A Pioneer of Tough Wood
Augusta Andersson, Arthur's mother of 11 children, is revealed in this article from 1946 as being strong, persevering, and loving, despite great struggles.
Thank you to Lars Nordlund, my father's cousin, for this special article given to my sister Renie and I in Stockholm, June, 2015.
Malmberget Pioneers of Tough Wood
Tell stories from days gone by
Fritz Burck’s house on the spot where coned school stands
Picture Right: Malmberget’s “Main Street” around 1896. The house farthest to the left was widow Andersson’s “comfortable” home.
In connection to an article in NSO about Malmberget’s Folkets Hus was a picture of a house from old Malmberget. A widow, Augusta Andersson, now 80, has in this picture recognized first home from when she came to Malmberget in 1890.
Widow Andersson recalls that her husband, Gustaf Andersson, came to Malmberget 1888. In the beginning when he worked there she remained in Lulea with their 2 children. In 1980 the finite move with the ehole family to Malmberget took place in 1890. There was still nothing but a narrow track reailroad between Gallivare and Malmberget, and no passenger traffic occurred along the line. After many turns, Andersson got the permission from the Station Master in Gallivare to transport his family and his gear on a handcar.
Andersson immediately bought the log house shown in the front, to the left in the picture. With a slight smile widow Andersson mentions that she remembers well how the locals bit by bit came by and declared how nice they had made it. The croft was considered to be of the more comfortable type at that time.
It had one one window, approx. 30cm x 30cm square, so there was no real daylight to speak of. The floor was six by six “alnar”, or about 10 m2. The phot must have, according to widow Andersson, been taken in 1892. She supports that statement by remembering the box, shown to the right of the door. It reminds her of that day of sorrow when her 6 week old baby boy died. The conditions for transportation were very bad, and while waiting for the funeral, which was to be conducted in Gallivare, the little dead one was kept in this box. In order to hold the funeral, they had to transport the little coffin by toboggan down to Gallivare. There was no cemetery in Malmberget at that time.
Three more children were born in that croft. Thereby 7 people lived in a house that was about 3 meters square, with a window that was 30 centimeters. The Malmberget pioneers must have been made of good wood.
Widow Andersson was a while involved in the temperance movement, but home and children eventually took all her time and energy, where after she lost all direct contact with any organizational functions at all. She remembers that the Salvation Army had lots of trouble with thugs and drunks present at the meetings, as well as that the hall was located approximately where the Pressbyran kiosk now stands by the Malmberget station.
It is self explanatory that a bunch of more or less “notable” people, male as well as female, sought their way to the mine camps to try and make money. Finn-Greta lived only a few steps from the Andersson croft. As neighbours, the Andersson’s had the then famous local stars Luft-Gungan and Droskan. One of these literally drank himself to death, or rather got filled one night together with a number of men. Well, the other other men survived, of course.
The mail distribution was such that the mail man, by his little shack for mail office, came out at a certain time and called the names of those who had received mail. If one had mail, it was just to very graciously step forward and receive the very welcome mail.
How did the Christmas celebrations happen? Widow Andersson appeared taken aback, but cried out spontaneously: “Crazy”, there was no room for a Christmas tree at our place, and I don’t remember celebrating Christmas any differently than any other holiday/weekend. It was only later into the future that Christmas was to be celebrated as anything special.
Widow Andersson points at another picture and says that here lived Bruck, Fritz Bruck’s father. That croft wasn’t as nice as ours, but they survived there, too.
Fritz Bruck confirms this and adds: Not only did father, mother and myself live there, we had a boarder, too; a brother to my father. That it was crowded isn’t hard to understand, but how any rest was arranged for my father and uncle those times they were working shifts, I can’t understand. I, as a little tyke at the time, probably wasn’t allowed indoors those days …….
Thank you to Ellen Boryen, Swedish translator, for this donation to our understanding.