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New Sweden (Me.).

The story of New Sweden [electronic resource] : as told at the quarter centennial celebration of the founding of the Swedish colony in the woods of Maine, June 25, 1895 online

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Online LibraryNew Sweden (Me.)The story of New Sweden [electronic resource] : as told at the quarter centennial celebration of the founding of the Swedish colony in the woods of Maine, June 25, 1895 → online text (page 1 of 8)
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HON. WILLIAM WIDGEUY THOMAS, JR.

THK lOUNDEU OK SKW SWKDKN.



THE STORY



OF



NEW SWEDEN



AS TOLD AT



THE QUARTER CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION



OF THE

FOUNDING OF THE SWEDISH COLONY
IN THE A^^OODS OF

MAINE ^ • I

June: 25, 1395




PORTLAND, MAINE

LORING, SHORT & HARMON
1896



\



&''



This volume is published under the direction of

MiCHKAL U. NORBERG, JOHAN A. WkSTIN, (ind OlOF P. FOGELIN,

Committee on Publication.

The extemporaneous speeches at the Celebration were stenographed,

and the volume edited, by

Stanley J. Estes.



THE TIIUnSTON PRINT
POUTLANIJ, ME.



CONTENTS.

Page
The Celebration, ........ 9

Opexing Address by the President, F, O. Landgrane, 1H

Prayer by Rbv. D. S. Jenks, 15

Address of Welcome, by Rev. Michael U. Norberg, . 17
Oration BY HoN^. William W. Thomas, Jr., ... 25
Address of Hon. William W. Thomas, Sr., . . . 103
Address of Hon. Charles F. Daggett, . . .105

Address of Hon. Herbert L. Shepherd, . . . ,100
Address of Hon. Charles A. Boutelle, M. C, . . 107

Address of Col. Fred N. Dow, .115

Address op Hon. Albion Little, 118

Address of Hon. Seth L. Larrabee, .... 1*21

Address of Hon. Edward Wiggin, . . . .122

Letters from

Hon. Henky B. Cleaves, Governor of Maine, 125

Hon. Thomas B. Reed, Speaker U. S. House of Representatives, . . 123

Hon. Eugene Hale, United States Senator, J2(;

Hon. William P. Frye, United States Senator, 12G

Hon. Nelson Dingley, Ji:., Representative to Congress 127

Hon. Seth L. Milltken, Representative to Congress, 127

Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain, ex-Governor of Maine 128

Hon. Sidney Perham, ex-Governor of Maine 129

George W. Norton, Esq., Editor Portland Express, . . . . 129

Payson Tdcker, Esq., Gen'l Manager Maine Centra) R. U. i:W

Frank VV. Cram, Esq., Gen'l Manager Bangor & Aroostook R. R., . . 130

Closing Exercises, 130

Appendix, .132



NEW SWEDEN

QUARTER-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION,



1870. JUNE 25. 1895.



Tuesday, June 25, 1895, was a day of jubilee in
New Sweden. On that day, Maine's Swedish settle-
ment celebrated the twenty-fifth year of its existence
— the quarter-centennial anniversary of the day when
the first little Swedish colony of Maine sailed from
old Sweden, to make a new home in the primeval
forests of the Pine Tree state.

The day dawned gloomily. A didl rain fell from a
leaden sky and the cold north wind blew. But the
rain soon ceased, though threatening clouds still
obscured the heavens, and the wind dropped to a
refreshing summer breeze.

At an early hour all roads leading to New Sweden
were crowded with carriages and pedestrians. Along
the smooth, level turnpike from Caribou rolled a con-
tinuous procession of hundreds of vehicles. Among

2



10 THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.

those driving toward the Swedish settlement were
American and Swedish farmers, with their wives and
children, from all the country i-onnd about; Swedes
from every section of Maine and from several of the
other New England states, and distinguished visitors
and honored guests from many of the cities and towns
throughout our commonwealth.

Most of the latter had arrived at Caribou the pre-
vious evening. They had come over the Maine Cen-
tral, and the new Bangor and Aroostook railroads, on
the first through express train from Portland to
Caribou, and had accomplished the entire journey in
ten hours. Attached to this train was a special Pull-
man car, kindly placed at the disposition of the guests
of New Sweden by the courtesy of Payson Tucker,
Esq., the genial vice-president and general manager
of the Maine Central road. This car was under the
charge of Col. Henry S. Osgood, who left nothing
undone for the comfort of the iifuests.

