Posts Tagged ‘Women of the Colony’

Rena Espling Hultgren

June 14, 2009

Rena Hultgren will be honored at Midsommar on Sunday June 21, 2009 at New Sweden, Maine.

Here is her bio:

Rena Espling Hultgren was born in New Sweden, Maine to Helmer and Edrie (Olson) Espling and grew up on the farm. Rena married in 1944 and has two children, Sylvia and Roger, three grandchildren, and one sister, Mabel Todd.
Rena attended New Sweden schools, transferred to Caribou in grade 8, and graduated from Caribou in 1940. She worked at the Caribou Public Library and completed the Augusta State Library Course in cataloguing. She worked at A&P grocery stores in Caribou and Fort Fairfield. In 1942, Rena went to live in Worcester where she worked at Norton Company until late 1944 when she moved to Princeton, Massachusetts where they farmed.
Rena spent 8 years at a Belgian-owned machinery office transcribing parts and service manuals into English from French. From there she went to a 12-year office position in a construction company, writing parts and service manuals for machinery. The next 10 years were spent organizing and operating a retail and wholesale business of several motorcycles brands with over 350 dealers to keep supplied. Rena completed courses in sales, service, direct mail, and office management and made approximately 20 trips to Oregon, Colorado and Chicago to cover related fields in the industry. Her next position was at the Chevrolet Dealership in Holden, Massachusetts where she was responsible for maintaining inventories, accounting, and payroll. She was executive secretary to the owner for 11 years before moving back to Maine in 1993.
Rena has traveled extensively. She has been to Hawaii nine times, to nine countries in Europe with her son who was stationed in Germany, to New Zealand with her daughter’s family, to Australia on her own, and to Sweden with friends. She spent a great deal of time camping with her children in the northeastern U.S. and Eastern Canada. She also spent several winters in Florida since moving back to Maine.
After retirement, Rena was occupied with helping Maine’s Swedish Colony, Inc. as Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Gift Shop Manager.

Scandanavian Gift Shop in New Sweden, ME

Scandanavian Gift Shop in New Sweden, ME

Rena’s hobbies include family genealogy, woodworking, sign painting, cross-stitch, and other crafts, and reading. Much of her work was donated to, and sold, by the gift shop in New Sweden.
Rena’s genealogy work covers nearly ten generations, dating back to the late 1700′s in Sweden, and includes over 1700 names. Now at age 85, her goal is to complete this study and she says she is particularly interested in keeping the Swedish heritage alive.

Mabel Espling Todd

June 13, 2009

Mabel Todd will be honored at Midsommar on 1:00 pm Sunday June 21, 2009 at New Sweden, Maine.


Sunday Program featuring The Maine Event singers and Wednesday Evening Fiddlers

Sunday Program featuring The Maine Event singers and Wednesday Evening Fiddlers: Thomas Park; arrival of the Majstång (Maypole); Little Folk Dancers; music by The Maine Event singers and Wednesday Evening Fiddlers from Perth Andover; raffle drawings and more, Lewis Peterson emcee, Honoring Rena Espling Hultgren and Mable Espling Todd.

Here is her bio:

