Alfortska öden / D2: Alford i Missouri / In English / Rekommenderat

Out of the frying pan into the fire

Frank Alford & Hannah Johansdotter


  Edvard Frans/Frank Wilhelm Ahlfort/Alford (24/9 1822 – 1870/1871)
  D branch [1.2.11.8.1]
  Son of Gustaf Magnus Alfort & Johanna Lindecrantz
  Torpa, Östergötland, Sweden
  Farmer, tenant, crofter
icon-globe  Emigrated to Missouri


  Johanna/Hannah Fredrika Johansdotter (5/6 1827 – 23/11 1908) (m. 26/2 1846 in Malexandericon-map-marker)
  Malexander, Östergötland, Sweden
  At least 9 children – Founders of the D2 branch


  Primary sources
  24-07-2019
icon-book  Also mentioned in chapter 1 of the chronicle


Hårdaholmen today. Photo: Esben Alfort 2018.

Frans' namnteckning 1845.

Frans’ signature in 1845.

Frans was born at Hårdaholmen, but grew up at Häggarp in the grounds belonging to this farm. His father died when he was 8 years old, but his mother soon remarried.

At the age of 24 Frans married farmer’s daughter Johanna Fredrika Johansdotter from Scherlund in Malexander, and they moved to the neighbouring farm of Kopparhult outside Blåvik, where his family had stayed some years previously. He became a tenant there.

Frans och Johannas bröllop 1846. Brudg: Frälsehemmansegare i Kopparhult, son af afl. Fendricken Gustaf Alfort. Brud: Hemmavarande dotter af Arrend. Johannes Andersson i Skurebo. Malexander församling.

Frans and Johanna’s marriage in 1846. Brudg: Frälsehemmansegare i Kopparhult, son af afl. Fendricken Gustaf Alfort. Brud: Hemmavarande dotter af Arrend. Johannes Andersson i Skurebo. Malexander parish.

During the following couple of years they had two children who unfortunately both died.

Knippe today. Photo: Esben Alfort 2018.

Frans' namnteckning 1859.

Frans’ signature in 1859.

In 1849 they moved to the small and rather remote farmstead Knippe, where he had also been staying with his family earlier. He is stated as owner of the farm and not just a tenant. This time they had four children three of which survived. In 1860 they moved on to the cottage Älgaberget in the grounds of Lyckö in Malexander, where they had an additional three children.

In 1866 they emigrated to Missouri. Unfortunately, the church records are missing from this period, so we don’t know the exact time, but in 1900 their son Axel is reported to have immigrated that year and to have been in America for 33 years, and when their daughter Jossie dies in 1930, she is stated to have been in the US for 65 years. One source reports that they went on the ship Mauritius, which departed from Gothenburg and arrived in New York 6 July 1866. This may well have been the case.

The children who had survived, they brought with them to America. They had 9 children in Sweden.

(Reports of a son Christian from 1861 seem unfounded. No baptism can be found, and Hannah is explicitly stated to have had 8 children, 5 of them still living, in 1900)

Although the couple had probably found it very difficult to sustain the family on the small piece of farmable land they had in Sweden they were in fact lucky to be among the early emigrants, because during the next couple of years 1868-1870 Sweden went through a severe food crisis due to drought, excessive rain, cold and heat, and there was a mass migration to America.

Knippe’s tiny amount of rocky farmland is surrounded by large forests. Photo: Esben Alfort 2018.

They had more than their fair share of tragedy, though. One source reports that the ship sank just before reaching the coast of America. The oldest son Alfred is claimed to have drowned, but this turns out to be untrue, because he apparently married and had children in America. However, apparently his prayer book still carries the unmistakable signs of having been wet through.

Having arrived in the promised country, Johanna paid a man to transport them west. She ripped some dollar notes in half and paid him with them, and the family took turns to keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t just leave them to their fate in a deserted place. They finally settled in Joplin, Missouri. There were already people with the name Alford there – presumably entirely unrelated – and they took to using this form of the name. Thus they founded the Alford branch. They also used the names Frank and Hannah in stead of Frans and Johanna.

The male members of the family found work in a lead mine at Lone Elm, West Joplin, but this lead to more tragedy as the son Axel 5 or 6 years later dropped a mining bucket on his father, who died in the accident. He is buried at Fairview Cemetery in Joplin, but when a road needed to be built across the old cemetery and people were asked to move their dead, the Alford family did not get the message in time, so Frank’s body remains under the road.

