m  a  r  k    e  r  i  c  k  s  o  n    p  a  i  n  t  i  n  g  s

Family Photographs  - 1865 - 2017
Sweden * Italy * England * France * Germany
New York City * California * Colorado * North Dakota

Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsdotter-Olsson-Andersson) & Anders Alfred Erickson Family Biography Sundsvall & Torpshammer, Sweden, Painted Woods, Regan, Wilton & Bismarck, North Dakota Written by Mark Julius Erickson & Zena (Zenieda) Abby (Erickson) Henninger Wanner

My Great Grandfather Anders Alfred Erickson was born on May 21st, 1860 in Kopparberg, Örebro, Sweden, and Great Grandmother Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsdotter-Olsson-Andersson) Erickson was born on December 28th, 1864 in Stöde Västernorrlands län, Medelpad, Sweden. They were married on December 5th, 1885, in Torpshammer Västernorrland, Sweden, and had six children, born in Sundsvall and Torpshammar. A seventh child was born in 1905 in Bismarck, North Dakota. It was in Torpshammer where they started their first farm in 1886 through 1902 when they moved to Sundsvall preparing for their trip to America. Their Nanny, Brita Hammarshrom accompanied them on their journey across the North Atlantic as the SS. Aurania's Customs Ship Manifest is stated below.

Ersson / Eriksson was the family’s original surname. Erickson became the spelling after 1903.

Erik Olof Helmer Erickson was born on February 5th, 1886 in Torpshammer, Sweden Ernest (Ernst) Julius Alfred Erickson was born June 7th, 1889 in Torpshammer, Sweden Grandfather Frank (Frans) Gustaf Severin Erickson was born December 12th, 1892 in Sundsvall, Sweden Andrew-Andy (Anders) Sebran Filimon Erickson was born on February 18th, 1896 in Sundsvall, Sweden Abbie (Ebba) Angnis Kristina (Lincoln) Erickson was born October 10th, 1898 in Sundsvall, Sweden Vera (Elvira) Elda Alfrida (Gallager) Erickson was born March 10th, 1902 in Sundsvall, Sweden Alphons 'Al' Frederick Alcassar Erickson was born August 6th, 1905 in Bismarck, North Dakota

After nine days at sea, the S.S. Aurania ported at Ellis Island in New York State. The Erickson Family had arrived in America. They had traveled from Sundsvall to Malmo, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, and finally the long trek to Liverpool, England. On May 12th, they left Liverpool and sailed west over the North Atlantic to America. As the days slowly passed staring out on the Atlantic high seas, on May 21st, 1903, Anders and Kristina and their six children arrived in New York City. It had been an arduous journey from Sweden. Arriving at Ellis Island, in Upper New York Bay, was daunting and they filed into the lines directed by the customs officials and waited. Ellis Island was the gateway for over twelve million immigrants to America for over sixty years from 1892 until it closed in 1954.

The S.S. Aurania's passenger list (attached below) shows the procedure of the time. Each person arriving in the United States were required to answer an assortment of personal questions. Countless ship manifests were created and bear the historic records of a unique time during the height of immigrants flooding into America. The manifests were hundreds of white pages in bound accounting books, at the top of each page were preprinted areas for the name of the ship, its country of origin, departure date and city, arrival date and port, and various custom stamps and codes are included. Each page has lines for thirty-plus passengers with vertical categories and specific personal questions that are transcribed by a customs clerk in pen and ink in front of the individual.

Here are examples of the information needed for the Customs Clerk's Transcription: Full name, age, female or male, head of household, country of origin and birth, occupation, and how much money was in their possession at the time of entry. One question that was key was the passenger’s final destination in the US and who they knew there or how they were related. The Ericksons were set, they knew their family in North Dakota was there, and they would be greeted warmly. Knowing that made the last leg of their long travels easier. The Erickson's were heading to their new home, and what lay in store was anticipated with optimism.

