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Order of Runeberg, Lodge No. 8, Dollar Bay, Michigan

Lydia I. Holmes

"United we stand, divided we fall." Surely our charter members believed wholeheartedöy on those very words. If they did not they could not have organized and carried through the ensuing years the fundamentals upon which today's Order of Runeberg was founded.

In compiling a biography of history of our local lodge I have spent much time in reading the Protokoll Bok" of Enighet No. 6 S.F.S.F. and Nykterhetsforeningen Syskonringen of Dollar Bay, Michigan. Their aged pages, written in Swedish, came alive with a rare and solemn message for me and I hope i translating their words I shall not destroy the memoirs by erring in understanding. I am most happy to be able to transcribe some incidents of their happiness, heartaches, and loyalty through unity and regard for fellow men. One feels so in need of some of that unity today.

Syskonringen which was a Temperance society along with Enighet, was of the original "Nordstjärnen" that was organized in Dollar Bay, January 1899. The year 1902 brought about many changes of this one Temperance society and records read that "Och så arbetade föreningarna sida vid sida ända tills i november 1902 då de återförenade sig och antogo namnet "Syskonringen" samt övergingo till Svensk-Finska Nykterhetsförbundet som organiserades samma månad." Their membership at this time was 79.

This temperance society spent their free time the summer of 1903 erecting a hall which ws to be their home. The cost of building that hall, $3,000.00. It became and still is the only hall built and owned by a fraternal organization. This community knows it today as the Swedish Hall Dollar Bay and also as Runeberg Hall Dollar Bay.

On the 15th day of August 1903, sixteen men met in Dollar Bay for the purpose of organizing a "Sjukhjelpsforening". Mr. John Beck of Calumet, Michigan, was in attendance for the purpose of instituting this organization. Of sixteen men who were present and became charter members, some are still living in Dollar Bay and are yet members. Others have since left for other states and no doubt still active members of Order of Runeberg where they live. Then we have pf those charter members the ones who have met their God, and whose memory but remains.

The readers far and wide it will perhaps be of interest to note the first 16:

Mr. John Steve - born in Portom, Wasa, Finland, Jan. 13, 1877 (deceased)

Mr. Jonas Mattsson - born in Malaks, Finland, Oct. 8, 1874 - now residing in State of Washington

Mr. Matt Ostrand - born in Portom, Wasa, Finland, June 19, 1875 (deceased)

Mr. Wilhelm Hogdahl - born in Pedersore, Finland, Dec. 20, 1879 (deceased)

Mr. Charles Engman - born in Mostasaare, Finland, Sept. 26, 1877 - Residing at Dollar Bay and holds the office of past President of Order of Runeberg No. 8.

Mr. Matt Sved - born in Malaks, Finland, Jan. 1, 1870 - Resising at Dollar Bay. Holds the honor of having served No. 8 as treasurer for forty years.

Mr. Matt A. Sved - born in Portom, Wasa, Finland, Aug. 7, 1869 (deceased)

Mr Emil Holm - born in Portom, Wasa, Finland, Jan. 21, 1881 - Residing at Dollar Bay, writer's father.

Mr. Jonas Johnson - born in Malaks, Finland, April 14, 1875 - returned to Finland (?)

Mr. Matts Soderman - born in Portom, Wasa, Finland, Nov. 12, 1880 - returned to Finland (?)

Mr Frank Johnson - born in Bolmso, Jonskjaping lan, Sverige, Dec. 31, 1871. Resided in Lansing but recently returned to Sweden (?)

Mr. William Jacobson - born in Purma, Finland, April 13, 1883 (?)

Mr. John Mattson - born in Malaks, Finland, Sept. 5, 1865 (deceased)

Mr. Oskar Frost - born in Narpes, Finland, Jan. 26, 1882 (deceased)

Mr. John Udell - born in Malaks, Finland, Sept. 19, 1880 - present address I believe somewhere in Illinois, a suburb of Chicago

Mr. Victor Nyman - born in Pedersore, Finland, Sept. 17, 1874 - residing at Ramsay, Michigan.

Mr. Matt Sved, our forty year treasurer, and Mrs. Sved celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in May, 1950. Both are active in our order to date. May they have many more anniversaries.

It was decided at that first meeting that the organization would be known as Enighet No. 6 S.F.S.F.

The first officers of Enighet No. 6 S.F.S.F. were:

President - Mr. John Steve
Vice President - Mr. Jonas Mattson
Rec. Secy's - Mr. Matt Sved - Mr. Wm. Hogdahl
Finn. Secy's - Mr. Chas. Engman - Mr. Matt A. Sved
Treasurer - Mr. Victor Nyman
Marshal - Mr. Emil Holm
Chaplain - Mr. Matt Ostrand
Guards - Mr. Wm. Jacobson - Mr. Oskar Frost
Trustees - Mr. Jonas Johnson
Mr. John Steve
Mr. Matt Ostrand

The officers were elected and installed every three months. Today's officers are elected and installed for one year.

The pages of records show from August, 1905 through the 1930's, initiation of many members, and transfer of members to and from the Dollar Bay order.

