The Emigrant


My Great grandfather, the taylor Matts Wahlström, was one of the thousand Swedish men and woman, between 1880 to 1900, who decided to emigrate to USA with their families.

Matts decided to leave ahead of his family to arrange work and a house to live in. The rest of the family were to come when all the arrangements were done.

In the beginning of 1891 the family lived in Stockholm where Matts had his own taylor shop. The family were eight persons big; Matts himself, 41 years old, his wife Hulda, 36 years and the children Hjalmar, 14, Ingeborg, 8, Edith, 7, Hilda, 5, Therese, 2 and Olga-Mari only ten months old.

The same year Matts left for America. On February 20, a Friday, he bought an "Emigration contract" in Stockholm from E. F. Larsson who was an agent for the Guion-Line. The prize for the ticket was 75 Swedish crowns.

The boat left from Gothenburg to England four days later, on Tuesday February 24th.

The "Emigration contract" in original.

As he allready had his elder brother Anders (Andrew) in USA, who had emigrated with his family 20 years earlier, in 1870, and at that time lived in Stanford just outside Orlando in Florida, he must have known what to expect at his arrival. (Also see the Edit Marie Edgars history about the"Family in USA".) Exactly what happened to Matts at his arrival we do not know any longer.

In Stockholm the rest of the family started preparing for their trip. They stared selling out their home and saying goodbye to friends and family. The oldest son Hjalmar, who at this time was staying with his uncle Carl up in Dannemora, got continuesly information from his mother Hulda by letters.

Huldas first letter, written on June 11 1891.
Huldas second letter, written on June 22 1891.
Huldas third letter, not dated.
Huldas fourth letter, written on July 6 1891.

The original letters are owned by my fathers first cousin, the son of Hjalmar, Eric Wahlström, who lives on Lidingö just outside Stockholm.

The trip was never to be started for the family.....

At the time when all things were ready for the big trip, Matts suddenly shows up in Stockholm again, informing them that planns has been changed. They were to stay in Stockholm. And that is what happened........

Why he decided that the family should stay in Stockholm we do not know for sure. In the second letter it is written that it was because of the bad health of the youngest daughter and his wife Hulda.

What we do know is, now more than 100 years later, that his decition really changed the family history to come.



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Copyright © Håkan Bergström, Latest update 1999-07-18