Political farmers – Maria Catharina Ahlfort and her descendants
© by Esben Alfort 2014-2019
Maria’s story is one of continuously striving to retain her position in society in spite of having married a lowly farmhand against her parents’ will. Having been disinherited, the couple settled down in a tiny soldier’s cottage, until her brother helped her to a farm where their family subsequently prospered. In the end, their children got the inheritance that she should have had, or at least part of it, and she even inherited another home, much against her mother’s will, which allowed them to rise further in society. This helped their children greatly in establishing themselves as respected citizens. Thus several of their children and grandchildren became politicians, jurymen and church wardens, although they were usually farmers as well. With time, this part of the family grew to some thousands of descendants.
When Maria Catharina Alfort was finally allowed by court to marry her father’s farmhand Jonas Andersson, her father was forced to go back on his wishes and find a living for them. Jonas was willing to join the army, so they were set up in the soldier’s cottage Mosstugan under Skyttlingebäck in Askeryd parish, whither they moved in 1731. He then acquired the soldier’s surname Ekstrand. As was customary, the name was one that followed the cottage, so every soldier in Mosstugan was called Ekstrand. However, it would seem highly likely that the name was derived from Jonas’ home Södra Ekeberg, as it was normal to create names the start of which were taken from the place you came from, although it is unclear whether the other soldiers from Mosstugan were also from Södra Ekeberg, and if so, why.
As mentioned earlier, Maria never got her inheritance, but in the end her seven children did inherit a thousand riksdaler each. This would have made a huge difference for them, and it is probable that it was this more than anything which enabled the family to grow so large and prosperous over the following generations.
icon-arrow-right The next section ”A soldier and a farmer” is about the couple’s family life in their tiny cottage.