After driving five miles from Caribou, the long line
of carriages reached the border of our Swedish colony ;
but it was difficult to discern where the American
settlements ceased nnd the Swedish began. The belt
of forest dividing them liad been cut through, and the
little clearings of the earlier Swedish settlers, which,
a few years ago, only notched the forest here and
there along the wood roads, had been enlarged till
one clearing met the other, and the visitors now drove
through continuous fields, dotted with Swedish cot-
tages, and green with the growing crops. Most



THE CELEBRATION. 11

noticeable were the great potato fields, for which Aroos-
took County has become famous, where the straight
rows of potato vines stretch far away over the rolling
country until green rows and the mellow, brown earth
between are blended together by distance.

After driving three miles through Swedish farms
" Capitol hill " was reached. Here the stars and stripes
floated from a tall flag-staff in front of the " Capitol,"
and here a magnificent view lay spread out before the
eye. To the west, the fertile fields of the colonists,
with their farmhouses, churches and schools, extended
for miles, like a broad unbroken swath cut throuoh
the woods ; beyond, towards the south and west, the for-
est was indented with the ample "fellings" of the Swed-
ish settlers in Woodland, Perham, and the new Swedish
plantation of Westmanland ; to the north, four miles
away, the broad green acres of Jemtland, cut out of a
great forest hillside, sloped toward us ; northwest,
mile on mile, could be seen the clearings of Lebanon
and Stockholm, and those along the Fort Kent road —
bright green patches nestling in the dark green woods
— while all around, beyond, undulating away to the
dim blue hills on the horizon, lay somber and silent
the unbroken forest.

At the Capitol, a large wagon decorated with flags
and the bright green boughs of the birch, and drawn
by four powerful horses, wheeled into the road in front
of the carriage of the founder of New Sweden, and
took its place at the head of the procession. The
wagon contained the Swedish military band, which



12 THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.

at once began playing '* Hail to the Chief." Enliv-
ened by the strains of martial music, and escorted by
the Swedish band-wagon, the visitors drove on for a
mile over the west road, then turning north, soon
passed into a woodland avenue and ascending a forest
ridge, entered a grove of gigantic rock maple trees.

Here, in one of " God's first temples" — and a grander
one could scarce be found — the Swedes had prepared
a vast open-air auditorium. Upon a cleared area in
the center had been placed long rows of benches sufifi-
cient for two thousand people, and fronting these was
erected a large tribune wdth seats for two hundred.
Over the tribune hung the flags of America and Sweden,
and over all spread the leafy canopy of the forest.
Here too were gathered together a great multitude
— Swedes and Americans, men, women and child-
ren — they not only crowded the open area, but they
filled the grove on every hand as far as the eye could
penetrate. Literally " the woods were full of them."

The invited guests were at once escorted to seats on
the tribune, and the great audience immediately filled
the benches, and crowded around outside in a semi-
circle, standing in throngs between the trunks of the
trees — the pillars of the temple. Farther away the
teams were drawn up and horses picketed throughout
the grove, while beyond were picnic parties, seated in
groups or strolling through the woods. The rays of
the summer sun, breaking ever and anon through the
clouds of morning, lighted up the green forest, the
bi*i<i:ht flaors, and the earnest faces of the audience, and



OPENING ADDRESS. 13

falling at intervals upon the many-colored dresses of
the Swedish maidens as they flitted from light to shade
in the sylvan depths, gave a brilliant, kaleidoscopic
effect to the surrounding forest.



EXERCISES IN THE GROVE.

Four thousand people were present in the grove
when Mr. Landgrane, one of our Swedish farmers,
called the assemblage to order.

The exercises were opened by music from the
Swedish band. Then the president said :



OPENING ADDRESS BY MR. FRANK OSCAR LANDGRANE,
PRESIDENT OF THE DAY.

We meet to-day in commemoration of an event
which wrought a complete change in the social and
economical condition of this place. We meet firstly,
to thank God for all good things he has given us and
for the care he has taken of us, both before and after
our arrival in New Sweden. Secondly, to honor
those who conceived and executed the first act in
this drama. Thirdlj^, to show what an industrious
people can accomplish in a generation, and last but
not least for the purpose of meeting our outside
friends, among whom we have so many who have
assisted us whenever opportunity offered. To all of
you, my friends, we have extended an invitation to be
present with us on this day, that we may through friend-



14



THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.



ship and brotlierly love be cemented together as one
people, and as fellow-citizens of one nation.

