Andrew and Elsa had very nice orchard, and received apple seeds and grafts from Sweden. They procuced their own varieties that suited the Minnesota climate. In Moberg’s books Karl Oskar also plants fruit trees with seeds from Sweden.
Andrew wrote regularly to his brother Johannes in Sweden – just like Karl Oskar regularly writes to his sister, Lydia Karlsson, in Moberg’s novels.
Andrew sent packages with warm clothes as an aid to Swedish settlers in North Dakota that had recently arrived in the USA – he also sent tickets for traveling to the USA to relatives in Sweden. In Moberg’s novels Karl Oskar sends wheat to Sweden. (McKnight)
Both paid 1,5 daler for a subscription to the magazine "The Homeland" [“Hemlandet”].
Both Andrew and Karl Oskar photographed their houses and themselves and sent the developed pictures to Sweden.
There are striking similarities between the "Last letter home” in the book and the last letter home that Andrew’s neighbour wrote in real life. Both letters were; to begin with and as mentioned above, written by a neighbour. Here’s an excerpt from the opening passages in the letter written by Nicolaus Swenson – notifying Andrew's Swedish relatives of his passing:
“Since I, Nicolaus Swenson, is the closest neighbour to Andrew Pitterson, had he in his Last days asked me if I could write to you when he died reason being that his children Write english, so you would have trouble reading it”.
In Moberg’s novel, the opening of the letter that Karl Oskar's neighbour wrote to Karl Oskar's relatives back in Sweden reads like this:
“Since I am one old neigbour to your brother Charles had he many times asked me if I could write to his Sister in Sweden and give her some notification when he died. Nobody else could let You know reason being that Your brother’s children have forgotten Swedish and write english, his relatives in Sweden could have trouble understanding it".
Moberg has also used the letter Andrew wrote to his brother's descendants in Sweden when his brother had passed on.
Excerpt from Andrew's letter to Ivar Widén when his brother Johannes Rydell had died, in October 1897: "I must apologise for my writ since it is incoherent, because I am old, my hands Tremble So it is difficult for me to write".
Moberg’s entire version of the last letter home is derived from the letter above as well as from the letter Nicholas Swanson wrote to Ivar Widén, when Andrew had passed away.
You can find more interesting affinities if you read our pamphlet: "Andrew Peterson, the model for Karl Oskar – 100 similarities".
Copyright Andrew Petersonsällskapet