Friday, March 18, 2011

Victor Elge - logger 1879-1941

My grandfather´s second cousin Viktor Elg was born in 1879 in Gustavsström, a small iron mill village between Liljendal and Gravendal. Victor´s father Lars Fredrik Elg worked there as a blacksmith.

In 1891, Victor´s family moves to Hagge, Norrbärke, another small iron mill. At the time, my great-grandfather was a blacksmith at the same mill, so for the next two years, Victor´s father and my ggf may have been working side by side.

In April, 1893, Viktor´s family moves to Yttre Forssa, Stora Tuna parish. These were the final years of the traditional small, wood-fired iron mills. Strora Tuna was the location for one of Sweden´s largest new Bessemer steel mills. Several of my grandfather´s brothers also moved here.

In 1903, Viktor emigrates to McKeesport, Pennsylvania, part of the large steelmaking complex around Pittsburgh, and changes his name to Victor Elge. He decides to move on, and at some point we find him in Helena, Montana, where he is employed by the Western Clay Manufacturing Co. This is mentioned in his obituary but no dates are mentioned and I have found no census records. Victor´s older brother August Elge was living in Helena, Montana, since 1888, along with several uncles and their families, involved in gold mining.

Victor moves again, and in a couple of records I find him listed in logging camps around Seattle. Most interesting is the 1930 census, which lists his occupation as logger, but his current address as the Skagit County Jail, Mount Vernon, Skagit County, Washington.

I have no idea what incident sent Victor to jail, but a few years later, the 1935 Seattle City Directory puts him at 925 Railroad Ave S hse 22 C.

In the 1939 City Directory, Victor´s address is listed as “nr e end Lincoln av bridge, Tacoma”.

In the 1940 US census Victor Elge, logger,  is listed in Ward 4 Township 20 North, Range 3 East,  street block 179, of Tacoma, Washington. The same address lists 100 unrelated residents, so possibly a boardinghouse or log camp?

Victor Elge dies in a car accident in Tacoma, Pierce County, at the age of 63 on September 28, 1941. He was fatally injured when he was struck by a car as he was crossing a street in Tacoma. Victor is buried at the Trinity Lutheran Church, Tacoma. His passing is noted in an obituary in the Oct 10, 1941 issue of the Helena Independent. The obituary mentions that brother August Elge will travel to Tacoma for the funeral.

In 1957, brother August Elge, age 87, visits Sweden, accompanied by his  daughter Ms. Frances Caroline Elge. SAS passenger records show that they returned on flight 911, Stockholm - New York, June 28, 1957.

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