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Haugeans, Rappites, and the Emigration of 1825
    by Ingrid semmingsen, translated by C. A. Clausen
(Volume 29: Page 3)

IN ITS ORIGIN and later development the Haugean movement bore the impress of its founder and leader, Hans Nielsen Hauge (1772-1824), a farmer’s son from Tune in Østfold, on the east side of the Oslo fiord, who worked as a lay preacher at a time when such activity was forbidden by law. The Conventicle Act of 1741 decreed that religious gatherings, conventicles, could be held only under the supervision of the pastor and preferably in his actual presence. According to the prevailing view the pastor was the only person who, through proper studies, could correctly interpret the teachings of the Lutheran State Church. He was the mediator between God and man who had the sole right to administer the sacraments, and as a public official he was accountable to the state for the Christian indoctrination of his flock. As the result of a visionary experience, Hauge came to feel that he had a divine call which made it mandatory for him to break this law and proclaim the word of God directly among his fellowmen. In his interpretation of the Gospel there were obvious elements of North European eighteenth-century pietism. He felt that people had to be awakened to a consciousness of their sins before they could begin to gain salvation through the grace of God. Hauge’s religious teachings were therefore also attacks on the rationalism of the state church and its ministers. According to Hauge’s views, they doled out stones instead of bread and failed miserably to provide their parishioners with the one thing needful - the word of God pure and undefiled, and, above everything else, a personal religious experience.

Despite these pietistic elements, Hauge did not turn his back on the practical problems of society. Quite the contrary. As the Norwegian historian Halvdan Koht has pointed out, a battle was always being waged in Hauge’s soul between two apparently conflicting views: in the first place, the need of a personal conversion and the abandonment of a sinful life; and second, his bent toward productive activity. He was a consistent advocate of diligence and hard work. Sloth and sluggishness were a sin in his eyes. His followers were urged “to be good stewards of earthly goods.” This view reflected the existence of class conflict and social ambition. Hauge had perceived that the “worldly-minded” had secured power by controlling economic enterprises - and he was specific: “ . . . as for instance commerce, and other large industrial undertakings.”

Hauge felt that society could be reformed if truly spiritual people entered such activities. Nor was he a stranger to the idea that if various economic undertakings prospered for him and his followers then this was a sign of divine blessing - but at the same time he was aware of the danger of being ensnared by the sinful world. Eternal vigilance was therefore of the essence. In this view the Haugeans were at one with the early Puritans of New England.

During the years 1796-1804, when he was permitted to work more or less freely between brief periods of imprisonment, Hauge managed to inspire a movement which encompassed most of Norway. Through his many journeys, often afoot but also by boat along the coast, he won numerous followers - practically all of them rural people or people of rural origin who lived in towns or villages and earned their livelihood as craftsmen or petty traders. There were Haugean groups of various sizes in the small Norwegian cities, especially those on the coast such as Stavanger, Bergen, and Trondheim. {1}

Through his travels, but also through an extensive correspondence and his printed works - which he sold or gave away - Hauge became the active center in a network of personal and informal contacts. Some of Hauge’s letters were addressed to “my beloved fellow believers” or to “my dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and those who are called to become such,” without any definite address. They were to circulate from one group to another. Other letters were specified for “brothers” or “brothers and sisters” or “friends” in some town or district, occasionally with the request that they be copied and forwarded to other communities. This was frequently done. A number of Hauge’s letters are preserved in several copies - even up to ten or twelve. {2}

In the letters Hauge encouraged and admonished his followers, giving advice on both religious and everyday matters. At times he gave counsel in purely personal relations. Cases are known where he gave advice concerning marriage - advice which was accepted even though it went counter to personal inclinations. But the advice concerning worldly matters usually referred to economic activities. He designated men who he thought were qualified to assume management of various projects such as landed properties, printing shops, paper mills, dyehouses, and other commercial enterprises. Hauge himself took an active part in economic affairs and in 1801 became a licensed trader (handelsborger) in Bergen, Norway’s largest city at the time and a center for fishery trade. He bought a vessel and engaged in the North Norway herring and fish business. He combined this activity with his religious mission, and conducted services wherever his business ventures took him. He was deeply engaged in considering further “industrial plans” when he was again arrested, this time at the home of his brother who was the manager of a paper mill at Eiker in Buskerud.

This time the imprisonment was long, and during the first four years, quite severe. Later the treatment became milder, and periodically he was released from prison. In 1811 he was permitted to assume residence on a farm near Kristiania (Oslo) while awaiting the judgment of a commission appointed to handle the case against him. His health had, however, been broken and he was unable to resume his former activities. But he continued writing religious meditations, some of which were published, and he kept up his correspondence with brothers, sisters, and friends until his death in 1824.

One of the charges leveled against Hauge by the authorities was that he had sought to create a separate, independent religious and economic community within the Norwegian state. There was a certain justification for this contention as far as economic matters were concerned. During the early phase of his activity, Hauge leaned toward the idea that there ought to be a fellowship among the “friends” covering both property and income. In the year 1800 he had written that “all true brothers and sisters in the Lord” ought to hold joint ownership even in “physical matters.” “Friends” in Bergen had to a certain extent contributed surpluses from their business concerns to a common fund which - without any strict accounting was being kept - was put at Hauge’s disposal for the creating of new business ventures. Later, however, he gave up the idea of complete communal ownership, and in time several of his followers became individually wealthy.

Nevertheless a sense of solidarity had grown up within, and between, the various groups of Haugeans which persisted long after Hauge ceased to be active among them, even after his death. The “friends” had a feeling of mutual commitment. They felt that they should help each other in case of economic difficulties, such as providing work for the unemployed and support for the itinerant lay preachers. Many of the more prosperous Haugeans had large households where family members and employees frequently ate at the same table. Hauge himself mentions, about 1820, that his household consisted of more than twenty people. {3}

No formal organization was ever attempted - not even in the religious area. Neither Hauge nor his followers ever planned to organize a denomination parallel to or outside the state church. The Haugeans were diligent church attenders. They had their children baptized by the ordained pastors and partook of the Lord’s Supper with others. Nevertheless, they were a group apart who sought each other’s companionship in prayers and devotion, even though this went counter to the law. As already mentioned, the Conventicle Act of 1741 forbade religious gatherings which were held without the pastor’s permission or participation. Violation of the Conventicle Act was thus another of the charges leveled against Hauge. Enforcement of the act gradually grew more lax, however, until it was finally annulled in 1842.


Most of the leading members of the Haugean group in Bergen were migrants from rural areas. The oldest man among them, Simon Traae, was already a resident of the city when Hauge arrived there. Others such as Amund Helland, Svend Ruud, and Peder Odland settled in Bergen at Hauge’s urging; they entered into commercial enterprises of various types and in time several of them became wealthy, Peculiar to Bergen, however, was the fact that among the “friends” there one finds individuals with German names, as, for instance, Loose and Pytter. There were contacts of different sorts between the Haugeans in Bergen and the corresponding group in Stavanger. Thus, one of Svend Ruud’s daughters was married to Sivert Gundersen (Gunnersen) in Stavanger; and the merchant Samson Traae sent woolen goods for fulling and dyeing to the mill belonging to his fellow believer, Torger Siqueland (Sikveland) in Stavanger. Contacts were also made in other directions, first and foremost toward the north. But the contacts with Stavanger are of special interest to this study because it was from there that the first emigrants to America left. There were also Haugean groups in several coastal and fjord communities in the area between Bergen and Stavanger. In Cleng Peerson’s home community, Tysvær, for instance, there were many Haugeans. {4}


A number of Norwegians had been converted to Quakerism while they were held as prisoners of’ war in England during the latter years of the Napoleonic era. Hans Nielsen Hauge met them in October, 1814, when they were returned to Kristiania on a Swedish frigate. He states in a letter that he was “much edified” by conversing with them. He found that they were “deeply moved by the spirit of the Lord” even though there were differences between their views and his “concerning externals.”

