Roots & Shoots


Our collection of family information comes through personal communication and the conversations on Zoom every Wednesday evening. What follows are a few jottings. Our hope is that all newsletter readers will keep us posted about what is happening in your part of the universe.

New Rochelle News

Jonathan Coss has been providing a multitude of great materials for our website and Zoom calls for several months. Recently he sent along a series of email notes about his contact with a Lutheran Minister, Rev. Tim Anderson, from Altona, IL. The contact uncovered marriage records of the Johnson’s & Burma’s in the late 1800. J. P. Johnson and Johanna Dorothea Burman lived in Altona, were married there and had three children, Easter, Lizzie and Frank I. before moving to Lanyon where Amy, Obed and Nellie were born. This fills in important gaps for the John and Lizzie Lindgren side of our relationships.

Jonathan, also recently. sent along really great information about his grandfather, Jam,es A. Coss, who was a professor of chemistry at Morningside College and published a paper in 1920 with co-author William A, Noyes who was a preeminent chemist and chemistry department chair at the University of Illinois,

Jonathan has become our go-to person when we are seeking archival information about family members and history. Recently we asked Jonathan to look into the history of rural schools particularly in Iowa. Last week he provided an outstanding list of sources to help us better understand the rural schools in Iowa, such as those our ancestors attended. Two of our correspondents, Dick Lindgren and Ann Dunnigan, attended one-room schools. Let us know about other relatives who may have attended a rural one-room school.

Atlanta Angles

Anne Blitch, Ted Lindgren’s daughter, has helped her father join several of our Wednesday evening Zoom conversations. We’ve missed Ted and Anne’s presence over the past few weeks because Ted had an unfortunate accident and fell from his wheelchair suffering a broken hip. Fortunately the hip was surgically repaired and we all hope for Ted’s continued improvement. Anne is a corporate attorney and finds time to provide support for Ted, who is now well into his 80s.

Denver Dispatches

Jay Lindgren celebrated the marriage of his daughter in June.

He has limbered his big cruiser BMW Motorcycle and enjoyed a recent trip to see the great landslide that caused problems along I-70.

Jay surprised all of us on Zoom when he appeared clean shaven after all the months of the pandemic where he cultivated a monumental beard.

Jay has also been involved in development of Wikipedia pages. Two you may want to see are: Jon Lindgren and Obed Simon Johnson.

Heart of San Francisco

John William Johnson who prefers to be called JJ is the grandson of Obed Simon Johnson. He spent the first half of his life in Europe. He is a collector of historic and unusual guitars and told a story of being engaged in ballet in his youth while living in France. One of his brothers still lives in Switzerland where he teaches music. JJ’s daughter lives on a Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain. JJ looks forward to visiting her annually but travel has been curtailed by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

JJ has also been actively researching the life of his father, James Waldemar Johnson. He has compiled details that we hope to add to his father’s website page soon.

Des Moines Developments

Jon and Elaine were wonderful hosts for JJ when he traveled from San Francisco to meet family members at Dick’s 90th Birthday in June. Dave and Bruce Lindgren joined JJ, Elaine and Jon for dinner and a great conversation the evening before the birthday. Jon and Elaine’s granddaughter is busy writing applications for medical school admission. Jon’s brother Dick has been providing encouragement and tips about medical schools with maybe a little bias for his alma matter, the University of Iowa Medical School.

Madison Memo

Dick continues to keep track of family connections inside and outside of the Frank and Amy lineage. Dick keeps a wealth of information about ancestors and ancestors lives, work and offspring. He and his children have made several trips to Sweden to find the birthplaces, memorials, homes and churches of both Johnson and Lindgren ancestors. In June, Dick’s daughter Laura read to several of us from a wonderful journal she kept about their first trip when she was 19yo. Every so often Dick puts together interesting document packets and pops them in postal mail to keep our records complete and safely disbursed. This is important because it provides redundancy of family artifacts, which we expect will provide security and safe-keeping.

