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Anna Charlotta Karlsdotter 1859–1916

Kön: Kvinna Id: I25176 Levnadsålder: 56


Född1859-09-29 Bromåla by, Augerum (K) sn
Modern Anna Svensdotter dör (14)1874-09-14 Bromåla by, Augerum (K) sn
Fadern Karl Emanuel Petersson Springer dör (25)1885-06-02 Bromåla by, Augerum (K) sn
Sonen Ruben Petersson föds (32)1892-02-08 Augerum (K) sn
Sonen Simon Petersson föds (33)1893-05-11 Sölvesborg (K) stad
Sonen Ruben Petersson dör (36)1896-02-15 Sölvesborg (K) stad
Sonen Ruben Emanuel Petersson föds (36)1896-08-26 Sölvesborg (K) stad
Död (56)1916-03-25 Vinslöv (L) sn


This is a letter written by Simon Peterson's mother to her children. It was translated by Victoria Peterson. Apparently Ruben Peterson found this letter after his mother died in 1916 and sent it to his brother, Simon, in Fresno, California.It was kept in Simon's safe deposit box until translated in 1972. Anna Charlotta Carlsson Petersson was born 1859 and died in 1916.

* * * * *

I have often thought that I should write the story of my childhood because it might be of interest to you to have this story. My birthplace was in Blekinge in a little place, Bromåla, in Augerum parish. I was born in 1859, the 29th of September, the sixth of eight children.

I want first to describe our little cottage. It was one you could not find any more - to be certain not in Skåne. It was a "ryggås stuga" with the beams visible in the roof on the inside. In the corner was a fireplace. It was made of gray rocks. It had a chimney that extended about one meter over the roof, and it, too, was made of the gray rocks. It had an extension like a hood that turned with the wind. The roof was made of birch bark covered with sod. On this grow grass high, and on it we had planted roof-leek, which we liked to eat when we were allowed. When we made a fire we used large woodlogs. These were piled high in the fireplace and fire then lighted our whole area, because in my early childhood we had no lamps. During the evening this fire had to be kept up so it could burn as long as we needed to be up. Around this fire sat Mother and Father and the elder children and worked. The small children tended the fire so that it was kept up and gave enough light. One of the children would read aloud for these who were working. We had no books at that time that would interest today's youth. We only had an old Bible and some older writings such as journals, called "Biblefriends", that I remember very well. But now I am skipping what I was going to tell, which was how our "stuga" looked. It had a large entry room with dirt floor and was without windows. In the "stuga" stood at one side a bed nailed together in such away that it could not be pushed in to save space as was the usual custom then. On the opposite side we also had a bed but it was smaller and we called it "bench" - it was longer and narrower than the other. Over the only window which was on the gable was a large shelf that we called the gable shelf. The were the books that we had as well as Father's shaving box and an old gunpowder box and an old seed box that my parents had used before my time. These things seemed of great value to us children. Over the door was a shelf we called our "pot shelf" because there was the place for the few utensils we had, mostly made of wood or clay. Under the roof bears on the side was a small shelf where we kept miscellaneous articles. Among these were my father's knives which we were not allowed to touch. Under the roof were some planks where we kept our supply of bread, whatever we had.

Now I shall tell about our customs and habits and our situation as it then was. My parent's history I don't know except that my father's father was from Germany of a respected family by the name of Springer. All that my father owned of this was his name. In his childhood he had to go and beg for his bits of food. As a consequence he was early in life acquainted with need and poverty and was a man tried by hardship who did not mince words when he wanted to describe man's inhumanity to man as well as real kindness. Out of all this I have since met I have never known anyone else of the kind my father was. He was a maker of wooden shoes. Besides this little home I have described with a small piece of land around it, he owned nothing except the work of his hands with which to care for his wife, children and himself. Perhaps it might be of interest that sometimes we had no food on the day he was gone to sell his wooden shoes, every fourteenth day. He had to bind these shoes together to form a wreath or yoke. He took one large wreath on his back and one in front of him. There were times he had to leave home without anything to eat to walk 20 kilometers (12 miles) with his heavy burden. I remember also that as he mother helped him lift his burden onto himself he would say as he lifted his eyes up, "Lord God, help me and keep those that are mine." He would then leave in good spirit. He never complained over poverty or his situation. Mother was sometimes downhearted. We often saw her tears falling but she never said why she cried and was sad. She had a different temperament from my father but it was as if it did not make much impression on us. She was constantly occupied by hard work so that she never talked with us. (Trans. Note: probably meant "discussed" or "conversed at length".) Only now and then did she sing a hymn or a folk song as she sat by the spinning wheel. We were on those occasions so over whelmed and happy that we did no know how to express our joy. But for the most times she was silent and reserved. She mostly, during the winter, sat by the spinning wheel.