The Erickson's passed through immigration, and within hours after getting their bearings, they headed into New York City and arrived at 42nd Street and Grand Central Station. There at Grand Central, they began their train travels to North Dakota. The Spring was in full bloom, so the ride was pleasant, as many related over the years. After a week of traveling through a dozen states, they were told they were in North Dakota, their new homeland. Within hours, the Erickson's, carrying all their earthly belongings, walked onto the train station platform in Bismarck. Anders' Brother Frederick (1847-1921), his wife Carrie Karen (Jansdotter) Johnson (1854-1911), and their three daughters Amanda (1886–1963) Ester Emelia (1893–1975), and Louise Victoria (1898–1986) Erickson, greeted them warmly. The tired group joined Frederick and his family on a large two-horse team wagon and headed to Frederick and Carrie's Family Farm in Slaughter, near Wilton, North Dakota.

Anders, Kristina, and their six children lived at the farm in Slaughter until 1905, working alongside Brother Frederick. Already an experienced farmer, Anders and the four boys farmed the land, looking forward to owning farmland of their own. In 1905, the Family settled onto a farm in Ghylin Township near Regan, in Burleigh County. The farm thrived, having immediately built a large farmhouse and barn. Their children went to local schoolhouses. Erik at twenty started working outside the farm and within years began a Photography business, ‘The Erickson Studio’ in Wilton on Dakota Avenue. Ernest Julius soon after became the Proprietor of the Wilton Pool and Bowling Alley also on Dakota Avenue in Wilton.

By 1917, four of their sons joined the military; Erik joined the 1st Infantry Regiment of the North Dakota National Guard and served in North Dakota for the duration of the war. The other three boys joined the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) and all served on the Western Front in France. Ernest Julius served with the 361st Infantry of the 91st Division. Frank Severin served with the 308th Infantry of the 77th Division, and Anders Sebran served with the 101st Aero Squadron in the Army Air Corps. Unfortunately, Ernest Julius was killed by a German sniper in France on October 10, 1918, fighting in the Argonne Forest during the Meuse Argonne Offensive.

Frank survived the infamous 'Lost Battalion' siege in the Argonne and was awarded the Silver Star for his actions as a Runner during the 'Lost Battalion' battle. His heroics became legendary back home and some years later, Frank was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor by both the Governor and Senator from North Dakota. Anders Sebran served with the 101st Aero Squadron. They were assigned to the Issoudun Aerodrome near Bourges where the Squadron carried out bombardment missions until the end of the war. Both Frank and Anders Sebran returned to North Dakota in the late Spring of 1919.

By 1920, Anders and Kristina were raising their three-year-old Grandson Ronald 'Ronny' Erickson. Ronny's Father Erik Helmer, a distracted traveling musician whose wife Evelyn Owina Myers had recently divorced him, had abandoned Ronny with his parents. Ronny was barely three years old. Evelyn and Erik's first son Ernest had passed away in infancy. Later in life, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he opened the 'Erickson Photographic Studio.'

In the early 1940s, Ronny along with his Grandmother Brita Kristina moved to Los Angeles, California Ronny was employed in various occupations up until he joined the Air Force in 1941 and served in the Pacific Theater of War. Ronny returned home in 1945 and married Joan Victoria Costello. He worked at Lockheed Aircraft till his passing in 1979. Joan and Ronny had six children, Trudy, Toby, Janice, Peter, Barrie, and Mathew.

Along with their youngest Son Alphons and Daughter Vera, Anders and Kristina continue to work the Regan farm. On November 11th, 1923 the Family received the terrible news that their father Anders Alfred Erickson had been killed in an automobile accident on his way home from Bismarck. Kristina and the Family stayed on at the farm and eventually moved to Bismarck so Ronny could go to school. Kristina lived in Bismarck until she and Ronny moved to Southern California in the early 1940s and stayed with her Daughter Abby and her son Vincent until they found their own home in Hollywood. Kristina passed away in Los Angeles on March 29th, 1950

