick you out,
OT: Boys in back there. I belong to the boy group.
SS: You'll have to tell me which one.
AT: He was afraid that he couldn't see him, his mother, so he lifted his head.
OT: There is the minister, he told me i come in the wrong door.
SS: He's the one who told you that?
OT: He's the one who told me that.
AT: So you see, there were quite a few confirmation kids,
OT: I'm going to show you the girls who slept upstairs. Here is one. And therewas two more, let me see now. That one there, I believe that one there, there were two, there was supposed to be one more.She went to school, so she was the teacher. But then that was all. That's the girl that you know that belongs to, her dad was a rich man, he was a logger.
AT: How high was this minister?
OT: He was the highest.
SS: There was only the one Swedish Lutheran church,right? Everybody in Sweden,all the churches were the same.
OT: Pretty much the same
SS: They werent different denominations?
OT: No, Lutheran,
AT: It usually was the Lutheran church, but mama was telling it, Iknew thesepeople, they don't live too far away, I don't know what it was, they weren't Lutheran they couldn't be confirmed. They could go to confirmation and mama said that the minister said,"You ask mama, daddy if I can baptize you." The n they could be confirmed. Was once a week.
SS: So the difference was they weren't baptized?
AT: Ya, And they were baptized to the Lutheran, And they were Lutheran, of course,The parents belonged to,what was it?I should know so well, I knew those people. So mama said that the kids cried too because they wanted to be confirmed with the others. And the minister said they asked him can he do it and could be confirmed. This confirmation, that was more like a school you know. But to be confirmed, that was different. So I guess there's lots of difference, denomination. Either Baptist or Methodist or something like that, they were those people.
OT: I remember one of those boys was kind of maean and the preacher had, no therewasn't in the service, you know and I went, I told him and he pinched him so bad, you know, in the bench. The minister, he told them they had to study again, it was Sunday afternoon. He told the boy,"You go home." The boy took off.(laughs) You couldn't do that.
AT: They do it when we were at confirmation.
OT: But he come back next Saturday. Probably never come back, but he did. He said,"You go home."
AT: But now I heard, and if I come home now I'm going to take , ask and find outmore about things because we went home and took it for granted.
OT: She write down before we go see, what we gonna ask about it, see and that'sthe only thing to do.
AT: That's one thing maybe I told Edith how it was when a chilc^was born andthey used to take them and go and have them baptized, but if that kid was kind of weak or not feeling so good, they got someone to come and baptize them temporarily. Once I was at my godfather's place when they had a little baby that and she died too, they had a Christian neighbor woman because they couldn't get the miinster, I was there when that little girl was baptized. That was their belief, that they should be baptized.
OT: I remember home you know, they come from Norwegian border, they had a teamyou see, the preacher come over there, you see, and I sat one day then he baptized them kids, you know. They had to come over home, it was in the winter time, home and they were changing on the babies and you had coffee and you had something else and then they went to the schoolhouse right there where I lived, and then they come back there, they had horses, you know, there was a lot of people in the house.
AT: But they had that idea years ago, I don't know it's not that way now, becauseI know Ingrid five weeks before they baptized her. It wasn't that bad, it used to be. Otherwise that baptixim in the wintertime and cold and all that, they took those kids, in horses, rode in a sled and took them to the minister. Maybe it was far to the parsonage. And theft they said, I remember so many times, "Oh my, weren't they lucky when they went to have them baptized, because that kid died on the way home." Yeah it could be too cold too. It could have been. We never thought about it, but it could have been that, it was too cold.
SS: Did they have midwives when the babies were born? Not doctors?
AT: It if was really necessary, but babies was born in the home.
OT: They had , didn't they have some ladies to come and help?
AT: Tt could be neighbor ladies too sometimes, Yeah, But not so much in my day.I heard that Mrs, Lombard was one. But when Ingrid was born, I didn't have a doctor. But now I guess they take them to the hosoital,
OT: They don't cost very much, they cost only ten dollars.
AT: That's long time ago too,
SS: When you two were growing up, were marriages arranged or did you pick whoyou wanted to marry by yourself?
AT: Ya, at least we did,
OT: You know, long time ago it was the parrents that picked up, the daughtergoing to get married and probably the son in the house too, you know, if they were well fixed, you know, were rich people, they like to see them get married to the rich one. Either a girl or the boy, They wanted to see the rich.. They couldn't give their money away to the poor. They said no,
AT: It was different I guess, later years,
SS: But when you were growing up, were most of the marriages by choice, youpicked who you wanted?
OT: In the church you know, they have to annouce it three Sundays,
AT: From the pulpit.
SS: What do they announce? That there was going to be a wedding?
AT: The minister said about four in Sweden that the ones that was going to getmarried. And that was three Sundays they had. And that gave the people if it would have been anything against ,1 don't know why. We were used to it and I don't know why they did it. But I have thought now, lately maybe if it was someone against it maybe they hcould have got the chance to..
OT: Stop it.
SS: Do you think that's probably why too?
AT: We were So used to that.
OT: I think so.
OT: First one Sunday and then the second Sunday and the third,
SS: How did you two meet?
AT: I would have never met him nor he met me if they haven't moved. They comeup there from where he told you, Norwgian border. His folds bought the place not so far from us, our place.
OT: Six and a half Swedish miles from her,
SS: Near your place?
AT: Yeah, not exactly our place. So that's the way it happened, You see, Inever was up there where he come from and he was never down, he was to Torsby, our town, but that was more if they had to get something.
OT: I was there two or three times, you know.
AT: So it was just that they bought that place.
SS: How did you meet? At the church?
OT: I think we meet in the road,
AT: I tell you how it was. The first time and it wasn't more, I went my way,and he was, it was a shoemaker that would fix shoes for us and made shoes for us and I went and got a pair of shoes. For papa I think it was. It was evening. And here he was there come there, he was running around with the shoemaker's son.
OT: We used to work together. That's what it was.
AT: So that was the first time I met you.
OT: But I think I saw you before. You know, you and your sister-in-law, Jalmar'swife used to always be that you'd go up walk in the road Sunday afternoon and things, you know, and was heading to town, Torsby, see.
AT: We didn't no, we went by bicycle, But anyway, otherwise, I never havebeen up there where, he live-, I know that.
SS: After you met, did you start going together?
OT: Oh I don't think right away though. No,
AT: Oh no.I , where you live was here and then we rode and here was the highway.And I left and he left too, but I don't know how come that he left. And he had to go that way to his home on the highway and I went this,
OT: No you're not not thinking how it was. I went with you on the way.
AT: Did you?
OT: Yes, I did, you see. I lived pretty close. There was a dance that night. Itwas Sunday, see. So my partner I used to work with, he went to dance, see. And I went with you on the road.
AT: Didn't you go with him then?
OT: No,I went with you.
SS: You walked her home?
OT: Yeah, I probably did.
AT: Not all that way. That would have been quite long way,
OT: That wasn't very far,
AT: No, But it was walking a lot. We had old bicycles, That was our ride, bicycle,would be on an old bicycle.
OT: We went lots of boys and girls together, you know, Sunday afternoon andthings like that, you know, talk you know.
SS: Where would the kids go?
OT: Well sometimes we went to Torsby, to town. And then there was the show.
SS: The movie?
OT: Oh, you be. Movies, see. And we used to go in sometimes, were cold in thewinter, Salvation Army, And that used to cost ten cents to go in.
