William Widgery Thomas, Jr.
(August 26, 1839 – October 7, 1927) was a United States
politician from Maine
He was born in Portland
, Cumberland County
, Maine, the son of William Widgery Thomas and Elizabeth White (Goddard) Thomas. A lawyer before entering foreign politics, most notable was his effort to bring Swedish colonists to northern Maine and later founding the community of New Sweden, Maine in 1870. He is also noted for being the last U.S. ambassador to the united kingdoms of Sweden and Norway.
, Thomas found a love for the people of Scandinavia
at an early age. At only 23 years of age, and full of enthusiasm for his task, he was appointed consul
on October 23, 1862. Prior to that he had gone as American consul to Galatz in Romania
, and after a voyage of four months he reached Gothenburg in the middle of June, 1863. He learned quickly to understand and speak Swedish, and as consul in the kingdom of Sweden-Norway
he laid plans for a large emigration of both Swedes and Norwegians
, with the hopes that most would seek new fortunes in his home state of Maine. As he wrote April 5, 1864, for the encouragement of immigration: "Besides all other reasons, I believe these honest, pious, plodding Swedes would form an excellent balance to the fickle, merry, light-hearted Irish, who are now crowding in such goodly numbers to our shores."
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