William Widgery Thomas, Jr. was the founder of New Sweden, ME. He went to Sweden and found the first fifty-one settlers who came to northern Maine with him on July 23, 1870. Many more Swedes followed. In fact, there were so many that arrived that some had to leave to find work elsewhere. The settlers worked hard to establish an agricultural community that eventually thrived. Several other towns developed in neighboring townships with many Swedish citizens: Perham, Woodland, Stockholm, Westmanland, Connor, and Caribou. People from other countries such as Norway, Finland, Canadian, and Denmark settled in the communities as did Acadians and Irish.
Posts Tagged ‘Men of the Colony’
David Anderson worked to preserve the Swedish culture and heritage in New Sweden, Maine.
Obituary of David G. Anderson
New Sweden—David G. Anderson, 63, husband of the late Edwina (Jacobson) Anderson, died unexpectedly April 30, 2001, at Caribou. He was born in Westfield, Mass., May 22 1937, the son of Walter David and Marion (Bean) Anderson.
Mr. Anderson earned his BA from North Park University in Chicago and his master’s degree from the University of Hartford. He helped students learn in Suffield, Conn., Lenoxville, Quebec, and New Sweden schools. David lived in the country of Sweden for two years before he became a resident of New Sweden, where he worked to preserve the colony’s ethnic heritage. He was a past president of the New Sweden Historical Society and was also a past council member of the New Sweden Covenant Church. After his1990 retirement, David enjoyed his work with Literacy Volunteers of America and his winters in Venice, Fla. Mr. Anderson’s interests included Swedish-Americana, Quebec’s eastern townships, the back roads of Europe and the restoration of old homes.
He was predeceased by his dear wife, Edwina (Jacobson) Anderson in 1998. He is survived by a special cousin, Ann Herz of Grantham, N. H.; several other cousins, aunts, nieces, and nephews.
A service of Thanksgiving to God for David’s life will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, May 3, 2001, from the New Sweden Covenant Chrch with the Rev. Shelly Timber, pastor, officiating. Interment will be in Westmanland Cemetery at a later date. Friends who wish to contribute in memory of Mr. Anderson may do so through the Edwina and David Anderson Award Fund, care of New Sweden Historical Society. Envelopes will be available at the church or through the Mockler Funeral Home, 24 Reservoir St., Caribou 04736.
Voyage from Sweden
Written by John E. Olson (1841-1929)
We traveled from our homeland
in the Lord’s guiding hands
free from danger
to New Sweden where we live.
We praise the Lord’s abundant love
that we remain, body and soul
Here and there upon this earth
we meet our daily trials and toil
but lighter here than on old soil
its still a vale of tears.
This isn’t yet our proper home
without a rest we still must roam
with praise and thanks to God our father
for the eternal kingdom he holds for us.
Yes, many friends were parted
back home with sorrow and tears
With God we’ll reunite
and never more be separated.
There will be a glorious choir
that will never part, as here
that will sing in perfect harmony
with praise to Jesus, dear.
A copy of the above poem was given to Anders Tidstrom of Sweden by Katarina Hanson (1881-1972) in 1970 when he visited New Sweden, Maine. In early 2009 the poem was emailed in Swedish back to Maine and translated by Paul Carlson.
John E. Olson (1841-1929) was an early settler in New Sweden, immigrating in 1871. He was a farmer and violin maker, producing at least one double violin. He and his wife Hannah (1841-1926) had several children, including Victoria (1886-1924), Amanda (1877-1922), and Mathilda (1873-1953) who married Oren Anderson. Mathilda Olson Anderson’s son was Clifford Anderson (1899-1953) who married Dagmar Espling in 1931.
John and Hannah Olson are buried at Capitol Hill Cemetery in New Sweden, Maine.
The above English translation of the poem is followed below by the original Swedish version.
Öfverresa från Sverige
af John E, Olson
Wi reste från vårt fosterland
I genom Herrens styrda hand
Ja, lyckligt öfver att ej vi
I någon fara komma i,
Till nya Sverge där wi bor
Wi prisa Herrans kärlek stor,
Att ännu vi till kropp och själ
äro bevarade jemväl
Me här som där på jorden är
fins möda strider och besvär
fast mycket bättre här än där
men jemrens dal det åndå är
Och är ej här vi skola bo
Och för Guds barn fins ingen ro,
men pris och tack vår Gud och far
Ett evigt rike för oss har
Ja, många vänner skildes åt,
I fosterland med sorg och gråt,
Hos Gud vi all träffas få,
och aldrig mer vi skiljas då,
en härlig sångkör bliver där,
som aldrig skiljas såsom här,
Wi skola på fullkomligt vis
En gång få sjunga Jesu pris
The Boston Globe has a great article about the 100th anniversary of the Boston Post Canes.
Maynard (Massachusetts) Historical Society maintains a website tracking the Boston Post Canes!!
New Sweden’s current Boston Post Cane is Edmund Anderson (born April 1, 1912.)
The most recent recipient of the Boston Post cane was Edmund F. Anderson, born April 1, 1912. Debbie Eustis-Grandy made a presentation at the November 2008 meeting of the New Sweden Historical Society where Edmund and his wife Eloise were honored guests. The page about the cane recipients that I have added gives some more information as well as some photos. Photograph by William L. Duncan.
I have enjoyed exploring a second set of photos sent to me via email from Anders Tidstrom of Sweden. He visited the New Sweden area in 1970. Please enjoy looking at the page “More Photos from 1970 New Sweden.” Please help me tell the story by adding comments or sending me tidbits (as well as any errors or omissions!)
If you missed the first set of photos, be sure to read the page “1970 Photos of Anders Tidstrom of Sweden.”
The page “Murder in Westmanland” tells the 1899 story of the murder of Gus Johnson by Albert Bjorkman. Apparently jealously prompted Bjorkman to hunt Johnson down at Anders G. Olson’s lumbering operation. Olson’s daughter was married to Johnson. The funeral for Johnson was held at the West Road home of John W. Holmquist who was married to another of Olson’s daughters. A huge caravan of horse-drawn wagons traveled from the site of the funeral to the New Sweden Cemetery where Johnson was buried. Johnson’s wife remarried and lived to age ninety three years.
I recently received an email from Anders Tidström from Örebro, Sweden who had visited New Sweden by chance in 1970. At the time he was a social anthropology student at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and traveled to Newfoundland, New York, Quebec, and the Canadian Maritimes. Upon crossing the border at Van Buren, Maine, he noticed the names Stockholm, Jemtland, and Westmanland on the map. Fortune led him to meet David Anderson, a most hospitable and knowledgeable host with a keen interest in preserving all things Swedish in the New Sweden, Maine area.
Anders was saddened to hear that David had died in 2001 and thus began a series of emails between us that led to an exchange of stories focused on a series of black and white photographs that Anders had taken on his 1970 tour around New Sweden with David. Many local people from the New Sweden area contributed their memories, identifications, and tidbits to piece together the story behind the photographs. The result is posted as a page on this blog: