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The Delaware Finns

E. A. Louhi

Chapter I.  The Finnish emigration to Sweden, from where their path led to the American shores.
Chapter II.  Motives and inducements that led Sweden to establish a colony on the Delaware River.
Chapter III.  A colony established on the Delaware River.
Chapter IV.  The second expedition. The Dutch withdraw from the company. Dutch colonists coming to the Delaware.
Chapter V.  The third expedition. Finnish colonists brought to the Delaware River.
Chapter VI.  The fourth and the fifth expeditions. More Finnish colonists brought to America.
Chapter VII.  The sixth, seventh and eighth expeditions. The Finns beseeching the queen to be permitted to go to America.
Chapter VIII.  The ninth and tenth expeditions. The Finns flocking to get passage for America.
Chapter IX.  The Delaware settlements under the Swedish administration.
Chapter X.  The Delaware colony conquered by the Dutch.
Chapter XI.  New expeditions of Finns arriving at the Delaware River.
Chapter XII.  The first period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XIII.  England replacing Holland as the ruler of the South River.
Chapter XIV.  The first period of the Finnish settlement under the English rule.
Chapter XV.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.
Chapter XVI.  The second period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVII.  The third period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.
Chapter XVIII.  The last stages of the Finnish settlements on the Delaware.

Chapter VI. The Fourth and the Fifth Expedition. More Finnish Colonists Brought to America.

Early in 1642, preparations were begun for a new expedition, and the government assumed all the expenses connected with the journeys, except the board and salary of the company's servants and the voyage of the colonists. The colonists were required to pay a fare for their voyage, by working for the company in the colony. Later on this fare was fixed to be 16 riksdalers a head, or about equal to 144 American dollars of present day money value. For a man with a big family it took years to work this out, while starting a farm and supporting his family.

As the New Sweden colony had become mostly a Finnish settlement, John Printz, who had lived many years in Finland and had belonged to the Finnish cavalry in the wars and therefore was acquainted with the language and manners of the Finns, was requested in the spring of 1642 to become the governor of the colony on the Delaware. This he accepted and was commissioned accordingly on the fifteenth of August 1642.

Goods and provisions for an expedition had been again bought in Holland by the Swedish agents and new efforts were made to secure colonists, as Ridder, the governor in the colony had made earnest requests for more people to secure the land against the attempts of the English to settle there. An agent was therefore sent to the Finnish settlements in Vermland in June to hire laborers. Letters were also written to several governors asking them to prevail upon people to emigrate with their families to the colony, but few were willing to go and force again had to be employed. In the summer of 1642 the council decided that game poachers and deserted soldiers should be condemned to serve in New Sweden for a number of years. However even then the number found was insufficient and in August the governors Carl Bonde, Peter Krase of Dalarne, Johan Berndes of Kopparberget and Olof Stake of Vermland and Dal were requested to capture forest destroying Finns in their territories. These people with their families were to be kept in readiness for transportation to Gothenburg within three weeks after the first of August.

Among the Finns that came with this expedition were:

Anders Andersson, involuntary emigrant. Served as soldier at Elfsborg in 1644. Returned home in 1653.

Christer Boije, a Finnish nobleman, who came for adventure. In the summer of 1643 he was sent to New Amsterdam to bring back deserted colonists and to purchase oxen. On July 10, 1643 he acted as judge in case against Lamberton who attempted to establish English settlements on the Delaware and was a member of the jury on January 16, 1644 examining Isaac Allerton in the same matter. Acted as commander at Upland. Returned to home in 1644.

Johan Fransson, bookkeeper from Viipuri (Viborg), Finland. Was sent to the colony for some misdemeanor.

Anders Andersson Homman from Sollentuna near Stockholm, Sweden. Served as soldier until March 1, 1648, then trumpeter until 1653. He lived in 1693, having then nine people in his family. His descendants belonged to the Trinity Church in Wilmington.

Lars Andersson from Sollentuna, Sweden. Was employed as soldier at Tinicum in 1644. Returned to Sweden in 1653.

Peter Mickelson, a peasant from Finland. Was sent to the colony for punishment. Died on July 31, 1643 at Elfsborg from an epidemic.

Marten Martensson from the province of Pohjanmaa, Finland. Served as laborer for the company and later became freeman. He is claimed of being the forefather of John Morton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.

