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The Story of Olof Olsson Angstrom

By Clement I Angstrom 1982

Transcribed by Jan Bony 2015 (I'm related via a second marriage for Olof & Ella's son Peter T. Angstrom)

Olof & Ella Angstrom 60th

163 Hurley Ave.
Kineston, N. Y., 12401
June 10, 1882

To the Descendants of Olof and Ella Angstrom:

     It was about 1920 when Matilda Angstrom Hice wrote with pencil on tablet paper the History of the Late Olof Angstrom Sr. I first read it in 1955 when Eleanor Angstrom Schierholz showed it to me.

     Immediately I was touched by the love and devotion which prompted her to record some of the major events in the lives of her parents, Olof and Ella Angstrom, who were also my paternal great grandparents. Matilda's brief history and my own admiration for the courage, pioneering sprirt and strength of character of Olof and Ella engendered a desire in me and , ultimately, the tetemination to add as much additional information as I could get and to perpetuate this much of Olof's and Ella's life story with this booklet.

     I am most grateful to family members who have supplied information for this genealogical story. My regret is that I did not begin years earlier when I could have spoken personally to Olof and Ella's children.

     I hereby dedicate my efforts to the memory of our ancestors, particularly Olof and Ella, whose courage, family and civic pride have been our heritage and inspiration. Above all I wish to thank my wife Ellen for encouragement, help and typing this manuscript.

signature of Clement I Angstrom



Clement I. Angstrom

     The bell tolled slowly and clearly. Even after the cortege reached the cemetery, the somber message could be heard. The bell would toll 88 times; once for each year of life granted Olof Angstrom, the first Olof Angstrom, fir it was Olof, who, while answering his call to civil (military) service in his native Sweden, tood the name Angstrom.

     To me, his great grandson, at seven years of age, it seemed that while everyone was sad to lose a loved and respected one, it was more an occasion of honoring a stalwart one; one who had strived and fulfilled his life's work. He had earned the rest and peace to which he was now being committed.

     Thus Olof Angstrom, adopted citizen, retired farmer, beloved husband to his wife, Ella, father, grandfather and great grandfather to his fifty living descendants, honored friend and neighbor to all who had known him, passed to his reward September 27, 1919, and was given Christian burial from the Lutheran Church, Stratford, Iowa, and interred at Oakwood Cemetery.

     It was the year 1851 when Olof Olsson, Ofvanaker, Gefleborgslan, Sweden, upon reaching his 21st birthday answered his call to civil service (military training) and, as written by his daughter, Matilda Angstrom Hice in her brief, pencilled History of the Late Olof Angstrom, Sr., served "... for a three week period under strict military officers."She recorded that it was here that he "got" the name Angstrom, meaning meadow stream. I can recall having heard the story often about how great grandfather chose this name, but it never occured to me to ask, now did I ever hear why he chose the name Angstrom. None the less, it has now served six generations of descendants. The heraldists, Halberts, note that in 1972 there were less than 300 households in the U. S. with the surname Angstrom. Most of these are probably Olof's descendants or relatives.

     Matilda also wrote that Olof was the oldest son of Olof and Brita Olsson. According to Swedish records furnished by Jan Strandell, a distant cousin from Sweden, the name was spelled Olsson. It was derived from the patronomical system of nomenclature which was prevalent in Sweden at that time and indicated a fifial relationship to an Olof.

     In hopes of improving the situation caused by all the Olssons, Jonssons, Pehrssons, ect., the Swedish officials at that time were encouraging people to take permanent surnames. This, alsong wit the Americanization of Swedish names, language barriers, carelessness and confusion at immigration centers, often resulted in great liberties being taken with names and their spellings. Information supplied by Strandell helped to clear up many of our family records.

     Olof's father and granfdfather were also both named Olof Olsson. His great grandfather, however, was named Olof Udd (1734-1813) and no further records of this paternal lineage are available.

