Olof Johansson trial in 1841
district-court sessions in 1841,
66, 209 and 216, Encls. 51-54, 183-188.
by Roland Tidström, Vilhelmina/Umeå, 2005.
8th 1840 a burglary was committed at the (wealthy/Roland’s add)
farmer Eric Eriksson Nyberg in Hummelholm, Nordmaling. Various things were
Information about the burglary had been announced
in the churches of Nordmaling and Umeå. Among the stolen things were earrings
and fingerings of gold, silverspoons, a snuffbox of silver, silk textiles,
textiles of cotton, cloth, a featherbed, a down pillow, a skin rug of sheep’s,
sheets and cash.
When the young man Johan Jonsson from Västerhiske
in Umeå set up some of the things for sale the police suspected him for having
something to do with the burglary in Hummelholm last November. He was suspected
for good reason. Also his brother-in-law, Erik Olof Johansson, dependent tenant
in Högbränna, become suspected for knowing about the burglary, and both were
taken in custody.
Johan Jonsson become revealed when he sold a
snuffbox of silver to the jeweller Eric Lindweoth younger in Umeå. When Erik
Eriksson saw the snuffbox he recognized it as his. The police therefore looked
Johan Jonsson up in his home at the widow of Jon Pehrsson in Västerhiske.
Johan Jonsson flatly denied having anything with
the burglary to do. The police then did a raid in his home and found several of
the stolen things. When the police started to be interested in Johan Jonsson
several other people tiped the police that they also had bought things from him.
Johan Jonsson was arrested and put in prison. Also Erik Olof Johansson was
arrested. (This should have happened some day in January, I would
On March 18th 1841 the trial begun at the district-court of
Nordmaling against the 18 year old Johan Jonsson and his brother-in-law Erik
Olof Johansson. (Both had been arrested for about two months I would
believe/Roland). To begin with Erik Olof Johansson was asked to leave the court
room when Johan Jonsson was inquired. The prosecutor opened a package of things
and he started the hearing of Johan Jonsson.
Johan Jonsson told the court that he had bought
things from his brother-in-law, Erik Olof Johansson, last Christmas at his home
in Högbränna. Johan Jonsson then pawned the cloth at the merchant Fahlstedt in
Umeå for other articles. The earrings and the fingerings were sold to the
jeweller Linderoth. And other things to different people.
After having told the court about this Johan
Jonsson said that he sailed as a seaman in 1839. In the fall in 1839 he signed
in at the mercantile marine office in Sundsvall. From the beginning of 1840 he
spent his time in his parent’s home in Västerhiske as he had no job.
Erik Olof Johansson now entered the courtroom again. He told the court
about his llife, that he was born in 1806 in Torsböle, Nordmaling, where his
late father owned a homestead. Erik Olof Johansson told that he previous owned a
homestead in Högbränna but now lived only at a crofter. Eight years ago he
married his wife and has with her two living children and two children that had
died. In 1839 he was punished with 40 (par spö) and (uppenbar kyrkoplikt).
Erik Olof Johansson admitted he had been in
possession of the stuff that Johan Jonsson said he had bought from Johansson,
and that he gave the things to Johan Jonsson to be sold. When the prosecutor
asked him how he had received the things he firstly said that about Christmas he
met Anders Jonsson in the forest. About Epiphany Anders Jonsson assigned Erik
Olof Johansson that a goblet stolen from Erik Eriksson was kept in Anders
Jonsson’s barn in Hummelholm. Erik Olof Johansson got the goblet in the
purpose of restoring it to Erik Eriksson. But then Erik Olof Johansson changed
his mind and said that Anders Jonsson asked him to sell the things.
Erik Eriksson now told the court that he had found
some of the stuff assigned by the brother of Erik Olof Johansson, Johan
Johansson in Orrböle. Erik Olof Johansson now confessed that he in November
1840, in company with Anders Jonsson in Hummelholm, went to Erik Eriksson’s
home. There they broke both the shutter and the window and gone into the home of
Erik Olof Johansson and Anders Jonsson was supposed
to share the stolen money. But Anders Jonsson took all the money when they
carried the stolen things away and Erik Olof Johansson got nothing of the money.
