Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Israelson 1913 Letter from California

This letter appeared in the Harvard Courier newspaper December 13, 1913. It was from John W. Israelson of the Saronville Israelson family (more about them below).

Settlers in Clay County had often stopped "back East" for a spell before pressing on further west. Clay County also served as a stopping place for many who, after a few years or decades again picked up stakes and pressed on even further west.

California was a popular next destination with the Los Angeles basin drawing large numbers from Clay County as well as other Nebraska locations and other places that had been on the frontier.

The Sutton area had two specialized migrations as the Sutton Germans often joined family and friends who had earlier settled around the zinfandel grape vineyards of Lodi, California in San Joaquin County between Sacramento and Stockton. Saronville Swedes had their own California destination among the orchards around Turlock in Stanislaus County near Modesto.

John Israelson joined another significant contingent that choose Pasadena, Long Beach and points in between joining the migration that led to today's large population center of LA and Orange Counties.

1913 Letter from John W. Israelson shortly after he
moved his family to Pasadena, California

John W. Israelson was the second child and first son in the Israelson family.

The Israelson Family patriarch was Andrew Peter Israelson who was born in Asby, Östergötland, Sweden about 40 miles east of Jönköping, and 140 miles southwest of Stockholm, on January 8, 1824 to Israel Karlsson and Catterina Petersdotter. Andrew, or Anders married Charlotte Sophia Larsdotter in March of 1851. The next year Andrew and pregnant Charlotte left Gothenburg on the Swedish ship Carlos arriving in New York in August 26, 1852 and headed for western Illinois where daughter Emma was born in December, the first of twelve offspring in the family (three died young).

Mr. Israelson purchased railroad land in Sutton Township near Saronville in 1877 and moved his family to Clay County.

The Israelson family name has largely expired around here, or daughtered-out as the genealogists say. But the genetic heritage of Östergötland persists in Clay County and elsewhere with surnames such as: Aspegren, Pontine, Nelson, Hultman and many others - even Johnson (hand proudly waving from my keyboard), Serr and who'd have thought, Rolfes.

John W. Israelson was married to Amanda Charlotte Thry in Illinois in 1880. They adopted Ruth Francis before 1900; she was a member of the illustrious Sutton High class of 1912 and moved to California with her parents. My family records lists Ruth's death on March 24, 1918 in Los Angeles at the age of 22.

My "official" connection to John W. Israelson? He was my Great Grand Uncle - my great, grandmother Emma's brother - Jerry Johnson.

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