- Project Runeberg -  Year-book of the Swedish-American Historical Society / Volume 7 (1921-1922) /
16

(1908-1925) [MARC]
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the driver down under him because of the difficulty
of getting out of the way; but nevertheless the animal,
of its own notion, seemed bent on renewed efforts and
finally got out. The minister arrived two hours late,
but after washing his hands and face, conducted the
services, since the congregation was still there. The
incident illustrates the religious fervor of the
congregation also, for I know from experience that the services
would last two hours. No one could claim that he was
a great speaker, and least of all would he so claim.
We cannot well imagine a congregation at present that
would wait for two hours for the preacher, and then
remain for two hours or more for the service, unless he
were of world-wide fame. It is not too much to assert
that the religious inclinations of the early settlers,
fostered and lead by pious pastors and laymen, and
which resulted in the formation of congregations
wherever and whenever a settlement started, promoted to a
great extent the welfare not only of the individuals, but
also of the community and the state.

It is, perhaps, not surprising that these simple
untutored settlers, cast among strangers using a language
they did not know, should have keenly realized the need
of educational advantages and should have determined
to provide for their children in that line to the best of
their ability. A stimulus in this direction may also be
traced to the fact that they knew that shortly before
their leaving the old country a system of common
schools was being established there. We therefore find
the first Swedish settlers interested in schools. In early
days the district schools were not what they are today.
The school-house was usually a one room structure of
hewn logs, the seats and desks home made. The school

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