I have a lovely letter penned by Pastor Torrell to Clara (Brodd) Pearson, but it is entirely in Swedish. I can reliably recognize “genealogy” words like birth, death, married, etc. but deciphering three pages of Swedish handwriting is beyond my ability.
I have had good luck with putting Swedish text into Google Translate and getting a translation that, although far from perfect, at least allows me to get the general idea of what’s being said. But if I can’t make out the words, I’m pretty much stuck. So translating this letter will have to wait for another day.
I took me several minutes to decipher “Guds frid!” as the first line of this letter. (No, it doesn’t say “endo fud”.)
Just a few thoughts about the use of Swedish by Clara. Clearly Swedish was her first language. She was born in America just two years after her parents emigrated from Sweden. Swedish would have been used by the family in the home. Yet all of the letters she exchanged, except with Pastor Torrell, were in English. Her brother Herman wrote to her in English, even though they would have spoken Swedish in the home as young children. Her uncle J.W. Johnson also wrote to her in English.
I’m guessing that Pastor Torrell would have wanted to help preserve Swedish culture within his congregation in Swedeburg. I’m pretty sure that that Swedish was still the language used in church services at this time.
Pastor Torrell seems to have played a significant role in the lives of P.W. and Clara Pearson. He was the Pastor at Clara’s confirmation:
He was also Pastor for P.W. Pearson’s confirmation. I’m guessing that P.W. was confirmed after the family moved from Laramie back to Nebraska (more about that soon!). I have an undated photo of P.W.’s confirmation – clearly he is the oldest confirmand in the photo. Based on comparison to other photos, I’m guessing the year as about 1903.
Pastor Torrell changed up his 1893 beard to some rockin’ sideburns by 1903! I have names of everyone in both photos for those who might be interested.
Grace Lutheran Church in Swedeburg is still a happening place and even has its own Facebook page. I suspect Pastor Torrell would be thrilled to know that.