Frank had left the farm in 1911 and headed West, living and working in Montana, British Columbia, California, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington State over the next six years. Frank's Brother Ernest Julius joined him along the way. They worked over the next six years as Horse Wranglers, Lumbermen, and Warehousemen. In 1917, they served as Oregon Railroad Deputies out of La Grande and Weatherly, Oregon. In the Fall of 1917 and Spring of 1918 respectively, they entered into service training at Camp Lewis near Tacoma and were both sent overseas with the A.E. F. for their combat duties on the Western Front in France. Ernest Julius was killed on October 10th, 1918. Frank fortunately survived the war and returned to Painted Woods in May 1919. He re-acquitted himself with Clara Amelia (Nilsson) Nelson and on March 5th, 1922, the two were married at the Sunne Lutheran Church not far from the Nelson Family Farm in Painted Woods

From the early 1920s through his retirement in the late 1960s, Frank worked as a Coal Miner, Bridge Builder, Carpenter, and Plumber. Three particular jobs of note were: Working with the 'Corps of Engineers' he worked on two Missouri Bridge demolition and construction projects in the 1920s through 1940. I recall as I was growing up, one of his occupations that I was quite taken by; Frank became Captain of the Guard from 1941-1946 at the Fort Abraham Lincoln POW/Relocation Camp in Bismarck during the war. The stories of Frank’s experiences there were extraordinary and I often compared them on a certain level with his 'Lost Battalion' period. Frank saw life right up front, served his country beyond the pale, and experienced more than most can only dream of. Frank was and is a major inspiration and influence in my life.

In the late 1940s, Frank was again working with the 'Corps of Engineers' and was offered work on the massive construction of the 'Garrison Dam Project' in Riverdale, North Dakota. He would be employed there for the duration of the construction and with Clara and their Daughter Dian Marcella moved to Riverdale while Frank worked on the Garrison Dam. In the Spring of 1953 the Missouri River/ Bismarck Flood occurred, flooding vast regions of the city. Frank and Clara’s home was heavily damaged and Frank would eventually remodel it over time while he worked and the Family lived in Riverdale. In 1959, they moved back to Bismarck when the house was complete

Frank retired in 1969 and he and my Grandmother Clara Amelia continued to live a good life in the Park Hill District of Bismarck near the Missouri River. With many family members nearby, and our frequent visits, my Grandparents enjoyed their time. They both enjoyed an array of activities. Frank loved to hunt and fish and make things in his shop at home, especially the many Birdhouses he made and gave to family and friends and placed around in trees on their property. So one can only smile at their life lived well with hundreds of extraordinary experiences on the Great Northern Plains of North Dakota and all the amazing things witnessed in the 20th Century.

Frank and Clara had two children. Firstborn, Ernest Anders grew up on the Nelson Family Farm in Painted Woods where he was born. Eventually, the family moved to Bismarck so he could go to school. In 1942 Ernest Anders joined the Army Air Corps and served with the 95th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. He accomplished thirty-five missions between February and September of 1944. He later graduated from Bismarck Jr. College and the University of Colorado at Boulder. In the early 1950s, he moved to Hollywood, California, and worked at Lockheed Aircraft /Skunk Works. His career at Lockheed spanned forty years along with six years living with our family in Germany and Italy while he worked on various F-104 Starfighter Projects. Ernest Anders married Brooklyn-born Bernice Lane (Nathan) Hesslein who at the time was working as a secretary for a Hollywood Film Studio. They had one son, Mark Julius Erickson.

Frank and Clara’s Daughter Dian Marcella Erickson was born in Bismarck in 1940 and grew up there and went to grammar school through Jr. High School in Bismarck. She graduated from Riverdale High School in 1958. She followed up by attending Bismarck Jr. College in 1959 and 1960. In 1961 at the age of twenty, she married Floyd Nassif Boutrous, a Real Estate Broker and Businessman. Dian and Floyd had five sons, Alan Frank, Nick Floyd, Steven Philip, Michael Joseph, and Attas.