In the same letter he states further that the first impulse toward conversion among the prisoners was imparted by “a brother from Norway who was with them in captivity,” that is to say, by one of his own followers. It soon became apparent, however, that the differences “in externals” led to heated discussions which disclosed fundamental disagreements. The Quakers could not accept Hauge’s willingness to work within the Lutheran State Church and accept its rituals regulating baptism, marriage, burial, and communion. They wanted to quit the state church and organize their own denomination. Consequently their relations with the Norwegian authorities became much more contentious than was true of the Haugeans during the years that followed. {5}

Hauge was deeply hurt by the attacks the Quakers in Kristiania soon launched against him. Nevertheless, he was interested in them and even toyed with the idea of going over to England to confer with the Quakers there. In early 1815 he wrote directly to the Quakers who had left Kristiania and settled in Stavanger. The letter is addressed “to my dear and beloved brothers in God’s grace.” Brother Elias (Tastad), brother Lars Larsen Jeilane, and brother Ole Franck are mentioned by name with expressions of sympathy, friendship, and love. There follows a discussion of the religious disagreements. Hauge defends his view of working within the Norwegian State Church but believes that both parties “are permeated by the same holy light.” In a later letter to “Sister Kari Odland” in Bergen he still affirms - despite attacks from contentious Quakers in Kristiania -that “I want us to associate with the Quakers in a spirit of tolerance. . . “The debate with and about the Quakers recurs in Hauge’s letters into the year 1815, but thereafter the topic disappears from his still extensive correspondence with “the friends” in various parts of the country. In this correspondence are also found bits of information concerning the dissenters in England and Germany. He refers, for instance, to works which have been translated from or into the German language; and he mentions Englishmen who have visited him. Also, there are letters which show that he kept in touch with like-minded people in the neighboring countries of Denmark and Sweden. It may be of interest to note further that Hauge was well informed concerning both the Moravians and the Methodists. {6}

What information is available about relations between Quakers and Haugeans in Stavanger indicates that this spirit of tolerance bore fruit. Members of both groups attended services and listened attentively, whether the speaker happened to be a visiting English Quaker or an itinerant Haugean preacher.

THE GERMAN EMIGRANTS IN BERGEN,
1817-1818

At this point the story of the German emigrants bound for America and their long, involuntary stay in Bergen will be but briefly recapitulated. It was on September 25, 1817, that the Dutch vessel, the Zee Ploeg, sought refuge immediately north of the city. The ship had encountered a storm in the North Sea which had torn away both masts and bowsprit. The damages were so serious that it proved impossible to renovate the ship. {7}

Aboard were about 500 emigrants - all from Württemberg, petty farmers and craftsmen who had resolved, after the unusually severe winter of 1816, to leave for America. 1816 was the year “when summer never came.” Some of the emigrants, probably about 150, called themselves separatists. They were religious dissenters and political malcontents who stoutly resisted any attempts by the Norwegian authorities to induce them to return to Germany. They would be subjected to persecution there, they maintained. They had friends in America and they wanted to fulfill their purpose of joining them. It has since been established that they were followers of Father Johann George Rapp, who had gone to America in 1803 with several hundred fellow believers. They had founded the communitarian colony called Harmony in Pennsylvania, and in 1816 had moved their settlement to Indiana.

Some of the German emigrants had paid all or part of the passage due the Dutch shipping company and they brought legal action against the skipper in an attempt to regain their money. Several of the emigrants still had some funds left, but most of them were poor. A certain percentage were “nonpaying passengers” who had entered into an agreement with the skipper that they would raise the necessary funds on arrival in America by enlisting as indentured laborers or servants. The whole group of emigrants was in a miserable condition after floundering in the North Sea storm for nearly two months, during which time a number of them had perished. As a result there were orphans among them, and some forty of the passengers were so feeble that they were sent to a hospital. Fortunately, the Norwegian doctor who was put in charge of them found that there were no signs of contagious disease among them. Nevertheless, some deaths did occur after the arrival in Bergen.

As events would have it, the emigrants had to spend the whole winter in Bergen. The sailing season was past, and the city authorities in cooperation with the Norwegian government had to take measures to provide them with housing and other necessities. Even Crown Prince Carl Johan, who became king in 1818, gave assistance from his own private funds. The years 1817-1818 were the most difficult which Norway endured after gaining independence through the constitution of 1814. Both the economic situation and the state finances were desperate. Political unrest was smoldering and the government feared, not without cause, that Carl Johan might attempt a coup and sweep aside the constitution and democratic institutions.

Even under more normal conditions it would have been a formidable task for a city with fewer than 15,000 inhabitants to improvise charitable organizations to assume responsibility for 500 practically helpless foreigners, many of them political refugees. In 1817 it must have seemed an event of catastrophic proportions. Not until the summer and fall of 1818 did the German emigrants leave Bergen. The first party left on the brig Susanna Katharina in early August and docked at Philadelphia in late October, while the last group, aboard the vessel Prima, did not arrive in Baltimore until shortly after New Year’s, 1819. {8}

Information concerning contacts between the German emigrants and the Haugeans in Bergen is not plentiful but, where it exists, it is explicit. In a letter from the Haugean Lars Kyllingen dated April 2, 1818, one reads: “The day after Easter I was in Nykirken and was deeply moved when I saw the great number of people in attendance; I thought of the great harvest of souls. It occurred to me as I sat there that I had earlier heard mention of people who had come from Germany to Bergen after suffering hardships at sea. They wanted to go to America, and had endured much distress and persecution. I had also heard that they held meetings twice a week. Then it seemed to dawn clearly upon me that I ought to try to see them. I reasoned that even though I could not understand their speech, I could grasp something when I observed their manners and saw whether there was anything serious about them. We went to see them, several friends and I; and I thought well of their presence here. I became attached to the many sincere people. And many are moved by the word of God - something which gives hope about others.”

The next day, April 3, Ole and Pernille Seglem of Stavanger wrote to the Haugeans O. P. Moe and his wife, together with other “friends,” in Kristiansand. They reported that the “friends” who had gone to Bergen had now returned. Their experiences there had been very edifying. “Especially, they had become acquainted with some of the Germans who arrived with that ship last fall; and among them, some who kept together for devotions. And it turned out to be a great joy for them and for our friends when they realized - as far as they could understand each other - that they built on sound foundations.”

Next is a letter from Samson Traae dated May 31. Traae was one of the leaders in Bergen who was very close to Hauge. Indeed, Hauge once addressed him as “You the oldest faithful brother in Bergen.” {9} This letter can be regarded as a farewell message from the Haugeans in Bergen to the German emigrants. The salutation reads: “To the German Brethren,” and it opens with thanks for a letter which the Haugeans had received “with true happiness. It gave us extreme joy to realize that the foundation of your faith accords with the true word of God.” Traae then illustrates his idea by quoting Bible passages and commenting on them. The letter closes with the following words: “Herewith all of you in your group are greeted with eternal love. The brotherhood in Bergen wish you happiness and true joy when you depart from us, in the peace of the Lord. Amen.” {10} These quotations make it clear that the fundamental religious views of the emigrants and the objectives of their departure for America were well known among the Haugeans. They also reveal that “friends” in both Bergen and Stavanger had personal contacts with them, and the contacts were maintained - at least for several years.

