Annals of the Swedes on the Delaware
by the Rev. Jehu Curtis Clay
Rector of the Swedish Churches in Philadelphia and its vicinity
To which is added The Charter of The United Swedish Churches
Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by J. C. Pechin, 1835
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This little book is presented to the public under the following circumstances. The compiler, descended on the mother’s side from Swedish ancestors, felt a desire to look back into their history, and to know more than he did of the occurrences connected with their first settlement on this soil. He had observed that the geographers and historians of America, while they had been very particular in detailing the circumstances connected with the arrival and settlement of the English on the James River, and of the Pilgrims in New England, had scarcely mentioned that there was ever such a Colony as the Swedes on the Delaware. He was at a loss to know why this was so; especially as their arrival here was but about thirty years after that of the English in Virginia, and but about sixteen or seventeen years after the settlement of New England; and that, therefore, their being among the first colonies that came from Europe to America, and the very first that settled Pennsylvania, claimed for them a more particular notice. It is true, Proud in his History of Pennsylvania it, Smith in his History of New Jersey, and Holmes in his American Annals, have spoken of the arrival of the Swedes on the Delaware. And, some may ask, what more do we wish to know of them? As much more, their many descendants now living, if no others, will answer as may throw light on their early history, show the relation in which they stood to the people around them, the connection they had with, and the protection they received from, the country whence they came; and the various changes, civil and ecclesiastical, through which they had to pass. Of all these matters their own historians have given full and interesting details. To those details the present writer has given much of his attention; and deeply interested as he has been himself in the inquiry, he has been led to think it would be a gratification, to at least the Swedish portion of the community, to have the most prominent points of the history of their forefathers selected from the volumes and manuscripts where they lie imbedded with much that is of no value, and offered to their perusal. The writers to whom we are chiefly indebted for information concerning the first settlement and subsequent history of the Swedes on the Delaware, are Thomas Campanius, grandson of the Rev. John Campanius, who came over as chaplain with Governor Printz, in 1642; the Rev. Israel Aerelius, who was for some time provost of the Swedish churches in America, and pastor of that at Christina; and the Rev. Andreas Rudman, of whom a full account is given in the following pages. These works were all written in the Swedish language, and for that reason their contents have been little known to the American reader. Within the last year, however, the public have been favoured with a translation of Campanius, by the learned Peter S. Du Poaceau, LL.D. which he undertook at the request of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Of the work of Acrelius there has been no published translation; though there is a manuscript translation of it, in part, In the possession of the Historical Society of New York, which was furnished them, at their request, by the late Rev. Dr. N. Collin. The other work here referred to, that of the Rev. Mr. Rudman, is in manuscript, [This work is entitled “Transactions relative to the Congregation at Wicaco, collected from some writings and verbal narratives.”] and belongs to the library of Wicaco Church. Of this also there is a manuscript translation, in part, by Dr. Collin. Acrelius refers in his work to this manuscript of Mr. Rudman, and appears to have drawn liberally from it. It has furnished to the compiler of these annals most of what, in the following pages, he offers to the public. The only originality he claims for the work is, in generally presenting the facts which are detailed in his own language.
These annals are given to the public, not as a full account of all that has been written concerning the Swedes in America, but as presenting the most striking facts in their history, or such as the author thought would most interest his readers. He has little idea that they will be much read beyond the Swedish portion of the community, or the many descendants of those of whose early history they treat. To such he hopes the work will not be found altogether undeserving of notice. Having undertaken it at the request of some of his congregation, he offers it to them, and to others, as a faithful narrative of past events; and such as, they will be pleased to find, presents their ancestors to view as an honest, industrious, and religious people.
It may be thought by some of the readers of these annals, that too much space is occupied in them by details relating to the Wicaco church. But it must be remembered, that this church claims a particular notice from its great antiquity, being perhaps the oldest edifice of the kind still open for public worship, and in good repair, any where to be met with in our country. The Swedish church at Wilmington (formerly Christina) was, the writer is aware, built two years before that of Wicaco (1698;) that, he regrets to say, has been for some abandoned as a place of worship, and is state of dilapidation. It was at Wicaco that our ancestors, in times long since departed, met from distant parts of the country to pay their weekly adorations to the God who had showered down his blessings upon them. In the same venerated spot many of their descend- ants still meet, when “the sound of the church going bell” summons them to its services. In what Swedish bosom is not the name of Wicaco hallowed! And to whose mind will not all that relates to so ancient a church afford at least some interest.
J. C. CLAY.
Philadelphia, Nov. 28, 1834.
It is known to every reader of history that North America was discovered a short time before the year 1500. And yet it was a century afterwards before any plan for its colonization proved successful. This was no doubt owing, in a great measure, to the disturbed state of Europe at that time, when the work of the Reformation was making a rapid progress, and engaging the attention of the different powers there, either for its advancement or its suppression. Another hindrance to the earlier colonizing of this continent was, the difficulties and dangers incident to such an undertaking, and the certainty that though wealth might be the reward, the way to it must be through perils, and the endurance of many sufferings. In the progress of time, however, there would be found some hold and adventurous enough to risk every thing for the prospect of gain; and especially, where a few had acted as pioneers, and had already triumphed over incipient difficulties. There was much, too, in the character of the age, as the Reformation advanced, or spread itself over Europe, that favoured the colonization which had been so long delayed. Where the church was to be reformed, there would naturally be many opinions as to the mode of doing it, or the extent to which it ought to be done. The reformers, therefore, were not only hostile to Rome, from whom they all agreed in thinking it was right to separate, but hostile, in many instances, to one another, because they did not reform after the same manner. The consequence was, a resort to persecution, the remedy of an age not yet sufficiently enlightened to see its fallacy, for the extirpation of error, and the propagation of the truth. To those who thus suffered for their opinions, the new-discovered country presented itself as an asylum, where they might “sit under their own vine, and under their own fig tree, with none to make them afraid;” and while the thirst for gain led many to brave all perils and privations of a new settlement, were braved by others for the sake of liberty of conscience, and freedom from persecution.
The first permanent settlement made on the shores of this continent was in Virginia, in the year 1607 when a company of one hundred and five English adventurers came in a vessel commanded by Captain Newport, sailed up the Powhatan or James river, built a fort, and commenced a town, which, in honour of their sovereign, they called Jamestown.
The next permanent settlement was by the Dutch, about the year 1614, on the Hudson river, discovered a few years before (1609) by Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the Dutch service, while in quest of a north-west passage to India. In settling on this noble river, the Dutch built two forts, one at Albany, and the on Manhattan island, where the city of New York now stands. The country was called New Netherlands, and the settlement on Manhattan island was named New Amsterdam, which names they retained till the conquest of the country by the English. The governors who administered the colony during the time the Dutch had possession, were Menewe, Van Twiller, Kiefi, and Stuyvesant. The Dutch authority ceased in 1664, when the whole territory became subject to the British crown.
The third permanent settlement on this continent was in New England, in the year 1620, when one hundred and one Puritans, for the better enjoyment of liberty of conscience, having sailed for Hudson’s river, were taken by the master of the vessel as far north as Cape Cod, and landing, built the town of Plymouth.
When the first permanent settlement was made on the shores of the Delaware, those who have treated of the early history of America seem not to have possessed the means of very accurately determining. That the Dutch were the first to settle on the eastern or Jersey shore of that river, all have agreed in admitting. And there is little less doubt that the Swedes were the first to occupy the western or Pennsylvania shore. As early as 1628 or 4, the Dutch built Fort Nassau, on the eastern shore, but soon abandoned it. Afterwards, or in the winter of 1630-31, a colony, consisting of thirty-four persons, was brought over by Captain De Vries. Returning for a short time to Holland, he left the colony under the charge of an inexperienced Individual, and they were all, in 1632, exterminated by the Indians. De Vries returned in December of the same year, and entering the Delaware, found no signs of the colony he expected to meet, save their skulls and bones strewed over the face of the ground. We date, therefore, the first permanent settlement of the Dutch on the Delaware, about the year 1633. This appears to be the earliest period claimed for them by their own historians. [See Moulton’s History of New York]
It was in the reign of that illustrious king, Gustavus Adolphus, that an attempt was first made to plant a colony of Swedes in America. William Usselins, a Hollander, had formed so favourable an opinion of this country, representing it as a fine, fertile land, in which all the necessaries and comforts of life were to be enjoyed in overflowing abundance, that he presented to the king the idea of a trading company, urging its establishment by such reasons as the following:
1st. That the Christian religion would by that means be planted amongst the heathen.
2d. That his Majesty’s dominions would be enlarged, his treasury enriched, and the people’s burdens at home diminished.
3. That it would produce to the nation many positive advantages, and a very profitable trade; and that the Swedes possessed all the means for carrying it on with advantage.
Upon this representation, a company was established, with power to trade to Asia, Africa, and the Straits of Magellan. The king issued his proclamation, or edict, dated at Stockholm, the 2d of July, 1626; in which he offered to people of all conditions liberty of shares, by subscription, according to their ability, or inclinations. The proposal was received with general satisfaction. The king’s mother, and Prince John Cassimir, married to his sister, the members of his majesty’s council, many civil and military officers of high rank, the bishops, and other clergymen, many merchants and citizens, country gentlemen and farmers, became subscribers. Ships and all necessaries were provided. An admiral, vice-admiral, commissaries, merchants, &c. were appointed. The work was ripe for accomplishment, when the German war, and soon after, the king’s death, put a stop to the proceedings, and for the present defeated the intention of sending to America a Swedish colony.
It does not appear that the idea was afterwards revived of renewing the plan of a trading company, at least upon the extensive scale at first contemplated. That of a colony was not suffered long to sleep. The Rev. Mr. Rudman, who many years afterwards bore so prominent a part in what concerned the Swedes in America, has related the following, as the manner in which a colony from Sweden was first planted here. This information he professes to have received from many individuals, particularly from one styled by him “Old Captain Israel Helms.”
“Before,” says he, “the Swedes came into the river, some Hollanders were here. They had a fort on the eastern shore, at the place now called Gloucester, which the Indians named Hermaonissing. This they named fort Nassau. The commander of it was Menewe. Quarrelling with the people, he left them, and returned to Holland. He was there impeached, tried, and dismissed from his office. Profiting by his knowledge of the country, he went to Sweden, and informed some of the principal gentlemen, that the Dutch had settled on the east side of the Delaware, but that the whole of the western side was unoccupied, except by the Indians. He urged to a settlement there, offering to conduct the enterprise. The project was well received, and, in particular, was favoured by the prime minister, Count Oxenstiern. He laid before the Queen, Christina, the plan of a colony. She was well pleased with it, and gave her orders for the execution. A ship called the Key of Calmar, was fitted out from Gottenburg. Menewe was appointed commander of the colony. They arrived safely, obtained from the Indians a grant of land on the river, from the mouth of it, or Cape Henlopen, to the falls [Trenton falls] and there fixed stakes and marks. The old people informed me, that they often had seen these. The purchase was formally stated in writings, under which the Indians put their marks. The document was sent to Sweden and preserved in the archives, when I was in Stockholm.
“The people settled on the creek still called Christina, and erected a fort at the mouth of it; naming both in honour of their queen. Magnus Kling, their surveyor, formed a map of the country, with all its creeks and streams. This I also saw in the archives before my departure; and Mr. Auren made a small copy of it, which we brought with us. Menwe did not disturb the Dutch on the other side. He died; and Peter Hollendare succeeded him. After ruling the colony for eighteen months, he returned to Sweden, and became commander of the naval arsenal at Stockholm.” [The only inaccuracy in the above statement appears to be in the declaration, that Peter Menewe (or Menuet according to the orthography of some) had been the commander of Fort Nassau before his return to Holland. He was in fact the first governor of New Amsterdam, (now New York) What led to his removal from the station is not accurately known. When first appointed, and for some time afterwards, he appears to have given satisfaction to those by whom he was employed. But upon the arrival of Van Twiller, who had been sent over on business relating to the concerns of the company, dissatisfaction towards Menewe soon began to show itself, and being displaced, Van Twiller was appointed to succeed him. Mr. Rudman, it must ho remembered, came to America about sixty years after the first arrival of the Swedes. Drawing, as be did, much of his information of the circumstances connected with their settlement here from traditionary sources, it was easy to substitute Fort Nassau for Fort Amsterdam, as the place of which Menewe had been the commander.]
It has been remarked by Dr. Collin, who seems to have made himself familiar with all the Swedish works that could throw any light on the first settlement of the Swedes in America, that the ship Key of Calmar, was accompanied by a smaller vessel, called Bird Grip, (Griffln,) currying, like the other, people, provisions, ammunition, and commodities for trade with the Indians. The time, the Doctor thinks, of this first arrival is not certainly known, but supposes it must have been in 1636 or 7, “because,” says he, “the fort on Christina creek was begun early in 1638,* as appears by the protest against it by Wilhelm Kieft, the Dutch commander at New York, to Menewe, dated 6th of May in that year.
[* Campanius has mentioned the year 1631 as that in which Fort Christina was built. And he has been followed in this by Smith, in his History of New Jersey, p. 22, and by Holmes in his American Annals, sub ann. 1631; who, without due examination, have fixed on this as the year when the Swedes first landed in Pennsylvania. It is only necessary to look at one ‘bet’ to show that this opinion is founded in error. It is generally admitted that the Swedes came here in the reign of their Queen Christina. It is plan of a colony plan of a colony,” &c. And the first fort built was named after the queen. Now Christina was not queen in 1631, nor for some time afterwards, her father Gustavus Adolphus having lost his life in the battle of Lutzen, in November 1632.
The Swedes also found the Dutch here, or on the eastern side of the river. But the Dutch had no fixed settlement here until after 1632. It must have been, therefore, after this period that the Swedes came over. How soon after is not accurately known. The remonstrance of Governor Kieft, against the building of their first fort, seems to determine it in favour of the year 1637, It was certainly not later than 1638; and as the building of a fort was, no doubt, their first undertaking after their arrival, it is not probable it was earlier than 1636. It is the opinion of Acrelius, that the original Swedish colony came over in 1638. And the Encylopedia Americana, guided, perhaps by his authority, has, under the article Pennsylvania, fixed on the same year for their arrival.]
After the return of Hollendare to Sweden, John Printz, a lieutenant colonel in the army, was sent over as governor. He came in the year 1642, in the ship Fame. Two other ships of war called Svan (Swan) and Charitas being in company. With him came the Rev. John Campanius, as chaplain of the colony, who has left behind him a very minute account of the voyage, which the reader may see in the” Description of the Province of New Sweden,” published many years afterwards by his grandson, Thomas Campanius Holm ; the latter name having been added because of Stockholm being the place of his residence.
The instructions of Governor Printz, dated Stockholm, August 15, 1642, contain twenty-eight articles, embracing his duties in relation-1st, to the Swedes-2ndly, to the Europeans living in their vicinity-and 3dly, to the Indians. Of these instructions the following is a compendious view. In relation to the Swedes, he was to promote by the most zealous endeavours, a sincere piety, in all respects, towards Almighty God; to maintain the public worship, conformably to the doctrines and rites of the national church; to support a proper ecclesiastical discipline; to urge Instruction and virtuous education of the young; to administer justice according to the Swedish laws; to preserve as far as practicable, the manners and customs of Sweden; to promote diligently all profitable branches of industry-such as the culture of grain-the procuring of good breeds of cattle, in addition to those sent from Sweden-the raising of tobacco as an article of export to the mother country-trafficking with the Indians for peltry–searching for metals and minerals in different parts-looking after valuable kinds of wood-ascertaining what kinds of mulberry trees are best suited for the silk worm-what is the character of the native grapes, and their suitableness for wine and whether whale and other fisheries may he carried on with advantage, &e. &c. 2ndly, with respect to the Dutch and English in their vicinity; with the first named he was to cultivate a friendly intercourse, but positively to deny their pretended right to any part of the land on the west side of the river, purchased by the Swedes from the Indians, and to prohibit Swedish vessels from passing their fort Nassau: and he was authorised, if all friendly negociation proved fruitless, to repel force by force. Those Dutch families who had settled on the west side, under allegiance to the crown of Sweden, were to retain the granted privileges, but to be advised and persuaded to remove further down from the vicinity of Christina Fort, yet not driven away if anxious to remain. The governor was to continue the friendly commercial intercourse with the English in Virginia, then comprehending Maryland, which had already been begun, by supplying their colony with grain, cattle, and other useful articles. Some English families, embracing about sixty persons, having settled, in the preceding year (1641,) on Ferken’s creek, (now Salem,) and the agents or the company having, as her majesty’s subjects, bought from the Indian owners the whole district from Cape May to Racoon creek, in order to unite these English with the Swedes, the governor was to act faithfully and kindly towards them. And as these; English expected soon, by further arrivals to, increase their number to several hundred; and seemed also willing to be subjects of the Swedish government, he was to receive them under allegiance, though not without endeavouring by gentle means, to effect their removal. 3rdly. Respecting the Indians; the governor was directed to confirm, immediately after his arrival, the treaty with that people, by which they had conyeyed to the Swedes the western shore of the Delaware, from Cape Henlopen to the Falls of Sanhickan (Trenton,) and as much inland as gradually should be wanted. Also, to ratify the bargain for land on the east side above mentioned; and in these and future purchases, to regard them as the rightful owners of the country. He was to treat all the neighbouring tribes in the most equitable and humane manner, tier, so that no injury, by violence or other-wise, should he done to them by any of his people. He had also in charge to accomplish, as; practicable, the embracing of Christianity by them, and their adoption of the manners and customs of civilized life.
