Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Post on the Williamson Family Reunion 2010?

A Real Time snapshot from the deck of the Fortress. A Storm is Looming.
I Must Type Fast.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
My parents and sister tell me the Williamson family reunion was delightful. Sadly I wasn't able to attend. As I keep reminding my family "Some of us have to work for a living" (Said with tongue in cheek). I was neck deep in Space Campers between the ages of 10 and 14, not to mention a staff of teens and young adults - all needing attention and direction.

That is all done. The Center is closed until August 20th. I have three blessed weeks of vacation. I don't want to hear space, talk space, think space, eat space, or breath space during this time (yes, even if it were discovered a large asteroid was hurtling toward Earth capable of wiping out all mankind and we had two weeks to live. Even then, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW).

I'm hoping someone out there took pictures at the reunion and is willing to share them with us. I asked my parents, but trusting either of them to master the art of click and shoot would be too much to ask. You must understand that they both suffer from technophobia and find anything with a blinking light terrifying. You should see the way Luella controls her digital TV and Dish Network Satellite Receiver. She understands "On" and "Off". She comprehends "Volume" and the "Up and Down Channel Arrows". She is clueless about everything else and relies on multiple phone calls and visits to fix her reception when she accidentally pushes one of the other 100 buttons on the remote and suddenly finds herself watching the Chinese Broadcasting Network instead of her beloved CSPAN.

In addition to the pictures I'm hoping someone would be willing to write something postable about the gathering for the rest of the family to enjoy. Remember this blog is rated PG so leave out the pictures of Charles flipping the bird in two photo shoots. God bless him - he is in his 70's you know and has trouble remembering the difference between flipping someone off and giving someone the Thumbs Up!

Wow, close lightening strike. Wait for it......... YES, the thunder rattled the windows. I'd better seek shelter indoors. Standby.......

OK safe and secure inside the Fortress.

Also, it was mentioned at the reunion that many are enjoying the blog. I'm grateful for your kind words and encouragement. It was also mentioned that many Williamson's (me included) have an interest in the family's current events. Granted what happened 1000 years ago may be interesting but learning how our little cousin saved the life of his Grandma was awesome. I'm wanting to post current family news. That's where YOU COME IN. I need at least one person from each branch of the family to send me your current family news: Weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, arrests, trials, graduations, honor rolls, and other items of general interest. I've asked for family trivia in the past and got nothing but an empty email box.

So, I'm asking once again. Please send current family news. Let's keep in touch with each other so when we have our next gathering we won't all be such strangers to each other.

I'll sleep tonight knowing that you'll have something waiting for me in my email IN box in the morning :)


The Tornberg Family and the Sami, the People of the North

The Sami, People of the North
(Lapland. Great Grandmother Ida's Home)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we spend more time with our Great Grandmother, Ida Tornberg. You remember that Ida was the wife of John Albert Mattson. Walter Mattson was their only child. In the previous post a few days ago we found her hometown in Sweden. Today have more information on her family thanks to cousin Angie Mattson Berntsen.

After several hours of research, Angie located the Swedish Census of 1900. I have the translated pages below:

This entry is for Ida's father Isak. (Click to Enlarge)

This entry is for Ida's Mother Maria (Click to Enlarge)

This Entry is for Ida's Brother Levi (Click to Enlarge)

This Entry is for Ida

This Entry is for Ida's Sister Anna

The picture above (Click to Enlarge) is the application Ida made for life insurance in 1926. In it we learn more about her family.
  • She was a store clerk in Sweden before coming to America.
  • She lists delivering Grandpa Walter Mattson as her only disease :) and that it occurred 16 years ago. She goes on to say that it took 10 days to recover.
  • Her health was perfect. She said she hadn't been to a doctor in the previous 5 years.
  • She says she has not used any form of wine or spirits. In other words, according to this document Ida never used liquor.
  • She lists her father deceased due to an accident.
  • She lists her brother Levi deceased due to accidental drowning when he was 18 years old.
  • She lists her mother alive and 70 years old and in good health.
  • She lists her sister in good health and 30 years old.

