|The Sloopers - pioneers in Norwegian emigration
On July 5 1825 the sloop Restaurasjonen left from Stavanger with 52 people aboard. This is considered to be the first organized emigration party to leave from Norway. In the different sources we find several ways of spelling the name of this ship, like Restauration, Restoration, Restaurasjonen and Restorasjon.
It is necessary to go a few years back in time before 1825 to find the pre-history for this event. Norway had for many years been under the Danes, and was a dependency under the Danish King. The Danish King supported Napoleon Bonaparte in the war 1807-1814. This resulted in the capture of many Norwegians by Napoleon's enemies. Some Norwegians were captured by the British and they were held in prison. In the prison some Norwegians came in contact with new religious communities, like the Quakers. Among this prisoners was Lars Larsen Geilane, who was to be one of the passengers on the sloop Restaurasjonen in 1825. When released from prison they brought these new religious thoughts with them back to Norway, and founded new religious communities there. Lars Larsen Geilane and 3 other released prisoners went back to live in the Stavanger area. The three others were Ole Franck, Even Samuelsen and Elias Tasted. The authorities in Norway did not approve of any other religious direction than the Lutheran. The religious dissenters were persecuted and threatened by the government. The Quaker dissenters in Norway maintained contact with the Quaker communities elsewhere in the world including the English Quakers Shillitoe and Allen. It is probably through this contact that the sloopers got to hear about the new possibilities in America.
In 1821 the Quaker community, in the Stavanger area, sent two of their members over to America to find out about opportunities for the community to settle in America. These two were Cleng Peerson (Klein Pedersen Hesthammer) and Knud Olsen Eide, who died after arriving in America. In 1824 Cleng Peerson came back and spoke of the good prospects he had seen in America. It was decided that a group should travel, and Cleng went back to America to prepare for their arrival. Only a small number of the sloopers were members of the Quaker community, but most of them were probably Haugeans, sympathizers with the Quakers. Some of them later became Quakers.
The Resataurasjonen was a small sloop, or as it is called in Norway Hardanger Jakt". She was built in Hardanger in 1801 as the "Emanuel", but was renamed "Haabet" (Hope) probably in 1815. The sloop was used for freighting herring and corn. In 1820 she was rebuilt and renamed "Restaurasjonen" (Restoration). She was only 54 foot in length and 16 foot in width and a burden of 18,5 Norwegian Commercial lasts, which is equivalent to 38,48 RT.
When the Restaurationen left Stavanger in 1825 she was carrying a load of iron and 52 persons including the ship's crew. The passengers came from the southwestern part of Norway, many from Tysvær. They crossed the North sea and passed trough the British Channel. It is not known why they chose this route, but it was certainly not a shortcut. At the English coast they entered the small harbor of Lisett. At Lisett they started to sell hard liquor, unaware that this was illegal. When they found out what danger they had set themselves in, they had to escape in a hurry. They went as far south as Madeira. Outside of Funchal they found a barrel of Madeira Wine floating in the sea, which they rescued. The ship's crew soon became seriously drunk from the wine, and the ship came floating in to the harbor as a 'pestulenseship' without command or showing her flag. The cannons at the fort were all ready pointing at the sloop when a Bremen ship alerted them to immediately show their colors. One of the passengers then, in the last minute, managed to raise the flag.
The sloopers stayed at Funchal for about a week to bunker, and they were well treated. On August 7th Restaurasjonen left the harbor in Funchal and on October 9th she entered the harbor in New York, now with 53 people. In New York the ship, cargo and captain were taken under arrest due to a violation of the 1819 Passenger Act. The Act stated that a ship could not take more than 2 passengers for each 5 BR. Restaurationen should have had a burden of at least 115 RT according to the Act. However, the arrival of this small ship attracted peoples attention in New York. This was the smallest ship known to have crossed the Atlantic with emigrants. In New York the sloopers were met by Cleng Peerson, and it is likely that his connection with the Quaker community in New York was a help in getting the case against the sloopers dropped. The owners of the sloop (see later) were given a 3.150 Dollar fine. When the ship and cargo were sold, they only got 400 Dollars, which was less than half of what they had paid for it in Norway. The money they got for the ship and cargo was supposed to be their investment capital in the new country. The sloopers did not break the passenger act on purpose, they were just not aware of it. On November 15 1825 they where pardoned by President John Quincy Adams personally. By this time most of the sloopers had already gone to Orleans County in New York. This was the first Norwegian colony in America since Leiv Eriksson, who had been there sometime around the year 1000. The newspapers in New York had published a number of articles about the event in the weeks after the sloopers arrived. [J. S. Worm-Muller, DNSH] [Ingrid Semmingsen "Veien mot vest"] [T. Blegen "Amerikabrev"]
THE ORIGINAL SLOOPERS
From: "The Sloopers, Their Ancestry and Posterity" by J. Hart Rosdail, published by The Norwegian Slooper Society of America, 1961. Published by Photopress, Inc., Broadview IL.
An official passenger list for the Sloop Restoration has still not been found. This is in spite of extensive research by both the author and previous historians, in the archives of New York, Washington, and elsewhere. However research does seem to confirm the following 50 names out of the traditional list of 53 carefully compiled by Anderson in 1895.
1.Lars Larsen Jeilane [Lars Larson]
The preceding 6 families were the owners of the Sloop, Johannes Steen being the principal owner.
30.Simon Pedersen Lihme [Simon Lima]
There are three people remaining on Anderson's list: Sven Johannessen who did not immigrate; Andrew Stangeland, who came with Cleng Peerson in 1824; and Knud Anderson Slogvik, who probably came in 1829.
[The above reference to Anderson may be Rasmus B Anderson's The First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration [1821-1840] Madison, Wisconsin, 1906
Speculation about who the 3 remaining passengers were, led the author to suggest possibly Knud Anderson Slogvik may have been on the boat after all and one couple which returned to Norway in 1826 and their names forgotten which stems from a statement made by Sarah Richey to a local newspaper in 1894.
A fine by New York Customs stated 45 passengers [excluding an infant born on the trip] and a crew of 7, etc., etc..]
Contributed by: Gilda Kinzer
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