Berggren Brothers of Ishpeming, Michigan: Tombstone Tuesday

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Berggren Brothers of Ishpeming, Michigan: Tombstone Tuesday


Today’s Tombstone Tuesday is about the Berggren brothers, Lars Erick and Per August, who were killed “in the usual way” mining iron ore in Ishpeming, Michigan, in 1889. At the local historical society, I found the news article about the mine accident.

Erick and August emigrated from Sweden to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with their widowed mother, Lovisa Berggren. Erick married Mathilda Lind, the daughter of a friend, in July of 1885 in Ishpeming. August was unmarried.

After the accident, the grieving mother Lovisa, and the widow of four years, Mathilda, were left to mourn. Mathilda was 25 when she was widowed. She never remarried, living with her mother-in-law until Lovisa died in 1930. Mathilda died in 1932.

berggrenobit2The elaborate monument to Erick and August suggests that their fellow miners took up a collection. The inscriptions on the stone are in Swedish, but in addition to the all-important names and dates, all I could make out was “till minne av” (in memory of). The Swedish, the deteriorating sandstone, and the lichen obscured the rest.

The women who mourned the rest of their long lives are buried in the same plot, but have no grave markers. But they all rest together in the city cemetery in Ishpeming, Michigan.


About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”

One Comment

  1. Heather Rojo 14 September 2010 at 9:31 AM

    This story made me think of the Chilean miners who have been trapped for so long, and of the West Virginia miners who died earlier this year. This accidents have been going on for generations, and are part of many people’s family history.

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