View Full Version : Swedish-Finn Temperance Society: Dollar Bay, MI

Karen Douglas
12-02-06, 22:15
Hi! A friend sent me a photo of the Swedish-Finn Temperance Society in Dollar Bay, MI (Houghton County) that was taken on Nov. 19, 1907.

There are more than 60 people in the photo, so I can't mention every surname, altho she also sent me the name of nearly everyone who appears.

Notable surnames that I've seen mentioned on this website are John Steve, (plus wife and child); Sved, Mattson, Wesala, Gronlund, Abramson, Bengs, Hellman, Engman, Norrgard, Backman, Holm, Nordbeck, Boatman, Nye, Hoyer and Johnson.

If you are interested, I would be happy to try and send you this photo, with jpg extender, and list of names.

Karen Douglas,

13-02-06, 00:13
...is now within the Picture gallery - and the list of names. The picture can be downloaded if you want a copy.

Click here for the picture and the names (http://sfhs.eget.net/gallery/details.php?image_id=823)

D J Granlund
13-02-06, 00:23
I would be pleased to get a copy of the picture and a list of the names. Granbio*earthlink.net Thank you!

15-02-06, 17:30
Hi Karen,
The archives would appreciate a clear copy of the photo of course, and the names. What a find!

16-02-06, 17:54
I would apreciate it very much if you could send me the photo.I try to use the Sisu adress but it´s not work for me.:confused:
Bert Lindvall

16-02-06, 22:24
Bert & co,

I supplied the link to the picture in a message above in this same thread. Doesn't it show to you? The picture can also be downloaded from the same page if needed.....???

Is there something wrong with the picture gallery pages or what is the problem?


June Pelo
17-02-06, 02:35

When you copied Karen's address SISUDAY*aol.com
did you replace the * with the * - otherwise the address doesn't work.


June Pelo
17-02-06, 02:38

Sorry, but I tried to use the ampersand symbol instead of the * and Finlander won't let me - but you get the idea what I meant.


17-02-06, 05:54
Thank you ,June!
I got the picture from the SFHS portal and Karen sent me a privat message also.Very nice picture and good to se there was so many people who are identified.I think there was some people who are related.At least William Hagdahl and Amelia Norrgard
Hagdahl (Högdahl) sounds familiar.I will check it more later.
BR ,

17-02-06, 07:34
(1st of 5 parts)

First, I wish to thank Karen Douglas for posting the 1907 Dollar Bay photo.

In the 2nd row (from left), I find Carl and Matts Sved, my grandmother Fina Höglund Steve, my grandfather John Steve and their "child". My great-uncle Matts Steve is in the 5th row among the single men (7th from right). The photo is well represented by Pörtombor: Ostrand (Åstrand), Stoor, Sved, Steve (Styf), Sandelin and Soderman; and probably others I am not sure of.

The date of the photo (19 Nov 1907) allows us to identify the Steve "child". Viola Josephine Steve was born on 1 Aug 1906 at Dollar Bay. She died on 3 Sep 1973 at Hancock. This posting primarily deals with some vignettes from her life.

The next child in line was John Evert Steve, who was born 6 Dec 1907 at Dollar Bay. After graduating from Dollar Bay High School, he became a reporter with the Daily Mining Gazette, and then the Flint Journal. He later was an editor with the Flint Journal. So, my grandmother was very pregnant with my uncle John when the 1907 photo was taken.

Viola wrote a short story of her father John Steve, which may be of interest.


VS story.

[PS:] For some reason, this .rtf file was corrupted - and the new upload was no better. The other two .rtf files below opened fine for me just now. If anyone has problems with them, please let me know.

I am re-posting the attachment in "part 6" of five. If that fails, I will post it as plain text.


17-02-06, 07:38
(2nd of 5 parts)

My aunt Viola attended the Dollar Bay schools until her mother died in 1919. As the eldest daughter, she had to leave school to take care of the younger family members (including my mother, who seems to have been a handful).

Later, she attended Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) to train for missionary work. In early 1938, she went as a missionary for the GCCBM (of North America; later Baptist Mid-Missions), to Fort Champel, in the Ubangi-Chari district of French Equitorial Africa.

One is reminded a bit of the movie Orient Express and Bergman's character, who went to Africa to care for the "little brown babies". In any event, here is a bit of Africa before WWII.


Viola FEA photo


17-02-06, 07:41
(3rd of 5 parts)

She found that missionary life in Africa was subject to some surprises, including a "back-sliding" parishioner who briefly turned to petty theft. He returned to the flock while in jail. So, we have her notes on that incident at Fort Champel.


VS article on Fort Champel.

17-02-06, 07:47
(4th of 5 parts)

Early in WWII, Viola returned home on the SS New York. It was torpedoed by a U-Boat. She then spent 43 hours in a drifting lifeboat. She soon returned to Africa and served there until after WWII.