Olof, Ella, son Albert       Olof & Ella Retirement

Better Copy
Courtsey of a descendant of Sylvester Angstrom


     Olof's mother was Brita Pehrsdotter and she was the daughter of Pehr Jonsson and Kerstin Jonsdotter. She was born on the homestead called Lassas which had been owned by her family since the 16th century, according to Strandell. Then Olof's father owned the homestead until it was later purchased by Jonas Olofsson, a brother to Olof's wife, Ella Olsdotter.

     Olof had a younger brother, Pehr Olsson (b. 25 Mar. 1833) who emigrated to America in 1871 and lived in the Stratford area. In olof's obituary this brother is referred to as Peter O. Angstrom. Because the name Angnell appears on the old family trunk, Elmer Angstrom, Peter's grandson, told me that he thinks his grandfather may have at one time had the name angnell. perhaps gotten in the same way Olof got the name Angstrom.Whatever the explination, in this country he was Olof Angstrom's brother, Peter Angstrom.

     Olof also had a younger sister, Ella Olsdotter (b. 19 Jan. 1835). In Olof's obituary she is mentioned as "Miss Ellen."

     Olof (Olsson) Angstrom was born 8 Nov. 1830, at Ofvansker Gefleborgalan, Sweden. He was baptized and confirmed in the Halsingland Evangelical Lutheran Church, according to his obituary. Like his ancestors he ws a farmer. he worked as a farm hand until he reached his 21st birthday, when he answered his call to civil service where he got the name Angstrom.

     Olof, like most farm boys of that time had no opportunity to go to school and never learned to read or write, even his own name. In later years when he authenticated his will he used a simple X. This was most probably and expedient for the occasion rather than his personal mark. Strandell wrote that the bomarke of Lassas was thus: bomark, and that the use of such bomarks to sign or mark belongings was common in Sweden, due to the general lack of knowledge of reading and writing. This symbol seems a much more likely personal mark for Olof, although no actual record seems to exist.

     Swedish records show that on April 28, 1854, Olof was married to Ella Olsdotter at the Ofvanaker Kyrkan (Church). In the Olof Angstrom Bible, the date was erroneously recorded as April 28, 1856. Also, Ella's name was Americanized to Ella Johnson.

     Ella was born January 25, 1836 and was the daughter of Olof Jonsson (b. 6 Nov 1813, d. 11 Jan. 1896) and Kierstin Olofsdotter (b. 4 Apr. 1813 d. 18 Mar. 1869).

     Olof and Ella had eleven children. Five were born in Sweden and one died there:

        1. Brita, called Betsy and Bessie, was their first child and was born July 5, 1856. She died at age 12, the second year after coming to America with her parents.

        2. Olof, later Americanized to Olaf F., was born April 12, 1858, came to America with his parents, married Eva Layton and died Nov. 6, 1945.

        3. Kerstin, called Katie, was born Nov. 22, 1860. She died in Sweden at the age of 2 years. (Swedish records show her date of death as Feb. 27, 1965.)

4 generations

Ella & daughters
Better image

2nd image courtsey of a descendant of Sylvester Angstom


        4. Pehr, later Americanized to Peter T., was born March 22, 1863, came to America with his parents, married Martha Johnson, nee Marta Jonsdotter in Sweden, later Emma Costenson Peterson, and died Sept 26, 1954.

        5. Kerstin, later Americanized to Christena, was born April 27, 1866, came to America with her parents, married Milo Currey, later Arch Thompson, and died Oct 27, 1954.

    After emigrating to America in June 1867, Olof and Ella had six more children:

        6. John was born Feb 20, 1869, in Iowa, married Sarah Anna Fisher and died in 1961 at Wilbur, Washington.

        7. Helen Matilda was born April 9, 1871, married John H. Hice and died Sept. 9, 1945.

        8. Albert was born August 9, 1871, married Julia Filloon, and died March 26, 1859 and died March 26, 1959 at Staples, Minn.