AT: Did it?
OT: No, it took ten cents to go in. So we went in there and then there was younggirls that was singing you know, so we sat and listened, you see. The Salvation Army, nd then the girl come and talk to us. Young and things like that. We really had fun.
AT: They were so good to play and sing,
SS: At the Salvation Ar^a, It was just like the Salvation Army in the United States
AT: ...some of them sad, and I give them more than that.
SS: These movies that they had in Sweden, were they Am. erican movies?
OT: They were American. Charlie Chaplin was one. And then what they call it here,(Swedish), there were two of them, and real good, but I can't remember what they call it here,
AT: Did they have it here?
OT: It come from here, Yes it did, Then they had the Swedish show, but not thetime I was home, And we were home in '48 remember in (name of town) they were there in the show, Edward Pierson, and he was a good actor. And I saw that show here in Troy. Not the same show with Edward, and that was a really good show there, see,
SS: That's interesting that the entertainment then was Salvation Army andAmerican movies, Was the Salvation Army then very religious?
AT: They prayed and sang and they talked, Oh, they were religious,
OT: They come around home, and I can't remember, years ago, and they were notright in my home, but in other places there where they had people could stop, you know, it was big place and there was man, captain, it was a man and you know, there was singing and they were praying, And he told them to be on their knees. And he did all of 'em.
AT: Jalmar was home one time and they came around, they weren't really begging,but they came around. Then Jalmar saw them he ran in and got his pocket books, "I'm going to give money to them, because when I was in the service in the war, that was the ones that helped us."
SS: HE was in the war where? Was he fighting on the American side?
OT: Urn huh.
SS: He said the Salvation Army helped him during.,,
AT: Oh yes. I don't say they were of help, but theymmust have been through thesame thing, I don't know, because,,.
SS: I heard that some of them were right there on the line.
OT: I think they was in France,
AT: It was outside my home, and we never had time to even and they weren't in athome. But as soon as they came, he came and took his pocket and he said, "These I'm going to give money, because that is the one that did for us,"
OT: They was in Deary one time, they gave money to it,
SS: Did they get along fine with the church in Sweden?
OT: I don't think they bothered any,
SS: Whey you two went together, did you go together for very long before youdecided to get married?
OT: I think that was over two years,
AT: Je was gone so much, he was in the timber.
SS: What year did you get married?
AT: In December, '25,
OT: BEen married 50 years. Did I show you the box that we get? I get the box,you get one box too,
AT: Ya, but I just got, I got a^ulova wristwatch, but he's proud, he's justlike he's a five year old kid, He runs and shows his watch. The kids in Spokand didn't say anything, but they want us to come up, We were going up for Christmas, of course, but can't you come then and then? "Can't you come that early?" they said, and all that. I thought, we can't go there too early. Finally we went up there and they had this 50th for us,
SS: Was the wedding that you had a big affair in Sweden? Did you have a lot ofrelatives and friends come?
AT: They started in much, they went to the parsonage and go to the minister's.We did that too. Then of course, papa couldn't say that, he hired cooks in my home the Sunday after that invitations for people, So that's the way it was,
OT: I don't think you had ever seen a watch like that. They don't make 'em anymore. You need a key to wind 'em up,(Break)
AT: I couldn't figure that out when I was a kid, what those watches was,
OT: I gve to ernon my son in 1895 and then I give another to my grandson. See,
AT: No, I got just a Bulova wristwatch and it's nice.
OT: I kind of like that,
AT: Oh it's nice,
SS: Were you just a kid when you first started hearing about America?
OT: I was tenty six years old,
SS: Not when you came. When you started to hear about America
OT: Oh, I heard about America many, many years, I had an uncle here and mybrother, oldest brother went here in 1909, Ane he wrote home things like that. So I, heard about America, And then I had uncles who went over here wehe, I was young then, They wrote home, told how it was here, you know.
AT: We have that on the table by the cake, the kids,
SS: What did you hear about it when you were growing up?
OT: We really heard that it was pretty good here and thfcre was lots of work,
AT: My brother Jalmar told him all about,,,
OT: That's when they went over here, and Anna's brother came home, And he said"If you like to work in the woods, you know? you go to Trpyv' They had all kinds of work, see, And I had cousins over there around Minnesota in the woods. One was a boss in the woods, but I don't know that when I come over here. But one was over there and he was buying up timber for the company. They call him timber broker, see. And he told me,"Why don't you come over there?" I don'tknow if I want to work,in the woods there,"All kinds of work?" he says,
SS: But you were over here already?
OT: He come (?) and that way,
AT: Papa ,he said "You know, all of us went to Troy, I can't see kids that yougo so far west," he said,"if you want to come home this would be so much cheaper and shorter to live,"
SS: In Minnesota?
AT: Yeah, or someplace there, They wasn't flying, then it was to go to Newyork and start in of course
OT: One boy, they come out to New York, I bet I could have went with him too,There was the other fella working Philadelphia, an older persong He said,"I make five dollars a day," I bet I coudl go with him for that, But I never think about it,
SS: Jalmar came here because his uncle was here, Why did his uncle come to Troy?
AT: Ole Bohman, maybe he was here ahead of uncle
OT: Yeah, I think he was,
AT: They were related, they were neighbors
OT: Come from same :oace, see,
AT: I never heard,
SS: Was Per Johanson from the same area too?
OT: Ya, Per Johanson was same area as her mother and dad,
SS: The story that Carl Olson has heard is that Per Johanson is the one thatfirst found out about the land was open for homesteading around Troy, And he was telling the people he knew in Minnesota to come out with him. And auite a few came out together,
AT: Yes. Per Johanson, did I ever see him, was he dead?
OT: He was dead when we come here, see,
SS: Did you know Ole Bohman's family in Sweden?
AT: Qh yes,
OT: She was related to him.
AT: We were tWo Swedish miles Ithink it was, apart, we lived. But we could haveseen them more, but mama and papa moved, we got afarm, they bought this place where we lived, other side of Torsby. We sat most by ourselves there, but we were up so we saw them.
SS: How did they change their name?
AT: Bertzl Bohman, Ole's son, he called me up one time here, because he thoughtthat Ishould know things that he would study and start thinking about and you know. For one thing, Iwas of course younger then, for another thing, I had lived there, Iwas born in there in Torsby, so Iwasn't up there so much. But he called me and talked to me about things and then he said,"Do you know where dad got Bohman?" His name would have been Ole Olson. And they were just so mixed up, the mail was so mixed up they had trouble all the time because there was too many Olsons. So he had to pick out three names and wrote to his dad. Send those name and wrote to his dad and told how it was with the mail and all. So he said,"Which of those names shoul- Itake?" And Bohman was one of them and his dad siaid that he should take that. Bertzl told me that. He lived in Troy. Of course Inever heard anything like that at home.
SS: Was the Bohman family very well off in Sweden?
AT: Oh yes, they were. Maybe they weren't anything people have reached here,but considered to be. Many of the others, they were well off. And Ole Bohman and Axel Bohman did good when they came here, because Ole started abank and they had that lumber company, So they were kind of alittle more to go ahead than the rest of us, we sat there.
SS: Maybe they had the advantage by having some money when they came over here?