Great Grandma Ida holding Luella (Summer 1940)
Great Grandma Vesta (Violet's mother) is on the right. Ida loved the name Christina
and called Luella "Stina" for a nickname.

Roxie Jacobson, Luella, and Great Grandmother Ida. Roxie was once a neighbor of the Mattsons in Montana. She moved to Belle Fourche and ran a boarding house. The Mattson family were regular visitors.

I asked Luella for one story about Great Grandma Ida to accompany this post.
Grandma Ida was the one that always called us in for supper and bed when we were children on the ranch. Our fist stop was the wash basin that sat on top of the buffet (a piece of furniture that held the fine dishes, linens and silverware) . I remember a picture of the gleaners hanging over the buffet the whole time we lived on the ranch.

Grandma Ida had us wash our hands and faces before we ate or went to bed. I remember that while we washed Grandma would lean on the buffet, resting her head on her right hand. She always had her eyes closed. I thought she closed her eyes because she was so tired. She worked from the moment she was up until she went to bed.

After she died I remember telling Grandpa about her leaning on the buffet with her eyes closed while we washed. He told me that she wasn't resting when she had her eyes closed. She used that moment every day to pray for each of her grandchildren individually.
And, to finish this post:
  • Two pieces of traditional music from Lapland - Ida's home in Sweden, taken from the film "Pathfinder", a story told by the people of the north for over 1000 years.
  • And the Flag of the Sami (Lapland).

From the film's opening credits. The Music of the North

This is the Sami Flag (Flag of the Association of the Sami People). The Sami (also called Lapps, although they consider this word derogatory) inhabit Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia but also the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway.

And again, from the film's closing credits. The hauntingly beautiful music of the Sami.


General Henry Dearborn, Our 6th Great Uncle and United States Secretary of War

General Henry Dearborn. Painted When He Served as
United States Secretary of War (Today's Defense Secretary)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Dear Clan,
This evening I’m delighted to introduce you to our 6th Great Uncle, Henry Dearborn (February 23, 1751 – June 6, 1829), a prominent man in American history. First, the Relationship Chart (Click to enlarge).

Trying to encapsulate the life of this great American in prose would take volumns. Instead, I’ve decided to list the main points of his life in a way easy to read. Here we go:
  • Henry Dearborn was a doctor.
  • He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War
  • He was a veteran of the War of 1812.
  • He organized a local militia troop of 60 men and fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill as a Captain.
  • He volunteered to serve under the traitor Benedict Arnold during the American Expedition to Quebec.
  • He was captured on Dec. 31, 1775 during the Battle of Quebec
  • He joined George Washington at Valley Forge as a Lt. Colonel.
  • He fought at the battles of Monmouth.
  • He was on the Sullivan Expedition against the Iroquois.
  • He joined Gen. George Washington’s Staff in 1781 as Deputy Quartermaster General with the rank of colonel.
  • He was present when the British Gen. Cornwallis surrendered after the Battle of Yorktown and the Revolutionary War ended.
  • He worked as a U.S. Marshal for Maine.
  • He was elected to Congress (1793-97)
  • In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson appointed him to his Cabinet as Secretary of War. He held this job for eight years. During this time he helped plan the removal of Indians beyond the Mississippi River.
  • He was appointed collector of the port of Boston by Pres. James Madison.
  • He was appointed senior Major General in the U.S. Army in command of the Northeast Sector from the Niagara River to the New England Coast.
  • During the war of 1812 he prepared plans for the attacks on Montreal, Kingston and Detroit.
  • President James Madison nominated Dearborn for reappointment as Secretary of War but the Senate rejected the nomination.
  • He was later appointed Ambassador to Portugal by Pres. James Monroe
Lewis and Clark named the Dearborn River in west central Montana after our uncle. Dearborn County Indiana, Dearborn Michigan and Dearborn Missouri were also named for him as was Fort Dearborn in Chicago. His son was a congressman in 1831-33.