This blog is about the history of the Elg family, originating in Säfsnäs county, Sweden (note that there are several unrelated Elg families from Sweden). It is a complement to the family history website at http://web.telia.com/~u85435856/ , I intend to post new information - and questions - here, where you can get access to it before I have time to update the website.
When the beautiful young daughter of a Swedish
immigrant entered the rough and tumble of Capital City politics, the opposition
Frances C. Elge's political career has spanned a half
century — from her own campaign wars in Lewis and Clark County, her service as
secretary-treasurer for the first congresswoman, to her on-going fight for the
Equal Rights Amendment.
"Born a feminist," she will be back in
Helena if the 1981 Legislature attempts to rescind its ratification of the ERA.
And she will be right at home.
It was in Helena in 1932 when she entered politics.
With the ink still fresh on her license to practice
law, she ran for public administrator. Then, as now, it was a minor office, but
"Fran" Elge made national headlines when her probate of an old man's
estate uncovered a hoard of moldy bills in a tarpaper shack.
"An old man died in the county hospital and $750
in war bonds were found under his mattress," she recalled.
" I went to his home, a tarpaper shack, and a
neighbor warned me not to go inside. She said I would find the place crawling
Public Administrator Elge padlocked the door, waited
for a killing frost and then entered to find $5,000 in an old bread wrapper.
The story made the national news wires and Fran was
flooded with letters from heirs and pretenders from across the nation.
She also shared the national limelight as a defense
counsel in the famous Baldwin Radio Mail Fraud case. The case involved a stock
promotion, the inventor of the Baldwin headset, and a number of salesmen.
Also on the defense team was Sam Ford, a former state
Supreme Court Justice and a future Montana governor.
The young lawyer was in good company when she lost
after the case went all way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Nor was it a disgrace to lose to the man acting as
prosecutor: Wellington Duncan Rankin, the state's most noted lawyer, largest
individual landowner and perhaps Montana's richest man.
”W.D.” as he was known was young Elge's friend and
mentor. His sister, former Congresswoman Jeanette Rankin would become an Elge
inspiration and cause.
It was on "W.D's" urging that Fran ran for
the county attorney's post in Lewis and Clark County.
That's when the opposition screamed, ”Rape!”
It was clearly a sexist campaign tactic. In those days
women were not allowed to sit on Montana juries. "Women were not supposed
to be exposed to the lurid testimony of the courtroom," Fran explained.
Her opponent was Undersheriff Walter Nylan, who had
been admitted to the bar but had let his license lapse 10 years earlier.
Nylan backers asked, "Do you want to put a woman
in the position of prosecuting rapists?"
Before the election, the number of statutory rape
cases on the docket began to accumulate, reaching an even dozen before the
with a newspaper ad which included the endorsement of a number of the state's
most respected lawyers.
"It was plain, I was better qualified," she
said. The voters in 1934 agreed.
She clearly was the best looking prosecutor in
In two years,
she only lost one case.
You guessed it. The defense attorney was the man who
lent her lawbooks to begin her career - W.D. Rankin.
"It was a murder case," she recalled.
"There had been a highway accident and a woman shot the man who caused
At the coronor's inquest, the sheriff reported she had
"I shot him and I hope I killed him."
It appeared to be a solid case, but between arrest and
trial a few things happened.
First, the sheriff became smitten by his prisoner. The
prisoner hired W.D. Rankin and Rankin evolved a couple of new angles.
The sheriff - now a prisoner of love - testified,
"She might have said, 'I shot him and I hope I didn't kill him."
In the closing arguments, W.D. told the jury his
client was pregnant. "You wouldn't want the baby to be born in
prison," he said.
The woman was acquitted.
She never had a baby.
And the sheriff insisted he wasn't the fatter.
But prosecutor Elge had a few angles of her own.
When Kid Jackson, a former boxing champion, sauntered
into the "Bucket of Blood" and shot owner Johnny Philips, Fran scrambled
to find witnesses.
She found Alice Shahaha, a Yakima Indian, who
enterprized as a roller of sheepherders and "lady of easy access," in
the mental hospital at Warm Springs.