The ships Fama and Swan had been prepared for this expedition and they left Gothenburg on September 12, 1642. The expedition arrived to the island of Antigua at the Christmas time and the colonists spent their holidays there. On the arrival at the Delaware Bay, about the end of Janaury, 1643, they met a fearful snow storm. The Fama ran ashore and lost her main mast, sprit sail and three anchors. After more than two weeks' delay in the bay, the ships arrived at Fort Christina on the fifteenth of February 1643. In the middle of April the ships left the colony with Governor Ridder, who returned to Finland, where he permanently settled in the province of Viipuri. And at least eleven other employees of the company returned to Sweden as their places were filled by the new arrivals. Large cargoes of beaver and otter skins were taken to Sweden. They arrived safely at Gothenburg in the end of July 1643.

Preparations for a new expedition were again going on and on October 16, 1643, the question of collecting emigrants was considered at the meeting of the Council of State. Since the Finnish pioneers in the back, forests were suspected of game poaching by the Swedes, it was decided later on that the game poachers should be sent to the colony. But the number of colonists was very small with this expedition, indicating that the game poachers existed largely in the minds of their Swedish brethren. One colonist came from Finland, a soldier from the town of Kajaani in the Northern Finland, who was sent for punishment.

Among the Finnish colonists who arrived with the fifth expedition, were:

Wolle Lohe, engaged by Papegoja as soldier on December 1, 1643.

Swen Swensson, a youth whose father Swen Gunnarrson arrived at the colony with the first or the second expedition. He was one of the Swensson brothers from whom William Penn exchanged land for the site of Philadelphia.

Hindrick Olufsson, who became a soldier on December 1, 1646. Returned to Sweden in 1653 and came back to the colony as a Finnish-Swedish interpreter in 1655.

As usual the merchandise for trade was bought in Holland, as the manufacturing of articles useful in trading with the Indians had not been developed in Sweden on account of the war industries continually keeping all hands busy.

Two ships, the Fama and the Kalmar Nyckel were prepared for the voyage, but only Fama was going to the colony, while the Kalmar Nyckel was assigned to go to the Caribbean Islands for trading. All kinds of wooden utensils were brought from Finland for the West India trade, also tar, pitch and lumber. The ships left Gothenburg on December 29, 1643, and the Fama arrived at Christina on March 11, 1644. About July 20, she set sail for Europe with a large cargo of tobacco, much of which had been raised by the colonists, also skins, part of which had been brought in by the settlers.

At the departure of the ship Fama from the colony, the total of male inhabitants in New Sweden was ninety-three, as the adventurers returned as fast as they came and twenty-six had died from disease within a year. Fama took back four adventurers again to Sweden. However, as many of the Finns brought their families with them the total population was considerably larger than the above figure. There were also seven Englishmen living at Varkens Kill, on the east side of the Delaware River, who had submitted to Swedish rule, but later on they moved away. The Dutch, who established a settlement on the Delaware, within the Swedish territory, under Joost van Bogaert, had all moved to Manhattan and some perhaps had returned to Holland.

The Fama arrived in Holland about the first of October 1644 and the Kalmar Nyckel soon afterwards with a cargo of tobacco. There had broken a war between Sweden and Denmark, therefore the cargoes had to be sold in Holland. The returning servants and soldiers were transported to Sweden, but the ships arrived to Sweden only in the summer of 1645, and were fitted for participation in the naval war.

The war between Sweden and Denmark had bearance on the colony's future, as Admiral Klaus Fleming, the director of the New Sweden Company and the staunchest supporter of the colony, fell during the struggle. In the war Fleming was commanding the Swedish navy, created by him, against the Danish navy under the command of King Christian IV. Admiral Fleming, who was born of a prominent and ancient Finnish family in Finland, held many high positions in Sweden, such as being one of the five counsellors appointed to rule Sweden during the minority of Queen Christina, he was also State Admiral and Lord Mayor of the city of Stockholm. He had used his great energy in building a Swedish navy to secure from Denmark the mastery of the straits connecting the Baltic to the North Sea, which was the last link at the time in making the Baltic a Swedish inland sea.

Publication: E. A. Louhi: The Delaware Finns or The First Permanent Settlements in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey, and Eastern Part of Maryland. New York, The Humanity Press Publishers. 1925, 331 pages.

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