(Edited by Gus’s grand nephew Charlie Ekburg)
August (Gus) Ekburg b. 1869 – d. 1950
August Ekburg (Gus) was born in Eksjö, Sweden in 1869 (1950). We believe he and his brother’s Charlie, John (Jon) and Karl emigrated to the States in the 1890’s initially settling in Alamosa then Silverton, Colorado. He and his brother moved to La Plata sometime before 1897.
Gus married to a lady named Mary Grahn on April 12, 1901 in Pueblo, Colorado. Nine months later, Mary gave birth to their only child Elvira Ekburg (1/6/1902) in Silverton, Colorado.
We do not know what work or industry Gus and Charlie engaged while in Silverton nor do we have stories or documents telling us how Gus or Mary made it to La Plata City. We know through family lore that Gus and his brother Charlie worked in mining and helped other miners with their annual assessment work.
Gus and Charlie were hard-rock miners; they located the White Di’Mond lode claims in the summer of 1897, some time after they had located the Black Di’Mond mining claims. These claims were in the California Mining district, adjacent to Little Kate mine and near the Tomahawk mine in the Basin Creek basin. The White and Black Di’Mond mine portals day-lighted at over 11,000 feet in elevation near Diorite Peak.
Mary Grahn Ekburg died in the 1917-18 flu epidemic. We have no official records of her death or interment (ongoing study). We make the assumption that Gus buried her in the La Plata cemetery, but that is pure speculation on our part. We may have only a few images of Mary.
In 1929, about 12 years after Mary’s death, Gus took a second wife named Signe (Vic) Kronlund, a widow who reportedly had lost her husband in a carriage accident a few years earlier in Illinois. Signe married this first husband, named John Erik Kronland in Chicago, Illinois; they had a daughter named Fekla Signe Mae Kronlund. Gus and Signe married on April 5, 1929 in La Plata County, Colorado; Signe’s daughter Mae lived with them until Gus’s death in 1950. No stories exist in my memory or in family archives about how they met.
Gus acquired a home and lived in La Plata city, Colorado. Later, after his daughter Elvira’s marriage to Arvid Alexander, another casehardened Swede, Arvid moved from Silverton to work at the Black Di’Mond mine, prompting Gus to acquired a second home. Gus and Signe had three houses in La Plata City, the “Red House”, “Blue House”, and the “Square House”. All three houses exist today (2016), only two, the Red and Square, are owned and maintained by the Alexander family.
Gus purchased the “Red House” from the Gold King milling co., and moved it to La Plata City giving it to his daughter Elvira as a playhouse. The Alexander family added to it over the years converting it to a livable cabin.
Gus lived in the canyon (Blue House) until his death, after which Signe and her daughter Mae left the area and ultimately moved to Finland in 1950. Records show Signe buried Gus in the Greenmont cemetery Durango, Colorado, but because of poor marking and record keeping we can’t find Gus’s exact grave site, just the general area. We are investigating a small anomaly regarding Gus’s burial site. According to Greenmont records Gus’s grave is in the older part of the cemetery where according to attendants, they have not added new graves for many decades. Gus’s brother Charlie, his wife and son are buried in a newer part of the cemetery and they passed before Gus.
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Mary Ekburg (Grahn) Gus’s first wife
Signe Ekburg (Kronland) Gus’s second wife.