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CARLSON, Lars and Ann Sarah Lacey Carlson

Great tragedy is always close by, as is shown by this tale of a family of Swedish “Immigrant Ancestors”.  Lars Carlsson Smed (1839-1916) was born in  in Björkefalla, Jämshög, Blekinge, Sweden. He married Elna  Jönsdotter (1839 – 1873) and the couple had 4 children: August; Hanna; Julle; and Elof Smed.  The great tragedy centres on a despondent wife left behind, as set out in this account written by Hazel Lingstrom Conroy; who was also from a Swedish family that came to Westmeath Township around the same time. It was written for the Westmeath Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir Book.

“In the latter part of the 1800’s, a few families from Sweden were immigrating to Canada and settling in Westmeath. One of these was Lars Carlson. Like a lot of other adventurous people from Europe and elsewhere, Lars thought of finding a new life in Canada for himself and his family. He left their small children and a pregnant wife and landed in Westmeath. It was his intention to secure employment, find a home, and raise enough money to send for his family. All this could not be accomplished in a short time. A few years passed and understandably at the time, the lines of postal communication were very slow. He sent money or whatever means for his family’s passage, and said he would meet them in Montreal at a certain date.

“Meantime in Sweden, Mrs. Carlson had become discouraged in the long lapse of time and fretted about her uncertain future. Being very despondent, she took the infant in arms and walked out into the river. So Lars’ sister and her child came to Canada posing as Mrs. Lars Carlson. She also brought along the three young children; Yule, August and Hannah.

“Lars had established himself as a tailor and was doing a fine business. Time passed and Lars married Annie O’Brien of Westmeath. They were very productive and had ten of a family namely Lizzie, Mabel, Hilda, Lily, Nellie, Vera, Willie, Alof, Carl and Nelson. The Carlson tailor shop had become a thriving business in Westmeath, housed in the shop which was later bought by Joe Davis and later Archie Blackwell. Lars was an expert tailor and at one time employed eight people, his expertise was passed on to his sons August and Willie. Lars, by now getting up in years, returned to Sweden for a visit and his wife sold their living quarters and moved to Copper Cliff, he later followed her. August had taken over the business in Westmeath and Willie was a tailor in Fort Coulonge.”

Carlson Tailor Shop, Westmeath, circa 1908. Garments in all sizes on display.

Carlson Tailor Shop, Westmeath, circa 1908. Garments in all sizes on display. Photo from Tweedsmuir Book.

The family went on to become part of the fabric of their adopted homeland.  The children of Lars Carlson (1839-1916) and  (1)Elna  Jönsdotter (1839 – 1873) were:

    1. August Carlson (1865 – 1931) would take over his father’s tailor shop in Westmeath. He married Jennie M. Connors. Son Leonard Carlson;  daughter Irene Blanche Carlson m. James Dunn. See DUNN entry.

      L-R: Bill Carlson, August Carlson, Carl Carlson, Graham Hennessy and friend.

      L-R: Bill Carlson, August Carlson, Carl Carlson, Graham Hennessy and friend. Photo Ancestry.ca.

    2. Hannah Carlson (1867–1935) m. Charles Howard, son of Joseph Howard and Phoebe Taylor. See HOWARD entry.

      Hannah-Carlson-Howard

      Hannah Carlson Howard wearing a fur ruff in front and her sister

    3. Julle or “Yullie” Carlson (1871 –1941) m. Ann Dudley (1874- ) – they settled in Chilliwack, British Columbia and had two sons: Hugh Carlson (1899- ) and Murray Carlson (1904- ).  Yullie was a child of 6 years when he was brought by his aunt to Canada in 1877 to meet his father.
    4. Elof Smed (1873–1876) died as child with Mother by drowning.
Ann and Lars Carlson in front with 3 daughters.

Ann and Lars Carlson, in front, with 3 daughters. Photo from Ancestry.ca.

Carlson Home, corner of Main Street and Grace Street, Westmeath Village.

Carlson Home, corner of Main Street and Grace Street, Westmeath Village. Photo from Ancestry.ca.

Ann Sarah Lacey Carlson, with mellon..

Ann Sarah Lacey Carlson, with fresh melon.   All family photos from Ancestry.ca.

Lars Carlson married for a second time to (2) Ann Sarah Lacey (1857 – 1948) from Newark, New Jersey, USA,  Carlson-Lacey Marriage Reg. 1875,  and their children were:    

5. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Carlson (1876 –1953) m. Obadiah Hennessy, son of Martin Hennessy & Emily Winter, in 1895. See HENNESSY entry. Hennessy-Carlson Marriage Registration 1895.

6. William “Willy” Lars Carlson (1879 – 1948) resided in Fort Coulonge, Pontiac, PQ. He was also a  tailor.

7. Mabel Jane Carlson (1881 – 1968) m. William Hennessy (1869-1917); died in Haileybury, Nipissing District. This was the second Hennessy brother to marry a Carlson sister. See HENNESSY entry.

Robert Brownlee Carlson

Robert Brownlee Carlson

8.  Henry Alof Carlson (1884 – 19530) m. Linda Maude Brownlee in 1919 in Temiskaming District, Ont. One of their two sons: Robert Brownlee Carlson was a casualty in the Italy Campaign of WWII and died in Italy in 1943.

Henry Alof Carlson

Henry Alof Carlson

9. Lillian “Lilly” Painela Carlson (1886–1937) m.  George William Yeats and died in Calgary, Alberta. Illian and George YeatsHannah-Carlson-Howard

Lillie and Nellie Carlson flanking William Howard dressed as Orange Parade King July 12th

Lillie and Nellie Carlson flanking William Howard dressed as Orange Parade King,  July 12th

10. Illina Carlson (1888 – 1978) m. .

L. to R: Lilly Carlson, Nellie Yeats, Ann Lacey Carlson, George and Graham Yeats.

L. to R: Lilly Carlson, Nellie Yeats, Ann Lacey Carlson, George and Graham Yeats.

11. Hilda Carlson (1891 – 1991). Died in Tacoma, Washington.

Four Sisters: Mabel, Hilda, Lilly and Illina Carlson.

Four Sisters: Mabel, Hilda, Lilly and Illina Carlson.

12.  Carl Carlson (1893 – 1974)

13.   Nelson James Carlson (1897 – 1994)

14.  Vera Lois Carlson (1900 – 1979)