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|Chapter I.||The Finnish emigration to Sweden, from where their path led to the American shores.|
|Chapter II.||Motives and inducements that led Sweden to establish a colony on the Delaware River.|
|Chapter III.||A colony established on the Delaware River.|
|Chapter IV.||The second expedition. The Dutch withdraw from the company. Dutch colonists coming to the Delaware.|
|Chapter V.||The third expedition. Finnish colonists brought to the Delaware River.|
|Chapter VI.||The fourth and the fifth expeditions. More Finnish colonists brought to America.|
|Chapter VII.||The sixth, seventh and eighth expeditions. The Finns beseeching the queen to be permitted to go to America.|
|Chapter VIII.||The ninth and tenth expeditions. The Finns flocking to get passage for America.|
|Chapter IX.||The Delaware settlements under the Swedish administration.|
|Chapter X.||The Delaware colony conquered by the Dutch.|
|Chapter XI.||New expeditions of Finns arriving at the Delaware River.|
|Chapter XII.||The first period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.|
|Chapter XIII.||England replacing Holland as the ruler of the South River.|
|Chapter XIV.||The first period of the Finnish settlement under the English rule.|
|Chapter XV.||The second period of the Finnish settlements under the Dutch rule.|
|Chapter XVI.||The second period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.|
|Chapter XVII.||The third period of the Finnish settlements under the English rule.|
|Chapter XVIII.||The last stages of the Finnish settlements on the Delaware.|
Chapter XVIII. The Last Stages of the Finnish Settlement on the Delaware.
In 1688, the Rev. Laurentius Caroli Lokenius passed away, after having ministered the Finns on the Delaware for forty years. The other minister of the Finns, the Rev. Jacobus Fabricius, had become totally blind in 1683, however continuing his preaching until nearly his death in 1696. The Finnish descendants were now in dire need of a minister of their own faith, but as they originated mostly from the Finnish colonies in Sweden, they did not have, connections in Finland, nor did they believe of getting any hearing in Sweden in the matter.
William Penn at his first return to England in 1684, communicated the desire of his Finnish subjects for a minister and books, to the Swedish Ambassador in London, and offered to forward the same to Pennsylvania, but nothing was done in Sweden upon that request.
A stray Swede had come to the colony, this was Charles Springer, a. student who had gone to study the English language in London, and in one evening had been captured and carried to a merchant ship in the river Thames, loading for Virginia, where he was taken and sold as a slave. After five years of slavery, he obtained his freedom and journeyed to the Delaware River in search of his countrymen. For his education, he was employed as a schoolmaster by the Finns and it fell upon him to obtain a Lutheran minister from Europe. Two letters, written by him, in the matter, to the authorities in Sweden, bringing no reply, he was advised to write to the Lutheran Consistory in Amsterdam, Holland, who had sent the German student Magister Jacobus Fabricius to the Finns in New York, in 1669. In 1691, Springer wrote to the Consistory in Amsterdam, requesting them to send a Swedish student of theology to be minister for the Lutherans on the Delaware, as in those days students from Sweden and Finland frequented in the German and Dutch universities. And in case they would not know one, then to get the congregations to correspondence with some one in Sweden. But no reply came.
At this period arrived to Philadelphia an English ship having on board a Swedish sailor, Andrew Printz, nephew of John Printz the former Swedish governor of the Delaware Colony. As he again returned to Stockholm, he fell in conversation with John Thelin, postmaster of Gothenburg, to whom he told about the colonists' desire for a minister and religious books. The postmaster brought the matter to the knowledge of the king, Charles XI, who was interested to hear from the people of the long forgotten colony, and in a letter of. January 11, 1692, requested Johan Gezelius, bishop of Turku, Finland, to select a suitable Finnish speaking minister and to buy thirty Finnish Bibles and two hundred psalm books on account of the Finnish families on the Delaware River. The Bishop recommended for the mission Magister Henning Fulda.
The sailor Andrew Printz was looked about for further. information but had already disappeared, wherefore Postmaster Thelin wrote a letter on November 16, 1692, to the colonists for further information. The letter was answered by Charles Springer, on May 31, 1693, asking for two ministers "who are well learned and well exercised in the holy scriptures, and who may well defend both themselves as us against all the false teachers and strange sects by whom we are surrounded." He also assures that everything will be paid for, as for the books and ministers' salaries.