Governor Printz chose Tinicum, then called Tenackongh, and Tutaenungli, for his residence. He erected a fort on the shore, to which he gave the name of New Gottenburg. A decent church was also built there of wood, which was consecrated by Campanius, Sept. 4, 1646. The trade of the Swedes being interfered with by the Dutch, the fort at Elsingborough, called by the Swedes Helsingborg, was erected by Printz, to command the river, but became untenable from the great multitude of musquitoes, and was nicknamed Myggenborg-or Mosquito Fort. Upon the erection of this fort, the Dutch left Fort Nassau, opposite Tinicum, and took possession of Sandhuken (now New Castle) on the west side, where they built Fort Cassimir. The governor protested against it, as encroaching on Swedish ground, but had not sufficient force to prevent it. He made proper representations to his government on the subject, and requested a speedy reinforcement; but weary with the delays and apprehensive of violence from the Dutch, from the hostile disposition manifested by them, and their near neighbourhood, [Five miles from Fort Christina] he resolved on returning to Sweden, and in 1652 left the country, after a residence in it often years. He had become unpopular by the exercise of a too rigid authority.
In the mean time, John Claudius Rising had been sent from the mother country as commissioner and assistant to Governor Printz. On his arrival, the governor had already sailed for Sweden, and had left his son-in-law, Mr. John Pappegoia, as deputy governor in his place. He also, two years afterwards, returned to his native country, and left the government in the hands of Mr. Rising. With this last named gentleman came Peter Lindstrom, engineer and surveyor-general, with several military officers and other agents. Mr. Rising immediately offered to the English and Duther, and also the Indians, a renewal of the former friendship. “During the administration of Printz, other vessels, besides those above mentioned arrived at different times, from the mother country. These were, the Black Cat, with ammunition and goods for the Indians–the Swan, a second time, with people, in 1647; and afterwards the Key and the Lamb.
Soon after Mr. Rising became governor, he invited ten of the Indian Chiefs to a friendly conference. It was held at Tinicum, on the 17th of June 1654. He saluted them, from the Swedish Queen, with assurances of her favour, put them in mind bf the purchase of the lands already made, and requested a continuation of their friendship. He distributed various presents among them, and gave a good entertainment to them and their company. They were much pleased, and assured him of a faithful affection. Mr. Campanius has given a very particular ac- count of this conference, in which he represents one of their chiefs, named Naaman, as making a speech, in the course of which “he rebuked the rest for having spoken evil of the Swedes, and done them an injury, hoping they would do so no more, for that the Swedes’ were very good people.” He also observed that “the Swedes and the Indians had been as one body and one heart, and that thenceforward they should be as one head, at the same time making a motion as if he were tying a strong knot; and then made this comparison, that as the calabash was round without any crack, so they should be a compact body without any fissure.”
Campanius represents the Indians as having been frequent visitors at his grandfather’s house. in the conversations he there had with them, we are told, “he generally succeeded in making them understand that there was one Lord God; that he was self-existent, one and in three per sons; how the same God had made the world from nothing, and created man from whom all other men had sprung; how Adam afterwards, by his disobedience, had sinned against his Creator, and involved in the penalty of that sin all his descendants; how God sent upon earth his only Son. Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary, for the redemption and salvation Or Mankind; how he died upon the cross, and was, raised again the third day; and lastly, how after forty days he ascended to heaven, whence he will return at a future day to judge the quick and the dead, &c.” The Indians took so much at in these instructions, and seemed so well disposed to embrace the Christian religion, that Mr. Campanius was induced to learn their language, that he might the more effectually bring them acquainted with these great truths. He translated the catechism into their language; and, if he did not convert many of them to the Christian faith, they at least acquired so much knowledge of it, as to be led to see and admire its great beauty and excellency.
The above facts suggest the remark, that the Swedes may claim the honour of having been the first missionaries among the Indians, at least in Pennsylvania; and that, perhaps, the very first work translated into the Indian language in America, was the translation of Luther’s Catechism, by Campanius.
Notwithstanding Governor Rising’s disposition to live upon good terms with his Dutch neighbours, the Swedes were soured by the encroachments they had made upon their territory, in building a fort at Sandhuken, or Newcastle; and finding remonstrance useless, soon came to the determination to drive the Dutch back to the eastern side of the river. They accordingly, in the year 1654, took Fort Cassimir by storm, and expelled the Dutch; after which, the fortifications were greatly strengthened and improved by the engineer, P. Lindstrom, and it was named Trefalldigheet, or Trinity Fort.
The Dutch had too good an opinion of their own numbers and prowess, not to feel disposed to retaliate on the Swedes the injury they had received in the loss of their fort- Yet they went to work with caution, resolving, when they gave the blow, to make it the more felt from its being sudden and unexpected. There seems to have been a want of good faith, or at least the practice of some deception on the part of the Dutch, as we are told by Campanius that “the differences appeared to have been amicably settled in the year 1654, between the Swedish governor John Rising, and the Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant.” This amicable settlement seems to have been only ir cloak to preparations for more effectual hostility; for “the next year, on the 30th of August, the Dutch sailed from Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, (now New York,) with seven ships, and six or seven hundred men, under the command of the said Stuyvesant; and fell unawares on the Swedish settlements.” Assailed under such circumstances, and by such a force, resistance was of little avail. One Swedish fort after another fell into the hands of the invaders, who “laid waste the houses and plantations, killing the cattle, and plundering the inhabitants of every thing they could lay their hands on.” The officers and principal people were made prisoners, and carried to New Amsterdam, while the Dutch retained possession of the country.
That the Swedes were in a state so unprepared for the attack made upon them by the Dutch, was owing to the mother country being but little able to assist them, on account of the expensive wars in which she was engaged at home. The Dutch were fully aware that all the reliance of the Swedes was on their own resources; and while they looked to this for an easy conquest of their territory, no doubt calculated also that here they would find subsequent impunity. In justification of the hostility he had committed, Stuyvesant pretended that what he had done was in the name of the West India Company of Amsterdam, and that he had not conquered a territory of the Swedish crown, but that of a winpany. Yet he very well knew that these people were living under the laws of Sweden, and under the guardianship of the Swedish crown; and that, consequently, any insult or injury offered them, was an offence against the government under whose protection they were placed.
In 1656, or about a year after the conquest by the Dutch, a Swedish ship, called Mercurius, arrived in the river. This the Dutch wished to prevent going up; but the Indians, who loved the Swedes, interfered in their behalf, and in defiance of the others, conveyed the ship by their fort. “Among the passengers in this vessel,” says Mr. Rudman, “was Andrew Bengtson, sen.* [His descendants (the Bankson family) are still living in Philadelphia] yet living, who, this 6th day of April, 1703, gives me this verbal account.” As it was not in the power of the mother country, on account of the wars in which she was engaged, to prevent the conquest of New Sweden by the Dutch, so, for the same reason, was she unable to carry into effect her disposition to recover what she had thus lost. It was not long, however, before the face of things here is entirely changed; and they who had dispossessed the Swedes, by the exercise of a high-handed authority, were themselves dispossessed by the English, who claimed the right of first discovery to most of the North American continent, It was in 1664 that a British force arrived from England, and, attacking the Dutch in their strong hold at New York, soon put an end to their authority, bringing them and the Swedes under allegiance to the British crown.
The manner in which Pennsylvania became settled by the English is well known, The large territory comprehended under this name, was granted by Charles II. to William Penn, in compensation of a large sum owed by the government to his father, Admiral Penn. Penn came over in 1682, and founded the city of Philadelphia., The Swedes, who were owners of the soil, opposed the undertaking, but by kind promises and other means were, after a while, induced to agree to it. “The city,” Mr, Rudman says, “had a poor beginning, but attained admirable improvement in twenty years.” [About the time of Mr. Rudman’s arrival in 1697, Philadelphia and New York were spoken of as clever little towns.] Penn offered the Swedes a portion of land, where they might live together, and enjoy their own customs; but they preferred remaining as they were, which their descendants, in Rudman’s time, seem bitterly to have regretted.
About this time an impostor, who bore the name of Koenigsmark, arrived among the Swedes, and having gained many adherents, especially among the Finns, raised a sedition, though with what object does not appear. This man was apprehended, branded, and exiled. His followers were fined, and some lost their land. The disturbances occasioned in this manner seem to have lessened the good opinion Penn had formed of the Swedes. He continued, however, his good offices towards them; and having before this returned to England, sent them books and catechisms, and a folio Bible for their church.
In a letter written by William Penn to England the year after his arrival, he thus speaks of the first settlers of the country: “The first planters in these parts were the Dutch, and soon after them the Swedes and Finns. The Dutch applied themselves to traffic, the Swedes and Finns to husbandry. The Dutch have a meeting place for religious worship at Newcastle, and the Swedes one at Christina, one at Tinicum, and one at Wicaco, within half a mile of this town. The Swedes inhabit the freshes of the river Delaware. There is no need of giving any description of them, who are better known in England than here; but they are a plain, strong, industrious people, yet have made no great progress in the culture or propagation of fruit-trees, as if they desired rather to have enough than plenty or traffic. But I presume the Indians made them the more careless, by furnishing them with the means of profit, to wit, skins and furs for rum, and such strong liquors. They kindly received me, as well as the English, who were few before the people concerned with me came among them. I must needs commend their respect to authority, and kind behaviour to the English. They do not degenerate from the old friendship between both kingdoms. As they are a people proper and strong of body, so have they fine children, and almost every house full; rare to find one of them without three or four boys, and as many girls, some six, seven, and eight sons. And I must do them the justice to say, I see few young men more sober and industrious.” [Clarkson’s Life of W. Penn, vol. I. P. 309]
It was a feature deserving of notice in the character of the early Swedes inhabiting this country, as will more fully appear in the sequel of these annals, that in the attention they paid to other concerns and interests, they never appear to have lost sight of those relating to God, and the worship due to him. As a religious people they are presented to Us in a most favourable light, and may well be held up ag an example for the imitation of their numerous descendants still occupying the soil so long ago inhabited by their ancestors. In coming to this country, they did not forget that their residence in it was to be but for a season, and that there was another, and a heavenly country, for which it was their duty to make preparation. They accordingly brought with them the ministers of religion, to instruct them and their children in the knowledge of things divine. In the time of Menewe there was a clergyman here of the name of Reorus Torkillus, who came, perhaps with the first colony, as he died in 1643, aged thirty-five years. The Rev. Sno. Campanius, as we have seen, came over in 1642. He returned to Sweden in 1648, hecame rector of a considerable parish, and livcd to the age of eighty-two years. Laurence Lock and Israel Hoig came while Printz was governor. A chaplain came with Rising, and went home after the conquest by the Dutch. A clergyman also arrived in the same ship with Mr. Beagtson in 1656, but did not remain long. Lock continued in the country, having charge of the church at Tinicum and Christina, and died in the year 1688. From him many families descended, and several are yet living in West Jersey, near the Delaware. They were among the best members of Racoon church.
As long as the Swedes were in possession of authority here, and lived under their own laws, there appears to have been frequent intercourse between them and the mother country; at least frequent for that time, when a voyage across the Atlantic was considered as formidable an undertaking as one to China is at the present day. But when their colonial character ceased, and the Dutch, and afterwards the English, became masters of the soil, the intercourse between them and their friends at home was, in a short time, entirely dropped, and they were left to get along in the lest way they could. In matters relating to their temporal concerns, they stood in need of little assistance. But for a supply of clergymen they were entirely dependent on the mother country; and soon felt how much they were likely to suffer, in this respect, from the interruption that had taken place to the intercourse between them and their native land. For many years the Rev. Mr. Lock was the only clergyman they had. As already remarked, he preached in the lower parishes. The upper inhabitants had, by order of government, erected a block-house at Wicaco, for defense against the Indians. As the distance to Tinicum rendered an attendance at public worship there very inconvenient, this block-house was convered into a church. To get a place of worship was easier than to find a clergyman to occupy it- They applied, for this purpose to the Rev. Jacob Fabritius, of New York, who accepted a call to Wicaco, where he preached his first sermon on Trinity Sunday, [Mr. Rabritius preached in the Dutch language, which the Swedes from the intercourse they had had with that people, and the close affinity between the two languages well understood.] in the year 1677. [See Appendix A]
Mr. Fabritius preached for the Swedes for a period of fourteen years, though for nine years of that time he was entirely blind. Being at last disabled from further services through the infirmities of old age, the people were under serious apprehensions lest they should he left without a minister. To prevent so great an evil, they had, while Mr. F. was yet able to officiate, twice written to Sweden, representing their want of a pastor. These letters, it appears, were never received. Discouraged by this failure, they applied to the Lutheran Gonsistory at Amsterdam, to procure for them a minister, by ordaining and sending them some Swedish student of theology who might be in that city; or, if no such person could be obtained, to correspond in their behalf with some ecclesiastical body in Sweden. This letter was written in 1691. [See Appendix B]
The reason of this application of the Swedes to Holland rather than to England was, their ignorance of the English language, and the little intercourse they had had with the latter nation; as well as the greater probability, as they thought, of getting a Swedish minister through the former channel than the latter. Here again, however, they were destined to meet with disappointment. No preacher came, and the prospect became very dark and gloomy. The Rev. Mr. Lock had died in 1688, and Mr. Fabritius four or five years afterwards, so that they were now entirely without a clergyman. In this extremity they resolved still to keep their churches open, and appointed two worthy and pious men to perform for them the office of Lay readers; who, besides the prayers and psalms, read homilies or sermons. The person who officiated in this capacity at Wicaco was Mr. Andrew Benktsen or Bankson; and at Christina they had Mr. Charles Christopher Springer. [This Mr. Springer wrote the letter to Thelin, presently to come under our notice. He was a native Sweden, and had come to America by a remarkable providence. He was in the family of the Swedish ambassador in London, Going home one evening in a post-chaise, he was seized, and carried on board of a merchant vessel, in the Thames, bound to Virginia. He was there sold as a servant for five years. When free, he went to the Swedes, and by his capacity and virtue acquired such influence as to be appointed justice of the peace, in the district of Christina. He was afterwards, for many years, a useful member of that church.]
We here arrive at a most interesting part of our narrative. The reader has observed with what a holy and praise-worthy zeal the attention of the first settlers on this soil was directed to the introduction and continuance among them of the blessings of a preached Gospel; he has seen that, after succeeding in this for a period of rather more than fifty years, they found all their efforts to have the vacant congregations supplied with other clergymen, to administer to them and their children the ordinances of the church, ending in utter disappointment, and a dark cloud resting on the future. Now who that has observed the usual dealings of God’s providence in behalf of his people, where they have been thrown into difficulties such as the present, is not led to expect his interposition in behalf of these pious Swedes, thus striving to secure to themselves and their posterity the privileges and blessings of the ministry of his church? It is when human aid fails, that divine assistance is not only most needed, but is most looked for, and in its exercise is most apt to strike the eye of the observer. We know there are some disposed to deny this doctrine of a superintending providence, and to laugh at the idea of God interposing in the affairs of men. But what will not man deny when acting under the impulses of “an evil heart of unbelief?” It is true, God acts through the instrumentality of human means; as when he made use of the brethren of Joseph for the accomplishment of those wonderful designs of his providence brought about by the residence of the latter in Egypt. But controlling influence is not the less seen ‘in the world because he makes use of subordinate agents for the accomplishment of his purposes. Let the means be what they may, we are sure of the truth of the doctrine; as every one must be sure of it who receives the scriptural declaration that “God ruleth in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.”
With regard to the Swedes, in the crisis of their affairs at which we have arrived, while all was dark before them, He, “without whom not even a sparrow falleth to the ground,” was preparing the way for the supply of their spiritual wants, and in a short time afforded them the deliverance they had been seeking. About the time of which we are writing, a person of the name of Andrew Printz, a nephew, as he said, of Governor Printz, had come over in an English vessel to the Delaware, and being himself a Swede, had become acquainted with his countrymen here, by whom lie had been cordially received. Meeting, on his return to Sweden, with John Thelin, postmaster at Gottenburg, he mentioned to that gentleman his having met, across the Atlantic, with some of their countrymen, whose condition he represented as very comfortahie in things temporal, but very forlorn and destitute in a spiritual point of view. This pious man was at once interested in their behalf, and he resolved to lay their case before the king, Charles XI. This led to the following letter, which was addressed by Mr. Thelin to the Swedes on the Delaware.
