My Swedish great-grandmother, Agnes Emilia Fors, was born August 29, 1864, in Södertälje, Stockholm, Sweden, to Erik Edvard Fors and Matilda Vilhelmina Viberg. Erik Fors was a stationmaster for the Swedish railroads, so the family, though financially comfortable, moved frequently.
As was the custom in Sweden, Agnes left home as a teenager to make her own way. She emigrated to America as a servant, but returned in less than two years. She married the widowed tailor Gustaf Emil Ferdinand Ekstrom in Linköping, Östergötland on May 20, 1888. He had buried two babies and a wife and, with Agnes, buried yet another baby.
The scarcity of food and resources in Sweden, along with the desire for religious freedom, drove the Ekstroms to emigrate in 1891, joining many of their countrymen in Chicago, Illinois.
Agnes raised her five children and a step-daughter with a deep and abiding love of God, as well as a love of fun and laughter. Her grandson remembered her enjoying afternoons of tea, cards and gossip with her neighbors.
She saw four more of her children buried during her life. She raised two abandoned grandchildren, as well as helping to raise her youngest son's five orphans.
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Her life as a tailor's wife and widow was comfortable until her assets as a building owner were destroyed by the Depression not long after Gustaf's death in 1927. She grew bitter and resentful of her reduced circumstances.
Agnes died on November 01, 1946, in Chicago and was buried with her husband and daughter in the historic cemetery of Rosehill.