Ancestor Crimes

Many thanks to Per Carlzon of Sweden for contributing the following information about the crimes of some of Lars Pehrsson's ancestors.

We have been taught from childhood that the Wild West was in the USA in the 19th century. Names like Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy are well known, especially after movies with Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Val Kilmer and Gene Hackman, etc. Then we have all "spaghetti" movies made by Sergio Leone with Clint Eastwood but also Cartwright, the Macahan and High Chaparral as well as Karl May's books with Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. I could go on and on the whole day. But I think every county has had its own "Wild West". We see it today in Russia and Albania. When I read about the crimes in Sweden during the 17th century I discovered that it was the same here, with vendettas and brutal killings. You will discover it in the cases that our relatives took part.


1618. In the archive, October 21, 1618, Lars Hanson accused Truls Wastesson of shooting his stepbrother Per Larsson to death. Per Larsson had hired a man (could it be an enlistment?). Per Larsson shall pay with a horse or maybe keep him with a horse. [The text is quite disconnected]. Therefore Per Larsson traveled with his wife to Slätafly (where Truls Wastesson lived) and asked for Truls' colt. In the archive it says that Truls lied in defense. At the end of the trial it was clear that Truls Wastesson and Matz Nilsson came to Per Larsson to retake the horse which he had taken from Truls, and did not unlawfully enter Larsson’s residence. Back to the events. Truls and his stepfather didn't agree about the horses (now it was a question of several horses). During the quarrel in Per Larsson’s home, Per had cut Truls Wastesson with an axe. Truls crawled under the table and when he came to the other side of the table, Per Larsson again cut after Truls. If the axe hadn't gotten stuck (maybe in the table?), he would have killed Truls Wastesson. When they came out from the house and Per saw that Truls had a rifle, he begged him two or three times to shoot. (Maybe in a provoking way. Shoot if you dare!) At this time Truls Wastesson shot him to death. The whole jurisdictional district prayed for Truls’ life to be spared. If it was possible, because Per Larsson had always been restless and many times escaped from Sweden to Denmark and back again. February 18, 1620 Lars Hanson declared that the family gave Truls Wastesson the possibility to pay a fine for his freedom. Truls continued to cultivate the farm in Slätafly.

It never rains but it pours. In the 1640's there was war between Denmark and Sweden, and the borderlands were hard affected. In 1644 the Danes killed Waste Trulsson (son of Truls Wastesson). His whole property was stolen. The farm became free from taxes. In 1645 it says that the farm was deserted.


1645. Botil Nilsdotter, the wife of Carl Andersson. January 9, 1645,

Botil Nilsdotter accused Per Sonesson and his father of killing her husband Carl Andersson. According to the sheriff (Nils Larsson), Carl Andersson was first a soldier but deserted three times and ran away to Denmark. Three years ago he brought a unmarried woman to Denmark. According to Sone he was attacked by Carl Andersson when they both were going to meet the county administrator, to sort things out or to reconcile. Not far from Skörebo (where Sone lived) Carl Andersson attacked Sone and bit the nose into pieces, stabbed him with a knife in the head and on the hands when he tried to defend himself. Per Sonesson told the judge that he heard his father miserable call. Han ran there and saw Sone lie down under Carl Andersson, with the blood on both hands and on the whole face. When he came closer Carl Andersson raised up and went on to Per Sonesson with the knife. With both amazement and fear, Per Sonesson hit Carl Andersson with his axe-head. Carl Andersson was hit under his ear, thereafter he said nothing and died two days later.

I don't understand the verdict, but it seems that Per Sonesson was judged for the murder. But he didn't lose his life, because in 1658 Kirstin Andersdotter tried to divorce her husband, Per Sonesson, since he had run away with another woman to Blekinge (a province in Sweden).

SOURCE: Tomas Alriksson


1646. The oaks. Anders Larsson, born around 1578, (son of Lasse Jonsson, grandson of Jon Holmesson and great-grandson of Holme Bildt) was accused of cutting down oaks in 1646. At that time oaks were State-owned property, because they were used to build ships. But when the crime came to trial in 1651, both Anders and his wife were dead, so the children didn't need to pay for the crime.

Like father, like son.


1661. Nils Andersson. The peasant Nils Andersson was a wedding guest on November 10, 1661 at the home of Nils Andersson in Fenjabo. At the party Nils Andersson was attacked indoors by Gumme. The other guests separated them and everyone believed that Gumme had gone home. When Nils Andersson went out to make water, Gumme again attacked him. The fight ended with Gumme dead,  and Nils Andersson was condemned to death. But Nils Andersson must have been acquitted or gotten mitigation when the punishment was tested in the court of appeal, because he continued to live in Bränderås.


1663. Another relative, Waste Andersson, was judged to run the gauntlet. I think it was six times (1663), but his father Anders Bondesson, managed to buy him free every time. What Waste had done is nowhere to be found.