Alice had been sent there by Billings Police on a
trumped-up-charge of drug use, Fran recalled.
The prosecutor knew Alice was straight because months
earlier Ms. Shahaha and one of her "sisters of the night" had come to
Fran's office to ask for a jail term to kick their narcotics habits. Fran
obliged with 30 days for vagrancy and watched the pair gain weight as their
earnings began to go for food instead of into their pusher's pocket.
Alice was given the full treatment at a beauty salon
before taking the stand. She made an excellent witness.
A second prostitute took the stand wearing fine white
gloves. She, too, gave credible testimony. Fran was grateful - grateful that
the gloves she had given the witness hid the needle tracks on her hands.
Justice prevailed and Kid Jackson was convicted.
Justice took various forms during her tenure as
When a 70-year-old woman was brought in on a
shoplifting charge, the Sheriff asked, "What are you going to do with
Fran replied, "I'm going to give her a talking-to
and turn her loose."
The sheriff, who profited from feeding prisoners, left
muttering, "She ought to be taught a lesson."
Fran said, "If she hasn't learned by now, she
isn't going to."
Juveniles were lectured on Saturdays and their parents
made to pay for their vandalism. "I never sent a kid to reform school,"
In 1939, Fran was lobbying the state Legislature for
the passage of the Women's Jury Service Act.
As county attorney, she had faced only all-male
juries. ("Of course," she said, "that inurred to my
In the course of the battle, she enlisted the aid of
FDR's Butte campaign manager, a woman with political savvy and clout who lined
up a labor-farmers union coalition in support of the bill.
After the bill had passed and women became peers
sitting in judgment, Fran was in the presence of two judges when one turned to
the other and said, "Say, Judge Downey at Butte has ladies on his jury.
"And do you know, they are showing 'remarkable
Fran Elge, considered a lawyer, not a woman, by her
collegues, never batted an eye.
In 1940, she became Jeanette Rankin's campaign
Rep. Rankin was the first women to be elected in 1916
to the U.S. House of Representatives. She lost her bid for reelection when she
was one of only a few to vote against America's entry into World War I.
The war machines were loose again in Europe when Miss
Rankin took the the campaign trail in 1940.
Fran served as ghost writer for pro-Rankin articles
that appeared in the Montana Catholic Register. Rankin's opponent was Catholic
but in trouble with his constituents over a bad debt at Carroll College.
"We carried the Catholic vote," Fran
recalled, "although Jeanette was probably not Catholic."
Congresswoman Rankin returned to Washington. The
Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and she stood alone opposing the U.S.'s entry into
World War II. That vote cost her a career.
Fran left Montana for Washington as Jeanette's
administrative assistant and later held "a number of very good jobs,"
including a post on the Admiralty Claims and Litigation staff of the Maritime
In the nation's capital she met the same sexual
discrimination she had first encountered in her race for county attorney.
She used "political connections" to fight
discrimination and resented having to do so. "Being better qualified than
the men I served with should have been enough."
In 1954, she returned to Montana and served as an
administrative law judge for the Department of the Interior in Billings until
her retirement in 1970.
She was back in Helena in 1971, lobbying for feminist
On the list was the repeal of a law that made it
illegal for women to work more than 8 hours a day - a law that gave employers a
handy excuse not to hire women.
A second law which banned discrimination on the basis
of race, color or creed was amended to bar discrimination on the basis of sex
But a third piece of legislation in the package, Fran
Feminists were being smeared as "a league of baby
killers" and Fran refused to dilute her influence by taking a stand on an
A charter member of the Montana Council for the Equal
Rights Amendment Ratification, she has testified at every legislative hearing
considering adoption or rescission of the ERA.
"And I will continue to testify at every hearing,"
Anyone attempting to debate the ERA with Fran will
find her dipping into her purse for a card that carries the full text of the
amendment in three paragraphs.
"That's what it says. And that's all it
says," she will tell them.
However, a 10-year research project involving both historians, metallurgists and archaeologists has now overturned this view. The study has shown that blast furnaces were in use in Sweden as early as the 11th Century, and since these are the earliest findings of this kind, it is not unlikely that the technology was in fact developed here.
