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Erickson Family

Photo page 382

Lloyd W. Erickson was born June 14, 1928, in Garden Township, on the Lucian Hamman place, previously purchased by his grandfather, Eric Erickson (adjacent on the south of the old Erickson Century Farm - now Anna Gilliam).

Lloyd was the oldest of three boys, all of whom were born on the same place. Wayne B. was born May 1, 1930, and Stanley E. was born March 30, 1932. Lloyd's parents, Forrest R. and Marjorie Bollie Erickson, were married June 1, 1927. The family moved to the Bert Hutzel place in July, 1932, where Lloyd and his family now live, and which his parents, John and Luella, purchased in 1946.

Lloyd and Gladys Burke Erickson were married October22, 1953. Their children are: Sharon (Mrs. Douglas Hawbaker), born October 10, 1952; Marilyn (Mrs. Duane Heidebrink), born November 27, 1953; Mary, born November 15, 1954; Debbie, born July 20, 1961; Crystal, born August 2, 1965; and Diane, born December 12, 1966. Their grandchildren are: Sharon's Jodi Hawbaker, born August 19, 1976, and Julie Hawbaker, born December 29, 1979; Marilyn's Greg Heidebrink, born June 6, 1970 and Laura Heidebrink, born April 4, 1973; and Mary's son, Ryan Erickson, born November 13, 1975.

The first Ericksons, Nelse and his wife, Bertha, and their son, Eric, age 16, came from Helsingland, Sweden to the United States in 1868, and first lived in the Sheldahl vicinity. They spelled their name "Ericson" at that time, and added the "K" some time later. Nelse purchased the Anna Gilliam 80 acres January 10, 1879, and passed away nine days later. Bertha died around 1897, and they are buried in Hillsdale Cemetery. Eric purchased the 80 acres across the road from Lloyd, and (this is when he added the "K" to the Erickson name) still later purchased 40 acres of the Lucian Hammon place.

Eric and his wife, Lottie Peterson were married in 1888. Lottie's mother and four sisters settled at Bishop Hill, Illinois. Eric died in 1936, and Lottie in 1934. Both are buried at Hillsdale Cemetery. Eric and Lottie were parents of three sons: John, William, and Forrest, and one daughter, Anna. John was born July 28, 1889, and died in 1968; William was born July 2, 1891, and died in 1965; Forrest was born March 1, 1900, and died December 23, 1958, and Anna was born June 5, 1896.

John married Luella Drake Bollie on March 21, 1934, and lived on the adjoining Hammon farm until they retired and moved to Madrid. Forrest and Marjorie retired and moved to Madrid at the same time, in 1956. They purchased a house on West First Street, where both couples lived, until Forrest and John's deaths.

William never married, and John had no children, but the three brothers continued to work and farm together. They raised cane for many years, for making sorghum molasses. This pioneer substitute for sugar continued to be popular in the community for many years after sugar became readily available, and especially during World War II when sugar was rationed. No one knows for certain when the family began raising sugar cane, but Anna remembers her father and brothers taking it to the Berg Brothers (Joe and Theodore) place just east of Hillsdale Cemetery to get it cooked, when she was just a girl before World War I. When Joe Berg died in 1940, they took the cane to Ray Hurst, and later to Glen Swain. Then, they purchased a mill from a Thompson family at Huxley, and began operating their own mill, until the final batch was cooked in 1954. Their mill was located across the road from Lloyd's.

The process of making molasses began by stripping off the leaves while the cane was still standing, and next it was "topped." Then, the stocks were cut off at the bottom and loaded onto flatracks, or wagons, and taken to the mill to be fed two-three stocks at a time through the pressing mill. The juice was collected until the 110-120 gallon cooking pan was full. The pan measured 3 ft. wide by 12 ft. long, and was 7 inches deep.

The fire was then started, and the four-five hour cooking, or boiling down of the juice began, ending up with the delicious, sticky molasses. One of the favorite uses of the molasses was as an ingredient in baking Swedish rye bread, and basting it after the loaves came out of the oven, and finally, spreading on the slices before they were eaten.

Lloyd's brother Wayne married Lela Miller in 1948. They adopted two children: Mima Michell, born January 25, 1962, and John Wayne, born June 29, 1965. Wayne thereafter married Irene Check Hainline, and also farms in Garden Township. Stanley married Jean Williams on August 19, 1951, and they now live at Bertha, Minnesota, where Stanley teaches school. Their children are: David, born September 15, 1955; Dean, born April 13, 1965, and Sarah, born December 27, 1968.

Eric Erickson's three boys and daughter attended Garden Center School. Forrest's three boys attended West Center and Luther Consolidated. All three were in the United States Army during the Korean War.

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