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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 23rd 2024

To Be Remembered

By Sue Hunter Weir

Names in Stone

Stories in Memory

Pictures in Archives

Albert Swanson and his sister, Eleanore Chakolis, never knew their great-grandmother or their paternal grandparents but they wanted to make sure that that part of their family”'s history would not be forgotten.  In October 2010, Albert and Eleanore, now in their nineties, visited Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery to pay their respects to several family members and to see the three markers that they had arranged to have placed on their relatives”' graves a few weeks earlier.

Anna Andersdotter, Albert and Eleanore”'s great grandmother, emigrated from Sweden on September 11, 1887.  She was born in a crofter”'s cottage in Norra Vanga, Skaraborg, Sweden in 1822. In 1847, at the age of 25, she married Anders Anderson, and they had seven children. In 1883, Anders died, and in 1887 Anna came to the United States to live with her daughter Clara. Anna was one month short of her sixty-fifth birthday.

Clara had left Sweden four years earlier to be reunited with her husband Svante Svensson (Americanized to Swan Swanson) after a year-long absence. Swan had immigrated to Minneapolis in 1882, in order to get settled and to prepare for the arrival of his wife and children.  Although Clara and Swan had had six children, three of them had died in Sweden from a variety of childhood illnesses. When Clara left Goteborg, Sweden in May 1883, she brought with her their three young sons who ranged in age from two to six years old. The two-year-old, Anton Swanson, was Albert and Eleanore”'s father.

Swan and Clara had one more child; their daughter Anna (Annie) was born in the Minneapolis in 1887. Swan Swanson worked as a laborer until his death from pneumonia in August 1894. He was 44 years old.  After he died, Clara took in boarders to provide for herself and her children.

Her children grew to adulthood but two of them died young.  Claus, one of the sons who had come with Clara from Sweden, died from pneumonia in 1910; he was 35 years old.   Anna [Annie], Clara and Swan”'s American-born daughter, died two years later on August 1, 1912, from tuberculosis; she was 25 years old.  She had left behind her six-year-old daughter, Lillian Swanson.

After her mother died, Lillian was raised by her grandmother Clara and her uncle Anton.  Clara died two years after Lillian”'s mother on June 19, 1914.  She was only 60 years old but had outlived her husband by 20 years and had survived all but two of her seven children.  After Clara died, Lillian remained in the care of Anton and his new wife, Ellen.

The markers for Anna Anderson, Clara and Swan Swanson are beautiful mahogany-colored granite markers that serve as mini-biographies.  In addition to their names, birth and death dates, the markers include the names where each of Albert and Eleanore”'s relatives was born. Members of the Anderson/Swanson family have provided Friends of the Cemetery with family photos and additional biographical information that we will preserve with the rest of the cemetery”'s records.

If you”'re wondering what happened to Lillian, she married well, had a lovely family, and was much loved by her extended family.  She died in 1988 at the age of 82.

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