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'The Tale of the Lease on the Croft in Myssjön, Sweden'
The Olofsdotter/Sundin/Andersson/Olson/Backlund/Eriksson Families

A follow-up to a previous story:
'A Family History - From the Garden'

'Family History - From the Garden' and 'The Tale of the Lease on the Croft in Myssjön, Sweden' were written by my Cousins Solveig (Andersson) Lundquist, her daughter Maria 'Mia' (Lundquist) Peters & myself, Mark Jon Erickson in Sundsvall, Sweden and Oakland and Venice, California.

Solveig is the Granddaughter of Sigrid Elisabet Olofsdotter who was the younger sister of my Great Grandmother Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsfdotter-Andersson-Olson-Sundin) (Eriksson) Erickson.

The story is concentrated on the five siblings, Brita Kristina 'Christine' (Olofsfdotter-Andersson-Olson-Sundin) (Eriksson) Erickson, Sigrid Elisabet (Olofsdotter) Andersson, Katarina Olivia (Olofsdotter) Backlund, Anders Petter Ante Sundin (Olson) and Erik Olof Sundin (Olson).

Their parents were Olaf Petter Andersson, who was born on June 17, 1836, in Stöde, Västernorrland, Sweden and Karin Kajsa Goransdotter Andersson who was born on May 20, 1835, in Hassela, Gävleborg, Sweden. Olaf's parents were Anders Andreas 'Ryssmo Ante' Nilsson and Stina Greta Olofsdotter (Hammarström) Rudin. Anders was born on April 29, 1798 in Rude, Attmar, Västernorrland, Sweden. Stina was born on January 28th, 1810, in Torp, Västernorrland, Sweden.

My Great Grandmother Brita Kristina and the Erickson-Eriksson family and her younger Brother Erik Olof both emigrated from Sweden in 1903 to America. Once in America they headed to North Dakota and Iowa, respectively. Erik would also live in Minnesota & Oregon.

Katarina Olivia and her husband, Isak Olof 'Johan' Baçklund and their six children followed seven years later, emigrating from Sweden in 1910. They would begin their new lives in Manitoba, Canada by the Fall. Sigrid Elisabet and her older Brother Anders Petter 'Ante' Sundin stayed in Sweden.

Sigrid raised her son Olof Sigfried and lived the rest of her life in and around Sundsvall. Ante Sundin worked and eventually became a well respected musician, playing the violin and writing traditional Swedish folk music. Over the intervening years of the 20th Century and into the present era, Ante Sundin's music has inspired countless Swedish musicians. A great example of this is the band, Draupner's instrumental, 'Ante Sundin' below:

'Ante Sundin' by Contemporary Swedish Folk Group 'Draupner'

There was considerable letter writing and visits over the years between all five of the siblings. Katarina and her husband Isak Backlund returned to Sweden to visit the family. Brita Kristina never did return to Sweden and there is no recorded information whether their Brother Erik Olof Sundin ever returned. Erik Olof is the mystery of the five siblings. Knowledge of what he did in America is minimal. I seek out what I can about my Great Uncle Erik Olof. So far it seems he blended into the west and left an elusive trail. This tale below fills in some of the details of their life in Sweden and what likely propelled three of the five siblings to head west and seek a better life.

'A Family History - From the Garden'

A letter below from my Cousin's Solveig and Mia in Sundsvall, Sweden describes the situation after the inheritance and finances left by my Great Great Great Grandfather Anders Andreas 'Ryssmo Ante' Nilsson Rudin to his son Olof Petter and his wife Karin (Göransdotter) Andersson ran out.

Dear Mark,
We have looked further into my archive and found a lease on Myssjön.
Attaching the document.

We wrote in the last letter that Olof Petter and his family moved to the small croft in Myssjön when the inheritance and money from your Great Great Great Grandfather Ryssmo Ante ran out. You can see in the contract that Olof Petter Andersson (Brita Kristina's father) signed with his initials. He could not write, so he only wrote the initials. O P A S (Olof Petter Anders Son). Even though his last name was Andersson.

