Preserving the Legacy of the New Sweden Colony in America

The Swedish Colonial Society

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Essington, PA 19029

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Philadelphia, PA 19147-4332

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The Swedish Colonial Society

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My family history with the SCS

by Jan 29, 2020News & Events

In the late “Teens” my Grandmother Martha Darlington Helms Bates became involved with Amandus Johnson and the forming of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Swedish Colonial Society. She was married to my Grandfather Harry H. Bates in the early 1920’s and both my father William Helms Bates and my Aunt Marian Bates Bruce became involved as children. This was carried down to my generation. Grandmother Bates was a noted Genealogist for the SCS, The National Society of Colonial Dames of America and the Daughters of the American Revolution. At a National Meeting of the DAR in Washington DC She met my Mother who was sent there as a Page and fixed her up with my father.

Grandmother was very involved with the SCS and proud of her ancestry going back to Israel Helms and Ake Israelson Helms who was partially raised by Governor Printz from 1642 until he was old enough to be on his own. My Great-uncle Paul E. Helms became involved as well.

As the first grandchild of Martha Helms Bates I was taken to all dinners and Society functions starting when I was about 10 years old. By the time I was in college and back in our area commuting to classes in the mid 1970’s, Grandmother had me drive Carl and Alice Lindborg into Phila. for the monthly Council meetings.  Alice was forever the organization’s Secretary and she had me as the recording Secretary from time to time to take minutes which she would sometimes correct. (LOL)  Also, Sarah Brock was a member and I would bring her into the council meetings as well.  I was voted onto the Council, but took a Spring off when I was transferred to Indiana in January 1980.  I came home in August and began to attend meetings again.  I have remained on the Council  since only sitting out one year when my 1st (late) husband dragged me off to South Florida to a Commercial dock for 11 months. (ugh)

From the early 80’s until it was disbanded I served in a number of capacities on the “Women’s Committee” organizing events.

In 1991 I was asked to Chair the 1993 Committee to Commemorate 350 years of Swedes in America.  We considered this event to be huge especially since Philadelphia was planning a huge 1992 Columbus Day event and parade.  I hosted monthly meetings of my Committee and held the meetings at my Mother’s home rather than meeting in Phila. as it was easier for my  committee members (At that time the SCS met at the Historical Society of PA building in Center City)

It was highly suggested to me that we get into the Columbus Day parade so I attended some of those planning meetings and negotiated our way into the Columbus Day parade with a log cabin float, a few very early Mummers as That group was originally started by the Swedish settlers here and the Viking ship with the Leif Erickson Society.  I have a picture of us marching with a banner saying “Leif Landed First” in colonial costumes in front of the Viking Ship.  The same ship is still around today sailing in Marsh Creek State Park here in Chester County in early October every year.

We also had other events in 1993 one of which was a canoe race starting at John Heinze State Park and canoeing down Darby Creek to the Delaware River and then North to the finish at Printz Park. Incidentally my canoe partner and I arrived on the beach first but were demoted to second because we used a ‘racing canoe’.  My silver medal still hangs in our family room.  Since then I have been on the Council and help out whenever I am asked work schedule permitting.  In 2006 Peter and I hosted Hans Odoo from Uppsala to stay for the week at our home when he came to speak at our Forefather’s Luncheon at Longwood Gardens.  That was quite fun and I was able to include two or three Helms side cousins. Also, I went with a few of our members to Washington DC to load up the Craig Collection after Peter Craig’s death. I enjoy the group and feel that I am carrying on a long family tradition.  There are so many good memories over 3/4 of my life.  My dear friend and co-council person Susan Spackman has been involved with all committees that I have been involved with since I got her involved in the late 80’s or 1990 with her daughter, Erica portraying Lucia in the 1992 parade.

All the best, Marie Blakeley Bates Boisvert