A Story of Swedish Ancestry in Warren County

Twenty-three year old Werner Pearson emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1923, leaving his parents and siblings.  We know that he carried with him photographs, a Swedish-American Dictionary and a Swedish Bible.  He settled in nearby Kane, Pennsylvania.  His brother Axel Persson (notice difference in Americanized spelling) painted two favorite scenes for Werner and sent them to him in America.  These oil paintings, of the street where they lived and Werner's favorite fishing spot, hung on the living room wall in Mr. Pearson's American home as a beautiful reminder of the land he had left behind.  Today, these paintings hang in his grandson's living room in Russell.  Mr. Pearson's great-grandchildren attend school in Warren County.

Crafts from Sweden

Santa Lucia was a second century Italian saint. In a time when Christianity was outlawed, she made a pilgrimage to a Christian holy place when her mother was ill. Her mother was cured and, in gratitude for this miracle, gave away her wealth to the poor, as Lucia wanted her to. But the government discovered that Lucia was a Christian and had her put to death.

The belief came to Sweden that on her name day, December 13, she could be seen serving hot food and drink to poor people. In December, the days in Sweden can be very short, and to celebrate Santa Lucia’s Day as a festival of light (which if what her name means) seems a fitting tribute.

Traditionally, the oldest daughter in a family represents Santa Lucia and wears a white dress with a red sash and a wreath of lingonberry leaves with five candles on her head. She may be accompanied by her sisters in white dresses, also. Her brothers may wear special pointed hats with gold stars.

 

Santa Lucia Wreath and Star Hat

Materials needed: white poster board, glue, gold glitter, silk leaves or green construction paper, white paper, stapler

Santa Lucia Crown

Cut five pieces of paper 2” by 5”. Roll each piece into a tube, and cut one end to look like a flame. Carefully spread glue on the flame, and sprinkle with glitter. Make all five candles.

For the headband, cut a piece of poster board 25” long and 1 1/2'' wide. Staple the candles to the headband. Cut small green leaves from construction paper. (Fold the paper to out several at one time.) Glue them around the headband.  Fit crown to head, and staple to correct size.

For Boy's Star Hat

Cut poster board into quarter-circle shape to make a cone—shaped hat.  While still flat, put stars on the hat with glue, and sprinkle glitter on them.  Dump off excess glitter. Roll into hat, glue and staple.

 

Star Straw Ornaments

Materials needed: real straw, or paper drinking straws, red string or embroidery floss

Cut straw(s) into pieces about 3” long. Lay out three pieces in a triangle. Use red string to tie the corners together, a little ways in from the end. Make another triangle, and tie the comer. Lay one triangle on top of the other to form a six-pointed star. Tie with red string at the six places where the triangles meet.

Add a red string for hanging.

Crafts of the Scandinavian countries — Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland — are very similar. At Christmas, the Scandinavian people trim their trees, using their national colors of red, white, blue, and yellow. Handmade straw and wooden figures, paper flags, bells and spirals, pleated paper birds, woven-paper hearts, interlocking Stars, and a variety of angels are all typical ornaments. Today, a great variety of American tree -decorations are based on or adapted from those made by the Scandinavian people.

 

Interlocking Star — Page 31 Crafts and Toys From Around the World

 

Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society