Some of the emigrants had managed to get in touch with their fellow believers in America, not with Father Rapp himself but with his representative in Philadelphia whose address they had secured before they left Germany. Both they themselves and the shipping company in Bergen must have believed that Rapp was willing to offer some sort of guarantee for the defrayal of travel expenses across the ocean. This is made evident by letters preserved in the archives of the Harmony Society. {11} A hundred or more of the Germans thus left Bergen early in August and arrived in Philadelphia on October 23, 1818. But there they encountered new difficulties. Money from Rapp to reimburse the Norwegian skipper was not forthcoming. A number of the emigrants therefore had to bind either themselves or their children by indenture in order to raise the necessary funds. Presumably only a few members of the group ever got to Rapp’s colony. This was true even of those who desired to go there, because Father Rapp was not particularly anxious to help them. In a letter to his representative in Philadelphia he wrote that a great number of German emigrants had come to him in 1817, and that many of them had proved unsuitable for his society. “I for my part am sick and weary of the people [those who arrived in 1817]. The former money of $7,000 expended will bear little fruit. If I could help, I would leave these people to the Americans, they can better accustom them than we. . . they have no morals and do not know what it means to live a moral or well-mannered life, not to speak of true Christianity of denying the world or yourself. . . . They . . . bring very much offense into the congregation among the children and the youth with awful sins which are in vogue in Germany and which most of them indulge in!. . . you can imagine what kind of effort these people cost before one tames them a little.”

Furthermore, he reported that at the moment he had few liquid assets. He had more paper money than was needed to pay the skipper of the Susanna Katharina what the emigrants owed him for transportation, but that was of little avail, as it was “mostly notes from Kentucky and Ohio in the neighborhood.” {12} In a letter to the emigrants, written a day later, he again dwells on the money problem and states that the paper money he has in Indiana is not accepted in Philadelphia and that “silver is rare here and too heavy to transport over such a distance.” He asks, with some show of impatience, why the emigrants from Bergen had not come with the earlier ship which instead had brought so many “godless people of the world,” and goes on to say, “Who knows if you belong to us or not, or if you come, you will not give us a lot of trouble . . .“ He felt that the children who had been indentured ought to serve out their time “unless of their own free will they wish to come And the parents also ought to look about for other possibilities. “Whoever wants to work can find his bread in this country, for we have learned a lesson with our countrymen . . . “ {13}

In the meanwhile Skipper Moldt and the Susanna Katharina had been lying at anchor in Philadelphia from the end of October, 1818, until well into the following spring. The skipper would not permit the passengers to disembark until the passage money had been paid. Presumably this involved only those who insisted that they wanted to go to Harmony and whom Father Rapp, in a letter of 1816, had promised to help reach their destination. This letter they still had in their possession. Some of them also had close relatives in Harmony. The rest of the passengers had evidently either paid out of their own means or been indentured and thus freed to find work.

The end of this part of the story was that Rapp’s representative in Philadelphia, Jacob Boller, made a compromise with Skipper Moldt whereby the latter promised to reduce the fare for the fifteen remaining passengers while Boller, at his own risk, paid the skipper $260 in cash (the original sum demanded was $575). Boller praised the whole group and gave one of them, Johanna Margaretha Kunzler, a special testimonial as being “a woman of courage.” “She left four beautiful grown-up and well-brought-up children, two sons and two daughters, and to get their mother free each of the children offered to take over one-fourth of her passage of $90, for which each of the children must serve one year longer. . . . The four children want to go to the Harmonie as soon as they are free.” On the basis of the documents the emigrants brought with them, especially the letter of invitation of 1816, Skipper Moldt had written a “threatening letter” to Rapp. But he was satisfied with the Boller compromise. “Captn Moldt pressed my hands when I paid him the $260.” {14}

The second and larger group of German emigrants - a total of 273 persons - did not leave Bergen until October 7, 1818, with the ship Prima, commanded by Skipper Woxvold. The Norwegian government had advanced 1,300 pounds toward their transportation which it hoped would be refunded when the ship reached an American port. The full cost of transportation, however, ran to 2,200 pounds and the difference was arranged for by a naturalized German in Kristiania named Grunning. He acted as consul for Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck and was a leading businessman in the city. In order to help the emigrants get to America he organized a drive for money in the cities he represented and was able to forward the necessary 900 pounds. He had also assisted the government in making arrangements for the group’s transportation.

More is known about this second group as regards both their Atlantic crossing and their continued connections with the Haugeans in Bergen. One of the crew aboard the Prima - presumably one of the officers, possibly the skipper himself- wrote an account of the journey which was published in a Norwegian newspaper in 1826. He reported that there were two Catholic families among the passengers while the rest were Lutherans. The people were described as religiously-minded, virtuous, and, considering their social class, well-bred. All of them had prayer books. Every morning and evening they prayed to God in a solemn and touching manner and sang hymns in clear, pure voices. Before retiring they entertained themselves with song, dance, music, and games. On occasion they also passed the cup of friendship among themselves.

Skipper Woxland chose the southern route, as Skipper Helland of Restaurationen also did seven years later. This was undoubtedly wise in the case of Skipper Woxland, considering the lateness of the season when he set sail. He took the Prima south to the coast of Portugal so as to utilize the trade winds, and it paid off “With the never-failing dominance of this wind” they reached the West Indies, but there they ran into trouble. They had to fight a raging storm, the shipowner reported to the government, and they had to dock in Baltimore instead of in Philadelphia, which was their real destination. But according to the report the ship, crew, and passengers were well received. A committee was appointed by the citizens, which consisted partly of fellow-countrymen of the newcomers. They brought food aboard the ship and also raised money to help defray travel expenses. Furthermore, arrangements were made to secure employment or land for the emigrants. Everything was managed “in the best of order” to everyone’s satisfaction. Only the leave-taking with the skipper and the crew was a sad experience for the emigrants. Many of them had learned to speak Norwegian during the long stay in Bergen, and they promised that they would never forget dear Norway or “the kindly disposed citizens of Bergen.” {15}

Not all the passengers were as favorably impressed by their reception in America as this report would imply - at least not four persons who were bound for Harmony and who, a few months later, sent a letter from Philadelphia to “Dearly beloved brothers and sisters in God’s congregation in Bergen.” To be sure, they praised the skipper and crew who, with God’s help, exerted themselves to the uttermost in order to save ship and passengers when a “terrible storm” almost caused the ship to capsize; but they were dissatisfied with Harmony, which had not “given orders to redeem us.” They had heard that matters “were not exactly right” at Harmony but would not pass judgment at the time, as they had not talked with anyone from there. They also had encountered trouble with getting their passage paid for, and they were forced to seek release from paying the big bill “charged against us for the care we received in Bergen.” Clearly, the emigrants also had to work as indentured servants. “Then we were sold for the passage money: one down south, another up north; only four of us are here together, the others are scattered.” However, they continue, “America is a good country. Poor people live better here than the wealthy ones in Bergen and Germany. Wages are good. While we are in service, we are given good food and clothing and we have many free periods. We hope that we will soon earn our freedom and then be gathered together as one congregation.”

The members of this group also remember Bergen with joy, especially their association with the Haugeans. “Ach, how we miss not being able to gather together now with the children of God. Our hearts have often longed for your loving and edifying company since we came to America. We have longed more for Bergen than for Germany because of the love with which you received us and refreshed us in body and spirit.” {16} The second letter from “the German brethren” preserved in Norway is dated four years later, in June, 1823. One learns there that they had received a letter from the Hangeans in Bergen which they read “with pleasure.” They remember again the loving fellowship they had together - the Norwegian brethren had made themselves worthy of the Bible passage: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” They send greetings to certain people whom they mention by name.

Even allowing for verbal exaggeration and an urge toward grandiloquent expression, there can scarcely be any doubt that there existed a feeling of religious fellowship and an agreement in fundamentals between the two groups, the Haugeans in Bergen and the German emigrants, at least those who had intended to go to Harmony. It is also evident that “the brothers and sisters” in Bergen still were interested in the Harmony colony. The German letter writers answer questions concerning the community in careful terms. The whole state of Pennsylvania is full of “exaggerated reports.” Various rumors are obviously still afloat. They themselves will not allow any space for slanders, as they are of the opinion that good people are still to be found in Harmony “who are pleasing to our Dear Savior.”

