Fredrika Johnson

Fredrika Johnson was born in Ärtemark parish, Hedalen village, Bengtsfors township, Älvsborgs county, Dalsland province, Sweden on July 25, 1872.  Her name at birth was Fredrika Johannesdotter.  Her parents were Johannes Andersson and Kajsa Danielsdotter (see details below).  Her brother Albin was born in 1868 and her sister Alma Sofia was born in 1870.  She had a seemingly normal early childhood, joined by another brother Johan Edvin in 1874.

In 1879, when Fredrika was only six years old, her mother died.  Three years later, when Fredrika was nine, her father left Sweden for America.  Two years later, when Fredrika was eleven, her thirteen year old sister Alma Sofia died.

There is no indication of who took care of Albin, Alma Sofia, Fredrika, and Johan Edvin after Johannes left for America, but obviously, they were without parents.  And Alma Sofia died without parents.

On March 11, 1887 Johannes Andersson returned from America.  Albin left Sweden on March 10, 1887 for America, just the day before his father’s return!  Mamie remembered Albin from when she was very young and believed that he too returned to Sweden, probably in the 1900s.

Upon his return, Johannes apparently took charge of Fredrika and Johan Edvin, all that was left of his family.  Two years later when Fredrika was seventeen, Johannes married Stina Kajsa Eliasdotter, born October 9, 1852 in Ärtemark.

Fredrika left for the US sometime after June 26, 1891 (the date on her Flyttningsbevis), when she was about nineteen.  At that ripe age, all alone, she took trains across Sweden to Göteborg, a ship to Hull, England, more trains across England to Liverpool, a trans-Atlantic ship to New York, trains and God knows what else to Upper Michigan, where she presumably joined her brother Albin.  She settled in Anvil Location, MI and worked as a housemaid for a while before meeting and marrying Albert on October 21, 1893.  She had ten children with Albert Tillner.  She died December 28, 1957 and is buried in Bessemer, MI.  

Fredrika missed the old country so much that in 1900 Albert, Fredrika, Beyda, Mamie, and John pulled up stakes, sold everything, and returned to Sweden.  Memories were found to be sweeter than reality, however, and the family returned in about 6 months, content to spend the rest of their lives in the US.  After traveling overland to Göteborg, on November 28, 1900, they boarded ship for the first sea leg of their return trip.  "According to the passenger lists in the Police Chamber of Göteborg Alfred Tillner and his family left Sweden on board the steam vessel "Rollo" with the destination Hull, England.  Shipping agent was Oscar Reis."

Albert and Fredrika were ambitious folks.  They built, occupied, and maintained a two-story house in Anvil Location that still stands.  They kept a garden, a cow, one or two pigs, a few chickens, and nine growing children.  They kept a potato farm and in early days had horses.  They built and maintained a cottage that still stands on the west shore of Lake Gogebic, building it before the advent of the M-64 highway.  This entailed hauling materials to the County Park, transferring to a boat, rowing to the lot, and offloading and carrying them up to the site.  The cottage was a center for family activities for many years.  There was a screened in porch that faced the lake with a porch swing on one end and a huge table in the middle.  That porch was the site of many a meal, many a drink, many a card game, and many a laugh.

Fredrika cooked for this huge family on a wood range.  She ironed the frilly dresses for her six girls to wear to church using an iron heated on the range top.  She was the primary keeper of the garden, cows, pigs, and chickens, including canning and laying by for the winter months.

Fredrika baked a lot at home and at the cottage.  At the cottage one day she put the fresh bread out on the porch table to cool.  A bear recognized the quality of the smell and came right in through the screen.  Fredrika was so angry she grabbed her broom and actually chased the bear away from her bread!

In 1952, on the occasion of her 80th birthday celebration, a family reunion was held in Anvil.  All nine of Fredrika’s children, every spouse of a child except one who had died earlier, every grandchild except one, and a number of great grandchildren attended.  Cousin Eva Anderson and near family members Stell and Roy Evans completed the party.  Son-in-law Karlton Lindberg wrote and presented a tribute.  Picture at left shows Mamie with Fredrika at the party.

Fredrika was probably 5’ 2” or so.  As she aged, she had beautiful long white hair that she braided and rolled into a bun on the back of her head.  She spoke fluent English, but always retained a bit of the Swedish accent and some cherished Swedish idioms.

The Tillner clan was always very close.  They had frequent reunions and always kept in touch. A picture of the nine children exists where the youngest was over 65 years!  Six of the Tillner children died very near their birthplace in Bessemer, two of those rest beside Albert and Fredrika, and a third is just a few paces away.

Fredrika's parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and grandparents were all born in Ärtemark and (except for Albin and Johannes who spent some time in the US) they probably all lived through their lives and died there.  Here is what is known of them:

2  Johannes Andersson, born 30 JAN 1846
3  Kajsa Danielsdotter, born 20 JAN 1840, died 15 JAN 1879
    Albin Johannesson, born 29 APR 1868
    Alma Sofia Johannesdotter, born 8 FEB 1870, died 1 JUL 1883
    Fredrika, ancestor 1
    Johan Edvin Johannesson, born 1 OCT 1874
(Second wife of Johannes, Stina Kajsa Eliasdotter, born 9 OCT 1852)

4  Anders Svensson, born 1 MAY 1808, died 16 MAY 1848
5  Anna Svensdotter, born 14 AUG 1810, died 1895
    Elias Andersson, born 18 OCT 1833
    Sven Andersson, born 30 JAN 1836
    Kajsa Andersdotter, born 10 AUG 1839
    Henrik Andersson, born 16 DEC 1842
    Johannes, ancestor 2
6  Daniel Larsson, born 22 AUG 1807
7  Kajsa Andersdotter, born 1 FEB 1809
    Anna Katrina, born 22 FEB 1837
    Kajsa, ancestor 3
    Maja Lisa, born 22 FEB 1845
    Anders Magnus, born 12 JAN 1848
    Klara Sofia, born 4 MAY 1853