Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Nils and Elna Olsson, New Sweden, Maine
Nils and Elna Olsson along with five children (Vilhelm, Algred, Judith, Karoline, and Anna)
all under age 10 arrived in New Sweden with the first group of settlers from Sweden on July 23, 1870. Nils was 50 and Elna was 30 years old.
Nils had trained as a cabinet maker in Sweden for seven years.
Nils is known as being the first lay preacher in the Swedish Colony and one of the originators of the First Baptist Church of New Sweden.
Nils was active as a community leader and is frequently found in local historical documents. It is noted, as examples, (1) that Nils gave a welcoming speech at the decennial celebration of the founding of the settlement in Swedish in 1880, (2) Nils Olsson was one of five from the 22 original settlers living in New Sweden on June 25, 1895 at the Quarter Centennial Celebration, and (3) that Nils conducted public religious services in Swedish at the corner camp on July 31, 1870.
Elna had thirteen children, four of whom died in 1876 from black diptheria.
Nils and Elna are buried in the Capitol Hill Cemetery in New Sweden, just a short walk from where they first set foot on their arrival in 1870.
NELS OLSON, MAY 20, 1821-JUNE 11, 1908
ELNA HIS WIFE, AUG. 6, 1839-APR. 7, 1910