Pictured above, left to right: Gust, Gerda, John, Anna, Carl and Erik Erickson
The immigrant journey was often a family affair. Often one member of a family would go to America first and then bring the others to join them. The descendants of Eric and Anna Louisa Pearson Larson did just that in the 1920’s. They departed for the New World filling trunks with cherished possessions, leaving everything familiar, speaking no English and with great faith in the future.
Carl Edwin Erickson was the first to arrive in the USA from Kumla, Sweden in 1912. He married Sybil Maud Burnside and they purchased a farm in Herbster. In 1923, Carl’s brother John came to America and lived with Carl and Sybil. In 1930, brother Gust and sister Gerda emigrated too and resided with Carl and Sybil. Carl and Sybil owned a number of homes in the area, a small house on highway 13 in Herbster, the apple orchard on the cemetery hill, and a farm in Cornucopia. They were industrious and worked very hard to settle in the new area and land. The climate was very similar to that of their homeland.
John and Gust built a log cabin in Cornucopia. They worked helping their brother Carl, logging, fishing, and doing a variety of jobs. They were both on the first crew that built Hoover Dam. John had a noted career as a boxer and wrestler. Gust sometimes trained with him. John married Doris Sytsma August 15, 1935. They lived in the cabin and Gust built a home on adjoining property. John and Doris had two children, Joane and John. They owned several businesses in Herbster and in 1956 purchased the Rustic Roost in Iron River. They were very involved in Herbster’s early days and had a big impact on what it has become today.
On August 5, 1937, Gust married Tina Sytsma and they moved to the home in Cornucopia. Gust worked as a carpenter, fisherman and for many years at the DuPont plant in Barksdale, WI. Tina was a homemaker. She loved to paint, sew, cook and fish! Gust began wood carving in his retirement and always loved the outdoors—hunting and fishing! They were the parents of Glenda and Rollie.
Gerda had been a Registered Nurse in Sweden, so she took additional training and worked for many years in the Chicago area. She never married. She was a wonderful aunt to her two nieces and nephews—quite the lady!
The Ericksons remain a close family today, very proud of their Swedish heritage and in awe of the brave folks who dared to leave their homeland and make a new life in America.