The ravages of malaria forced her retirement. After that, my mother paid Viola back by taking care of her for the rest of Viola's life. Viola was fluent in Swedish, Finnish, French and Songhai (the major French Equitorial African language). She traveled to Finland and returned with several copies of Pörtom Historia (one copy is by my side as I write this).

When she visited John in Flint, the Flint Journal published a short story of her lifeboat adventure, which is attached.


Flint Journal clip


17-02-06, 07:53
(5th of 5 parts)

And, an error correction (bad boy, JMM) for my turning Fort Crampel into Fort Champel.

Finally (at "christera's" suggestion), I am attaching a short article by me on the Swedish-speaking Finns of Dollar Bay. The editorial slant is my own; others may have different (and equally valid) opinions.


Dollar Bay article.

17-02-06, 08:11
(6th of 5 parts !)

Well, let's try Viola's short story of her father, again


[PS] There has to be a corruption within the text itself. This new file also would not open. Sorry about that. So, here is the plain text:


A Brief Story of My Father
by Viola Steve (1906-1973)
Baptist Missionary to French Equitorial Africa

The three comments in [ ]'s are dating corrections by JMM, which reflect records not known to my aunt Viola when she wrote this.


John Steve was born in Portom, Finland, Jan. 13, 1877, of Johan Erick. His parents were farmers, however they believed in education, which so many scoffed at. He had a brother Matt, and a sister Mary. There was a brook on their land. One day Mary fell in and almost drowned. His mother scolded him soundly for taking his sister to the brook. His mother sewed a suit for him out of his father's suit,....

The Lutheran minister chose his father to conduct a Sunday School in their home, since they lived in the country and it was about seven Swedish miles to church. He played the tune of the hymns on a homemade instrument called the "Psalmodika." Among the pupils in this Sunday School were Louise Nordbeck and Mary Ostrand (who later emigrated to Dollar Bay.) When he was confirmed in the Lutheran church, he wore this suit which his mother sewed. The cloth was good, but it did not fit well, and he felt embarrassed.

His mother died in his teens [actually, he was 8], of a yellow sickness. The father re-married and the three children had a step-mother. A brother Andrew was born to this union. She also had some of her own children before by another marriage. At Christmas time there was a custom of exchanging baked bread men. He would have a whole row of bread men from other children. His father went to America to find work. His last words to John were, "Be a good man." His father died in America, falling on the snow in the woods, and was buried in Kenton, Michigan. This was the word received from America.

When he was about eighteen [ca. 1895] he set sail for America, landing first in Montreal, Canada. After working in Montreal, Can., he came to Michigan. He looked for his father's grave in Kenton, but could not find it. He worked at a saw-mill in Thompson, Michigan with Matt Sved, boarding with people named Vagars. In 1895 [prob. later, ca. 1900; he declared 28 Mar 1897 as his entry into the U.S. at Sault Ste. Marie] he came to Dollar Bay, at nineteen years of age. He boarded at Mrs. Hoppa's home, together with John Stone. His sister Mary came to America and married Jonas Mattson. Then he boarded at his sister Mary's home. He worked at the Copper Smelting works. He loved music and bought an organ, also a guitar. On one occasion he peddled the Sears Roebuck catalog to homes, and earned a violin as his premium.

In 1900 when the Swedish Lutheran church was begun he went around taking the names and collecting. He was the Church secretary. In 1905 he was married to Josephine Hoglund of Negaunee, Michigan. Eight children were born, five girls and three boys, namely Viola, John, Elmer, Edwin, Linnea, Alma, Vera, and Edith. The wife and mother died in 1919. It became necessary to take the eldest daughter out of school to care for the younger children while he worked. The smelting works at Dollar Bay had been sold to a Jew, and the men transferred to work in Hubbell.


God burdened a man, for the souls in Dollar Bay who had not yet been told the Way of Salvation, as written in the Bible. This man was Axel Edwards who visited our home in January of 1922. That summer he returned with his family, for the purpose of preaching and singing the Gospel. Homes were opened to him. As a young lady of sixteen summers, I remember my father, a widower and father of eight children, inviting a service to our home. For the first time I heard such hymns as "Where is my wandering boy tonight?" and "When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there." As a result of these services, a Baptist Mission was formed, electing my father as leader. God had called him to the work, and he was happy to be used of God. One year later, Bethany Baptist Church was organized, June 16, 1923.

JMM Note: Thompson, Michigan. Matts Sved was also from Pörtom. Their boarding house family "named Vagars", was probably that of Matts Wägar from Pörtom. His wife and two sons joined him at Thompson in 1889 (Myrhman, s.165). Styf, Sved and Vägar are three of the "old farms" in Pörtom (dating from before the Great Wrath).

