Host Swedish program

Vice president Meredith McIntosh welcomed members and guests to the March 17 meeting of the Woman’s Club of Warren.

Program chairman Sioux Cole introduced Dr. Julie Lindbloom Boozer who spoke to the group on The Great Scandinavian Immigration to Warren County in the late 19th century, how and why they came.

In 1900 the area surrounding Jamestown and then south to Pennsylvania including Sugar Grove, Chandlers Valley, Warren and then east to Sheffield, Ludlow, Kane, Mt Jewett, and south to Ridgway, Wilcox, Titusville and Johnsonburg, contained the third largest settlement of Swedish immigrants in the United States, only surpassed by Minnesota and Chicago, Ill. Even a century later, the 2000 US Census data says 20 to 25 percent of the local population claimed Swedish ancestry.

Between 1850 and 1925, one million Swedes or 20 percent of the population of Sweden immigrated to America, leaving four million in the old country. Most of these immigrants were young single men and women which depleted Sweden’s work force but helped to provide workers for the American industrial revolution. These young people worked in coal mines, tanneries, railroad and the growing furniture and tool industries.

The reason for the Swedish immigration was lack of upward mobility for peasant farmers. They could not own property; they could not vote; they were forced to serve in the King’s army; and they had no religious freedom. With three years of endless rain in 1867, which ruined farm crops causing massive starvation, followed in 1868 by a year of drought leading to no harvest and more starvation, the 1870s were years of huge immigration to America.

In America they saw the chance for jobs in industry, clean water and cheap farm land and education which was then and is now the way to a better life for themselves and their families.

Once in America, the Lutheran church and fraternal organizations such as the Thule, Viking and Norden Clubs helped to integrate the new Scandinavian immigrants. They provided temporary housing, meals, taught English classes and helped immigrants get jobs.

For more information, The Scandia School and the Family Farm Heritage Museum have been restored to the 1870 time period. These are open the second Saturday in summer from 1-4 p.m. In addition, Mt Jewett has a Swedish festival the second weekend in August with a Swedish festival in Jamestown the third weekend in July.

The club’s Useable Discards Sale will be held April 18-19, and we are in need of donations. Judy Champlin has offered to pick up items from donors.

The annual lunch and fashion show will be held May 5. Cost is $20 for lunch. Paid reservations must be received by April 28. Call Warren Woman’s Club, 723-5910, for more information.

McIntosh thanked Boozer and thanked the hostesses for table decorations and for arranging the Swedish themed lunch, provided by Linda’s Catering.

The Warren Woman’s Club welcomes new members. For more information call the club at 723-5910.

The group’s next lunch will be on April 7. Speaker will be Trish Durbin, CFO/VP Finance, PGE.