Sunday, August 30, 2009

A light unto my path...

Growing up, antiques were a natural part of our lives. As kids, we didn't really do much different because of having them in our home. What I have enjoyed is that everything has a story. There were the four chairs and settee that came from France with English tapestry covers. It first had a black horsehair surface when it got to America. It found it's way to the southern part of the country, where the owner was afraid the Yankees would get it, so it was hidden in their attic before it was inherited by someone and was moved to New York. Mom and Dad purchased it from a woman in LeMars, IA. I do remember they were our perch when we did something naughty and we were placed on them awaiting Dad to come into the house. (4 kids, 4 chairs) Sort of time out chairs before the expression ever came to be. (Mom was ahead of her time.)
I remember being so proud when my first grade class took a field trip to our farm to see the antiques. The bus pulling into our yard, Mom standing out on the sidewalk in a dress waving to us. It's a treasured vision I keep in my mind. I remember kids asking me how we could live with it all, it was natural to us, we didn't know anything different.
My sister and I have followed in Mom and Dad's love for antiques. Our homes are filled with treasures we've collected over the years.
Victorian hanging and table lamps are something the folks have hanging around the house. Some have been electrified, some not. Dad has restored many. He's polished much brass in his lifetime on his shopsmith out in the garage. I think jewelers rouge was something I've always known about as a polishing agent. Then there's the Brasso and rags we polished the brass on the old cars with.
I have collected some lamps myself. There's my collections of mini lamps which mostly started when I got a bunch at an auction. There have been gifts from Dad and more auction finds. I've searched for that illusive lamp shade too, finding the local Amish community stocks Aladdin lamp parts and shades, and like Dad, have a box of lamp parts and chimneys to fit that lamp that may find it's way to my house that is missing something.
Left: One of my finds a few years back was this hanging lamp, but my house doesn't have the 8 ft. ceilings I grew up with, it can't be hung here, so it found it's way to Mom and Dad's house.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalms 119:105

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Johan August Danielsson/ Lång/ Long Family

I am not related to this family but the son Carl mentioned below did marry my Great Aunt Emma Johnson. The Longs homesteaded across the river from my Swanson ancestors so the family has been friends for years, before the later generations became cousins. The Swedish community in this area was a close knit group of people.

The "grenadier" (soldier) Johan August Danielsson Lång was born Aug. 17, 1832, in Adelöv parish, Jönköping county. His wife, Johanna Blomstedt was born May 4, 1832, in Hangebyhöga parish, Östergötland county. Their oldest daughter, Johanna Augusta was born Jan. 10, 1859, in Sankt Per parish, Östergötland county. Their son Carl Johan (Charley) was born June 1, 1861, in Sankt Per parish, Östergötland county.

The whole family got their moving letter for America on Sept. 28, 1869 in Sankt Per, but at that time Johan August Danielsson Lång already was in America. He had left in 1868, or earlier, without a moving letter. This family is listed in the Sankt Per household record 1869 on page 108. They are listed as emigrating to America on Sept. 28, 1869, leaving from the farm Granby in Sankt Per parish. The passenger lists have Johanna and the children on them. They are listed as leaving from the port of Göteborg on Oct. 5, 1869: Johanna Lång, 36 years old, from Sweden to New York, child, 11 years old, from Sweden to New York child, 7 years old, from Sweden to New York Source code: 2:341:29/2148
When Johanna asked for a moving letter for herself and the children the minister of Sankt Per wrote a letter for the whole family. This is not unusual. I have seen that happend pretty often. researcher: Anna-Lena Hultman Lilleskogen, Hössna S-523 97 ULRICEHAMN Sweden

