Brief Description of the Slooper Society

Description of the Slooper Society apparently enclosed with a letter sent by Rosdail to descendants of Slooper Tormod Madland in 1950; this “dittoed” page found in papers belonging to the late Doris M. Birch/Wheeler/Carter.

You are a member of


Since you are a member of this society by right of birth, you might like to know something about it.

Membership consists of all descendants of the original Sloopers, and their spouses.  By diligent research we have located more than 1200 families, and these fall into the 20 family groups represented by the Sloop.  They live in nearly all states of the Union, and the secretary has even visited some in Australia; but 36% live within an 80-mile radius of Norway Illinois.

The Society was organized in 1925, the year the Norwegians commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the coming of the Sloop.  In Minneapolis there was an international celebration, the greatest ever held by Norwegians in this country.  One day’s attendance was recorded at 85,000.  We Sloopers were honored guests and the older generations had all expenses paid and the privilege of dining with the President of the United States.

The organizer of the Slooper Society was Mr. O. M. Norlie, now of Northfield, Minn., noted author, historian, and educator.  He was secretary of the Society for 16 years and still continues to use his wide influence in publicizing the Sloopers and their place in history, and in supporting their program.

Captain Joseph M. Johnson, 1703 W. 103rd, Chicago, President Emeritus of the Sloopers at the age of 85, was president for 20 years.  He was Captain of the Police in Chicago and has traveled widely on both sides of the Atlantic.  In Norway he visited King Haakon and became a friend of the Chief of Police of Oslo.  Captain Johnson’s greatest hobby and interest is the Slooper Society and he has been untiring in promoting its welfare.  He was succeeded as president in 1947 by Royal Jacobs of Emington, Ill., and under his able leadership interest in the Society continues to grow.

The objects of the Society are five in number but currently emphasis is being placed upon two:

1.To promote the publication of the history of the Sloopers as a group, and of the individual families thereof, and to discover and publish other original matter in regard to the Sloopers and their descendants.

2.To acquaint the present-day Sloopers with one another.


The Sloopers hold an annual meeting in the afternoon of the Sunday nearest October 9, the date the Sloop arrived in America.  The event this year (Oct.8) is at Norway, LaSalle Co., Ill., but it is sometimes held at nearby Ottawa or Newark.  Programs vary from pageantry to speeches but they have nearly always been interesting and worth while.  Although the hat is passed at meetings, no dues have ever been levied.  Your only obligation as a member is to conserve old records, and supply the historian and officers with family history or other information for Slooper projects.

Come out to this year’s meeting and get acquainted.  If you live too far away, write us a letter.

— J. Hart Rosdail, Secretary-Historian

286 Elm Ave., Elmhurst, Ill.