Genealogy and Ancestor Information, and Personal Memories
of Audrey Doris Jackson Kuhn and Robert Lundquist Kuhn

Ancestor information

John Oscar Utberg and Anna Katherine Olson

John Oscar Utberg (Johan Oskar Olofson) was born at Flowena (farm name).  Krokstad parish, Bohuslan, Sweden on December 1, 1852.  He was the son of farmer Olof Johansson and his wife, Anna Britta Carlsdotter.  She was a farmer’s daughter.  Both of his parents were born in Bohuslan.  He in Krokstad parish.  She in Hede parish.

Johan's brothers and sisters were Amanda (1849), Axel Edwin (1855), Mathilda Sophia (1858) and Gustaf (1861).  His mother, Anna, died in 1869.  His father re-married in 1875 to a widow with four children.  They, together, had six more children, who would have been Johan Oskar's half brothers and sisters.

When Johan was 19 years old, he left from Göteborg, Sweden in the ship "Albion".  He sailed to Hull, England, then apparently transferred to a larger ship for the crossing of the Atlantic.  The Hull records were destroyed in WWII. 

Johan first went to the Peshtigo, Wisc, area where he worked as a lumberjack.  I have heard that his father was there also at that time.  In about 1873 he moved to Republic, MI. where he worked as a miner in the Cleveland Cliffs iron mine.  In 1874 Johan filed a "Declaration of Intention" to become a citizen of the United States, using the name Oskar Utberg.  On April 19, 1887 he became a citizen of the U.S.  In the Republic Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church records, he is listed as Johan Oscar Utberg.

On May 24, 1878 J. O. Utberg married Anna Katherine Olson in Ishpeming, MI.  She was the daughter of Andrew (Anders) Olson and Katherine (Karin) Hansdotter Högberg.

In the 1880 census they had seven boarders living in the house.

In 1885 J. O. Utberg bought 160 acres of land in Renville County, MN. for $1200.  The land was directly south of land purchased by Anders Olson.  He sold it for $2400 in 1899.

By 1894 J. O. Utberg was no longer a miner.  He was then "engaged in the grocery and dry goods business".  Later adding a meat market and, in 1901, a bakery.  The business complex and the family home burned to the ground in 1904.  The house was rebuilt on the same foundation, with a few modifications.  The business, when rebuilt, was a general store, ice house, stable in the rear, and two stores which were rented out.  The business burned to the ground again in March 1936.

My grandfather did much business on credit.  Following both fires no one came to the Utbergs and volunteered to pay anything on their bill.  Mother said that during the first fire some of their belongings were taken away by on-lookers.   

At some point in time, perhaps around 1910, my grandparents changed their church affiliation from Swedish Lutheran to Swedish Methodist.  I always thought it was because of the heavy financial burden the Lutheran church put on them.

J. O. Utberg and his wife had 11 children, 9 of whom lived to adulthood.  The children were:  John Robert (1878), Ellen (1881), Arthur (1883), Minnie (1886), Mary (1888), Hulda Marie (1889), Oscar Frithiof (1891), George (1894), Harry (1896,) Russell (1898) and Lawrence Claudius (1902). 

He was a director of the Republic State Bank for 16 years, serving as president 1925-1930.  He belonged to the Scandinavian Society, Modern Woodsmen, and Knights of the Pythias.  In 1914 he ran unsuccessfully for the position of the county treasurer.

On June 10, 1930, J. O. Utberg died from lobar pneumonia in Republic, and was buried in the local cemetery by a Swedish M. E. preacher from Iron Mt., MI. 

My memories of my Grandfather Utberg--that he was tall and not overly heavy, had no mustache or beard, and was not bald.  He was kind toward me.  I can remember (faintly) his teasing me about a chocolate Easter bunny.  He hung a very large church key on a hook in the kitchen, making me think that he “owned” the church.

Anna Katherine Olson (Anna Catherina Andersdotter) was born May 15, 1861 in Österberg, Gävleborglan, Sweden.  She was one of six children born to Anders Olsson and Karin Hansdotter Högberg.  The children were, after Anna:  John Robert (1865), Peter Adolph (1868), Gustaf Varner (1873), Mary (1876) and William (1879).

She immigrated in 1872 with her mother and two oldest brothers to the Negaunee, MI. area.  Her father had immigrated in 1869. 

My Grandmother Utberg out-lived her husband by almost 32 years.  She died the day after her 91st birthday-May 16, 1952 in Republic, MI.  The cause of her death was carcinoma of the uterus.  She was buried in the Utberg lot in the Republic Cemetery.  I remember her well both from living with the Utbergs in Republic as a small child, and from many visits over the years before her death.  Grandmother spoke English well, but did retain the Swedish "yam and yellies" for jam and jellies.   

Duluth became "Dulute".  She wrote letters to my mother in Swedish, which my mother could read but not speak.  As a small child I must have liked living with my grandparents as I always looked forward to our family visits there.


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Information on this web site was researched by
Audrey Doris Jackson Kuhn and Robert Lundquist Kuhn

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