The Planström daughters
The personal gallery
The following persons joined the expedition from France: astronomer
and mathematician Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis, mathematicians Charles
Etienne Louis Camus and Alexis Claude Clairaut, astronomer Pierre-Charles
de Monnier, draughtsman M.d'Herbelot, secretary M. Sommereux, abbé
Réginald Outhier and a group of French servants. In Sweden the
party was joined by professor Anders Celsius. During the whole expedition
the Pello-born Anders Hellant from the provincial office of Västerbotten
worked as the interpreter of the group.
The social circles of the Frenchmen in Tornio comprised of the clergy,
the Mayor of the town, the commander of the Länsipohja regiment
and town burghers, all with their spouses. De Maupertuis arranged a
fine party when Gabriel Gyllengrip, the governor visited the town.
The commander of the regiment, lieutenant-colonel Carl Magnus Du Rietz
was of an old French noble family. The commander had taken part in the
fights during the Russian occupation of 1713 - 1721 and had been held
captive in Russia. He had married the daughter of his captive companion,
count Henning Horn who had his daughter Ebba with him in captivity.
The French expedition party socialised a great deal with Du Rietz who
was also able to offer practical help in the measurements.
The Mayor (burghermaster) of Tornio was called Petter Johan Pipping,
a son of a Tornio-born borough magistrate. Due to his education he was
able to speak Latin, fairly well at least. Pipping had worked years
as the bailiff of Lapland and he was the wealthiest of all burghers
The Frenchmen also dealt a lot with the clergy, especially with vicars
Fought and Brunnius. Abrahan Fougt, Master of Arts and Member of Parliament,
also acted as the dean of Lapland in Tornio. Fougt was renowned for
being a hospitable host and good company.
Father and son, Brunnius Senior and Junior, jointly worked as the vicar
in Ylitornio congregation. After becoming blind Brunnius Sr was unable
to attend to his duties so in practise it was Brunnius Jr who took care
of the vicar's duties. The son lived with his family in the vicarage
together with his father. Erik Jr had lived all his life in the river
valley and had written his dissertation on the history of the area,
so he was both fun and practical help for the Frenchmen.
Most of all the Frenchmen, and Outhier in particular, mixed with Johan
Wegelius, the schoolmaster of Tornio grammar school. The conversations
took fluently place in Latin. Representatives of two different churches,
Wegelius and Outhier, met frequently. Wegelius organised a farewell
evening for the expedition members in his home and recited his guests
a poem he had written in Latin. Wegelius was later to write a book of
sermons in two volumes in the spirit of pietism. Neither of the gentlemen
directly discusses the conversations they had in their work, not to
speak of giving judgmental opinions of each other. On the contrary,
friendship and trust were mutual.