And the Swedish tradition of exporting high quality iron and steel started already with the vikings, as production capacity exceeded what the local market needed.
The study, Bengt Berglund et al "Järnet och Sveriges medeltida modernisering" (Iron and the medieval modernization of Sweden), is currently only available in Swedish, and has been published by Jernkontoret, the Swedish Steelmaking Industry Association, an institution which itself dates back to 1747.
across this notice while searching the digital newpaper archives of The Library of
Congress ( http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
).The loss to Mr Elg of USD 1500 translates
to at least 36 900 USD today – or as much as 1.6 MUSD, depending on the
method used to compute the current value. For the complexities of understanding the historic value of money,
When the Skyllberg Iron Works planned to introduce
steam power on their railroad in 1881, master mechanic Olaus Bork (see “A railroad builder in the family”
) did not have to go far for advice. Since 1875 his younger brother Per Gustaf
Bork was employed as a locomotive engineer, and later master mechanic at the
Hjo – Stenstorp Railroad (HSJ).
Per Gustaf was born in 1844 at Liljendal, Rämen
parish, eight years younger than his brother Olaus. He is only seven when his
father dies in smallpox, and their mother remarries his father´s assistant Olof
Johnsson Roth. Per Gustaf starts to learn the blacksmith trade, and in 1865 he
moves to Rönneshytta. This is a blast furnace which delivers pig iron to the
rolling mill at nearby Skyllberg, where Olaus has just been appointed
superintendent. Brother-in-law Gustaf Elg (married to Maria Sophia Bork) also
moves to Rönneshytta where he is a master blacksmith.
In Rönneshytta Per Gustaf marries Amalia Persdotter,
and daughter Tekla Olivia is born in 1869, the couple´s only child. In 1870 the
family moves to Arboga. Per Gustaf´s profession is now listed as “machinist”,
perhaps a sign that he has taken a first step from blacksmith to the new
mechanical engineering industry.
In 1872 the young family moves again, this time to
Karlskoga. Here Per Gustaf´s career takes a new turn. He is trained in the high
technology of this new era, and next time the family moves, Per Gustaf´s
profession is listed as “locomotive engineer”.
In 1872-73, the first parts of the Nora – Karlskoga
railroad opens for business, and we can safely assume that it is here that Per
Gustaf learns his new profession. In 1873, brother Olaus also oversees the
construction of a railroad from Skyllberg to the new standard gauge mainline at
Lerbäck – although his line will initially be horse-drawn.
The boom spirit
of Karlskoga is broken by a deep recession in late 1873. By 1875 Per Gustaf
moves his family to Hjo, a small town in southern Sweden, located on the shore
of lake Vänern, one of Sweden´s largest lakes. Here he is employed as an
engineer on the new Hjo-Stenstorp railroad (HSJ.
HSJ engine at the railroad shops in Hjo.Per Gustaf Bork in the cab. Sourcewww.hsj.se
HSJ was one of the first common carriers on narrow gauge
rails in Sweden. The gauge, 3 Swedish feet or 35 1/12”, was the most common
narrow gauge in Sweden. Like many other such projects, HSJ was built by local
businessmen in Hjo, to connect a town which had been bypassed by the main trunk
The pier in Hjo. An HSJ train and passenger steamer steamer ”s/s Trafik”. Source: Swedish Railway Museum (
Since 1855, Hjo also had one of the best harbors on
Lake Vättern (Sweden´s second kargest lake), and while the railroad was seen as
a threat to the harbor, the harbor also came to account for a fifth of the
freight shipped on the railroad. Shipments included aspen wood for the
matchstick factory in Tidaholm, raw liqour for a liqour factory in Hjo, and
beet sugar for a sugar refinery in Lidköping.
Villa Olga, around 1900
I have not been able to uncover many details about Per
Gustaf Borks career at HSJ, but he seems to have done well. His job title
advances from “engineer” to “engineer foreman” and eventually “master
mechanic”, and in the final years of the century he is able to purchase Villa
Olga, located in a park in Hjo. Today the building is a historical landmark.
