Letter sent by Rosdail to descendants of Slooper Tormod Madland; this “dittoed” page found in papers belonging to the late Doris M. Birch/Wheeler/Carter.
Sept. 8, 1950
As you probably know from your own family traditions, the Sloopers are those people who are descended from the 53 first Norwegians to come to this country to colonize. They came over on the Sloop “Restoration”, a tiny ship 54 feet long weighing only 36 tons, in the year 1825. This was the “Norwegian Mayflower”, which started the flow of all subsequent Norwegian migration to America.
Our ancestors on board this ship were Quakers or Quaker sympathizers who came to America to seek religious and economic freedom denied at home. They left Stavanger July 4, 1825 and arrived in New York via the Madeira Islands after a perilous voyage lasting more than three months. A child was born on board en route.
In New York their ship, which they planned to sell for funds, was seized by the authorities because it broke the law by carrying about three times as many passengers as its size permitted. The Quakers helped our worried forefathers and an appeal was carried to John Quincy Adams, President of the United States. He pardoned them and their ship was freed.
Our grandparents then passed up the Hudson River and to western New York where they lived in a near-wilderness until about 1835. Most of them then moved to the Fox River country in Illinois where their famous scout, Kleng Peerson, had selected land. This settlement (now Norway) became the mother of all subsequent Norwegian settlements in America.
Needless to say the historians of our country attach considerable importance to the record of the Sloopers when dealing with Norwegian-American history. If you would like to see the names of your grandparents in print, visit any large library and read Anderson’s “First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration”, Norlie’s “History of the Norwegian People in America”, Blegen’s “Norwegian Migration 1825-1860”, or the historical novel by Odland, “The New Canaan”. Newspaper or magazine articles tell the story of the Sloop almost yearly. The name of your Sloop ancestor is Thormod Madland.
Much information is yet lacking about the original Sloopers’ early years in America. It is our interest and duty to bring this information to light. We do not need to surrender possession of treasured old letters, relics, etc.; but we do need to let our historians know what we have, and we need to be sure nothing is destroyed. Here are some of the things we must report:
1.Family Bibles or other records containing births, deaths, marriages.
2.Obituaries or newspaper clippings of 1st to 3rdgenerations Sloopers.
3.Letters between and about our forefathers. A person mentioned may be unknown to the reader but may furnish the historian with the clue to a “lost” family. Old letters are valuable.
4.Pictures of the first three generations; or old deeds to land.
5.Slooper relics – trunks, bowls, silverware, shawls, etc.
6.Traditions about our ancestors’ early experiences. Write them down!!
We are writing our own history of the Sloopers. You will want your own family record to appear correctly. Send it in to be sure we have it.
Best wishes, /signed/
Hart Rosdail, Slooper