How to Turn Limbs into Legacy

He came from Sweden in 1911 to homestead on the Hi-Line, that semiarid stretch of open prairie just south of the Canadian border and east of the Rockies that the U.S. government and the Great Northern Railway promised was free and plentiful.

Sailing on a ship named Victoria through Liverpool, then Halifax, then down the St. Lawrence River to the port of Chicago, he worked on an uncle’s ranch in North Dakota for two years before arriving in northern Montana to file on his own 320.

A few years later, he met and married Olefina, who came from Norway via New York, and together they proved up, farming wheat and raising cattle and three children, until a cerebral hemorrhage took his life too soon in 1944.

“Times were tough,” my husband’s uncle recalls as we sit around the table after Thanksgiving, eating pumpkin pie and listening to him retell the story.

“A person got to know what he needed and what he thought he needed, that’s for sure.”

I watch him and my mother-in-law, his sister, puzzle together the pieces of their past. There are records and letters to look through, and pictures, so many pictures, with dates and names scribbled on the back, some in English, but most in Swedish or Norwegian.

Read the rest over at Pick Your Portion

 

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