“Hon. Friends and Countrymen
“The occasion that leads me to write to you Is, that when last year I was at Stockholm I met with one Andrew Printz, who, I found, had been in an English vessel to the West Indies. Upon my questioning him whether he had a prosperous voyage, he told me he had found there a good land, and had also met with some old Swedes in good prosperity, who had greatly rejoiced to see one from their native country, and had inquired who was now the reigning king of Sweden: and that you, good friends, had confidence in his majesty that if he were made acquainted with your want of ministers and godly books, he would provide for your necessities. When he had related such things to me, I took greatly, as did others, your condition to heart; and having good friends at his majesty’s court, I related these things to an honourable lord, who again mentioned them to his majesty. Whereupon his majesty took therein a special and particular interest, and resolved that he would send unto you not only ministers, but also all sorts of godly books; and would willingly have used for an agent in accomplishing these purposes the same man who had related these things. But the Lord knoweth what became of that man; for he could not be seen or heard of afterwards. Therefore I now do take that boldness upon me, being acquainted with an elderly woman here, who says she has a brother living among you, Peter Gunnarson Rambo, through whom this letter may be received, that I may know from you the truth of what has been related, and in what way such ministers may be sent to you; desiring that you would let it be distinctly known of what it is you are in need.
The aforesaid person has told me, that you live comfortably, and in a loving manner one with another, and that you use the old Swedish way in everything, which it has much pleased his majesty to hear. And, surely, the great and special care which his majesty taketh for you should rejoice our hearts; who being in close friendship and alliance with his most excellent majesty of England, your desires may be the more readily carried into effect, Indeed, this work doth certainly come and spring from the Almighty God, in whose hands are the hearts of kings, so that you may speedily send your answer, that it may be for your soul’s health sad happiness. And we desire to know the number of her of ministers and books which you desire to have; and also how many you are in number, and how many churches you have. About eight or ten years ego, the governor, William Penn, petitioned the Swedish Ambassador at London for ministers and books for you; but for some cause or other, the request was not carried into effect, Be not negligent in the things which belong to your everlasting happiness; for you may certainly see that the Great God doth as soon help through friends that are humble as through those that are great and powerful. I commend you to the holy protection of Almighty God, both in soul and body. I shall expect to hear from you by the first opportunity that may offer, and remain your most loving friend and servant,
“Gottenhurg, 16th Nov. 1692.
“P.S. I send a duplicate of this letter, that you may be the more certain of receiving it.”
The receipt of this letter caused great joy to the Swedes, who determined on a speedy answer. But, as they were now living under the laws of England, they deemed it prudent and advisable, to lay the whole matter before the English governor, William Markham. The governor expressed himself much gratified, and wished them not to delay answering the letter. He also offered to write in their behalf to the Proprietor, William Penn, and to Lejoncrona, the Swedish minister in London. With these favourable auspices, Charles Springer wrote for the Swedes their answer to Mr. Thelin’s letter. Upon the receipt of it in Sweden, it was copied by many persons, and drew tears from the eyes of many who heard its contents. It was dated May 31, 1693, and was as follows:–
“Honoured, loving, and much respected friend, John Thelin, his majesty’s loyal subject, and Postmaster at Gottenburg.
“Your unexpected and welcome letter, dated Gottenburg, 16th Nov. 1692, came to hand the 23d of May, 1698, and made us heartily rejoice that it hath pleased Almighty God, through that young man Andrew Printz, to make known our condition to our friends in Sweden. We rejoice that his majesty doth still bear unto us a tender and a Christian care. Therefore do we heartily desire, since it bath pleased his majesty graciously to regard our wants, that there may be sent unto us two Swedish ministers, who are well learned in the Holy Scriptures, and who may be able to defend them and us against all false opposers; so that we may preserve our true Lutheran faith, which, if called to suffer for our faith, we are ready to seal with our blood. We also request that those ministers may be men of good moral lives and characters; so that they may instruct our youth by their example, and lead them into a pious and virtuous way of life.
“Further, it is our humble desire that you would be pleased to send us three hooks of sermons, twelve bibles, forty-two psalm-books, one hundred tracts, with two hundred catechisms, and as many primers; for which, when received, we promise punctual payment at such place as you may think fit to order. We do promise also a proper maintenance to the ministers that may be sent us; and when this our letter is gone, it is our intention to buy a piece of land, that shall belong to the church, and upon which the ministers may live.
“As to what concerns our situation in this country, we are for the most part husbandmen. We plough and sow, and till the ground; and as to our meat and drink, we live according to the old Swedish custom. This country is very rich and fruitful, and here grow all sorts of grain in great plenty, so that we are richly supplied with meat and drink; and we send out yearly to our neighbours on this continent and the neighbouring islands, bread, grain, flour and oil. We have here also, all sorts of beasts, fowls, and fishes. Our wives and daughters employ themselves in spinning wool and flax, and many of them in weaving; so that we have great reason to thank the Almighty for his manifold mercies and benefits. God grant that we may also have good shepherds, to feed us with his holy word and sacraments. We live also in peace and friendship with one another; and the Indians have not molested us for many years.
“Further, since this country has ceased to be under the government of Sweden, we are bound to acknowledge and declare, for the sake of truth, that we have been well and kindly treated, as well by the Dutch, as by his majesty the King of England, our gracious sovereign: on the other hand, we, the Swedes, have been and still are true and faithful to him in words and in deeds. We have always had over us good and gracious magistrates; and we live with one another in peace and quietness. So that we desire, as soon as this our letter comes to hand, that a speedy attention may be paid to tour request; for we believe that God has certainly his hand in this Christian work, and pray that he may bring it to a happy termination.”
With this letter was sent a separate account of all the people, mentioning the heads of families. and the number of persons in each, and a mark to distinguish those who were horn in Sweden. [See Appendix C] It was thus headed,” An accurate list of all the men, women, and children now found living in New Sweden, at present Pennsylvania, on the river Delaware.” Among those born in Sweden, Peter Rambo and Andrew Bonde (now Boon) had been in the country fifty-four years.
The above letter to John Thelin was signed by thirty persons. When received by that gentleman, it was forwarded to the court. At a period when there was so little intercourse between this country and Europe, and scarcely any that was direct between here and Sweden, it took a long time for an interchange of letters between the Swedes of the mother country and those of Pennsylvania. This may explain the long interval that elapsed between the writing of the above letter, in May 1698, and the date (Feb. 7, 1696) of the first measures taken in Sweden towards furnishing the desired spiritual relief. Acoording to Campanius, there was no delay in taking those measures; and he says, “as soon as the letter arrived at Stockholm, his majesty Charles XI, of glorious memory, in order to promote the preservation of our holy religion among this small number of settlers in America, wrote on the subject to the late Doctor Olaus Suebilius, archbishop of Upsal.”
This interesting letter we hero lay before the reader:
“Charles, by the grace of God, king of Sweden, &c. &c.
“Our faithful and well-beloved archbishop. We send you herewith a letter from the Swedish colony on the river Delaware, to John Thelin, the postmaster at Gottenburg, and by him delivered to our department of state. From which we have seen, with great pleasure, that this people have a very pious zeal for the preservation to themselves and their children, of the pure evangelical religion. We are by this moved to grant them aid, and to favour their petition for obtaining two clergymen. It is, therefore, our pleasure that you will carefully select for them such good and learned pastors as they desire to have; and it is our will that, as soon as they shall be ready for their voyage, they be provided with a passage, and the necessary funds to defray their expenses. You will also procure the bibles, homilies, common-prayer and hymn-books, catechisms, primers, and spiritual treatises which are desired; so that the ministers may take these books along with them, which we will present free of expense. We are persuaded that you will be solicitous to procure faithful labourers in this vineyard of the Lord. In so doing you will promote the glory of God, and also give us great satisfaction. We commend you kindly to Almighty God. Given at Stockholm, the 18th of February, 1696.
“By the King. C. PIPER.”
On the receipt of this letter from his majesty, the archbishop laid the matter before the consistory, and consulted the members of it. “He afterwards,” says the Rev. Mr. Rudman, “called me, without any previous notice, and by many pathetic motives urged my acceptance of this mission. I desired some days for consideration, and agreed. But, foreseeing the necessary troubles of this enterprise, I requested of him to lay before the king, my humble petition for leave to return, in due time, and promotion at home. He did so, and received the following answer:”
“‘Charles, by the Grace of God, &c. Trusty and well beloved archbishop. We have received your letter, dated the 21st inst., in which you promise to procure, according to our mandate, pious and learned clergymen, for preaching the pure evangelical religion to the Swedish people in America. We grant your request in their behalf, that they may have permission to return after some years, and obtain suitable preferment; as it would otherwise be a great hardship to leave their native country. You will, therefore, assure them of this our gracious intention. Given at Stockholm, the 22d of February 1696.
“‘By the King. C. PIPER.'”
The king having thus given his consent that the ministers to be sent to America, should, in due time, if they desired it, be permitted to return to their native land, the Rev. Mr. Rudman obtained leave to choose a suitable colleague. Several persons were thought of, but at the suggestion of Professor Jesper Swedberg, the Rev. Eric Biork, a native of the province of Westmanland, was selected as highly qualified for this important work. The king saw fit to appoint a third clergyman to accompany the other two, and fixed on the Rev. Jonas Auren, of the province of Wermeland. He was commissioned to view the country, and in a short time to return, and make his report. These two were accordingly ordained at Upsal. The king provided for them the necessary outfit; and having taken leave of their friends and relatives, they felt anxious to be gone, but were for a while detained by the printer not being ready with the Indian catechisms.
Before their departure the following royal mandate was issued :-” It is the gracious will of his majesty, that the three clergymen, Andrew Rudman, Eric Biork, and Jonas Auren, chosen by the archbishop of Upsal, for the Swedish congregations in America, shall take with them the religious books, mentioned in the annexed catalogue, as a donation’ from the king, with a declaration of his great satisfaction in their prosperity, and their faithful constancy in the pure evangelical religion. Given at Stockholm, the 15th of July, 1696.
The books sent were the following:–
30 Bibled–10 printed by Vankis and 20 by Keiser.
6 Books of Homilies; 2 Cabinets of Treasure; 2 of Moellers; 2 of Lutheman’s.
100 Religious treatises of different kinds, viz. 12 by Kellingius; Garden of Paradise; Atlice, &c.
100 Books of Common Prayer and Hymns.
2 Ecclesiastical Acts.
2 Church Regulations.
100 Catechisms of Archbishop Suebilias.
300 Compends of do. do.
500 Catechisms in the Indian language.
The king appropriated three thousand dollars for the expenses of the missionaries; and the director of the custom house was appointed to a good ship for their passage. The ship Palmloom, Capt. Hogen, was selected for the purpose. The three clergymen then waited on the king, with the most respectful and affection ate thanks for his favours. He gave them his hand, and said “Go now, in the name of the Lord, to the place whither I send you. God be with you, and prosper your undertaking. If any opposition or injury befall you, return, and I will remember you.” Then addressing Mr. Auren, in whose father’s house he had often been; he said, “you will soon come back; salute your parents.” Auren went to Gottenburg to take leave of his friends, intending to sail from that port, and meet his colleagues in London. The Rev. Messrs. Rudman-Biork embarked on the 4th of August, 1696.
After encountering a violent storm in the North Sea, and being in danger, in the English Channel, of losing the ship on a shoal called the Onion, on which the vessel struck several times, they arrived safely in London on the 10th of October. They had letters t6 the court requesting permission to proceed to America. There was some hesitation in granting such permission, but it was after a while obtained. This delay proved in the end of advantage to the missionaries. They had engaged their passage in the ship Happy Union, but being detained in the manner just mentioned, that vessel was obliged to sail without them. This ship was overtaken by a storm, and after losing sails, masts, and rudder, with difficulty reached a port in Portugal, and did not arrive in America until a year after the landing there of the missionaries. The first opportunity these had of leaving England was on the 4th of February, 1697, in the ship Jeifris, Capt. Cooper. After a long detention in the English Channel, waiting for their convoy, they put to sea, and in ten weeks reached the coast of Virginia. Entering the Chesapeake Bay they proceeded up to Annapolis in Maryland, where lived the governor of that province, Francis Nicholson, who received them with the greatest hospitality and kindness. After remaining there two weeks, they took a shallop, and on the 24th of June, being St. John’s day, arrived in the Elk river, and landing, found some of their countrymen residing there. These immediately sent word of the circumstance to the Swedes in Pennsylvania, who, going thither, received them with tears of joy, and conveyed them and their baggage to the Swedish settlement. Before mentioning what took place on their arrival there, we here give the letter addressed to the Swedes in America by the archbishop of Upsal.
To the respectable Swedish congregations in America, grace, pence, and blessing from God the Father, through Jesus Christ. Whereas, beloved friends, you have, with a laudable zeal for the preservation or the pure evangelical religion, and by it the promotion of your spiritual welfare, supplicated his majesty, my gracious king, to send over to you two pious and learned clergymen; and whereas his majesty has been pleased to grant your humble request, and has commissioned me to procure two such clergymen-I have, in obedience to his mandate, and in compliance with my official duty, selected the Rev. Andrew Rudman, Master of Philosophy, and Mr. Eric Biork; who, on examination, are found competent to the office, and who are known to be of pious and orderly. character, and willing to take upon themselves this long and hazardous voyage. They are supplied by the king’s royal favour, with the necessary funds for that voyage; which I wish, by God’s grace, may be safe and prosperous. I, therefore, recommend them to you as proper teachers for the Swedish congregations. They will do their best to promote your spiritual welfare, by preaching God’s word as contained in the Old and New Testaments, teaching the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds, and the true doctrines contained in the Augsburg Confession of Faith, free from all human superstition and tradition. They will administer the holy sacraments according to God’s ordinances, and they will instruct your children in the catechism. They will also, it is hoped, set before you examples in all Christian graces and virtues, by a godly, sober, and irreproachable life; that they may give a good account to the Supreme Shepherd, when he shalt come. On your part, beloved friends, [have full confidence that you will receive these gentlemen as your true spiritual guardians, and render to them all the honour and obedience due to their sacred function; also recompensing their labours by a sufficient maintenance, according to the commandment of God, and your own promise.
“Whereupon we commend you to the protection of Almighty God, with faithful wishes of prosperity, increase in religious wisdom, and constancy in the way of salvation.
Given under our band and the seal of the Cathedral Consistory of Upsal, the 25th of June 1696.
“Archbishop of Upsal.”
As to what took place in the Swedish settlements, and in what condition the missionaries found the people, we cannot do better than lay before the reader the following extracts of letters written by the Rev. Eric Biork to the Right Rev. Superintendent, Doctor Israel Kolmodin, dated Christina Creek, the 29th of October, 1697.
“I had the pleasure of writing to you on the 4th of February, to inform you that we were about to leave London. We went on hoard that day, but were detained some time at Deal and Portsmouth, until the convoys and the captains could be cleared; at last, on the 22d of March, we weighed anchor at Portsmouth, and having passed Plymouth, the last land that we saw on the 24th was the Lizard, and from that time we saw no land until we reached Virginia. I shall not detain you with the particulars of our voyage, which was as usual, made up of storms and fair weather, but shall at once tell you, that on the 31st of May, in the afternoon, we found ourselves, in thirty-four fathoms depth, and were delighted to see land before us, which we were Informed was Smith’s Island. We tacked about until the 2d of June, in the morning, when we last anchor in seven fathoms depth, with joy and gladness. We went afterwards to seek a safe harbour in James river, in which we remained some days, while the captain was making his arrangements; thence, on the 10th of June, we sailed by Maryland, Newport, Rappahannock, Potomac, Point Lookout, the first point in Maryland, and Patuxent to a town on the river Severn, called Annapolis, where resides the governor, Francis Nicholson, and there we cast on the 19th of June. 1 would fain relate to you all the attention that we received from the said governor, but suffice it to say, that he treated us with the greatest kindness and respect. Our gracious sovereign, and his royal family, were duly remembered, and had we been sent recommended to that gentleman directly from Sweden, he could not have done more for us. We remained four days in his house, during which time he did all in his power to entertain us, and show us everything worth Seeing; when at last, we were obliged to go on board our ship, to continue our voyage, he took all the trouble upon himself, to see everything properly done; and when we took leave of him, he accompanied us part of the way, gave us a sum of money, and sent two men with us, to put on board as many bottles as they could carry, filled with all kinds of liquors. The governor is a single man, looks like a brave soldier, and is greatly attached to his king, of whom he is a faithful servant. On the 23d of June, we went on hoard with all our things; and we can never forget the captain’s goodness, who carried us through such a long voyage without charging any freight, or’ passage money. At last, with a fair wind, we sailed about seventeen English miles, to a place called Transtown,* [Probably Frenchtown] situated on Elk river, at the distance of an English mile from our Swedish settlement, where we joyfully landed, returning thanks to God, for having safely brought us through such a long voyage.
“Before we had been there a day and a night, the people flocked in great numbers to see us; they came from the distance of ten or twelve Swedish miles, [A Swedish mile is equal to 6 3/4 English miles] in order to conduct us to their places of meeting. They welcomed us with great joy, and world hardly believe we had arrived until they saw us. They were, indeed, in great want of spiritual assistance; for at the same time that I, though unworthy, was appointed to this high office, they were deprived by death, of their venerable teacher, the Rev. Jacob Fabritius; and since that time, have had nobody but their reader, Charles Christopher Springer, a plain, honest, pious man, but devoid of talents; however, by the grace of God, who can produce great things out of little ones, they did tolerably well with him, as he was very zealous, and spared no pains to promote their spiritual welfare, as I have myself always witnessed.
