Nykterhets-Forbundet (Teatotal Association)
According to Mary Holms Newman a daughter of Edward Holms, 93, still living in Eureka, Utah, the ribbons that are worn by the men in my grandma’s red photo album show that they were delegates to the Order of the Runeberg. Rune (roon), a character used by the Teutonic tribes of Europe. There was also a runic alphabet. Rune means secret and runa means magicians. Knowledge of this was confined to priests and sorcerers and condemned by Christianity.
These orders are not listed in any encyclopedia, so I only know what some of the old Swede-Finns have told me. The immigrating Swede-Finns brought the Order here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Whereever they settled, they stayed together for protection and to be with Swedish speaking people. The Order ran the Finnish and Swedish Halls. These groups didn't trust the American banks so their money was placed in the Order for safekeeping and health and burial insurance were available.
Ila Holmes Sutherland, daughter of Charlie and Mary Holmes was the secretary of this organization from 1936/1940. I have found a copy of her interview by the Utah Historical Society but the more I learn the more questions I have. When asking how her mother and father met, Ila answered by saying, “They met at this “Temperance Lodge thing”. It was located at Rainbow Street and Iron Street in Eureka. It had a kitchen and a meeting roon and a long hall that faced the railroad street. There were many steps up into this front part. There was a great big stove to heat the place up. Then it had a small kitchen stove in the kitchen to cook the coffee, they had coffeecake all the time. There was also a place to put their coats. I have a picture on the front steps containing the pictures of many people some of them are; my grandparents, John and Lisa Holms/Holmes. My grandfather’s uncles Joseph, Charley Holms, cousin Edward Holms, aunt Lovisa and others.
“Ila said, “At first to belong you just had to be a Finn or a Swede but drinking spoiled the fun and caused trouble. The law officers came many times to take those who were disturbing the peace away. Then after one went home and got a gun and shot another man, it was closed to members only. The temperance group was called the Order of Lindberg and they were mostly Swedish-Finns, she called the other group the Order of Brunix (brunn means the drinkers). The main headquarters was in Michigan and they were in most mining camps. The state convention was held at Geneva (resort on Utah Lake) usually on the 24th of June. I have a picture of the delegates with Ila and her sister sitting on Uncle Charley Holms’ lap. The Lodge meeting covered activities and information about the sick. The insurance plan was a sick benefit thing and when a person passed away money was contributed to the funeral.
Parents usually brought all their children to the Halls for talking, playing and dances - polkas, schottisches, and the like. Sometimes they dressed in their native clothes or costumes. There were lots of wedding there also. In later years the Hall was open to the public
We have a book (Svensk-Finska Nykterbets-Forbundet of Amerika) that belonged to my grandmother, Lisa Holms with an inscription on the front cover showing the Finish Lion, the name Swedish-Finnish and an emblem saying Faith, Hope and Charity. The book, written in Swedish, covers the Swedish-Finnish temperance Society that was a part of the Order of the Runeberg. Herman Snell was Eureka's representative to the organization. Herman was Great Aunt Lovisa Holms Snell first husband.