February 14th, 1868


This Teppline is a “work in progress”.  The information contained herein may be provisional and may be changed or modified as a greater understanding of the probable facts emerge.  This version of the Timeline is April 12, 2013.

⎈  The time node for the Backlund family trip of emigration – 1868 is February 14, 1868 which is the date of birth of Johanna Carolina Backlund, the first child born to Johan [John Backlund] and Carolina Wilhelmina Eckkel [Hedman] Backlund.  Given conditions in Sweden and the birth of their child the decision of the family was to seek a better life somewhere in North America, possibly around Chicago, or further north (perhaps Canada) or further south.

The family ended up “further south”, in Kansas.

The Backlund family records regarding the trip in which the small and young family left Sweden seeking contact with relatives in Illinois are comparatively few.  The Swedish “Passport” of Carolina still survives, documenting the fact of departure, her marriage and the age of her young child.

The only other substantive (though sketchy) narration regarding the time between the decision to leave Sweden and the family’s later arrival in Kansas is the description of the trip made very late in life by Johan [John Backlund] and carefully written down by his son John Backlund Jr.  Most of the details of the trip that one might hope for are missing.  Considering how epic, if not heroic, the trip really was, the absence of detail is certainly a shame.

In defense of this omission one might consider that by July of 1878 (just over 10 years after leaving Sweden) at least half the reasons for the trip no longer held sway.  The child that they had hoped to offer a better future to had died.  Conditions in Sweden had significantly improved.  Life on the Kansas homestead was (compared to life in Sweden) difficult and primitive at best.

Regardless of whether the decision to leave Sweden was a good one it is the trip itself that is remarkable, amazing and by today’s standards almost probably defies words.  I have (and hope to continue to) research the facts and history of the times and places traveled through to try and to answer questions and to portray as well as possible the nature of the journey.  Theirs was no “typical” immigration to America, but then, no immigration story ever is.  Each trip is unique.  There is no “mass experience”; the decision to leave ones homeland and how and when is personal, always very personal, as the near silence of the surviving parents might well attest.

____________________________________________________________________________ 1868

____________________________________________________________________________ February:

1868.02.14 / Friday
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————— [1] 62:017 – Europe – Sweden – (Angermanland)Vasternorrland County

BIRTH of Johanna Carolina Backlund occurs in Sundsvall, Sweden on February 14th / 1868.

Her father is Johan [John Backlund] (age 30) and her mother is Carolina Wilhelmina Eckkel [Hedman] Backlund (age 23).


____________________________________________________________________________ June:

1868.06.20 / Saturday – 1868.07.28 Tuesday (38 days)
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————— [1] 62:017 – Europe – Sweden – (Angermanland)Vasternorrland County


Johan [John Backlund] (age 30), Carolina Wilhelmina Eckkel [Hedman] Backlund (age 23) and Johanna Carolina Backlund (age 4 months) leave their home in Sundsvall, Sweden for Illinois, in America.

They have a handmade wooden trunk made by Johan that contains a few prized possessions.  They also carry a spinning wheel, disassembled except for the actual wheel.  In several suitcases they carry all their summer and winter clothes and the most pressing needs of their baby, perhaps a comb and a hairbrush, a toothbrush, little else.

In the trunk is their very small wedding picture, a picture of Carolina’s best friend, a photograph of Johan when he was younger, a few letters from a relative or two in America.

The only record of the trip is that they, “took a Cunard sailing ship with auxiliary engines”.  The inclusive dates are known from a Swedish Passport issued to Carolina and a letter referencing their arrival in Galva, Illinois.

The TRIP & BOAT TRIP TO AMERICA may be viewed as a combination of smaller trips (as most major trips are).  These “trip segments” are:  The Trip South from Sundsvall to Stockholm; The Train Trip from Stockholm to Goteburg;  The Voyage from Gothenberg to Hull; The Train Trip from Hull to Liverpool; The Trans-Atlantic Crossing from Liverpool to New York; The Train Trip from New York to Chicago and to Illinois lands.

The information below is based on public records obtained through sources on the internet.  Information in SLATE is probable, but may not be true.

1868.06.20 / Saturday – 1868.06.25 day (3-5 days)
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————— [1] 62:017 – Europe – Sweden – (Angermanland)Vasternorrland County


Johan [John Backlund] (age 30), Carolina Wilhelmina Eckkel [Hedman] Backlund (age 23) and Johanna Carolina Backlund (age 4 months) leave their home in Sundsvall, Sweden for Illinois, in America.

There was no train line yet In Sweden that connected Sundsvall to Stockholm.  There were roads.  The coastal cities of the east coast of Sweden (facing the Gulf of Bothnia) were connected by ships and smaller coastal sailing ships and a few steamers.

It is not known how the Backlund family got from Sundsvall to Stockholm, although they may have stopped briefly and visited relatives in Gavle.

2013.04.13 – 03:19.