1664. Lars Svensson and Sven Larsson as well as Per Erlandsson. The peasant Lars Svensson had December 21, 1664 bitten and knifed Per Andersson from Brunsmo, so badly that he died three weeks later. Per Andersson's son Anders sued the perpetrators Lars Svensson in Hallasjö and his father Sven Larsson in Labbekulla, before the court. The matter was discussed at the district court session in Vassmolösa between February 22 and 24, 1666.

Lars Svensson had a shepherd girl, Elin, who watched the cattle. (Once a cow had broken one leg and was forced to slaughter, but Lars Svensson hadn't asked for any compensation). Elin was treated well and was happy with her master (according to her). But her grandmother Elisabeth want the girl back at Brunsmo and she had persuaded the peasants Per Andersson and his son Anders Persson to follow her to Hallasjö to bring Elin back. Per Andersson brought a rifle along and Anders Persson brought a cudgel. According to witnesses they first went into Lars Svensson's cottage, where they were served food and beer. When they had consumed a few pots of beer, the host's father Sven Larsson said he didn't want any more beer and it was time to make a move. Per Andersson, who sat with the rifle between his legs, said he wanted to drink more. His son who sat at the door exhorted Elin to pick up her clothes and follow him home. Elin then answered that she didn't want to come along with them, that she rather would stay in Hallasjö. Lars Svensson then told Anders Persson, that if they took the girl, then it would end up in the court. Sven Larsson said that Elin was neither a daughter nor a relative of Anders Persson. Upon hearing this fact Anders Persson lost his temper, took the cudgel and hit Sven Larsson in his head, so the blood ran. Lars Svensson came to his father's rescue and with a stick hit Anders Persson against his head and one arm. Now it was Per Andersson's son turn to defend his son and with the butt-end he gave Sven Larsson such a violent blow against the right arm that it became paralyzed. Lars Svensson that again was sitting at the table, held by his wife, saw his father brutally beaten and pulled away from his wife, got the rifle and knifed Per Andersson with his knife in three fingers, to force him to drop the rifle, and then stabbed him a flesh wound in the back. This was the end of the fight and the Brunsmo peasants went home. The barber Lars Andersson in Karsjö, took care of the hurt person in three weeks. According to him the injury in the back was just a flesh wound and not a grave injury. Per Andersson had also complained about pain on the other side of the arm, where neither bruises or blood wounds could be discerned. The night before he died, he talked about reconciliation with his adversaries. Anders Persson told the court that they had come to Hallasjö without malice. Their purpose was to help cut lumber. Because he was a crofter he felt he was at a disadvantage before the court. Someone in the jury suggested that he should with oath assure that they had come without malice to Hallasjö. The foreman of the jury, Per Erlandsson (who you also are related to) declared that it wouldn't be necessary.

At the judge's discussion the oldest of the jurymen could tell that the killed for more than 30 years ago was enlisted (as a soldier), but fled to Blekinge where he since then had been living. He was a troubled man.

The court couldn't do anything else than sentence him to death, because he had broken against God's law and the 2nd of the Pentateuch. But the court applied for pardon of two reasons:

1.      God can decide if the dead person's old stitch in the side or the knife only sting had caused his death.

2.      Because the killer never had done any wrong, without being calm and devout.

People prayed for the judged (Lars Svensson), even Anders Persson and his relatives did, but they demanded money.

The verdict was placed under the court of appeal, but its decision hasn't been found. Lars Svensson continued to live in Hallasjö, and should therefore have been pardoned.

SOURCE: Tomas Alriksson

Lars Svensson's grandmother, Karin, was accused of smuggling.


1686. Here come more criminals and a brutal crime, where one of our relatives took part. His name was Lars Olufsson. He was a notorious criminal in the Torsås area in the 17th century.

A great problem in 17th century was the many highwaymen and bandits who operated in the borderlands between Småland and Blekinge. Stealing, fights, killings and other crimes were frequent. Thick-skinned and indecent fellows who ranged in the forests committed these crimes. Such bandits were Anders Smålänning, Joan Styckie, Lowa-Jonn, Bastare-Håkan etc. Most notorious of them all were Håkan Trulsson (called Tjuva Håkan=thief Håkan) and Lars Olofsson (called Lönbo-Lasse).

In 1686, the Sunday after Midsummer Day, came Håkan Tyggesson together with Lönbo-Lasse and Tjuva-Håkan to Jöns Nilsson in Glosebo. But he was in the church at the moment, so they could easily fish pikes in the mere near to the farm. When Jöns Nilsson came home, they started to argue about the fishing earlier that day. Tjuva-Håkan and Lönbo-Lasse mingled in the fight, and Tjuva-Håkan went forward to Jöns and said that he (Jöns) had spoken badly about Tjuva-Håkan to the parson. Jöns denied that, but Håkan took a few steps back, raised the rifle and shot Jöns. The criminals fled from the scene of their crime, and the next day Jöns died.

