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Sunday, August 24, 2014

52 Ancestors # 34: John Mallgren, Stone Mason from Ryda to St. Peter

     John Mallgren, was my mother-in-law, Eloise Knock,'s maternal grandfather.  She never knew him but she was very proud of her Swedish heritage. The name Mallgren or Mellgren (I've found it spelled both ways in the Swedish records) means middle branch. It was possibly a soldier name, I have only gone back to about 1718 on this line so I don't know for sure. In the Swedish records, though, John is known as Johan Jonasson or even, Jonsson. However, Mallgren was his family name and he himself used it as such.

    John was born 24 Mar 1841 with the name Johannes, baptized 25 Mar 1841, to Jonas Andersson (Mellgren but the Church baptism record omits this name) and Greta Andersdotter in the parish of Ryda, Skaraborg, Sweden. This is north east of Goteborg.  His father is listed as Jonas Andersson Mellgren as a torpare or crofter in the Household Examination Record of 1841-1850. Johannes had four older sisters at that time. In his marriage record, John is listed as a farmhand. On 30 Dec 1868, John married Maja Stina Andersdotter.  She was the daughter of the town soldier, Anders Larsson Ryd (Ryd is his soldier name taken from the name of the town, Ryda).

     The period of 1867-1869 was one of famine in Sweden, thus not long after they married John and Maja Stina decided to go to America. The Swedish emigration records show they left in April 1869.  I have not yet found them for certain on a passenger list but they arrived in New York City in 1869. According to John's obituary they went straight to St. Peter, Nicollet, Minnesota and they appear there in the 1870 Census. Their first child, daughter, Augusta, was born there in September so Maja Stina was pregnant when they traveled to America.  Perhaps her pregnancy was part of the impetus for the move.

     Once in America, the family prospered.  John was a stone mason by trade, which profession he learned before he left Sweden.  He helped construct many of the buildings in St. Peter.  He was very active in his church, the Swedish Lutheran Church, holding several positions there over the years. He also was  an alderman for the city for awhile. He and Mary (as she was called in the Censuses) had seven children: Augusta, William, Anna, Hannah, Franz, Esther and Hulda.

    On 10 Feb 1911, after a two year lingering illness, John Mallgren died at his home in st. Peter. He was almost 70 years old. He had an attack of pleurisy (essentially pneumonia) from which he never fully recovered and it led to further complications and a lack of resistance to other diseases from which he died. Three obituaries were published in three St. Peter's papers for him.  The Free Press(11 Feb 1911) called him, "a good citizen, a kind and indulgent father and a generous neighbor." The Herald on 17 Feb 1911 said he was "a model neighbor, a kind husband and a thoughtful father." And the Tribune said on 15 Feb 1911 that John was "a good, honest, industrious citizen and neighbor."

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