About the general conditions of the people he writes that they live well and "according to the laudable old Swedish customs," also that all the people now understand Swedish, that no Finnish minister is necessary. That the Rev. Lokenius had preached in Swedish and the Rev. Fabritius in the Dutch language. In the letter is enclosed a list of all the Finns in the Delaware Colony, comprising of 188 families and altogether 942 souls. This however did not include all the Finns that had intermarried with the Dutch and English. The list included thirty-eight Finns who were born in Sweden or Finland, besides the writer, Charles Springer, who at least was a Swede. Among the old inhabitants was Peter Rambo from Vasa, Finland, who had been in the colony fifty-four years. In the Postmaster Thelin's letter, he is inquired for by his sister, an old woman in Gothenburg, where many Finns became stranded for lifetime during the expeditions to the colony, for not founding room on board the ships. The Rambo family on the Delaware now embraced "twenty-nine members. Israel Helme was still living with a family of five people, besides some married daughters. Peter Cock, who died in 1688, had his family branched to forty-seven people, bearing his name.
In the meantime the affair had been forgotten in Sweden, as the king began to think of placing much confidence in the report of the said Andrew Printz, and the people being now under the rule of another country. Therefore, when the report of the colonists was presented to the king in. December 1693, it did not bring any action from the side of the king.
At this time a Quaker reaction took place in Pennsylvania. A Quaker preacher, George Keith, who had been employed some time as head of the first grammar school in Philadelphia, started to agitate against some of the religious principles of the Friends, whereof he was dismissed from his position and from the Quaker clan, calling themselves the Society of Friends. Keith formed a Society of his own, known as the Christian or Baptist Quakers, but soon returned to England, leaving his disciples in Pennsylvania like sheep without a shepherd, until the fight was taken up by a German Heinrich Koester, who arrived to the colony in 1694.
This rupture in the ranks of the Quakers introduced some religious antagonism on the old River Delaware. Even the Finns suffered for it, although minding only their own business and quietly worshipped with the aid of their blind minister Fabritius in the Wacaco church and two lay readers, Charles Springer in Crane Hook Church and Andreas Benkson in the Tinicum church. The Finns residing on the west side of the Schuylkill had been interfered in crossing the river on way to their church in Wicaco. Therefore they on May 11, 1693, presented to Governor Pletcher and his Council a petition, wherein they set forth that their meeting house is on the other side of the river, that they live three miles distant from the ferry, and that they are restricted from passing the river the nearest way to their worship on Sundays and Holidays by Philip England, keeper of the ferry at Schuylkill, opposite the High Street (present Market Street).
The governor offered his inclination to remove any obstruction that might be given to the worship, and in his regard to the interest of William Penn in the ferry, he desired the Council's advice.
The members of the Council were of the opinion that the petitioners may have liberty granted to them to transport themselves over the river to and from their worship, provided they do not abuse this liberty to other ends, to the prejudice of the ferry, the ferry monopoly having been retained by William Penn.
In the year 1696, something again brought the desire of the Finns on the Delaware for a minister and religious books, into the mind of Charles XI. king of Sweden. Whatever caused it, whether his queen's death or his own death lurking before his eyes for a deadly cancer in his abdomen. Or it may have been the terrible famine that his kingdom now was a victim of, for winter's cold having descended over Sweden and Finland in the midst of summer and the crop of the year had been wiped away. While scores of thousands of his subjects were dying for hunger, the letter of these Finns, once deported from Sweden, in which they describe the abundance and plenty amongst which they were happily living, may have got into the mind of the king again.
The king discussed about the matter with Jesper Svedberg, provost of the Cathedral of Upsala, and gave him to read the colonists' letter. Provost Svedberg, while traveling in Germany, had learned of a property donated by the early Christians for the conversion of the heathen, and was now within the Swedish territory at Stade, in Bremen. He had also learned that the income of the property had been converted into traveling expenses of the nobility, who converted no heathen. It had been therefore proposed that the income should be applied in the conversion of the Jews, but now another opportunity offered, and the provost exclaimed: "In America, most gracious sovereign, where there are many Swedes who now need and desire ministers, bibles, hymn-books, and various other works of devotion, there is now a good opportunity to convert the heathen, yea, to see to it that the children of Sweden do not become heathen as they dwell among them. Thus can those means be used in accordance with the wills of the deceased; otherwise, his Majesty would find it hard to answer to God for the violation of those wills."