It is perhaps a blessing that none of them lived to hear that one of their grandchildren was later hit by lightning at the age of 16 when he was ploughing a field. Both he and his beasts died on the spot, and some coins that he had in his pocket melted.

In 1878, Hannah married John Johnson, and her eldest son also adopted the name of Johnson on the occasion. Hannah is sometimes claimed to have married three or four times after Frank’s death, but this has not been corroborated by primary sources. It hardly seems likely. In 1900 she lives with her daughter Gussie in Twin Groves and is given as widowed.

Hannah apparently had a family crest which was stolen from her by those who took care of her in old age. It may have been an Alfort coat of arms, perhaps a letter seal.


Birth records

Edvard Vallentins dop 1847. Vittnen: Arrendatorn Johan Johansson i Liljeholmen, Torpa Socken, och hans hustru Gustava Carlsdotter, Drängen Anders Peter Johansson i Skurebo, Malexanders Socken, och Pigan Anna Charlotta Gustafsdotter i Kopparhult. Ekeby församling.

Edvard Vallentin’s baptism 1847. Wittnesses: Arrendatorn Johan Johansson i Liljeholmen, Torpa Socken, och hans hustru Gustava Carlsdotter, Drängen Anders Peter Johansson i Skurebo, Malexanders Socken, och Pigan Anna Charlotta Gustafsdotter i Kopparhult. Ekeby parish.

Johanna Mathildas dop 1848. Vittnen: Torp. Adolf Adolfsson i Löfvingsberg u. Kopparhult och hans Hustr. Maja Stina Larsdotter, Dräng Johan Andersson i Kopparhult och pig. Maja St. Andersdotter ibidem. Ekeby församling.

Johanna Mathilda’s baptism 1848. Wittnesses: Torp. Adolf Adolfsson i Löfvingsberg u. Kopparhult och hans Hustr. Maja Stina Larsdotter, Dräng Johan Andersson i Kopparhult och pig. Maja St. Andersdotter ibidem. Ekeby parish.

Alfred Ludvigs dop 1849. Vittnen: Torpegaren Carl Nilsson i Arendsberg, Rinna Socken och hans Hustr. Anna Maja Reutermark, Dräng Johan Johansson i Ryckelsby Qvarn och pig. Anna Brita Johansdotter i Göthvik. Ekeby församling.

Alfred Ludvig’s baptism 1849. Wittnesses: Torpegaren Carl Nilsson i Arendsberg, Rinna Socken och hans Hustr. Anna Maja Reutermark, Dräng Johan Johansson i Ryckelsby Qvarn och pig. Anna Brita Johansdotter i Göthvik. Ekeby parish.

Carl Johan Richards dop 1852. Vittnen: Arrendatorn i Knippe Carl Johan Persson och hans Hustru Mathilda Joh. Svensdotter, Dräng Gustaf Andersson i Brostugan och Pig. Christina Andersdotter ibidem. Ekeby församling.

Carl Johan Richard’s baptism 1852. Wittnesses: Arrendatorn i Knippe Carl Johan Persson och hans Hustru Mathilda Joh. Svensdotter, Dräng Gustaf Andersson i Brostugan och Pig. Christina Andersdotter ibidem. Ekeby parish.

Troë Vilhelmina Augustas dop 1855. Vittnen: Hemmanseg. Nils Månsson i Lycke och h. Anna Carin Jönsdotter, Dr. Carl Henrik Andersson i Knippe och Pig. Hedda Svensdotter derstädes. Ekeby församling.

Troë Vilhelmina Augusta’s baptism 1855. Wittnesses: Hemmanseg. Nils Månsson i Lycke och h. Anna Carin Jönsdotter, Dr. Carl Henrik Andersson i Knippe och Pig. Hedda Svensdotter derstädes. Ekeby parish.

Axel Edvards dop 1857. Vittnen: Lifgren. Carl Anton Brun i Mygghem och hans hustru Eva Stina Svensdotter, Dr. Gust. Andersson och Pig. Carolina Blomqvist båda i Knippe. Ekeby församling.

Axel Edvard’s baptism 1857. Wittnesses: Lifgren. Carl Anton Brun i Mygghem och hans hustru Eva Stina Svensdotter, Dr. Gust. Andersson och Pig. Carolina Blomqvist båda i Knippe. Ekeby parish.

