ABOUT SALOMON AND LYDIA AND THEIR DAUGHTERS
Av: Hans Teke
On January 7 in 1858 Olof Salomon Lindman, a wholesaler, and his wife Sofia, nee Wennberg, had a son Johan Salomon, their fifth child. Two had died at a very young age and Salomon jr. was the oldest boy who lived to be an adult. The couple had seven more children. Salomon sr. operated a grocery store ”S. Lindman & Co” and also a moist snuff factory at Östra Storgatan 94 in Jönköping.
As Salomon jr. grew up it was natural for him to take over his father's store. He also had some political responsibilities. In addition he leased a farm, Österängen, for agricultural purposes.
On August 2 in 1860 Olof Christian Telemak Andrén, a Swedish clergyman and missionary and his wife Mathilda, nee Pihl, had a daughter in Moline, Illinois, USA. She was their third child, one had died at an early age. Mr Andrén (who was named Andersson until his ordination) had been asked to come and visit Swedish churches in the US. He became one of the founders of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheral Church in Moline.
When Lydia Wilhelmina, their daughter, was just a month old her family returned to Sweden, where the couple had six more children. In time Mr. Andrén became vicar of Asarum, near Karlshamn. In 1870 he died from typhus which he hade been exposed to while visiting sick people in their homes. Mrs. Andrén and her children moved to Jönköping where they became neighbors of the Lindmans. This is how Lydia met Salomon jr.
Up to then Lydia had worked as a governess in different families but after meeting Salomon she was in position to take a course in Uppsala to become an organist and a church singer. A friend of Salomon's paid for the course. Lydia was very musical and often got to play and sing in the church, but since she was not a trained teacher, the work as a cantor eluded her.
In the fall of 1887 Salomon and Lydia got engaged and on May 15, 1888, they got married. One year later their oldest daughter Anna was born on the Österangen farm. Four sisters soon followed: Ellen in 1890, Greta in 1892, Karin in 1893 and Kerstin in 1895.
Salomon jr. and Lydia 1892 at Österängen, with the children Ellen, Greta and Anna.
When Kerstin was just born, Salomon became very ill with dropsy, caused by cirrhosis of the kidneys, which in those days was incurable. He and Lydia went to Germany to get medical help but in vain. His condition worsened on his return to Sweden and he died on January 30, 1897.
Salomon’s brother, vice district judge Gustaf Lindman became Lydia’s guardian. She did not want to leave Österangen but had to and moved with her five small children to a small apartment at 22 Kanalgatan in Jönköping. Mr. Lindman gave her a small part of her inheritance every month. By the time she had an employment at a local fire insurance company.The family moved to Bankeryd and in 1903 Ellen became ill with miliar tuberculosis. She died shortly after at the age of only 13 years.
Greta, Karin, Anna, Lydia and Kerstin, 1903.
From Lydia’s diaries we learn about her deeply religious nature and how this helped her survive and sustained her through the many crisis during her life. She was also greatly supported by Henrik Lilliecreutz, an early love who remained a close friend through the years, even though for economical reasons (his famiy considered her too poor) they never married.
For many years Lydia lived, initially with her daughters, in a large apartment in Lund (a university town in southern Sweden), where paying guests helped her make a living. Between 1914 and 1922 she was the matron of Thomander's Student's Hostel. Those were difficult days with food shortages during the war and "Mrs. Lindman" earned a reputation as a very resolute old lady. After leaving this position, she moved to Värnamo to live for a few years with her older sister Ellen Berg.
1929 brought her back to her childhood town Karlshamn. For six years she shared an apartment with her daughter Karin at Bergsgatan 23. The last year of her life she lived at Åhus 2 in Olsborg, outside Karlshamn. At this place she died, likely of a heart attack, on September 17,1936.
Lydia on her 70th birthday,1929
Anna, Greta, Karin and Kerstin were the surviving daughters of Salomon and Lydia, with Anna and Karin staying in Sweden as Greta and Kerstin heading to the US. Greta became a medical gymnast and worked for a year in Cuba. She met a Dane Christian S. Andersen, a business man, later hotel owner, aboard a ship leaving the island. They were married in 1913, settled in Chicago, Illionis for a few years and then moved to Hot Springs, Virginia. Bob and Margaret were born but then tragedy struck when the twins Else and Chris were born in 1924 as Greta bled to death giving birth. She was only 32 years of age.
At age 19, Kerstin gave birth to a boy Torsten whom she left for the Ljungdahls of Eksjö to bring up. After that she went to visit her sister Greta in Chicago. There she had her training to be a nurse, and eventually she met Reginald S. Ring, a business man and colleague of Greta's husband.They were married in 1920 and had four children: Louise, Sylvia, Ted and Dick, and after some years settled in Toronto, Canada. A victim of the depression in the 30's when Reginald lost his job, Kerstin moved with her youngest three children to Sweden. After the war she returned to Canada, where she died of heart disease in 1949.
A big part of the family gathered in the home of Anna and Helge at Norra Vägen in Värnamo, around 1940. The back row from the left: Kerstin Ring, Margaret Andersen, unknown Finnish girl, Else Andersen, Anna Wennberg with unknown Finnish girl on her lap, Helge Wennberg. The front row from the left: Chris Andersen, Ted Ring, Dick Ring, Sylvia Ring, Stina Wennberg.
Karin became a teacher. Starting in 1915 she worked at various schools (mostly girl's schools), in Anderslov, Malmö and Karlshamn. In 1935 she was employed as a teacher in English and the history of litterature, at the junior secondary school in Ljungby, where she worked until her retirement in 1958. She also took correspondence courses in Latin, Spanish and Italian. She remained single and lived in Ljungby into her 90's. Her last year was spent in St.Sigfrid's Hospital in Växjo where she died in 1985.
From 1907 to 1913, Anna worked as a secretary to Gustaf Lindman at Rosenlund, Jönkoping. In 1913 she married district surveyor Helge Wennberg, her cousin from Salomon's side of the family. Their children Brita, Stina and Gosta lived with them in Stockholm and Backe before they came to Varnamo in the early 20's. In addition to her own children, Anna took good care of first Greta's and later also Kerstin's children, who for various reasons were in need. She also took in children during the Finnish war. Skeda, a farm in Rydaholm, was bought in 1941 and in those early years served as a summerhome. Helge died in a car accident in 1953, Anna survived him by 35 years and died in 1988. The last 12 years of her life she lived at Skeda gård. It is now owned by a fourth generation and serves as a gathering place for family members from far and wide.
The family estate Skeda when it was just bought in the 1940's.
It is an interesting fact that there are books written about the fathers of both Salomon and Lydia. In the novel Kavalkad (Gummeson 1962) authoress Elsi Rydsjö (granddaughter of Salomon jr.'s sister) outlines, partly founded on facts, the life of Salomon sr. in Jönköping at the middle of the 19th century. Olof Christian Telemak Andrén, Ambassador of Good Will by Oscar N. Olson (Augustana Historical Society 1954) is a book about Lydia's father.