Accordingly the matter was left into the hands of Olaus Svebelius, Archbishop of Sweden, and provost Svedberg, who had connection with the department of theology in the University of Upsala, selected two students, Andreas Rudman and Erik Bjork, for the mission. These ministers were Swedes, as Springer in his letter had said that all the Finns understood Swedish, they however came from the neighborhood of the Finnish settlements in Sweden. Besides these two ministers, Jonas Auren from Vermland was sent by the king to make a study of the inhabitants and the country and to return to make a report about the same to the king. Upon the request of the archbishop, the ministers were granted by the king "permission to return after few years, and obtain suitable preferment, as it would otherwise be a great hardship to leave their native country." The grant being signed by Charles on February 22, 1696.
The party of ministers left Sweden in August 1696, and having met some delays in London, travelled by Virginia and Maryland, reaching the Finnish colony at the Elk River in Maryland on the midsummer's day, June 24, 1697, where they were a great surprise. The Elk River Finns immediately dispatched messenger to the congregations on the Delaware, informing of their ministers arrival and the people soon came to conduct their ministersto their destination.
Upon the arrival of the ministers to their congregations, they found the Finns almost worn out of their books. Besides an English Bible and Catechisms, presented by William Penn to their church, the Rev. Bjork says in his letter "we hardly found three books." These had gone from hand to hand so that all the children had been taught to read. The ministers brought with themselves thousand one hundred and ninety volumes of religious books as gifts to the colonists, and five hundred Luther's Catechisms to the Indians, in their own language, that had been translated by the Rev. Johan Campanius, while he was in the colony in 1643 to 1648. The Indian catechisms as well as the Bibles and church books were, stamped with the king's initials in golden letters. The Indians were very much pleased for their gifts and liked to hear the books read to them, also engaged Charles Springer to teach their children to read.
The old churches of the Finns were likewise in ruinous condition and outgrown for the increased population, but the congregations had grown rich, so the building of new churches was soon started. On the 28th of May 1698, the corner stone was laid for a new church behind the old fort in Christina, (within the present Wilmington in Delaware), to replace the Crane Hook church, which stood about a mile and a half from Christina and had been built by the Finns in 1667, to replace the old chapel in the fort. The new church of Christina was built of granite, the dimensions inside of the walls being sixty feet in length, thirty feet in breadth and twenty feet in height. The foundation was built six feet thick, the walls three and a half feet up to the windows and above that two feet thick. On the outside of the front wall, abbreviated inscriptions of Latin were fastened in iron letters, which translated reads, "If God be for us, who can be against us. In the reign of William III., by the grace of God, King of England. William Penn being Proprietary. William Markham, Deputy-Governor. The most illustrious King of the Swedes, Charles XI., now of most glorious memory, having sent hither Erik Tobias Bjork of Westmanland, the Pastor of the place." The church was ready for use in the early summer of 1699, and was dedicated on Trinity Sunday, on July 4, 1699, receiving the name Holy Trinity Church. A collection of about two hundred dollars was taken in, on the occasion.
The upper congregation had some difficulty in agreeing about the place for their new church. The people living along the banks of the Schuylkill, wished that the church should be built at Passayunk, where on October 1, 1695, ninety-six acres of land had been bought for that purpose and a parsonage already existed, (at present Point Breeze). Those living in Shackamaxon, Taokaninck and on the Neshaminy Creek; wished the church for their convenience to be built upon the same ground where the Wicaco church then stood. While others, living as far down the River as Marcus Hook and those on the New Jersey side as far down as the Raccoon Creek, who belonged to the Wicaco congregation, wished that the Tinicum church, at which the bones of the early settlers were buried, and for being the first church on the Delaware River, should be honored and kept in repair as long as possible, and afterwards a new church built at the same place.
While the Christina congregation was building a fine church the Philadelphia congregation could not agree about the place where to build. The Rev. Rudman, who was ministering with the Wicaco congregation, finally became disgusted and threatened to leave for Sweden, upon which the congregation left the question entirely to the ministers to settle. After which it was decided to build the church at Wicaco, close by the old church, where also was an old graveyard. The church land at Passayunk was to be kept as the church.property forever, but the present minister was to be at liberty to reside in his own place on the Society Hill (at the present intersection of Pine and Front Streets) where he had twelve and a half acres of ground, given to him by his new brother-in-law, Valentine Cock. For the convenience of the people residing below the Schuylkill River, a ferry boat was to be maintained by the congregation for the crossing of that river. Which all was set forth in a document and subscribed in a meeting at the church glebe, in Passayunk, on September 18, 1698.
