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Sunday, June 7, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #24: Julia Maria Kneeland Almquist

     Julia Maria Kneeland was born on 5 Aug 1864 in Bolton, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Nelson Castle Kneeland and Azelia Marie Phelps.  The family moved to Whitewater, Winona, Minnesota in about 1868.  Julia married Ander Wilhelm Ludwick Almquist on 30 May 1880 probably in Cokato, Wright, Minnesota. She was 16, he was 28.  Their wedding photo shows a handsome young couple.

     Ander was born in Sweden, arriving with his brother to join their father, in about 1865. By the time of his marriage, Ander had a Hardware Store in Cokato.  Julia and Ander's first child, Alice Charlotte, was born 13 Mar 1881 but died 14 months later on 18 May 1882. She was soon followed by a brother, Walter A. L. Almquist, born 12 Oct 1882.  Next another son, Chester William, born 4 Sep 1886 who only lived until 29 Nov 1886.  Then came Christian Raymond C. born 9 Jan 1888 and Amy A. L. born 16 Jun 1889. By 1890 after 10 years of marriage they had tragically lost two childen but still had three living children.

     However, more tragedy struck.  Sometime after 1890, Ander's hardware store went bankrupt. This combined with the lost of the children a few years earlier apparently sent him over the edge, because in 1900 we find him as a patient in Fergus Falls State Hospital in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail, Minnesota.  Julia and the three children are living in Steele, Minnesota.  The oldest son, Walter, is apparently supporting the family as a teamster at the age of 17.  Ander died in 1918 in the county of Anoka, I don't know if he had been released or simply was in another institution, but I did find a photo of the hospital called "Anoka Asylum". In the 1910 Census we find Julia in Aberdeen, Brown, South Dakota with her daughter Amy, who is working as a clerk in a printing office and four borders.  Her sons are living nearby in South Dakota with their wives.

     I have not been able to find Julia or Amy in the 1920 or 1930 Censuses. Amy married Victor Tyson by 1936 and lived in North Dakota.  Julia is recorded in the Minnesota Death Record as dying on 3 Aug 1933 in Minneapolis.  She was two days shy of her 69th birthday.  She had six grandchildren at the time of her death.  Her story is sad but you have to admire her for carrying on and raising her children after her husband went insane.  She was only 36 in 1900. To me it shows that when you embark on a marriage you have no idea what is in store. You pretty much hope for the best and deal with whatever comes! I think she did that.

     My grandfather, who told me many stories of his family never mentioned his Uncle, Ander, and Julia.  I found the photos among his things. One of her grandsons, Ralph Almquist, son of Walter, is in his address so I know he stayed in touch with at least one member of the family.  Only when I researched them as part of the tree did I learn their story.

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