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Journal about Erik Eriksson Lågland in Storby village in Karleby parish


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Written by son Johan in 1909.

Erik Lågland was born in the Heikkilä home in Korplax village on 1 Aug 1828. When his mother Lisa (nee Strang) married Matts Pelo in Nedervetil. Erik went with her and stayed there until he was 18 years old. Then he returned to Gamlakarleby and served as a farm hand for two years until 1848 when he married farmer’s daughter Anna Sofia Borg of Palo village where they lived as independent tenants at the Borg and Bishop homes until 1854, when they all moved in the autumn to their newly built home of 1/16 mantal at Kuli which he bought from the deceased Johan Strang’s descendants for 1800 mks.

They lived there until 1875 when he sold the Kuli home to farmer Karl Mattsson Borg for 3800 mks. According to a contract of 4 Mar 1875 he purchased the 3/16 mantal home at Nr. 9 Storby in Gamlakarleby parish for a sum of 6575 mks and moved his family there on 18 Mar 1875. On 4 Oct 1901 Erik and Anna Sofia Lågland sold the 3/16 mantal home to son Johan for 8000 mks and the personal property for 2000 mks, for a total of 10,000 mks. Wife Anna Sofia d. 6 Apr 1905 at an age of 76 years, 8 months and 10 days.

Erik and Anna Sofia had 11 children, 6 of whom became adults, namely:

  • Oldest son Johan, who purchased the home.
  • Anders, who traveled to America in 1880, age 17.
  • Herman, who traveled to America in 1892, age 17. In America he married Hilma Widjeskog from Terjärv, with whom he had two children.
  • Oldest daughter Anna Sofia married 1884 to farmer’s son Johan Sipola with whom he had 7 children: 3 sons and 4 daughters became adults, 1 daughter died later.
  • Daughter Maria Johanna traveled to America in 1880s where she married Arvid Palm from Nedervetil and they live in Ludington, Michigan where they have 5 children. Johanna Palm was here in summer 1925. Her husband Arvid died in Ludington 21 May 1927.
  • Daughter Brita Lena traveled to America in Jul 1889 where she married farmer’s son Anders Pelo from Nedervetil who died in New York on a journey home, leaving 3 children and a 4th was born after thei mother returned home. Two of the children died later. Now living are son Thure and daughter Rut.

Erik Lågland died 9 Feb 1911 in his 83rd year.

I, Johan Eriksson Lågland, who am writing this journal, am now 78 years old, born in the Borg home in Paloby 23 Oct 1849. My parents and their children moved in autumn 1854 to their newly built home at Kuli. I had no further schooling than 1 ½ years with Herr Store who lived at Måttisbacken where I got some instruction in writing and arithmatic. On 22 May 1872 I traveled with 75 others from Gamlakarleby, Nedervetil, Kronoby parishes to America where I worked at three different places until autumn 1874 when I came home in September and followed my parents to Lågland in Storby as related in the notes about my parents.

On 26 Sep 1877 I married Lena Sofia Johansdotter Wefvar from Linnusperå village (born 18 May 1861). For a second time I traveled to America on 7 Jun 1879 and returned home 9 Sep 1882. I became a member of the local government committee 1884-86; Director of government committee 1887-1895 (9 years); church warden 1 May 1887-1907 (20 years); Member of parish council for 20 years. (There followed a list of many other organizations to which he belonged.)

During my marriage 10 children were born:

  • Johan Ernst, 13 May 1878.
  • Maria Emeli, 26 Jul 1883.
  • Elin Sofia, 5 Nov 1885, d. 21 Jan 1892.
  • Alfred Ernst, 8 Feb 1888.
  • Anders Lennart, b. 17 Jun 1890, d. 24 Apr 1905.
  • Elin Sofia, b. 6 Dec 1891, d. 27 May 1905.
  • Karl Sanfred, b. 26 May 1895, d. 27 Sep 1911.
  • Otto Alarik, b. 21 Jan 1898, d. 5 Aug 1915.
  • Rene Alina, b. 25 Aug 1900, d. 6 May 1925.
  • Senni Helena, b. 10 Jan 1904, d. 24 Jun 1925?

Mother of children: Lena Sofia, b. 18 May 1861, d. 2 Oct 1927.%%% Father-in-law: J. F. Wefvar and son Johan drowned 22 Dec 1884.%%% Mother-in-law Maria Lena, d. in America 17 Jan 1899.

Some notes here that I remember as well as noted on the calendar:

  • The railroad line south from Gamlakarleby was planned in June 1883.
  • Expropriation 15-16 Oct 1884.
  • The first locomotive arrived in Gamlakarleby 24 Oct 1885.
  • Såka and Wittsar elementary schools opened summer of 1884.
  • Brita Lågland, now Pelo, traveled to America 1889.
  • Johan E. Lågland traveled to America 1895.
  • From memory, I will tell of the high spring flood in Palo creek when the hay barn floated toward the sea in 1852. The same year Vasa city (the old city) burned.
  • 1860: Gamlakarleby burned 2nd quarter.
  • 24 July 1884: stores burned on the straits.
  • 1867: the long spring, Palo creek where father’s brother drove the horse and sleigh, 18 May.

Sowing of grain could happen first day before summer but high temperature caused the acreage to turn green in two days, after that the sudden frost took away all of it in July.

  • Winter 1887-88: much snow and frost. Christmas Day 40°.
  • 1898-99: much snow. 2-3 May snow drifts 2 meters 46 cm deep. 15-16 May good sleigh ride on the road.
  • Summer 1902: no meadows could be harvested. No grain germinated.
  • 1905: extraordinarily high spring flood, like 1852. Bridges and streams along the roads impossible for many weeks, had to go to Åivo village.

{He included a chart showing how many hectares of land were planted with rye, grain, potatoes, and hay for the years 1875-1887.}

About structures of 1850-1860: Buildings were the same as now. The cottage was unusually large; the oldest building with side room very small with a window. The stuga had 3 windows 2 on the side in the attic. The cottage was fitted with one bed and a door on the same side. Beds were made of boards, the lower beds for maids and farm daughters, upper beds for farm hands and farm sons. Large fireplace with separate baking pit. The fireplace lighted the cottage at the time food was prepared. At Borg home there were 5 separate farmers and all worked more or less with fish.

Around the outer wall was an open bench (suitable for cats to manage). Benches fixed to the wall began to disappear in the 1860s or at the same time as covered beds were replaced with sofa beds and bench sofas along the entire long side, ususally 3 with one after the other, that could be dragged out at night for two people. On the yard side by the window was fastened a long board shelf for sheets and such that were needed. The walls were covered with sawdust plaster and then painted with light blue watercolor with white dots.

(Johan Eriksson Lågland was my father’s uncle (brother of his mother). Many times I heard my father speak of Johan/John who worked for the gypsum company in Alabaster, Michigan during one of his visits to America. I wish my father could have seen this hand-written journal which I found printed in “Storby, Min Hemby”.)

Translated by June Pelo


Picture of Gambel Lågland – the old Lågland house.

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