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Lotta “Masa-Lotta” Johannisson

Nov 17, 2022

1850–1903

Village original. Lotta Johannisson grows up with her parents and three siblings in Tunnerstad on Visingsö. She is nicknamed “Masa-Lotta” (which roughly means “Slow-walking Lotta”) and earns a living as the town messenger of the Visingsö Islanders. Once or twice a week, she travels to Jönköping by boat to run errands and make purchases for the islanders. She can neither read nor write, but has a very good memory. In addition to the errands, she brings goods, such as eggs and butter, from the island to sell. During the winter, the boat does not go to Jönköping. Then Masa-Lotta instead takes the boat that goes to Gränna, and from there she walks all the way down to Jönköping. She carries all the baskets and packages herself.

It is said that Masa-Lotta’s large size and strength scare away potential suitors. She doesn’t care much about her appearance and is described as “unruly”, but she is also very kind-hearted. When Masa-Lotta is just over 50 years old, she suffers from pneumonia which eventually takes her life.

Masa-Lotta Johannisson. Grenna Museum’s archive.

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