        9. Charlotte was born Oct. 16, 1875, married J. R. Cottington and died Oct. 23, 1942.

        10. Minnie Augusta was born August 1, 1878, married Albert H. Greeley and died Feb 9, 1966 at Stephenson, Virginia.

        11. Mary Louise was born Jan. 2, 1881, married Clarence Rodine and died Nov. 3, 1955.

    In the middle 1800's life for farmers in Sweden was indeed difficult. My father use to tell how his mother wou help pick leaves from the trees in the fall in order that they could be cooded to give nourishment to the cows during the long, cold winters. After a series of years of crop failures due to severe dry weather when crops withered in the fields, broken only by years when the weather was too wet and crops rotted in the fields, there followed three "starvation years", 1867 - 1869, when 60,000, mostly farmers, left Sweden. The clergy and governmental officials felt that part of the hard times was due to over-population and were trying to restrain men from marrying until they were well past 30 ears of age, according to Myron S. Anderson in the May, 1966 issue of The Palimpsest. In that part of Sweden where the economy was basically agricultural, no doubt these were all factors which added to the harshness of the times.

    Olof and Ella with their increasing family must have been severely taxed physically and mentally to produce the basic essentials for their family, or they would never have considered such a bold, dangerous undertaking as to decide to go to America. No doubt they got some glowing reports from sailing ship companies' advertisements and also from friends who had already emigrated to America, but they also must have heard of the extreme hardships, sickness and deaths, particularly for small children on the long voyage across the ocean in the dark, dank holds of the sailing vessels of that time.


    Many times they must have weighte the pros and cons of such an important decision in their thoughts and discussions. How they must have dreaded the thought of leaving home, family and firends, probably forever, to go to a strange land! Should they leave the land of their ancestors, where little Kerstin was buried? The decision must have come to them when they fased the start truth that where they where their future was bleak. In view of the over-population which they had been told already existed in Sweden it was obvious that the future of their children was bleak.

    To leave was a great risk; the dangers were real; yet, others had made it, they could, too! Once decided, they must not falter, but trust that their new life would be a better one for them and especially for their children.

    It was June, 1867 that arrangements were completed, their most precious treasures carefully packed in their trunk and boxes, family and friends bade farewell and they boarded ship. Each family had to provide its own food for the trip, and this had to be carried on ship with them.

    We can only surmise the hardships of that long three months trip across the ocean. Olof and his family were farmers and not accustomed to the sea. Fortunately they were hardy people and they accepted being crowded in a small portion of a hold designed for cargo, not people, as a necessary part of their mmove to America. I can remember well my father's saying that Olof and Ella had said years later about the trip: "It was simply awful, and so, so long a trip!". About these ocean crossings in sailing vessels at that time, Anderson further comments in The Palimpsest*: "The principal meal of the day was usually herring, hard bread and potatoes. Dysentery was common. There was no water for washing, toilet facilities were shocking, medical help unavailable. During storms the quarters were closed against both light and air, causing emigrants almost to suffocate."

    Upon arriving in New York and going through "Immigrations", Olof and Ella learned that their trunk and boxes were lost and presumed to have been left on the docks in Sweden. Thus they were deprived of even the few treasured possessions which they wanted most and needed so much.

    From New York they went by train to Galva, Illinois, where they stopped to visit a cousin. The chance to rest and eat some fresh, home-cooked food must have been a real blessing to the young couple and their children.

    October and fall were approching fast so that after two weeks Olof and Ella and their little family again boarded the train for Boone, Iowa. Here, almost at their destination, they got off the train and stood on the station platform looking out at their new and strange land. According to Matilda's account their total inventory consisted of the clothes on their backs and nine dollars cash. Priceless, however, was their store of good health, hardiness and the determination to make a new and better life for themselves and their children. They also knew well how to work hard, make a little go a long way and to get along on the marest essentials.

* May, 1966, Iowa State Historical Department, Division of the State Historical Society. Reprinted with permission.


    About 12 miles north of Boone, near a settlement that would later be known as Swede Bend, lived Peter Cannon (pronounced   Ca-nöń) family whom they had known in Sweden. Here they knew they could stay until Olof found work and could make arrangements for his family.

    The mere thought of such a long walk with four small children over roads that in reality were only trails across the prairie, winding around the slough and into an unknown land would test the courage of the bravest. Olof and Ella suppressed what apprehensions they may have had and proceeded. confident that they would be received by the Cannons with the same hospitality which they would have bestowed on their friends had the situation been reversed.

    All this proved to be true and just as soon as the family was settled in their temporary quarters, Olof took a job as a farm hand for a month. Ella also probably worked part of their keep in addition to caring for the four little ones.

    With winter coming on and farm work slacking off, Olof decided it would be better to find another job and soon went to work for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. They moved to Moingona, a small village about 5 miles southsest of Boone where the railroad crossed the Des Moines River. Work was more available there because it was a coal mining town, and nearby Boone was the point of junction between the eastern and western divisions of the Iowa portion of the railroad.

    Olof worked for the railroad for about a year during which time he and Ella accumulated a few of the necessities for home building while saving every penny they could.

    Olof was anxious to get settled on a farm because that was the work he knew and the life he wanted. He finally located some land that was available just east of the settlement called Hock's Point. Matilda wrote that they moved to a farm northeast of Stratford. Hook's Point it was however, because Stratford railroad was built across Iowa and passed about a mile and a half south of Hook's Point. The settlement relocated there to be adjacent to the railroad and was called Stratford.

    Unfortunately, by the time this story was written memories had faded, recollections were vague and even conflicting. Records are incomplete and sometimes they, too, are inaccurate. Thus many of the details of Olof and Ella's early years on the farm are uncertain.

    After a year of working for the railroad, Olof rented and later purchased land east of Hook's Point and built a two-room log cabin on it for his family. My father Andrew Angstrom, showed me the location and explained how a house could be built on sloping ground so that the back of the house would be partially below ground level and in this way get some protection from the severe cold in winter.

    Olof, like most Swedes, was very adept at making things from wood. No doubt he handcrafted all the home furnishings from wood. Eleanor Angstrom Schierholz told me that for years someone in the family still had a rolling pin which Olof had carved from a small piece of walnut log. They prized it for its workmanship, but didn't treasure it as the keepsake which it truly was and now it seems to be lost. Only absolute necessities such as knives, and axe, a hoe and a plow which couldn't be made were purchased as money became available.


    Breaking up the prairie sod was a necessity for raising corn, wheat and other farm crops. So tough was the centuries-old sod on the prairies, that a special plow with a long, gently curved mold-board, called a "sod buster", pulled by two, three, or even four teams of oxen or horses hitched tandem was needed to turn the sod over, leaving it in long strips. Zola Angstrom Grondahl remembered Olaf F. Angstrom's telling her how his mother, Ella would chop holes in the sod after it had been turned over, and the children would drop three kernels of corn in each hole, to raise their corn. The rest of the tilage was done by hand.

    Only after the sod was turned over two, or even three times culd wheat be grown on the land and this was called "improved" land and was valued two or three times that of unbroken prairie. Since Olof owned neither oxen nor a plow at this time, he probably exchanged hand labor for having his land plowed.

    In 1869, as Olof and Ella were getting settled, sorrow came to their family, when Betsy died at the age of 12 years. With great compassion Matilda wrote how Olof walked to Boone (actually Hook's Point) carrying a bag of wheat on his back to trade for a coffin for his little one. Olof waited while a Mr. Hiram Carpenter made the coffin. Then he set out for home this time carrying the coffin. He soon met a Mr. Caffery with a team of mules and a wagon coming to town. When he saw Olof, Caffery stopped, and since neither spoke the other's language, he pointed for Olof to put the coffin in the wagon and indicated that he would take it to Olof's house on his return trip. Olof then proceeded on home where Ella had with her own hands prepared her little girl for burial. The next day Mr. Caffery again came with the wagon and mule team and took the family and the deceased little one to a burial plot a couple of miles southwest of the present village of Stratford, on what now is a cultivated field.

    Olof and Ella, like most of the early settlers, readily accepted hardships, deprivations and other difficulties as part of life. The had ong since learned to cope with them through hard work, improvising and ingenuity. One of their more difficult situations was establishing and retaining ownership of their lands.