We hope and trust that any shortcomings on our
part in this effort will be met by you with indulgence.
We have been hampered very much in this our un-
dertaking by those terrible forest fires which have




F. O. I.AXDGUANE,
PRESIDENT OF THE DAY.



raged in this and adjoining towns, and which for two
weeks have kept us busy fighting that great and
awful master of the elements. Flowever, to-day we
are thankful to the great God above, that we are
permitted to meet you, our friends, on this occasion,
and endeavor to make you happy by being happy



PRAYER BY REV. D. S. JENKS. 15

ourselves. Knowing that all o'ood things are done by
the grace of God, and that therefore we owe Him
our gratitude, I shall call upon Rev. D. S. Jenks of
Caribou, to open the exercises upon this the twenty-
fifth anniversary of the settlement of New Sweden by
offering thanks to God for the blessings He has be-
stowed upon us in the past, and to pray for our wel-
fare in the future.



PRAYER BY REV. D. S. JENKS, OF CARIBOU.

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we thank
Thee for this hour. We praise Thee that in con-
nection with all the experiences and circumstances
that come to us while we are here in this world, we
can associate Thy name, Thy wisdom and Thy good-
ness.

We bless Thee for the occasion that calls us together
at this time, for the privilege that comes to many
hearts and homes on this day as the people recount
the goodness of God to them, individually, and to this
community at large. We thank Thee for the pros-
perity of this community in which we are met at this
time.

We pray that it may always be with thankful hearts
that we shall consider our national prosperity and
remember that it is Thou who hath planted our nation,
and the communities that make up our nation.

We praise Thy name for the band of men and
women who years ago settled this colony, and that its



16 THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.

settlement is connected closely with thoughts of
Thee.

We believe that Thou art the leader of men in all
good and great enterprises, and as we see what has
been accomplished here, we can trace it to the guid-
ance and goodness of our God and our Father in
heaven.

We thank Thee that interwoven with all the na-
tional prosperity of this community there is also the
religious life that has played so large a part in mold-
ing the minds, the thoughts and motives of this
people. We thank Thee for the churches that have
been organized here, and we believe Thou hast or-
dained that material prosperity and religious activity
go hand in hand.

We are glad, not only that the gospel has taken
root here, but that in sweet union with the gospel of
Christ, has been raised the 'flag of our country.

We thank Thee for the loyalty of these citizens,
who have come from afar to our common country ;
and we pray that the blessings that have rested upon
them in the past, may be the promise of what Thou
shalt bestow in the future. We praise Thee that
when the gospel and the thoughts of our own tFnion
take their place in men's minds, there comes the
breaking down of all barriers which exist between
races, and all differences that exist between men.
We thank Thee for that bond of union which unites
us to-day in our thoughts, in our hopes, in our national
and religious life.



ADDRESS OF WELCOME. 17

Hear this our prayer, as we pray that this day may
indeed be a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing in the
hearts of all who have a part and an interest in these
exercises. To Thee we look continually for Thy
blessing and guidance, that prosperity may be ever
ours. In the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Swedish choir of four male and four female voices
beautifully sang :

I love my home among the hills.

Then followed the

ADDRESS OF WELCOME,
BY REV. MICHAEL ULLRICH NORBERG.

PASTOR OF THE FIRST SWEDISH EYANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF

MAINE.

At the request of the people of the town of New
Sweden I bid you, Hon. W. W. Thomas, Jr., the
founder of this colony, and all the ladies and gentle-
men in your company, a most cordial welcome to New
Sweden, upon this twenty-fifth anniversary of the day
when the people of this town were led into the woods of
Maine. We feel, of course, most grateful, and not a lit-
tle surprised that we are deemed worthy of a visit from
so many of the most honorable citizens of our State,
and I assure you it gives me great pleasure upon this
occasion, and upon this day, in the name of the settlers
of this town, to welcome so many of the most dis-
tinguished citizens of Maine to see and bear witness
to the great results of our labors.



18



THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.



It was ;i little band of men and women that entered
these woods twenty-iive years ngo. They had left
their native land, and many of them fathers and
mothers, sisters and brothers, for an unknown shore to
make themselves a better liome, perhaps, than they








M. U. NORBERG,
PASTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH.



had left. Who were these people and where did
they come from ?