Anders Jonsson took one of the earrings of gold, the silverspoons, the silk
textile, cotton cloth and the feather bed.
Erik Olof Johansson then left the Erik Eriksson
place, but Anders Jonsson went back to the house. Erik Olof Johansson then told
his brother Johan Johansson where the bag with the stolen things was kept. His
idea, he said, was that Erik Eriksson was supposed to get the things back.
Erik Eriksson had called several people as
witnesses – the farmer Erik Nilsson and the farmhand Johan Pehrsson in
Hummelholm, the farmer Jon Jonsson younger in Hörnsjö, wife Anna Helena
Ersdotter in Högbränna, the settler Lars Hörnquist in Stenvattnet (?) and the
farmhand Mats Andersson in Torrböle. But as Erik Olof Johansson had said that
also Anders Jonsson was implicated in the burglary the district-court wanted to
interrogate him as well and therefore the trial was postponed a couple of weeks.
Meantime Johan Jonsson and Erik Olof Johansson were kept under arrest.
On April 7th when the trial was resumed Johan Jonsson was
heard about how he uttered the gold stuff and the silk cloth. The jeweller in
Umeå, Linderoth, witnessed.
Then Anders Jonsson in Hummelholm was heard about
his participation with the crime. But he denied everything and said he had
nothing at all to do with Erik Olof Johansson last November. And in lack of
proof Anders Jonsson was acquitted. The judge P A Norgren and one of the jury
members, Olof Hörnström, did not participate in this decision as they were
challengeable, they were next of kin’s of Anders Jonsson.
In the extract of the parish register of Johan
Jonsson he was born on Sep 24th 1821 in Umeå rural parish. On May 5th
1839 he got a moving out permit for travelling at sea and after this he hasn’t
been registered in Umeå.
In the extract of the parish register of Erik Olof
Johansson he was born in 1806, he has fairly knowledge in Christianity and was
one and a half year ago punished by whipping for the first committed theft.
The next day, April 8th, they were sentenced. The court found
Erik Olof Johansson guilty of theft and sentenced him to be whipped once again
– “40 par spö, 3 slag av paret”. Also one Sunday he had to “undergå
uppenbar kyrkoplikt”. Erik Olof Johansson also was imposed a fine of 84
“riksdaler 4 skillingar Banco”. The court state that it is publicly known
that Erik Olof Johansson, as have been sentenced for theft once before, is
living in extreme poverty and can’t possibly be legitimate owner of those
things that had been found in the custody of his and Johan Jonsson.
Johan Jonsson was imposed a fine for having sold
the stolen things. The fine was set three times the value of the things he was
considered to have sold and got paid for. He was fined 174 “riksdaler 24
skillingar Banco”. If he cannot pay the fine he has to be kept in prison 28
days water and bread only. To the disadvantage of Johan Jonsson the court
wasn’t pleased that he didn’t give hundred percent statements what he did
with the stolen goods.
Erik Olof Johansson said he was satisfied (as
satisfied he could be/Roland) with the judgement. But Johan Jonsson complained.
The judge informed Johan Jonsson how he could appeal against the judgement.
Some time after the trial, maybe directly after,
the punishment of Erik Olof Johansson was executed. A few days later in April he
did his “uppenbar kyrkoplikt” in the church of Nordmaling.
- - - - - - - -
On Apr 22nd 1851 the wife of Erik Olof Johansson,, Maria
Helena Jonsdotter, died. At the time the family lived at Holmfors bruk,
according to the estate inventory. Erik Olof Johansson was titled as “bruksarbetare”,
In the estate there is one animal only, a sex year
old red and white cow. All Erik Olof Johansson own was valued to 60 “riksdaler
banco”. But Erik Olof Johansson owed the Olofsfors Bruk 20 “riksdaler”,
that is to say a third of the belongings of him and his family.
After the rest of the debts were deducted only 35
“riksdaler 20 skillingar banco” remained, just quite half of his estate. To
compare with other estates it was only a tenth of what the crofter Eskil
Olofsson in Lögdeå was in possession of when his wife died, or a twentieth of
the estate of Pehr Jonathansson in Nygård.
The statement of the court that it was publicly
known Erik Olof Johansson and his family were living in extreme poverty seem to