    I remember well having heard many times how great grandfather Olof had to pay twice for his land. Memories and stories varied but most had to do with land grants by the federal government to the State of Iowa for the purpose of using the proceeds from sale of the land to compensate for the construction of dams, locks canals and dredging to make the Des Moines River navigable for travel and the transportation of farm products to market. Alternating sections of land on both sides of the route, or alternating townships along the river were involved but not to include lands more than five miles from the river nor already established farms which were to remain intact with thier owners.

    One company, derisively know as the Riverland Company, taking advantage of an unusually high spring flood in 1858, piloted the river steamer, Charles Rogers, up the river to Fort Dodge, Iowa, where it was grounded and eventually rotted down. To use this as evidence of navigability, which they did, was obviously a farce because during many dry summers one can roll up his pant


    legs and wadde across the river as I have done many times in the vicinity of our farm two miles north of Stratford. Nevertheless the company claimed the land, often ignoring the restrictions reguarding already established farms. Thus the farmers were faced with the alternatives of eviction, fighting the company in court or repurchasing their land. Madsen and Hook in Hook's Point Echoes recount an instance in which the farmers in frustration resorted to the procedure known as "noose justice" with near fatal results to the representative of the company.

    When the railroad company built a line through the region and thereby did, in fact, establish rail transportation for travel and market, they too laid claim to a compensatory land grant with the same results to the farmers.

    In searching the records my brother, Sylvester, could find no legal evidence that Olof ever owned his farm. The records indicate that a considerable amount of land in that area, including Olof's farm, ahd been purchased as early as 1856 by and English land speculation company, the Litchfield Land Company, with an office in Des Moines. Except for a notation that O. Angstrom wanted to buy the property, their records showed no transactions whatsoever on the farm until 1895 and 1896 when rent was paid on it by John and Albert Angstrom. In 1897 the farm was rented to a Mr. Scott and his descendants still rent the farm.

    Whatever the situation, it was this property that Olof "purchased" for $6 or $7 per acre from Tobias (Bias) Neese. Here he built a two-room log house for his family. He tilled the soil and improved the land.

    The Iowa Census, Marion Township, dated July 21, 1870, lists Olof Angstrom, age 40, farmer with 10 acres improved land and 60 acres of unimproved land with a total value of $400, and personal property valued at $60, and named one milch cow, one pig, 25 bushels wheat and 35 bushels corn.

    Later, when the land was pre-empted by the Riverland Company (more likely the Litchfield Land Company),Olof "repurchased" it. Strangely, there seems to be no explanation as to why this transaction does not appear on the Litchfield records, or the land records.

    Olof, like many others of his time had language difficulties, could not read, could not possibly have fathomed the complicated, often incosistent legalities even if he could have read them, and really felt no need for such, since to him, "his word was his bond" as I often heard my father, Andrew, say. Any agreement reached and his word given was totally binding to him. Their own integrity beyond question, these farmers sometimes had to pay dearly to learn that not everyone lived by his code.

    Ella, like other pioneer women, was always anxious to learn ways to help and "make do". She always had a special interest in "doctoring" the sick. This included animals as well as people. This was the inspiration for her son Peter, who later acquired a wide reputation as a good "horse doctor".

    Zola Angstrom Grondahl credits Ella's knowledge and skill in careing for the sick for the family's survival during the severe epidemic of diptheria that claimed many lives in the Hook's Point area at that time. Zola, too, had the special interest in treating sick animals.


Olof and Ella's Sons John, Olaf, Peter, Albert 1895


Olof and Ella's Daughters


    Olof continued to work his farm, each year bringing a little more land into cultivation. Gradually he accumulated a team of oxen and farm equipment. His family, too, continued to increase, and with probably no more help than the comforting presence of an experienced neighbor, Ella delivered Helen Matilda, Albert, Charlotte, Minnie Augusta, and Mary Louise. Incidentally Ella, too, often acted as midwife at their neighbors' childbirths.