AT: Ya, I don't remember, I don't know about that, I can't say that. But we knowin time they would get, I'm sure I shouldn't say that either, but I think they should get from their home, Ya, so Mrs, Arthur Anderson, she was sister of Ole Bohman,
SS: Mrs. Arthur Anderson?
AT: Ya, she was sister of Ole Bohman.
SS: IS she his present wife or his first wife?
AT: You mean Arthur Anderson? It was his first wife. She died in cancer. Heremarried. So they lived over her by McKenzies live,
SS: When you first got married, Anna, were you thinking of coming over to theUnited States then? Did you think you might come?
AT: I don't know what I thought(laughs), Of course, Oscar was here so I wantedto go here to America, Otherwise I wouldn't have gone to America,
SS: How soon did he leave Sweden after you got married?
AT: It wasn't long at all. And Jalmar come home from here and they startedtalking. There was all that cooked up, all that going. And then he said, he had talked to Jalmar and here was work in the woods, and that's what Oscoar was used to at home. So they talked and talked, and of course, for Jalmar, was kind of hard, Here was his sister. So he didn't want to talk so that should make him go, but he told how it was when Oscar wanted to know. So he said that,"Ya, I want to go to America," he said. It was so many papers that had to be filled in. You couldn't just go and buy a ticket right away at the time. What was all that we had to have to go from home to America. What paper was that?
OT: First we have to go to the ^minister to get papers.
SS: The pastor you mean?
OT: Ya, the pastor. And then we have to go to other ones, the line, the Americanline, the Swedish line, what we call it, and he wrote into the king. For me.
SS: Who was the line?
OT: I went on the Swedish line.
SS: You mean boat?
OT: Ya. And you see, he was the agent for that liner, see. go he get paid. So Iwent to him, he lived in Torsby, and he wrote to the king so I can leave. Sometime you know, hea stop that, you see. But he wouldn't stop that. I been in the army in Sweden and Iwas in for three years off and on see. So I was done with that.
SS: The army?
OT: Yes. The army. Infantry, Iwas in there, Ithink Ihad to put my number onto see that Ihad been in the army. Then Ican leave the country.
SS: You had to have the king's okay?
OT: King's okay I had to have, see.
SS: Was there any trouble on the Anerican side to get in?
AT: No, they were so good.
OT: No, No, we have to go to Guttenburg, to the American consul and the doctor.And the doctor, he couldn't talk Swede but he had a nurse, sort of who interpreted for him, see, there, And I remember they were in there were one that had been here many times, and he asked him but I don't know what he said, and that man told me that, "You haven't taken out your citizen paper in America?" "No," he said,"I been going back and forth." He told me what he said, you know, but I don't understand when he said. He talked to the doctor,
SS: I don't understand. Why did he say going back and forth?
OT: He said,"I've been going back and forth between America and Sweden,Thatway I haven't taken out his citizen papers"he said,
AT: Who was it that said that?
OT: J don't know, he was in the same time I was in.
AT: You heard that.
OT: I heard it. And I asked him what he said, I couldn't understand when hetalked to the doctor, that American doctor, he don't understand, he couldn't talk Swede to him. But he had the lady there, nurse. And she talk for the doctor, see,
SS: Did the doctor say anthing to you about coming to America?
OT: No, he never said nothing, I was okay, see, things like that. You have tosee the doctor to come, he's checking everything. So you're alright before you can go. One boy, I don't know how it happened with him, if he can go or not, I don't know what it was. They had it, this other Swede,he was older, you know, he asked in Swede you know, and then he had to talk Swede to the boy. I don't know what it was. I saw the boy after that, I don't know him you know, Many of us was in there.
AT: No, If it hadn't been for Jalmar come home my brother come home, he wouldnever think about. I never think about it, but I had one fellow that I worked for for the paper in Torsby, You know him, his name is Hendrickson, 1 worked for his dad, I told him write into the Can adian line. There was someplace in Sweden you know, and (find out) how much, it cost, And he did and it wasn't very much it cost to come in oyer the border into Halifax, see, And then you come in on the Canadian side , see, So it wasn't very much, It cost quite a bit more to come in here, She says that It was Jalmar that got you interested in the idea,, That's the way it happened, Jalmar told yau about it. He did, I talked to him, he said,"Don't go into Canada, go into America." And he said,"If you like to work in the woods, around Troy there's all kinds Of work,"he said. There was, I got plenty of it!(laughs) Ya. Then he come and said that now he think he's going to go to America. But "You have to say now,"he said,"because if I get to go, they you can't say noT Course, it took pretty long for some to get all that straightened out to go, Eric Nelson, he used to own the place, you know Vernon Girnlund? That place was Eric NelsonS see. And he, Jalmar wrote to him, and he was gonna get them papers.( think he sent papers to somebody else.) So Eric Nelson went to Moscow to Oscar Nelson, he was probate judge, what do you call it, He fixed out the paper and Eric signed the paper and someone by the name ofCI) He's dead now, see, Eric's dead too, There was one more, and he signed that paper that I come in to work on the farm, And it was easy^ to come in that way
SS: They said you could have a job when you came in,
AT: Ya. it was,
OT: And I had to have so much money to come in here,
SS: Did you have theat much money?
OT: I loaned from Jalmar, (laughs) I had some,
AT: And then I wasn't a bit worried because sometimes it took them so long beforeall these papers and all this was so 1 though maybe, And some didn^t get to go, I don't know why,
OT: It went faster for me on account 1 went over here to work on the farm,
AT: Se I wasn't a bit worried here come the paper that he could go, And that wasso unexpected,. Yoi, how fast it went, I didn't say no,
SS: Could you have said no,
AT: I don't think he asked, I think he'd have gone anyway, To saw logs, thingsJalmar told him about, Anyway, I never said anything,
OT: Then I worked, I work one month in Troy, And then I went to the woods,
AT: It wasn't that dumb to stay in Troy,
OT: That's how it was I could have went with the carpenter, see, I worked alitte bit with him, Ole Erickson was his name, And Joe Nilsson? he come five six weeks ahead of me but I never knew him Swede, seef And he was a carpenter from Sweden, And I told Erickson, "I believe I gonna quit, and go out in the woods,"No,"he said,"you don't quit,"he said,"Well?" I said?"l don*t really know how to do that work," He said,"! got all kinds of work for you ,you can work for me all summer," And dumb, then I went to the woods,
SS: Why is that dumb?
OT: In the woods 1 could not learn to build houses. That way I could have learned,
SS: You wanted to go in the woods, you knew how to do that,
OT: Right, I knew how to do that, and I really made more money in the woods,
AT: He didn't have much pay when I come.
OT: No, you come in '28. I was making railroads for Potlatch Lumber Company,and I tell you, you make money. le was 8 dollars,
SS: Where were you, on the section?
OT: No. In the railroad,
SS: In the line,
OT: No, we made railr%d bed. And then come the steel gang and put the steel ontop of the ties.And we made good, oh my
AT: Ole Bohman of course, come as soon as he knew I had come, he come to talkto me. And he said that,"He makes pretty goodie said. I never thought about making anything! But he said how much was it he said, to me it didn't sound so awful much.
SS: He was back in Sweden?
