Stenberg Family Histories

STENBERG Descendant Families

by: Charles Young

A look at selected families and their histories

A link below each family takes you to the parents' place in the big descendants list. That list serves as an index to families and their stories. If you came from an external search, and do not find your individual or family, please look in my Big Stenberg list. Your family has probably been moved to their own page with photos.

Maria is my great grandmother. The two sisters immigrated from Sweden to Iowa, USA. There may have been other children in the family, but this is all I know about.

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This is the long version of the history of Maria Stenberg and family. Maria, my great grandmother, was born in Sweden about 1834. She married a man named Pierson in Sweden and had 4 children; Charlie, Hulda, Anna, and Gusta who later went by Oscar. Husband Pierson died, and Maria came with her 4 children to Iowa, USA about 1870. Her sister Christine (not sure of this name) also came from Sweden to Iowa. Did they come together, and did other relatives come at the same time?

Why would Maria and her relatives want to come to America? Perhaps she wanted a better life for her children. As the population increased in Sweden, each generation had a smaller farm. The family farm would be divided up among the children. Then it would be divided up again for the next generation. If there was not enough land to farm, farmers could not make a good living. Before the industrial revolution, there were few factory jobs in the city, so moving to the city was not the way to avoid poverty. Maria may have heard from relatives and friends who had already come to America that she could have a better life in America.

Maria and her children (and maybe other relatives) came to America on a ship. They may have sailed to England and then boarded a big steam ship which sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. They most likely stopped at Ellis Island near New York City where the Statue of Liberty looks out over the bay. They probably took a train to somewhere close to Onawa, Iowa. When they got off the train, they probably put their things in a horse drawn wagon for the rest of the trip to their new home. American West has a nice history of Swedish Emigration to North America.

Maria's sister (Christine?) married a man named Case and had 3 children; Parker, Emily, and Will. They lived in Iowa, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington. Mom has kept letters from Emily and Will.

John Aaron Stenberg After her arrival in the states, Maria married John Aaron Stenberg, my great grandfather shown at right. Aaron was born in Oerebrolane, Sweden, and came to the United States in 1870. Aaron was born June 8, 1844, and was about 27 years old when he married Maria who was about 10 years older. Aaron and Maria settled near Onawa, Iowa. Aaron's granddaughter, Elizabeth Parker, says that Aaron's name was Anderson, but he changed it to Stenberg.

Carol Stenberg says that Stenberg began as a locational name and means "one who came from or lived near stone mountain". That would probably explain why so many Stenbergs are not related.

The 1880 Monona County Iowa census spells the name Steinberg. Perhaps the census taker wrote it down the way he thought it should be. The same census also lists the Pierson children as Steinbergs. Perhaps it was more convenient to use the Stenberg name until they left home, or maybe the census taker just got it wrong. Hulda and Anna changed their names when they got married anyway, so only Charlie and Oscar would have had to decide what surname to use.

Aaron and Maria probably learned some English before they came to America. However, English was not their native language, and everyone who heard them speak probably recognized the Swedish accent which may have been quite common at the time.

Aaron and Maria had three children; Henry, John "Fred", and Marie. The children were full blooded Swedes, but since they grew up in the United States and learned English as children, they probably had little trace of a Swedish accent.

In her book "Jeannie of the 2-Bar-A", Mom explains Swedish accents.

Daddy sang, "My name is Yon Yonson, I come from Visconsin, I vork in a lumber mill there; I valk down the street, and the people I meet, they ask how I come to be there. And I tell them, my name is Yon Yonson, I come from Visconsin." "Why is there a song like that?" asked Jeannie.

"Well, there were a lot of Swedes and Norwegians in Wisconsin and Minnesota," her father told her, "and they couldn't pronounce the 'juh' sound. They would say 'yuh' every time. They would make their w's sound like v's, too. So that song sort of makes fun of them in a friendly kind of way."

"I had an aunt who came from Sweden," said Mom. "We had some red Jell-O one day, and she asked, 'Why do you call it yellow when it's red?"

At some time (maybe after she married Aaron Stenberg), Maria changed her name to Mary. Her niece, Emily Bonney, writes in a letter to Mom (Mina Young)

"I grew up in the same locality as your mother. Her mother and my mother were sisters and visited back and forth in their homes as we children grew up. Aunt Mary was tall and stately and beautiful. She had a remarkable sense of humor and wit that was rare in those days."
In another letter she wrote,
"Aunt Maria always had lots of flowers scattered in the yard and orchard. She made the effort to set out grapes and fruit trees although Aaron did not much approve or encourage this. But there were apples and grapes in the fall and always a nice vegetable garden."
Notice that Emily refers to her as Mary in one letter, and Maria in another. Also she refers to Aaron (his middle name). His granddaughter, Elizabeth Parker also calls him Aaron, and he is listed in the census as Aaron. Unfortunately I do not know the name of Maria's mother.