Tulsa Talk

Pat Heath and husband Jim are very regular participants in our Zoom conversations. Steve Lindgren and Jim frequently keep us informed about their respective golf pursuits. A few week ago we received the sad news of the untimely death in a motorcycle accident of her nephew Scott Dickerson, son of Pat’s brother, Jim Dickerson. Scott’s daughter Sarah has participated in Zoom conversations and has also provided photographs which we hope to use soon in a web-page memorial for Scott.


The Loader

A Recent Find …

Dick Lindgren recently sent along the picture below of a loader similar to the loaders that Grandpa Frank Lindgren invented, patented and manufactured in Lanyon following his retirement from farming. Dick estimates that perhaps as many a 100 of the loaders were built and sold. The loader pictured is very similar but has some features that make it certain that it was not one built by Grandpa Frank.

Loader mounted on a F20 Farmall . This tractor is the same model Frank Lindgren used for mounting of the loaders he invented and patented.

Dick writes that the loader pictured “looks a lot like his.” and and adds ” I like Frank’s design better. The iron from the bucket on his [Frank’s] goes back to above the axel, so the bucket is farther back when it is down and and doesn’t move back as far when it is up in Frank’s design. Frank’s lift system seems better.”

Dick also noted that Frank Lindgren modified his plans for the stacker and possibly made 100 loaders in Lanyon. Accordingly it is possible that the loader pictured was similar to those made by Grandpa Frank or was built based on one that Frank built. Dick found this loader-tractor combination northwest of Iowa City.

The original photograph was mailed to Bruce Lindgren in June 2021 and will be kept with other archival materials in Minneapolis by either Bruce or by his brother Steve and Steve’s son Stuart.

Thanks Dick for this contribution.

Editor Note: Dick Lindgren is the oldest grandson of Frank and Amy Lindgren. He grew up on the farmstead that Frank and Amy supported until the early 1940s when Dick’s father and mother, Gilmore and Hazel owned the farm following Frank and Amy’s retirement to Lanyon, IA which is about one mile north of the farmstead. Dick lives in Madison WI.


Protected: Editor’s Corner

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Photo Catalog

I’m starting to think that we need to begin a list of photographs that are sitting in basements, closets and bottom drawers around the living spaces of our cousins wherever they may now be living.. As an example, the other evening on a phone conversation, Linnae mentioned that her mother, Ruth, and father, Jim, had traveled extensively and returned with photos and slides from their travel locations including Europe and Africa. Linnae is trying to figure out what to do with these photos. My thoughts are that others, for various reasons, may benefit from knowing about this collection. I would be a bit surprised if there were not some choice photos in the collection that may have relevance for this site, such as photos that may have been taken at the Lanyon farm or the houses in Fort Dodge.

It seems worthwhile to use this page to begin a listing of collections of photography held by the families.

Frank Lindgren, 1893, posing on a bicycle, shortly after arriving in America. Perhaps he
sent a copy to the folks back in Hamneda. Photo by C. A. Fredrickson, Dayton, Iowa.
Miss Ruth Coss, graduate of the Augustana Nursing School in Chicago.

Note the square pin attached to her collar. Class of 1937. Ruth stayed

connected to the alumni association for many years.

Our Families Our Memories Roy & Dixie Lindgren

Dr. Roy Lindgren

I Remember …

Roy’s contributions to the “I Remember” documents (the “Lindgren Memories”). Lightly edited by Linnae Coss. Her notations are in brackets.

I Remember Dad (1968)

I remember the enormous amount of patience that Dad had with kids who did things that weren’t very bright. He never did say much, if anything, but somehow we rarely made the same mistake twice.

I remember on a warm day Dad would come in the side door and head for the coolest spot in the house, the water tank in the basement, because there on the cool floor would be all those jars of homemade root beer.

I remember answering an ad about a correspondence course in drafting. Not long thereafter a salesman appeared and told me I had signed up for a course and owed him $200. About that time Dad came along and not long thereafter the salesman disappeared.