AT: As soon as I came to Troy he come to hear how things were in Sweden and seehow I was. He was awful good. I miss Ole since he died,
OT: He was here many times. He was real good. Ole Bohman was good. He could bewith any kind of peoole it wouldn't bother him. He was a religious man, but he could always be with, anybody, see. But he was in the bank business so they could come in, drunken people too, I know one fellow, I didn't think he was, he knowed him, them Olson's boy you know. He went in, Ole told me himself,"I have to get money," he said,"No I need money, ""Why don't you do like your brother, he put money in the bank here and youpre going to loan money."He said,"! have to have money."Well Ole gave him money. He always paid it.
AT: He took chances to help out. That was his line. To kind of help them,
OT: He know them,
AT: Ya,of course he knew them.
OT: So they paid."Your brother have money here and you're gonna loan!"
AT: You know, Ole Bohman's dad, he was a Christian person, and so if theyneeded help, they should help, but he didn't have a big business or anything. But even where he lived on the farm.
SS: You mean he tried to help other people in Sweden?
AT: Oh yes. Not business, so much, but they :ould come there and ask for things.
OT: And he was in the county. He worked for the conty and people come when theyhad to have help. Well he have to see so they get something to eat and get 'em some money. Same as highway commisioner here, you know,
SS: What did he do in the county in Sweden?
OT: Well they do the same in the county here,
SS: Do you know what his job was? Was he like the county commissioner?
OT: WEll, he could promise just about the same, They have to go to him to get help,And some were kind of funny in the head, you know. Well he had to take them first oyer there, to his home, Then if he get a place for them, to send them away,
SS: He had to put 'em up at his house?
OT: You bet! Put him up in the house and for some was crazy so he had to tiethem up,
SS: I was talking to Anna about that, how high he was in Sweden, Was he veryhigh ranking?
OT: He was the highest one in the county. He had that job. He was a rich man,
AT: Ya, rich, but I don't think he was,
OT: He was highest on that kind of work. That kind of work he had. That's wherehe was highest.
AT: But he was so good hearted, I know that,
OT: They helped them, then they come and bawled him out too,
SS: Who bawled him out?
OT: They that would like to have h^lp, Thej wouldn't get enough!
AT: If they didn't get enough. I knew him., I remember mama always call himuncle. So we kids always called him uncle too, I saw him about the business and things.
SS: Was he your mother's uncle?
AT : Yes.
SS: Didn't you tell me that you saw, was it Ole or Axel Bohman that you saw, whocame back when you were just young and you saw him in Sweden?
AT: I think it was Axel. He was home for a visit. He was our neighbor, butwe lived by ourselves, you see. But I remember when he was over to see us. Because then he could tell when he come back here that he had seen us, so he kind of tried to see all of us. But Ole was, oh, Ole was goo^, but he came and told how much. he-He was gonna, kind of trust me with it, it wasn't so bad, his income. I didn't know, I thought it was so terrible much. When Ole come and said,"Oh, he does pretty good,His check was so and so much," he said
OT: I'm telling you that was real good that I could work in the camp. See, weboarded with one kind of stump rancher there. And the lowest chec, I drawed that summer was$180. And And I there was boarded on all that too.
SS: For how long?
OT: A month..
SS: Not bad,
OT: That was good. Really good. And we work all summer.
AT: I missed Ole a lot, because Oscar was in the camps and I was here alone andI tell you, he come so many times out to see how 1 made it. Oh, he tried to help.
OT: Oh he tried to help. He helped me when I bought the place here, Ya, he wentwith roe to Moscow there, and we put in a bid on $350 I think it was. And it was 3500, I was bidding on the place. But it was sealed bid, see,$350, 10% see, When we took out the citizen paper, he was the witness. And Herman Paulsen, Then,"No," he said,"We're gonna eat on Oscar. Oscar have to buy the dinner for us." I said,"That'd be OK," He was good, you know.
AT: They all were good, but Ole, he come so many times.
OT: They were more in business too, Axel was too, you know. He was in the lumberbusiness.
AT: It was really Ole that kind of though...
OT: And they loaned 1700 from the bank.
SS: So he gave you a good sized loan.
OT: He did. Then he said one time later on,"Oscar, if you can get a loan you getthe cheaper interest,"he said. He said,"One way, I work against the bank," he said. "But I kinda like to help you so you don't have to pay so much interest" But then I went to Gustav Olson, that'd be Carl Olson's dad. And I loaned from him $1700 on 6. Then he cut down to 5% later on.
SS: Mr. Olson did?
OT: Ya, he did. Yes. But he have to have a mortgage on the place.
SS: So Ole was really like your advisor.
AT: I guess he advised many.
SS: I guess maybe he did.
AT: I don't know, but us he got started,
SS: He helped a lot of people. I get the feeling that the community reallydepended on his goodness.
OT: Yau bet. Other things too,
AT: Maybe there was many that didn't like, there is never one that is liked byeverybody,
OT: If you took sawmills, then you could work for them. And Many that come fromSweden, were kind of green, you know, couldn't talk nice, they could work for them and they could talk, see.
SS: Did you work for him at all or did you go right to Potlatch?
OT: I went right to Potlatch. They kind of closed up the -mills they had. So theyhad had quite a few mills.
SS: So this was earlier days?
OT: Ya this was earlier days.
SS: I was asking Anna, do you think that because his father was pretty welloff in Sweden that he gave the boys some money when they came over here to start with?
OT: Yes. When Ole Bohman was home, 1905 and he went home on account to getmoney, he had money coming there, see. And then he start in the bank business. And the bank, Troy, the First Bank of Troy started 1905.
SS: He borrowed that money from his father?
OT: No, he had the money coming. Inherit money, see,
SS: Was his father still alive then?
OT: Oh ya. He was still alive,
AT: Ole wanted to talk to their dad, like he wrote about the name and all that,So I guess,
OT: Well there's some that don't like him, you ^an'-t please all the people youknow. Probably he had advised them, but probably don't went so good, then they went couple of them and bawled him out, when they should never do that, I know one fella did,
SS: I've heard that too. But a banker is in a difficult position. He's got alot of responsibility-, if things go right or things go wrong, OT: Like when the bank closed, you know. It wasn't easy. Many banks closed.
SS: Even the bank of Troy closed for a while. Do you think he was very worriedwhen the bank closed?
OT: He was worried.
AT: They were worrked. And his brother too.
OT: Ole Bohman had a farm over %ere that way, Axel had a farm, So I heard it saidOle Bohman's wife told him,"We can go to the farm," "No,"he said,"I don't care about my money.But the other's money is all gonna go,"he said, "That have money in the bank, they I worry about."
AT: The other people,
OT: Other people. "I don't care about my money, I don't care about that,"
AT: So they lived in town, Ole Bohman and Mrs. and family, They had the farmthere hut they never lived on the farm. Since we came they didn't, But when I come here, we had nothing. Not a thing.
OT: No, we had good hel/ath and liked to work.
SS: Good health and liked to work,
OT: Yes,. Could work, see,
AT: But where we lived in the little old house at Eric Nelson's we didn't payany rent. But we did pay the cost of painting of the house and things like taht. And I bought milk from Mrs. Nelson and eggs and things like that. And mile was 50 cents was a gallon?
OT: There was more, I don't think 50 cents a gallon even, That time,
AT: And the eggs wasn't much, YOu see, it didn't take much, And it was no waterin that house, so we pulled water from the well. And Mrs, Nelson and I, we washed together, because it took less water so we rolled clothes and washed together,And we were together so much, she was so good too. So it wasn't expense. We couldn't have had expence with his earnings, either. But it went. We had food,
SS: It must have been costly to come over. Both of you had to come over and paythe fare,
AT: Yes. See, he came and he borrowed money for his fare. And then he paid thatup before I.,,
OT: So I paid that up and I sent money for her, and that was only one year.
