The Tour of the Ryd Village

We drove in a caravan out to the Ryd village, a few kilometers away. I was excited to see this village as it had figured in the letters that I had read from a young woman, Tilda Löfgren, who emigrated from this village to Omaha, Nebraska, at the age of 18 in 1905. She was the daughter of Klas Oskar Löfgren who was the brother of Daryl’s great grandfather John Alfred Lefgren (ne Johan Alfred Löfgren). While Tilda lived in Omaha, she wrote letters to her parents who lived a short distance from the Ryd village. She asked after her two youngest brothers, Hjalmar (Dick and Jan’s grandfather) and Little Gunnar (whose house we visited earlier in the day.) When living in Omaha, Tilda visited John Alfred Lefgren and his family at their Essex, Iowa, farm.

This is Sven Lövgren’s summerhouse in the Ryd village. It probably was built to have its present shape in the mid-1700’s. An analysis of a second-floor oak floorboard shows it to have been harvested in about 1520.

Hjalmar’s youngest son, Sven, has a summerhouse in Ryd. This house was one of the few houses that were not moved in the 19th century when the village underwent a compulsory land consolidation program. Over the centuries, farms had been subdivided for the heirs of the owners until ridiculous little tiny plots, widely separated, became difficult for individual farmers to manage.

Sven is very well versed in the history of the Ryd village. The history of his own house must be fascinating as the oak floorboards on the second floor have been carbon-dated to 1520. This was before the king of Sweden declared that all oak trees were his alone to harvest for building warships. At least they aren’t illegal floors! The house inside is beautiful with gleaming wood plank floors and ceilings, the golden color of the rooms enhanced by the fire in the hearth. Sven and his wife, Else-Marie, had prepared coffee with delicious pastries for the large group of us who arrived. There was a canvas hammock chair hanging from the ceiling and Jack, who was sleeping, was placed there to gently swing and finish his nap.

One of Sven’s projects is restoring this root cellar. He inserted part of a culvert to shore up the roof.

Sven showed Daryl and me the yard and outbuildings. There was an old stone root cellar that he was rebuilding with the aid of part of a metal culvert he had inserted to shore up the roof. It seems that all the blooming plants bloom at once in Sweden. I think they somehow know that it’s “now or never” in this short but wonderful growing season.

According to Dick, the Ryd village was originally the main town in the Järeda parish. When the railroad was built through Järnforsen, Järnforsen became the main town in the parish and that is where the church is located and where Klas Oskar and Karolina Löfgren are buried.

The walking tour: Judy, Aron and Jack

A wooden wagon fitted with a comfy blanket was brought out for Jack to ride in. All of us filed out to take a walking tour of the Ryd village. We walked along a dirt road to a beautiful spot overlooking the lake. Sven and Dick climbed up into the fenced-off area with some large stones and piles of stones. We were told that this was the original site of the soldier cottage of Peter Snygg, Ryd 73, where John Alfred Lefgren and, 10 years later, Klas Oskar Löfgren were born. Our guides joked that they had a “swimming pool” in their back yard. When many of the village houses were moved, this soldier cottage was moved to a little distance away where Jan had shown it to us earlier in the morning.

We all walked down to the lakeshore and soaked in the beauty of the springtime surroundings, enjoying each other’s company. Later, we walked by a small pasture where the cows were interested in Jack and he in them.