“On the 27th of June, we had only a small meeting of prayer and thanksgiving, at the lower congregation. On the 29th, we went up to Philadelphia, a clever little town, [Then about 14 years old] and waited on the lieutenant governor William Markham, who, when he saw our credentials, received us with great kindness.
“On the 30th of June, we visited the upper congregation at a place called Wicaco, [Where the Swedish church now stands, which was then out of town] which is the nearest to Philadelphia, and where the Swedes have a church, [This Church was built in 1669, on the spot where the present church stands. It had loop-holes, that it might be used as a place of defense against surrounding or invadint enemies.] in which we gave them an account of our voyage and objects, beginning with their own letter to the postmaster at Gottenburg, then his royal majesty’s orders given thereupon, &c. &c. We did the same thing on the 2d of July, to the lower congregation at Tranhook,* where they also have a church. On the 11th of July, I, their unworthy minister, clad in my surplice, delivered my first discourse to them in Jesus’ name, on the subject of the righteousness of the Pharisees, (de justitia Pharismorum.)
“And now, to say something more respecting our congregations, I must confess that they did not entirely comply with what they had promised in their letter: the reason was, that they were most uncomfortably situated, the land which led to their church, being then overflowed with water, and yet they would not abandon the place, until they should have ministers, to whom they could commit the work, in which, through God’s grace, I have succeeded, and agreed with them to fix on a more convenient place, to build a stone church, to he called Christina Church. I hope it will be done within a year, for the congregations are rich, and easily persuaded, by good reasons, such as I have given them. In comparing the religious situation of these people, their divine service, attention to the ordinances, and instruction of their youth in the catechism, and other things, with the congregations in Sweden, I must say, that these are quite irregular, and that makes us fear that we shall have great labour and difficulty; but we remember our oaths, which are always before our minds, and will endeavour to bring them as nearly as possible, to the state of the congregations in Sweden. This state of things is not to be wondered at; for their ministers, particularly the last, were old and infirm, and could not pay proper attention to the education of youth; but we hope, if God grants us life, to mend these matters; so that there will be churches, dwellings, and gardens for the ministers; and that divine service will be performed, the ordinances administered, the youth taught their catechism, and regular examinations take place, so that those who come after us, will find that a plain, easy road, which we now find rough and difficult. This difficulty is so much the greater, that we are alone, and the young people are numerous; but we hope that our superiors at home, will not let us sink under the labour, particularly if God grant life to our most gracious king, whom we never cease to remember in our prayers. The country here is delightful, as it has always been described, and overflows with every blessing; so that the people live very well without being compelled to too much, or too severe labour. The taxes are very light; the farmers, after their work is over, live as they do as Sweden, but are clothed as well as the respectable inhabitants of the towns. They have fresh meat, and fish in abundance, and want nothing of what other countries produce: they have plenty of grain wherewith to make bread, and plenty of drink. May God continue them in the enjoyment of these blessings. There are no poor in this country, but they all provide for themselves; for the land is rich and fruitful, and no man who will labour can suffer want.
“The Indians and we are as one people; we live in much greater friendship with them, than with the English: they call the Swedes in their language, their own people; they were very glad when we came, as they see now that Swedes not abandon them. They are also very fond of learning the catechism, which has been printed in their language; they like to have it read to them, and they have engaged Mr. Charles Springer to teach their children to read it. Who knows what God has yet in store for them, if our lives should be spared, when we shall have acquired their idiom? We shall spare no labour to attain that object. They go mostly naked, but many of them are clothed; they are very courteous in their behaviour, and fond of obliging the Swedes: they take great pains to help them, and prevent any harm happening to them. In order to forward our designs, I hope our spiritual fathers will assist us with some of the newly printed books, particularly two church Bibles, as those we have are not fit to be used in divine service; there are always opportunities between England and this country. I cannot mention, without astonishment, but to the honour of these people, that we hardly found here three Swedish books; but they were so anxious for the improvement of their children, that they lent them to one another, so that they can all read tolerably well. None of the books that his majesty graciously gave to us are now out of use ; they are distributed among the families, who bless the king for that valuable present, for which they are truly glad and thankful. May Almighty God preserve his majesty, the Royal family, and our dear country, in peace and gladness. Though distant from it we shall never cease while we breathe, to offer up our prayers to Heaven for its prosperity.”
About the same time the Rev. Mr. Rudman wrote to Professor Jacob Arrhenius, at Upsal. Illis statements are in agreement with those of the very interesting letter above quoted. We here give some extracts. His letter is dated 20th of October, 1697.
“Our ship arrived in Virginia, and from thence we sailed to Maryland, where we left her on the 23d of June, and proceeded up the Bay in a sloop to Elk river. There we immediately found Swedes, who heartily rejoiced at our arrival. The news of it spread through the whole country; the people came in haste from a distance of more than thirty miles, and conducted us to their places of meeting, where, after we had waited on the governor, they were called together, and our credentials were read to them. Then we entered in God’s name Upon our holy office, I officiating to the upper congregations at Wicaco, and the Rev. Mr. Biork to the lower at Christina.
“The churches are old and in bad condition. Wherefore, with God’s help, we are endeavouring to build new ones. The lower one is at Christina; the upper at Wicaco, or Passyunk. The minister’s garden and mansion house are at the distance of four English miles [Near Point Breeze, on the Schuykill, wehre some wished the new church built, as will be seen in the sequel] from Philadelphia, a clever town, built by Quakers. The population is very thin and scattered, all along the river shore; so that some have sixteen miles to walk or ride to go to church. Nevertheless, they very regularly attend divine service on Sundays, &c.
“The houses are built after the Swedish manner. The women brew excellent drink, as in Sweden; they have also a liquor made of apples or peaches which they call cider; it is very pleasant to the taste, and very wholesome.
“In order to build our church, we are about to raise the sum of four hundred pounds sterling; but that will not be difficult, they are so very glad to have us among them; they look upon us as if we were angels from heaven. Of this they have assured me with many tears; and we may truly say, that there is no place in the world where a clergyman may be so happy, and so well beloved, as in this country.
“The English have received us extremely well, and some of them even come to our meetings. We live scattered among the English and Quakers, yet our language is preserved as pure as any where in Sweden. There are about twelve hundred persons that speak it. There are also Welshmen, who speak their own mother tongue, besides Englishmen, Dutchmen, and some Frenchmen. Almost every one can read, at which we are much rejoiced. God be thankful for his goodness, which has never yet been wanting to us.
“As to the government, it is very mild, and the people live quietly under Governor William Markham, who is exceedingly well-disposed towards us. He has reproached us with not going often enough to see him, and has left us quite at liberty as to our church discipline. There are many Swedes employed in the administration of this government; some of them are counsellors, whom they call judges; many of them are officers, captains, constables, ensigns, &c. There is plenty of work for us. We are alone; our congregations are scattered, our youth numerous, and but few that do not require instruction. We have schools and churches to build, &c. &c.”
It was an important matter to have good churches, in which the different congregations might attend for divine worship, as those that were found here were decayed, and scarcely habitable. The first thing, therefore, that occupied the attention of these worthy missionaries was, the erection at onee of two commodious edifices in which to hold divine service; one for the lower congregation, and one for the upper. How the Swedes at Christina proceeded with the work there, will appear from the following extracts of a letter written by the Rev. Biork to the Hon. Charies Wystrom, dated 19th of November, 1700.
“Shortly after my arrival at this place, I persuaded the congregation to agree in selecting a better place for a church than Tranhook, to wit, Christina; and I immediately commenced the work, in the Lord’s name, though with little money: but I never doubted, notwithstanding my unworthiness, of divine assistance. I therefore made a bargain with bricklayers and carpenters, and bound them and me so strangely, that otherwise the work would not have been finished in less than three years. We laid the first stone at the north corner on the 28th of May, 1698. The size of the church, [This church is still standing, though in a ruinous and dilapidated condition – 1835] inside of the walls, is sixty feet in length, thirty feet in breadth, and twenty feet in height. The walls are of hard gray stone up to the windows, and three and a half feet thick; but above that only two feet.
“There are four doors; a large one at the west end, and a similar one at the south: there are two smaller ones on the north side, one of which lends into the vestry-room. There are two windows on the north, and two on the south, all of the same size; but there is a larger one at the east end, and a small one over the western door. There is a small belfry at the east end. The roof is arched with logs, and plastered. It is covered with cedar shingles.
“The pews in the church are made of fir; the chancel is circular, and the inner banister, as well as the pulpit, of walnut wood, well turned. There is a large aisle, eight feet in breadth, from the chancel to the large door, and across the aisle from the north door to that on the south. Between the chancel and the first row of pews there is also a little way with six pews on each side, to the cross aisle. There are also long pews along the wall for the men, from the south door to the east end; and there are seats in the chancel for the ministers. In the lower part of the church, from the north and south doors to that on the west, there is a large aisle, with eight pews on each side.”
The church thus erected, with a zeal and enterprise so praiseworthy, was, on Trinity Sunday in the following year, 1699, dedicated to the service of Almighty God. On that occasion the Rev. Mr. Rudman preached the sermon, having taken his text from Psalm 126.3. “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” The name of Trinity church was given to the building, in honour of the Triune God. “Mr. Rudman and I,” says Mr. Biork, “were clad in white surplices, made after our manner, as well as could be done; but other church vestments could not be procured here. The Rev. Mr. Auren preached afterwards at the celebration of the Lord’s supper, where we made a collection of about two hundred dollars; for there were many hundred persons present of all religions, whom I entertained afterwards with meat and drink in the best manner I could. The neighbours all around partook of the feast, and several carried provisions home with them.”
The Swedes near Philadelphia commenced their preparations for the building of a new church, at the same time with those at Chrisfina; but the undertaking was delayed for a year or two on account of their not being able to agree among themselves as to where the building should be erected. Those who resided on the banks of the Schuylkill, and lower down, wished the church to be built at a place called Passyunk, (now Point Breeze,) where the clergyman resided on a glebe belonging to the congregation. On the other band, the Swedes near to Philadelphia and higher up wished it built at Wicaco, on the Delaware, half a mile below the city, though now within its limits. It was here the old church stood, ereeted in 1669, and which had been used also for a blockhouse, but which was now considered as not worth repairing. ‘rhero was also a burial ground here, in which the Swedish families, on both sides of the river, had for many years in- terred their dead. Neither Wicaco nor Passyunk was entirely central in its location; and wherever the church might have been built, a large part of the congregation would have still had to travel several miles in getting to it.
As far as Mr. Rudman himself expressed an opinion on this question, he preferred having the church at Passyunk, as being more convenient to his residence. But he was not tenacious on this point, apd was only anxious for harmony and peace. Many conferences having resulted in no decision of the question, a general meeting of the congregation was finally called on the 17th of May, 1698. A tedious discussion of the subject proving fruitless, the lower inhabitants proposed to have the matter decided by lot. To this the upper members were at first opposed, but through the persuasions of Mr. Rudman were induced afterwards to agree. Having by prayer and singing invoked the blessing of God on the undertaking, two pieces of paper were prepared, on one of which was written Wicaco, and on the other Passyank; these were shaken in a hat, and thrown upon ground, when, upon taking one up, and it, the name of Wicaco appeared. Dissension at once ceased, and all joined in a cheerful hymn of praise. At the same time the agreement was ratified by the following persons signing their names to a suitable instrument of writing, viz. Andrew Rudman, Capt. Lorence Cox, Andrew Bancson, Casper Fish, Peter Rambo, Gustavus Justis, Elias Toy, Michael Lycon, Charles Springer, Andrew Rambo, Matthias Morton, Gabriel Cox, John Cox, jr., Hans Boon, Nich: Lycon, Richard Rhodes, Gunnar Swanson, Christian Claeson, Laurcace Holsten,
Jonas Biurstroem, witness.
After the above settlement of the dispute in relation to the site for the church, there was difficulty and uneasiness in another form. The family of Swan Swanson (then spelt Svan Svanson) had given the ground on which the old church stood,* and had lately increased it part of an acre; but the congregation desired a small addition down to the river, in order to prevent ship-building in front of the church, and the danger which would thereby be incurred from fire; they also wished for permission to build a small house for a sexton, to guard the church from injury. With some difficulty the first request was granted, the other denied. This denial led to fresh dissatisfaction; in consequence of which Mr. Rudman, in order to accommodate both the upper and lower members of the parish, proposed that the new church should be built at Passynuk, and the old one at Wicaco be repaired, and that divine service should be held part of the year in one, and part in the other. This proposal was not acceded to. Mr. R. wearied with this unpleasant state of things, had for some time been threatening to leave them. Accordingly, on the seventh Sunday after Trinity, being the 31st of July, 1698, he concluded his sermon with a feeling address, in which he reminded them of his unceasing parochial labours, and his repeated efforts to unite them, but that having failed in the object of his wishes, he had come to the determination to leave them, and would take that opportunity of bidding them farewell. He soon after went to Christina, where he remained till the sixth of September.
As the question is often asked, by what tenure does the Wicaco church hold its property, it is thought proper to give the following information. That on which the church stands, containing one acre and a half and five perches, was given, as above remarked, by the Swanson family. The deed is from Cathanne Swanson, widow of Swan Swanson; Swan Boon and Brigita his wife, one of the daughters of Swan Swanson; Hans Boon and Barbara his wife, another of the daughters; and Peter Banksoa and Catharine his wife, a third daughter.
Also, an acre of ground, north of the church, on which the old and new parsonage houses stand, was given by Hans Boon and Barbara his wife, “for the use, benefit and behoof of the minister of the Swedish congregation for the time being, and his successors for ever.”
There is a third deed, dated 19th June, 1719, from Martha Cock, daughter of Jno, Cock and Margaret his wife, one of the daughters of Swan Swanson, to Peter Rarubo, Jno. Stille, John Scute, and Jesta Jestason, for twenty-five acres of land, lying near the Wicaco church, in trust, “for the use, benefit and behoof of the minister of the Swedish congregation for the time being, and his successors for ever, in the nature of glebe land, &c.” These twenty-five acres were purchased by the congregation for the sum of ninety pounds.
After the departure of Mr. Rudman, Mr. Biork visited the congregation, and preached for them on the tenth Sunday after Trinity, the Gospel for which day relates the weeping of Christ over Jerusalem. His exertions had a good effect. The congregation were brought to a better mind, and sent deputies to Christina, desiring a conference with the Rev. Messrs. Rudman and Biork. These deputies were instructed to ask forgiveness, to submit the whole matter in dispute to the decision of these clergymen, to renew their subscriptions for the church, and to secure future harmony by fining any person ten pounds who should again cause any dispute. We would not omit to remark, that the Rev. Mr. Auren also had aided in restoring the people to a state of harmony and peace.
Mr. Rudman, equally anxious with the congregation to see differences healed, went back with the deputies, resolved to meet future difficulties with christian forbearance-” sensible” to use his own language, “that the ministers of God have little else to expect but trouble.” He took advantage, without delay, of the present favourable circumstances; procured a written assurance of the ground to the river; obtained the governor’s consent to what was proposed to be done, and for a bridge or ferry across the Schuylkill, for the convenience of the poople on the other side; and made arrangements to bring materials for the new church at Wicaco, from the old one at Tinicum. All which, on the thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, was in proper form proclaimed in the English language.
The same bricklayers and carpenters who had built the church at Christina, were employed to build the one at Wicaco; and the work went on so successfully, that on the second day of July, being the first Sunday after Trinity, in the year 1700, every thing was finished; and on that day the dedication took place, when the Rev. Mr. Biork preached from 2 Sam. v.29: “Therefore, now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it; and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.” On this occasion there were a great many English persons and others present from Philadelphia, for whose benefit Mr. Biork delivered a summary of his discourse in the English language.
“This church,” says Mr. Biork, in one of his letters to Sweden, “is of the same size as the other, only that one of the corners is shortened in order to make room for a belfry or steeple, which has been begun at the west end, but must remain for some time unfinished, in order to see whether God will bless us so far as that we may have a hell, and in what manner we can procure it. This church is built of stone to the top of the foundation, but not so good as that of which the lower church is built. The buildings will cost us, according to our reckoning, about twenty thousand dollars, Swedish money, and something more; of which I am yet indebted in five thousand dollars, and my colleague is in about the same situation. We have nothing to rely on but the efforts of the congregations to raise that money as well as they can.
