Today was spent exploring our Rudeen roots on the east side of Lake Ralången. Our first stop was at Marbäck kyrka where Dad’s grandfather, Anders Gustaf “Gust” Petersson (Rudeen), was baptized in 1855.
We only have one photo of Gust and Augusta. It dates from from about 1902. Dad’s father, Lawrence, is the little boy in the center of the photo leaning on his mother’s lap. Gust died only five years after this photo was taken.
Gust grew up on a farm called “Eket”, which means “oak”. As a young man, he worked on some other farms in the area, including one in the Lommaryd parish (see yesterday’s post), which is probably where he met Augusta. We have a copy of his “moving-out” record signed by the pastor of the Marbäck church on October 2, 1882.
Eventually, someone from back home in Sweden sent him a photo of Eket, also probably taken at the turn of the century.
The photo meant enough to him that it was framed and hung on the wall, with the word Eket noted on the back. My grandfather Lawrence kept it, and then it was passed down to my dad.
So we arrived at the church a little after 10:00. We had called ahead to make sure that it would be unlocked for our visit.
We spent more than an hour exploring this lovely old building. Parts of it date back to the 1100’s. I would be up all night writing about every detail, so here are just a couple of highlights.
Here are Dad and I at the front of the church – Gust’s grandson and great-granddaughter.
The ceiling and walls are covered with primitive icons and designs that have already given Mom some quilting inspiration. There were lots and lots of acorns, which has special meaning for us due to the connection to Eket.
Hanging on one of the walls were three framed works listing all the pastors, going back to the 1300’s. At the time Gust left for America (1882), the pastor was Sven Axel Sundberg (#24 on the list):
I had with me a copy of the “moving-out” paper that Gust brought with him to America – signed by none other than Axel Sundberg! These kinds of validating moments are SO COOL.
Next was our visit to Eket. We had communicated with the owners in advance, hoping to get a guided tour. We couldn’t coordinate our schedules, though, so they gave us permission to walk the property on our own. The current owners have maintained Eket in perfect condition. Here’s Dad in front of the main house:
We already knew that the old house in the photo was gone, but it was likely somewhere near the new house. Here’s the typical view from the hillside looking toward the lake:
As you can see, it’s rocky and steep. “Not good corn ground,” as Dad observed.
Much more to tell about Eket, but this will have to do for now. We spent the afternoon in Eksjö, a quaint town nearby. Upon returning to Aneby, we walked their river trail. We got to see the Concert Hall that our old friend Malte (see yesterdays post) designed and built for the good citizens of Aneby. The town’s own guidebook calls it a “cross between a Greek temple and a Swedish factory row house”.
Bonus Engineering Content: Dale and I were super-excited to discover that Aneby has its own little hydro power plant.
Even more exciting is that when their original wood-stave penstock needed to be replaced in 2008, they built a brand-new pipe – also wood-stave. Über-cool.
Tomorrow we leave Nobynäs and make our way toward Växjö, stopping to see some Hultman history along the way.