Bork passed away in 1927.
Relations between the two railroading brothers were
perhaps not entirely without frictions. In 1873, HSJ orders their third
locomotive, “Tidaholm”, from Henry Hughes in England. Already by 1877, HSJ
tries – without success – to sell the locomotive to the Lidköping – Skara –
Stenstorp railroad, another 891 mm gauge line which connected to HSJ at
Stenstorp. In a document dated October 1883, the locomotive is described as
“totally unsuitable” and should be sold immediately. By the autumn of 1885,
what appears to he the same locomotive is found on brother Olaus Bork´s
Askersund – Skyllberg – Lerbäck railroad, but again meets with little
enthusiasm. Among other problems, the short wheelbase makes it prone to derail,
in particular when clearing snow. The Skyllberg company tries to sell the loco
already in July 1891, and it is finally scrapped by ASLJ in 1903.
When other kids my age listened to the Beatles, I
walked around with a feeling of being born 30 years too late: My music was the
big bands of the 1930´s and 40´s, and to my ears the high point of music
history was Benny Goodman´s performance of “One O´Clock Jump” at his legendary Carnegie Hall Concert
on January 16, 1938 (listen to the rideout at the end of the song and you will
get the meaning of swing). My teenage Walter Mitty dream was standing in a
white tuxedo in front of my big band, with young ladies faintingfrom excitement right and left. Of course it
was not to be..
So I was delighted when I discovered that our family
history does after all include a young man with a horn.
Nellie Elge, daughter
of emigrated gold miner Frans Otto “Francis” Elg(e), married James Austin
Gordon, a dentist in Helena, Montana.
This was a musical family: Dr Gordon was also a
clarinet soloist, and Nellie a pianist. With a number of musically inclined
children, the formed a family orchestra led by their father. They performed
as the staff orchestra for a local radio station.
Photo: Tei Gordon collection
One of the children, Claude Eugene Gordon
(1916-1996)was given his first cornet
at the age of five, and three years later, while in fifth grade, was featured
as a soloist playing with the Helena High School Band! While he was still in
his early teens, Claude was already a professional player and was teaching for
both cornet and accordion.
During the era of live radio and television, Claude
distinguished himself as one of the most successful studio trumpet players and
gained a reputation as "the trumpet player who never misses." He
performed with the studio orchestras on many popular shows including, Amos and
Andy, and I Love Lucy. During the 1950s Gordon emerged as one of Hollywood's frequently
sought-after jazz trumpet soloists. Claude later formed his own big band which
was named the "Best New Band in America" in 1959. Perhaps his timing
could have been better – this was a period when young men with guitars were set
to take over the popular music industry..
Claude Gordon passed away in 1996. Today, he is best
remembered as a teacher. He authored a number of method books. The "Claude
Gordon Method" has influenced most of today's top trumpet players, and is
still used by teachers across the world. The Claude Gordon Personal
Papers and Music Instrument Collection is housed at the Sousa Archives and
Center for American Music, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
This two-part article was first written (in Swedish) for a Swedish family history journal. In the first installment, we followed the lives of Gustaf Elg and Maria Sofia Bork in Sweden, leading to their decision to emigrate. Part 2 is partly based on American archives, but mainly on material and photos from the family historian Todd Lindahl, grandson of Franz Gustav "Gust" Elg..
In January 1892 emigration agent August Larsson, with offices at Götgatan 7 in Gothenburg, responds to a request from Gustaf Bork, Ferna Mill, about the cost of a one-way trip to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, United States of America.
August Larsson is the general agent for the Inman Lines Royal English & U.S. Mail Steamers, one of the major emigrant lines. At this time, emigration has developed into a major industry. The Inman Lines´ modern steamers regularly make the journey between Liverpool and New York in six days, and the shipyards are building ever more modern vessels to meet demand. In New York, Ellis Island has just opened, a giant terminal where the immigrants are examined before they are released into the new country.