There is a beautiful country far away toward the
icy north. It is a glorious land, with snowy, bold and
magnificent mountains, numberless rivulets, where
crystal waters vary in shade and color as the rays of
the sun strike upon them on their journey towards



ADDRESS OF WELCOME. 19

the ocean, tumbling in countless cascades and rapids,
filling the air with the music of their fall. It has also
many exquisite sylvan landscapes, so beautiful by the
sea and lakes, by the hill and fountain sides, by the
river and in the glades, that one delights to linger by
them. From the last days of May to the end of July,
in the northern part of this country, the sun shines
day and night upon its mountains, rivers, lakes, fields
and farms, and so it is that Sweden and Norway may
be called the " Land of the Midnight Sun."

You may have been in different countries where
there is no winter and where flowers grow all the vear
round, but you have never seen such nights as these.

This country is inhabited chiefly by a flaxen-haired
and blue-eyed race of men, brave, simple, honest and
good. They are the descendants of the Northmen
and Vikings, who in the days of old, when Europe
was degraded by the chains of slavery, were the only
people that were free and governed by laws made by
themselves, and when emerging from the rock-bound
and stormy coast for distant lands, for war or conquest,
were the embodiment of courage by land and sea.
They have left to this day an undying impression of
their characters on the countries they overran and in
which they settled. England is chiefly indebted for the
freedom she possesses and the manly qualities of her
people to this admixture of the Scandinavian blood,
which through hereditary transmission makes her
prominent as descended from the Scandinavian rather
than the Anglo-Saxon.



20 THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.

Ill that beautiful country and among that people,
Mr. Thomas (leathered to(z;ether a little band of men
and women that left their country and their homes
without any written obligation, but with simple faith
in tlie honor of their leader, to make a new home in
the wilderness, in a strange land and among strangers.
You who are born in America and know the language
from your cradle-days and the customs of the country,
do not understand the hardships and toil of the people
who came here as strangers, although they may come
from an intelligent and educated people.

Of the twenty-two men who came over with Mr.
Thomas, there are but five living here to-day, who now
sit on this platform, and it gives me great pleasure
to show vou those who have borne the heat and bur-
den of the day. A few have left the town, and the
rest of that little band of pioneers have left for their
eternal home bevond the river.

New Sweden is known not only to the citizens of
Maine but to the whole Union. For that we are
indebted to Mr. Thomas who has always spoken \vell
of his "children in the woods," and a good reason he
has had, not only because of their good behavior but
especially for the great results of their labor.

Gentlemen and fellow citizens of Maine, 1 do not
need to boast of the citizens of this town. Take a
careful view of the colony and you will find beautiful
farms, well cultivated ; big barns and storehouses for
the produce of the farms; nice residences; good busi-
ness structures ; large and commodious schoolhouses



ADDRESS OF WELCOME. 21

for the education of our children ; beautiful churches,
and a law-abiding people who fear God and do what is
right to everybody. [Applause.] When we then
consider that we have had only twenty-five years to
accomplish this, we can with safety say to the brethren,
" Well done, good and faithful servants."

You, Mr. Thomas, in founding New Sweden, have
erected a living monument and in your obituary will
be written, " unselfishness, great foresight and the wish
to do good to your fellow men." [Applause.] You
were the author and the executor. You not only con-
ceived the idea but stood at the helm and carried it
out, and it has proved a success if we ms,y judge by
looking at the results. Twenty-five years ago these
early pioneers followed you over the ocean. They
followed you because they had faith in you, and with-
out that faith in you none of these people would have
made what is now New Sweden. You are not only
the founder of the colony, but you have always cared
for it as a father, and your children in the woods have
always looked up to you as such, and they will remem-
ber you as Father Thomas as long as tradition lasts
and history lives. [Applause.] For this and many
other things which you have accomplished you are and
will be honored. May your life be long and happy
and may you see, before you leave this earth, New
Sweden pass the point of your highest anticipations.
[Applause.] And when your work is finished here
below, if it were possible, we would put on your head
a crown of everlasting stars. [Great Applause.]



22 THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.

My friends, lot this be ;i lesson to lis all. Let us
remember that he who makes two blades of grass grow
where only one grew before is greater than the gen-
eral of a victorious and conquering army, whose for-
ward march means more or less destruction to life
and property. Let us strive to be wise and so act that
when we lay down our implements on earth our record
of good deeds to humanitv will be evidence that we
have existed for a good purpose. Let us remember, if
we are law-makers or farmers, if we are on the pin-
nacle of national fame or the modest occupants of a
pioneer cabin, that history will inevitiibly dig to the
bottom of facts and find the motives of our acts, be
they greedy or unselfish, be they founded upon phi-
lanthropy or cold cruelty to our fellow beings.