    Cousin Marily Kettler recalled for me a story told by her grandmother, Minnie Angstrom Greeley. One Christmas she and the other children awoke early to see what St. Nicholas had left for them. They hurried downstairs, but alas, there were no presents. When Olof and Ella saw the great disappointment in the faces of the children, they told them to go back upstairs, that St. Nicholas had not yet arrived. When the children were out of hearing, they quickly selected from the apple barrel a nice apple for each child. Then when the children came down later, they were happy to see that Old Saint Nick hadn't forgotten them after all and it was a joyous Christmas.

    To ease the burden of feeding so many mouths, children were often "farmed out" according to a custom long established in Sweden. These youngsters would earn their keep and sometimes a modest wage. I recall my grandfather, Peter, telling about his earning 50 cents per month when he first worked away from home when he was 10 years old. Some of his wages he kept, some went to "Father", a term he always used endearingly to refer to his father.

    By 1883, after living in the two-room cabin for 15 years, Olof was able to afford to build a frame house for his family. For this the lumber had to be brought from Webster City about 15 miles to the north. This in itself was quite an undertaking for the only road was really a trail across the prairie, down the often steep-sided, narrow, rutted ravines called "hollows", leading to the Boone River, across the river, then up more hollows and more winding trails among sloughs and lakes to Webster City. Here the lumber was secured and loaded fo rthe trip home. This was a long ardous, two-day journey for the slow, steady oxen, but worth the effort to be able to live in a frame house.

    My grandfather, Peter, told me that his father, Olof, always preferred oxen for working in the fields. They were more steady, dependable and eventempered than horses although they were slower. However about this time Olof acquired some horses. One or more of them must have been afflicted with the condition known as "Sweeney", which is an atrophy of the shoulder muscle due to pressure on a nerve caused by an ill-fitting harness collar. Such animals showed lameness and could be purchased at bargain prices. Given Ella's interest and skill at treating animals and with the aid of a rowel Olof had made for him by the blacksmith, Olof Rosengreen, such animals usually recovered within a few weeks.

    Peter was ten or twelve years old at the time and was intrigued and pleased to see sick animals respond to his mother's skilled treatment and became an apt student of hers or of anyone who had useful knowledge about treating animals. Eventually he developed this "animal doctoring" into an enjoyable and remunerative semi-profession. In turn, I, too, became interested in this type of work, and with encouragement from my father, Andrew, entered into a most enjoyable and gratifying career in the profession of veterinary medicine. The rowel is still in my possession.


    Olof, mindful of the many opportunities in his adopted land for those willing to put forth the necessary effort, sent money to a nephew in Sweden, by the name of Olof Johansson, who had expressed an interest in coming to America. At the last moment, however, young Johansson, a lad of 17 years of age, became faint-hearted and decided to remain at home. He did well, though, because he later became the First Speaker of the Second House of Commons in Sweden.

    Slowly life grew a little less demanding for Olof and Ella and their life must have been further gratifying to see their children grow up proud of their American citizenship and anxious to be part of the growth towards greatness of their new contry. The spirit was well expressed by Matilda when she wrote "...50 living descendants is a considerable contribution to the fiber of Americanism expecially when they have never brought any criminal disgrace on their country."

    Wedding bells began to ring for Olof and Ella's family when on December 31, 1880, at fourteen years of age Christena married Milo Currey, who lived in the area but who had been born in Minnesota. For a while they lived on farms in the Stratford Area. Later they moved west to Nebraska where Clara (Crosby Ferlen) and Albert were born. Ralph, and Mabel (Thomas, Bonser) were born. Two other children, Willie and Leo, died young. Milo died in 1940 and Christena moved back to Stratford. Here at 81 years of age she married Arch Thompson. Christena died Oct. 27, 1854.

    On March 25, 1885, Peter married Martha Johnson. In hopes of owning their own home they moved by covered wagon to Broken Bow, Nebraska. Here Peter built a sod house where Andrew as born. A year later they moved back to the Stratford area where their daughter Eleanor was born. Later Peter bought a farm along the Des Moines River where they were living when on Nov 3, 1916, Martha died while fishing along the river. Peter then retired and moved to Stratford. Later he married Emma Peterson. Peter died Sept. 26, 1954. Emma died April 19, 1957.