We hear much of many of these members of Runeberg today. The details of Mr. Udells recent trip to Finland which were in "Norden" were well received by his old "Cronies" here in Dollar Bay. Among others are Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Ostrand of Crystal Fall, Michigan. Mr. Ostrand transferred from Chicago No. 17 on October 20, 1907. I have mentioned Brother Ostrand especially because I noted that much work and successful activity in those early years due to his creative interest & sincerity in his efforts. He helped to organize a class of instruction in the English language. The late Mr. Wm. Holm of Duluth being an instructor, also Mr. Ostrand. Their students were very much in earnest in wanting to learn the English language and from the records I know their classes were well attended.

There came a day when Mr. August Udd was initiated into the order along with Mr. Emil Sved, Mr. John Lundman, Mr. Jonas Sandelin, Mr. John Stoor, Mr. Eric Helman, and many more, including the women, all who are with us as members today and still have the interest of Order of Runeberg in mind. To us, who are so recent, Mr. Udd has been a guifing hand. His all out efforts for a bigger and better No. 8 are too numerous to mention. He has the honor of having attained into membership at one time some 30 applicants.

Meetings were held regularly at the Temperance Hall. These two organizations worked together in many waqys. There were socials of all kinds, such as the "blomfest", held, it seems, annually. There were basket socials and raffles of all sorts.

Many interesting incidents at these affairs have been related to us thru the years. I remember vaguely one such a party wherein we children had the best time ever in being allowed to slide on the waxed hall floor while moms and dads were having lunch. Most always at the meeting was the discussion of more members, and the presence of these members at meetings and the ever present problem of the "funds". We have them with us yet today.

The sick reports amaze one. In years past how staunch was the unity in which help to the needy was given! Today's doctor or nurse couldn't cope with the sick committee of those years.

Surprising and truthful the fact that then and now are the ever present few who do all the work. That's loyalty plus unity. One gay incident interests me. I do not remember the days where the "ferry boat" existed, but I have grown up hearing of it and the wonderful excursions which used to be the summer program. Enighet & Nykterhet made much use of the ferry "Ploughboy". Excursions to Portage Entry and Baraga were much looked forward to.

There were concerts too, many of them. Plays, debates and gym classes were also highlights of these two organizations, Concerts, with the Wasa Band of Dollar Bay, the band that was in the limelight in those days. It is thrilling to read and hear of the exploits of that band, composed mostly of members of Enighet and Nykterhet.

The determination to succeed, so prominent then, is our heritage, surely we should not forget.

The 1905 Annual meeting of Sjukhjelpsförening was held in Dollar Bay, June 28.

Nykterhetsförening was host to the 11th Annual Convention of the Swedish-Finnish Temperance Association on July 31, Aug. 1-2, 1913. The wind-up of this convention was the parade and picnic held at the "Green Spot". Many the time we have re-heard the beauty of that parade with the Wasa Band leading. Mr. John Udell took pictures of that parade but sad to say no one ever viewed them through a mishap which befell him enroute home.

Debates after each meeting were very prominent. One subject especially interested me. "Vad are betre ega, guld eller kunskap?"

Then came the year of the big merge. In August of 1920 delegates of Enighet and Nykterhet traveled to Waukegan, Illinois, to partake in the Annual Convention. It was a very tense group from all orders who assembled in Waukegan. After many discussions pro and con it was resolved that these organizations consolidate and henseforth be known as the Order of Runeberg.

Those who were there must wonder as to the future of Runeberg today, with many of the comparative difficulties arisin at the coming convention.

The years 1925 through 1945 saw a definite decline and laxity of Order of Runeberg in Dollar Bay. The faithful few resolved not to let their order dissolve and so in hardship and depression kept up the organization as best they could. The loyal watched with caution and concern the membership decrease, mostly through death with heavy heart. There just didn't seem to be any new members to obtain. The younger generation, if they were to work had to leave home for cities as Dollar Bay became practically a "ghost town" of what it was before the first World War.

Dollar Bay has since the Second World War become what is called today "Industry" by the Copper Country. This was a good thing for Order of Runeberg. Faithful Mr. Udd decided on one campaign after one of the Runeberg meetings in 1946 and was responsible for some thirty applicants who were initiated into the Order of Runeberg No. 8 on a very happy Saturday evening. I was one of those thirty.

We meet once more, the obstacle of obtaining new members. If we remember our heritage I'm sure we shall succeed. We have had much activituy and our town has once more become Runeberg conscious. This consciousness will be a help to procure new members.

Runeberg Lodge No. 8 was host to the Central District Convention of 1948.

Runeberg No. 8, Dollar Bay, has today a membership of 68 (66 sick benefit members and 2 social).

United we Stand, Divided we Fall.

by Miss Lydia I. Holmes
Rec. Secy.
Order of Runeberg Lodge No. 8
Dollar Bay, Michigan,
July 6, 1950

Manuscript in the Anders Myhrman Emigration Collection, Manuscript Department of Åbo Akademi Library, Turku, Finland. 6 typewritten pages.

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