The Richardsons---Arne and Anna
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Try To Remember...

Arne Sven Richardson (1902-1967) and Anna Johanna Swanson (1901-1991) were married in 1929 in Newton, MA.  They had two daughters, Nancy Louise Richardson Downey (1934-     )---wife of H. Bruce Downey (1934-    )---and Joanne (Jody) Elizabeth Richardson Frazer (1940-    )---widow of Herbert (Herb) C. Frazer (1935-2002).  Arne and Anna Richardson were Grandparents of H. Scott Downey (1959-    ), Stuart Dwight Downey (1960-2008), David Bruce Downey (1962-    ), John Frazer (1965-    ), and Steven Frazer (1967-    ).  Great Grandparents of Shaun David Downey (1987-    ), Landon Bruce Downey (1991-    ), Nicholas Garrett Downey (2003-    ), Jessica Ann Downey (1988-    ), Kristin Elizabeth Downey (1991-    ), Skye Elyse Downey (1986-    ), Logan Eric Downey (1997-    ), Caleb Ethan Downey (2000-    ), Ashley Nicole Frazer (1995-    ), and Quinn Patrick Frazer (2002-    ).  Great Great Grandparents of Skyler Dakota Hocutt (2006-    ) and Riley Johanna Downey (2007-    ).


Anna & her brother, John Swanson, & 2 children Anna cared for---straddling Arne's motorcycle.

But Anna wouldn't ride with Arne on his motorcycle, so he sold it. Note the car he traded for...

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 "These Richardssons'  Finnish - Swedish connections"   
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Two Stories.........................written by their oldest          daughter, Nancy Richardson Downey, November, 2003 

Story # 1: Remembering my father---

My father, Arne Sven Richardson, was born May 23, 1902 in Vasa, Finland.  His parents were Elsa Maria Svensson and Filip Richard Kuusinen.  Filip Richard, who was called "Harry," was a talented jeweler and organist in the Church.  He learned the jewelry business from his father who trained in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Elsa and Filip Richard had two more sons, Rainer, born in 1904, and Helge, born in 1906.  But in that same year, 1906, Filip Richard died of tuberculosis.  He was only 28 years old.

Now widowed with three small children, Elsa changed the family name to Richardsson, as she was a Swede and didn't want a Finnish name.  She selected the name because each of her boys were "Richard's son," hence "Richardsson."  Elsa's sister, Morster Anna Nyberg ("Morster" meaning "Mother's sister" or "Aunt") along with her own children, Astrid and Sten Nyberg, had already emigrated from Sweden to America when news of Elsa's husband's death first reached them.  Morster Anna and her two children then came back to Sweden to be with Elsa during Elsa's mourning period.

Morster Anna emigrated to America back in 1902 by a rather unusual event.  In the previous year, 1901, Anna's husband, Gustav Nyberg (known as Morbro Gustav, meaning "Mother's brother" or "Uncle"), won a large amount of money in the Swedish National Lottery.  Morbro Gustav told Morster Anna they were going to America.  "Not me" she said, and so initially, Gustav went to America by himself.  Gustav didn't know a word of English and studied an outdated Swedish to English translator book which used such old English terms such as "Thee" and "Thou" for "You".  Needless to say, Gustav's "English" was met with raised eyebrows when he landed in America.  He went to a suburb of Boston known as Dorchester and bought a brand new three-family house.  He rented out the lower two floors and lived on the top floor.  He also bought a car and got a job as a machinist, which was the trade he had previously learned in Sweden.  He stayed in America for a year and then went back to Sweden to get the rest of his family.  He finally convinced Morster Anna and so she and their then only child, Astrid, reluctantly went to America with Gustav.  In 1904, Gustav and Morster Anna had their second child, Sten.  Still longing for her homeland, Morster Anna was only too happy to go back to Finland to visit her sister, Elsa, and she would stay with her for at least a year.

After her husband Filip Richard's death, Elsa remained in Finland.  Then In 1916 when my father, Arne, was only 14 years old, he told his mother he was "joining the National Guard" but instead joined the "City Guard" which then became part of the Finnish Army.  At that time Finland was at war with Russia and my father was a machine gunner who saw military action on the Russian front.  He would remain in the Finnish Army for a year before they discovered that he was underage at which point they sent him home to Vasa, Finland.  When the Finnish-Russian war was over in 1918 Elsa promptly moved the family to Stockholm, Sweden where Elsa's father was a theatre director.  He found Elsa a position as household manager for a Swedish Countess friend of his.  My father and his two brothers, Rainer and Helge, continued their schooling in Sweden.  Arne learned the tool and die design business and also worked building steam engines that powered the Swedish Line ships of the day.