During the time he was in the army in Sweden, his name was changed to "Long", because so many Danielson's were in that same area. (6/2002 Bernice Hass Long said that John Long was nicknamed "long John" in the old country because he was so tall, so when they came to US the immigrations officials changed it around to John Long.) He married Johanna Blomsteadt on January 6, 1857 in Sweden, and they had two children, Charley and Augusta, born to them in Sweden. In 1868, John came to America by himself, leaving his wife and two children there, until he could make a home for them in the United States. He worked on railroads and did whatever other work he could find to make money. Once when he had just about enough money saved to send to his family in Sweden, he was robbed, and had to start all over again. He worked his way to Iowa, where he homesteaded in 1869, the 160 acres which is located about nine miles west of Larchwood near the Big Sioux River. The locality, being close to the river which provided water and the surrounding trees, made the area an ideal place to homestead. He sent for his wife Johanna and their two children after he homesteaded. They lived in a dugout-type home until they could build their first wooden house in the 1880's. It was one of the first houses to be built on the prairie in this area. Johanna brought gifts to the Indians that lived in the area at that time. By doing this, she and the Indians became acquainted and no longer feared each other. *West Lyon Herald 12/16/1982 and Larchwood Centennial Book, 1972
John came to U.S., Sioux City, IA, 5/8/1868. The rest of his family emmigrated to America 9/28/1869.

In the early days the Long home was a landmark for travelers. The road passed through the farm, near the family dwelling, to the river crossing into Dakota Territory. Hardships of pioneer life were numerous; there were blizzards, lack of bridges meant streams and rivers would flood over, travel was limited and there was a lack of many conviences we know today including telephone communications. Medical services were only sought and secured in dire circumstances. This made for closer intimate dependance on good neighbors. The nearest grocery store might be a couple of days away on foot.

Soon after coming from Sweden, Johanna (Blomstedt) Long ventured on a shopping tour to Sioux City, not realizing the distance and hazards involved. She started early one morning following a southerly path and became completely lost. Due to language difficulties, not being able to communicate with even a stranger in this sparsely populated area she was unable to chart a homeward path. After a week's inquiry and search it was discovered that she missed her way. She was found in Yankton, SD.

One day Johanna was alone at home with her family. A group of Indians came by and set up camp on the banks of the Sioux River just a few rods from their dwelling. This was a new experience for her. She listened to many stories of fierce atrocities and killings committed by unfriendly Indians. With thoughts of her helplessness to defend herself and her family, she was suddenly seized with fear, what would she do? She couldn't run away, no place to go. Could she conceal her where-abouts until her husband returned? But with children this was most difficult. Besides there were chores to do and an evening meal to prepare. Finally she hit upon a more positive strategy, she churned butter, made bread, gathered a few eggs and took them in person to the Indians. They gladly accepted these tokens, a meaningful symbol of good will and in turn offered some wild game roasting on the fire. This was a signal point of friendship. The smiling Indian chief stepped forward and gave her a gentle pat on the shoulder. Johanna returned home with assurance she had nothing to fear.

A third child was born to this union in Iowa. Ferdinand Danielson Long was born in 1873 and died in 1891 at 18 years old. He was one of the earliest to be buried in what would become the Grandview Covenant Church Cemetery overlooking the river valley where the Longs homesteaded.
Larchwood Centennial 1872-1972 Remember the Past Build for the Future and The LONG Family History.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Most of what I post here is of memories... There are the genealogy and regional posts too, but they usually connect to a memory of someplace or someone. In my last post, I talked about my horse, Bibsey, being the first "friend" that I lost. It got me thinking of others who have crossed my path to where I am today. Memories of them are frozen in my mind, taking me to a time we shared or an impact they made on my life.

Chris Schnepf was a classmate from my school days, elementary through high school. We were both involved in the same classes, band, class plays, swing choir, and ran with the same crowd. School activities keep you close to your high school friends, as your life follows the same path. Favorite memories with him include and revolve around; jazz band practices, band trips, chorus, bus trips, speech club, a trip to Des Moines for BB tournaments, campouts, drive-in movies, taco bell trips late at night, rides home, parties,... It seemed we were always on the go back then. Laughter was a key to our friendship, whether it was going somewhere, getting into or staying out of trouble, I still smile when I think of him.

