Generations 4 — 6
My second great grandfather, 4 Charles H. Lett, was born September 5, 1819, in Sweden. It is doubtful if he used the Lett surname while in Sweden. The Swedes were pretty liberal about changing their surname until well into the 19th century, as they used patronymic naming conventions, and a person could have several surnames during the course of life.
This does not make genealogy research any easier.
When first arriving in the U.S. in 1849, Charles and his wife, 4 Caroline (Johnson) Lett, who was born July 16, 1824, in Sweden, used the surname Anderson. The 1850 census found them in Lockridge Township, Jefferson County, Iowa, not far from the city of Fairfield.
By the Iowa state census of 1854, they were in Burlington Township (Des Moines County), the county where they resided thereafter.
By the 1860 census, they were no longer Andersons, but using the surname Lett.
They had nine children. John, their oldest child, was born at sea while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Two died in infancy. 5 Walter Theodore Lett, my great grandfather, was the youngest of the family who lived into adulthood.
Charles Lett died in February 1905, about nine months after his wife, Caroline. They are both buried at the Swedish Lutheran Cemetery in Huron Township of Des Moines County.
Their children were:
John A. Lett (1849 — 1939). He married Margaret "Maggie" Anderson, they moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa, had a long but rocky marriage and nine children.
William A. Lett (1853 — 1915) moved to Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois, in about 1875, and settled there. He married Dorothy M. Kile (1863 — 1931), and had a daughter, Maude Ellet (Lett) Bohan.
Josephine Lett (1855 — 1929), who married Alfred Gustav Johnson (1848 — 1932), a native of Sweden, who lived in Morning Sun, Iowa. They were the parents of eleven children, several of whom died young. Dale Brumm has stated Alfred Johnson was related somehow to the family of Samuel and Hannah Honson and their daughter, my great grandmother, 5 Ella Matilda (Johnson) Lett.
Emma Christine Lett (1858 — 1901). She married August Frederik "Gus" Abrahamson of Sweden, settled near Mediapolis, Iowa, and had five children, one of whom died in infancy.
Frank H. Lett (1861 — 1942) followed his brother William into Keithsburg, Illinois, and they were in business together. After William's early death in 1915, Frank continued to tend to the extended family, his sister-in-law and niece, Dorothy and Maude. Frank never married.
James Albert "Jim" Lett (1862 — 1937), who also didn't marry, and lived his life in Mediapolis, Iowa. According to his obituary, he died suddenly while sitting and talking with friends at the 'Faris cream station' February 20, 1937.
Walter Theodore Lett (1866 — 1953), my great grandfather, who married Ella Matilda Johnson (1870 — 1930)
An infant who was born and died before 1900*
A second infant, also born and died before 1900*
*The two children who died in infancy, are thought to have existed because the 1900 federal census information for their mother, Caroline, stated she had been the mother of 9 children. Otherwise, I had no information from other family members about these two.
Walter and Ella (Johnson) Lett were married in 1892 at the home of W. W. Dodge in Burlington, Iowa. He was 25 years of age and she was 21.
Their two children were 6 Bertha Leota Lett, my grandmother, who married 6 Clayton Brumm, and Charles William "Charlie" Lett, who died at age 18 from the flu in 1918.
They lived in Mediapolis, but moved to Burlington about 1918, apparently before their son Charlie, who had moved to Burlington as well, died. By that point their daughter, Bertha, was married to Clayton Brumm and was living in Illinois (until 1919 when they returned to take over the Brumm family farm).
Walter worked for the Leopold Desk Company in Burlington for many years. They lived on North 6th Street and later on Bartlett, where Ella died in 1930 of liver cancer. Apparently Walter remarried, he at least became involved with another woman after Ella's death, though it was apparently short-lived. She may have absconded with the family china.
At the end of his life, Walter had a stroke and was moved to a nursing home in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He died in the Mt. Pleasant hospital on May 23, 1953.