In 1922 Morster Anna and Morbro Gustav invited my father to come to America and stay with them.  Arne decided to go because he was then of age and would have had to serve once again in the Finnish Army.  My father was still a Finnish citizen even though he was living in Sweden at the time he became of draft-age.

And so my father came to America in 1922 at the age of 20 years old.  He lived with Morster Anna and Morbro Gustav until he married my mother, Anna Johanna Swanson, in 1929 and in that same year my father and a friend, Einar Johnson, founded the Boston Tool and Die Company.

Morster Anna and Gustav lived in their three-family house in Dorchester until first Anna died on Christmas Eve in 1940 and Morbro Gustav died eight years later in August, 1948.  Because Elsa's remaining two boys, Rainer and Helge, had returned to Finland and had families of their own there, Elsa herself returned to Finland where she died in 1953. But Elsa did come to America for a 6-month visit with my mother and father and me in 1936.  Despite being only 2 1/2 at the time, I remember quite a bit about my Grandmother's visit.  Our family spoke Swedish the entire time she was with us, so I too spoke Swedish at 2 1/2.  We spent some of the time on Cape Cod and my Grandmother Elsa would go to the beach fully clothed, including wearing a huge hat.  I remember her looking out of place compared to the rest of us.  She loved ice cream cones...especially Howard Johnson's ice cream cones.  When it came time for my Grandmother to return to Sweden/Finland, we all took a boat from Boston to New York where Elsa's departing ship was docked.  This Boston to New York boat trip made the boarding of her Swedish ship just that much easier.  The Boston to New York boat trip was an overnight trip and I remember refusing to go to bed unless I could sleep with my father, and so that's what we did.

My father died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in January, 1967, just one month after retiring.  He was 64 when he died.  Astrid Nyberg Johnson died in 1971 as did her brother, Sten.  Astrid's husband, Eric Johnson, went to Sweden in 1939 looking for work due to the depression.  Eric could not return to the U.S. because of World War II and he died in Sweden of a heart attack in 1942.  My mother was the last of my Swedish/Finnish relatives to die.  She lived out the remainder of her life in their Ft. Lauderdale home and died at the age of 89 in 1991.

...Nancy Richardson Downey, November, 2003

Story # 2: Remembering my mother---

My mother, Anna Johanna Svensson, was born in Rodeby, Sweden on October 6, 1901.  Her parents, Emma Charlotte and Gustav Adolf Svensson, had inherited a large farm. Following Anna's birth, they had three more children, Adolf in 1903, John in 1905, and Ruth in 1907.  In 1908 Gustav lost the farm because he had co-signed loans for his friends which were not repaid.  The family received a small house and piece of land from one of Gustav's brothers and early in the spring of 1909 Gustav died of pneumonia, leaving my Grandmother, Emma, a poor widow with four small children.

Life was very hard and after my mother finished 8th grade she was sent to her Aunt's house in Karlskrona, Sweden to find work.   My mother found a job in a bakery and also worked in her Aunt's house in the evenings as a cook, laundress, and other odd jobs.  Her Aunt had two daughters about Anna's age who treated her, not as "family," but like she was hired help.  My mother recalled having to go to the cellar to chop wood for the fire.  Her Uncle had hung himself years earlier in the exact spot in the cellar where my mother had to chop wood.

My mother stayed with her Aunt until she was 18 at which time (1919) another Aunt, Hilda Beck, who had previously emigrated to America, sent my mother money for a ticket to come to America.  She was of course very happy to leave Sweden, where she felt mistreated.  For the rest of her life my mother never once wanted to return to Sweden, not even for a visit.

In America my mother changed her name from "Svensson" to "Swanson" and found work as a domestic.  My mother was introduced to my father in 1923 by my mother's Aunt Hilda.  Hilda was a friend of my father's Aunt, Morster Anna, as Hilda and Anna were also members of the Swedish Club of Boston.

