Friday's Faces from the Past - Karl Botvid Källman

This is my great uncle Karl Botvid Källman, my grandfathers brother. This photograph is especially precious because this is the ONLY photograph I have of my Swedish grandfathers family back in Sweden.  My grandfather never had a personal photo until he came to America.

Karl Botvid Källman  1883-1966  * 1

Why only one photo? They were poor and I mean poor. They were born and grew up in Grytgöl, Hällestad, Östergotland. The area was known for its iron ore mines since the 1600's. This branch of my Swedish family were not farmers but miners and factory workers for the Grytgöl Bruk. My great grandfather Karl Teodor Källman was a wire puller. The Källmans did not have a beautiful Stommen-Hid home as the Abrahamssons did, a home for descendants to take photos of and dream of the idyllic life of generations now gone. Unless of course I wanted to go and take pictures of the Grytgöl factory, which I have read still exists. The Källman family had no home, they lived at the factory and I have no desire to have a picture of that place. For these Swedish ancestors life was hard, brutal and short. My great grandmother Klara Sofia died of Tuberculosis. She was 44. My great uncle Håkon Patrik, grandpa's brother, also died of Tuberculosis. He was 28.

One good thing came of this harsh existence.  At the turn of the 20th century most of the good mid-western farmland which earlier Swedish immigrants longed for was gone. We were in the midst of an industrial revolution and cities now offered jobs perfect for those poor factory workers with industrial skills. Grandpa Richard was a blacksmith. He went first to the plow factories of the quad cities and then on to Chicago.

My grandfather Richard (Rikard) Kallman had five siblings. All of his siblings eventually emigrated to America. His two brothers returned. The oldest brother Patrik returned to die in Sweden of Tuberculosis. This brother, Botvid (above), for reasons unknown to me returned to Sweden, never to return to America. The siblings came to America one by one, working here in America to send money home for the next to emigrate. After the siblings had emigrated the sons of their deceased brother Håkon Patrik emigrated. The sons then worked in America and sent for their sister and their widowed mother, America held the only possible chance  to escape a life of grueling poverty. America was truly my Källman family's

The only Källman to remain in Sweden
my great uncle
b: 19 July 1883 Grytgöl, Hällestads, Östergötland, Sweden
d: 9 May 1966 Mjölby, Östergötland, Sweden

*1-photo from personal collection of Simon Arab, my second cousin once removed, the great grandson of Karl Botvid.