A difficult start in life

Anna Ört & Gustaf Larson

  Anna Maria ”Maja” Jonsdotter Ört (27/10 1828 – 7/9 1912)
  J2a-grenen []
  Daughter of Maria Gustafsdotter & Jonas Ört
  Gäddhem, Öringe, Ekeby, Östergötland, Sweden

  Gustaf Larsson/Larson (25/6 1828 – 3/9 1909) (m. 15/3 1853 in Västra Skrukeby)
icon-home  Son of Lars Persson & Anna Sofia Lund
  Mjölby, Östergötland, Sweden
  Farmer; day labourer
icon-globe  Emigrated to Nebraska in 1853
  7 children

  Primary sources

Anna is born in the lifegrenadier cottage Gäddhem under Öringe manoricon-map-marker  in Ekeby parish. However, her childhood is rather unsteady, as her father, the lifegrenadier Jonas Ört, is a convicted serial thief. In 1829 he is thrown out of the army and consequently also of his home, so they have to build a new cottage for themselves, Källhagsstuganicon-map-marker (no longer in existence) under Bleckenstad farm. In 1832 he is convicted of another theft, and a year later, Anna’s mother dies at the age of 33, quite possibly weakened by the events. In 1835, her father is once more caught stealing, and three times is once too many, so he is sent to prison, convicted to three years of hard labour. He later remarries and starts stealing grazing cattle, aided and abetted by his new wife who is also previously convicted of theft. He eventually dies in prison, beaten up by fellow prisoners.

On her father’s third conviction in 1835, Anna is left in the care of a Nils Månsson as foster daughter in the cottage Koltorpeticon-map-marker in a forest belonging to Ekeby vicarage. However, she only stays with that family for a year, after which she is apparently sent to her father’s sister in Östad in Harstad parish (later incoporated into Väderstad parish), but there I have not been able to trace her at this period. She only reappears in 1843 in the cottage Berget under Östad Norrgårdicon-map-marker, whither she is reported to have arrived from Ekeby that year. There, she is the foster daughter of cottager Magnus Larsson. Two years later, she moves with him to Särstad Storgårdicon-map-marker in Rinna parish, where she stays for two years before moving on to Mjölby to work at Slomarp manoricon-map-marker for a year. She now sheds her father’s name Ört with which she would hardly care to be associated.

After returning to Särstad for a year, she works at Vammelbyicon-map-marker Sörgård in Västra Skrukeby parish (later incoporated into Högby parish) 1849-1851. On that farm she meets the charming farmhand Gustaf Larsson. They cannot afford to marry immediately, so she first works at Skrukeby Hackegårdicon-map-marker 1851-1853, and then marries him in Västra Skrukeby church.

Anna Maria Jonsdotter & Gustaf Larsson’s marriage in 1853. Västra Skrukeby parish.

They immediately decide to emigrate to America in search of a better life.

By 1870 they have settled on a farm in the rural Lincoln precincticon-map-marker in Washington county, Nebraska, an area that is still entirely agricultural and devoid of towns, situated halfway between the towns of Blair and Fontanelle.

They have 7 children at the farm, only three of which survive.

  • 1.  
  • 2.  
  • 3.  
  • 4.  
  • 5.   Anna Julia Larson (1867 – after 1885)
  • 6.   Cora J. Larson (1869 – after 1880)
  • 7.   Frans Oscar Larson (1872 – after 1910)

Back in Sweden, his father dies of an illness in 1859, and ten years later, at the height of the fatal three years of hunger in Sweden (1867-1869), his mother emigrates in 1869 and settles on her son’s farm, where she spends the rest of her life.

In the early 1880s, they move to another farm at Wahooicon-map-marker, and by the turn of the century they have abandoned the farm altogether, having settled in Wahoo city, where he finds work as a day labourer. They now have a granddaughter Mable N. Larson living with them.

After Gustaf dies in 1909, Anna lives with their son Oscar, who works as a salesman in a local grocery store.

Anna Jonsdotter & Gustaf Larson’s grave in Sunrise Cemetery, Wahoo. Source: Findagrave.com.

Research data

  •  name (others’ spellings): Anna Maja Jonsdr (1828); Anna Maja (1830-1835); Anna Maja Jonsdtr/Jonsdr Ört (1835-1847); Pig. Anna Maja Jonsdotter/Jonsdtr/Jonsdr (1847-1850); Anna Maria Jonsdotter (1850); Pig. Anna Maria Jonsdotter/Jonsdr (1850-1853); Anna Larson (1870-1885); Anna M. Larson (1880)
  • name (others’ spellings): Drängen Gustaf Larsson (1849-1853); Gustaf Larsson (1850); Gustav Larson (1870); Gustaf Larson (1880-1885)
  •  b. Ekeby 1828: v37217.b247.s487
  •  b. Mjölby 1828: v39108.b114.s221
  •  m. V. Skrukby 1853: v55678.b18.s29
  •  hous.ex. 1828-1836;1843-1853 Ekeby: v25379.b284.s274(1830-1833); v25380.b147.s136(1833-1835); v25380.b189.s178(1835-1836); Harstad: v25839.b16.s5(1843-1845); Rinna: v28673.b74.s125(1845-1847); v27329.b9.s1(1847-1848); v28673.b74.s125(1848-1849); V. Skrukeby: v27006.b68.s59(1849-1850); v27006.b81.s72(1850-1851); v27006.b35.s26(1851-1853)
  •  hous.ex. 1848-1853: v27006.b35.s26(1848-1853)
  •  cens. 1870-1885;1900 Lincoln Precinct: 1870; 1880; Wahoo: 1885; 1900
  •  cens. 1870-1885;1900