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Anders Viktor Johansson Tast-Nyström


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Picture courtesy GSF
Anders Viktor Nyström (Tast), born 22 Jul 1856, Nedervetil, d. 27 Feb 1898, was the son of Johan Mattsson Tast and Greta Johanna Eriksdotter Ollisbacka. He married Mathilda Emelie Alexandersdotter Loulubacka on 19 Oct 1879. They had 6 children, one of whom was Martha Johanna, b. 1 Mar 1892, who lived at Horseshoe, North Carolina. She was unmarried.

The following was written by Martha Johanna Nyström about her father Anders Viktor:

"My father was born in Nedervetil in 1856. He was a gravestone carver and the family had a little country store. In 1886 a tragic event happened that changed father’s life. The house where they lived burned down, including everything they owned, such as my mother’s dowry of 23 dresses, fur coat, sheets, etc. It was then the custom that when a woman married she received clothing to last her lifetime. All of this was burned. It was determined that the fire was deliberately set and the culprit was caught red-handed and accused of arson. He was sent to prison for 14 years. There stood my mother and father with their three children, destitute of everything.

Good advice was expensive. In his despair father went to the pastor for advice. "Yes", said the pastor, "America is also God’s country", and with that reply father traveled to the golden land in the west. The trip took a month. He arrived at Castle Garden where emigrants were taken and paid a landing fee of 25 mk.

Father found work on the Brooklyn bridge. In the evenings he went to night school and learned to read and write English. Over the years he began to prosper and later became an American citizen. He often visited the seamen’s church in Brooklyn and was one of the first to receive Holy Communion there. He had contact with his family in Nedervetil. He wanted our mother to go to America, but after much thought she decided not to leave her parents, siblings and friends. Later she regretted it and at age 59 she went to America and got to see how good the working people had it there.

Father’s first trip to America lasted 4 years. His next trip was two years and when he returned to Finland he was a sick man and died 27 Feb 1898, only 41 years old.

During the time of his father’s death, my brother Johannes as at Kronoby folk high school and later at Nykarleby seminary. For a short time he was a teacher at Gerby in Korsholm before he fled to America in 1905 to avoid military service. Sometime later sister Maria traveled there. On 10 June 1913 mother, sister Anna and I went to America. During that time Maria had married Paul Lindström from Åland. They met us at the boat. We lived with them in Brooklyn a couple months.

During that time Johannes studied theology and when he was ordained and was assigned service in Gardner, Massachusetts we moved to the parsonage there. Mother got along good in Gardner. People managed well with the Swedish language because nearly 90% of the residents spoke Swedish. It was also pleasant in Worcester, Mass. where Johannes had his second pastor’s assignment. When Johannes married, mother moved to live with Maria and Paul in Old Bridge, NJ. They had bought land there and built a house. Mother lived with them until Maria died in 1935.

After Maria’s death mother was homeless again. During that time sister Anna had married Frank Gillespie. He was sickly so they could not take mother with them. Then she decided to return to Finland. The last thing she said before leaving was that she would return to America.

When she returned to Finland she got to see her childhood home as well as the church and cemetery. When she wanted to travel back to America, Johannes had difficulty keeping her there where she lived with him and his wife Eleonora. She died in a church pew just before the church service on 8 November 1936, Nykarleby at age 80.

From Släktgrenen Haavisto-Tast by Nils Backman.

English translation by June Pelo.

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