Another question which had apparently been raised by the Norwegians concerns the use the Harmonists make of their “great wealth.” The Germans have not heard anything to the effect that they use their wealth for the printing of books, for missions, or for the promotion of Bible societies - nor do the writers believe that the Harmonists engage in such activities. As for themselves, they no longer wish to go to Harmony; but they keep united. Every Sunday they get together in “the meeting” even though they live far apart. Physically speaking they are in good health, and they are satisfied with their economic situation. Concerning America and American conditions in general, they say very little - they only touch on religious matters. “A person might assume that in a free country like America conversion would come easier, but this view is mistaken. There is much more reason for being awake, for praying, for struggling here than in a country where a person is subjected at times to oppression, because in a freer country all sorts of spirits may blossom . . .“ They know of many people who in Europe were righteous and honorable but here have turned into atheists and scoffers. {17}

The question naturally arises: were the letters from the German religious fellowship known outside Bergen? The fact that both the extant letters are preserved in two copies would indicate that they were. A remark in a letter of September, 1819, from Hans Nielsen Hauge himself to the friends in Bergen, also points in this direction. He had read a letter from the German emigrants, likely the one of May 14, 1819. He had also read in Morgenbladet that “this association,” Harmony, had community (fellesskap). In Haugean terminology this evidently meant communal ownership in property, and he asks: “Did you, friends, get this impression from your conversations with them?” Otherwise, it was the religious ideas of the Rappites which interested him. He senses that there is about the letter something of the Moravian - a movement which Hauge always sought to keep at arm’s length. {18} Neither in this brief remark by Hauge nor in the two letters from America to Bergen are there any indications that Norwegian Haugeans were interested in America or thought of emigrating. Nevertheless, the contact which was established between German dissenters and Norwegian Haugeans - a contact which was maintained for several years through correspondence - proves that the name “America” was familiar to Haugeans. And while the two letters which are preserved do not give a wholly favorable picture of the Harmony colony, they do speak in positive terms about American conditions. Hauge’s query concerning economic communalism indicates that this conception still interested him. It is not clear, however, whether his attitude toward such communalism is positive or negative.

Nevertheless, as already indicated, one can definitely conclude that the name “America” was known, not only among Quakers, but also among Haugeans in different parts of Norway. Also, both groups had certain ideas about the religious freedom which prevailed there and understood that it was “a good land” where labor was well rewarded. Probably it should also be noted that two Norwegian vessels, Susanna Katharina and Prima, had made return trips across the Atlantic. This would reassure even landlubbers that such voyages were quite possible. {19}

It is logical to assume that the initiative for the exodus of 1825 proceeded from the Quakers. Around 1820 they were in open conflict with the authorities to a degree which was no longer true of the Haugeans, even though they also ran into disagreements with certain officials. But the hypothesis that the Quakers were assisted by the Haugeans in the preparation of their plans is strengthened by the facts now available concerning contacts between the latter and the German dissenters.

This comparatively new information, which was discussed in the preceding pages, tells us nothing new about Cleng Peerson or his role in the early planning stages of the Slooper expedition, and one can still search for the first impulse toward action. It can hardly have come from the leaders of the two groups so far studied. The Quaker Elias Tastad remained in Norway and was praised by his English fellow-believers for his steadfastness. None of the leading Haugeans - those whom Hauge wrote to, mentioned by name in his letters, or sent personal greetings - were among the Sloopers in either Stavanger or Bergen.

It is, however, well established that the group of emigrants from Tysvær - Cleng Peerson’s home community - was strongly represented aboard Restaurationen and that it was closely connected with him through ties of blood and friendship. {20} Furthermore, it is clear that there was a Haugean group in Tysvær; {21} and even though it is not known for certain where Peerson’s religious sympathies lay, it is known that he stood in opposition to the state church. The report that he tried to induce people to stay away from the communion table points toward the Quakers because the Haugeans, as mentioned above, partook freely of the sacraments within the state church. This view also agrees with the later report about Peerson’s high respect for the Quakers. It was to the Quakers that Peerson and the Sloopers turned when they arrived in America, and it was Quakers who supported and aided them in various ways.

It is not unreasonable to assume that it was the restless wanderer Cleng Peerson who first conceived the idea of going to America and investigating conditions there. His life is a tale of wanderings both physical and mental, of plans and projects both fortunate and unfortunate, realizable and unrealizable. One could wish that his many listeners had put on paper something of what he must have told them about his rovings in various European countries at a time when most of them were undergoing revolutionary change.

Perhaps talk about - or, possibly, contact with - the German emigrants in Bergen aroused his wanderlust and gave wings to his imagination. Possibly it was the emigrants’ reports about the good society in Harmony, where all property was held in common, which struck sympathetic chords in his mind. This is, of course, pure guesswork but it is conceivable that it was the wanderer Cleng Peerson who first proposed the idea of an exploratory trip to America.

His personal situation could not have been pleasant at this time - around 1820. There was, for instance, his relationship with the state church and also his unfortunate marriage. Even though one may not place much emphasis on the rather late report that he had married a rich old widow because of her wealth, still it is known that he was stigmatized in various ways. His traveling companion, Knud Olsen Eie, was also at cross-purposes with society and had personal problems of various sorts because he violated social conventions and state laws. He was found guilty of adultery because, as a married man, he had fathered the child of an unmarried woman. {22}

Nevertheless Cleng Peerson won a sympathetic hearing for his plans concerning an exploratory trip and must have secured some financial support from interested people, at least for his first venture across the ocean. The names of the people who granted him support are unknown, but it is reasonable to assume that Lars Larsen Jeilane and Thormod Madland of Stavanger were on the list. {23}

THE COLONISTS IN KENDALL AND THE RAPPITES

In two articles in Norwegian-American Studies, published in 1959 and 1962, Professor Mario S. De Pillis announced his discovery of a letter from some of the Norwegian settlers in Kendall, New York. It was addressed to the Rappite Society, which by then had moved back from Indiana to Pennsylvania and assumed the name Economy. The letter, dated June 26, 1826, contained a request for a loan of $1,600- a considerable sum at that time. The money would be used to pay for their land and also for setting up a sawmill. The request was signed by seven of the Sloopers and endorsed by Cleng Peerson.

Professor De Pillis was, of course, unaware of the more recently discovered contacts between Rappites and Haugeans in Bergen. He discussed exhaustively the importance of the above-mentioned request and related it to an earlier study of land distribution among Norwegian settlers. He tried to make plausible the idea that Cleng Peerson and the seven others who signed the letter wished to set up an experiment in religious communalism, to create a “utopian community.” He dismissed the view that kinship and neighborly relations alone could explain why these seven - and only they -made the appeal for a loan and directed it to the Rappites. His conclusion is that the Kendall settlement “was in part a communal venture.” {24}

Despite his efforts, Professor De Pillis was unable to find Frederick Rapp’s reply, but it has now been published. It was not merely negative - it was absolutely averse to the proposal and almost offensive. {25}

It is an interesting, but a bold hypothesis which De Pillis sets forth. The document on which he bases it - the brief request for a loan - provides no foundation for such a conclusion except the implication that the signatories plan to build a sawmill in partnership. Consequently he must resort to reasoning built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Basically his argument can be divided into three parts: 1. The request was addressed to Frederick Rapp. 2. A chart covering land holdings in the Kendall colony shows that the possessions of the seven signers formed a contiguous whole along both sides of a little stream. 3. The extant reports concerning Cleng Peerson’s social ideas and the fact that for a brief period later in life he joined the communitarian Bishop Hill colony lend support to this idea.