SS: You sent the money for her too?
AT: Ya, and the baby.
OT: And the girl, I had to pay some for Ingrid on the boat,
AT: I don't know why, she must have gone free. Because I remember when I come,
OT: On the train it was different, on the train.
AT: When I come to New York and it was not the first year we come, we got offthe boat first of July and stayed overnight there and next day people were traveling the train was so packed and so hot, But I had an aunt that lived in Tacoma and she had been home, so I come with her. So you know, she knew what they were talking about, but I didn't know anything what they were talking about. Here I sat and I sat my girl beside me.And here came?' it wasn!t a conductor but they come out and said I should pick up hold that kid, I didn*t know what they said, but my aunt, said that}"You have to hold her In you lap." And 1 heard she said something to him but I don*t know: what it was. She said to me that, but she can't sit and hold the baby, Because it was far from New York on this ride to Troys to sit on the train with the baby, But he said she told me what, she said,"This baby hasn't paid anything for a ride, But the people that stood waiting and want a seat have," So I had to pick her up and hold her and I wouldn't have known a thing wha,t he said but my aunt told me what it was, So it must be some I paid for the ride that way,
OT: I. don't know how the boat was, I couldn't say
SS: Was the boat trip hard? Coming across the ocean?
AT: Across the ocean? I and a friend that I had, was neighbor? we were a littlebit seasick, I had Ingrid, she wasn't really sick, but, she wasn't satisfied with things, I I had had Vernon, he would never have been satisfied to be in that little room. But she was- satisfied, I talked to her and she was satisfied to be there,
SS: Was it a little room that you had?
AT: You know? those place on the boat? it wasn't much and there was a bunk
OT: Bottom bunk and top bunk,
AT: Qn both, sides. Bit I remember that was a neighbor ''with, me that has beenin this country, was home and he come back. So he could have some company on the way. But of course, it was better for me than for him, We get along. But anyway, he was real goods We were, my neighbor that was in the same room there I: was, we were laying down because we wasn't feeling good, and little Ingrid, she was satisfied to money around with things there, so that went good, But then that boy that was neighbor to me, he came, he was disgusted because he said,"You aren't sick either of you,"The other neighbor friend, "Get up and go up on the deck!" We didn't want to go with, them, We curled up in those beds. But he got us out of bed, both of us, both her and me. And got one in each arm and we went up there, "And now you going to have a glass o€ beer." "Glass of beer! we said,"We never have tasted beer,""You are seasick, now you said you were seasick, YOu better drink this,"he said,He had a wide, wide glass, he didn't give up. We really wasn't sick, but we were in one way, too lazy to move around. So he made us drink, I'll never forget that.
SS: Did it make you feel worse or better?
AT: I tell you, I never have tasted beer, Both of us said we have never tastedbeer and he said,"You said you were seasick, Now you drink this!" And he stood there and we had to drink it. But it didn't, taste so bad, as we thought it would. So I know that was my first beer drinking, was on the boat,
SS: I remember you told me that before you went, someone told you that womendidn't have to work in merica,
AT: Ya, it was a neighbor, it was a friend of mine at home that said that. Shecome in and she saw roe off, I was visiting my cousins and here she come, and I knew her real well, and she said,(lilting voice)"Anna, you're going to America. When you get to America, you won't have to do a thing. Sit in a chair with your feet on a footstool And they'll dress you and everything," I said "Elroa, who going to dress roe if no woman works?"
SS: You said who's going to dress?
AT: Ya, I said,"Elroa, " I said to her, her namft, was Elma said all I had to dowas sit there in a chair and have my feet on a footstool when I get up to America, and thy'd dress me. she said,"But Elma," I said,"who's going to dress me if nobody working?" So I find out a little different. Had lots of cows in the barn after little bit,(laughs)
SS: When you were going to leave Sweden, did you have mixed feelings aboutleaving? Or were you looking forward to America?
AT: I guess I was going. I guess it wasn't one way QX another, When I have gotthe ticket and all that, it was to go, And when I got to live at Eric Nelsons ther, you know, there were enough Swedih. people there that I could talk to them. And they were real good to me, Eric Nelson't there,And I was like home there. And little Ingrid, she walk between, I lived in the old house and she was home there too, If I had sat in a house there, here inn this country and couldn't talked to another person and not understood a wor, you know, that'd been awful tough, I wouldn't know what I would have done. And Eric was there with, his team and went to town and £ rode with him and got groceries and things like that, Oscar was in the camps so he wasn't home. So I couldn't have had a better place,
OT: It was different for. roe though, to go into the camp and know nobody, andthen you sit at the table you know, you have to call for what you were eating,
SS: You have to call for it?
OT: Yeah, If you were going to have so and so, you called for that, and I don'tknow what they called it,Some of that food, you know. So you were sitting in the center, there were three on each side, if you can reach over the one sitting there, but you couldn't reach over on either side of you. You have to ask for it, And I don't, know what they call it, (laughs)
SS: How did you get it?
OT: Finally I reached over and somebody jnow what they know, that I was justcoming over, so then they helped me some of them, they sent to roe, They sent to me stuff some I dlon't like to eat, but I eat it anyway, That's not easy,
AT: That trouble I didn't have because I stayed there
OT: We meet somebody on the road, you know, we were kind of afraid that theywas gonna talk to us. I know that Gus Berg come after me, you see, he come the same year but he come at Christmas time, and he walk from the camp one time and he had one behind you see, and he'd walk ail he could, you know. He thought they were going to catch up with him and talk to him. He couldn't talk to them. He said,"I have an awful time til 1 get away from that manJ" Oh, that was awful,
AT: That time that Mr, and Mrs, Eric Nelson went on'Little Bear Ridge to a sale,and I was alone, and a peddler came, And he was used to going there and they bought things from him, and here was I, I didn't understand him and he didn't of course, understand me, But I said I heard the word'sale' so I said,"Little Bear Ridge-sale," I remember that, So the peddler went there. He said to Eric when he got there,"What in all the world kind of people do you have at home that can't either understand or talk?" "You,"Eric said,"she has come from Sweden just a few days ago,"That was an excuse,
OT: Not easy, I was kind of afraid of people, you know, when they just startedtalking to me and I couldn't understand.
AT: But it doesn't take too long, we don't know what to talk yet like we should.But it doesn't take too long that we understand little bit about coffee and cream and things like that, It doesn't take too long, starting to get along with, everyday things,
OT: It you come here younger, you know, so you come out with them voice, seethat's different. When you're older and you came over, it won't go so good,
SS: Harder to learn the language,
OT: When you're younger, it's easy to learn,
SS: Did the lumberjacks used to give you a hard time?
OT: Some, There were ones that did, you know,(name) he was kind of sawboss inthe woods, see,
AT: But they should have known a little bit.OT: He don't know no Swede a bit, when he tease me, I couldn't understand him. You see, there was a nigger family, you know, Wells, And they told me,"You go see Nigger Mary, otherwise you never be citizen here!"(laughs) He tease me, you know, but I know why he did. I couldn't understand...