Sitting in Kerkvliet’s Corner in Larchwood with Chris and Ann talking about our future, we exchanged autographs with each other, for that day when we’d become famous and could cash in on selling each other’s autograph. I’m sure I have their autographs in a scrapbook around here somewhere. (I keep lots of those kind of mementos.)

That day was not to come for Chris, he collided with a train near his family home, derailing five engines and seven cars, the fall of 1977, before starting his Sophomore year of college. I remember the last time I saw him as he honked from his truck, driving by the park in Larchwood where I was playing tennis. Friends gathered to attend his visitation as a group, his family reserved a place in the church behind them for his classmates and friends at his funeral. I still think of him from time to time, imagining him watching down on all his friends and family from heaven.

I was going to write about others who’ve “crossed my path” but I think one is enough for this post. Make sure your friends and family know what you mean to them. Hold onto your memories.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Some Favorite Photos of the Past

Looking back through old photos I found some favorites among those that have been scanned of my brothers, sister and I. They either bring back memories or remind me of another time, when we were all young and carefree.

Fall of 1957, I wasn't even born yet, but I like this photo of Dad having coffee on a break from work with Joe showing him something he likes in a catalog. A father and son moment.
I don't remember a time when the dinning room was used for everyday coffee unless we had company. In my day, the kitchen has always been the place where many a cup of coffee was served to family and friends as conversations varied from day to day. Love the old pump organ behind them. There was lots of fun around it when they'd hook up the air flow from the vacuum to the bellows chamber and you wouldn't have to pump! July 1958, Debbie in our front yard in front of the house. I remember this dress even though the photo was taken only a couple months after I was born, so I imagine it made its way to become a "hand me down" and was my dress too. There are things in the photo that are long gone, the white picket fence is gone, even the hedge to the right, and the barn is also gone. Isn't it a wonder that even though things disappear with time, memories are refreshed with a simple look at a photo?
July 1957, We teased Stevie about his talent at pouting when he was a kid. Although this photo is pretty dark, you can't escape the lower lip protruding. I wonder what he was upset about? Did his truck crash? Maybe he wasn't ready to come in from playing outside. What a cutie.

Winter of 1961, Bibsey was our horse and as you can see she was very old. If I couldn't be found outside it was said Mom would look for Bibsey and I would be near. I remember taking naps outside with her. The day she died I remember a storm came through with a heavy downpour of rain and of course lightening and thunder. I wasn't allowed out in the storm as Dad dug a grave out in the pasture and picked up Bibsey with the Ferguson tractor's loader as I watched crying from the dining room window. She was the first friend I lost.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School

As school starts again, I thought I'd share some photos I have scanned from the Johnson kid's first days of school.
Left: Joe's first day of school, Sept. 1958. They didn't offer kindergarten, kids just started with 1st grade.

Right: All four kids are heading to school in Sept. 1963. I bet this day was emotional for Mom.

I know there are more photos out there yet to scan, someday I promise to scan more photos.

Left: Joe, Deb and Steve, September 1961

Looking back at our school days is so much fun. New clothes, school supplies, anticipation, excitement... carefree days. I saw that excitement on most of the kids faces today.

Right: Sept. 1962

Left: Steve, Deb and Diane. 1968. Steve was entering 8th grade, Debbie a Freshman in high school and Diane was headed to 5th grade. The dresses were made by Mom.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

August Garden Pictures

Well, I never completely got my garden cleaned of weeds, but it seems to have bloomed anyway. Our rains this summer have kept everything green and growing. The view from my back deck.Hostas and Suprise Lilies.Hostas, Chameleon plants and an old rake hanging on the side of my garage.Hostas and Phlox in bloom.Hostas, Phlox and Wild Flowers.A college friend, Penny, gave me this cast iron pig. I always say my garden will be completely weeded "When Pigs Fly"! My friend Kem and I made these cement fossil birdbaths a few weeks ago. I have an evergreen tree that needs to be cut down and this will be placed on top of the stump. It's a little over 2 ft. wide.More Surprise Lilies and a variety of Sedum and Liatris I think.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Connecting With Relatives

