Saturday, November 26, 2011
On April 15, 1889, the day they bid their loved ones good-by, Charles and Josephine (Kasperson) Carlson and their little family of four, the youngest being a nine month old baby daughter, loaded their small wooden trunk onto their horse drawn buggy and proceeded to the waiting boat. Charles' two sisters and brother chose to remain in Sweden. They, along with many good and faithful friends, followed in their buggies. All along the way, the Carlson's turned to wave to their followers. At first the buggies were quite close together but as they went on down the little lane, the followers grew farther apart. By the time the Carlson's reached the boat, they were quite alone.
Once on the boat, they made many new friends in the several weeks it took to cross the waters from Holland, Sweden to America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The weeks went by quickly during their safe passage. The older folks were eager to share their many stories and laugh over their many Swedish jokes. It was told, one old gentleman unpacked his accordion and Charles brought out his beloved wooden clarinet and during the journey they sang and danced and must have had a grand old time. Charles and Josephine's children, 14 year old Severin Benght, 9 year old Clara Josephine, and 5 year old Carl Adolf, played games with the other children and even joined in the merry singing and dancing. Little Amanda Gustafva was too young to join in the fun, but rather stayed in her mother's or father's arms and being the youngest passenger, was given much attention.
Two years later another son, Frank Emil, was born in America to Charles and Josephine in the year 1891.
As the boat approached land and dropped anchor, it was an exciting day for the voyagers to disembark and be welcomed by such a large crowd of people who had gathered along the New York shoreline.
There were a great number of wagons and buggies waiting for the new arrivals. After bidding their good-bys and boarding the various wagons, they took off in all directions. Many families stayed in New York while others ventured west and to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota to make their homes. Charles and Josephine continued on with a number of travelers going south into Iowa following the shores of the Mississippi River to the city of Keokuk located at the southeastern tip of the state that was incorporated in 1847. They claimed this city to be their destination, their new home and dreams of the future for both them and their children and their children's children and for the generations yet to come. It is here where their journey ends and the stories begin.
By Ruth E. Heston (Amanda's Daughter )