The first point - the fact that the request was addressed to Rapp - appears in a somewhat different light now that the contacts between the Rappite emigrants and the Haugeans in Bergen have been revealed. It is reasonable to assume that both Peerson and the rest of the Sloopers were acquainted with the name Rapp and the nature of the Harmony colony. Furthermore, they may have heard of’ the reservations which the German emigrants expressed concerning the colony in their letters of 1819 and 1823. These facts do not necessarily weaken De Pillis’s hypothesis but they may equally well support the conclusion which De Pillis rejects, namely: “They were merely asking for a loan.” The situation in Kendall must have been quite bleak even during the summer of 1826 when the request for a loan was made. The settlers had just begun clearing the soil and they knew that they owed the Quakers and their agent, Fellows, large sums of money - loans on which payments were due at regular intervals. If one assumes that the prime purpose of securing a loan was to build a sawmill, which in turn would provide cash to make these payments, then it seems reasonable that they would refrain from turning to the Quakers - via Fellows - for still further financial aid.

They presumably knew of the Rappites and Harmony from Norway, but they must also have heard more about them after coming to America. For instance, they must have known that the society had recently moved from Harmony in Indiana to Economy in Pennsylvania and they must also have known that it was the foster son Frederick Rapp who managed the finances and the economic policy of the society.

And one thinks immediately of Cleng Peerson when searching for a person who might have relayed such knowledge. He was the one individual who knew the English language and, according to many reports, he was the contact man between the settlers and their American neighbors. According to Ole Rynning: “Cleng Peerson took it upon himself to travel around among wealthy Americans asking aid for all the Norwegians." {26} In general it has been supposed that this activity was limited to the local region. But there is no reason to doubt that his contacts might have reached beyond the immediate locality. If it is assumed that he had heard about the Rappites in Norway, it would seem natural for him to seek and secure further information about them after his arrival in America. One might further surmise that he was the one who learned - and informed his countrymen - that the Rappites had surplus capital which they loaned out at interest. The conclusions might therefore be: the fact that the request for a loan was addressed to Frederick Rapp may be consistent with the hypothesis concerning “a communitarian venture”; but it may equally well support the conclusion that it was merely an ordinary request for a loan.

De Pillis’s next argument is that only seven persons signed the request and that they held land in a contiguous settlement on both sides of a stream. In this connection it may be pertinent to go back in time and examine still once more the letter Peerson sent home from New York in December, 1824. It addresses his closest relatives and friends: “Dear father, brother, sister, brother-in-law, and friends.” In a postscript he requests that the contents be made known to Thormod Madland, Lars Larsen Jeilane, and others. In the letter he tells about “six pieces of land, which I have selected, and [which] shall be held for us until next fall.” He relates that he has built, or is in the process of building, a fairly large house, 12 alen (an alen is about 2 feet, ¾ inches) in length and 10 alen in width (not twelve by twelve feet as De Pillis says). He continues: “I have built this house on the land selected for you whose arrival I am awaiting, but in the spring, if the Lord permits me to live, I shall build on my own land.” He writes that the friends in Macedon have promised to grant shelter to his sister and others “until we get houses built for them.” {27} It is not known whether this happened, only that a large number of settlers were crowded together under one roof the first winter, presumably in the house Peerson hoped to have ready around New Year’s, 1825.

He advised them to buy a small ship because it could easily be sold in New York without getting into conflict with American laws. But he also mentions the possibility of securing a vessel and loading it with iron from Sweden. The Sloopers chose a middle course: they, or some of them, bought a vessel and loaded it with iron.

Looking at the names of the signatories of the appeal to Frederick Rapp in 1826, one finds:

Andrew Knutson, identical with Andreas Stangeland, Cleng Peerson’s traveling companion on the return trip to America in 1824.

Thormod Madland, mentioned by name in Peerson’s letter from New York with the request that he be informed of the contents of the letter. He was presumably one of the wealthier Sloopers.

Daniel Rossadahl, neighbor from Tysvær.

Gudmund Danielsen, identical with Gudmund Haugaas (Haukås), also a neighbor from Tysvær, presumably of Haugean background, later a Mormon. {28}

C. Nelson, identical with Cornelius Nielsen Hersdal from Tysvær, one of those to whom the letter from New York was directed, married to Peerson’s sister Kari.

N. Nelson, identical with Niels Nielsen Hersdal, brother of Cornelius, who could thus be reckoned an indirect brother-in-law.

H. Harvig, identical with Henrik Christophersen Hervig, also from Tysvær and related by marriage to Niels Nielsen Hersdal. His daughter later became Gudmund Haugaas’s second wife. Harvig’s first wife was the daughter of Thormod Madland.

The map reproduced in Professor Canuteson’s article shows - as De Pillis indicates - many of the same names listed on a “contiguous settlement” which extends southward from the shore of Lake Ontario along a little river. May not this be the land which Cleng Peerson was negotiating for in 1824 and which he mentioned in his letter of December of that year? One may surmise that these were the same people who took Peerson’s advice and invested their funds in a vessel and/or iron, and who consequently got into financial difficulties when the price they received for their vessel fell far below expectations. There is at least reason to believe that they were among those who stood closest to Cleng Peerson as relatives and neighbors. Also it may be surmised that already in the summer of 1824 - when Peerson left a second time for America - they had more or less definitely decided to follow in his footsteps.

Possibly they also helped finance his second trip. They were the ones whom he was to provide with land, and it is to them that he gives information in his letter from New York concerning the negotiations he had carried on and the work he had begun. For them he chose land which he thought best from the point of view of a West-Norwegian farmer: from the shore inland with easy access to water along the river. His letter contains no allusions to a religious community or the founding of a communitarian colony. The mode of address, however, indicates that family and neighborly relationships have been of great importance; and the contents reveal that he is engaged in purchasing individual pieces of land. Peer-son writes about “six pieces of land” and “my own land.” The letter also indicates that the purchases should be financed through the sale of the vessel and/or cargo.

Even if the partitioning of land and the contiguous settlement along the river are explained in terms of family and friendship, the question may still arise: why did just these seven signatories seek a loan and not all the others who had settled at Kendall and owed money to the Quakers and Joseph Fellows? Probably it is worth noting that at least five of the seven lived by the river: the two Hersdal brothers, Daniel Rossadahl, Andreas Stangeland, and Henrik Christophersen Hervig. Of the seven signers only the names of Gudmund Haugaas and Thormod Madland are not found on Professor Canuteson’s map - at least not in the contiguous settlement along the river. Possibly they lived on the plot which bears the designation “Norwegians.”

The Kendall area was covered with woods which had to be felled and removed before the land could be cultivated. Those who lived along the river could fell the timber and float it down the stream without too much effort. Those who lived farther away had a transportation problem which must have appeared complicated indeed, if not insurmountable. Seen through the eyes of Norwegian farmers of that time, those who lived close to the river were the only ones who would be interested in setting up a sawmill.

In accordance with the technology mastered by Norwegian farmers of the day, sawmills had to be driven by power generated by a waterfall. The brief request for a loan does not give any details in this respect. According to Norwegian experience and tradition, however, the waterfall did not need to be especially large nor the flow of water very regular. Many farmer-owned saws in Norway were “flood saws,” which operated only during springtime when the melting snow provided the otherwise missing energy. Without a detailed knowledge of the topography of the area it is impossible to say whether plans for erecting a sawmill in the Kendall settlement were realistic.

And what about the idea of setting up a sawmill as a joint venture? Does not this indicate that the seven signers intended to form an association which would bind them into a closer fellowship? In fact, they had to cooperate if they were to have any chance of realizing their plan; furthermore Norwegian farmers were long accustomed to work cooperatively.

