Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tilda Louise Borjesson Lavin Lundgren

Tilda Louise Borgeson 1884

Mom used to tell me stories about her grandma. She only knew one of them, because her father's mom died in Sweden. Her mother's mother, Tilda, was born in 1867, in Malmo, Sweden.

Harbor Malmo

She married Anders Lavin when she was just eighteen and at nineteen had a baby boy they named Theodore. She wrote this:

I was raised as a devout Lutheran. When my tiny boy Theodore died at just two years old I began to question God. At this time of sorrow I found a new faith that brought hope of eternal families. On February 4, 1886 the ice was cut in the river and my husband and I were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I knew I would be ridiculed by my family for what I had done, and I was right. All the members of my family turned against me.

Street in Malmo

Only a few days after my baptism I met my mother on the street and she crossed to the other side so as not to speak to me.

(In time they became more friendly and eventually my mother,
my sister, and her family also joined the Church.)

By then a new little boy, George, had filled the void in our hearts left by the loss of our baby. We decided to emigrate to Utah in America to join other Mormons who lived there.

The ship was crowded, and the trip was long and difficult with much illness on board. I was very frightened, as I was only 22 years old.

On board an immigrant ship, 1880's.

When we arrived in Salt Lake City my husband was very ill. I became a dressmaker, and worked at a restaurant where I did cleaning. I went early in the morning and made sure I was through before anyone came, as I didn't want anyone to see me doing that kind of work, though it was honest labor.

SLC Main Street about 1900

If I had had any money I would have gone back to Sweden, where I could get better work. Those were trying days, and I almost lost my courage. Learning the language was a very hard task. The Lord helped me learn English and adjust to the customs.

In just three years we already had an adorable baby girl, Agnes, and another precious son, Joseph. When he was a year old he became very ill. It was the Lord's will that he should go, but it was terribly hard to lose him.

Not long after this great sorrow another beautiful blue-eyed baby was born to us. How proud we were of him. I loved to lie on the bed and look at him. He was such a healthy baby and when my friends came I was over-anxious to show him off!

One day while I was busy in my kitchen, a never to be forgotten accident occurred. I kept a wooden tub outside by the water pump. I left just a very small amount of water in the bottom of it to keep it from drying out and cracking. I had just checked on my baby and then went about my work. Within seconds I heard a terrible scream. My neighbor had come to get water and there she found my baby, Henry, face down in the very shallow water in the tub. He had died instantly, it seemed.

The sorrow was almost more than I could bear. Everyone did all they could for me, but I failed to be comforted. Baby Henry did not have a wet spot on him. His little life was just snuffed out so quickly. Oh, the shock was terrible! He was just a little over a year old. I felt the hope go out of me.

Our oldest son, George was then about seven years old. He came to me in my sorrow and tried to comfort me. I was so bereaved I scarcely knew what I said. I answered him, "Oh, you will probably die too, I guess." Instead of turning from me he looked up at me and said, "No, Mama. I'm not going to die. I will grow up and make you proud, and you will be glad."

It seemed like there was magic when our eyes met. As he said this to me, something in my soul awakened. The faith my little son showed at this time acted as tonic from heaven to me. My faith in God's love was made stronger, and I was again able to walk through this garden of Gethsemane. Little George's prophesy was fulfilled. He did grow up to make me proud, and I was glad.

My prayer from that day on was that I would prove to be worthy to meet my babies Theodore, Joseph and Henry again. I always gave thanks to God that he allowed me to keep my children George and Agnes, who lived to raise seven children each. I have had much joy and gladness in my life."

Tilda's daughter Agnes (in the glasses)
and her husband Axel Lundgren,
with their seven children.
My mom, Junie is the one on her Dad's lap.
This photo was taken in 1930.


i'm kelly said...

i love hearing our history!

Ashlee said...

Such a heart wrenching story! The strength and courage they had back then is amazing. I don't know that I would have been as strong. You have an awesome ancestral story to tell!

Sheri said...

How sad to lose three babies! I knew we were probably related--my great-grandmother was also from Malmo! Love the story.

gab said...

Won't it be awesome to meet her someday?!

gramakas said...

My father's family is from Malmo, Sweden also! Did we ever know that already?
Such a sweet but tragic story... I agree with the wonderful reunion with children that leave too soon!

kenju said...

I cannot bear the thought of losing a child at any age. How strong she must have been.

Christie said...

Oh, the heartache. We've all left our babies alone for a few minutes. But to lose one so quickly and so horribly? I can't even imagine the strength you would need to survive. Amazing story.

Kay Dennison said...

What heartbreak poor Tilda endured! And God bless George for giving her hope!

I wish I knew more about my family history.

MissKris said...

Just read your comment about missing spoons, about maybe dishwashers are the culprits. Hmmmmm...I don't have a dishwasher, so that's not what's eating my forks, haha! I think they get buried in my daughter's room...she loves to eat in there and forgets to bring dishes out on a regular basis. While I've been recuperating, I had her buy a bunch of paper plates, bowls, plastic cups, and plastic forks/spoons/knives. Not very 'green' but it sure cuts back on dishes right now. I'm more concerned at this stage to find the easiest solution...I'll get back to my usual conservation practices soon.

Jay said...

Wow, this is intense. Nice family history.

Cindy said...

ok, now you've gone and done it!!! Im going to have to dig out all the old family histories and see if there are any such heart wrenching stories in my past. There are abound to be, since we are all linked by some incredible pioneer history. You have inspired me and in so doing you will have made my mother's day as well. She longs to have us take intrest in the stories of her ancestors. Way to go new friend! You accomplish so much by sharing your life with us!! 7 DAYS UNTIL WC!!!!!!! We are so excited!!

mama jo said...

what a makes me so proud to be her great grand daughter...what a strong woman...

The Takemoto Family said...

My mom (Ginny Lundgren Bywater) sent me the link to your blog. I'm so happy to see it and especially to see your great family history posts. Thanks!

Rebecca Bywater Takemoto

Anonymous said...

This is amazing! I'm working on my own, it's difficult because there is only one person who knows that info and she lives out of state!

Can't wait for Marta's baby! :D