Alice Finnerty
18-02-06, 04:48
Great Stories JMM...thanks for sharing...I enjoyed it very much. Where is Thompson Michigan - I am very close to Thompsonville.

18-02-06, 07:58
You're welcome, Alice.

Thompson, Michigan is near Manistique. It is one of our almost ghost towns.

See the following webpages for a "tour":





19-02-06, 08:30
Hi Karen

Could you send the picture of the Dollar Bay Temperance Society to my email, I wasn't able to get the copy from here into my file and want to magnify the faces. My grandparents belonged to the Society and I believe my grandpa Eric Johnson is in the picture.

Thanks so much,

19-02-06, 10:06
Hi all,

Doenloading a picture is as easy as looking for the "Download" link in conjunction to the picture. This because some of the pictures are stored in three resolutions, the thumbnail, the 640x640 pixel viewing resolution and when needed a full resolution picture. - This is why just dragging the picture to your disk or right mouse clicking-and-save doesn't work.

So - just hit the download button!


19-02-06, 23:49
Thanks to Karen for posting this wonderful picture.....and thanks Hasse for the info on how to download, I was finally able to get it downloaded and magnified the faces, found my grandparents Eric and Maria Johnson in the 4th row on the left. Great addition to the family tree photos.


01-03-06, 08:25
I did a checkup on the "faulty rtf" -files that has been reported in this message thread.

What happend is that the files uploaded had names containing spaces, which is allowed but not recommendable. What can happen is that when downloading a file from the forum afterwards the end suffix, in this case the .rtf, and parts of the name after the first space -character will be omitted from the name of the downloaded file! As in one example in this thread the downloaded file had the name the simple "22" (the uploaded file was of the form "22 xxx yyy xxxx.rtf"). Especially a Windows computer does not automatically understand this file unless the .rtf in this case is added to the file name (22.rtf)


02-03-06, 04:19
Hei/Hej Hasse,

Thank you for the technical update. In the future, I will rename my uploaded files in MS "Old Style" - IAmBillGates.rtf. Good advice.



08-03-06, 18:14
Dear JMM,
Your collection of information and photos is very impressive, and how I wish it had been available when researching the FinnFest 2005 exhibit on "Early Swedish Finns in Michigan". My best resources at that time were the yearbooks from temperence associations archived at SFHS, and the Dollar Bay photo which you have also shared.

The entire story which you've assembled is perfect for the Oracle form Delphi collection! Those of us currently active on Finlander have enjoyed it, but think about future members. They may not trudge through Finlander archives, but they could search directly within Oracle and discover your treasure trove of facts.

Thanks for a very enjoyable trek into the past.

Syrene Forsman

09-03-06, 02:43
Thank you, Syrene.

Feel free to use those of my postings that you feel are worthwhile. They are in the public domain so far as I am concerned, subject to the standard limitations (proper credit, for example).


Karen Douglas
10-03-06, 01:15
It has been a real thrill to see the memories and the comments that have been sparked by the photo of the Dollar Bay Temperance Society photograph these past few weeks!

I have sincerely appreciated your kind words and comments, however, the REAL thanks must go to Pearl Stoor, whom I affectionately refer to as "The Dollar Bay Historian."

Since Pearl does not do email, a few days ago I sent her a copy of all of the postings that have appeared, so she would know what was wrought from her kind deed. Obviously, she was thrilled, but I told her I would not publish her name online until I got her permission, which I received by return mail this week.
Pearl told me that her cousin, John Backman, helped with the identification of the people in the photograph.

To Hasse: Thanks for making the photo available online. (I didn't know how to do it!)

To Syrene: This weekend, I will mail the original photograph to YOU - along with some more books - for the SFHS's files.

To John McCarthy: Pearl tells me that she may have met you at Viola Steve's funeral. She said Viola stayed with her relative, Elvi Grans, in Vöra, Finland at one point in time. Pearl also told me that her cousin, John Backman, would be happy to have a copy of the 1931 class photo from Dollar Bay High School, if you could send her one.

Again, many thanks to all Finlanders for your interest, your personal missives, and your kind words to me. But, as the famous newscaster Paul Harvey would say, "Now you know the rest of the story!"

Pearl is one of those quiet, soft-spoken, behind-the-scenes individuals. And, yes, she IS a real GEM!

Karen Douglas

10-03-06, 02:03
Your first link worked fine Hasse.
I am using the latest version of Firefox browser and got the other side of sfhs and the names.


11-03-06, 23:51
Pearl Stoor has contributed a great deal to her community.

She may well think of me as Lea's (or Linnea's) "little boy, Mikie."

Another DB local historian, Lydia I. Holmes, at



I am attaching the 1931 DB HS Grad Photo. Pretty much a Finnish class (with the Malax-Pörtom-Närpes "triangle" well represented).