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Posts Tagged ‘Sacramento’

My headstone of the week is going to honor my great-grandfather, Ola Lindgren. Since he brought his family across the ocean and then across this great nation of ours to end up in California and I just recently returned from a trip across this country of ours, I decided to see if I could do the trip faster! Ha! One hundred and 10 years gives me an advantage, and of course I did! I probably could have done it a dozen times and still beat him!Ola is buried with his family in Sacramento’s Masonic Cemetery. His headstone also marks the passing of his son’s life, my grandfather, Henry. Take another look at that headstone. Notice Ola’s surname is spelled differently than Henry’s? Bet you think a headstone carver made a mistake but the family accepted it anyway, don’t you?  If so, you’d be wrong.

As family  historians, we always hear stories of how a name was changed at Ellis Island and 95% of the time it is just a family legend. Well, this one could be a family legend also, but I rather doubt it. I can see where a European’s pronunciation of Lindgren could sound like Lindgreen to an “American” ear filing out immigration papers at Ellis Island. Whether the name was changed upon arrival to these shores or not, the name was spelled Lindgreen until my grandfather went to court in Sacramento, California and had his name changed back to the correct Swedish spelling. A copy of the decree is in my files.

Ola was born in Wanga, Sweden on 7 October 1852 to Ingar Persdotter and Lars Jonnson Lindgren. At some time in his life he crossed the border and went into Germany where he began working for a farmer and fell in love with his daughter and married her. I imagine the next picture was taken about that time. The couple look very young. According to Family Legend, their first home was the Pig House, which was cleaned out and remodeled just for them! Whoopie!

Whether the fact that Ola’s sister Augusta was already in America was part of the decision to migrate is not known. She lived in Galesburg, Illinois with her new husband and son about the time the family arrived in their new country. It would be the third country Ola had lived in. Two children were born to them before they finally immigrated to America. The family arrived in New York on 18 April 1887 aboard the ship Rhaetia and settled in Big Rapids, Michigan. They didn’t stay in Michigan long and by 1896 they were in the Golden State where Ola renounced “his allegiance and fidelity to  . . . The King of Norway and Sweden” and became a citizen of the United States.

Ola worked as a boilermaker, as did his son Henry in his footsteps. On story related to me was during one strike, Ola felt a loyalty to the company that employed him and crossed the picket line. He got beat severely by those on the picket line for doing what he considered the right thing to do.

Ola came through Ellis Island twice, and I will assume it was easier the second time. On 20 August 1913, when they arrived at that New York portal aboard the ship Imperator from Germany Ola and Catharine entered as citizens. They had gone home to visit family and friends, but returned to their new chosen home to live the rest of their days.

I am assuming that this picture was taken about the 1920’s. Catharine died in 1925 and Ola followed her a short 3 years later on 26 December 1928. His passing was noted in the Sacramento Bee with the following obituary:

Ola Lindgreen, a resident of Sacramento for forty years, died today following a long illness. Lindgreen was the father of Mrs. Albert Greilich, wife of a Sacramento funeral director.
For several years, Lindgreen had been on a pension from the Southern Pacific Company. He formerly was employed in the local railroad shops. He was born in Sweden seventy-six years ago, and came to California forty years ago, taking up his residence in Sacramento.
He was a member of Eureka Lodge No. 4. I.O.O.F. The Odd Fellows will participate in the funeral services, to be held from the parlors of  Andrews & Greilich Friday at 2 P.M. The interment will be in the Masonic Lawn Cemetery.
In addition to Mrs. Greilich, Lindgreen is survived by a son, Henry Lindgreen of Hilo, Hawaii.

Four short paragraphs to cover a man who’s life covered 3 countries! My Great-Grandfather, and the man I honor as

This Week’s Headstone of the Week, for Week #15!

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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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For the next few weeks, I’ll be covering my California ancestors ~ my maternal ancestors! Since the only one I have done so far was my great-grandfather, William Adolphus George von Breyman, I’ll honor his wife this week, Wilhemine Sophia or Minnie, as she was known.  

First I must go back  to her beginnings ~ Minnie was born in New York in 1854 to immigrant parents, Frederick and Amelia Gode/Goda. The only thing I know of the parents is from two different census records, 1850 and 1870.