The building of the church was then started with zeal.. The masons who had finished their work at the church of the Christina congregation came up to Wicaco, the carpenters following. Materials were brought from the old church on the Tinicum Island and within a year the church was nearly completed. Upon the west end a place for a belfry was laid out, until some bells could be obtained. The dimensions of the church inside of the wills were sixty feet in length, thirty feet in breadth, and twenty feet in height. The foundation being of stone, the walls of red brick, every other one glaced black. On July 2, 1700, being the first Sunday after Trinity, the church was dedicated, the ceremony extending over three days. The dedication fiest was attended by numerous assembly, the Finns from far and near arrived to it, besides there were many German Lutherans and English Episcopalians, to whose benefit the dedication address was repeated in English by Pastor Bjork. The three Swedish ministers who officiated in the ceremonies, were robed in surplice and chasuble. The German Theosophic Brotherhood, who in 1694, came to the country and settled in a kind of a cloister at the Wissahickon, and among whose were a number of scholars, assisted in the ceremonies with instrumental music and singing. The dedication was a notable event in the colony. Gloria Dei (God's Glory) was the name given to the church.
The little bell of the Tinicum church was attached to the new church, although no belfry was built before a larger bell could be obtained. The bell has its own history, it was sent from Sweden by the New Sweden Company in 1644, for the Tinicum church that was built by the colonists in 1643. It went through a fire when the church burned down in 1645 and was again rang when a new church was dedicated on September 4, 1646. After the downfall of the Swedish rule on the Delaware, Armegot Printz, remained in the colony for some time to dispose her father's properties. In 1662, she sold the Tinicum Island to a citizen of Holland, J. de la Grange, and with it the church that stood on her father's land. To recover the church bell, the members of the Finnish congregation had to work two days each on the Hollander's farm during the harvest time. As half of the price had not been paid, on account of the death of the buyer, "Miss Printz" came to recover it and was allowed to take possession of the Island. The Finns then demanded a written assurance that she is not going to sell the bell again, which was given on May 24, 1673, Peter Cock and Jonas Nilsson appearing as witnesses. The bell was used in the churches of the Finns for one hundred and sixty-two years, before it was recasted larger in 1806, and got the form as it today appears at the church of Gloria Dei. It has the following inscription: "Cast for the Swedish Church in Philadelphia Stiled Gloria Dei. G. Hedderly Fecit 1806 partly from the old Bell dated 1643. I to the church the living call and to the grave do summons all."
The new churches of the Finns were then the landmarks of the country. The Rev. Bjork, in writing about these new churches to Sweden, says that, "we have completed the great work, and built two fine churches, superior to any built in this country particularly that at Christina." He also says that Francis Nicholson, Governor of Maryland, and Blackstone, Governor of Virginia had with their suites visited the churches.
