Friday, August 1, 2008

Hallowed Ground

There's some kind of connection from posting to posting. This time I go from the sacred beauty of God's landscape to the churches that have special meaning to my family. I first saw the Ljung church when I was an exchange student to Sweden back in 1975. Luckily, my host family made it possible for me to visit the church. An experience that was one of the many things that inspired my interest in family genealogy.
These photos are from the 70's showing the back of the church and inside from the choir loft. Did you know many of the cemetery plots are reused. If no one is caring for the grave it is reused. The headstones become part of the stone fence around the church or a walkway around the church. I'm not sure of all the details of the "recycled" graves but do know the cemetery has been in use for hundreds of years.

(the Swedish translation of the name is bridge home) is the birthplace of my Great great grandparents. (The brothers Karl and Adolph Svensson who later built Fallhemmet as mentioned from an earlier posting.) Their father Sven Svensson was a torpare. Brohemmet was on land which belonged to another owner than the Svenssons, in this case Ljung Slott (Castle) The settler who worked a torp was obligated to provide the owner with a certain number of free work days during the year. In return the torpare worked his plot of ground, seldom larger than a couple of acres, where he could plant potatoes, grow vegetables and a bit of hay for the lone cow, a couple of pigs and a few chickens. Brohemmet was one of the closest homes to the Ljung church and castle of the owner, therefore giving it a prime location as it was also next to the river. It is imagined Sven was an important worker for the estate due to the proximity of the home to the castle. The owners of the Ljung estate while Sven and Katrina lived at Brohemmet were The von Fersen family until 1862 (when they went bankrupt) and then The von Mecklenburg family bought the estate. The Svensson family had to move out of the house when father Sven died in 1860, that is when Fallhemmet was built. Photo Above: Brohemmet with a view of the Ljung Kyrka (Church) in the distance across the river.

Karl emigrated to the United States in 1869 with his wife Carolina and three children and settled in Dakota Territory in 1870, along the Sioux River. Adolph emigrated to the United States years later at the age of 54 in 1889 with his wife Greta and two of their six living children. The other four children had already emigrated to the same area where Karl had settled. The brothers reunited after 20 years, had 12 living children between the two of them, who were pioneers of the area. These descendants helped start a church named Grandview Swedish Mission Church of rural Granite, IA, now known as Grandview Covenant Church.

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