Welcome to the Norwegian Slooper Society of America website. We are the descendents of the first Norwegians who sailed from Norway to the United States in 1825. These early pioneers came to America on a 54-foot sloop in search of opportunity and freedom. They have since been known as “Sloopers”, of which we are proud to be part.
The Slooper Society is dedicated to continue the pioneering spirit of the first “Slooper” Norwegians in promoting education in the history of Norwegian-Americans and the keeping the Norwegian-American first-pioneer legacy alive for generations to come.
The Objectives of the Slooper Society are:
- To honor the memory of the Sloopers of 1825.
- To promote the publication of the history of the Sloopers as a group and of the individual families.
- To authenticate, preserve, and mark historical spots made memorable by Slooper association.
- To maintain a museum collection of articles having belonged to the original Sloopers and their descendants.
- To acquaint the present day descendants of the Sloopers with one another, through the publication of literature and the holding of meetings having literary and social programs.
- To promote the interests that are common to the society as a whole.
Who We Are
The first organized group of Norwegian immigrants to America departed Stavanger, Norway, July 4, 1825 on the sloop Restorationen. These 53 persons entered New York harbor 98 days later on October 9th. Cleng Peerson led this group first to upstate New York … then to an area of Illinois known as the Fox River Settlement. Today this area is known as Norway, IL (located just south of present-day Ottawa, IL). The Fox River Settlement is considered to be the first permanent Norwegian settlement in America.
Descendants of these Norwegians who came over on the sloop Restaurationen formed the Norwegian Slooper Society of America during the 1925 Centennial Celebration in Ottawa, IL. The Slooper Society continues to meet annually at the Norway Community Center in Norway, Illinois, on the Sunday nearest to October 9 (the day the original Sloopers landed in New York).
The current descendents of the Sloopers come from many walks of life: farmers, storekeepers, industrialists, teachers, and students. Many still live in the Fox River settlement area of Norway, Illinois, while others live miles away in the far reaches of the American continent. The Sloopers include 5th to 7th generation descendants of the first immigrants. Although, “membership” is limited to those persons (and their spouses) who can trace their lineage back to the original “Sloopers” who sailed aboard Restaurationen in 1825, our annual meeting is open to anyone with a sincere interest in the Norwegian-American immigration story. Although the Sloopers are credited as the first organized emigration from Norway to America, in their wake, more than 800,000 Norwegians left their home country to start anew in America between 1825 and 1925. Therefore, even if you are not a, “Slooper”, the voyage of these brave few may in fact have impacted your own immigration story.
We hope you will join us at our next annual meeting!