“Thus, through God’s blessing, we have completed the great work, and built two fine churches, superior to any built in this country, particularly that at Christina; so that the English themselves, who now govern this province, and are beyond measure richer than we are, wonder at what we have done. It is but lately at two governors, with their suites, have come to this place, and visited our churches. The one is Francis Nicholson, governor of Maryland, and our great patron; the other is named Blackstone, and is governor of Virginia. With all this we want some ornaments for our church, which are not to be procured here, such as a couple of bells, handsome chalices and pattens, and chandeliers or lustres. We have also room for a small organ. If we should obtain these things through the generosity of those who are able and willing to honour themselves by honouring their Maker, we shall consider it as a particular mark of divine favour, and their names shall be recorded as benefactors of our church. In the meanwhile, we are well satisfied with the blessings that we have received from Almighty God; we hope he will preserve our country from the war [The succession war for the crown of Spain, in which England was engaged against France] that is impending, and seems to threaten Sweden. We hope also that in time we shall have obtained the things that we most want, particularly books. I have at last established a school here, with an able teacher at the head of it, who also serves as parish clerk, an office which I was before obliged to perform. Things are not yet on such a steady footing as I could wish, but I shall do all I can, aad no man can do more.
“Our congregations more and more require all in our power to have divine service performed here as in Sweden; we instruct the people in their catechism; we travel from place to place, and from house to house; in short, we do all in our power to fulfil the important duties that are imposed upon us.”
The king of Sweden having promised the Rev. Mr. Rudman and his colleague leave to return home alter a few years, he, in the year 1701, with the advice of the archbishop, Dr. Benzelius, appointed the Rev. Andrew Sandel to come over, and take charge of the Wicaco Church. This gentleman left Sweden on the 21st of August of that year: and after some detention in England, and the usual tedious passage of those days across the Atlantic, arrived in the Delaware on the 12th of March following, and had his first interview with Mr. Rudman on the 18th of the same month. Mr. Rudman’s intention now was to return to Sweden; but the Dutch inhabitants of New York and Albany having heen for many years without a preacher, invited him to settle among them. Their destitute condition, and the fear lest they might fall away from the pure faith of the Gospel, induced him to comply with their request. He accordingly preached his farewell sermon at Wicaco on the 19th of July, and departed the next day to enter upon the duties of his new charge.
How long Mr. Rudman officiated in New York is not known. He found, however, that the climate did not agree with his constitution, and his health becoming impaired, he took measures to procure for them a Dutch clergyman to supply his place. A student of divinity, by the name of Justus Falkner, arrived; who was ordained in Wicaco church by the Rev. Messrs. Rudman, Biork, and Sandel.* [This ordination by presbyters, instead of by a bishop, was the best their situation, or the circumstances in which they were placed, enabled them to obtain. A sister church wanted a pastor, and they had to decide between letting them go unsupplied, or giving them one with defective orders; or, perhaps, they thought such orders would do for the Dutch.] After leaving New York, Mr. Rudman officiated for some time at the English church at Oxford; and afterwards, upon the Rev. Mr. Evans leaving this for England, he took charge of Christ Church in this city. He continued to officiate in that until his death, which took place on the 17th of September, A. D. 1708, aged forty years. His remains lie beneath the chancel in the Wicaco Church. He appears to have been much beloved by the Swedes of that period, and their descendants will long hold in grateful remembrance his self-denial and faithfulness as a minister of Christ.
The year after Mr. Sandel had taken charge of the congregation, a meeting was called to take into consideration the state of the church walls, which had perceptibly given way. A large majority of the persons present were in favour of strengthening them by means of iron work; but before coming to any final conclusion, it was deemed advisable to consult on the subject, some person of approved judgment. A committee, consisting of Matthias Keen, Hans Lycon, John Cox, and Peter Bankson, was appointed, to consult with a Mr. Peter Deal, who was thought a competent judge. This committee reported that Mr. Deal was of opinion that porebes built on each side of the church, would be the best means of strengthening the walls. This plan, though more expensive than the other, of iron clamps, was unanimously approved, especially as one wing would answer for a vestry-room, and the other for a vestibule or entrance to the church. A subscription was at once opened for the purpose, and the persons present put down their names for 109L/4s. Mr. Sandel complains that this building gave him a great deal of trouble, many of the subscribers being backward in making payment, though the wardens were attentive to their duties. The workmen were anxious to be paid, and he was obliged, with one of the wardens, to go from house to house to collect what was due.
On the 3d of February, 1704, John Evans, a Welshman, arrived from England as governor of the province. On which occasion the Rev. Mr. Sandel, and fifteen of the oldest members of the congregation, paid their respects to him.
In 1705 the upper inhabitants* [Meaning, I suppose, those at Upper Merion, or perhaps, up the Delaware towards Bristol] made application for occasional services in their neighborhood, in the winter season, because of their distance from the church. It was agreed that the rector should officiate there twice during the winter season.
Very soon alter the church was built, arrangements were made for renting the pews. It is proper to mention this, because in our time there are a few persons, descendants of the ancient Swedes, who claim all the rights appertaining to membership, such as the right to bury in the Swedish ground, the right to vote at elections, &c simply because their forefathers assisted in building the church, or purchasing the ground, and independently of any present payment of pew rent. This claim is unreasonable and contrary to ancient usage. It was never intended by those who built the church, or purchased the lands belonging to the church, that their posterity should enjoy such rights absolutely, and without any restriction. At a meeting of the congregation, held on the first of May, A, D. 1705, the following resolution was adopted:–“Those who, with their families, remove from our congregation, and cannot, or will not attend divine worship, or will not submit to the rules of our church, shall themselves and heirs lose their rights altogether.” If rights, then, could he lost within five years of the time when the church was built, and by those who had helped to build it, why should their posterity, more than 130 years afterwards, hold such rights by a tenure admitting of no restriction?
About this time (1705) another donation of books was received from Sweden, consisting of bibles, prayer-books, primers, and spiritual meditations. They were a present from the reigning Sovereign, Charles XII. They were equally divided between the church at Wicaco and that at Christina.
As my plan is to mention facts as they occurred, or in chronological order, it is proper here to lay before the reader an address of the Swedes, to the Legislature of the Province, setting forth certain grievances which the document itself sufficiently explains.
“To the Representatives of the Province of Pennsylvania, met in General Assembly at Philadelphia, this first day of June, 1700. The complaint of divers of the freeholders and others settlers of this Province:
“That whereas we the Swedes, antient settlers and first inhabitants of this Province, with great difficulty, hazard, and loss of several of our lives, having at last obtained peace and quietness with the Indians-and after the changes that have happened by reason of the divers sorts of governments, we have lived peaceably and quietly, enjoying our lands and estates, which we first settled, under our own government. And since we are informed that upon the surrendering of this provenience to the crown of England, in lieu of Surinam to the Dutch, it was agreed on both sides, that the inhabitants were in no wise to be disturbed either in their lives, liberties, or estates; we after that, being summoned to appear before the government, which then resided at New York, were obliged to take patents or grants for what land we held before, or desired after. But since this Province has been granted to William Penn, he and his officers called for our patents and grants under pretence of renewing them, which having obtained would not return them again, but instead thereof resurveyed great parts of our lands, and took it from some of us: others were required to pay greater quitrents than before; and because some of us refused the payment of such quitrents, being on some tracts of land three or four times more than we ought or used to pay, when under the government of New York, we being, as we suppose, the Queen’s tenants, and not liable to pay any at all to the proprietor- the collector, James Logan, threatened to make distress upon our goods for the said rents, using at the same time many harsh and opprobrious epithets:
“We, therefore, presuming that the same justice which, under similar cases, is dispensed by the Parliament of England, may be obtained here, solicit from you our representatives, some help in our distress, that we may have our patents restored to us, together with all the overplus of the quitrents which have been unjustly exacted from us these twenty years past: For which we shall always pray:
|Zacharias Cock,||Gabriel Cock|
|Eric Keen,||John Stille|
|John Tanek||Hans George|
|Otto Esrnest Cock||Mortea Mortenson|
|Peter Peterson||Gosta Gostason|
|John Aretson||Hans Bonde|
|Mattitias Nezelius||Lors Mortenson|
|Anders Bonde||Olle Bonde|
|Anders Mortenson||Gabriel Friend|
|Valentine Kock||John Ellet|
|Andrew Longacre||John Hindricksen|
|John Mortenson||Matthias Keen|
At a meeting of the congregation on the 18th of May, A. D. 1710,.the usual election for vestrymen took place. It may be of use to the Swedes of our time to know what were then considered to be the duties of vestrymen. These duties were declared to be–” 1st. To take care of the church, see to its repairs, and, if necessary, put up additional buildings: 2ndly. To maintain the parochial ordinances and regulations enacted at the general meetings-and to preserve order in time of divine worship. 3d. To inspect the behaviour of the people in their respective districts, admonish those that misbehave, and proceed with them further, if necessary. 4th. To attend divine worship often, partake of the Lord’s Supper, and be edifying examples in all Christian virtues.”
At the same meeting the following resolution was adopted :-” Whereas some, when reproved for their sins, and are not permitted to break our church rules, hate both the minister and congregation, and abandon divine worship; therefore resolved, that such shall be several times admonished, and warned, against the dreadful hazard of their souls; and if they persevere in their malice, shall have no right to the privileges of the church; and if they die without repentance, shall not be buried in our cemetery.”
In the month of May, A. D. 1712, two clergymen, Andrew Hesselius, master of Philosophy, and Mr. Abraham Lidenius, arrived from Sweden, sent by the Government and Bishop Swedberg, to take charge of the church at Christina, in place of the Rev. Mr. Biork, who had been recalled to Sweden. His recall was by Charles XII. in the following words:
“Charles, by the grace of God, king of Sweden, &c. &c. to all whom it may concern, greeting. His Royal Majesty, our beloved father, of glorious memory, had a tender solicitide for the welfare of those Swedish children that removed to the far distant country of America, and particularly for their constancy in the true evangelical doctrines, and the pure worship of God. We have likewise the same pious and latidable zeal. Having recalled the Rev. Eric Biork, who in the year 1697, was by his aforesaid Royal Majesty sent to a Swedish for his long and laborious services, by some congregation in that country, to be rewarded comfortable situation in our kingdom; and being desirous to provide this our congregation with a spiritual guardian in his place; we have appointed a man renowned for his learning official talents, piety and grave manners our faithful subject the Rev. Andrew Hagvmius. We have also also commissioned the Rev. _____ as colleague for aid in preaching and other clerical functions and sent a donation of bibles, and many books of common prayer, to be distributed among the congregations. They will, no doubt be pleased and edified by the services of these clergymen These may also depend on a gracious promotion m Sweden when they shall wish to return. We also assure the con- gregations and the Swedes living in the aforesaid country, of our particular and permanent royal favour; commending them to the care of Almighty God.
“Written in our Head Quarters at Smorgonie, in Littaven, February 21, A. D. 1708.
Mr. Hagvinius, the clergymen, mentioned in the preecding document, died while preparing for the voyage; in consequence of which the Rev. Mr. Hesselius, above referred to, was commissioned to take the place of the Rev. Mr. Biork, with the other gentleman here spoken of, as his assistant.
Doctor Jesper Swedberg, Bishop of Scam, in the province of West Gothia, had been appointed superintendent of the Swedish Mission, and recommended the aforesaid clergymen. The following is an extract from the letter which he sent by them to the congregation “You receive now, my beloved bretbren and sisters in Christ, two pious and Learned clergymen, with a stock of religious hooks. This fresh prcof of God’s merciful goodness, and the king’s solicitude for your spiritual welfare, merits your sincere gratitude, which you will display in a truly Christian life, and thereby insure the same blessings in future. I am confident that these clergymen will faithfully perform their duties, and shall be very happy to hear that you have received them with hearty affection. Having promoted their appointment by a zealous recommendation, I shall always, while God preserves my life, with the greatest satisfaction employ mIt the means in my power for your benefit. May God have you all in his holy keeping, abundantly bless you and your children, and finally grant to us a meeting in heaven with everlasting felicity.”
For a considerable time after the new church at Wicaco was built, the residence of the clergyman continued to be at Passyunk, four miles below the church, on the Schuylkill. Among the church records I find the following memorandum in the hand-writing of the late Dr. Collin. It purports to be “a translation from the Wicaco church records.” The memorandum is as follows: “The parsonage on Passyunk was bought by, or from Andrew Bengtson, containing eighty acres of land, whereof seventy are situated near the minister’s house, and ten on Ponskon-hook. It cost in all sixty pounds. Was also bought by or from Capt. Laurence Cock, sixteen acres, of which the cost was ten pounds.-Afterwards was purchased on Wicaco, as the church was built there, Os a glebe, the share of Valentine Cock, under a proper title, as appears from the deed of purchase dated the 19th of September, 1698. The cost of this was twenty-five pounds. This land was paid for in manner following First, was sold the parsonage on Tinicum for one hundred pounds, agreeably to the consent of both congregations. Of this the Christina congregation received fifty pounds, and Wicaco the same amount. As this money was not sufficient, the people resolved to contribute five shillings each family, and to make a present of the surplus to the church. N. B. This was done in Mr. Rudman’s time. Mr. Sandel and the congregation bought in 1719, from Martha Swanson twenty-five acres on Wicaco. [The deed says Martha Cock, granddaughter of Swan Swanson.] Gunnar Swanson, who died in 1702, left to the church one third of his estate.”
This is a memorandum of some importance, and gives us a view of all the property, I suppose, ever owned by the church. I have never seen the deed here said to be of the date of 19th Sept. 1698, and was before ignorant* [Further inquiry indtices the belief that this purchase of 1698 was never made. It appears that before 1719 the church owned no land at Wicaco except two or three acres, on part of which the church was built] that so much land had been purchased at that early period. A question here suggests itself- what has become of all this land? And the proper answer would seem to be–that a great deal of it has fallen into other hands, through neglect. One of our late wardens, [Mr. William Jones] remarked very lately, that property which now yields an income of several hundred dollars to the church was a few years since not known to belong to the church, and was quite accidentally recovered by him out of the hands of a person who, about forty or fifty years ago had rented it as a grass lot, and afterwards brought himself to believe that he was the owner. [Of the nlnety.siz acres once owned by the church, on the Schuylkill, and mentioned in the above memorandum, a considerable portion has been lost through possession of more than twenty-one years.]
The parsonage house in Passyunk was accidentally burnt down in 1717, and was immediately rebuilt. We have in the old records a very particular account of who furnished the timber-who cut it-who haled it-who built the walls-who cut the rafters-who carried them to the ground-who put them up-who bought the shingles-who shaved them, &c. &c. The reader, who is curious in such matters, may see all the particulars on application to the rector of the church.
The 11th of Nov. 1717 is the date of an instrument of writing, by which Charles XII of Sweden recalled the Rev. Mr. Sandel from his duties here, and appointed him rector of Hedemora, a town in Dalecarlia. The recall was received on the 28th of May 1718; but private and parochial concerns prevented his immediate departure. The latter had reference, chiefly, to the purchase Df the twenty-five acres of land which about this time the church was contracting for with Martha Cock, a granddaughter, as already mentioned, of Swan Swanson, deceased. His last mecting with the congregation was on the 7th of May A. D. 1719; on which occasion the Rev. Mr. Hesselius, of Christina church, and the Rev. Mr. Lidenius pastor of Raccon church, in Jersey, were present. These clergymen promised to perform divine service once a month, during the vacancy. And Arvid Hembom, a student of good abilities, and who had for some years keept school in the parish, agreed with them and the people to keep the church open on the other, Sundays, by acting as lay-reader.
We have no data from which to ascertain with rnuch precision what was the order of divine service among the Swedes, in the times of which we are writing. Mr. Sandel has mentioned that “the forenQon service was observed in the manner required by our (the Swedish) liturgy, and as is customary in Sweden.” He also says that they had two sermons on Sunday that they used the “Te Deum,” to which, I suppose he refers, when he says they sang “O Lord we praise thee.” As to the preaching, it seems to have been frequently from a portion of the catechism. Mr. S. was in the hahit, in the summer season, of walking through the aisles, and examining the congregation on the catechism, and on their knowledge of the sermon he had previously preached. Such a practice in our time would be apt to make thin churches.
Mr. Sandel speaks of the harmony and friendship that existed between the Swedish and English congregations, and that they had mutually officiated in each other’s churches.* [The Swedish clergymen did not confine themselves, in their endeavours to be useful, to the particular churches of which they had the pastoral charge. The Rev. Mr. Hesselius, pastor of the church at Christina, seems particularly to have laboured in a wider sphere than his own congregation. That excellent institution “the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,” to which the Episcopal church in this country owes such a large debt of gratitude, noticed and rewarded the labours of Mr. Hesselius; as appears from the following letter to him of its Secretary:
“London, May 8th, 1721.
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, hath received a representation from the clergy in Pennsylvania, setting forth among other things, the good services you have done by reading prayers and preaching in the several vacant churches in Pennsylvania, and have ordered me to acquaint you, that in consideration of your past labours, they have presented you with the sum of ten pounds, for which you may draw on their treasurer. They have also agreed to allow you ten pounds per annum, in csse you perform divine service and preach in the English language in the several vacant churches in Pennsylvania, at least twenty times in one year, and trausmit over hither proper certificates thereof.
I am, Rev. Sir,
Your most humble servant,
DAVID HUMPHREYS, &ct.