He was born Anders Sebran, and went by Sebran for his first twenty-four years, though he was always Uncle Andy to me. Early on, Andy was a violinist and played for dances around Burleigh County with his Brother Erik Helmer. When in France during the war he took the name Andrew which became Andy to friends. He felt Andrew was easier for the French to pronounce than Sebran. He used that name for the rest of his life. In the early 1920s, Andy went to Russia several times for the Bismarck Case Farm Equipment Company instructing the Russians in the use of tractors and farm machinery. While in Russia in 1924 he met and married Klavdia Khalfova, who was a nurse. In 1926 they decided to move back to Andy's home in Bismarck. Ten days before they sailed, a son, Donald 'Don' Robert was born in Cherbourg, France on September 9th, 1926.

The Family settled in Bismarck where he worked for several firms and also ran the Andrew Erickson Dakota Refrigeration Repair Service. He eventually worked for the North Dakota State Highway Department and retired in 1966. His son, Donald, lived in Eugene, Oregon, and was married to Ellen Davis of Ellendale, ND, and they have four children; Richard, James, Christine, and John. Their daughter Zena (Zenaida) Abbie (Hennninger-Wanner) was born on September 3rd, 1928, and lived in Bismarck. She was married to Robert Henninger, who was killed in 1954 while flying as an Air Force Test Pilot. Zena and Robert had two sons, Mark and Eric. Zena later married Charles Wanner.

Abbie moved to California in 1929 and her son Vincent 'Vinny' David was born on January 29th, 1929 in Los Angeles. Abbie married Alpheus 'Al' Joseph Lincoln on April 10th, 1950 in Riverside, California. Vincent lived in Southern California with his wife second Lorraine R. Vallejo. Vincent had two children from a previous marriage to Adora Jean Clark, Christine, and Mark, who lived in Arizona.

Vera was born on March 10th, 1902 in Sundsvall, Sweden, and after leaving the Family Farm in Regan after meeting where she met Ambrose H. Gallager, the couple married and moved to his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Vera passed away in 1986.

Alphons was born on August 6th, 1905 in Bismarck, the youngest of Brita and Anders' children. He married Gertrude 'Gert' Fricke of the Baldwin, ND area. Gert and Alphons had two children, Robert Alphonso and Beverly. The family lived in Bismarck where their daughter Beverly sadly passed away in 1938, at the age of nine. They also lived for a time in Valley City, ND. The Family moved to Detroit, Michigan to join his Brother Erik Helmer and his new family, Signa Temngman, and her son Gerald 'Jerry' Robert. Alphons managed a large department store in Detroit for years. Gert and Alphons' son Robert lives in Michigan and has three children, Jill, Valarie, and Eric.

The quintessential Erickson Family Photograph taken in 1910 in Wilton, North Dakota at Erik’s ‘Erickson Studio' tells a historical tale of the life of a fine group of immigrants that witnessed a good part of the evolution of the 20th Century. Staring into their blue eyes, you know the Swedes have arrived. A pure gem of a photograph. Frank's eyes are heading West, with a far-off stare into distant lands and adventures to come. Young Sister Vera's eyes point off in the other direction, a telling tale as she heads East when she grows up.

Then you notice Father Anders' slightly distant gaze, maybe a sentimental notion to the experience at hand. I have come to see this as our most treasured Family photograph. My fascination revolves around the considerable personal contemplations I have had my whole life of their lives in the early 1900s and their newfound lives in America. Pondering each facial expression, their eyes, and nine different personalities, I get lost in their gazes. They take me back in time, and through their eyes, I begin to understand more about my life as it relates to their lives. The arc of time proceeds and the mystical vibrations from these nine family members reverberate and transfix forever.

Below Images:
1. The Erickson Family Biography
2. The Erickson Family Portrait 1910
3. The SS. Aurania's 1903 Customs Manifest

Click to view a High Resolution image

Click to view a High Resolution image

Click to view a High Resolution image

© Mark Erickson 2024 All rights reserved.

This copyrighted material may not be republished without permission.
Contact via Email @ Mark Erickson or visit his website @
Links are encouraged.

Go to Family Album Page 1 | Go to Family Album Page 2

Go to Family Album Page 3 | Go to Family Album Page 4

Go to Family Album Page 5

h  o  m  e

Contact           510.893.2800           Biography