When looking around us we see the wild land in all
directions and when we compare it with the few towns
which exist throughout this vast wilderness, it seems
as if a'l laws of economy and progress are directly
violated.

There are to-day thousands upon thousands of
strong arms and willing minds ready to take a life-long
part in bringing this land from its wild state, into a
productive and civilized community, and make it
profitable to themselves, the State and the Nation —
only give them permission to do so. But selfishness
and greed on one side, assisted by laws made to order
in the past, leave it a rendezvous for wolves and bears.

History will in course of time dig at the bones of
those who have been so short-sighted or careless in



ADDRESS OF WELCOME. 23

offices of trust as to permit the public lands of Maine
to fall into the hands of those, who do not use them
for the purpose of advancing civilization, enlighten-
ment and progress. [Applause.]

For the assistance of the State of Maine, rendered
this colony in its infancy, we are all very thankful,
and will leave it to you, gentlemen, to decide if it
was a profitable investment. If you think it has so
been, select another spot and nurse it with the milk
of paternity and patriotism. [Applause.]

To the representatives of the press I will say this.
Perhaps you expected more. Well, twenty-five years
is a very short time looking backward. Twenty-five
years ago this town was all covered with virgin for-
est. This had to be cut down, burned, cleared, the
stumps broken up, the land leveled, and during that
time bread and butter had to be earned at something
else, such as making shingles, cutting lumber, etc.
So, my friends I am proud of what we have done and
for what we have left undone I beg your indulgence.
[Applause.]

At least, I wish to say that it fills my heart with
joy and gladness when I think that I am speaking
not to Scandinavians, or any other kin of people, but
to citizens of the United States who are gathered to-
gether as a big family below the stars and stripes in
"the land of the free and the home of the brave."
[Applause.]

Music by the band followed.



24



THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.



The President then said : "I have now the very great
pleasure to introduce to you the father of this colony,
Hon. W. W. Thomas, jr., the orator of the day."

Mr. Thomas was greeted with loud and long-contin-
ued applause as he stepped to the front of the platform.
It was several minutes before he was permitted to
commence his address.





"^^^'^^






AJC-




ORATION



BY



HON. WILLIAM WIDGERY THOMAS, JR.



THE FOUNDER OK NEW SWEDEN.



Swedish Colonists, " My Children in the Woods " of Maine, and
You, MY American Friends, who Honor us with Youb Pres-
ence HERE To-day — My Countrymen One and All: —

Twenty-five years ago this very day there sailed
away from the shores of Sweden a little colony of
fifty-one Swedes.

This adventurous band then left home and country,
and faced the perils of a voyage of four thousand
miles, and the hardships and toils of making a new
home in the wilderness of a strange land without so
much as the scratch of a pen by way of contract or
obligation, but with simple faith in the honor and
hospitality of Maine.

The colony was composed of twenty-two men,
eleven women, and eighteen children. All the men
were farmers ; in addition, some were skilled in trades
and professions ; there being among them a lay pas-
tor, a civil engineer, a blacksmith, two carpenters, a
basket-maker, a wheelwright, a baker, a tailor, and a

3



26 THE STORY OF NEW SWEDEN.

wooden-shoemaker. The women were neat and indus-
trious, tidy housewives, and diligent workers at the
spinninic-wheel and loom. All were tall and stalwart,
with blue eyefi, blonde hair and cheerful, honest faces ;
there was not a physical defect or blemish among
them, and it was not without strong feelings of state
pride that I looked upon them as they were mustered
on the deck of the steamship Orlando, and antici-
pated what great results might flow from this little
beginning for the good of our beloved commonwealth .

Seven years prior to this time, early in 1863, I had
first set foot in Sweden, sent there by President Lin-
coln as one of the thirty " war consuls " of the
United States. During a three years' residence in
Sweden I had acquired the Swedish language ; had
become familiar with the history, manners and cus-
toms of the people, and had learned to know, respect
and admire the manner of men and women they were.
I had beheld also the thousands of sturdy Swedish
emigrants that every year sailed away from Swedish
ports for America, to help subdue the forests and open


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Online LibraryNew Sweden (Me.)The story of New Sweden [electronic resource] : as told at the quarter centennial celebration of the founding of the Swedish colony in the woods of Maine, June 25, 1895 → online text (page 1 of 8)