Mabel Espling Todd

Mabel Espling Todd was born in New Sweden to Helmer and Edrie (Olson) Espling. Her beloved sister, Rena, is four years younger. Mabel attended grade school in New Sweden and graduated from Caribou High School in 1937. Mabel was married to Arthur Todd and has two children (twins), Paul and Amber, and three grandchildren.
Mabel worked in Caribou at Newberry’s and R. H. Frost Co. (where she obtained state licenses for insurance and real estate), Norton Company in Worcester during WWII years, Ray Harmon and Sons, National Confectionery, the Caribou Town Office, M. D. McGrath Co., L. D. Bearce Co. and Bearce-Carter Oil. She was Office Manager at Cary Memorial Hospital and at Maine Potato Bag Co. She worked at Caribou Publishing Co. for some time where she was also involved in all aspects of printing the Aroostook Republican. She worked 19 years at Loring AFB with the Army & Air Force Exchange in every department until she retired. Mabel has been considered a good secretary, excellent in bookkeeping and proficient in office management. Her most recent paid occupation was being ballot clerk at Stan’s whenever T16 R4 was involved in the election process.
Mabel has been affiliated with Baptist churches in the area serving as Sunday school teacher, Youth Leader, Deaconess, Choir Member, Church Clerk, Financial Secretary and Mail Secretary as well as a member of various committees.
Mabel was Secretary/Treasurer of the Caribou Band Parents for four years while her children were in the high school band, helping to raise money for instruments and band trips.
Mabel was instrumental in starting youth groups where there were none such as the Caribou Junior Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist and Boys 4H group for Perham and Woodland boys. She was Assistant 4H leader for many years with Colby girls.
Mabel is still quite proficient in Swedish which she began learning from infancy. She also became proficient in French, Italian, Finnish and Lithuanian.
Mabel’s most recent interests have been volunteer work. She has been involved with the New Sweden Historical Society as Secretary, Treasurer and “ongoing volunteer fulltime.” Mabel served faithfully as museum hostess as well as on several committees. She is a member of the Maine’s Swedish Colony, Inc., and served as Secretary for several years. She was a member of the New Sweden Cemetery Association and was President for many years and a Director. Mabel is a member of the Madawaska Lake Campers Association serving as Secretary and Treasurer for many years and as a Director.
Mabel says she has had a good life and has appreciated many activities and associations that have been educational and fulfilling. At age 89 she is happy to be able to be involved in whatever comes her way. Perhaps Mabel’s favorites memories are of working with her dad on the farm and later enjoying farming with her husband. She says one learns a lot in that occupation, not just planting and harvesting, but also construction, electricity, machine work, purchasing and selling, to mention a few.

Anniversary of Death: Mildred Westin

June 7, 2009
Mildred Velma Barnes Westin

Mildred Velma Barnes Westin

Mildred “Millie” Barnes Westin used to be my landlady. We lived in the upstairs apartment in her rambling old house on the edge of Collins Pond in Caribou, Maine. She used to sing in her deep alto voice while working around the kitchen downstairs and I would hear her through the hot air grates in the floor.

Millie had a table in the bay window facing east right next to our entrance. Among the plants was a huge Christmas cactus that always seemed to be in bloom. Her outdoor garden was filled with lilies, roses, and cultivated raspberries in the summertime.

I remember seeing Millie and Everett, her husband, sing the special music presentation in church at the Caribou United Baptist. I didn’t realize it then, but it really was very special to hear the Swedish hymns sung. (Everett’s father immigrated from Sweden. He served first as a minister at the First Baptist Church of New Sweden, Maine starting in 1895 and also at the Stockholm First Baptist Church as late as 1928).

As a teen, I was a junior church helper and sat in the tiny pews with the 4 year olds as Millie led them in learning to sing (with the hand motions) “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine.”

One Thanksgiving, Millie came to our house for dinner along with my father’s cousin Olive Choate. She told stories about Everett during World War I involving lots of blood. I can’t remember the details now.

Millie died two years ago today at the age of 94. She was born in Caribou, graduated from Caribou High School in 1931, and worked for the telephone and telegraph company in their Caribou office. She and Everett were married November 21, 1950. He predeceased her in 1992 at age 91.

100th Anniversary of Boston Post Cane

April 30, 2009

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2009/04/26/citizens_canes/

The Boston Globe has a great article about the 100th anniversary of the Boston Post Canes.

http://web.maynard.ma.us/bostonpostcane/

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.)

Mathilda Anderson hosts researcher Melvin 1950

February 18, 2009

Charlotte Lenentine Melvin visited New Sweden as a student researcher in 1950. She was invited to stay at the home of Mathilda Anderson during the visit. The notes that Charlotte took from her conversation with Mathilda provide an interesting view of the hardships in the early days of settling New Sweden.

Do you know who Mathilda’s family was? Please help me find out about them.

More 1970 Photos

February 13, 2009

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.”

Murder in Westmanland

February 11, 2009

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.

Mystery Photos 1970 New Sweden, Maine

January 27, 2009

I recently received an email from Anders 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:

1970 Photos of Anders Tidstrom from Sweden

Anders Tidström 1970 at Madawaska Lake cottage of David Anderson

Anders Tidström 1970 at Madawaska Lake cottage of David Anderson


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