Håkan Tyggesson was judged for the participation in the murder. But in front of judge he told a story of how the day of the killing of Jöns, had done innocent pleasures. Fishing of pikes and hunting wild-ducks. He managed to convince the judge that he was innocent. He was set free, but he was judged to pay fine for trade with stolen properties (another crime not related to the killing of Jöns Nilsson). Tjuva-Håkan was judged for the murder, but he managed to flee. Soldiers were sent after him, but it took nearly two years before the justice caught him up. In May 1688 Tjuva-Håkan visited Amund in Skälstången. Amund gave him food and Scandinavian vodka. When Tjuva-Håkan swaggered about all crimes he had done, Amund lost his temper and with an axe-head hit him twice in the head. Tjuva-Håkan died, but Amund wasn't charged for the killing. The legality in the killing of Tjuva-Håkan was never questioned.

People were satisfied and calmed down when Tjuva-Håkan was executed. Earlier that year Lönbo-Lasse had also been condemned to death and was now in safe custody in Kalmar castle. They just awaited the court of appeal to ratify the death sentence. But they wouldn't be rid of him that easily.

His original name was Lars Olsson/Olufsson. In his youth he served four years as a soldier. Even then he had stolen things and had to run the gauntlet six times in Vassmolösa. Later he joined the band of highwaymen, who lived in the forests. During a few years he had operated together with Tjuva-Håkan, who had been a loyal servant to him. The second intercession day 1686, they went to Anders Larsson in Buskabod, Fridlevstad. He was away on the morning service. Every man was in the church, so the thieves could operate undisturbed. A few women were left but Lasse and Håkan got rid of them by locking them up in a cottage on the farm. It was the hope chest they wanted. Håkan kept watch while Lasse in peace and quiet could take the expensive articles: 9 silver belts, 16 silver chains, 5 silver spoons, 2 silver rings, 2 pair of leather breeches, 10 chamois leathers, 1 coat with silver buckle, skirts, shoes, trousers, sweaters, gloves, caps, various jewelry in silver, etc. In "Danska Flyen" they unlawfully had taken silver and clothes, and in Elmbo, Konga jurisdictional district, they had stolen one silver spoon and one cheese, while the owner watched. But Lasse had much more than these crimes on his conscience, and the jury and the peasantry in Torsås and Vissefjärda parishes complained miserably about his and his fellow's indecent robberies, which filled the people with terror. But now he was jailed in Kalmar castle, in safe custody. They all believed.

The court of appeal changed the verdict, from death to run gauntlet twice and then work the rest of his life with iron collar in Marstrand. After he had run the gauntlet he managed to escape twice from those who should have taken him to Marstrand. Soon he was back in his home districts, but he didn't dare/risk to stay at his wife's house. Instead he lived in the forests between Lönbo and Glosebo. He hoped to get a pardon from the king so he kept quiet for a year without hurting any people. There were many that were accused in front of the judge because during this time they had housed or given him food and drink. It was worse for Maria Persdotter in Öjebomåla who had let him in while the man-servants tried to catch him. She denied it, but was convicted when they found Lasse's coat hanging in her hall. Then she confessed that she had helped him escaped from the window when the sheriff entered. For her offense she was whipped. But it didn't take long time before Lasse was back in the game again. Six weeks before Easter in 1690, he met Ingier Åkesdotter in Långemåla in Tvings parish. She became a loyal companion. The day after Easter they went north on a false passport. According to Lars the reason was that he should get work in Kopparberget and by that save his own life. Outside Linköping they were caught and removed to Kalmar castle. In June 1690 pro tempore district court-session was held in Vassmolösa to hear Lars Olsson. The session continued in two days, during which Lasse's whole register of sins passed in review before a large public. Besides stealing, he was also accused of various faults. In Kroksmåla while the people were in church, he had frightened the old man Jon Persson and his wife (who were at home and watched the farm) so they were forced to flee to the forest, whereupon he undisturbed could grab whatever he wanted. At Tygge in Skruvemåla, Gumme in Petamåla and Per in Hägemåla, he had stolen silver. In Torhult he had hit Per Germundsson, taken food and drink, barked on his wife and fired his rifle, so the wad had fallen on a maid carrying Per's child. Boatswain Hindrich Malm was hit with the rifle under the left ear.

A purse, which Lasse had when they captured him, consisted of silver (which had stolen from Johan Svensson in Långasjö). A leather purse contained witchcraft articles, among these a snakehead, a fetal membrane, rowan, a raven heart, etc. He had been given these things on the way to Marstrand, but he said that he didn't know the purpose of these things or the name of the man who had given him these things. It was illegal to devote to black magic.

Many people came to the judge and accused Lars of thefts they believed Lars had done. Lasse answered them by saying they shouldn't accuse him of things he hadn't done. Lasse said that there were people who committed crimes. He continued to say that Per Löf's wife in Bungamåla, had asked him to get her arsenic to kill her stepson. Lasse also knew what Gertrud Jonsdotter in Stålberg should mix in the drinks to get rid of an uncomfortable witness. Lars Olsson was exorted consider his eternal souls blessedness and truthful confession of what more he had done those years he spent in the forest. But he claimed that he had nothing more to admit and applied for pardon. The Judge for the second time condemned him to death. This time the sentence was carried out. He was hanged October 1, 1690.

SOURCE: Laurentius Larsson