McLaughlin, von Coelln & Extended Family
See the Hypse/Hybsch family tree
See the Hypse family history
WRITTEN ABOUT 1895 RETYPED FROM ANOTHER COPY JANUARY, 1991
For a long time I have been thinking to write down something about my past life.
I'm now almost 72 years old and I do not have any notes to go by. I have to write down after my own memory- this will not be a big book -- but might be of some interest to my children and theirs, to know a few things of the past, even if it will not be everything, as I only have my thoughts to depend upon and they are weak in my old days, I'm not an author either, if I can go on, as I hope -- it might be of some interest to see how poor people brought up their families and what I will tell you about myself was very common with most poor people at that time in Smaland, Sweden, for that matter over most of the country lived. Since then, things have changed to the better, so I guess my tale will seem strange to many.
My father, Jonas Gustafson Hybsch, was born June 26, 1788. His father, Gustaf Hulhman, was a soldier and even his forefathers, before him, as long as can be remembered, was a soldier. I never saw my father's parents, they were both gone when I was born. My father had two sisters.
My father was also a soldier since 1808, he was in the war in Germany and France, during 1812 - 1813, and occupying Norway 1814. 1 should mention, the war in Germany and France was against Napoleon Bonaparte, when he was thrown off his throne.
My father left the Army in 1841, he had then been a soldier for 33 years, he died May 21, 1849.
My mother, Maria Pettersdotter, was born November 27, 1787, died in 1866. Her parents, had three children, one daughter died young. Her brother Isak, was the youngest, the parents had some land and livestock and all that and all the rest they had, they gave to the son and he should then support them the rest of their lives, as he also did. The father died a few years thereafter, but the mother lived much longer. They were never any bother to the son, they did their chores.
My mother did not get very much, in comparison, as she had married against their will -- she received 166 Riksdaler and thirty-two shillings, at that time $36.00.
The brother only had to pay the interest on the money, as long as the old people were living, if I remember right about 18 years. This was very little, even if the money had more value at that time. It was still some help. Why I mention this is to let you know what a difference it meant to us.
My Uncle got at least 10 to 15 times more than my mother, he was considered a wealthy man, he had everything he needed, as my parents had to struggle on very little. Some land was given to the soldiers and their families but when my father was no longer in the army that was taken away.
There was more hatred than love between my mother and her brother, they seldom ever saw each other. I can't remember that my father ever was in my Uncle's house overnight or my Uncle and Aunt in our house.
As long as Grandmother lived she visited us once a year, Christmas or midsummer and stayed a few days, she was always welcome .... during the summer visits she sometimes brought one of our cousins with her. My uncle had six girls, no sons.
If there were any message to be made it was always one of us children that had to go, and we were many, so the visit to my Uncle's house were few and far between. We were more like strangers to each other.
Once, I can remember I was sent to my Uncles. They hardly knew me, they asked me to sit down and asked me, "How things was at home". They gave me a piece of bread with pork. Small talk while I was eating the bread and then it was time to shake hands and say good-bye.
The visit lasted about one hour, sometimes it could be two. They never asked you to stay and the small talk went like "You were fast on your feet, you had grown since the last time and you did your errand very good". The round-trip took about four hours, so you see we never really had a chance to get acquainted with each other.
There was only three miles between our places, we went on foot, it took about one hour each way to walk. We never enjoyed the trip, as our cousins always let us know that we were not as well off as they were. They always had so much nicer things than us.
And all this or most of it because one child had been favored instead of given equal rights. It is not right to give to one more than the other.
MEMORIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD
I'm born on September 11, 1823. Given name Gustaf, after my father's father.
We were 13 sister and brothers -- eight boys and five girls. I was the eighth, two brothers and five sisters were born before me.
Five of my sisters and brothers were put to rest in my native Sweden and two of us in this country and very likely the rest of us will have our graves here -- which does not matter as God says "We will all meet some day". In front of our God, on that day when we all will meet again, in happiness in God's name. Lets pray, that the song from all of us will reach God, our God.
Something about the place where we were brought up. I remember more than I can tell and what I will write down may seem strange, at least for they that are born and brought up in America, maybe even to some that are brought up in Sweden in the later years.
There was instead a Market place, once a year. Close by where all the necessary marketing was done. There they sold and bought or exchanged cattle, horses and many other things.
There was even then difference in different places, depending on locality, more so in Sweden than in America. Because there was no railroads or other communication, of course, some families were better off than others. They may be had a horse and once in his lifetime he could visit the nearest town, about 30 miles away, but most of them had never been close to a town.
The men, sometimes, bought themselves a hat or a tie, the women, if there was enough money, got themselves scarfs for their heads. They never wore a hat. If you could afford one you could never buy one in silk. Most of the time to expensive for the poor farmers' women and not either in good taste for other than the well-to-do, you did not like to be called "a snob". The women usually wove their own cloth and made their own clothes and tried very hard to do their very best.