THE NORWEGIAN BACKGROUND AND TRADITIONS

There were many features of what might be called “collectivism” in Norwegian rural communities, a collectivism built on local traditions, blood relationship, and a certain degree of cooperation in neighborhood affairs and festivals. Such features were particularly characteristic of West-Norwegian coastal areas where rural communities frequently consisted of a cluster of farm buildings. In such hamlets each family had its own private holdings which consisted of a number of strips of land distributed in such a way that each household should have its due share of the good and the poor soil. Outlying forests and waters, however, were communally owned, and each family was free to hunt, fish, pasture animals, and gather such necessities as fodder, firewood, and building materials there. Speaking of Tysvær, such “commons” were in existence even in the 1880s. Consolidating of strips and apportioning of the communally owned areas had not yet taken place. Neither was joint ownership of sawmills an unknown phenomenon within traditional Norwegian agrarian society prior to the fundamental social and economic changes which took place during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Cooperative activity was also characteristic of the fishing industry; and the arrival of large schools of herring along the southwestern coast at this time made cooperation especially pertinent there.

The members of such rural hamlets were closely bound together by mutual aid and obligations, as well as neighborly association during the festive or solemn events of life - baptisms, marriages, funerals. An institution termed belaget, together with kinship, regulated in detail who should be present on such occasions; and it was a matter of course that the guests should bring with them a goodly portion of the food which would be consumed.

Among the first disruptive elements in this old agrarian society were the religious movements of the time, Haugeanism first and foremost. These movements bound the “awakened” together in new and more vigorous types of group solidarity which had their focal points beyond the rural communities. The Quakers had their “Friends” in England. The Haugeans had their founder, Hans Nielsen Hauge, with whom they kept in touch through correspondence or itinerant lay preachers. Furthermore, even though the Haugeans did not break away from the state church, they adopted moral norms which were dictated from the outside, not from within the local milieu. These norms differed in many respects from the social customs which had been current in the old agrarian communities. For instance, the Haugeans strongly objected to the alcohol consumption which had been a fixture at rural baptisms, weddings, and even funerals. Naturally, the Haugeans also objected to the venerable peasant custom of “bundling” (nattefriing).

The way of life of the “awakened” might set them apart from the rest of the rural community, but not necessarily. It would depend on how strong their following was and on how firmly entrenched the old customs were. The communities of the southwestern coastal area seem to have been less given to intense expressions of old peasant customs and traditions than were the mountain regions of eastern Norway. It is also well known that Haugeanism and - somewhat later - Quakerism gained a firm foothold in southwestern Norway and that these movements made a stronger impression in this area. There are also indications that the differences between the two movements were not especially marked in either Stavanger or the surrounding districts, such as Tysvær. Haugeans might have Quaker sympathies without being willing to take the decisive step in joining the organized Quaker society in Stavanger. The two groups “coalesced,” to borrow a word from Professor Cadbury. {29}

It is most essential to underline the fact that the Norwegian farmers from this part of the country were accustomed to cooperate in all aspects of life. They helped each other during the busy seasons of the year or whenever misfortune, such as fire, might strike someone in the neighborhood. They also came together for festive occasions; and they joined forces when some new economic initiative had to be taken, as in connection with the fisheries.

If these cooperative efforts are to be related to some particular religious movement, the Haugeans come to mind rather than the Quakers; but the request for the particular loan discussed above may just as easily be explained on the basis of old agrarian traditions. There is no indication in the letter that the seven signatories regard the Rappite society as a model which they wish to imitate. There is greater reason to believe that each settler worked his own plot of ground; they joined together, however, and sought to help each other, especially when someone was struck by misfortune - as when Thormod Madland died shortly after he had affixed his name to the request for a loan.

It is of course clear that an especially strong feeling of fellowship and solidarity was found among the Sloopers. Such a feeling was probably inevitable, given the circumstances under which they lived. The momentous decision to leave their native land would naturally set them apart from other people and bind them together even before they hoisted anchor and sailed out of Stavanger harbor. They had undoubtedly spent months in preparation for the journey, and then they were crowded together for three months aboard Restaurationen while crossing the ocean. During this time a child was born and, according to Rosdail, three relationships were formed which led to marriage in America.

All of the Sloopers were religious dissenters, strongly critical of the established society in Norway. Probably there is a certain utopian element - interpreting the word broadly - in every emigration movement as strongly marked by religion as this first Norwegian exodus. But, first and foremost, they were pioneers in a vast movement; and they learned to know in full the trials and tribulations of pioneer life.

There is no documentation which proves or even implies that the seven signers had a different attitude in this respect than the rest of the Kendall settlers. All of them hoped that they would be able to worship God in accordance with their own beliefs under freer conditions than in Norway; and all of them hoped that the German emigrants were correct when they wrote to the “brothers” in Bergen that America was a good land for hard workers.

Several of the Quakers in the group - probably those with the strongest convictions - did not settle in Kendall. Lars Larsen Jeilane never got there but struck roots in Rochester where there was a Quaker congregation. Simon Lima also moved there, while others of the faith sought the Quaker congregation in Farmington. Another person who soon left Kendall was one of the signers, Andreas Stangeland. Whether they labored in Kendall or sought opportunities elsewhere, they were all pioneers who in the sweat of their brows experienced the uncertain existence, the trials and tribulations of the pioneers. This was also true of the man who influenced the emigration movement more than any other person - Cleng Peerson, the father of Norwegian emigration. But Peerson reacted differently than the other Sloopers toward the challenges presented by pioneering conditions. He was and will remain an exception - an unusual individual, with well-nigh legendary traits in his complicated personality.

CLENG PEERSON, COMMUNITARIANISM,
AND HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS COUNTRYMEN

In view of what is known about Cleng Peerson and his life after the founding of the Kendall settlement, there is good reason for believing that he toyed with ideas which might be called communitarian or utopian. The clearest evidence of this would be, first, Ole Rynning’s statement of 1838 that it was Peerson’s endeavor “to unite all Norwegians into one community owning all its property in common” and, second, the fact that Peerson a few years later joined the colony founded by Eric Janson at Bishop Hill.

Other actions of his indicate that kinship and neighborly relations meant much to him. The land allotments in Kendall seem to point in this direction; and the same pattern can be discerned in the allotments at Fox River. When choosing new land for his widowed sister Kari, his relatives through marriage, and his neighbors he located their plots close to land he had selected for himself. {30}

De Pillis is undoubtedly correct when he says that Cleng Peerson never was a land speculator. But, on the other hand, there is no reason to characterize Johannes Nordboe as “grasping and selfish.” It must simply be acknowledged that at the time a genuine state of antagonism existed between the two men; and it is quite possible - as De Pillis also suggests - that the differences between an east Norwegian and a west Norwegian did their part to deepen the antagonism. Even until fairly recently, new arrivals often learned that it took some time before they were fully accepted in Norwegian rural communities. Furthermore, Nordboe was a rationalist, stamped by the ideas of the Enlightenment. But he also was a helpful man in the settlement. Being well versed in the fields of folk medicine and natural cures, he provided many services.

It is true that Cleng Peerson had secured for himself, his relatives, and neighbors much land favorably located along the lake shore and the river banks. This very fact could have stirred up criticism among those who came later.

In fairness it must be added that even though Nordboe was the most articulate critic of Cleng Peerson, he did not stand alone. Here again Ole Rynning’s early testimony should be emphasized: “In the meantime Cleng was busy. Heavy work was never to his liking, but on the other hand he never aimed at personal profit. He worked for everybody and benefited everybody, but often in such an impractical way that few people or no one gave him any thanks for it.” {31} However, the characterization which De Pillis gives Ole Rynning, namely that he “looked upon Peers on (and the rest of the world) with the eyes of a suspicious realist” is fundamentally wrong. A realist Ole Rynning assuredly was in certain respects, even though utopian ideas were not wholly foreign to him. But above everything else he was a humanitarian, a man of good will who with reluctance spoke disparagingly about others. His remark must be looked upon as an expression of indulgence, an understatement, rather than as the grudging praise of a critical realist.