  • In 1850, Minnie was not born, but her sister Louisa was. Louisa was a year old and her father was a milkman. I’d been looking for a Lutheran Minister, since that was what my grandmother’s memoirs said! Just another family legend, I guess!
  • By 1870, Amelia is alone with the two girls – Minnie, age 15, is a domestic and Louisa, age 20, is a tasselmaker and Minnie was born in New York. I’d been looking her birth in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania where her father was a Lutheran Minister. That’s where my grandmother said she was born and that’s where subsequent census data states, also. Second family legend.

Sometime in the 1870’s Amelia took Minnie left New York and headed to San Francisco where Amelia had relatives. California families with names of Blum, Swank, Murdock and Wagner are supposed to be relatives of Minnie ~ this from letters written by her son to various members of the family. In 1877, Minnie marries and before Christmas that year she is a mother. Her husband is almost 20 years her senior and would die before their 25th anniversary. Minnie still had three young girls under ten (my grandmother was one of them) and several other children at home to care for. The family lived in Arbuckle for a while before moving to Sacramento close to a married daughter.

I have several pictures of my great-grandmother and I decided to share two of them on this blog; one taken either before she was married or shortly thereafter, when she was in the prime of her life and the other taken shortly before the end of her life.

Buried in Ventura, California

That move to Sacramento mentioned above is important for several reasons, the most important is the fact that my grandmother, Bertha, met the man she was married to for over 50 years in that city and because she did, I am.

And because Bertha met and married Henry Lindgren, Minnie was able to spend the last few years of her life in Hawaii. Henry Lindgren’s job took him to Hawaii, and when Henry went, he took Bertha, Minnie’s daughter. And because Bertha was in Hawaii, Minnie was able to spend the last few years of her life in sunshine and tropical weather, enjoying her daughter’s growing family.

The picture above was taken just months before her death, sitting in the yard at my grandparent’s home in Hilo, Hawaii. She is holding a large hibiscus in her lap. Shortly after this was taken, she boarded the Lurline and sailed back to California. She died 3 months later at her son’s home in Ventura on 13 March 1934 and is interred in Ventura in Ivy Lawn Cemetery. At the time of her death she had two sons, six daughters and twenty-nine grandchildren!

Minnie had traveled from New York, around the Cape to California, to Hawaii and back to California. She was loved and cared for by her family and left a legacy that will continue with each generation from now until eternity, and this is why I have honored her as

Linda’s Headstone of the week for week #11.

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Finding a candidate for my “Headstone of the Week” isn’t hard for me. I have literally thousands of headstone pictures in my database. Narrowing it down to just one is what is hard! This week, I decided on another Grandfather ~ a Great-Grandfather, this time!William Adolphus George von Breyman was born in Harburg, Hanover, Germany in 1835 and died in Cortina, Colusa County, California in 1901. He is buried in a cemetery in the small town of Arbuckle, California.

Headstones tell a part of the story, a very small part! By the time my great-grandfather was 15 years old, he was in California. Family legend has it that his older sisters got him employed on a ship that was sailing to California where he jumped ship in San Francisco. For a short while he panned for gold, as many did, and then decided the real way to make money was to pack in supplies and sell them to the gold seekers. He became a naturalized citizen in 1859. References have been found to him being a packer, farmer, vet surgeon, postmaster and at one time even co-owned a Fence Company in Sacramento. He spoke his native German in addition to English and Spanish and could write in each language, as well.

In 1854 when he was in this country for about 4 years, Wilhemine Sophia “Minnie” Goda was born in New York. Their paths crossed in California and in 1877 they would marry and become the parents of 10 children, with the 9th one being my grandmother, Bertha Emma. She was six years old when her father died at the young age of 66.

With many thanks to his children and their children, his story has been preserved. His eldest son was a prolific letter writer. Copies of his letters with tales of W.A.G. von Breyman’s values, work ethic and exploits have been shared with me. My great-grandfather’s diary, written in English and at times, Spanish, has also been shared. Life offered him many opportunites and he grabbed them as he passed thru.

That is why his headstone is my choice for Headstone of the Week #2.

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