Oscar Utberg and Anna Katherine Olson
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.
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.
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.
the 1880 census they had seven boarders living in the house.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
immigrated in 1872 with her mother and two oldest brothers to the
Negaunee, MI. area. Her father had immigrated in 1869.
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
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.