- Project Runeberg -  Year-book of the Swedish-American Historical Society / Volume 7 (1921-1922) /
17

(1908-1925) [MARC]
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term was confined to a few months in the year. The
teachers were seldom proficient. An effort to
supplement the public schools came through the great desire
of the leaders in the churches, established in the Swedish
communities, to provide religious training. And it can
not be denied that some of these harbored the thought of
supplanting the public schools, as far as the children of
the congregation were concerned, by denominational
parochial schools. But this notion never took hold of
the mass of the people. However, schools were, and
still are maintained in many congregations for religious
instruction and teaching the rudiments of the Swedish
language, but only at times when the public schools are
closed. In 1861 or 1862 Eric Norelius, the ablest and
most enterprising of the Swedish ministers, began a
school in Red Wing to prepare those who purposed to
become ministers or teachers. The school was in a year
or so turned over to the Minnesota Conference of the
Swedish Lutheran congregations, whose vote located it
in the East Union settlement near Carver. If my
recollection serves me right the congregations of East and
West Union were to raise a bonus of $300.00 or $500.00
to secure the school. You may smile at the sum, but I
know my father spent several days, if not weeks,
soliciting subscriptions therefor. And I am not sure but that
East Union congregation was finally permitted to turn
in its old log church as part payment. At any rate,
the first semesters of the school were held in the church,
which thereafter, moved and added to, became the school
building. The school was named St. Ansgar’s Academy,
and was some years later removed to St. Peter and
renamed Gustavus Adolphus College. Its graduates and
students by the hundreds have gone out and filled

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