Aaron and family joined the Seventh Day Adventists. Some of his descendants are still Seventh Day Adventists. Charles and Marie Stenberg Arnold and Dorothy Stenberg Phipps joined other churches such as Methodist, Baptist, and Assemblies of God churches.

Aaron Stenberg's wife Maria died about 1902. Aaron married Ulriku when he was about 62 years old. Around 1910 Aaron, Ulriku and the 2 younger children, Fred and Marie, moved to near Newcastle, Wyoming to homestead. Henry and his family remained in Iowa. Fred Stenberg also wrote about these events, but remembered the dates differently. Fred wrote that they moved to Newcastle in 1912. However, it must have been before that because Emily Case Bonney wrote that they visited the Stenbergs in March 1911 on the way to their homestead in Wyoming. The Stenbergs had lived on their homestead long enough to have a house built. Also Marie moved from Newcastle to Billings in 1911.

Polly Stenberg wrote about Aaron moving from Iowa;

"Grandfather Stenberg had a valuable and beautiful Iowa farm which he sold for cash to a passing salesman. This was on the strength of wonderful present wet year in Wyoming (not another rain for 20 years). So the Stenbergs brought their good stock, horses, and the 'Surry with the Fringe on top' along with all the rest of the trimmings and built a very good house on land near New Castle, Wyoming."
A newspaper article says they shipped their belongings on a train. "Dry living conditions were extremely severe."

Mina Young says that John Aaron Stenberg had trouble raising crops in the dry climate even though he and the family worked very hard at farming. Fred moved to Colorado to work. Marie moved to Billings, Montana. Aaron died in 1912 just 2 years after moving to Wyoming. His son, Fred, wrote an obituary that appeared in "The Review", a Seventh Day Adventist magazine.

STENBERG. -- Aaron Stenberg was born June 8, 1844 in Orebrolane, Sweden, and died at his home near New Castle, Wyo., Jan 29, 1912, aged 67 years, 7 months, and 21 days. He came to America in 1870. His wife died in 1892, and fifteen years later he was married again. Thirty-seven years ago he accepted present truth. His hope and faith in God never wavered, but grew stronger as the end approached. The REVIEW was a very dear friend to him, and he rejoiced to read of the progress of the message. His wife and three children survive. The funeral was held in the Methodist church, and the pastor, Reverend Partridge, spoke words of comfort.

J. F. Stenberg.

Aaron's second wife, Ulrika continued living with the Fred and Tekla Stenberg family for a few years, and then went to a nursing home in Evanston, Wyoming.

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Elizabeth went by Betty while growing up and into adulthood. She has lived in Oregon for a long time, and most of her descendants still live in the state. She and her husband Melvin have 4 children. The Parkers retired in the early 2000's. Before retirement Elizabeth wrote;
"May through October I make 1,000 mile trips selling flowers. I expect 300,000 miles out of a car. We think nothing of replacing a motor."

"We grow gladiolas. We have a 3/4 acre greenhouse in which we grow snapdragons, asters, and several other kinds of flowers. In '96 we purchased over $26,000 worth of other flowers. We buy a lot of gladiolas because we need a lot more than we grow. Also we buy iris, many kinds of lilies, tulips, daffodils, and others. We supply 50 - 60 retail florists. We are all wholesale. Melvin also quarries flagstone and he handles river rock and other rock."

Thanks to Nadine Proctor for sharing her mother's obituary:

Elizabeth "Betty" J Parker, 91, was born December 15, 1920, at home in Pedro, Wyoming, near Newcastle, and died August 28, 2012 in Oregon City, Oregon.  She lived in Grants Pass with her husband, Melvin Parker from 1941-1968, when they moved to Ruch, Oregon.   They had a wholesale gladiola business and raised acres of bulbs and flowers, which they shipped by truck, train and plane to wholesale florists in Oregon and California.  For years she and Melvin supplied gladiolas for the Caveman parade. For many years Elizabeth had a 2,000 mile/week flower route to Oregon and California until she was 80 years of age.

She was a lifetime, active member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and regularly supplied large bouquets of flowers for the service.

Elizabeth is survived by her children:  Verlene Hartwig of Zillah, Washington;  Nadine Proctor of Sonora, California; Charlotte Marriott of Mulino, Oregon and Sherman Parker of Ruch, Oregon;  10 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren and 1 great great grandchild.

A graveside service was held at Eagle Point National Cemetery, 2763 Riley Road (out the Diamond Lake highway) on Saturday, October 20, 2012. A Memorial Service followed at 4 PM at the Valley View Seventh-day Adventist Church, 3677 South Stage Road, Medford, Oregon.

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