“On solemn occasions,” he says, “us at the laying of the corner stones of churches, they have niways invited us, and conducted themselves as friends to our church. This year they undertook to enlarge their church, and though the Presbyterians offered them the use of their church, they asled to be permitted to worship in Wicaco, which was granted thcm for three successive Sundays. And for confirming the unity that existed between the two congregations, a Swedish hymn was sung at the English service. To preserve unity and confidence with the English church, the present Bishop Dr. Swedburg, has continually urged in his letters.”
The Swedes, about this time, addressed a long letter to “the Right Honouarble Count Jyttenborg, the Swedish Envoy in London,” on the subject of the grievances which had led them in 1709, to lay their complaint before the Legislature of the Province of Pennsylvania. This letter appears to have been designed merely as a vindication of themselves against what they conceived to be “misrepresentations of Wm. Penn, and his commissioners.” An extract will show the nature of the misunderstanding between them and Mr. Penn:
“May it please your Excellency,
“We are much concerned that Mr. Penn should complain of us in such general terms as renders it difficult to make aNy partienlar defence, as he seems to do in our case. We can with all sincerity assure your Excellency, that we. and our predecessors, have been ready upon all occasions, to serve Mr. Penn, and never, as far as we know, gave him the least cause of complaint. But, the manifest wrongs we received, gave us frequent and just occasion to complain. That this may appear, we respect fully ask your impartial consideration of our case and grievances, which in part, may appear to your Excellency in these following particulars, viz:
“When this country was surrendered to the English, all the inhabitants were confirmed in their lands, but required by the Governor of New York (to whom they were then annexed) to take patents out there for the same, and to become tenants to the kings of England, under the rent of a bushel of wheat per annum, for every hundred acres. But may it please your excellency, when this province was granted to the present governor by the late King Charles II, we find, that lands held by the Indians, and not the lands confirmed before to our predecessors, much less the rents reserved to the crown of England, were granted to Mr. Penn; who, nevertheless, by an order under his hand and provincial seal, dated the 14th of June, 1653, did require all that had no patents, or were willing to have their patents renewed, to send their certificates of survey, and old patents, to the surveyor general’s office; whereupon many of the said patents and certificates were taken in, and have been detained ever since from the owners; and instead of having patents upon the said certificates of Survey, or the old patents renewed, the governor and his commissioners caused the lands therein mentioned, without any warrant of law, or consent of the possessors, to be actually surveyed, and the greatest and best part thereof, patented to new purchasers under Mr. Penn; and the rents of what was left, advanced on some three, on others fourfold more, than was reserved by the old patents,” &c &c.
We give the above complaint as we find it, without comment. We are not sufficiently versed in ancient law to know what were the respective rights of Mr. Penn, as proprietor of Pennsylvania, and of the Swedes as earlier possessors of part of the soil. Non nostrum tantas camponere lites. It appears to us, howeyer, that they had some ground for complaint.
The Rev. Mr. Sandel has noted some meterological and other occurrences, which happened in his time. He states, that on Michaelmas day, the 10th of October, 1703, a quantity of snow fell, that laid on the ground for twenty-four hours; and that the oldest people said such a thing had not before happened in their time. On the 15th of the same month, in the evening, a hurricane arose, which did great damage. In Maryland and Virginia, many vessels were cast away several driven to sea, and no more heard of. Roofs of houses were torn off, and large trees blown down. The same storm reached to England, where also it was destructive.
In 1704, in the latter part of November and December, and it’ January 1705, there were many great and lasting snow-storms. Few persons could remember so severe a winter.
The winter of 1708 was very cold; and it continued so, very late. On the 5th of April the cold was so intense, that water thrown upon the ground at noon, immediately froze.
For six weeks in Jane, July, and August of 1705, there was a great deal of bad weather.
The beginning of 1714 was uncommonly warm. Mr. S. saw a wild: flower in the woods on the 5th of February. The spring was also very mild. Some rye was in ear on the 10th of April.
There was an appearance of locusts ia 1715, of which Mr. Sandel has given the following account:-” In May, 1715, a multitude of locusts came out of the ground every where, even on the solid roads. They were wholly covered with a shell, and it seemed very wonderful, that they could with this penetrate the hard earth. Having come out of the earth, they crept out of the shells, flew away, sat down on the trees, and made a peculiar noise until evening. Being spread over the country in such numbers, the noise they made was so loud that the cow-bells could scarcely be heard in the woods. They pierced the bark on the branches of trees, and deposited their eggs in the opening. Many apprehended that the trees would wither in consequence of this, but no symptom of it was observed next year. Hogs and poultry fed on them. Even the Indians did eat them, especially when they first came, boiling them a little. This made it probable that they were of the same kind with those eaten by John the Baptist. They did not continue long, bat died in the month of June.
The same year was very fruitful. A bushel of wheat cost two shillings, or two shillings and three penec; a bushel of corn twenty-two pence; of rye twenty pence. A barrel of cider cost stx shillings.
It is elsewhere remarked, that in the latter part of November, 1732, “ice made the river impassable;” and that in January 1733, there was much snow.
Mr. Sandel is not the only one who has related the following “stratagem” of Governor Evans. In 1706, May 27th, he caused a false report to circulate, that the French were coming up to Philadelphia, with a view to take the town by storm, and that they were already high up the river. This report produced great fear and consternation. Having collected his soldiers, he caused ramparts to be erected on Society-hill,* where he placed field pieces. [Mr. Watson, in his Annals of Philadelphia, speaks of Society-hill as a place much resorted to, in former times, on account of a spring there, called “Bathsheba’s Spring.” I have in my possession a manuscript life of my great-grandmother, Ann Clay, in which she speaks of this spring in the following terms:-‘ ‘Under Society-hill, she (her maiden aunt) built a small house close by the best spring of water, perhaps, that was in our city. This house she furnished with books, a tahie, and a cop, in which she, or any that visited her, drank of the spring. What name she gave her new house I know not; but some people gave it the name of Bathsheba’s Bower, (her name was Bathsheba Bowers.} As for the spring, it has ever since borne the name of “Bathsheba’s Spring.”]
He ordered the soldiers to keep themselves in readiness, as the enemy would be up with the next tide. The people were very much alarmed. The Quakers conveyed their wives and children into the woods; their moveables they either carried off, or hid in wells. Those that lived near the town carried their goods into the swamp, and also hid themselves there. Many women, who were in a delicate situation, miscarried, in consequence of their fright. This false alarm was raised to see what course the Quakers would take, and whether they would tight. Such conduct in a governor, needs no comment.
Another circumStance, not connected with our Swedish story, is th& following. In 1715 the Indians, living on the borders of the Mississippi, made an incursion into the western parts -of South Carolina, and destroyed a great many of the white inhabitants. As soon as the alarm was given, the peoplc of the adjacent country fled from their homes to Charleston; but as that town could ant contain them all, many took passage in the trading vessels, and wetit, some to Barbadoes, and others to New England and Philadelphia. The massacre was occasioned by the bad faith observed towards the Indians by the traders living among them.
The next pastor appointed for the church Gloria Dei, (Wicaco,) was the Rev. Jonas Lidman. His appointment was in the following terms, viz:
“We, Ulnea Eleanora, by the grace of God, Queen of the Swedes, &c &c make known, that as by the promotion of the Rev. Andrew Sandel, the office of pastor in the church of Pennsylvania is become vacant, we have appointed for the same our well-beloved Master in Philosophy, Jonas Lidman, ordering all concerned to act accordingly.
“Stockholm, 2d of May, 1719.”
With Mr, Lidman, or about the same time, came the Rev. Samuel Hesselius. We find them both present at a meeting of the congregation on the first Sunday in Advent, (about the first of December,) 1719, and also the Rev. Andrew Hesselius, of Christina. On that occasion the above letter of the queen, announcing the appointment of Mr. Lidman to the Wicaco Church, was read; and also letters from Bishop Swedherg to the Swedish congregations in general, and to the church Gloria Dci in particular. The bishop had, on the recall of Mr. Sandel, recommended Mr, Hesselius as his successor, who was accordingly appointed by the king, with Mr. Lidman as assistant in all the congregations, to aid where most wanted, and to succeed in any that might become vacant; but afterwards he had respectfully advised the queen to appoint Lidman as ordinary pastor, because he had taken the degree of Master in Philosophy, allowing Hessejius to be pastor extraordinary of the church, and assistant to the other churehes. The congregations promised their best endeavours to support both the pastors.
1720. A meeting was held on the 27th of March, for the transaction of business, at which four clergy men were present the Rev. Provost Andrew Hcsselius, the Rev. Mr. Lidenius, of Racoon and Penn’s Neck, mid the Rev. Messrs. Lidman and Samuel Hesselius. The provost proposed that the last named clergyman should take charge of those portions of the congregation residing at Kalkonhook and Neshamani. This was objected to by the lay members present, upon the ground that the Swedes living in those places might thus become “weaned” from the mother church at Wicaco. It being understood that one clergyman was competent to the duties at Wicaco, it was then proposed by Mr. Lidman, that as the people at Manating* [Supposed to be Morlatton, four miles above Pottsgrove, on the Schuykill] were at a great distance from the church, they, perhaps, would be glad of his services there, and that he would cheerfully relinquish to him so much of the salary as was furnished by that part of the congregation. Marcus Hulings, [This is Marcus Hulings, was my great-grandfather, his daughter Magdalena having married Matthias Holstein, my grandfather], and other ” respectable” inhabitants of that part of the country then present, earnestly seconded this proposition, promising to contribute, to the extent of their means, towards his support. It was accordingly arranged that the Rev. Samuel Hesselius should settle at Manating.
At the annual meeting in 1722, the same clergymen were present, with the exception of the Rev. Samuel Ilesselius, At this meeting “the provost preached an excellent sermon on the duties of ministers and parishioners, to live in reciprocal concord, and by faithful co-operation to p~mote the kingdom of Christ on earth.” The subject of providing a Swedish school for children was considered, but there being some difficulties in the way, it was concluded that they “would themselves instruct their children, alter they had learned to read English.”
In 1723 Mr. Lidmnn complained of the insufficiency of his salary to his support, and wished to receive some benefit from the church land at Wicaco. It was resolved to fence it, to divide the part lying between the Moyamensing end Passyunk roads into two parts, and to let them as pasture grounds; but “to reserve seventy trees for the use of the congregation.” Two years afterwards it was resolved “to let the ‘pasture ground next to the church, to some honest person, for the relief of the pastor.”
In 1725 it was proposed by Mr. Lidman immediately to repair the church roof on the south side, which was quite dccayed. The congregation promised attention to it. Two years afterwards (1727,) we find the outer doors and pews requiring speedy repairs. The next year the same thing was advised of “the windows and shutters of the church.”
In 1730 the Rev. Mr. Lidman informed the congregation, that he had received a letter from Bishop Swedherg, notifying him of his recall by the king, and his appointment to a “good parish in Sweden.” He suggested the propriety of “presenting by him to the king, and to Bishop Swedberg, some articles of peltry, as marks of gratitude for the favours received.” To which the congregation cheerfully agreed. He preached his farewell sermon on the 24th Sunday after Trinity.
The Rev. J. Eneberg was appointed to fill the vacancy until a pastor could be procured from Sweden.
In 1731 the glebe in Passyunk was leased to Peter Cock and Mouns Cock for four pounds yearly.
In 1732 part of the church roof was blown off.-Poarding was procured in the city for the clergyman until a house should be built at Wicaco.
It was agreed that any person in the country, who might want the minister’s attendance, should furnish a conveyance, as his keeping a horse in town would be troublesome and expensive.
1733. On the seventh of January, the first Sunday alter Epiphany, the Rev. Gabriel Falck first appeared before the congregation. The Rev. Mr. Eneberg preached. After the service he read Mr. Falck’s commission from King Frederick, dated Stockholm, 9th August, 1732; also, a letter of recommendation from Bishop Swedberg. This connexion of Mr. Falek with Wicaco was dissolved the same year it commenced. What led to the dissolution the records do not show. I have seen it elsewhere stated that he was deposed. The congregation imme- diately applied for a successor, but the letter was never received. Another letter was written in 1736; in answer to which the Rev. John Dylander was appointed to the rectorship. He arrived in Philadelphia on the 2d of November, 1737, and preachcd his first sermon on the 6th of the same month “to a very large congregation.” Alter service the Rev. Mr. Tranberg, pastor of the Racoon and Penn’s Neck churches, read the King’s commission, dated Stockholm, 27th May, 1737, and also the letters of the venerable consistory of Upsala to the congregation, dated 8th January, 1737, signed by the Archbishop Johannes Steuchius, and four members of the consistory, viz. Olof Celsius, E. Melander, Andreas Winborn, and John Wisman.
The Archbishop made known in his letter that be had been appointed by the king superintendent of the Swedish mission, in the place of Bishop Swedberg, deceased and that at his request the consistory were added, that they might, in the event of his death, execute the trust. He assured the congregation of his best endeavours to promote their spiritual welfare.
The parsonage house at Wicaco was built in 1733.
At a meeting of the congregation, held on the 25th Novcmher, 1737, the wardens, among other duties to which their attention was called, were reminded that they were expected to “admonish parents to instruct their children in religious principles, to practice domestic devotion, by morning and evening prayers; to reprove those who lead a bad life, in idleness, ebriety, discord, swearing, neglect of the divine word and sacraments, &c.”
At the same meeting it was reported, that Jacob Bengtson had leased the two lots at Wicaco for L7 10s. per an.; and that Andrew Rambo had leased the glebe in Passyunk for L5 per annum.
In the spring of 1738 the Swedish members at Kalkonhook (below Darby) wished to build a church there, for their greater convenience in attending divine worship, and solicited assistance from the members at Wicaco; which the latter promised to give the following year, when a suitable place for the church should have been chosen. The design fell through at that time.
In the fall of 1738, expensive repairs to the church were found necessary.
The congregation lost the Rev. Mr. Dylander by death, alter he had been with them four years. He died on the 2d ofNovember, 1741. He appears to have possessed great vocal powers, and to have delighted his hearers with the sweetness of his music. His remains were interred beneath the chancel at Wicaco, and are covered by a marble slab, on which are the following lines:
While here he sang his Maker’s praise,
The listening angels heard his song,
And calt’d their consort soul away,
Pleas’d with a strain so like their own.
His soul attentive to the call,
And quickly list’ning to obey
Soar’d to ethereal scenes of bliss,
Too pure to dwell in grosser clay.
The Rev. Gabriel Nesman was appointed to succeed the Rev. Mr. Dylander. He arrived in Philadelphia on the 20th October, 1743. The vacancy in the pulpit of four years, between Mr. Faick’s and Mr. Dylander’s ministrations; and of two years between the death of the latter, and the arrival of Mr. Nesman, had an injurious effect upon the interests of the church. For want of a pastor in their own church, many of the Swedes attached themselves to other churches, some going to the “English churches,” and others being led away by the eloquence of Mr. Whitfield. Mr. Nesman deplored this state of things, and did all in his power to revive towards their own church the languishing zeal of the Swedes. He also took an early opportunity of calling the attention of parents to the early baptism of their children, and to the propriety of this ordinance being administered, as often as possible, in the church, and not in private houses.
I find the following entry in relation to persons not regularly receiving the Lord’s supper. “Persons not communicating twice a year, must be admonished, first by the pastor alone, and if regardless, again by him and the elders of the parish; and if they still neglect, shall forfeit the right of voting at the meetings of the congregation. Those who very seldom or never perform this Christian duty, and disregard faithful warmngs, shall be disowned, both by the pastor and congregation, and he shall not cultivate friendship with them”
Another entry: “Wherees the kings of Sweden have, from the first colonization to the present time, graciously favoured the congregations with Swedish clergymen, gratitude and prudence require us not to choose any in case of vacancy, but wait for the arrival of a successor, duly qualified by clerical ordination, and royal commission; and in the mean time be contented with the aid that ministers of the other congregations can give.”
Mr. Nesman brought over a fresh supply of Swedish books for the use of the different churches.
1744. At the election for wardens and vestrymen this year, Jacob Bengtson, Peter Jones, and Andrew Toy, were chosen in the place of Benjamin Bengtson, Martin Garrets, and Lars Bure, who, on account of advanced age, wished to resign. In accepting their resignation, it was provided “that they should retain the privilege of voting with the new trustees on all occasions.” The other members of the vestry were Peter Kock, merchant in Philadelphia, and a native of Sweden, Hans Tate, and Jacob Archer, both of Amasland. John Henderson, of the latter place, resigned the wardenship, and Andrew Georgen was appointed in his place.
1745. The wardens and vestrymen this year were Andrew Bonde, John Garret, Jacob Bengtson, Elias Rambo, wardens; and Charles Grantham, Jacob Rambo, Andrew Justis, Monon Morton, vestrymen.
