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Granny’s bedchamber

Grandmother Irene, the epitome of a homemaker, lived in this chamber. Her portrait, with her husband Erik August, is on the chest of drawers. A portrait of Jens (one of Irene and Erik’s nine children) and his beautiful first wife who died young in childbirth hangs on the north wall. On the west wall, there is a picture of Sven’s dog, who was called Paik. ...

Paik was a loyal life companion who sailed with his captain on the Herzogin Cecilie for several years. After Irene’s death in the 1950s, this chamber also included a small kitchen. At that time, Peder and Rey Eriksson shared the house. The couch with a hand-knotted rug could be opened up, and it served as a bed.

Everything about her was old, but without the pathos and dilapidation of age; her back was still straight and supple, and although she was large, she was neither fat nor cumbersome. There was more written in her face than anyone as young as I then could read, but it was fascinating because of this. The flat but not sagging cheeks, the straight brows, the long curve of the jaw, the curled nostrils of the pronounced nose, the large but not filmy eyes, the finely moulded forehead – these must have all made a remarkable handsome young face…

Pamela Eriksson in her book The Duchess: The Life and Death of the Herzogin Cecilie.

August and Irene Eriksson

August (born in 1856) got possession of Pellas after his father, Erik Petter. He also became the shipowner of Freja after his father. August started his seaman career at the age of 13 as a ship’s boy. After passing a merchant marine examination, he became captain of schooner Cedia, barques Augusta and Tähti, and schooner Freja before becoming a full-time farmer at Pellas in 1902. August was known as a very careful shipmaster who did not take unnecessary risks.

August was a member of the municipal council and parish board, and he was interested in politics. August’s wife, Irene, was a member of Åland’s maritime nobility and was Mathias Lundqvist senior’s daughter from the Hinders farm, Flaka. Mathias was one of the most important shipowners in Lemland; rumour has it that it was a marriage of convenience between two important families. August died in 1931 and Irene in 1954.

The couple had nine children: Filip, Nils, Sally, Adele, Mery, Ebba, Jens, Sven, and Peder. Filip died at a young age after getting ill on his way to New York, where he was also buried. Filip, Nils, and Sven followed in the footsteps of their father and grandfather and became sea captains. After disembarking, Nils became a farmer in Norrby. Sven also disembarked and was a farmer at Pellas for a while before moving to South Africa. Jens and Mery settled on their own farms near Pellas. Sally and Adele moved to their spouses’ farms in Lemland’s Norrby and Flaka. Ebba never married, remaining at Pellas. The youngest son, Peder, moved to the USA.

Herzogin Cecilie and Pellas

Sven Eriksson, born at Pellas in 1903, became known as the young captain of Herzogin Cecilie. It was the flagship of Ålandian major shipowner Gustaf Erikson’s grand sailing fleet. Sven started his seaman career on the barque Prompt. After that, he sailed as a mate on Killoran, Baltic, and Jenolin before becoming the youngest captain of Gustaf Erikson’s sailing ship in 1929.

Sven was Herzogin Cecilie’s captain when the vessel ran aground on the coast of Devon, England in 1936. Sven’s wife Pamela Eriksson was on board on the vessel’s last journey. The couple had met on the boat on an earlier voyage, when Pamela was aboard as a passenger. After the shipwreck of Herzogin Cecilie, Sven and Pamela Eriksson came home to Pellas before moving to South Africa with their two children after the Second World War.

To Sven and the family, the shipwreck was a sad event that cast a shadow on their lives. At that time, a shipwreck was big news, and the spot attracted legions of people who wanted to see the vessel and watch the rescue work that lasted for months. After Herzogin Cecilie, Sven did not act as a captain again but became a farmer, first at Pellas and later on his own farm in South Africa. He died in South Africa in 1954 and is buried in the family grave in the Lemland cemetery. His wife, Pamela, lived the last years of her life in Åland and died in 1984. The excerpt from Lundberg’s book below describes how Sven introduced his wife, whom Lemland’s farmers considered exotic and different.

Ni ska tro att det blir uppståndelse när Stella kommer till Granboda. Som skökan i Babylon i hatt och eldröd sidenklänning står hon i Lemlands kyrka medan prästen läser upp lysningen för henne och Josef. Och Josef njuter, han har slagit hela bygden med häpnad och fått alla halsar att vändas. […]  ”Ja, nog er det en vacker körka, fan ta mig”, konverserar hon […] Och mera i samma stil som ger oss anledning att betvivla att hon är döpt och konfirmerad. Hon använder vad hon har lärt sig av jungmän och matroser, för med Josef och styrmännen talade hon engelska. […] Nu står hon i Simons sal och säger: ”Her har jag bodd i ett tidigare liv. Ner jag kom in tenkte jag att no er jag hemma.

Ulla-Lena Lundberg in her book Stora världen.