I remember that Dad figured every day except Sunday was a work day, summer, winter, spring, or fall. There was always some work to be done. I think it was Obie who figured out that if all the other work ever got done we might “sort the corn cobs” just to keep busy.

I remember Dad repairing the corn picker under the “yard light” and getting up at 2:30 a.m. to pick corn for a few hours before the sun thawed the ground and turned it into sticky mud. I also remember Dad drawing house plans.

I remember Dad’s idea of how to meet a train – be there at least an hour early. Many are the times we left home at 7 o’clock to meet a 9 o’clock train in Boone, 30 miles away. It must have been a carryover from trips to the State Fair in the old Buick when we had all those flat tires.

I remember the inventing and improvising that Dad used to do. The list would be endless. The butter churn that was hooked up to an electric motor. The corn sheller that was taken apart piece by piece and reassembled “upstairs” in the corn crib. The two barns that were made into one. The unusual bathroom that he created at the first Fort Dodge house by knocking a big hole in the back wall of that brick house. [They bought the brick house in 1946. Not until 1950 or ’51 did they move to 301 K Street, the house Frank had built for them in Fort Dodge.]

I remember when Dad had a heart attack and was supposed to stay off his feet for six weeks. In spite of this, he moved the telephone from the dining room into the bedroom so he could use it. But he followed the doctor’s orders – he sat in a chair and Mother pulled it here and there while he switched the wires around.

Things I Remember (1969)

Things I Remember (1969)

I remember when Mother would rock me in that big leather chair with the curved wooden arms (my very earliest recollection) and the weather would be warm and I would put my hand on the back of her arm and her arm would always be cool.

I remember at a very early age “helping” Dad in the basement when he mechanized the old barrel churn: built a frame to hold it and added a pulley so it could be run with an electric motor. At that age he called me “Peter” and Irene “Honey.” I remember how Mother would make rice pudding in the oven of the big old stove. The rice took so long to cook that the top of the pudding would get brown and have to be skimmed off two or three times before the pudding was done. How I loved to eat that brown crusty top. Then I remember the huge metal pan which Mom used when she made the dozen or so loaves of bread plus cinnamon rolls and biscuits every week. The pan was designed to hold the dough while it was rising and had a dome-shaped lid to match the shape of the dough as it puffed up into a big mound. I remember the big bread drawer in the kitchen, which in the summer also held long sticks of summer sausage and hunks of home-cured dried beef.

I remember, at the age of seven, driving Mother to Lanyon in a Model T with the intention of picking up Grandma and taking her with us to Rohden’s [Esther Rohden, Amy’s sister]. Needless to say, Mother and I drove on to the Rohden’s by ourselves. [Roy’s later note: His mother could not drive. The early cars had to be cranked and were not easy, and since there were always lots of people available to drive, she never learned. They used the car for hauling things on the farm and Roy could drive it at age 7, although Grandma did not want to ride with him.]

I remember how spry Grandma was in her early 80s. She would walk “up town” but it was reported that when she reached the turnoff at the church on her way home, she would be more or less running.

I remember the “fruit room” [in the basement], cool and damp because of the brick floor. The potato bin which was piled high with spuds every fall. Also huge stone crocks which held the corned beef and the hams cured with “smoked salt.” It seems to me Mother always aimed to can no less than 100 quarts of tomatoes each summer. Also, peaches, pears, rhubarb, corn, and the greatest treat of all – grape juice made by cooking the grapes and squeezing them in a square towel (flour sack) hung by the four corners over a broom stick held across the back of two chairs.

I remember the coolest spot in the house, before the first ice box, was the basement floor next to the big water tank. That’s where the milk, butter, and root beer were stored. But nothing was as cool as a pitcher of water pumped by hand from the old well. I remember that heavy glass pitcher – how it survived all those trips to the well in the hands of all of us is a wonder.

I remember that at about 6 a.m. every cold winter morning Dad would shake the house. There was a long iron handle on the side of the furnace which was pulled back and forth to let the ashes fall through the grates. Since the furnace was connected to the pipes and the pipes to the radiators, the whole house seemed to be vibrating.

