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The Great Northern War
Sunday, 5 August 2012
The fate of Dmitry Mikhailovich
Topic: Prisoners of war

On 28 March 1719 Queen Ulrika Eleonora declared that Russian prisoners of war who wanted to settle in Sweden and take up some trade they had learnt would have the liberty to do so. Swedish citizens who wished to employ Russian prisoners and take responsibility for them would also be free to do so. In mid-July, at the height of the Russian attacks on the east coast, the policy was changed and the it was decided that the Russians must be arrested. One man who got caught up in this was a certain Dmitry Mikhailovich or Demetrius Mickelsson (as he was called in Sweden). Mickelsson had been captured at the battle of Fraustadt. He was first brought to Göteborg and stayed there for six years. Mickelsson was then sent to Halmstad, where he had been for one year. After that he was sent to Dalarna, where he in 1719 had lived for eight years. This suggests that he was captured during the fighting near Fraustadt in 1704 and not during the battle in 1706. Mickelsson had come to the parish of Folkärna, where he married a soldier's widow on 13 May 1715. She died the following year and Demetrius on 18 November 1716 married a woman called Margareta Ersdotter. In 1719 they had one daughter together and Demetrius had taken up farming as his wife's parents were old and infirm. He had also adopted the Lutheran faith. The farm (which his parents-in-law owned)  was quite large, so Demetrius paid a substantial tax. He assured the Swedish authorities that he had no wish to return to Russia and feared falling into Russian hands as he would then be punished for his marriage and his conversion. Demetrius also pointed out that no one took care of the farm while he was arrested. The College of War (Krigskollegium) decided that Demetrius should be released, but the local bailiff was instructed to keep an eye on him. 

Due to the quite well preserved ecclesiastical records of Folkärna parish it's quite easy to follow Demetrius Mickelsson. He seems to have fared quite well, eventually having three daughters with his Swedish wife. When he died on 24 April 1758, according to records at the age of 75, the local priest wrote that "he had left his wife in sorrow and illness". Demetrius had "generally lived quietly and in seriousness", the priest added. Margareta died four months later. At that time their three daughters were all alive, so most likely there are today descendants of Demetrius and Margareta.

Sources: 

Krigskollegii brevböcker 1719, page 93 ff.

Folkärna kyrkoarkiv C: 2, E I:1 (1716-1755), F: I (1749-1776)


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 5:53 PM MEST
Updated: Monday, 6 August 2012 9:28 AM MEST
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