Yesterday was a cold snowy day. I spent most of it in the recliner, reading a book, drinking hot chocolate and just enjoying a relaxing day of peace and quiet.
I did go out for an open house of a famous (by our town’s standards) home that is up for sale. This Victorian home with neoclassic influence was built in the early 1900s and is in excellent shape. I loved all the old woodwork, leaded glass windows and rooms.
I was also curious to see the house, because it was built for the family of Mathilda Jaderborg, the sister of my great-great grandmother Charlotta Johnson, who was featured in my Planting Dreams series. My family would have been in that house as they were building it and afterwards when they lived there.
Both Matilda and Charlotta came from Sweden and had very humble beginnings.
Here’s Matilda story, an excerpt from my book, Cultivating Hope.
“Bachelors often hire women to come out to their farms to do the washing and cook up a supply of meals. Mathilda occasionally went to Lars’ homestead to work for him. One day while she was at the washtub scrubbing his clothes, he came up to her and said the preacher had arrived. Would she marry him today? If not, he had another girl in mind. Lars is twenty-one years older than Mathilda, but she decided he was as good as man as any, so she took off her apron and married him on the spot. Lars has done well for his family. They lived in the log cabin for two years, then build a nine-room stone house.”
Many years later they retired from their farm, moved to Lindsborg and built this house so their children could attend Bethany College. Unfortunately neither lived in the house for very long. Lars died five years later, at age 87, after he broke a hip. Three years after that Mathilda fell down the back curved staircase of the house that led to the kitchen, and died from internal injuries. Their son and his family lived in the house next, so it stayed in the family for several decades before changing owners.
While I walked through the house, I could sense my ancestors sitting and talking in the parlor—on another Sunday afternoon—visiting this same house…