I remember the big garden west of the house with horseradish which we never ate growing over against the side of the machine shed, asparagus all across the lower end, two rows of rhubarb and a very large strawberry patch. The long row of grapes which we took to school in our “dinner pails” in season. Then there was the smoke house and just south of it a flowering almond and an old-fashioned yellow rose bush.

I remember that every fall as cold weather approached we would go through the ritual of catching the chickens. All summer they took to roosting in the trees and on the machinery in the sheds. We had to apprehend them somehow or other and lock them in the chicken house for the winter. It was a job that was kind of fun for about the first five minutes.

I remember when we had quite a few cats who used to like to take their ease behind the stove in the kitchen. When Mom wanted them out she would take the broom, open the door, and poke around vigorously behind the stove until they got the general idea. Later, it was only necessary for her to pick up the broom, open the door, and stand back out of the way.

I remember all of those potluck picnics over the years and how Mother usually made corn pudding and salmon pudding – still my favorite dishes when made the way she made them. We also had sliced tomatoes which we wouldn’t have dreamed of eating without a liberal application of sugar.

I remember many a Sunday afternoon in the summer when, at Mother’s instigation, we would go “to the woods,” meaning a certain spot more or less directly east of Lanyon near the Des Moines River. I remember the incomparable sunsets in the late fall after the corn was picked, and I would see them when I went out in the 40-acre corn fields to get the steers home for the night. I remember blizzards so blinding that you couldn’t see the barn from the house, and how one January the temperature never went above zero for two solid weeks, and was minus twenty every night. I remember that the first rites of spring consisted of sowing the peas – two horses and the “lumber wagon” with the spreader on the back.

I remember the incredible amount of patience that Dad exhibited in the face of some of the absolutely incredible things that I did and didn’t do in those growing up years.

I remember when Aunt Nellie and Uncle Ernest lived in Lanyon [1928 to 1953], their immaculate house, the cow named Susie, how fascinated I was with their egg cups, and how after the folks moved to Lanyon [when they retired in 1941], there was a path worn through the tall grass which represented the shortest distance between those two houses.

I remember that I was taught to say grace in Swedish at a very early age and continued to say it as I had learned it for many years. About 30 years later, I learned how the words were really supposed to be pronounced and it was quite a surprise.

I remember the Christmas programs and how, believe it or not, Irene and I [ages about 10 and 7] sang a duet and what do you think we sang? “Let the lower lights be burning”! [Irene and Roy’s later note: This was surprising because this song is a hymn, not a Christmas song at all.]

I remember when we put candles on the Christmas tree and lighted them! And how the best part of the Christmas Eve feast every year was the creamed lutefisk on mashed potatoes.

I Remember Mother (1985)

I remember Mother as a magician at distracting fussy babies and small children.

I remember Mother as an incredible discipliner – or was it just that we were such incredible disciplinees? I remember occasional mention of the possibility that she would have to use the “shaving strap” but it never once came off the hook in the broom closet to my knowledge.

I remember (don’t we all) Mother’s standard Sunday morning breakfast – “gravy bread.” The bread was home-baked white and the gravy was white, made with milk in the drippings from lots of thick-sliced uncured or maybe salt-cured bacon. Fortunately cholesterol had not yet been invented so we were able to enjoy it thoroughly.

I remember Mother as the inventor of an instant and absolutely sure-fire way to dispatch any chicken destined for the frying pan. It involved the use of a steel rod laid over the neck of the chicken, etc. She did it herself until I became old enough to take over.

And I remember, “Remember the starving millions.” (Or was it, “Think of the starving millions.”) For the grands and great-grands, those were code words that meant, “Don’t leave food on your plate” (Don’t waste food).

I remember hearing the words a hundred or a thousand times over the years: “Look it up.” I think Mother wore out at least three dictionaries looking things up. Once in later years I believe Irene put her to the test. “How do you pronounce c-o-m-p-t-r-o-l-l-e-r?” The answer, without hesitation, “controller.”