We can read in the contract that they were allowed to rent the croft in exchange for working for C.G Westerlund 30 days a year. They had to arrange their own food when they worked these days. I guess they had to work in the forest in the winter and that they worked with sowing and harvesting in the summer as well as clearing sly and preparing land.

The agreement also states that hay, straw, manure and timber were not to be removed from the croft. Olof Petter was therefore not allowed to sell or give away what was left over. C.G Westerlund would have everything left for himself. A truly unfair situation.

Here is the translation of the below attached original 1888 lease contract

Myssjön Lease contract
From this day and until the 30th of April, 1893, a croft apartment under Myssjön home to Olaf Petter Andersson in Myssjön is leased here with tenant C.G Westlund in Myssjön on the following terms.

The annual rent constitutes 30 days of work on one's own diet. Half winter and half summer. The lessee is responsible for maintaining the house, land and the fence in the condition he received it. Hay, straw, manure or wood may not be removed from the croft by whoever it may be. Two identical copies have been made and distributed.

Tuna and Myssjön
May 21st, 1888
C.G. Westerlund

signed only initials
O P A S (Olaf Petter Andersson)

Witness: Erik Olof Åström & Olof Petter Björklund

We understand that the Andersson family had to work hard there in Myssjön. Imagine when all the children moved away from home and only Sigrid and my father, Olof remained with Olof Petter and Karin. It was probably hard for them to work for the rent then. A tough situation.

My father told me that he later learned that Myssjön was a soldier's croft owned by the state and that C.G Westerlund was only a mediator to handle the rental. This meant that C.G Westerlund was not allowed to take pay in the day jobs for himself, because it was the state that owned the house. The Andersson family thus worked completely unnecessarily. Once again, Olof Petter was deceived. The first time it was the 'träpatroner' (owner of large wood industries) that tricked him on forest and land that he inherited from his father, Ryssmo Ante.

The census register states that Olof Petter and Karin were 'beneficiaries' in the last years of their lives. This meant that they received a poverty allowance from the state. Olof Petter passed away in 1911. Then his wife Karin moved in with her Ante Sundin in Lyngsten. Sigrid and my father Olof moved to Matfors where they rented a room with an iron stove.

Around this time, when my father, Olof Sigfried Andersson was 15 years old, he began employment working at a wool factory in Matfors. He and his mother lived in the village until Olof turned 18, when he began his Swedish military service. Olof was soon stationed in Boden, which is located in the northern part of Sweden. There he was schooled in Telegraphy (the science or practice of enabling communications systems for the transmission or reproduction of information). As a result of this, Olof got a job with the fire department at Sundsvall Fire Station.

My father rented an apartment in the same building as the Firehouse, so soon after, his mother, Sigrid also moved in there. So they lived there for a few years until Olof met my mother, Sonja. After their marriage, Sonja moved in and after a few years, I came along. We were then four people in a room and kitchen. Grandma and I slept in the kitchen and mom and dad slept in the room.

Because I lived so close to my grandmother Sigrid, I can feel that I have a lot of the 19th century in me. How she was and thought has affected me very much. We often visited my Uncle Anders Petter Ante Sundin and the family in Lyngsten and time stood still.

They worked with simple means as they always did. Ante Sundin sawed his timber himself, grew the food and slaughtered the animals for the food and the skins. They had a grinder so they could grind their own flour. They took advantage of everything. I enjoyed being there and it was truly like traveling in time. One can not forget these special times.

Solveig Andersson Lundquist
Mia (Maria) Lundquist Peters
Sundsvall, Sweden - July 2020

The first photograph below is of my Great Aunt Sigrid Elisabet (Olofsdotter) Andersson and her son, Olof Sigfried Andersson in 1924 in Sundsvall, Sweden. Also below is original 1888 (in Swedish) Lease on the Croft in Myssjön, Sweden along with the English translation.

Click to view a High Resolution image

© Mark Erickson 2020 All rights reserved.

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