Sophie Ecklund 1937 Sophie Christine Anderson
1866 - 1959

BORN: 27 FEB 1866
         Herlunder, Sweden (near Stockholm)
         07 APR 1883
         Almora, Minnesota
DIED: 30 APR 1959

Sophie Anderson, in her own words:

In the year 1863, Lars Anderson, age 26, and Hannah Johnson, age 19, were married and they settled down in Herlender, Sweden in the Province of Smaland. This was a small village, consisting mainly of a general store, post office, a blacksmith shop and a Lutheran church. Lars was a cabinet maker and made a living by building furniture for families in the surrounding territories.

In the year 1866, three years after their marriage, I came into the world on a blustery 27th of February. At first, my father was very disappointed that his firstborn was not a boy. I am sure that this fact gave me the strength, courage and self-reliance that was to stay with me the rest of my life, for I was determined as a child to make up for being, "just a girl." My greatest joy was helping my father with various tasks and receiving his praise for work well done. "You're as good as a boy, Sophie," he would often add with a loving pat and a smile. Needless to say, I adored my father. In the year 1873, father went to America to look for a new home for his family, which by now included my sister Emma and baby brother John. Father settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he found work as a cabinet maker and must have done quite well because it was just a few months later (the following spring) that mother and her brood set out to join him. We sailed on the ship, "White Star," and encountered such bad weather that mother, who was never very strong, was ill most of the time. Thus it was I, who was then eight years old, who had almost the entire care of my small sister and baby brother. However, despite the inclement and often dangerous weather, I took every opportunity to "inspect" the ship's deck, much to the worry of my mother who was sure that I was going to be washed overboard, (and to the other adventuresome passengers who constantly cautioned me to be careful).

We lived in Minneapolis for seven years. While there, I was confirmed at the age of 13 in the Lutheran Church by Rev. Turrensted. In 1881, we moved to Amor, Minnesota. My sister Esther was born a year later. Although my mother needed my help at home it was decided that I would, "work out," as did most girls my age who came from middle income families. I found employment in the home of Mrs. Putnam where I did housework and helped with the care of her four children, three boys and a girl. While I was there, I met a girl, Amy, who worked for the John Young family who were close friends and neighbors of the Putnam’s. Amy and I became very good friends. In the late summer 1882, the Young's had as houseguests to young men from Eagle Lake, Minnesota visiting their son. I thought one of the visitors was exceptionally handsome. He was of medium height, 5 foot 10 1/2 inches, but appeared taller because of his slender build. He had blue eyes and medium brown hair, but his skin was quite dark, as if he had spent much of his time outdoors. He had a full mustache which he kept neatly trimmed and which, I must say, made him look very masculine and somewhat older than his 22 years. Amy told me his name was John Ecklund, the oldest son of a prominent family in Eagle Lake, Minnesota. His family had emigrated to the United States from Sweden when John was six years old. I told Amy I wished I could meet him and she assured me I would because, you see, although we were "hired girls," we were treated as members of the family by the Putnam’s and Young’s so it was not unusual to be respected as such by their guests. John's smile was warm and friendly and his firm grip, as we shook hands, he told me he was indeed "pleased" to meet me.

After he had returned to his home, I often thought about John, so when at Christmas time the Young’s invited me to go with them and Amy to visit the Ecklund family for the holidays, I gladly accepted after getting my father's permission. We had a wonderful time, even though I found out that John was, and had been for some time, going "steady" with another girl. I do not remember her name but she was at the Christmas party and everyone seemed to take it for granted that she was John's "intended." However, he was very attentive to me and his parents were so nice to me that I never once felt like an outsider. A few days after our return home, I received a letter from John telling me he had given up his steady girlfriend and asked me to correspond with him.

Several letters later, I received a very special one asking me to marry him. It was with mixed emotions that I showed this letter to my father and mother. I was proud that John wanted me for his wife yet I was not sure that I truly loved him. I admired and respected him enormously, he was kind, polite and moreover, highly regarded by everyone who knew him. I felt sad at the thought of leaving my parents and my young sisters and brother. Also, I was concerned about the fact that I had never lived on a farm and feared I would not make a good "farmer's wife" who in those days were expected to not only do their housework and raise their family, but also to milk the cows, feed the chickens and pigs and numerous outdoor chores that I was totally unaccustomed to. I had been taught to cook, bake and sew but knew nothing about churning butter or stuffing sausage. I was in fact a "city girl" and only 17 years old! Also, my mother's failing health was worrying me. My parents advised me to accept John's marriage proposal which I eventually did and went ahead with the wedding plans.

One week before my wedding date, my mother died in her sleep, her tired heart just gave out. Full of grief and despair, I wanted to call off the wedding or at least postpone it, but my father insisted that everything should go on as usual. "We have to keep on living, Sophie," he said. He hired an elderly lady as temporary help to care for the children and I went to Eagle Lake as planned. On April 7, 1883, John and I were married in his parents home. After the ceremony, John took me to a two room log cabin, situated on his 160 acre farm in Clitheral, not far from Eagle Lake. John was a good, faithful husband and I loved him dearly. We were happy, we worked hard and long hours, as did most of the farm people in those days. On June 24, 1884, our first child was born. We were overjoyed and named him, "Harold Eugene." During the time we lived in Clitheral, 18 1/2 years, six more children were born to us. Winnie Judith, Hannah Theodora, Maynard George, Mabel Elizabeth, and I Otemis Lawrence and Esther Adelia. My beautiful Otemis, not quite five years old, died January 20, 1902 of a rheumatic fever condition during a road blocking snowstorm. This was the darkest and most despairing time in my life. We sold our farm in the spring of 1903. We moved to another farm of 160 acres in Henning, Minnesota. As time went on, we had two more children, Olga Leona and Rueben Otemis (my last). My oldest son, Harold, left home bound for Canada, Winnie and Hannah married and left home. Hannah had her first child, Clarence in 1908.

In 1910, we sold the farm, auctioned off the furniture and the farm animals (a heartbreaking experience) and left for Oregon where we bought a home in Creswell. John was never quite satisfied with Oregon until he made a trip back to Minnesota to visit his mother and brothers, this time his health was failing. We went back to Oregon and for a time John worked as a Terminal Watchmen for the Southern Pacific Railroad at Siskiyou, Oregon. Eventually we settled down in our house in Creswell, where on October 7, 1918, at the age of 57, my beloved John died.

Sophie lived 40 more years after the death of her husband, John. The 1930 Census shows her living with the family of her son, Maynard, in Eugene. Later, Sophie lived with her daughter Ester, helping her keep house and care for the children.

    John ECKLUND



    Hannah JOHNSON

   1. Harold Eugene ECKLUND

   2. Winnefred Judith (HALPIN)
   3. Hannah Theodora (OKESON)
   4. Maynard George ECKLUND
   5. Mabel Elizabeth (TORGERSON)
   6. Otenus Lawrence ECKLUND
   7. Ester Adelia (ROWLEY)
   8. Olga Leona (YARBROUGH)
   9. Reuben ECKLUND

  Stories My Mother Told Me, by Sophie Ecklund (as told to her daughter Olga)
  The Family History As I Heard It, by Nora Fayme Okeson
  Eklund Family, by Esther Rowley
  correspondence with Roxie Mayfield
  1900 U.S. Federal Census for Nidaros MN
  1910 U.S. Federal Census for Henning MN
  1920 U.S. Federal Census for Edenbower OR
  1930 U.S. Federal Census for Eugene OR
  Eugene, Oregon City Directory, 1934
  Eugene, Oregon City Directory, 1942
  Eugene, Oregon City Directory, 1947