Edhegard Family

Edhegard Family

A "Memory Lane" Presentation given by
Tina Edhegard Lyrene
during the Heritage Day Festival
at the First Baptist Church Silverhill
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011

     Nils Sixten Edhegard was born in 1890 in Sweden. He left Sweden in 1915 as a Missionary of the Swedish Baptist Church to the Congo.

     Grace Ellen Miller was born in 1889 in Rantoul, Kansas. She grew up on a Kansas farm, attended the Methodist Church and taught in a one room schoolhouse. She then went to Nursing school in Kansas City and in 1914 left the US for the Congo as a missionary under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church.

     In the Congo, Grace and Sixten met and married and had their first child, a son who died in infancy while they were on board a ship to London in 1918. Their next child, Grace Esther was born in London. The Edhegard family then came to the US through Ellis Island to Clovis New Mexico where they farmed and where Conway and Agnes were born. Then Sixten accepted a call to the pastorate of a small Swedish Baptist Church in Manistee, Michigan. There Ruth and Tina were born.

     In 1926, the family moved to Silverhill, making the long drive in the family car. They moved into a farmhouse on 9th street and Hwy 52 on approximately 10 acres. That year the 1926 hurricane hit and the family weathered it in the barn on the farm.

     In addition to farming, the family had a feed store in the "Castle Crow" building. They sold chicken and livestock feed, and bought and sold eggs.

     Edith, Margaret and Paul were born, completing the family. The children played at Tiger Pond, swam in Perone Creek and worked, worked, worked. They were neighbors to the Dave Forsman Family, Lady Johnson, Mrs. Poppelham and Mr. Sputchak who sold them milk until could get their own cow. They walked to Silverhill School. Sometimes, walking to school, they would hear Joe Dvorak, who lived at 9th Street and Hwy 104, playing the violin. After 8th grade they attended Robertsdale High School riding a bus leaving from People's Supply driven by Ed Havel.

     Groceries came from People's Supply Company. Local health care was provided by Dr. Armstead or Dr. Hale. Many came to Grace for help with health problems because of her many years experience as a nurse. Dr Garrett provided dental care in Robertsdale. Mrs. Lundberg organized the community wide summer picnic which family members might attend. At first the family attended the Baptist Church, later the Mission Church where Grace and the children became active.

     Approximately 1935, the family moved into the Bank Building. The family lived in the three bedrooms upstairs and the feedstore and egg business were downstairs. This meant that the parents Grace and Sixten got one bedroom, sons Conway and Paul got one bedroom, and the six girls shared one bedroom. The children worked in the feedstore when not in school. Customers sometimes spoke Swedish or Czech, so it helped to be patient and listen keenly to try to accommodate everyone. Sixten and Albert Vitous would deliver eggs to the developing Delchamps stores in Mobile. There was no tunnel at that time so the trip was long.

     The family never had much money, but Grace was a strong unifying force and kept the children and extended family members in touch with each other, and all developed a strong sense of connection and love for each other, and a sense of rootedness in the community of Silverhill and attachment to its residents, its land and its history and customs.