AT: When I wasn't here- I didn't mean I started right away, but I had in mymind I didn't want to be in this country if I can't become a citizen, I didn't feel, I don't know, Iwas just like sitting here and didn't belong any place.
OT: You belongs to that country where you come from, so long as you haven'ttaken your citizen papers,
AT: But that was there and I was here!
OT: We come from Sweden, we were Swedish citizens, born in Sweden, So long as wedon't take a paper here, we were still Swedish,
SS: So you felt a little like a person without a country,
AT: I wanted to take out a paper and Oscar said,"Oh no," he didn't know if hedared to and I said,"You can do what you want,I want to."
OT: Seventeen years we were here and then we took the papers, Been here 17 years.
AT: Was we here that long?
OT: '27 to '44.
SS: Why did you wait so long?
OT: We waited that long so I could understand what the judge wanted to talkabout, see.
AT: Didn't we have a few lessons to learn?
OT: You bet, we had to study! We get the Constitution of the United States,we have,
SS: You had to study to become a citizen.
OT: Yes, you had to study that,
AT: And then when time comes,
OT: And then there was an examiner, see,
OT: An examiner who ask you first before you come in front of the judge. Andthen Qle Bohman and Herman Paulson, and they were witnesses, you know, and things you know, he ask them. And he asked me one question, he asked me, "Don't the president, don't he appoint the senate too?" No, I said, I don't think so. They might have done it long time ago, but they don't do it now. People vote for them," He tried to see if I know that,
AT: Trick you.That was a good thing that you knew that,
OT: "No," I said,"people vote for them,"
AT: It was so cut that man that asked us things. We had to go up and the judgewas there hut that was before. But he was so young I felt we were old people and he said,"Ya, what should we do with these kids?"he said, and we were older than he was. At least, I felt that. Of course, we passed,
OT: And then they had the examiner too. So he ask the other one before, He askedroe if I had taken up the first paper before,"Yes ,"I said, "I have," "Why don't you keep on with. it?""No," I said,"I was afraid I couldn't make it," "But you're going to make it now,"he said,
AT: He was really good,
OT: They know everything about things, I took the first paper, they fooled meto go take the first paper, and I don't know nothing, you see, After seven years, they were too old,
AT: He thought the judge, Clark, Walter Clark, he talked to him first, and thenhe talked to me and I guess it mut be on the paper that he had come here first so he said, and"You tagged him along over here," he said to me, "Yes, I did" I, said, I'll never forget that.
OT: It was a nice judge.
AT: Those words, I remember what he said,"And you tagged him along over here,"Because we didn't come the same time,
SS: Did you take out your first papers soon after you got here?
OT: Ya, there were a couple of years,! think, I see them upstairs here yet.Eric Nelson fooled me to do that. I went up behind the courthouse in Moscow and the judge was Oscar Nilsson, he was a Swede, It was easy to get the first paper that way, Well
SS: You don't have to pass a test to get the first paper?
OT: Oh no. Not the first test,
SS: Just to become a citizen,
OT: Then it was over seven years, so they were too old. They asked me can Ikeep on with it. No I said,"I'm afraid I couldn't make it" "But you're going to make it now,"
AT: I said that I wanted to.
OT: There were people who were here 40 years before they took the paper,Somebodynever took it!
AT: I: was so unsure, so I talked to
SS: You talked to who?
AT: Mrs, Eric Nelson, She was born here, but I told her what I feel I should liketo be a citizen when I'm here, but I knew I didn't belong in one way, and then again I felt like I was just sitting there, I don't remember exactly what she said, but we talked more than once and then we started in and it went alright,
OT: Axel Bohman, you know, he took her paper I think you can get the paper, Ithink it has to be five years here. So the judge asked him "Why you took the paper pretty quick? "Five years," Yes,""he said,"l like to have protection." He said that to the judge, Axel told me himself. That was the right answer. You'd be protected if you're a citizen here,
SS: You're protected against what?OT: Lot of things that come up you have protection that they can probably help yoi, that they work for you, things like that, But if you're no citizen and you do things like that, probably don't do so right, then they don't care about that, you see,
AT: I remember Judge Clark.
OT: He was nice man. He was father- in-law to Frank Church, I don't know thatuntil he died. We read that in the paper. And Frank Church is a good man,
AT: Son-in-law did you say?
OT: Yeah, Frank Church was son-in-law to Clark, the judge, the federal judge.
AT: I thought it was the other way, but I knew it couldn't go because Jusge Clarkwas old,
SS: When you took the train out, it was a rough trip,
AT: I'll tell youi, it was hot. So it couldn't be worse,And then so many peoplethat when I got closer to Spokane then it cooled off, at nights, I sat with that kid, 'cause it was so crowded,
SS: You probably didn't sleep much.
AT: Oh, I guess I couldn't sleep anway. But I had her laying beside roe there,I sat and let her,
OT: If there was room,
AT: It went alright, but I knew on the boat, you see, there the kids could runaround and there they could be, I know that Vernon, our boy, he was so active, he wouldn't have, but Ingrid was satisfied if we giver her papers to draw on and if she had some pictures to look at, she was satisfied.
OT: All them other kids on the boat too,
AT: Oh ya, but my goodness, they had swings, so they could swing, But who inall the world, it had stairs up and it had stairs down and it goes, we had to have an eye on the kids there,
SS: What did you think of Troy when you pulled into the station and go to Troy?Did you have first impressions of the town?
AT: I tell you, there wasn't a soul there to meet me
OT: You probably were thinking it was a big city,
OT: I thought it were bigger than it was. They were talking about Troy so much,
AT: I know. But I come to Troy and I have written so many times for my brothersaddress and for his address,"Troy," and here was the depot with Troy and nobody was there meeting me,
SS: What did you do?
AT: I'll tell you how it happened. Axel , my brother that lived in Troy met him,Where was it here they were?
OT: They were to Spokane, To meet her. And she never come, 'Cause she stayedone night in New York and two nights in Minneapolis, And I thought she was going to go direct, come to Troy, So we stayed in Spokane, waiting for her,
AT: It was no way I was to
OT: And we come down from Spokane, then she was in Troy,
SS: What did you do after you got off the train?
AT: I got off, of course, the conductor didn't let me off, And there was one maatthe depot in Troy. It was an old Norwegian man that used to go down and meet the train
OT: He took the papers.
AT: And he had no one to meet. So the porter took my suitcases and just kind ofI was sitting there and I had Ingrid on my arm, was going to no, he didn't let roe off til he had talked to that man. And then of course when I got to go off, he took both suitcases, stuck in that roan's hand, But he was Norwegian, so i could talk to him, But he didn't like to be there and meet me he looked so, kind of mad and all that. Yes, he did. Other women in Troy said he was an older man, but he had awidow, across the railroads to go and see, so maybe he was -they made it stronger of course for roe-maybe he was on his way over there to go and see her, But he went with me and he looked mad, awful mad« But he took my suitcase and I had so many other things too, but then we met someone, Jalmar had a picture of a roan that Jalmar was friends with. And we met him. And Iasked him if he wasn't showing, and "he said but that Norwgian man said,"Now you can take care of this one!" And he gave him the suitcases!(laughs)
SS: You recognized him from the picture you had seen?
AT: From the picture Jalroar, but they didn't cal him Walfred Olson the friendsaid the nickname Sconing, because he was from Sconay in Sweden,
OT: He was from the southern part of Sweden, But he was born back east in Minnesota.