August Larsson´s letter is a pre-printed standard form, supplemented by hand-written answers to the passenger's specific questions. From this we learn that the journey from Gothenburg to Fergus Falls will cost 189 kr - but out of this the boat trip Gothenburg - New York is only 75 kr. We can also see that Gustaf asked about the cost of upgrading to second class, and that his wife can bring her knitting machine without having to pay customs on arrival.
On April 1, 1892 the family board a ship in the port of Gothenburg to begin the journey. Direct service to to the U.S. is still a couple of decades into the future: The first leg of the hourney is a boat trip to Hull in England, and from there they travel by train across England to Liverpool, and the Inman Line´s pride and joy, the s / s City of New York.
The Inman Lines´ “City of New York”
The City of New York was a modern ship, built in Scotland in 1888, where she was baptized by Lady Randolph Churchill, famous socialite beauty and mother of Winston Churchill. She was the first large ocean steamer with twin propellers, which meant that she did not have to be equipped with sails as backup (breaking the propeller shaft was not uncommon on the first large steamers ..). In the autumn of 1892, she sets a speed record from the U.S. to Europe with 20.11 knots. 560 feet long, she can take 1740 passengers, of which 1000 - mainly immigrants - in steerage.
The party consists of Gustaf and Maria Sofia Elg, with daughters Emma, Johanna, Alma, Sofia, Frida and Ellen and son Frans Gustaf. The party also includes son Johan Wilhelm (John) Elg,. who had traveled back to Sweden in February to help the family on the journey, but also to fetch his bride to be, Johanna Karolina Winkler.
On the same ship is Harald Axel Söderkvist, a former seaman, born in Södertälje, but residing on Svartensgatan in Stockholm. His destination is also Fergus Falls, where he will later marry Gustaf Elg´s daughter Emma Elizabeth. It is an interesting mystery how a blacksmith's daughter from the deep forests came to know a nine years younger sailor from Södertälje?
Their destination, Fergus Falls, is an outpost in western Minnesota, on the border between a moraine landscape of forests and lakes that reminded of home, and an endless ocean of prairie grassland that stretches westward.
Barnesville, with the railroad shops in the distance
A few miles north is Barnesville, with railroad workshops where the brothers Elg found jobs. The railroad was now part of the Great Northern Railroad, the northernmost of the great trans-continental railroads, and railroad construction reached its final destination, Seattle, in 1893. By 1890, the city of Barnesville had grown to 1069 people, and had repair shops and a roundhouse. At one time, the railroad employed 75 to 150 men, largely immigrants from Germany, Sweden and Norway. By the turn of the century there were five hotels, five churches, two breweries and the City Hall and Opera was newly built. In 1907, the railroad shops were moved to Devil´s Lake, North Dakota, and the golden era of the railroad in Barnesville comes to an end.
In 1901, the Elg family moves to Brainerd, another major railroad junction along the Great Northern RR, a little further east. Two of the brothers, Aaron and John Elg, try their luck as merchants, and between 1901 and 1904 they run the "Elg Bro's Store," a food / general store in Brainerd. Their success as merchants is limited, and in 1904, they are forced to sell the store. Aaron goes back to the railroad workshops, while John is listed in the 1905 City Directory as a clerk at a competing general store, "K.W. Lagerquist" (also Swedish owned).
The Elg Brothers Store. John and Aaron in the center.
Elg Brothers letterhead
Emma Elizabeth, now Mrs. Soderquist, stays in Fergus Falls, where Harold has become foreman of the linemen at a telephone company. As true Americans, the family buys their first automobile in 1902.
Harold and Emma with son Herbert show off their new automobile
Sisters Johanna / Hannah and Alma become housekeepers for Mr Rank, a director of the Great Northern Railroad, in St. Paul. In her old age Alma becomes deaf and blind, and sister Hanna learns to communicate with her by writing on the palm.
Alma, Emma and Hanna Elg
The youngest sister, Ellen, became the first telephone operator in Fergus Falls. One day, one of the city's merchants arrived at the telephone exchange to receive a call. Ellen pointed to the phone booth, and the man, who had never seen a phone before leaned against the door and called out "hello?" at the door handle. In 1912 Ellen travels with her family in the automobiles to Minneapolis. There are no road signs on the small dirt roads, and people along the road do not know where they lead, because you take the train if you need to travel. Whenever they encounter a horse cart, they must run off the road and shut the engine. The trip takes four days, with several flat tires. Today, the route takes less than three hours, on 178 miles of highway.
