Albin Lundberg: A Swedish Pioneer

by

Kris Baldwin

 

America. . The land of milk and honey. Our ancestors dreamed of finding happiness and prosperity here. There were very brave and courageous people to travel such far distances when travel was so risky and primitive.

My Great Grandfather, Albin Lundberg, was born on June2, 1896, to Svante and Britta-Kristina Lundberg.

Svante Lundberg, my Great-Great Grandfather, was a soldier in the Swedish Army. His first wife's name was Kajsa. They lived in Rosegarden, Skallmeja, Sweden. They had two girls. Inga-Margareta and Emma Louise. Two years after Emmas was born, Kajsa died. The next year Inga-Margareta died. The same year that Inga-Margareta died, Svante married his 2nd wife, Britta Kristina. There were 11 children in the family. There were two sets of twins: Fredrica and Josifina, and Judith and Ester. Josifina died at age 2, and Alfred, who was the oldest, died at the age of 4. Hjalmer Lundberg was the first of the family to travel to America.

Gottfred was the next on to go to America. He was followed by Albin. Albin was 15 years old when he and a friend decided to go to America. They arrived some time in the spring of the year 1884, after along hard journey. One of the first experiences Albin remembered after he arrived in American was as he and his friend were walking down the streets of New York they say the most beautiful fruit they had ever seen. It was called a tomato. They bought a sack full and each tried one. They thought it was the most horrible fruit they had ever tasted! So, they threw the sack of tomatoes in an old alley.

Albin worked to pay off his passage expense by working at a lumber camp. He was one of the youngest members in the camp. When he started in the lumber camp he was an errand boy. He went back and forth from the camp into town bringing food and supplies. He eventually earned enough money to visit his brothers in Minnesota.

First, he visited Hjalmer, who had a farm near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later, he went to see Gottfred, whose was near Kennedy, Minnesota. Albin met Caroline Sorenson while visiting Gottfred and they were married in 1893. It was a small church wedding with only a few guests, the witnesses and the chaplain.

During their first year of marriage, Albin got a job at the Fort Farm, which was a large bonanza farm near Kennedy. Later he bought a section of virgin prairie soil and planted crops of wheat and flax. In the early 1900's Albin lost all of his land and money when his flax crop froze.

After he lost his land, he and Caroline moved into Kennedy. Albin took a job in Kennedy as a mail driver while Caroline ran a boardinghouse. In 1908, was Albin's first year in delivering mail. He delivered mail in the summertime with a horse and buggy, but in the cold winter he drove a cab less cutter with a buffalo robe to keep warm. Neither snow, nor rain, nor sleet, nor hail; it never stops the U.S. Mail. So, through all types of weather, Albin drove 32 miles for 35 dollars a month.

During the 29 years Albin worked as a mailman in Kennedy, there were many improvements in the vehicles he used to deliver mail.

In the early 1920's, he got a sleigh with a caboose and an enclosed gas heater. Then, in 1930, he made the first model A Ford snowmobile in Kittson County. It has large runners, like the ones on heavy sleighs. The front runners steered it and the back had a track that went around and around to make it move. Not long after he used the primitive snow-mobile, he used a puddle-jumper, which was a very light model T Ford, used for going through the mud.

In the midst of the meager times, of their early marriage, Caroline and Albin had five children: Ethel, who is my Grandmother, Florence, Myrtle and Stella, my great Aunt, and George, my great Uncle. He died at the age of 20 from pneumonia.

These were hard times in America and in Northern Minnesota. The Lundberg's had to struggle continually to make enough to live without going into debt. The depression after World War I was a hard time for all-Americans, but at least Albin had a steady job. It wasn't easy to feed a family of seven on a monthly salary but, like the other people of the valley, they struggled through the lean times.

When Albin Lundberg retired at the age of 65, he and Caroline decided to move to Long Beach, California. So, with a little money in their pockets and a sturdy model A, Albin and Caroline moved to California. They were happy in the sunny weather near the ocean but they missed the Red River Valley. Albin passed away in 1949 and Caroline passed away in 1969.

This Historical Essay of my Great Grandfather was just one example of the many determined people who came to the Red River Valley- the land of dreams and of milk and honey.

 

Bibliography

Baldwin, Joyce, Humboldt, Minnesota, Interview, November27, 1973

Doris, Myrtle, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Correspondence, January 4, 1974

Jarquist, Kristiana, Sweden, Correspondence, August 23,1973

Lundberg, Caroline, Long Beach, California, Correspondence, November 12, 1967

span style='font-size:13.5pt'>California, Correspondence, November 12, 1967