New Sweden Grange

Grange unit dissolved at New Sweden

The New Sweden Grange met for the final session on Saturday night at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Forrest Nelson. A unanimous vote was recorded for the dissolvement of New Sweden Grange No. 315 and surrender of the grange charter due to lack of member attendance.
Approximately 100 members from Stockholm, Woodland, Westmanland and New Sweden are on the Grange roster with a high of 150 members, registered in previous years.
The youngest master to serve was Forrest Nelson at age 16.

A. Forrest Nelson

A. Forrest Nelson, youngest grange master

Only three women served as Master’s of the New Sweden Grange: Alice Nelson, Mrs. Madge Nelson, Mrs. Beatrice Farrington

The New Sweden Grange was organized April 21, 1893 with 17 charter members. The first master was F. O. Landgren. (The Swedes met at Langrane’s grove to build a place to meet in rainy weather, to be 30 feet by 40 feet, to be ready for the 24th anniversary. The celebration was to be under auspices of the Lutheran Ladies Sewing Circle.)

The first secretary was Solomon Johnson, a farmer in Woodland.

The first chaplain was John Otto Wickstrom. (Wickstrom was the Boston Post Cane Holder in New Sweden 1913-1921.)

All three of the original first officers were deceased by 1966 when the grange was dissoved.

Later grange records note that some of the regular grange sessions, which were then held on Saturday afternoons, drew an attendance of 77 members compared to the final year’s attendance which was not sufficient to fill the 13 officer’s chairs.

G. Edwood Lundgren, past president of New Sweden Grange and rural mail carrier for 39 years in New Sweden

G. Edwood Lundgren, past president of New Sweden Grange and rural mail carrier for 39 years in New Sweden

Also noted in one of the earliest of the secretaries reports was the purchase price of half a cord of kindling wood which was 50 cents and a half cord of hard wood which was $1.25.

A large pencentage of grange members have been awarded the Silver Star certificate for 25 years of consecutive grange membership. Twelve or more members have received the coveted Golden Sheaf Award for 50 or more years of membership.

Emma and Otis Peterson, past grange president and New Sweden/Westmanland farmer

Emma and Otis Peterson, past grange president and New Sweden/Westmanland farmer

Any granger in good standing and on the grange membership may apply to the secretary, Mrs. Charles Hicks for a demit, to join another grange.

The Grange Hall, located on a town lot which was formerly the Capitol School has automatically reverted to the town of New Sweden, an agreement at the time of purchase.

Donation of grange properties included the piano, tables and chairs, which are to remain in the hall; dishes, silver and other Civic Improvement property; the coat rack to the Women’s Extension and the remainder of the treasury fund will be donated to the New Sweden PTA Scholarship Fund.

The Capitol School served as town hall in New Sweden.

The Capitol School was acquired by Maine Swedish Colony, Inc. The old school has served as a meeting place, museum, and gift shop.

Some sources:

Bangor Daily News 3/4/1966, “Grange Unit Dissolved at New Sweden”, copy in Maine Swedish Colony files

Files of Charlotte Lenentine Melvin, Maine Swedish Colony

Aroostook Republican, 7/11/1894, item in personal column re: Landgrane’s grove site of celebration in New Sweden

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