In 1928 my mother sent money to her brother, John, in Sweden for his passage to America.  John came and found both a job and a wife in Worcester, MA.  Later, after my sister, Joanne (1940) and I (1934) came along, our families would visit often, and Joanne and I really loved our Uncle John and Aunt Eivore Swanson.

My father and a close friend, Einar Johnson, started up their business---The Boston Tool and Die Company---in 1929.  My mother and father were then married in 1929 and rented a house on Flett Rd. in Belmont, MA where they would remain until 1939 when they built their house on Chester Street in Arlington, MA.  My sister, Joanne, and I grew up in a home where English was spoken most of the time---although my mother and father would speak Swedish when they didn't want us to know what they were talking about.  After a while, though, we were able to understand much of what they said anyway.

Joanne and I were raised in the Methodist Church in Belmont, MA.  We were expected to do well in school and were kept busy with piano lessons, ballet lessons, and elocution.  Elocution ? How many of today's kids take lessons in "elocution ?"

Our family spent every summer on Cape Cod where my parents bought a large two-story house on 3 lots in the Tahanto area of Pocasset, MA.  Of course we had swimming lessons and sailing lessons every summer.  And there were always relatives and friends staying with us virtually all summer long.  My father would stay the weekends, then drive back to Boston Tuesday mornings to work the remainder of a four-day work week, then back to the Cape every Friday evening.

My mother was a very intuitive person with a photographic memory.  After reading a page she could recite it word for word.  She was also a psychic.  One morning in 1948 I walked into the kitchen.  She was standing at the sink crying.  I asked her what was the matter ?  She said that the night before she awoke and her mother stood at the foot of her bed and said, "I came to say goodbye."  With that, the image of her mother vanished and my mother knew that her mother had died.  I then asked my mother, "What did she look like ?" and my mother said that "she looked like she looked the day I left for America."  Then later that very same day the telegram arrived with the news that Emma, her mother, had died.

My mother. with her photographic memory, was also a great story teller and Joanne and I were entertained by her memories of her Swedish childhood.  Also my mother never met a stranger, and she talked to everyone she ever met.  When we went to Boston from our home on Chester St. in Arlington to shop, we would always take the bus and subway, and my mother would talk to whoever was seated next to her, much to the embarrassment of her more reserved daughters.

My mother and father sold their house at 60 Chester Street in Arlington, MA and their house on Cape Cod in 1966 and moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL in December of that year.  Then in January, 1967, just six weeks after moving, my father died of a heart attack.

My mother continued living in her house in Ft. Lauderdale for the remainder of her life.  She loved all her five grandsons and visited with both Joanne and me part of every year until 1979 when she refused to fly anymore.  She was hard of hearing and on her last flight home the pilot made the announcement that the plane was being diverted from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami.  She never heard the announcement and was so disoriented when she landed at the Miami Airport that she vowed never to fly again, and she never did.  From 1979 to 1991 we would visit her yearly at her home in Ft. Lauderdale until she died in 1991.  She was 89.

Both my mother and my father are buried side-by-side, with the inscription, "Together Forever," in The Ft. Lauderdale Memorial Park.

....Nancy Richardson Downey, November, 2003 

Arne Sven Richardson (1902-1967) and Anna Johanna Swanson (1901-1991) were married in 1929 in Newton, MA.  They had two daughters, Nancy Louise Richardson Downey (1934-     )---wife of H. Bruce Downey (1934-    )---and Joanne (Jody) Elizabeth Richardson Frazer (1940-    )---widow of Herbert (Herb) C. Frazer (1935-2002).  Arne and Anna Richardson were Grandparents of H. Scott Downey (1959-    ), Stuart Dwight Downey (1960-2008), David Bruce Downey (1962-    ), John Frazer (1965-    ), and Steven Frazer (1967-    ).  Great Grandparents of Shaun David Downey (1987-    ), Landon Bruce Downey (1991-    ), Nicholas Garrett Downey (2003-    ), Jessica Ann Downey (1988-    ), Kristin Elizabeth Downey (1991-    ), Skye Elyse Downey (1986-    ), Logan Eric Downey (1997-    ), Caleb Ethan Downey (2000-    ), Ashley Nicole Frazer (1995-    ), and Quinn Patrick Frazer (2002-    ).  Great Great Grandparents of Skyler Dakota Hocutt (2006-    ) and Riley Johanna Downey (2007-    ).