Frank Alford & Hannah Johansdotter
Edvard Frans/Frank Wilhelm Ahlfort/Alford (24/9 1822 – 1870/1871)
D branch [220.127.116.11.1]
Son of Gustaf Magnus Alfort & Johanna Lindecrantz
Hårdaholmen, Torpa, Östergötland, Sweden
Farmer, tenant, crofter
icon-globe Emigrated to Missouri 1866
icon-book Also mentioned in chapter 1 of the chronicle
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.
During the following couple of years they had two children who unfortunately both died.
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.
- 1. Edvard Vallentin (14/2 1847 – 3/7 1847)
- 2. Johanna Mathilda (5/6 1848 – 1/10 1848)
- 3. Alfred Ludvig Alford Johnson (26/10 1849 – after 1868) icon-globe
- Ida Fagerberg icon-play
- 4. Carl Johan Rickard (11/5 1852 – 10/9 1859)
- 5. Troë Wilhelmina Augusta ”Gussie” Ahlfort (2/4 1855 – 1942)
- Frank Charlson icon-stop
- 6. Axel Edward Alford (17/10 1857 – 30/6 1918) icon-play
- Anna Newby D2a branch
- 7. Christina Josephina ”Jossie” Alford (20/10 1860 – 29/8 1930) icon-globe icon-play
- Jonathan Lowther D2b branch
- 8. John August Gerhard Alford (24/2 1865 – 23/11 1929) icon-globe icon-play
- Margaret Newby D2c branch
(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 arable 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.
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 Joplinicon-map-marker, Missouri. This was literally in the outskirts of the known world, as the unsurveyed Indian territory that we now know as Oklahoma was very close by.
There were already people by the name of Alford living in Joplin – presumably entirely unrelated – and Frans and Johanna took to using this form of the name. Thus they founded the Alford branch. Finding themselves in an English-speaking world they also soon started to call themselves Frank and Hannah in stead.
At this time, lead mining was starting up in the Joplin valley, and the new city soon grew to be the lead- and zinc-mining capital of the world. The male members of the Alford family accordingly found work in a lead mine at Lone Elm icon-external-link north of the city, although probably not the mine by that name. It must have been a really tough life in a rather lawless time, and it lead to even more tragedy as the son Axel 5 or 6 years later dropped a mining bucket on his father, who died in the accident. It was a disaster for the family.
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 Townshipicon-map-marker outside Carl Junction 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.
Frank 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.
- 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)