Knut Johan Bäckstrand(1) was born 3 March 1775, in Sällsnäs, Långaryd Parish, Jönköping, Sweden, the son of Conrad Bäckstrand and Juliana Berchman. He was a soldier. His grandson, Nels Peter Conrad Beckstrand, recorded the following in his history: "While at war, his [Knut Johan's] ship was captured. He and five others got into a life boat and escaped. They sailed around for several days without food or water before they were rescued."
Knut Johan married Elin Pehrsdotter on 10 April 1796. They had one daughter, Catharina Elisabeth, born 17 July 1802. Knut and Elin resided on a farm called "Boarp Norregard" in the northern tip of Långaryd Parish. In 1805, they moved south-east about 40 miles to Femsjö Parish near Lake Yaberg where Knut was apparently assigned in the army. They lived in the Third Rotrin Barracks of Yaberg. Knut's younger sister, Maja Stina Beckstrand, was also at Third Rotrin as a servant (washerwoman) in the household of Lieutenent Cederschjold. Knut, Elin and Catharina returned to Boarp Norregard in 1812. Knut's uncle, Lieutenent Liborius Berchman, lived with them for a while. Knut's parents, Conrad and Juliana Beckstrand had moved to Granstorp, Villstad Parish (about 30 miles northwest) in 1802. In 1818, Conrad died. Knut, Elin, and Catharina moved to Granstorp in 1819 and lived with his mother, Juliana. In 1820, Catharina Elisabet returned to Långaryd to work as a farmhand. On 1 March 1834, she married Anders Andersson of Södra Hestra Parish (to the west). They moved to Södra Hestra to a farm called "Granhult". They had five children, three sons and two daughters (Johannes, born 28 March 1834; Emanuel, born 13 November 1835 and died in infancy; Lena, born 29 July 1937; Emanuel, born 6 April 1843; and Marta, born 15 December 1846).
Knut's first wife, Elin died on 26 June 1823 in Villstad. He married Ingerd Jacobsdotter on 13 February 1825 in Villstad. Knut and Ingerd became parents of three children: Christina (24 December 1825), Karl Johan (26 June 1829) and Elias August (21 October 1832). These three (Christina, Karl Johan and Elias August) are our Beckstrand ancestors who had the courage to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The two brothers and sister went to Denmark for work. By this time, their parents had died--their mother, Ingerd, on 13 January 1844 in Villstad and their father, Knut Johan, on 18 September 1847, also in Villstad. In Denmark, they heard the Gospel. Karl Johan was baptized on 26 June 1858 at age twenty-nine. Elias August was baptized several months later on 16 February 1859. Christina and her husband, Pehr Pehrsson, were baptized 9 June 1861. They emigrated to Utah with a group of Scandinavian Saints.
The three, with their individual families, were called to settle in Millard County in central Utah. A few years later, Christina and Pehr were called to go to southeastern Utah. They ultimately settled Emery County. Karl Johan died in Millard County but his sons later settled in Shelley and Ririe, Idaho, areas. Elias August remained in Millard County as did some of his children and grandchildren.
(1) In the original Swedish records, Beckstrand is spelled Bäckstrand with the umlaut (two dots) over the first "a" giving a "short e" sound; hence the "Beck" spelling.