Aaron and Adolph in the D&IR shop
Three of the brothers, Adolph, Aaron and Gust (Franz Gustaf) eventually move to Two Harbors, a small town on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. Here they are employed in the workshops of the Duluth & Iron Range Railroad, a road pulling heavy iron ore trains to the docks in Two Harbors. And this is where – a century later - I meet Gustaf´s grandchildren, and take part of their history. Two Harbors also had a radical labor movement with several Swedish agitators.
Gust (top right) on the running board of D&IR #70
The Elg family, gathered in Brainerd, October 1906
Gustaf Elg dies in 1909 in Brainerd, 75 years old. His wife Maria Sofia survives him by almost 20 years. The oldest daughter Emma Soderquist dies in 1915, Harold moves further west to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and remarries, but after his second wife passes away, he is reunited with his former brothers-in-law-in Two Harbors. At 70, Aaron Elg makes a trip to Sweden. He was traveling alone and we do not know the purpose of his journey. He returns to New York on Aug. 26, 1931 on the Swedish American Line´s "Kungsholm".
Gustaf Elg, with Emma, Harold and Herbert. Notice the picture on the wall behind Gustaf!
The picture enlarged: A painting based on the photo of Liljendal which Gustaf and Maria Sofia brought to Minnesota (see part 1). Liljendal is the place where Gustaf became a blacksmith, and where Gustaf and Maria Sofia met and married.
This two-part article was first written (in Swedish)
for a Swedish family history journal. In this first installment, we will follow
the lives of Gustaf Elg and Maria Sofia Bork in Sweden, leading to their decision
The 19th century´s industrial revolution was made
possible by new and more efficient methods of producing iron and steel, and
demand for these products skyrocketed. But the new technology also came to mean
the end of the wood-fired furnaces and forges that for 200 years had provided
the world with iron from Sweden.
The Industrial Revolution also laid the foundation for
the mass emigration to the United States, and many blacksmiths chose to
emigrate, rather than to seek work in the modern industrial mills.
This was also the case for my Elg family, with roots
in Säfsnäs / Gravendal (and going back to Finnish slash and burn farmers who
first settled in the area around 1600). At least 20 Elgs emigrated to the
United States, and I have contact with about 40 descendants, from Maine to
Seattle and Los Angeles
In the early 1800s, a number of blacksmiths from our
Elg family moved a few miles west, to Liljendal in Rämmen parish. This is also
where most emigrants have roots. In this story, we will follow one of these
emigrant blacksmith families. The family's life in Sweden is traced from parish
records and other historical sources. The family's fortunes in America is
partly based on American archives, but mainly on material from the family
historian Todd Lindahl, grandson of Franz Gustav "Gust" Elg.
Liljendal abt 1860.
Gustaf and Maria Sofia brought this photo to
Todd Lindahl collection
Gustaf Elg, blacksmith
Gustaf Elg was born in 1834 in Gravendal, the youngest
son of my great-great-grandfather Lars Elg (1789-1853) and Lisa Gråberg
(1792-1873). Lars Elg was a master blacksmith, and introduced what was known as
the German method of forging at Gravendal. An older sister of Gustaf, Christina
Elg (1820-1902) also came to emigrate, but that's a different (and interesting)
At the age of fifteen, Gustaf moves to Liljendal in
1849, where he begins to learn the blacksmith profession as a helper to his
older brother, Johan Elg (1817-1896). In 1852 Gustaf moves again, this time to
Gustavsström, Gåsborn, to continue his training with another brother, master
hammersmith Peter Elg (1814-1890).
