Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What ever happened to Lars?

The Ekman children in Sweden
Back: Carl, Rudolf, Lars
Front: Ida, Amanda, Axel
In 1879, Lars Theodor Ekman (my g2grandfather), the youngest child of Lars Jacob Ekman and Augusta Caroline Rose Kloose, left his home in Horby, Sweden to go to America.  On Christmas Eve, 1880, he returned, apparently to talk his family into emigrating as well.

This "moving in/moving out" parish record shows Lars Theodor immigrated from America into the parish on 24 Dec 1880. Note his date of birth is listed as 4 Jan 1855.
About six months later, in July 1881, Lars returned to the United States, where he settled in Wisconsin.  On 3 April 1883, he declared his intent to become a naturalized citizen by filing his "first papers" at the Circuit Court in La Cross County, Wisconsin, which gave him the right to vote.

Note that his year of birth is again listed as 1855.  Also, we see him trying out the name "Thom."
A year later, in 1884, his sister Amanda Aurora Charlotta and her husband Johan Fredrik Emanuel Nilsson (Fred Nelson) immigrated and settled in Wisconsin with their four children: Frank, Alma, Ingrid and Charles.  In the following ten years, Charles would die, and four more children would be born: Alburn, Rosa, Otto, and Claude.  Otto and Claude's WWI draft registration cards indicated they were born in Iola, Waupaca County, and the family can be found there on the 1895 census.  It's not known at this time if they lived there the entire ten years, or if they lived elsewhere first.

Some time between the filing of his first papers in April of 1883, and the winter of 1884/85, Lars, the brother who encouraged his family to come to America, left Wisconsin for Minnesota, where he can be found on the 1 May1885 state census in Lura, Fairibault County.

He indicates here that he is 24, rather than 30.
 Later that summer, on 23 Jul 1885, he married Effie Drusella Bassett, who was 16 years old.  On 26 November 1885 their first child, Eda Augusta Ekman, was born.  The marriage certificate lists his age at the time of the wedding as 26, making his alleged year of birth 1859, rather than 1855.

Over the next 15 years, Lars's age remains consistent with a birth year of 1859.  In 1892, his brother Axel and his wife Anna Laurentia (Martini) immigrate, and can be found living with Lars's family on the 1895 state census.  Lars's age is consistent, but by 1895, he's trying out another name: Lewis.

Lars and Effie's last child, Hester Anna, was born 2 Jul 1896 in Fairibault County.  Some time after this, Lars once again convinced his brother and sister to move where the opportunities were better, and all three siblings moved to Roberts County, South Dakota, near Big Stone Lake, which borders Minnesota and South Dakota.

The next few years were to be tumultuous for the Ekmans, and would ultimately split up the siblings forever.

This photo shows Lars and Effie's children in about 1899.  Eda, the oldest, would turn 14 in November of that year, while Hester Anna, the youngest, would have been about 3.
Edna, Charlie, Eda, Victor, Hester Anna, Edgar
Around this time, Effie left Lars to run off with a hired man, Jake Gifford, taking Edna, and the two youngest, Charlie and Hester Anna.

Eda wrote the following in a letter to Marie (Steel) Ekman, Charlie's daughter-in-law, back in the 1970's:

...we lived with my folks Lewis Ekman then when I was 13 my grandmother (Hester Ann Salley Bassett) sent for three of us we were in S. Dakota and we come to Minnesota that is Edgar, Vic and myself.
Eda would have been 13 in 1899, but on the 1900 census, we find Lars and the three mentioned above all living with their father at their aunt and uncle's farm. (Note: it lists Edna on the sheet, but the month/year for the birth date is Eda's.  No census record can be found for Jake and Effie in 1900, but their first two children were born in Carlton County, where Edna married her husband James McCollum in 1903, so it can be presumed that it was Eda on this record, not Edna.)

That summer of 1900, Axel had a fall (stories vary about how he fell and what he fell on), but on August 1, he died after a long illness resulting from that fall.

In October of 1900, Lars sold the property he owned, which amounted to less than an acre, to Rosey Bell Swayze (apparently a relative of the actor Patrick Swayze).

The family never heard from him again.

Next time...what did happen to Lars?

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