    On August 31, 1887, Matilda, 16 years of age, and John H. Hice were married. They moved to Fairmont, Minn., where they lived some years. Later they moved to Webster City. They had one adopted son, Marshall. Matilda died Sept 9, 1945.

    On Sept 18, 1889, Olof and Eva M. Layton were married. They had two sons; Dewey and an adopted son George Brockfeld. Olof operated variously a restaurant, livery service and a hotel. He died Nov. 6, 1945.

    Also about this time Olof's father, at 75 years of age, came over from Sweden to visit his two sons and their families. What a joyous occasion it must have been for the father to be reunited with his sons after nearly 20 years, and to exchange news and stories of loved ones! Olof's father could get acquainted with his many grandchildren and take pride in all their accomplishments. After three months, however, it was time to bid them all a last farwell and return to his home in Sweden. He would carry their greetings and love and his memories to share with his loved ones back home.


Milo & Christena Currey and family

Peter & Martha Angstrom and family


Olaf & Eva Angstrom & son

John & Matilda Hice & son


    It was the year 1893 when Olof and Ella sold their farm and moved to Stratford to retire. Eleanor Angstrom Schierholz recalled to me that Olof had received an offer of $35 per acre for the farm. He considered that a good price which would yearl enough for retirement. The children were mostly grown and on their own. John, 24 years, and Albert, 20 years, would rent the farm and continue to live there and Charlotte at 18 years of age agreed to keep house for her brothers. Minnie, 15 years, and Mary 12 years, would continue to live with their parents in town.

    Retiring ws for Olof an dElla a fitting reward for the daring choice of coming to America and the many long years of hard work on the farm. Retirement was a luxury which was the farthest thought from their minds when they decided to emigrate to America. The usual procedure in Sweden was for the aging parents to be allotted living space in the attic to make room for the son and his family to work the farm.

    Olof and Ella purchased a frame house at the corner of Tennyson and Teneyck Streets in Stratford and spent many years there in happy retirement. The house has now been considerably remodelled and was for a number of years owned by his brother Peter's granddaughter Hazel Angstrom Westmim.

    It was a deep and rewarding pleasure for the aging couple to see the rest of their children mature, marry happily and enter their own futures as substantial citizens.

    While renting the "home" farm with Albert, John married Sarah Anna Fisher on Oct. 17, 1894. They lived on farms in the Stratford area until 1902 when they moved by train to the state of Washington. Their granddaughter, Virginia Angstrom McElroy who is writing the story of John and Anna, told me that they moved west to be near the rest of Anna's family. Here they purchased a farm and raised mostly wheat and sheep. Here two more sons, Albert and Vernon, were born. The family worked hard, enjoyed life and raised their family. Anna took care of the family, tended the garden and raised chickens, turkeys and goats. Later Anna spun wool from the sheep and made beautiful comforters for the family. In 1936, John and Anna retired to Wilbur, Washington, happily surrounded by most of their family in the area. They celebrated their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries. Anna died in 1959 and John died January 27, 1961.

    On April 17, 1895, after keeping house for her brothers John and Albert for a year, Charlotte Ann married J R Cottington. The following year they moved to Palo Alto County, Iowa. They had three sons, Maynard, Milford and Ferman. Their son Ferman, President of F.D. Cottington Farms, Lt. and his family live in the Guthrie Center, Iowa, area. Charlotte died October 23, 1947.

    On September 18, 1895 Albert married Julia Etta Filloon at the Milo and Chris Currey homme near Stratford. Albert and Julia moved by covered wagon to Fairmont, Minnesota, and later by train to the State of Washington and eventually back to Staples, Minnesota. Here they farmed and lived out the last 45 years of their life. Albert and Julia had three daughters, Hazel, Frankie Marie Wiltrout and Zola Grondahl. Zola lovingly wrote a brief story of Albert and Julia's life together. Like his brothers, Albert was an admirer of fine horses and always had classy horse transportation for the times. Albert died on March 26, 1959. Six lonely months later, Julia also passed to her reward.


