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, August 7, 2010

A Few Stories about our Tornberg Ancestors

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I've been in email contact with Pertti Ervasti, my 9th Cousin on the Tornberg family line, from Finland. He has been extremely helpful in helping Angie and I trace the Tornberg genelogy. We are into the 1600's now.

There are a few interesting stories about the early Tornbergs I'd like to share with you translated from Finnish into English by Google Translation. So... the stories are as good as the translation makes possible.

Our 9th Great Nicolaus Nicolaii Ulopolitanus Tornberg b. 1605 d. 1676. married Maria Nilsdotter Falk b. 1610.

It appears Nicolaus was a mayor or alderman of the city of Oulu, Finland. The city had just been founded. Nicolaus was a chaplain in Hietaniemi in 1637-1641 and a priest and pastor at another location until his death.

Maria's father (Nicolaus Philippi Falkia) was the priest of Yitornion from 1625 to 1638. In the Autumn of 1636 the parsonage burned along with the residential Buildings, stables and warehouses. The impoverished family received a two year exemption from taxation. Maria's father died in 1638. Fortunately our 9th Great Grandfather Nicolaus married his daughter Maria and saved the family from ruin.


8th Great Grandfather Johannes Nicolai Nilsson Tornberg b. 1640 d. 3 Jan. 1717. married Brita Isaksdotter Curtelia b. 1651. d. 6 April 1740 in Hietaniemi Lappi, Finland.

The walking stick in the picture above was owned by our 8th Great Grandfather. He was the minister of Övertorneå congregation. The cane's silver knob is missing, replaced with wooden knob.

Russian cossacks were visiting Övertorneå in 1717, during the last years of "the Great Wrath" (a twenty year war between Russia and Sweden fought on Finnish soil). The cossacks attacked the city, killing many and stealing everything of value. They broke into Johannes' Church (he was also a Lutheran Pastor) and tried to force him to tell them where he had hidden the church's valuable silver and gold. Johannes refused to tell. The cossacks took our Great Grandfathers walking stick and beat him with it, then stole the silver knob. Johannes Nicolai died from his wounds three days later.


Our 7th Great Grandfather Isak Johanneson Tornberg b. 1677 d. 29 Sept. 1743 and Magdalena Hermannindr (?) Kempe b. 1678 d. 24 Sept. 1755.

Isak Johanneson Tornberg was a Lutheran chapel assistant from 1718-1743. He was ordained a priest. In 1710 he became the pastor to the ironworks at Köngäksen.

Rapids on the Torne River between Sweden and Finland in Lapland

Our Grandfather's life as a child was full of adventures, many of which could have killed him. One of the earliest is when his father was a vicar in Kautokeino and the whole family was traveling in the summer. The family had to cross a river. While passing through the rapids, Isak fell off the reindeer's back he was riding upon and fell into the swirling water. The family didn't realize he was missing for a few moments and when they did the power of the rapids carried him downstream quite a distance.

And so we learn more about our ancestors day by day. Consider how the daily occurrences in our life's can have such profound influence on the future. If our Great Grandfather had drowned in that river, which he could have easily done so, then none of us would be here today! Entire possible futures disappear with many actions and decisions we make day to day.