Gustaf Elg and Maria Sofia Bork
Todd Lindahl collection
Two years later, Gustav moves back to Rämmen, to work
as an assistant to master blacksmith Jan Bork at Heden, an annex to the
Liljendal mill. In 1856, at age 22, his apprenticeship is over, and Gustaf
marries Maria Sofia Bork (b. 1838 in Liljendal). Maria Sofia is the daughter of
Jan Bork's deceased brother Petter Bork (1812-1851) and Lisa Stålberg. (While
there were a number of Elg-smiths in Rämmen parish the Bork family was even
more numerous, and I have found several marriages between the two families).
Gustav is now an assistant master, the master
blacksmith´s number two man, and leads the crew when the master is not in
place. At least in the early years, the couple lives with Maria Sofia's family,
where her mother has remarried the 15 years younger assistant master Olof
Jonsson Roth. Marrying a blacksmith's widow, and taking responsibility for
supporting the family, was not an unusual way for a blacksmith apprentice to
obtain the resources needed to advance to assistant master and master
In 1864, after fifteen years of training, Gustaf could
finally call himself a master blacksmith. In Liljendal Maria Sofia also gave
birth to six of the couple's total of 14 children: Emma Elizabeth (b.1857),
Carl Gustaf (b. 1859), Aaron (b. 1860), Johanna (b. 1862), Francis Edward (b.
1865), and John William (b. 1866). Francis Edward died only 17 months old.
In 1867, after three years as a master blacksmith,
Gustaf moves with his growing family to Rönneshytta in Lerbäck parish in Närke.
The move also includes helper Erik Johan Elg, a son of Gustaf´s brother Johan
who once trained Gustaf in Liljendal. Rönneshytta delivers pig iron to the
nearby Skyllberg mill where the iron is processed in a newly built rolling
At the Skyllberg mill, Maria Sofia's brother Olaus
Bork is master mechanic since two years, and is responsible for an ambitious
expansion program. He will eventually build the narrow gauge railroad
connecting Skyllberg to the outside world, and is a master mechanic for 32
years (see http://elgfamily.blogspot.se/2013/09/a-railroad-builder-in-family.html
In Rönneshytta three children are born, Adolf Fredrik
(1868), Alma Justina (1870) and Lambert (1875).
In 1876 it is time for the family to move again, this
time to Fagersta Mill, Västanfors. The oungest son, Lambert, dies shortly
afterwards, just 17 months old. Three years later, the first step on the way to
America is taken, as the eldest son Carl Gustaf Elg emigrates, 20 years old, in
July 1879. Two years later, his brother Aaron moves to Eskilstuna as an
apprentice at Bolinder Munktell, but soon he follows his brother's trail, and
emigrates to the U.S. in August, 1882. Both brothers find work in railroad
workshops in Minnesota.
In 1884 daughter Emma Elizabeth
leaves the nest. She travels to Gävle to become kitchen maid to Colonel Carl
Bror Munck. Munck is not only commander of the Helsinglands Regiment, he also
belongs to King Oscar II's staff, and his wife is lady in waiting to Queen
Aaron is visits Sweden in 1885, presumably to discuss
further emigration plans. Next year brothers Johan Wilhelm and Adolf Fredrik
Two of Olaus Bork's sons, Carl Gustaf and Leonard
Bork, also emigrate to Minnesota, in April 1887. I have written about Carl
Gustaf´s tragic death in a previous article ( http://elgfamily.blogspot.se/2013/09/a-railroad-builder-in-family.html
) Leonard returns to Sweden and Skyllberg after his brother's death. Adolf
stays a year in Montana before moving back to Minnesota. Possibly he brought
with him the remains of Carl Gustaf Bork, as he is buried in Barnesville,
Hannah and Adolph Elg, at Carl Gustaf Bork´s grave in Barnesville, 1939
Todd Lindahl Collection
The family is not yet ready for the big leap. While
Johan Wilhelm and Adolf Fredrik emigrate to Minnesota Gustaf Elg moves his
family one last time in 1886, now to Ferna Mill, Gunnilsbo, Västmanland. While
at Ferna a decision is reached, and sometime 1891 - 1892 Gustaf writes to an
emigration agent to inquire about the cost of moving the family to Minnesota.
The blacksmith shop at Ferna, abt 1880
In a following article, we will follow the family
across the Atlantic, and their life in the new country.