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my men instead of looking out at the innumerable thousands of rabbits in the colony today, will soon have each and every rabbit that now runs in the colony replaced with cattle, sheep and hogs" to which every man gave a cheer from the very depths of his soul as if that was their one and chief object. Then he, (Mr. Noreus) made the liberal offer to the single men of his colony that the first couple married in the new colony should have a good house built on his homestead, well furnished, free of all expense. He referred to the advice given in Mr. Peels speech, telling of the young men to send for their "Fathers and Mothers, brothers and sisters, and those who had no sisters of their own, let them send for some other fellows sisters. That is the way to build up a colony for without the presence of the fair sex, the colony, the farm, the man - no! nothing can prosper, society is a farce without them, and the household a desert." Then we had a hearty shaking of hands with all the men and retired for the night. It was with pleasure that we learned that so able a man as Mr. Noreus had been arranged with to go to Sweden, Norway and Denmark. He will leave here about the 23rd of December and return in the latter part of April or the first of May with numerous settlers for New Sweden in Manitoba and we wish him with one accord on his new mission-God speed.
The pioneers in New Sweden as the settlement was referred to were not for long to enjoy the comforts of their new home. Fire a dread of all people through all ages struck its blow.
The following are newspaper accounts of the disaster.
FIRE AT NEW SWEDEN
Dec. 11, 1885 - News Item
On Saturday morning last (Dec. 7) at an early hour the house of Mr. J.H. Noreus at New Sweden was burned to the ground together with the valuable contents. Thirty five colonists with N.D. Ennis, immigration agent and E.T. Head architect of this town who were asleep in the house, narrowly escaped with their lives, the latter two by jumping from the upper storey. One of the men in the blacksmith remained to dress and before reaching the door, being confused by the blinding smoke, his cloth~s caught fire and on rushing out was all aflame. He IS seriously burned. The building contained the complete outfit of 35 men, several guns and rifles, and an ex pensive supply of household effects brought through from Eauclaire by Mr. and Mrs. Noreus. On a close investigation it is supposed there has been a total loss of $1050 in cash. One man's effects contained $175.00 and was burning while he was rescuing Mr. Ennis from the burning building. All provisions were destroyed, the men being without tea or coffee from the time of the fire until Sunday 3:30 p.m. The blacksmith Peter Oslen, burned on hands, feet, face and back of neck is progressing favorably under the kind treatment of Mr. Boochette and the supplies sent by Dr. Roche. The five other men slightly burned are rapidly recovering. The men are hard at work erecting dining and sleeping rooms.
NEW SWEDEN, APRIL 23, 1886
New Sweden, the Scandinavian colony of Manitoba, consists of about 60 settlers located on Townships 17 and 18 - Ranges 17 and 18W of first principal Meridian. It is 12 miles from Minnedosa on the M & NW Ry. 50 miles from Brandon on the C.P.P., 150 from Winnipeg. The colony has had its trials and troubles, having once suf fered by fire and once by infliction of a self constituted president. But still it has prospered, having almost completely recovered from the first infliction and is in a fair way to recover from the second. The way they got rid of their president, "a gentleman by the name of J. H. Noreus is as follows: A deputation representing the colonists of New Sweden met Mr. Jas A. Green, Vice Consul for Norway and Sweden; Captain Graham, Dom. Govt. Imm. agent; Mr. Metcalfe, Dept. of the Int.; Mr. A.F. Eden, Land Commissioner of Manitoba and Northwestern Railway, and Mr. Henry Jacobson at the Swea Hotel on Monday evening and stated that whilst the settlers of New Sweden were highly satisfied with their lands, and thoroughly appreciated the kind and liberal treatment they had received from the Man. & Nor thwestern Ry., they wanted all present to understand that they could not put up with Noreus. They did not desire to leave the settlement, but they wanted Mr. Noreus to leave it in the very worst way. Finally it was moved by Messrs. Anderson and Engman, two members of the deputation, that this meeting expresses its indignation at the improper manner in which the Scandinavian settlers in the colony of New Sweden have been treated by Mr. Noreus, who assumed to be president of the New Swedish colony. They furthermore desire to say that the said J .H. Noreus is nothing more than a settler like themselves and that they do not wish him to have anything to do with the managing of the Colony, its post office, or any other position of public trust as they have no confidence in him." The motion was carried unanimously and then Mr. A.F. Eden stated that J.H. Noreus had no power delegated to him by the M. & N.R. Co. to assume any authority over the other members of the colony, and that any style, title or authority he had taken upon himself was entirely self-assumed.
This satisfied the deputation, and they departed for home after announcing their intentions as to the treat ment Mr. Noreus would receive if he came "bossing" them again.
- Manitoba Sun -
Now that the settlers knew they were in no way in debted to anyone person and solely dependent on themselves they continued with plans to enlarge their colony. A group of men visiting at New Sweden in June 1886 reported that their camp was pitched on a pretty spot close to the shores of Otter Lake, on the village site of Scandinavia. The party were much struck by the superior class of buildings erected by the Swedes who have evidently taken hold with a will and a determination to make New Sweden second to none among the frontier settlements. In addition to the present sawmill, a shingle mill is being brought in by Mr. James Hemmingson