Retirement Home for Olof and Ella in Stratford

A group of retired first-generation Swedes living in Stratford about 1909


    After living with her parents in Stratford for several years, Minnie Augusta married Albert Greeley, a member of the prominent Horace Greeley family in 1900. Their granddaughter, Marilyn Kettler, with great love and tenderness, told how Albert and Minnie opened a furniture store in Webster City, Iowa, and how the young couple were devoted to each other and together ran their business. Albert was the salesman and Minnie too care of the office business. They prospered and soon owned considerable property including their home and store and three farms in the area. The Greeley's were the first people in Webster City to own a car, a Model T Ford, and Minnie was proud to be the first lady in the city to drive an auto. The Greeleys had two children: Thelma, whose daughter, Marily Kettler, was a portrait artist; and a son, Merritt. Minnie and Albert celebrated their 50th anniversary at their home in Washington, D. C. Minine died Oct. 23, 1942 at Stephenson, Virginia.

    And then on September 5, 1900, Mary Louise, the youngest of Olof and Ella's children, known affectionately by her brothers and sisters as "the pretty one", and Clarence Rodine were married. They had five children, Zola Maude Gutherie, Caro Ella, Charles Maurice, Clarence A. and Mary Louise. They lived in the Stratford area for several years and later moved away. Mary Louise died Novermber 3, 1965.

    "..... his home dooryard and garden were his pride....." and "He always worked and worked smilingly....." reads Olof's obituary. Obviously Olof continued and active if less strenuous life in retirement.

    He also took time to visit with his retired farmer friends where he could relax and "talk Swede". Then, too, it was always nice to rever to that large, key-ind pocket watch and compare to exact time of day with his friends. He had purchased this watch upon his retirement and had the date engraved on the back of it. The watch is now in the possession of his great grandson Bernard Lawrence Angstrom.

    My father, Andrew Angstrom, enjoyed telling the story about how one day a man came to the house shortly after lunch when it was Olof's habit to take a short nap. He rapped on the door and when Ella opened the door, he asked if "the man of the house" were in. Ella, having a case of laryngitis at the time answered in a whisper, "Yes, but he's asleep". The man, also in a whisper, apologized, "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll return after he wakes up." Ella chuckled and explained that she whispered because she was hoarse and couldn't talk, but she would go at once and tell Olof that the man wished to see him.

    Grandfather Peter was a most devoted and faithful son to the aging Olof and Ella and looked after their every need according to stories related to me by Cousin Ferman Cottington. No doubt their favorite topic of conversation was the care and treatment of sick animals because this was the special interest of all three of them.


3 generations of Angstroms

1936 2 generations


    My own recollections of these great grandparents from my visits to them with my father, are of a very gentle old man with lots of unruly white hair and whiskers sticking out in all directions. Great grandmother was equally nice but seldom said much. While both could speak English, they were never comfortable with the language and usually conversed in Swedish with family and friends. Also I remember that great grandmother liked to smoke a little white clay pipe. This it was explained to me was a custom of old ladies from Sweden.

    Olof died September 27, 1919 "at the ripe old age of 88 years, 10 months and 20 days" as written by Matilda and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Stratford, Iowa. Ella died February 5, 1921 at the age of 85 and is buried at his side.


Olof Angstrom's Will


The following images are added by the transcriber from records she has had for years, but had never used.

Angstrom Family
Left to Right Back Row: Albert, Matilda, Peter, Olof, Christina, John
Left to Right Front Row: Minnie, Ella, Charlotte, Olof, Mary

Pete, Martha, Andrew & Eleanore   Pete & Emma

Left image (First family) Peter T., Martha, Andrew & Eleanore;   Right image Peter T. Emma (Costenson, Peterson) Angstrom

Family Marker

Family Marker

Olof Headstone

Olof's Headstone

Ella's Headstone

Ella's Headstone

Grave stone pictures from Find-a-Grave

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