Genealogy research has become so much easier with the internet. My Great Uncle Valdi once hired a lawyer to help research the Barnes family lines decades ago, way before I was even born! Wouldn't those researchers who have gone before us be amazed at the resources before us today! I now have e-mail conversations with relatives across the United States, Norway and Sweden! We even received help from internet friends in Sweden, connecting us with relatives there and had a mini reunion in Sweden in 2001. Now with my blog, facebook and having written A West Ender's Scrapbook of my home area, I've met more relatives and have shared and exchanged ancestry with even more people! If you connect to my ancestry, I'd love to hear from you.

Researching family in the Ljung, Stjärnorp, ... areas of Östergötland, Sweden; Strada, Molde, Møre og Romsdal, Norway; Odessa, South Russia; Kulm Bessarabia, South Russia; Brandenburg, Germany; Efteløt\Sandsvær, Buskerud, Norway; Vaage/ Vågå, Opland, Norway; Pittsford, Rutland Co., VT; Randolph Co., IN; and locations in IA, SD, OH, VA, NJ, NH, NY, CT, NC, MD, PA, and England. My ancestors did get around didn't they!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Last Friday of Vacation...

Today is my last Friday of summer vacation. Inservice starts next Friday. I'm slowly but surely getting my new e-mail out and changing registration passwords / e-mails for places I visit on the web. I had the same e-mail for over 10 years. In fact it was my first and only e-mail since I got on line. The tech crisis is over and I'm getting things in order.
As the rain pours down here in Denver, IA I'm thinking of what I want to accomplish this last week of vacation. Those of you who know me well, know I'm a procrastinator. I've got great ideas but put things off easily, or should I say I get distracted easily and head another direction... Anyone else feel like that describes you? Wishing good things for you as summer vacation comes to an end.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tech Support!!!

I wish I understood the inter-working of the internet and setting up my computer within the control utilities/settings, etc. Today, I switched over my current phone provider to a new one where I can get free local and long distance calls 24-7. Good choice I thought... Little did I know my completely seperate internet provider had their business linked to my former phone provider so now I am left without internet access at home for a few days.
My morning was spent with a service man at my house from phone provider #2 (he came twice in fact) support with #2 on the phone, support with internet provider #1 - one guy who knew nothing and a return call from the guy in the know who laughed... "I wish you would have talked to me before you switched" Ok, who talkes to their internet provider when they're switching phone providers who are completely seperate busineses? Maybe I'm the one confused, I'm sure you are trying to follow me, I'm almost done venting. Then I talked to three different people when trying to set up the new internet provider, I kept on getting cut off when the first two put me on hold...
I'm up at school now checking e-mail and getting a few notes out that all is well here and what my situation is. So in other words I'll be going through e-mail, internet, and facebook withdrawal in the next few days at home awaiting the next service call to install my new internet system. Keep your fingers crossed all works well with the new system or I may be climbing the walls with my withdrawal symptoms.
Photo courtesy of my school photos. We made masks of the kids faces, most of them love the experience and opportunity to make them. I thought it appropriate for my situation... I can still breathe but I'm not seeing things too well right now. :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Good Ole Days

Looking at old photos, it's always fun to reminisce about the days gone by. Back in the 80's, when I started my teaching career in Farnhamville, IA, I formed friendships that continue to this day. We were a close knit group who worked and socialized together. The Cedar Valley School District consolidated with Prairie School District to form Prairie Valley in 1989 which led to my move to Denver.
As the yearbook adviser at Cedar Valley, I had to learn to operate a darkroom and became friends with and got help from a photographer in Fort Dodge, IA. He set up a temporary photo studio in another teachers garage during the annual Old Settlers Days in Farny, along with costumes and props. We were the "guinea pigs" for them getting set up on an August day back in 1987. Summer was coming to a close and we were about to start on another school year. Our friendship was evident by the smiles on our faces. Oh, the "Good Ole Days...".
L to R: Rita, Lori, Diane, Sarah, Sharon and Marge.


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