AT: And the group, they worked together, they started calling him Sconing. Thatwas all I knew, so I asked him if he isn't Sconing, "Yes" he said, It was terrible for him too, because my brother, Axel, that worked for Green's warehouse had kind of vacation, and Sconing took his place at the warehouse. So you see, they're tied down when they have a job, He had been home eating dinner. Because the train come in at 12. And that Norwgian met me and he took off right away when he got
AT: ...should we go, because we talked Swedish."Ya," I said,"If you can take meto Axel Bohman," of course 1 knew that, Ya, he said, he had his job to stary in there, in the warehouse and all that. But we waled up and I had Ingrid and I had, you know, lots of junk for her and Sconing with the suitcase and people at the store come out and looked and looked,(laughs) To see whzt in all the world this was, They knew Sconing, they couldn*t imagine how he was involved in that. So he took me up to Axel Bohman. Axel Bohman had kind of an office ?r something, so he took me home,
SS: Axel did?
AT: Yes. Soon as I got there, I had had enough, I had a headache, and I threw upon the train because I was worn out, you know, after all that, the boat ride and all. And I heard Ingrid there was Indian women on the train. And I went in, I was there and I threw up in the washroom there,"Mama's beer," she said, That was in Swedish, She told them I was vomiting, I heard her and the Indian womean tookher, they had beads and they let her play with, them, so things went alright.
SS: On the train?
AT: Yeah, Of course, after I got the throwing up done, I sat a little, rocked her,
SS: So Axel Bohman took you straight out to the Nelson's place?
AT: Ya,you see, no, so that would have been far from town out there. But you see,1 had my brother and his wife that Oscar, they come home, So we went there to stay overnight. That is this brother(shows picture). He was young then.
SS: So then they had arranged that you would be staying at the Nelsons,
AT: He went to meet Oscar when he came. He worked for Green warehouse so he ranon his noon hour because it was noon. Train come in. So we ran and met. the train many times before Oscar, it's hard to tell except with, the day. So he was there and tried to see if he came. But the day Oscar cam of course, Oscar took him home, so there was, Axel said to me,"I thought maybe it will be a little,"! don't know what you call him, "but here came that big man off the train,"he said, Oscar was kind of bigger than he expected,
SS: When you first got to the Nelsons, what did you think that it was a niceplace right away, did you feel at home there, or did it take awhile?
AT: I don't know. It was this old farmhouse they had, little house, it wasn'ta big house they had. And there was Mrs, Nelson and Eric, There was someone to talk to, so it went alright, Oscar went of course.
SS: Did she speak Swedish?
AT: Ya, that poor^ thing lost his legs, (points to picture of brother)Ya, It wastoo bad, but he's quite a happy guy. Anyway, I'm glad that it turn out, I think about that trip, but its funny, I never sorry, I was alright When I got there, I had a place to go,
SS: Did Qscar stay at home very long or did he have to go right off ?
AT: He went right away to work, Because he thought it was so important, ofcourse, it was too, Ingrid is and my ticket I guess wasn't paid for yet. So he always has been that kind when he work, he didn't want to skimp there and he kept on. But I wasn't alone, you see. I had Eric Nelsons there. And we had friends and they talked Swedish and they caroe and was nice. So it went just fine
SS: Who were the other people that you roet? Their neighbors?
AT: Mrs. Eric Nelson's brother and sister lived close by there and they came andother of friends and of course, they were friendly. They didn't come to see me but they come over and I was introduced, and it didn't take long.
SS: They probably wanted to see the new family.
AT: That couldi be.
SS: Curious about them.
AT: Ya. So it went just fine. Just fine. And Ingrid, she felt at home and shetalked Swedish for everybody.(laughs) Almost all of them understood. Of those neighbors and friends. Eric, he was so crazy about kids and he teased her. And called her a boy. He said,"Mama, where did you get that boy from?" "I'm not a boy, " she said,"I'm a girl!" Ya, they laughed a little bit just to see she go- so road she'd yell like that,"I told you, I'm a girl!"(laughs) Oh, he was so good. He liked kids. No, it wasn't so bad. But if I would have sat out in the country like that I would be all by myself with Ingrid. I don't know what I would have done. Because it wouldn't have been easy to, I didn't know the idea about people could come or go or anything, I had Eric and Hilda. I used to go out and milk, helped them milk. They had so many cows, cows to milk, So when I decided to, I didn't have to, I went out and milked and I, was just right home in Sweden. No, they all were good to me.
SS: You must have spent time with them every day?
AT: Oh ya.
SS: A lot of visiting back and forth,
AT: I guess I told you I pulled Hilda in that cart and Ingrid didn't care toride in it and Eric's cart, he had made a little thing and was a wheel. And Ingrid wanted to ride in that thing so bad, but she didn't dare to alone. And then we'd lay hay in the bottom of it and she sit there and I pull. No, no, YQu sit with roe. Who should pull then. Couldn't have Mrs. Nelson pull me! So we got Hilda, I said to Hilda, crawl in there. If she once get to ride, maybe she is afraid to ride alone. Hilda went there. Then Ingrif rode, She said,"My when people go by here and they see that you pull and they say now Mrs. Eric Nelson has that Swedish woman to pull her around!" (laughs) Nobody thought that about Hilda, Mrs, Eric Nelson,
SS: She said that?
AT: We had lots of fun. They were so good.
SS: Do you think that she helped you learn a lot about how to get along inAmerica, American ways? Did she tell you things that you needed to know?
AT: I learned to cook and bake and we didn't do it the same wayythere as hereso I got to learn from Hilda,
SS: It was different here?
AT: Oh ya, it was different. Of course Swedish people would eat and drink anyway,but, ya,
SS: What was the differences that you learned here from the way you cooked there?
AT: Like baking, that was different, At home we baked that flat, big roundthings
SS: Flat bread?
AT: Ya. And here they made loaves. Of course, the coffee bread that wasn'tdifferent, because we made that at home, Of course, it was different recipe we had for cookies and things, but that was a minor thing, Hilda baked and if I want to learn I couldn't because she was a good cook, Oh, she was a good cook, And we had lots of fun, Hilda and I, When Eric was cutting peas, and he bunched them, sat on the mower and bunched them like that and I said I took the fork and (helped) but you see, that wasn't enough working for roe to sit there, 1 was young, I was used to work, Sit there in that little house and Ingrid was as much at Hilda's house as at my place. I went there and shocked and I did that the first day. And Hilda, of course we were in for dinner at Hilda's., But then the next day she said,"Now I'm going out and shocking"and you know, she had so much, to do. They had so many cows. And she cooked so well and baked so much that she didn't have time and she was old then and I wasn't old. So she said,"But now I'm go out in the field," she said, "because you aren't going to go there another day" Then I cooked, in my poor way- I cooked(for them).So that was good for her to not have to cook, She was satisfied. Oh, she was good! Everybody was good to me, Everybody was good to her? Them people was friendly and many talked Swedish and that was good at the time, Because I didn't understand anything. But the ones that come and work in Spokane and had to start in work for American people, they said they learned fast because they had to learn,
SS: What's this about working in Spokane? You didn't do that,
AT: No, people, girls that come over and had wor, you know, they hired maids yearsago in Spokane. Was many from home that went to America and they worked in Spokane. But of course, that was hard for them at first because they don't understand anything, but they learn though, that way. But here I had Swedish and Norwgian, they were all around me. I didn't have to try even at first, So that's the way, Ole Bohman's sister, Anna Anderson, she worked there and she said that when they come and take up the laundry, no siree, when they take the boss's suit, that they couldn't take, she said,"I wasn't going to let that go." They were gone someplace and the man comes a certain time to pick it up. So when he got home, his suit wasn't, cleaned. But she said, they knew where it was to pick up things, but she said,"When I saw it, I ghout, his suit, I'm not going to let go of,"
SS: She wasn't sure if they were going to bring it all back?