Approval, but also opposition and criticism, followed Cleng Peerson throughout his long life of wandering until, as an old man, he fell to rest in Texas. Ole Rynning’s opinions concerning Peerson’s communitarian ideas and his relations with his countrymen were somewhat paralleled by those of another well-known emigrant, Ansten Nattestad from Numedal. To be sure, his comments came considerably later and were incorrect in specific details. Be that as it may, Svein Nilsson in Billed-Magazin attributes to Nattestad the view that Peerson was “erratic and capricious,” but also goodhearted and helpful - “always a faithful friend of the poor and the oppressed. . . . His communistic ideas concerning the sharing of wealth caused him frequently to depend too much on other people’s pocketbooks. . . . “ But he was always welcome wherever he happened to turn up because he was a good storyteller, a dreamer of dreams, a romancer.

Ansten Nattestad’s conclusion, according to Nilsson, is not unlike that of Ole Rynning. Cleng Peerson’s “lack of practical sense was the source of misfortune both for himself and for others, but everyone recognized his honorable intentions, and people readily excused a man who had set himself the goal of using all his powers for the good of his fellowmen.” {32}

Cleng Peerson is and will remain an inscrutable personality, a visionary. When he was gripped by a new idea or had formulated a new plan, he was enthusiastically sanguine. But when plans failed to materialize, when unforeseen difficulties heaped up, when criticism arose and people forsook him - then he wandered onward toward new horizons. In reality he was a lonely man. Apparently he had no really intimate friends except his nearest relatives, especially his sister Kari. But this complex man is “the father of Norwegian emigration” and deserves the designation.

Even if one does not agree with De Pillis that Peerson’s “communistic” or “communitarian” ideas won acceptance among Norwegian settlers, or with his interpretation of the loan request made by the seven Kendall men in June, 1826, there is still every reason to emphasize that De Pillis made a valuable contribution by placing Norwegian Haugeanism and Quakerism within a broader European movement, “the pietistic communitarian traditions of Northern Europe” during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There is also every reason to emphasize popular, low-church religious dissent when exploring the background of early Norwegian emigration. {33}

But in Norway - a society consisting largely of small independent landowners - the low-church impulse could easily be harmonized with private ownership of both land and other temporal goods. And it would not necessarily lead to attempts at founding “secular utopias” or “communitanian colonies,” in a narrower sense of the expression.

Furthermore, De Pillis goes too far when he associates all Norwegian non-conforming and opposition-minded emigrants with one “strand of dissent” that “nuns from the Conventicle of 1741.” He first mentions Johannes Nordboe and Hans Barlien and then goes on to list Marcus Thrane, Rasmus B. Anderson, Thorstein Veblen, Andreas Ueland, and “Triphammer” Johnson. By grouping all these men together he confuses more than he clarifies, because they are bearers of quite differing traditions. The first two, for instance, who emigrated as adults, had been deeply impressed by the Age of Enlightenment, rationalism, and the ideas of the great French Revolution. They represent what the Norwegian historian Jens Arup Seip calls “the Jacobin tradition” in Norwegian history, a tradition which was anti-clerical as well as generally anti-authoritarian. Marcus Thrane, in addition, was deeply influenced by the Revolution of 1848. {34}

Thus, anti-authoritarianism was found within both of the traditions discussed above and the movements which devolved out of them. During the second half of the nineteenth century the secular labor movement competed with low-church movements for adherents within the laboring class and the petty bourgeoisie. But the ideas championed by the two movements were quite dissimilar. And even though changes did occur within both movements, the differences between them were of a fundamental nature and no useful purpose is served by commingling them.

De Pillis is correct when he states that during the early years of Norwegian settlement in America low-church dissent caused much religious unrest, with consequent desertion to other faiths, including Mormonism. Norwegian Mormons, converted in America, returned to their homeland for missionary work around 1850 and won some adherents. However, this factor should not be overstressed either. In the long run the organized Mormon emigration movement gained less force in Norway than, for instance, in Denmark, primarily because the headquarters of the Scandinavian mission was located in Copenhagen; but the fact that the Norwegian authorities took a very restrictive attitude toward this new sect may also have been of some moment. {35}

There is no doubt that the majority of the early Norwegian emigrants were strongly religious nor that their form of piety was combined in many respects with opposition to the state authorities, both secular and ecclesiastical. In America, however, they soon felt the need of pastoral services, especially for baptisms and funerals - the beginning and the end of life. And as long as they did not find anyone in their own midst whom everyone accepted and whom everyone was willing to entrust with such services, they turned to neighboring denominations - which were all carrying on missionary work to win new members. In Illinois some of’ the Norwegians turned to the Mormons, others to the Methodists, and a few besides Cleng Peerson went to Bishop Hill. In the Pine Lake area they joined the congregations of the Swedish pastor Gustav Unonius, and hence the Episcopal Church.

But when Norwegian pastors appeared on the scene, the picture changed. The passionate Elling Eielsen - who had crisscrossed Norway as a lay preacher - came to America and ministered to the Haugean tradition among the Norwegians. In his footsteps followed university-trained Norwegian pastors who brought the more traditional religious views to those who were not pietistically inclined. When this happened, most of the Norwegian immigrants sought the Lutheran fold, actually to a higher degree than did the emigrants from Sweden and Denmark. Some chose the Norwegian Synod - the denomination which in organization, ritual, and other ceremonies most resembled the established church in Norway. Others joined Eielsen’s congregations which were low-church, pietistically inclined, and practically free of rituals and ceremonies.

NOTES

<1> On Hans Nielsen Hauge and the Haugean movement see Halvdan Koht in Norsk biografisk leksikon, 5 (Oslo, 1931), 500-523; Dagfinn Breistein, Hans Nielsen Hauge. “Kjøbmand i Bergen” (Bergen, 1953); Andreas Seierstad, Kyrkjelegt reformarbeid i Norig i nittande hundreaaret (Bergen, 1923); Einar Molland, Norges kirkehistorie i det 19. århundre, i (Oslo, 1979); Andreas Aarflot, Tro og lydighet. Hans Nielsen Hauges kristendoms forståelse (Oslo, 1969), and, shorter and more popular, Hans Nielsen Hange, liv og budskap (Oslo, 1971); and H. G. Heggtveit, Den norske kirke i det uittende aarhundrede, 2 (Christiania, 1912-1920).

<2> Ingolf Kvamen, ed., Breu frå Hans Nielsen Hauge, 4 vols. (Oslo, 1971-1976). The letters, published by the Norsk historisk kjeldeskriftinstitutt, will hereafter be referred to as H.N.H. Letters.

<3> Breistein, Hans Nielsen Hauge, 122; H.N.H. Letters, July 1, 1817, 2:172.

<4> Breistein, Hans Nielsen Hauge, 51-74. On Bergen see also Heggtveit, Den norske kirke; in the same work he comments on Tysvær: “In Tvsvær were many believers and widespread Christian life. The Haugeans had erected a meetinghouse close to the church where gatherings (opbyggelse) were held after the services. There were as a rule meetings in at least two, more often three places in different parts of the parish. These meetings were always well attended . . . Dissension and disagreement did not at that time exist among the ‘friends’.” 2:164. Among the most prominent preachers Heggtveit mentions John Haukaas.

<5> H.N.H. Letters, November 4, 1814, 2:85. On the Quakers in Norway see Seierstad, Kyrkjelegt reformarbeid, 219-254; Theodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America, 1825-1860 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1931), 24-47; Henry J. Cadbury, “The Norwegian Quakers of 1825,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 1 (Northfield, 1926), 60-94, and “Four Immigrant Shiploads,” 2 (1927). 20-52.