There were all kinds of salesmen, from other places selling lots of things; such as groceries, coffee, tea and cube sugar, (this was a luxury) but sometimes my mother brought back a couple of ounces of sugar or a stick of licorice to divide between us. If she could afford there was a crisp roll for each of us and that was really something. Then you were looking forward to next-years' Market-day, but if there was no money than she had to stay home, then we had to wait another year.
We never really expected anything from our father. I'm very sorry to say he liked the liquor too much. He got together with his companion and forgot about his family, it was very common at that time. Maybe I should not talk about his weakness but then my story would not be truthful. I cannot leave that out and I also want it to be a warning to one and all, it is a disgrace, he forgets his right to other people, therefore "Don't ever take a drink and if it is already done, please stop and pray to God to help you to be strong.
I do not want to condemn my father for drinking as it was almost unnatural not to drink, mostly so at that time all of the soldiers that had been in war there was a mixture of people in the Army -- one worse than the other.
When my father was not under influence of liquor he very much cared for us. We never had to beg for food even if a lot of things could have been different, we never suffered, mostly I think because of our mother upon her rested most of our upbringing. She had a good soul , she did a very good job of taking care of that many children.
My father was always very, very stern, so was my mother, but she was also mild, depending on what was needed at that moment. Disobedience was not tolerated of either one of them. They never told us anything twice -- any misconduct was punished. There was very seldom they had to use punishment as we always did as we were told' They never allowed any mischiefs between us either, it was just as hard a punishment for that and if they ever found us fighting there was not only punishment for the guilty but for all of us. We thought it unfair but it kept us from doing things we were not supposed to do. It was a big family with love and respect for each other. I have many memories from my childhood but never that we wanted to hurt one another.
I will tell of one time, I was 13 years old and had been with the shoemaker for some time, when I had a Sunday at home. I was looking forward to be with my family again as I was supposed to leave the next day. Late in the afternoon, two of my brothers Petter and Magnus and I went out to a place close by where we used to play. It was a nice day for October and we were playing around like boys do, jumping, walking on our hands, lifting heavy rocks, of course, I was the oldest and had learned a few things away from home. I could now fight and had them both down on the ground. They got mad and tried to fight back, but I was stronger and was holding one in each hand and I never tried to hurt them, either, we made up and went home as good friends. I believe that was the first and last time we ever laid hands on each other.
I remember when somebody told us to do something we had to do it now and don't ask anybody else to do it for us either. I think that is what makes it to hard for all children today, they do not know obedience.
Our parents had to send us out to work early in life to make our living. They had nothing else to give us than their blessing. "To be a hard worker, be honest and even in the smallest chore always do your best." That was the only thing they had to give on our way out in the big world.
Even if I have to admit we failed in many ways, they/the things we learned from childhood still followed us through our lives and also Gods word, Bless His Name.
There was very few schools in that part of Sweden where I came from our schooling was poor, our mother was our only schoolmaster we had. She had learned from childhood how to read. Now we sat around her when she did her household chores and we all learned to read. I still can't get over how she managed, she had to get cotton in and weave, knot socks, patch our clothes (before we were old enough to do our own) and she taught us in early age. She also had to tend to our animals, both winter and summer, at that time, it was customary that the women did all of those things even if father had much more time he still let her do them. Spring and summer here was always a lot of work to be done outside. Then she did not have much time to do inside chores, much less to teach us reading. It was put off until the fall and the long dark winter months.
At that time yearly meetings was held at our only church, the minister was there to find out what we had learned during the year, he was always pleased with us and mother's teaching. He said we did as well as the children that had the opportunity to go to school. Our books was -ABC -- Catechism and our Psalmbook. The Catechism we almost had to learn by heart, each meeting, which was held once a year, we were given lessons to learn from the Catechism, it was very important to know your lesson very well, to be in good standing. You had to read from the Bible -- recite from the Catechism and answer questions the minister gave you.
The whole family had to attend this meeting, father's name was called and he had to answer for all of us and you had to have an excuse for not being there.
Every community had a meeting like this each year and it was customary to circulate between the farmers. Each year a vote was taken where and when the next meeting would take place.
The meetings started at nine o'clock in the morning and went on all day. Refreshments were served at noon -- like beer and a bite to eat. When the meeting was over the host for the meeting was supposed to treat the minister and his party to supper, sometimes there was friends and relatives from far away that stayed. All this has now been changed.
I should tell some more about our home schooling, which I told you was done by our mother, but when the older children had learned what she knew, they had to help with the younger. Of course this did not sometimes work out as good as when mother did the job so she had to give us some encouragement and told us that the 'Roaster' on the last page of ABC could hear and see what was going on. If we did a good job and worked hard the next day the 'Roaster' had a small coin or a piece of sugar, something the children did not get every day. If we did not do as good then there would be a few sticks of wood or a twig, it was to tell us what was coming.
That was how the school was taught, 60 - 70 years ago at least in Smaland, Sweden during the time I was a child but we learned to read well and during a short time, this had to be done by ten years of age after that there was no time for reading you had to go to work. You had already learned to darn your socks and mend your clothes; to fix fishing nets and tools. There was very little time for play in those years.