During summer there was a little more profitable work in the area picking wild berries and taking them to the town to sell them in market. This we had to start to help with when we were about six years old. We had to go into the woods to pick berries. This was not an easy thing. The terrain was desolate and lonely to be in from morning to night. Sometimes we went with fear of snakes, bulls, and evil people. It was here in these lonely wooden areas I learned to trust God and ask for His help and protection. In my childish confidence I would even pray to find the places where the most berries could be found. I was so glad and thankful when I found something to pick. Our father had said to us children that we should always pray and then God would help in all things and it would go well for us. When we were about eight years old we had to start to walk to the city to sell berries. We carried them in baskets made of birch bark. These had lids made from bark so they could be stacked on one other. They were then put into a cloth bag - a large bag on the back and one smaller one in the front. We had to leave home in the evening so as to reach the city by eight in the morning. It was a twenty kilometer (12 miles) trip. We walked all night with sometimes a little nap or rest by a stone wall or under a tree. Oh, how good it was to sleep on the hard cold ground. The rest has never been so sweet to me since as it was those summer nights. Our feet were sour from wet grounds, rough stones, and some hot days, so that we had big blisters, but as the time wore on they got hardened and skin thicker so that we did not feel the pain, but tired we were. I remember yet how at the end of the road we were so tired that we felt we would fall. My shoulders ached because it was on the shoulders the burdens were hanging. When we got to Karlskrona we would sit down on the hard cobblestones in the market place. It was good to sit down but it became tiresome to sit there several hours to sell the berries. No matter how little we asked still less was offered. Perhaps one krona and fifty öre could be the ultimate return. Often we had to buy flour to take home again so we had a heavy burden home as well. All tiredness and all pain were over when we were home again. From a far distance we could see father standing looking and waiting for us. Oh, how his eyes would speak of his joy as he lifted our burdens from our shoulders as he asked how it had gone for us. We would then get food, and so to bed. The following day was rest but the next day it was back to seek out berry patches again.

One would think that under such conditions there was no time for learning but this we did so that we could read by the time we were about five years old. This yearning to read was so implanted in us that we used every opportunity to read. Even though none of us went to school we were not behind those that were allowed schooling. Father was adamantly against us going to school. He was of the opinion that even if we learned useful things there would be bad habits and haughty spirit acquired. He maintained that it was the father's duty to teach his children and to keep them from bad company. The school board committee would call on us and try to show him his responsibility to us but he would always win out as he could convince them by his words. I didn't think the laws of the land were then the same as now. No they will take children away from parents to educate them if so is needed to get them in school. In spite of it all our childhood days passed in quiet loneliness in the woods. We grow up without knowing of the world's temptations or evils. Our father had often spoken to us of how evil the world was and admonished us that we should keep close to God in His word and prayer, and above all to mind the voice of our conscience. During my childhood I saw four of my siblings carried to their graves. I was fifteen years old when my mother died. I had by nature a cheerful temperament but I learned more and more to see life's seriousness. I could not let myself the pleasure of the world. It was as if my father's eyes, so serious, and the death of my siblings so early kept me. When I was about eighteen years old I felt a strong conviction and began to wonder how I could be saved. My father noted this and assured me that I would be happy because he said that I had always been good, and to pray God because He casts no one out. Nothing he said gave me peace of mind. By this time we had acquired a number of books. One that I had bought was Pilgrim's Progress. (Note: This book is still in the family with her own writing and date of purchase.) We also had The Holy War and the Bible but nothing would give me any comfort. The fourteenth chapter of John's Gospel was also helpful in my seeking.

About this time it became known that a family had moved into our community and that they were Baptists. This name was known to us only as error and heresy. They had meetings in their home. I went there with great fear, almost terror, so during the walk to the meeting I prayed to God to give me wisdom to understand and keep me from contamination in case they were preaching untruths. I sat down alert to listen as the preacher stood up and sang "Where are you going? Where does your way lead? etc." He had dignified appearance which made a great impression on me. During his sermon I shed tears. As soon as the sermon was ended I left.

My tears had, like for the Saul of Tarsus, blinded me so I could hardly walk home and when I entered our house I hid my face so no one could see that I had cried. The preacher had talked of the believer's joy and blessings. But here I was so unhappy and I kept asking what must I do to be saved. A voice came again and again to me - "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." I was trying to avoid my father's anxious eyes. He seemed to wonder what was the matter but I dared not tell him because I knew his prejudice as regarded the Baptists. I tried to my sister but she became very upset and sad. She urged me not to have anything to do with such a sort and if I did I would have to go my own way and would break the hearts of those who loved me most. But this I soon found the answer to in the scripture that says that he who is not willing to leave father and mother, brothers and sisters, for my sake can not be my disciple. Therefore I decided to attend the next meeting and the first song I heard was: "Have you courage to follow Jesus?" I kept my face hidden during the whole sermon so no one would see me crying, but the preacher, whose name was österström, had noticed me and after the service he came and asked me why I cried. I told him of my conviction and he urged me to without waiting do as I felt, I must to get peace and belong to the group of believers. The nineteenth of May 1878, I was buried with Christ in baptism, I received power from on high so that my sister's tears and my father's reproach could not disturb me. I believed that they also would soon see the same assurance of salvation that I had found. My sister did this after about a year's time but my father remained in his belief that he would be accepted of God. I had over ten kilometers to go to meetings but it seemed as only a small distance so I never missed the services and I felt enfolded in arms of love so that temptations, sins, and poverty could not overcome my peace. I must say that I have had a great blessing and so many . . . (here is a part that could not be deciphered) It has been blessed even in the material things. I have had a fullness of food and clothes, home and house, mate and children, loyal friends and much more. How could I be other than thankful to God?

"He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory, for the pillars of earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them.

Now I am sure that He also shall keep me until the end of my days as He has done to this day.

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