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Severed Ties and Silenced Voices

by Roger McKnight

ISBN 0-9772714-2-0

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On a November day in 1872, the Swedish immigrant Lars Johnson left his Minnesota farm and walked out into the early morning chill. He was never seen alive again. The mysterious nature of his death suggested intriguing questions about Lars Johnson himself and the history of Swedish commoners at home and abroad. What led them to abandon their homeland? What were they searching for in America? To what extent did they preserve Old World customs in the United States? And what price did they pay in adapting to the New Land?

Severed Ties and Silenced Voices by Roger McKnight is a social history of immigrant times, encapsulated in the life histories of Lars Johnson, his wife Caroline, and their nearest neighbor and his family. Their story bridges the Old World and New World experience. It concentrates on the years 1833 to 1920, but also follows the fate of the Johnson relatives and descendants, on both sides of the Atlantic, well into the twentieth century. It is a captivating documented account of cultural assimilation, broken relationships, family tragedy, and the search for personal fulfillment in difficult times.

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