I remember hearing about someone explaining to Mother that they needed to build a new church, because the old church was on a side street where people couldn’t see it. She said, “They find it when we have a Swedish supper.”

I remember how in later years someone was complimenting Mother on her family, about this and that and the other, “and none of them have ever been in jail.” Mother said, “Not yet.”

I remember her plants, when she was age about 75 or 85, were everywhere [at 301 K Street, Fort Dodge]. The “greenhouse” room off the hallway was like a jungle including, even, the famous night-blooming cereus which really did bloom from time to time. (Grands and great-grands, “Look it up.”)

I remember being home (for, I believe, one of Mom’s birthdays) when she was in her 90s. There were five or six of us there. She had a music box in the kitchen, a present from Ruth, which she would put on the dining room table and play to call us to dinner when we would come visit as adults. When dinner was over, she picked up the music box and carried it back to the kitchen, saying, “I’ll take this – I don’t want it to get broken.” As Obie observed at the time, there wasn’t a soul in the room under the age of 50.

I remember Mother correcting herself when she was reminiscing about something. “When we were little, us kids used to… we kids used to…” This happened sometime after her 100th birthday.

I remember Esther [Mocklebust] telling how, sometimes when Mother wasn’t feeling too great, she would say, “I feel like I’m a hundred years old.” After she passed 100, she changed it to, “I feel like I’m two hundred years old.”

I remember when Aunt Nellie and Uncle Ernest lived in Lanyon [1928 to 1953], their immaculate house, the cow named Susie, how fascinated I was with their egg cups, and how after the folks moved to Lanyon [when they retired in 1941], there was a path worn through the tall grass which represented the shortest distance between those two houses.

I remember that I was taught to say grace in Swedish at a very early age and continued to say it as I had learned it for many years. About 30 years later, I learned how the words were really supposed to be pronounced and it was quite a surprise.

I remember the Christmas programs and how, believe it or not, Irene and I [ages about 10 and 7] sang a duet and what do you think we sang? “Let the lower lights be burning”! [Irene and Roy’s later note: This was surprising because this song is a hymn, not a Christmas song at all.]

I remember when we put candles on the Christmas tree and lighted them! And how the best part of the Christmas Eve feast every year was the creamed lutefisk on mashed potatoes.


The Future

This Website intends to highlight the history and contemporary lives of members of the Lindgren family. We all have interesting roots in Sweden that we hope to document and expand. Much has been done to collect and preserve these genealogical records. We’ll collect what we know and as new information emerges, this will be our place to display, share documents, photographs and other artifacts of our history. Put another way, this website is both about the past and the future.

The past is prologue to the future. It is a grand hope that this website will enable connections among all who may choose to gather here. The site is both a historical document and a blog to build bridges through the telling of contemporary stories in the spirit and through a grand extension of the Round Robin tradition that began around 100 years ago as our antecedents migrated away from Lanyon, Iowa for college and careers. Yet the Lindgren farms around Lanyon remained an anchor that fostered reunions and expanding connections. With the passing of our parents, the children of Amy and Frank Lindgren as well as John and Lizzie Lindgren and all of the brothers and sisters of J.P. and Johanna Johnson.

Our lives in America began with the immigration of Frank and John Petersson from Smaland in Sweden. These two sons of Peter Magnuson and Ingrid Johansdotter found their way to central Iowa where John and then Frank adopted our surname, Lindgren. Both brothers eventually settled in central Iowa and farmed. Each raised a large family.

The site was initially established by Bruce, Dave and Steve Lindgren from Minnesota. It is our hope that the site will become a repository for the historical records and photographs that members have acquired from our parents, aunts and uncles as well as our cousins.

Much more will follow. We hope you will visit again soon.

If you would like more information, about subscribing or contributing to this site, please contact Bruce Lindgren at (218) 348-3325 or email Bruce at