AT: I guess she thought it was, ya, she said that," I wasn't going to let hissuit go at least,"
SS: She lived down here but she went up there to work?
AT: She come as a girl here from Sweden, And I guess, of course I was never inon that because I never worked out. But they said, of course it was girls that coroe to work and it went to city, In the country they didn't hire girls rouch. So they were in Spokane. It was many that worked in Spokane.
SS: Her brothers were down here,
AT: Oh ya, here.
SS: So did she come back down here when she wasn't working?
AT: Oh yes. She had someone. But Anna told me that herself. When she worked inSpokane and they were going to come. The master and missus was gone, And, but that she said,"One thing I thought I don't let them take this suit." She didn't either. So I guess it's many things that's funny that goes on. She worked in Spokane, and then she married and lived here over in that place, farmed here after I came,
OT: Cold outside.
SS: Yeah, it is
OT: Wind too.
AT: That's what Anna Sandberg said. She predicted wind and cold tonight, I'mtelling him when Anna had to work in Spokane and they don't let them come to get his suit when they come to pick it up
SS: So you didn't try to learn English at first? Youjust went and talked inSwedish?
AT: Ya, I never got out to work. I should have, But there I had Ingrid and thenhe was working, so I guess I had little bit to live frome without going
OT: Like in the carop, you know, there's a lot of Swedes you know, you hanground thero Swedes you know, One fellow told me that "You should hang round the Americand and learn. Don't hang round Swedes, What do you do when you don't understand nothing?"
AT: Ya, but they say you learn faster if you get in aroong the merican speakingpeople
OT: Speak American all the time, you learn it quick then, see.
SS: Did you try and do that?
OT: No, i hang around them Swedes, Telling stories and things like that,
AT: I bet he was glad for every4wede he saw!
SS: You must have seen quite a few Swedes in the woods?
OT: Oh, hundreds, hundreds of Swedes,
AT: In the camps, ya.
OT: There was a lot of Swedes that worked in the camps, Young boys that come over*And worked in the woods,
AT: After all, it wasn't bad at all.
OT: No, I should have hung around and talk American, I knowl should,
SS: But it was the same with you Anna. You spoke Swedish because the peoplearound you spoke Swedish,
AT: Ya, it was the same for me. But I heard it said that they do best if they getamong people that they have to try the American,
SS: How long do you think it was before you started expressing yourself inEnglish?
AT: Oh, the little I know, is gradually, I would have wanted to go to school,I said that because I didn't understand how it was, I said that said that there over at Mrs, Eric Nelson, I said that. I talked to someone that, "I wish I could go to school." I said,"I was satisfied with the ordinary country grade school." But they said, "You can't do that." I can see an old woman sitting there, among the kids.
OT: Long time ago you can go to school and listen to them see, but you can do
AT: Ya, but like so many. They have school in Spokane. Ingrid, she talks Swedishbut she won't do real Swedish so of course...
OT: Ingrid learn Swede from us, you know. And she learn American, she went toschool and she knows American before she went to school,
AT: Oh yes.
OT: The same with Vernon, He learned with them boys and girls, see,
SS: From their playmates,
AT: FRom their playmates, oh yes. But,
SS: They probably spoke better than you did when they were little kids.
OT: Ingrid, she goes to Swedish school now in Spokane. And she said,"I thoughtI knew Swede,"but no, she don't know no real Swede,
AT: But Lois, our daughter-in-law, she's a go-getter. She went to school andI can write to her and she reads the letters and she can yfrite back and its so easy, because the writing was worst. I could talk to her if she call on the phone or so, and we got along fine. But writing and that's so bad yet, that I write Swedish, She lea%ed when she took that night class, And Ingrid takes that. But she wasn't sure that she was right in one thing? Ingrid, she didn't say that to him, But she asked us, They had the printing down and all that so she asked us, and she thought she was, and Isay that I think, shrinka in Sweden, that's aham, And they were going to, like the class was going to, they had read it and they were going to explain it and all that, She said it was "ham" here, But the teacher said it was "hamburger," And could that be possible?
SS: Idon't see how it could be both, because they're different, things,
AT: But ham, that was shrinka in Swedish, And Ingrid knew that ham was shrinka,But the teacher said that instead of saying haro? they should say hamb urger, And she asked us, without saying anything about the school and she said,"What would hame be in Swedish?" Shrinka, they called that ham was al shrinka, "That's what I marked down," she said,"at school, but they said it was supposed to be hamburger!"
SS: Do you still write letters in Swedish?
AT: That's all I can write,
SS: I was wondering.
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63:00 - Stories from mother about baptising the spirits of dead children; ministers were high-ranking
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67:00 - Showing deference to pastors; the rich didn't associate with the poor; logging in Sweden; more discussion about confirmations and lack of denominations
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Segment Synopsis: People had to take off their hats to pastors, and hats and gloves in banks and in the post office. Axel Bohman wouldn't do this when he returned to Sweden. The rich didn't associate with the poor. Logging in Sweden; unions came to woods. More about confirmations and lack of denominations.
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87:00 - Discussion of the rich and arranged marriages; church announcement of marriages on only three Sundays
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100:00 - What they heard about America; being related to the Bohmans and they were well off in Sweden; Legal arrangements to come to America
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Segment Synopsis: What they heard about America. The Bohmans were related to her family. How Ole changed his name from Olson. The Bohmans were well off in Sweden. Mr. Thomason decided to come after talking to her brother. Legal arrangements to come to America; sponsorship from Troy area people. She thought it might take a long time to get his papers, but it was quick.
119:00 - The work he did when he got here; Ole Bohman helping as the banker and often checked on how the Thomasons were doing
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Segment Synopsis: The work he did when he got here. Ole Bohman helped the people as a banker, and he could be with anyone. A loan to a drunk man. Bohman's father was like a county commissioner here; his job was to help the poor. Ole checked often to see how the Thomasons were doing, and helped them.
120:00 - Many Swedish people worked for Bohman's lumber when they first came; Ole Bohman was worried about the Bank during the Depression
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123:00 - Living with the Nelsons when she first came over; Discussion of her voyage to America and then to Idaho
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Segment Synopsis: Living in a small house by the Nelsons when she first came to America. Her train trip West with her aunt who lived in Tacoma. Her voyage to America. Her friend told her women didn't work in America. She didn't debate coming. The transition wasn't hard because she lived at the Nelsons.
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146:00 - More discussion of her train trip to Idaho; how she found her family after coming to the train station in Troy
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150:00 - Reaching her new home; how being neighbors with the Nelsons made the adjustment to America easier
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168:00 - Swedish girls who worked in Spokane; Anna Bohman wouldn't let the cleaner take her boss's suit
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