1747. A resolution was passed to shingle the north side of the church roof. It was done the following year.
1750. By a letter dated the 22d February of this year, the Archbishop (Renzelius) informed the Rev. Mr. Nesman of his recall to Sweden, end of the’ appointment of the Rev. Olof Parlin as his successor. Mr. Parlin arrived in the ship Speedwell, Capt. Nicholas Stephenson, on the 7th of July, and was “very kindly received by the trestees and members residing in the city,” and afterwards with the same cordiality by those living in the country. He preached his first sermon on the 22d of July, the sixth Sunday after Trinity, from Jeremiah i.7: “Thou shalt go to all that I sha]l send thee, and whatsoever I command thce thou shalt speak.” The provost, Rev. Israel Acrelius, and rector of Christina, also preached from Matthew ix. 37, 38: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into the harvest.” On this occasion the Rev. Mr. Nesman and the Rev. Eric Unander, assistant minister of the mission, introduced the new rector, whose commission from King Frederick, and the letters of the Archbishop, and the members of the consistory, were read to the congregation by the Rev. Mr. Unander. In these letters the congregation were urged to continue steadfast in their religious principles, and gratefully to remember the interest taken in their spiritual welfare by the kings of Sweden, in sending them worthy ministers, the expenses of whose voyages they paid, &c. &c.
1757. In the spring of this year the Rev. Eric Norderlind was appointed assistant minister to Mr. Parlin, to officiate “in all the congregations.” On the 22d of December, of the same year, Mr. Parlia died, of pleurisy, after an illness of four days. His remains lie beneath the chancel of Wicaco church, by the side of his predeeessors, Rudman and Dylander. On the stone which covers his grave is a Latin inscription, expressive of the learning, piety, &c of him whose name it records. He appears to have been generally respected and esteemed, as his funeral was attended by “a great number of various religious denominations.” The Rev. Mr. Unander, of Christina, preached on the occasion in English; and on the 26th, the Rev. Mr. Lidenius in Swedish, from 2 Tim. iv. 6,7, 8: “For I am now ready to be offered,” &c.
By a letter dated the 2d of January, 1758, the archbishop and consistory of Upsal, were notified of the death of Mr. Parlin, and that Mr. Norderlind would supply the church during the vacancy. They also requested that the widow and two small children of their late rector might be recommended to some relief. In applying for a successor to Mr. Parlin, the congregation decided that their pastor might in future be permitted to preach occasionally in English, the Swedes and English becoming so intermixed as to sender necessary religious instruction in both languages.
1759, The Rev. Mr. Norderlind continued to officiate for the Swedes until the spring of this year, when the Rev. Charles Magnus Wrangel arrived and took charge of the church. It was in his time, or about 1768, that the churches at Kingsessing and Upper Merion were built. He was one of the most popular preachers tho Swedes ever had alnong them, and was usually obliged, on account of the crowds who attended his ministry, to preach in the open air. I have heard him represented as possessing a most winning and captivating eloquence. He returned to Sweden in 1768, and was there made a bishop. He died in 1786.
The Rev. Andrew Goeranson, who was sent over in 1766, entered upon the duties of his office as rector, in the spring or summer of 1768. He continued to officiate until the close of the year 1779. He returned home in 1785, and died in 1800.
1780. The Rev. Matthias Holtgren took charge of the church in January of this year, and continued to officiate as rector until the spring of 1786, his last baptism having been on the 30th of May of that year.
1786. In July of this year, the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Collin, who had been for some time officitating at Swedesborough, in New Jersey, was appointed rector of Wicaco and the churches in connexion. He presided over these churches for a period of forty-five years; in which time he married 3375 couple, averaging about eighty-four couple a year. In the early part of his ministry it averaged much more than this. The number of couple married by him in 1795 was 199, and in the following year 179.
Dr. Collin, during the whole period of his ministry, was held in high respect by his congregations. [To show the mistakes often made by foreigners in speaking of this country, the following extract is here given from a late number of the Foreign Quarterly Review, under the caption of ” Swedish Periodical Literature.” The Review, speaking of the clergy sent from Sweden to supply the spiritual wants of their colony on the Delaware, has these remarks :- “One of those then in America, Mr. Collin, preferred to remain in the colony, where the pension, to which he would have been entitled on his return home was, in the year 1825, still paid him from Sweden; and so highly satisfactory does his determination of remalning appear to have been, not merely to his flock, but to all who knew him, that he has since, although a native Swede, had the honour of being elected one of the representatives of Pennsylvania in Congress.” He possessed considerable learning, particularly in an acquaintance with languages. The only work which he has left hehind him, is a manuscript translation of Acrelius’ History ~f New Sweden, which he undertook in 1799, at the request of the Historical Society of New York, in whose possession it now is. He was a member, and for some time one of the vice presidents, of the American Philosophical Society. And was also one of the eighteen founders of the Society “for the commemoration of the landing of William Penn.” He died at Wicaco on the 7th of October, A.D. 1831, in the 87th year of his age.
At the time Dr. Collin received his appointment as rector of these churches, the Swedes began to feel the necessity, from the little knowledge of the Swedish language remaining among them, of having clergymen set over them, who had received their education in this country. This will appear from the following record of the proceedings of vestry, in 1786, in relation to Dr. Collin’s appointment :-” Whereupon the vestry do agree to receive the Rev. Mr. Collin as their minister; hut at the same time reserving to themselves the right of making any new appointment hereafter, as shall be found more useful and beneficial to the said congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion. And the wardens of Wicaco Church are authorised and required to write to the archbishop of Upsal, to desire him to thank his majesty of Sweden, in the name of the congregations, for his care and attention towards them heretofore, and in the presert instance. But as the said congregations will be better suited (the Swedish language being extinct) by the appointment of some suitable minister from this side the water, and as the Rev. Mr. Collin has expressed a desire of returning to his native country shortly; whenever his majesty of Sweden shall think it proper and convenient to grant him his recall, the mission to these congregations will undoubtedly cease.”
It was not surprisng, therefore, when the vestry, after the death of Dr. Collin, ” proceeded to consider what measures it would he proper and necessary to pursue, in order to supply the existing vacancy in the rectorship,” that they should have ” nusnimously adopted the follow- ing resolutions:
1st. “That the church wardens and vestrymen are of opinion, that the mission from Sweden ceased upon the death of their late rector, the Rev. Nicholas Collin.
2d. That a meeting of the congregation shall be held in the church at Wicaco, on Monday the 14th of November, A. D. 1831, at 12 o’clock, noon, for the purposes specified in the fifth section of the act to confirm and amend the charter of the United Swedish Churches, passed the 10th of September, 1787.
3d. That the acting warden cause a notice of the said meeting to be published in the United States Gazette, and the American Sentinel, for three weeks before the time of the meeting, and three times in the Saturday Evening Post.”
Proceedings of the Congregational Meeting.
“The congregations of the United Swedish Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, convened at the church at Wicaco, on Monday, the 14th day of November, 1831 agreeably to public notice.
“On motion, Charles Wheeler, Esq. was chosen Chairman, and William Amies, Secretary.
“The meeting being organized, Thomas M. Jolly, Esq. offered the following resolutions, which were respectively read and considered, and on motion adopted:
“Resolved by the members of the congregation of the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, that the present and all fliture vacancies in the rectorship, shall be supplied as follows:
First. The members of the congregation shall meet in their respective churches, at such time as the church wardens and vestrymen may appoint, and vote by ballot for a rector.
“Second. The result of the voting in each church, shall he certified to the church wardens and vestrymen, by the persons who receive and count the ballots.
Third. If it shall appear, that any candidate has received majorities in all, or in any two of the churches, the church wardens and vestrymen shall declare such candidate duly elected rector.
Fourth. If no candidate shall have received a majority of votes in more than one church, the church wardens and vestrymen shall elect the rector from the persons who are highest on the several returns.
“Fifth. No person shall be entitled to vote for rector, who is not qualified to vote for vestrymen, agreeably to the charter and by-laws of the corporation.
“Sixth. The elections in the several churches shall be conducted under such regulations as the church wardens and vestrymen may prescribe; provided, however, that they shall cause notices of the time of holding an election to be placed upon the doors of each church, and published in two of the Philadelphia, and one of the Norristown papers, at least ten days before the time fixed for such election.
Resolved, That the assistant ministers for the said United Churches, shall he chosen, as heretofore, by the rector, church wardens, and vestrymen.”
The following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That a committee of three persons be appointed, to lay before the wardens and vestrymen of the United Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, the rules and regulations adopted by the members of the said United Churches this day convened for the future choice and elcetion of a rector, and other minister or ministers to supply the said churches, agreeably to the fifth section of the supplement to the charter, passed September 10, 1787, to the end that they may sanction or reject the same.
The chairman, being authorised, appointed Thomas M. Jolly, Charles H. Clay, and Edward Ewing, the committee, agreeably to the last resolution, who having performed the duties assigned them, reported, by their chairman Mr. Jolly, that the wardens and vetrymen approved the rules and regulations adopted by this meeting.
“On motion, the meeting adjourned.
“Charles Wheeler, Chairman.
“Wm. Amies, Secretary
In pursuance of the above regulattons, the Swedish congregations met in their respective churches on the 5th of December, 1831, and chose the compiler of these Annals, rector; he having received all the votes (16) given at Wicaco-all but one (37) at Kingsessing-and all those (29) given at Upper Merion.
NOTE A. P. 38.
“We, the underwritten, church wardens of the Wicaco congregation, salute our brethren, and notify that the Rev. Mr. Fabritius has now accomplished his official service promised for the year now ended; we therefore make a friendly request to each individual, by our agent Jacob Yongh, that they may discharge their just debts to him without refusal. We also are solicitous to procure a further continuance of his services; and therefore desire that all who are willing for this, may subscribe respectively their voluntary contributions for his support, with their names or marks.
Wicaco, 10th Aug. 1684.”
1077 gilders were accordingly subscribed, making, in the currency of the country, as Mr. Rudman remarks, “at the rate of two gilders for a shilling, and four bushels of wheat at half a crown, the sum of L27 8s. 6d. This salary, with the aid of perquisites, was at that time pretty good, but it was not well paid, and the old gentleman complained very much of the deficiency, especially in his latter time, as I have beard from persons of veracity.”
NOTE B. P. 39
“The grace of God through Christ. Very reverend, very learned, very honourable consistorial senators of the unaltered Augsburgian Confession at Amsterdam. With a cordial and respectful salutation, we of the Swedish nation in Pennsylvania, notify that the reverend and learned magister Jacob Fabritius, who in 1677, on our vocation, commenced the clerical service, did during five years, while having his eye-sight, and for nine years succeeding his loss of sight, diligently aid faithfully attend us, by preaching and administering the sacraments, according to the orthodox confession of Augsburg, and by an exemplary life; but must now resign his trust on account of blindness, and the infirmities of age. You will easily judge, venerable sirs, how forlorn will then be our situation! Like sheep without a shepherd, sick without physician, we shall be exposed to many dangers We, therefore, supplicate you, in consideration of this, and of our happy fellowship in the Lutheran communion, to provide us with a proper Swedish character, as we know that many students of various nations are at Amsterdain, waiting for promotion (ordination.) And as a labourer is worthy of his reward, we stipulate for the coming minister a yearly salary of one hundred rix dollars, with a house and glebe, for his maintenance.-If a qualified person is not found at Amsterdam, we humbly request your kind aid to procure a clergyman from Sweden, by letters to the proper authorities.”
|Heades of Families||Persons|
|Peter Rambo, sen.||2|
|Peter Rambo, jun.||6|
|Capt. Lars Cock||11|
|*Marten Martenson, Sen.||3|
|*Martcn Martenson, jun.||10|
|Otto Ernest Cock||5|
|Anders Persson Longaker,||7|
|Jonas Kyn, or Keen||8|
|Nils Trende’s widow,||7|
|Johan Von Culen,||5|
|Hans Keen’s widow,||5|
|*Matthias De Foss,||6|
|Jacob Van Der Weer,||7|
|Cornelius Van Der Weer||7|
|William Van Der Weer||1|
|Jacob Van Der Weer||3|
|Johan Hinderson, jr.||3|
|Jonas Skagge’s widow||6|
|Christiern Thomas’s widow,||6|
|Lars Halling, or Huling,||1|
|Making 139 families.||939 individuals.|
*The number of individuals in each family; taken from the document left by Mr. Rudman.
NOTE.-Of the foregoing list thirty.nine were native Swedes, of whom Peter Rambo and Andrew Bonde had been in this country fifty-four years. Those who were born in Sweden are distinguished by an asterisk, thus *.
The reader will perceive bow much the orthography of many of the above names has changed in the progress of time. Bengtsen is now Bankson-Bonde has become Boon—- Svenson, Swanson-Cock, Cox-Gostasson, Justis-.Jonasson, Jones-Jocom, Yocum-Hollsten, Holstein– .Kyn, Keen-.Hoppman, Hoffman-Von Culen, Culin-Halling, Hulings or Hewlings-Wihler, Wheeler, &c. And so also of Christian names: Anders is now Andrew-Johan, John–Mats, Matthias–Carl, Charles-Bengt, Benediet-Nils, Nicholas- Staphan, Stephen-Wilhelm, and also Olave, became William, &c.
The river Delaware was called by the Swedes and Dutch South river, in contradistinction to the Hudson or North river. Schuylkill, which signifies hidden creek, was so named from its mouth being concealed from view in passing up the Delaware. The Indians oalled it Manajuag- Many of the Swedish names of places are no longer retained, and it is difficult, in some instances, to identify them. Amasland is said by Acrelius to have been in Chester county, fifteen miles from Philadelphia. It was, probably, what is now called Upper Menon. Kalkon-hook still retains its Swedish name, and is below Darby.
A CONDENSED VIEW OF
MINISTERS WHO SUCCESSIVELY PRESIDED OVER THE SWEDISH CHURCHES IN AMERICA.
1. Reorus Torkillus accompanied Peter Menewe, who brought over the first Swedish cob- Dy, about the year 1636, and died here in 1643, aged 35 years.
2. John Campanius HoIm came over in 1642 with Governor Printz, and remained here six years. Campanius was his proper surname- Holm having been added because of Stockholm having been his place of residence. He translated Luther’s Catechism into the language of the Indians.
3. Laurence Lock came over in the time of Gov. Printz. He preached at Tinicuin and Christina. He was for many years the only clergyman the Swedes had. He died in 1688.
4. Israel Holg came about the year 1650, but did not remain long.
5. With Governor Rising, in 1652, a chaplain came over, and returned after the conquest of the Dutch in 1655.
6. Another clergyman came over in the ship Mercury, in the year 1656, and returned home two years afterwards.
7. Jacob Fabritius, who had been preaching for the Dutch in New York, was induced to set- tie among the Swedes, and preached his first sermon at Wicaco in 1677. He officiated as their pastor for fourteen years, nine of which he was blind. He died about 1692.
Three clergymen arrived in 1697; from which period we may date the regular supply of the churches here with Swedish ministers, These were Andreas Rudman, Eric Biork, and Jonas Auren. The first settled at Wicaco, the second at Christina, and the third at Racoon and Penn’s Neck.
1. Andrew Rudman was the founder of the present church, which was built in 1700. In 1702 he went to preach for the Dutch in New York; afterwards officiated at the Oxford church, near Frankford; then in Christ Church, Philadelphia, where he died in 1708.
2. Andrew Sandel arrived in 1702. Returned home in 1719.
3. Jonas Lidman sent over in 1719, Reenlied in 1730. The Rev. J. Eneberg took charge of the church during the vacancy.
4. Gabriel Falk appointed rector in 1733, Deposed the same year.
5. John Dylander came over in 1737. He died honoured and beloved, in 1741.
6. Gabriel Nesman appointed rector in 1743. Returned home in 1750.
7. Olof Parlin arrived in 1750; died in 1757.
8. Charles Magnus Wrangel came in 1759; returned in 1768; died 1786.
9. Andrew Goeranson, sent over in 1766; became rector in 1768; officiated until the close ‘of 1779; returned home in 1785; died in 1800.
10. Matthias Hultgren commenced his official duties in 1780; recalled in 1786.
11. Nicholas Collin, of Upsal, sent over in 1771; appointed to Wicaco 1786; died 1831. Close of the Swedish mission.
CHURCH AT CHRISTINA.
1. Erick Biork built a new church at Fort Christina, in 1698, in lieu of that at Tranhook. Returned home 1714; died in 1740.
2. Andrens Hesselius, sent over in 1711 provost 1719; recalled 1723; died in 1733.
3. Samuel Hesselius, brother to the former. Sent over 1729; returned 1731; died 1755.
4. John Eneberg, pastor, 1733; returned home in 1742.
5. Petrus Tranberg took charge of this church in 1742, and died in 1748.
6. Israel Acrelius, sent over in 1749: returned in 1756, died 1800, aged 86. He was the author of the work on the Swedish congregations in America.
7. Erick Unander, sent from Racoon and Penn’s Neck to Christina in 1756.
8. Andreas Borell, sent to preside over the Swedish churches in 1757; arrived there 1759; pastor in 1762; received the king’s diploma, constituting him provost (propositus) over all the Swedish churches here, where he died in 1767.
CHURCH AT RACOON AND PENN’S NECK.
1. Jonas Auren came over with Rudman and Biork in 1697; appointed 1706; died in the exercise of his functions 1713.
2. Abraham Lidenius, sent over in 1711 pastor 1714; returned home 1724; died 1728.
3. Petrus Tranberg and Andreas Windrufwa, sent over in 1726. They divided the churches between them, and so continued until 1728, when Windrufwa died, Between the time of Tranberg going to Christina and his death in 1748, these churches had no pastor.
