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Sunday, April 27, 2014

52 Ancestors # 17: Carl Gustaf (Carlsson) Knock, From Sweden to Iowa

     When I started to research Dennis' family in 1978 or so, his mother, Eloise Margaret Knock Negley, told me that Knock was not the family name in Sweden.  She said that when her grandfather, Carl Gustaf, and his brother, Johan August, came to America their last name was Carlsson, as their father's name was Carl.  On the ship they met a man named Knock and they liked the name so they decided to adopt it. However, Johan seems to have spelled it Knocke and Carl spelled it Knock. I've been very glad she told me this as I've never seen it anywhere else and I would've had a hard time trying to find them as Knock in Swedish records!

     Carl Gustaf was born 29 May 1846 in Varnum (now part of Kristinehamm), Varmlands, Sweden. His parents were Karl (Carl) Johan Jonson and Johanna Olsdotter. His brother, Johan August, was born 11 Mar 1849,and a sister, Johanna Maria born 24 January 1852. Unfortunately, Johanna Maria died in September 1853, followed by their mother a month later in October 1853. Carl would've been 7 1/2 when his mother died.

His father remarried, Maria Johanna Andersdotter, and they had two children, Anton Frederick born in 1855 who lived for one day and Regina Matilda, born 1 Sep 1856. I think that Carl had a fondness for his little sister, Regina, as he named his youngest daughter for her. She mentions this in the book she wrote and published about the family. Then in February 1858, the father, Carl Johan, died as well. This left the boys orphans with their stepmother. She then married again, Johan Svensson, with whom she had a son, Anders Niklas.

     It was 1860 when Maria married Johan Svensson, Carl was 14. So now we had a situation where we had two teenage boys living in a family where neither parent was related to them! The only one in the family related to them was their little sister, Regina. I think this must have been very uncomfortable for everyone. So we find Carl and Johan living outside the family as "drang"s ( farm laborers) by 1863 or so. It is no surprise that they came to America in April 1869. I haven't actually found them in the passenger lists yet but found them in the parish "utflyttning" (those leaving the parish)record in April 1869 and in the Swedish emigration records from Goteborg. I'm sure they felt they had no reason to stay in Sweden and every reason to find their fortune in America.

     The Webster and Hamilton Counties, Iowa Biographical Record, published in 1888, has a short biography of Carl on page 456. He is called "Charles G. Knock". According to them he landed at New York City with his brother and went to Kansas.  He didn't like it there, although Johan August stayed in Kansas.  Carl went to Evanston, Ill and then to Lake County, working as a carpenter.  On 23 Jan 1875, in Chicago, he married Anna Louisa Ericksdotter Lindquist.  She also had assumed the last name of Lindquist, along with her brother and sister, upon arrival in America. They had eight children.

     The Biographical Record mentioned above tells us that Carl settled on his farm in section 32 in 1876. It was a "tract of wild prairie" but he improved it to the point, "he ow has one best farms in the township". It contained 120 acres. He also served "in the principle positions of the township" (Clay township) and was the clerk in 1888 when the book was written. The biography also tells he was a Republican and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

     Following in the footsteps of his mother and father, Carl did not live to an old age, dying on 21 Jun 1893 on his farm in Clay. He was 47 years old. His wife proceeded to raise the children. She never remarried and died in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1925. Several of his children became ministers, professors and educated men. His story is one that shows that no matter what your early circumstances you can still make your own life and become successful.

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