Christina Josephinas dop 1860. Vittnen: Torp. Axel Andersson och dess H. Johanna Gustafsdotter i Gröndahlen, Br. August Jonsson Ängaryd och pig. Johanna Johansdotter i Bjärhult. Malexander församling.

Christina Josephina’s baptism 1860. Wittnesses: Torp. Axel Andersson och dess H. Johanna Gustafsdotter i Gröndahlen, Br. August Jonsson Ängaryd och pig. Johanna Johansdotter i Bjärhult. Malexander parish.

Johns dop 1865. Malexander församling.

John August Gerhard’s baptism 1865. Note that his father’s name has been spelled Allfort, this being a rare spelling that occurs occasionally from the earliest times, suggesting a pronunciation more akin to the original English than the modern Swedish, which has a long vowel. Malexander parish.


Deceased children

Edvard Vallentins död 1847. Ekeby församling.

Edvard Vallentin’s death 1847. Ekeby parish.

Johanna Mathildas död 1848. Ekeby församling.

Johanna Mathilda’s death 1848. Ekeby parish.

Carl Johan Richards död 1859. Ekeby församling.

Carl Johan Richard’s death 1859. Ekeby parish.


Research data

  •  signatures: E.F.W. Ahlfort (1859)
  •  name (others’ spellings): Edvard (1822); Edvard Frans Wilhelm (1824); Edvard Fr. Wilh. (1825-1830); Edvard Frans Wilh. Ahlfort (1831-1837); Edvard Frantz Vilh. (1838-1841); Frans Edvard Vilhelm Ahlfort (1841-1843); Frans Edv. Wilh. Alforth (1843-1846); Frans Edvard Vilhelm Alfort (1846); Arrend. Frans Edvard Vilhelm Alforth (1846-1849); Arrendatorn Frans Alforth (1847); Arrendatorn Frans Edward Alforth (1848); Arrendatorn Frans Edv. Ahlfort (1848); Frans Edward Vilhelm Alforth (1849-1852); HemmansEgaren Frans Vilhelm Alforth (1849); Frans Edvard Vilh. Ahlfort (1852-1860); Hemmansegaren Frans Edward Alforth (1852); Frans Ahlfort (1853); Fr. Ahlfort (1854); Hemmanseg. Frans E. V. Ahlfort (1855); Hemmanseg. Frans Edvard Vilhelm Ahlfort (1857); Bonden F. E. W. Ahlfort (1859); Frans Edvard Wilh. Ahlfort (1860); Torp. Frans Edvard Wilh. Ahlfort (1860); Frans Allfort (1865)
  •  name (others’ spellings): Johanna Fredrica Johansdr (1827); Johanna Fredrika Johansdotter (1846-1865); Johanna Fredr./Fr. Johansdotter (1847-1860); Hanah J. Allford (1900)
  •  b. Torpa 1822: v41301.b135.s257
  •  b. Malexander 1827: v39087.b72.s137
  •  m. Malexander 1846: v39088.b112.s219
  •  hous.ex. 1822-1860 Torpa: v29519.b75.s125(1822); v29519.b108.s187(1824); v29520.b24.s31(1825-1830); v29521.b85.s153(1831-1837); v29522.b175.s339(1838-1841); Ekeby: v25382.b103.s91(1841-1843); Malexander: v27195.b82.s149(1843-1846); Ekeby: v25382.b103.s91(1846-1849); v25383.b114.s102(1849-1852); v25386.b315.s293(1852-1860); Malexander: v27197.b110.s201(1860)
  •  hous.ex. 1841-1860
  •  cens. 1900 Twin Groves: 1900
  •  inh. v77453.b98.s189(1830); v223271.b3120.s65(1854); v223279.b3830.s67(1856); v77468.b377.s745(1859); v77468.b381.s753(1859)
  •  children b. Ekeby: v37219.b18.s28(1847); v37219.b25.s42(1848); v37219.b34.s60(1849); v37219.b52.s96(1852); v37219.b69.s130(1855); v37219.b82.s156(1857); Malexander: v39088.b95.s185(1860); v39090.b34.s29(1865)
  •  children d. Ekeby: v37229.b15.s25(1847); v37229.b17.s29(1848); v37229.b43.s81(1859)

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