4. John Sandin, appointed pastor 1748; died the same year.
5. Brick Unander, sent over 1749.
6. John Lidenius, (son of Abraham above-mentioned,) appointed pastor in the place of Unander, 1756.
7. John Wicksell, sent over 1760; arrived 1762; returned home 1774; died 1800.
8. Nicholas Collin, pastor 1778; appointed to Wicaco in 1786.-See above.
The following Clergymen hare been at different times Assistant Ministers in the Swedish Churches.
The Rev. Charles Lute was appointed assistant to the Rev. Mr. Georgeson in 1774.
While Dr. Collin was rector he had for his first assistant the Rev. Joseph Clarkson, who was appointed in 1787, and continued to officiate as such until 1792.
The Rev. Slator Clay was appointed in 1792, and officiated once a month at Upper Merion, and when there was a fifth Sunday in the month, at Kingsessing. Only part of his time was given to the Swedes, for whom he continued to preach until the day of his death in 1821.
The Rev. Joseph Turner was appointed also in 1792, and was for many years connected with the Swedes as one of their assistant ministers.
The Rev. J. C. Clay soon after his ordination in 1813, was called into the same churches, and officiated therein as an assistant for one year, when he was called to the churches at Norristown and Germantown.
The Rev. James Wiltbank was appointed to the same office in 1816, and performed its duties for four years, or until 1820.
The Rev. M. B. Roche in 1820 became an assistant minister to the Swedes, in which situation he officiated for a period of six months.
The Rev. J. C. Clay became a second time connected with these churches in 1822, having been appointed an assistant for Upper Merion church, in connexion with the Norristown and Perkiomen churches. He also officiated on every fifth Sunday, or four times a year, at Kingsessing. He continued to fill this station until called in 1831 to the rectorship.
The Rev. Charles M. Dupoy was, in 1822, appointed the assistant for Wicaco and King sessing, and was continued as such until 1828.
The Rev. Pierce Connelly succeeded Mr. Dupoy, and officiated chiefly at Kingsessing, though part of the time at Wicaco also, till the close of 1831, when he accepted of a call to Natchez, on the Mississippi.
The Rev. Raymond A. Henderson was chosen assistant in 1832, and continued in the churches until the close of 1834, when he was called to the French Protestant Church in New Orleans.
The Rev. John Reynolds was assistant for one year at Upper Merion, having been appointed about the same time with Mr. Henderson.
Charter of the United Swedish Luterhan Churches
of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion called Gloria Dei, St. James, and Christ Church
Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, true and absolute proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania, and counties of Newcastle, Kent and Sussex, on Delaware, to all persons to whom these presents shall come, greeting:
WHEREAS divers members of the Swedish Lutheran Congregation residing in and near the city of Philadelphia, have at considerable expense erected and built one church in Wicaco, one in Kingsessing, and one in Upper Merion.
And whereas it bath been represented to us by the Reverend Doctor Charles Magnus Wrangle, the present rector of the said churches, Reynold Keen, William Jones, Charles Robinson, Peter Rambo, the present church wardens of the said churches; Joseph Johnson, Elias Toy, Benjamin Johnson, Jacob Keen, George Mellin, John Peywell, Otto Nesillis, Nels. Jonason, Luke Nedermark, Andrew Urien, George Grantham, William Boon, George Morton, Moses Yockam, Tobias Rambo, Peter Holstein, the present vestrymen of the said churches, that for want of being a body corporate, they have lost several legacies and pious bequests, whereby the intentions of the donors have been frustrated, and find great difficulty in managing and holding the lands and other estate belonging to the said congregation; and have therefore prayed us to incorporate them by the name of the Rector, Church Wardens, and Vestrymen of the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania, and they and their successors by such name may be erected and constituted into a body politic and corporate and have perpetual succession:
Now Know Ye, That we favouring the prayer and application of the said rector, church war- dens, and vestrymen, and willing, as much as in us lies, to encourage virtue, piety and charity, and for other good causes and considerations, us, thereto specially moving, have granted, ordained, declared, constituted and appointed, and do for us our heirs and successors, by these presents, grant, ordain, declare, constitute and appoint, that the said Reverend Doctor Charles Magnus Wrangle, rector; Reynold Keen, William Jones, Charles Robinson, Peter Rambo, the present church wardens; Joseph Johnson, Elms Toy, Benjamin Johnson, Jacob Keen, George Mellin, John Peywell, Otto Nesillis, Nels. Jonason, Luke Nedermurk, Andrew Urien, George Grantham, William Boon, George Morton, Moses Yockam, Tobias Rambo, Peter Holstein, and their successors, duly elected and nominated in their place and stead, be and they are hereby created one corporation and body politic, to have continuance forever by the name of the Rector, Church Wardens, and Vestrymen of the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion in the county of Philadelphia, in the province of Pennsylvania.
And we do for us, our heirs and successors, grant, ordain and declare, that the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen, and their successors by the name aforesaid, shall forever hereafter be personable and capable in law to purchase, have, receive, take, bold and enjoy in the fee simple, or any other lesser estate or estates, any lands, tenements, rents, annuities, liberties, franchises, and other hereditaments, within the said province of Pennsylvania, or the three lower counties of Newcastle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, by the gift, grant, bargain, sale, alienation, enfeoffment, release, confirmation, or devise of any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, capable to make the same.
And further, that the said corporation and their successors, may take and receive any sum or sums of money, and any kind, manner or portion of goods and chattels, that shall be given or bequeathed to them by any person or persons, bodies politic and corporate, capable to make a gift or bequest thereof, such money to be laid out by them in a purchase or purchases of land, tenements, messuages, houses, rents or hereditaments, to them and their successors forever.
And we will and require that the rents and revenues of the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen, and their successors, be from time to time applied by the said rector, church wardens and vestrymen, and their successors, for the maintenance and support of the rector, ministers and officers of the said united churches and their church yard and parsonage houses, and other houses which do now or hereafter shall belong to the said united churches, or either of them, and to no other use or purpose whatsoever. Provided always, and it is the express intention of these our letters patent, that the particular rents, income and revenues arising from the land now belonging to Wicaco Church shall be applied only to the repairs, support, or rebuilding the said church and parsonage house, thereto belonging, and for the support of the rector and ministers, officiating to the said congregation, in any of the three churches aforesaid, and to no other use whatsoever. And we do further will and require, that the said rector, church wardens and vestrymen, and their successors shall not by deed, tine or recovery, or by other ways or means, grant, alien, or otherways dispose of any manors, messages, lands, tenements, or hereditaments, in them and their successors to be vested, nor charge, nor encumber the same to any person or persons whomsoever.
And we do further for us, our heirs and successors, authorise and empower the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen, and their successors, or a majority of them met, from time to time, the rector being always one, to make rules, by-laws, or ordinances, and to do every thing needful for the good government and support of the said churches. Provided always, That the said rules, by-laws and ordinances be not repugnant to the laws and statutes in force in the kingdom of Great Britain, nor to the laws and statutes in force in the said province of Pennsylvania, and entered in the vesty book.
And we do hereby give and grant unto the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen, and their successors, full power and authority to make, have and use, one common seal, with such device and inscription as they think proper, and the same to change, break, alter, and renew at their pleasure.
And we do hereby grant and ordain that the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen, and their successors, by the name before mentioned, shall be able in law to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in any court or courts, before any judge, judges, or justices within the said province of Pennsylvania, or said counties in Delaware, in all and all manner of suits, complaints, pleas, causes, matters, and demands of whatsoever kind, nature, or form they be, and all and every other matter or thing therein to do, in as full and effectual manner as any other person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, within that part of Great Britain called England, or within the said province of Pennsylvania, or the three lower counties aforesaid, in the like cases.
And we do hereby at the request of the said congregation, nominate and appoint Reynold Keen, William Jones, Charles Robinson, Peter Rambo, to be the first and present church wardens of the said congregation, and Joseph Johnson, Elias Toy, Benjamin Johnson, Jacob Keen, George Mellin, John Peywell, Otto Nisellis, Nels. Jonason, Luke Nedermark, Andrew Urien, George Grantham, William Bcon, George Morton, Moses Yeckam, Tobias Rambo, Peter Holstein, to be the first and present vestrymen, to continue in their respective offices till the second Monday in May, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six.
And we do further for us and our heirs and successors, grant, ordain, and declare, that the said corporation shall always consist of twenty one persons, namely, the rector for the time being, four church wardens, and sixteen vestrymen, to be chosen in manner following, that is to say, the rector, church wardens, and vestrymen for the time being, shall on the first Monday of May in every year, meet in the church at Wicaco, and there nominate and present to the congregation, forty persons fit to serve as church wardens and vestrymen for the ensuing year, viz. sixteen out of the members of the church at Wicaco, sixteen out of the members of the church at Kingsessing, and eight out of the members of the church at Upper Merion, which forty persons so presented shall be descendants of, or intermarried with the descendants of, those ancient Swedes, whose names are on record in the church books at Wicaco as donors or purchasers of the lands belonging to the said church, and out of the said forty persons so presented, and the twenty vestrymen of the preceding year (being sixty in all,) the members of the said congregation being descended or intermarried as aforesaid, shall on the second Monday of May in every year, choose eight vestrymen members of the church at Wicaco, eight more vestrymen members of the church at Kingsessing, and four vestrymen members of the church at Upper Merion, out of which twenty vestrymen so elected, two church wardens shall be chosen to serve for the church, Wicaco, one for Kingsessing, and one for Upper Merion, the rector nominating one half of the said four church wardens, and the vestry or a majority of them, the other half.
And we do further give and grant to the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen so elected, full power in case of the death or removal of the rector of the said congregation, and till another shall be duly appointed agreeable to former method and usage, the church wardens and vestrymen, or a majority of them regularly met, shall have the same power and authorities relating to the disposition of the revenues of the said corporation, as is herein before vested in the rector, church wardens, and vestrymen.
And lastly, we do for us, our heirs and successors, grant, declare, and ordain, that these our letters patent and charter, and every clause, sentence, and article herein contained, shall be in all things firm, valid, sufficient and effectual in the law, unto the said rector, church wardens, and vestrymen, community and corporation, and their successors forever, according to the purport and tenor hereof, without any further grant from us, our heirs or successors, to be procured or obtained. Provided always, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the clear yearly value of the messuages, houses lands, tenements, rents, annuities, or other hereditaments and real estate of the said corporation, shall not exceed the sum of six hundred pounds sterling, exclusive of the monies arising from the letting of the pews belonging to the said churches, or either of them, and also exclusive of moneys arising from opening the grounds for burials, in the church yards belonging to the said churches, or either of them, which said moneys, shall as it is now, be disposed of by the church wardens and vestrymen for the time being, for the purposes herein mentioned.
In testimony whereof, we have caused these our letters to be made patent, and the great seal of our said province to be hereunto affixed. Witness, John Penn, Esq. Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief, in and over our said province of Pennsylvania, and eminties of New castle, Kent, and Sussex on Delaware, the twenty-fifth day of September, in the fifth year of the reign of our Sovereign George the third, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. and in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five.
(COPY FROM THE ORIGINAL)
At a meeting of the rector, church-wardens and vestrymen of the three united churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, in the province of Pennsylvania, a majority of them, (whose names are hereunto subscribed,) on Thursday, the 17th October, 1765.
We do hereby acknowledge and receive with our sincere and hearty thanks, the annexed charter, which is I true copy from the original.
C. M. Wrangle,
Otto Nisellis, (signed by mark)
To confirm and amend the Charter of incorporation of the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, called Gloria Dei, St. James, and Christ Church.
Sec. 1 – Whereas, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqs. late proprietaries of the province of Pennsylvania, (now commonwealth of Pennsylvania,) by their letters patent, dated the twenty-fifth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and sixty four, under the great seal of the then province, did grant a charter of incorporation to the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, by the name and titie of the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing, and Upper Merion, in the county of Philadelphia, and province aforesaid.
And whereas the present rector, churchwardens and vestrymen of the said united churches, viz. The Reverend Nicholas Collin, rector; Reynold Keen, John Stille, Matthew Jones and Samuel Holstein, wardens; Samuel Wheeler, Hugh Dehaven, Joseph Blewer, William Jones, George Ord, Pai]l Beck, jun., Charles Justis, sen., Lawrence Justis, Andrew Boon, sen., Andrew Boon, jun., John Robinson, Andrew Coxe, Andrew Leagacre, Ezekiel Rambo, Peter Rambo, and Lindsay Coates, vestrymen, or a majority of them, by their petition to this house, have prayed that the said charter may be confirmed by act of the legislature of this Commonwealth, and such alterations, additions and amendments made, as well for the future benefit and advantage of the said United Churches, as also to render the same conformable to the constitution and laws of this Commonwealth; and whereas this house have thought it expedient and necessary to grant the prayer of the said petitioners:
SEC. 2. Be it enacted, and it is hereby enacted by the representatives of the freemen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Assembly met, and by the authority of the same: That every matter, clause, section and article granted and contained in the aforesaid charter, except such parts as are hereafter repealed, made null and void, are hereby ratified, confirmed and made good in law, to the before mentioned rector, church-wardens and vestrymen of the said United Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion, and their successors, duly chosen and nominated for ever.
Sec. 3. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said rector, churchwardens and vestrymen, and their successors, by the name before mentioned, or a majority of them met from time to time, shall have power and authority to make rules, by-laws and ordinances, and to do every thing needful, for the good government and support of said churches. Provided always, that the rules, by-laws and ordinances so made, be not repugnant to the constitution of this Commonwealth, and the laws thereof, now in force or which hereafter may be enacted.
SEC. 4. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the said rector, church-wardens and vestrymen, and their successors by the name before mentioned, shall be able to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, before any judge, judges or justices of any court of record within this Commonwealth, in all and all manner of suits, complaints, pleas, causes, matters and demands of whatsoever nature, kind or form they be, and all and every other matter and thing to do in as full and effectual a manner as any other person or persons, bodies politic and corporate within this Commonwealth, can, might, or may do.
SEC. 5. And whereas it is represented to this house, that the Swedish language is almost extinct, and in consequence thereof, the mission from Sweden may probably cease to be continued, according to the ancient custom and usage. In that case, and not otherwise, the church-wardens and vestrymen of the said United Churches, for the time being, shall convene together tile congregations of the said United Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion, by notice given in one or more of the public newspapers in this city, for at least three weeks successively, and a majority of the said congregation so met, (who are descendants of, or intermarried with, the descendants of those ancient Swedes, whose names upon record in the church books of Wicaco,) as donors to, or purchasers of, the lands now held and belonging to the said church, and who have heretofore attached themselves as members of the said United Churches by serving in the office of vestrymen, or attending divine service either by themselves or families, together with a majority of the church-wardens and vestrymen, shall establish some rules or regulations for the future choice or election of a rector and other minister or ministers to supply the said churches. Provided always, that such rector and other ministers shall be in the ministry of the Lutheran or Episcopal Churches, and hold their faith in the doctrine of the same.
SEC. 6. And whereas it is the particular desire of the present members of the said United Churches to increase their number of members in the said congregations. Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that any person a native of Sweden who shall or heretofore has emigrated into, and has legally become a citizen of this Commonwealth, and is desirous of becoming a member of each or either of the said churches, such person of good character, upon application to the vestry at least six months before the day of election for vestrymen, shall be voted for as a member on the same day the election for vestrymen is held, and if duly chosen by the congregations of the said churches, shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges which the present members of the said churches now enjoy.
SEC. 7. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that so much of the fifth section of the before pecited charter as is supplied by the third section of this act, and so much of the seventh section of the before recited charter as is also supplied by the fourth section of this act, are hereby repealed, made null and void, and of no effect whatsoever.
Signed by order of the House,
THOMAS MIFFLIN, Speaker,
Enacted into a law at Philadelphia, op Monday the tenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.
PETER ZACHARY LOYD,
Clerk of the General Assembly.
I Matthew Irwin, esquire, Master of the Rolls for the slate of Pennsylvania, do certify the foregoing to be a true copy or exemplification of a law enrolled in my office, in law book No.3, page 254.
Witness my hand and seal of office, the 30th of October, A. D. 1787.
(Signed) MATTHEW IRWIN, M. R.
Qualification of Voters in the Swedish Churches
BY-LAW PASSED IN 1830.
Be it ordained, that from and after this time, all such persons as are descendants of, or intermarried with the descendants of those ancient Swedes whose names are on record in the church books at Wicaco, as donors, or purchasers of the lands belonging to the said church, who have become actual members of the congregation, by serving in the vestry, or holding a seat in either of the said three United Churches, and attending divine service therein; and all such native Swedes, and their descendants, as have been, or thereafter may be, legally elected members of the said three United Churches, and who bold seats and attend divine service as aforesaid, shall be entitled to vote for vestrymen; and no other persons whatever shall be admitted to vote at such elections; any provision, in say by-law heretofore passed, to the contrary notwithstanding.”