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Posts Tagged ‘Big Rapids’

Last week I wrote about Catharina Dorothea Elisabeth Schultz Lindgren (and I bet she didn’t put all that on one line!) and the fact she saved the money her son earned only to give it all back to him. This week I’ll honor that son, my grandfather, my Poppie, Henry August William Lindgren, whom I was named after.

His nickname was Lindy, and according to mother, there had been no grandchild named after him, and I was elected! I was named Dorothea Linda, Dorothea for his mother and Linda for him . Since his nickname was Lindy, the obvious choice for my name was Linda and I was called Lindi throughout my childhood.

Sacramento Masonic Cemetery

Ola Lindgreen, father; Henry August William Lindgren, son

Henry August William Lindgren is buried in Sacramento Masonic Cemetery and is in the same plot as his parents. He is listed on the same grave marker as his father, Ola Lindgreen.

Lindgreen Family

L-R: Ola Lindgreen, Henry August William Lindgreen, Catharine Dorothea Elisabeth Schultz Lindgreen, Anna Dorothea Louisa Lindgreen

 Henry was the only son born to above mentioned Catharina Lindgren and her Swedish husband, Ola Lindgren. He was just 3 years old when the family immigrated from Germany to America, and  as I wrote last week, the family first settled in Big Rapids, Michigan. This picture was taken in that City in 1889, according to the information on the back. My grandfather would have been about 4 years old in this picture.  He was a handsome young man, wasn’t he? I imagine this was about the age he was when he met my Nana, or rather she met him! She had spied him on a streetcar and talked about him so much that her friend finally had a dinner party and invited the both of them. They were married on 18 June 1913, in the morning, and she graduated from High School that afternoon! 50 years later I was at their anniversary celebration in the same city. I still have the invitation and a napkin from the event.

He was a Boilermaker by trade, starting his career in Sacramento with the Union Pacific Railroad and finishing the career in Hilo, Hawaii for the Hilo Ironworks. That’s where I remember visiting him, the Hilo Ironworks! It was noisy and hot, but just getting to visit him at work and go into his office was a thrill. He always had time for us.

The first thing he’d say when we arrived to spend a good portion of the summer was, “come over here and let me count your ribs!” Each time, we’d dutifully go over, and he’d tickle us until we were gasping for air! You’d think we’d learn and we probably did, but we’d go anyway!

Then there was the time he was going to pull my loose tooth. As he put a string around the tooth about to be extracted I kept trying to talk to him and couldn’t talk with his big hand in my mouth. He pulled the wrong tooth . . . and then he did what any good grandfather would do and pulled the right tooth! All this with a twinkle in his eye!   . . . and probably holding his tongue right, because he’d tell us you can’t do anything correctly unless you were doing just that!

. . . and no story about my grandfather would be complete unless I mention that he was an awesome candy maker! Not just any candy, mind you, but Coconut Candy! Not Baker’s Coconut, but Hawaiian Coconut! . . . and we thought it was a treat to get to stir it as it cooked! My mouth is watering as I type this!

Henry Lindgren, Bertha von Breyman Lindgren, Catherine Lindgren Sherman
Front Row, L-R: Linda (me!) Priscilla and Bud (WF Sherman, Jr.)

See that twinkle in his eyes? I think this picture was taken on one of our visits to Hilo and it must have been on a Sunday after Church and after going for “Chop Suey” in town, a Sunday tradition when we were there. This picture was taken in front of the large front porch, and that’s me being controlled by my Grandfather . . . or teased, one or the other!

When the time came for retirement a decision was made and they sold the house in Hilo and came back to California. They bought a lot with a barn in Lakeport, and Poppie remodeled it into a wonderful two bedroom home with a great kitchen for Nana and a living room large enough for the grand piano. Rosebushes were in the backyard and the large dictionary had it’s place on it’s stand for Nana. It was a lovely setting and I loved visiting there just as much as I loved visiting Hilo. Why? Because they were there

and Poppie still had that sense of humor and that twinkle in his eyes!

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I was named Dorothea Linda at birth. Dorothea, my first, and I always thought my very formal name, was after my great-grandmother, Catharina Dorothea Elisabeth Schultz Lindgren. You’ll find out where the Linda came from on another post.The names tell the story ~ her maiden name is Schultz and she was born in Germany and her married name Lindgren, a Swedish name. He had come from Sweden and was a field hand on her father’s farm. She was the farmer’s daughter and who Ola Lindgren picked for his bride. According to family legend, land in Germany was only passed to the sons at that time, and with no land of their own, Ola and Catherine decided to immigrate to America, a decision the couple never regretted according to copies of letters in my possession.

On 18 April 1887 they arrived in New York with their 7 year old daughter, Anna Dorothea Louisa, and their 2 year old son, Heinrich August William and life in America began for the family. The first stop on their journey was Big Rapids, Michigan where they added to their family with a daughter, Elsie Laura Vera, and lost Anna, who is memorialized with her mother.  They didn’t stay there long because they were in Sacramento by the early 1890’s, and blended into the immigrant population.

Ola and his son (my grandfather, Henry) worked together as Boilermakers for the Railroad, and Catharina charged her son “rent” each payday. Unknown to Henry his mother was setting his “rent” aside and saving it for his son’s future. When the time was right, according to my mother, the money was given to him, and with it he built a home. According to a letter she wrote to her niece in Germany:

“Henry, as a carpenter, so they call them here, build a house and now he has already started the third house. He has already sold two. He got 2650 dollars for the first one and 3000 for the second one. He has 16 more lots here in Oak Park, everything here has built up and gotten more expensive. Where one paid $100 gets $1000 for it. . . I can hardly believe what I am writing . You will think we are bragging. It is very good here. We have everything we want when dear God only gives us our good health. When I and my husband don’t have to work any longer, we can live from our earnings.”

Catharina loved her new country, and yes, she bragged about it in letters home. She continued being frugal, teaching her son the habits that would follow him throughout life. She left this earthly life on December 28, 1925 and is buried in Sacramento’s Masonic Cemetery with two of her children, her husband and her daughter-in-law.

My great-grandmother appreciated the life she had in America, but took nothing for granted. She kept the values she had in the old country and instilled them in her son. Because of those things (and because I am her namesake!) Catharina is my pick for

Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #12.

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