<6> H.N.H. Letters, February, 1815, 2:1-94; February 26, 1815, 2:95; May 3, 1815, 2:101-102; May 14, 1815, 2:103; May 15, 1815, 2:105-108; May 15,1815, 2:110-112; May 27, 1815, 2:114-119; Summer, 1815, 2:114-119, 125.

<7> Ingrid Semmingsen, “A Shipload of German Emigrants and their Significance for the Norwegian Emigration of 1825,” in The Swedish Pioneer Historical Quarterly, July, 1974, 183-192. A more detailed account is given by Semmingsen, “De tyske emigranter i Bergen 1817-18,” in Bergens historiske forenings skrifter, 1976:120-138.

<8> On the voyage of the Prima see Morgenbladet, July 11, 13, and 14, 1826.

<9> H .N .H. Letters, May 27, 1814, 2:73.

<10> Letter from Samson Traae, in the Manuscript Collection of The University Library, Oslo; letters from Kyllingen and Seglem in Haugean Letter-bank, manuscript in Norsk historisk kjeldeskriftinstitutt, Oslo.

<11> Karl JR. Arndt, ed., A Documentary History of the Indiana Decade of the Harmony Society (Indianapolis, 1975).

<12> Johann George Rapp to Jacob Boiler, March 20, 1819, in Arndt, Documentary History, 673-675.

<13> Johann George Rapp to Daniel Vogt et al., March 21, 1819. in Arndt, Documentary History, 675-676. See also Arthur E. Bestor, Jr., Backwoods Utopias, The Sectarian and Owenite Phases of Commnnitarian Socialism in America: 1663-1829 (Philadelphia, 1950), 49.

<14> Jacob Boiler to Frederick Rapp, April 29, 1819, in Arndt, Documentary History, 691-694.

<15> Semmingsen, “De tyske emigranter”; Morgenbladet, July 11, 13, and 14, 1826.

<16> German emigrants to “Dear, beloved Brothers and Sisters of God’s Society in Bergen,” May 14, 1819, in Haugean Letter-hook, manuscript in Norsk historisk kjeldeskriftinstitutt, Oslo.

<17> German emigrants to “I vores Imanuel, inderlig og meget elskede Sødsken,” June 14, 1823, in Haugean Letter-hook. Among the persons to whom special greetings are sent is Madame Pytter. According to Breistein, Hans Nielsen Hange, 343, the Pytter couple adopted an orphan among the German emigrants, a girl named Elisabeth Richer.

<18> H.N.H. Letters, September 13, 1819, 2:272.

<19> In connection with the Centennial in 1937 of the beginning of emigration from Tinn, Telemark, the newspaper Rjukan Dagblad had an article by the local historian Olav Miland, in which he mentions a “handwritten diary, kept by a locally prominent Haugean, Kittel Gregersen Sæbrekke.” In this “diary” (which may be a Haugean letter-book) Miland found a copy of Gjert Hovland’s well-known letter from the Kendall settlement of April 22, 1835. See Theodore C. Blegen, Land of their Choice (Minneapolis, 1955), 21-25. He also quotes from “a letter from 1819, sent to Bergen by a group of poor Germans.” The statement that “America is a good country. Poor people live better here than the wealthy ones in Bergen and Germany,” shows that this must be still another copy of the letter mentioned in note 16. Furthermore, it is an example of the ways in which local Haugean groups kept contact with each other.

<20> Hart Rosdail, The Sloopers, Their Ancestry and Posterity (Broadview, Illinois, 1961), especially 39-61.

<21> Heggtveit, Den norske kirke, 2:364. Seierstad, Kyrkjelegt reformarbeid, 234, points out that several of the Quakers in Skjold and Tvsvær had formerly been fervent Haugeans.

<22> Sigleif Engen, in an article entitled “Pionerane vare,” in the local historical periodical for Rogaland, Ætt og heim, 1962, convincingly argues that the Knud Olsen Eie who went with Cleng Peerson to America in 1821 is the same person as the Knud Olsen Eie who emigrated in 1837 with his wife and four children. See also Cadbury, ‘‘Four Immigrant Shiploads.’’ Knud Olsen’s daughter by his first wife was married to the Haugean Gitle Danielson who emigrated in 1839. See Rasmus B. Anderson, First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration (Madison, Wisconsin, 1895), 300-3 12. Knud Olsen, however, later had several children outside marriage. His first child died at birth on July 16, 1821, when Knud probably had already left for America. The mother also died. During the years 1828-1835 he had four children with the sister of the mother who died. In August, 1835, his first marriage was legally dissolved, and since the fourth child, horn in September, 1835, is not designated in the parish records as being born out of wedlock, he must have married the mother of his four children immediately after the divorce. Ansten Nattestad in his sketch of Cleng Peerson, in Billed-Magazin, February 27, 1869, characterizes his companion of the year 1821 as “a person of ill-repute.” Knud Olsen Eie was from Talgje in Finnøy parish. In an admonition that Peerson received from the dean in 1818 it is said that he (Cleng) had lived in Talgje for some years. It seems that Finnøy, with Talgje, was a stronghold for dissenters, Moravians, Quakers, and Haugeans. The articles from Billed-Magazin have been translated into English by C.A. Clausen and published as A Chronicler of Immigrant Life: Svein Nilsson’s Articles in Billed-Magazin, 1868-1870 (Northfield, 1982).

<23> Elling Eielsen claimed in the same Billed-Magazin article that Peerson got economic support from Norwegian Quakers for the journey he was about to undertake, ‘‘possibly also from a Quaker mission fund in England.’’ Lars Larsen had good relations with Quakers in England, including William Allen, and had even spent some time there after 1814. Madland was a well-to-do person.

<24> Mario S. De Pillis, “ A Unique Slooper Letter,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 20 (1959), 24-31, and “Cleng Peerson and the Communitarian Background of Norwegian Immigration,” in Norwegian-American Studies, 21 (1962), 136-157. See also Richard Canuteson, “A Little More Light on the Kendall Colony,” in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 18 (1954), 82-101.

<25> Karl J.R. Arndt, “George Rapp’s Harmonists and the Beginnings of Norwegian Migration to America,” in Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, 60 (1977), 241-263.

<26> Ole Rynning, January 28, 1838, in Blegen, Land of their Choice, 40.

<27> The Norwegian text of the letter, dated New York, December 21, 1824, together with its English translation, is given in Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 1825-1860, 38 1-385. The English version, except for a postscript, is also in Blegen, Land of their Choice, 19-21.

<28> Heggtveit, Den norske kirke, 2:54-59, 164; and Seierstad, Kyrkjelegt reformarbeid.

<29> Cadbury, “The Norwegian Quakers of 1825,” 60-94. For a recent description and analysis of Norwegian local rural communities see Hans Try, To kulturer. En stat, in Norges historie, 11 (Oslo, 1979).

<30> See Rosdail, The Sloopers, 66-72.

<31> The letter of Ole Rynning, dated January 28, 1838, is translated in Blegen, Land of their Choice, 41-43. Rynning’s statement about Cleng Peerson’s impracticality may he based on the experiences in Fox River as well as in Kendall. As to the communitarian aspect, Gjort Hovland’s first letters, for instance that of April 22, 1835 (Land of their Choice, 23), give no hint of communal ownership. He himself bought fifty acres of land soon after his arrival, built a house, started to clear the land, planted winter wheat, and had a good harvest. When he wrote the letter he had just sold the land and intended to move west.

<32> Billed-Magazin, February 27, 1869. The English version is given in Clausen, Chronicler of Immigrant Life, 62.

<33> This author feels that she may have underrated this impulse in her earliest works on the subject.

<34> Jens Amp Seip, Utsikt over Norges historie, 1 (Oslo, 1974), 175-183.

<35> On the Mormon mission in Norway, see Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 1825-1860, 249, 333-335; and Ingrid Semmingsen, Veien mot vest, 1 (Oslo, 1949), 440-444.

 

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