Letter from John Olof to cousin Erik Blomquist

Facebook is good for some things!

Quite by accident, I saw a post, in the Alfta, Sweden, Facebook group, by a man that had a letter. The letter was from my great grandfather John Olof Oberg to his cousin Erik Blomquist Sept 19, 1904, just days after Olof arrived in the U.S.

The owner of the letter was Christoffer Frances, a relative of Erik. Christoffer’s uncle Carl-Lennart Frances married Göta Helena Blomquist, daughter of Anna Maria Åberg (Per Johan’s sister) and (the elder) Erik Blomquist. Erik had a blacksmith shop in Alfta, nextdoor to Edsbyn, where the Åberg Urafors axe factory was. Christoffer translated the letter for us as well as scanned the letter and sent. I’m including the text and a few photos – a couple snapshots of the letter and the family of Erik Blomquist and Anna Maria Åberg Blomquist, 1909 including the son Erik, Olof’s cousin.

The letter mentions Grandpa’s sister Hulda, and Ville – his uncle William, and I think Tilda is his aunt Mathilda Åberg. She was in California but I’ve not been able to find any information on her in the U.S. Grandpa Oberg would have been 19 yr old at the time of this letter. He arrived in Boston on Sept 2, 1904.


Here is the translation. Thanks again to Christoffer! 


From Olof Oberg, Boone, IA, to Erik Blomqvist, Alfta, Sweden, 18 sept 1904

Hello, dear cousin Erik. I am still alive and well. I am sure that you have started to worry about us as we haven ́t been in touch. But now I am going to tell how we are. First of all I ́d like to say that we are well and also hope that everyone back home in Alfta also are well and healthy.

Now I am in a different country Erik. A very modern country all the way to the far west. I have been allowed to see and experience so much that I could never ever even have dreamt. One really has to experience a lot on such a journey as ours. We have now met our Uncle and taken him by the hand and seen this land. He is very down to earth, just as we remembers him, healthy and strong, and nowhere as ill as he was before.

Our journey across the sea went well. The sea was very calm, almost like a mirror every day. On the Northern Sea it was a bit rough and windy, and we felt a bit dizzy. But after that it was very calm and the journey took 20 days and nights. Two days crossing the Northern Sea, a few days stop-over in England and then eight days crossing the Atlantic Sea.

It is now two weeks since we came to Boone. We were in a hurry when we left Sweden, so sadly we didn ́t have the time to come down to you to say goodbye. We had planned to come down on Monday evening, but then you had gone to Bollnäs, so we headed for Orsa.

The weather here is very fine, and right now they are harvesting. And then they will start harvesting all the corn for the second time this year. They are also busy picking all the fruit from the trees. There are so many apples that you don ́t even have to ask to pick one and eat it. If I should ask a farmer for a barrel of apples, he would kindly give it to me for free. Please, write back to me so that I can hear how you all are. It would so much fun to hear from Sweden now that we are so far away.

I have to tell you that Ville had a letter from aunt Tilda. She is in California and are well, but she does not like it there she tells us. I am very happy here. Just as happy as I was back home in Sweden. I am now working at a blacksmith just outside Boone. Ville works in the city, and Hulda have been staying here with me in the mean- time. But she is to get work in the city, and she will easily get work so we don ́t have to be afraid of being un- employed.

At work I am running a small steam engine at the blacksmith. I had to start work by learning how the handle this machine. Sometime I have to make horseshoes.

Now you know a little bit better how we have it and I have to stop now for the time being. All the best from me, Hulda and Villiam. I have left our address with this letter as you can see.

Best wishes from me to you Erik.


(Erik Blomquist at upper left, behind Anna Maria)

This is the family of Erik and Anna Maria Blomquist (before Göta was born). Erik is at the upper left, behind his mother. (Thank you to Christoffer Frances for providing this photo.)


First page of letter:


Last page of letter: