Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wednesday's Child: Johan Andersson

Johan Andersson was born on December 4, 1841 in Angered Storegården, Angered församling, Älvsborg län, Sweden to Anders Jonsson and Catharina Olsdotter. He was their first son as well as second but only surviving child. Anders and Catharina had lost their first child the previous December.

Within days of his birth, Johan was baptized for at the time, it was the law of Sweden that newborns must be baptized within eight days of their birth.

Johan grew up on his family's farm in Angered Storegården surrounded by family. In addition to his parents, he had three younger siblings, Albertina (born 1843), Aron (born 1846), and Augusta (born 1848). He was doted on by his paternal grandparents, Jon Olofsson and Annicka Ambjörnsdotter, who lived with them on the farm, as did Anders' brother, Andreas Jonsson, Paternal aunt Johanna Jonsdotter and maternal aunt Ingrid Lena Olsdotter as well as their families lived on neighboring farms nearby.

During his short life, Johan suffered a series of losses, his maternal grandfather Olof Olsson passed away the year after his birth, on October 23, 1842, followed by his maternal aunt Ingeborg Olsdotter on March 18, 1843. In 1847, Johan suffered two losses when younger brother Aron passed away on February 28 followed by his uncle Olaus on December 22. Paternal grandmother Annicka Ambjörnsdotter passed away April 20, 1848 followed by uncle Anders Jansson (Johanna Jonsdotter's husband) the following year, on May 5, 1849.

In 1849, Johan, along with his parents, two sisters, and grandfather, left the family farm and moved to a new one in Angered Stommen. Shortly after moving there, the most devastating death for Johan came when on November 22, 1849, his father died at the age of thirty-three. Anders' death was the result of him freezing to death. His death came as an unexpected and tragic shock to young Johan and the rest of his family. Johan was only seven-years-old when his father passed; his death occurring less than two weeks before Johan's eighth birthday. His birthday was a solemn occasion for the family that year. Rather than celebrating another year of life, Johan, his mother, siblings and the rest of the family mourned the one they had lost. He was tearfully buried a few days later, on December 9.

Johan would go on to lose two more loved ones to death in the following years. His maternal grandmother Britta Larsdotter passed away on Oct. 13, 1852 and his paternal grandfather Jon Olofsson passed away on May 2, 1853.

On January 18, 1854, Johan Andersson succumbed to death himself. Cause of death for Johan was rödsot, which in English translates to dysentery, a disease common in Sweden during the 19th century. With dysentery, a person's intestines become inflamed and they have bloody diarrhea.

Catharina was devastated by Johan's death, having lost not only another child but also her first and only living son. With the support of her family, Catharina, along with her daughters, tearfully watched as her beloved son was buried on January 22, 1854.

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

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