These new substantial edifices for worship, greatly strengthened the morale of the Anti-Quaker party and laid the final check to the conversion of the new immigrants to Quakerism. As we have already made notice of the Quaker schoolmaster, George Keith, started in 1692, a schism in that sect. Then in 1694, after Keith had left for England, there arrived from Germany a company of forty new emigrants, who had united themselves into a mysterious brotherhood. Among these men were a number of Students of Lutheran Theology from the German universities, and their chaplain during the voyage. Heinrich Bernhard Koester, continued in that capacity in their colony at Wissahickon, where they built for themselves a block-house dwelling, surmounted by an observatory, the first one in America. Before their arrival to the country, they had been led to believe of the existence of a German Lutheran Church in Germantown, which was the first settlement of Frankfort Land Company, that was started in 1683, after the company had bought 25,000 acres of land from William Penn. When the brotherhood arrived to their destination on the Midsummer Day 1694, they found no church in the first German settlement in the new world, but a little log-house, where Quaker meetings were conducted by Francis Daniel Pastorious, the manager of Frankfort Land Company's affairs in the colony. As this learned brotherhood started to keep Lutheran meetings of their own in a private house in Germantown, it drew the Englishmen to the services in such numbers that it necessitated English meetings to be started for them in a private house in Philadelphia and a congregation was organized, which in 1696 commenced the erection of a house for church purposes. The Bishop of London, having been informed of the religious disturbances in the Province, sent in 1698 to Philadelphia the Rev. Thomas Clayton, to take care of the English Churchmen, (as those who were not Quakers were called). On his arrival he was assisted by Koester in gathering members and in the refutation of the doctrines of the Quakers. Thus became the Anglican Church established on the Delaware. At this time the, old Finnish congregations, which had weathered all outside influences, and had nearly sixty years' standing on the River, were much strengthened by the arrival of the three highly accomplished ministers from Sweden. The relations between the German Theosophic Brotherhood, the new English Episcopalian congregations and the old, strong and wealthy congregations of the Finns became very intimate. The strength of the Finnish congregations greatly encouraged the others, and towards the close of the year 1698, partly at the suggestion of the Swedish ministers, an emissary was sent by the German Brotherhood, to Europe in order to report the conditions in the Germantown settlement. To this mission Daniel Falckner was selected, and when he returned to the colony in August 1700, he was accompanied by several new theological students, among whom was his brother. Falckner also brought with him consternation to Pastorius, for having been deposed and Falckner producing his commission as the agent of the Frankford Land Company. Pastorius however continued in the office, having the support of the Quaker Council and the controversies finally ended in the failure of the Frankfort Land Company.
After having been less than three years in the country, Pastor Rudman found himself in declining condition for the development of disease of the lungs, and was obliged to request for another minister to replace him. Upon which the Consistory of Upsala, in Sweden, sent the Rev. Andreas Sandel for Rudman's relief. Mr. Sandel arrived to Philadelphia on March 18, 1702, and Rudman was preparing to return to Sweden, having received a charter of promotion, but had been invited by the Lutheran Congregation in New York to become their minister, which invitation Rudman accepted and left Philadelphia for New York in July, 1702. This Lutheran Congregation occupied the old Lutheran Church built by the Finns. The church having had ministers who officiated in the Dutch language, it had made converts among the Dutch Reformed population and many of the Finns having moved to the Delaware River, the members of the congregation at this time were largely Dutch.
Mr. Rudman did not stay long in New York however, his wife was a native of the Delaware River and had her property and inheritance, relatives and friends there, while not a voyage to Sweden could be taken up for Rudman's poor health. In the summer of 1703, they were all prostrated by plague of yellow fever that was then raging in the country, therefore they decided to move back to their home in Philadelphia. Before Rudman departed from the New York congregation, he secured a minister for them in his place. Among the German Theosophical Brotherhood was a student of Lutheran Theology, Justus Falckner, who had arrived to the country in 1700, when his brother Daniel Falckner returned to the colony from a mission to Germany. On October 27, 1703, Rudman wrote to Justus Falckner in the name of the New York congregation, proposing the ministerial position. This became accepted by the candidate, but having not yet been ordained for the office, the ceremony was performed in the Gloria Dei Church of the Finns, in Wicaco, on November 24, 1703.
This ceremony, being the first ordination of a minister in the Western World, has a manifest historical significance. It was a solemn ceremony, enacted in rustic, although in the best circumstances that then existed in the country. The venerable church was yet bare and unfinished, the tower and the side projects had not yet been built. The interior exhibited rough walls and rude benches made of large boards. The unadorned altar on the east end of the church, and the wooden railing, separating its recess from the rest of the church, were in harmony with the primitive surroundings. The temporary earthen floor was undoubtedly covered with clean sand and sprinkled over with chopped fir branches, as this was done by the Finns after an ancient habit even on wooden or stone floors, to produce fragancy into the atmosphere.
The little bell of the old Tinicum church, which had a pathetic history of its own and whose sonorous melodies had during the past fifty-nine years, in the solemn stillness of the Sunday mornings, called the Finnish settlers along the majestic Delaware to the worship, was tolling in this bleak November morning while the Finns from far and near were moving towards Wicaco, on foot, on horse back and in boats along the Delaware. The elderly people were clad in their unpretentious homespuns and the younger generation indulged in the fineries brought from abroad to Philadelphia by merchant adventurers.
The front benches in the church became occupied by the invited guests, the Theosophical Brotherhood, among whom was the Rev. Daniel Falckner, brother of the candidate for ordination. They were partly clad in the habit of the German university students, others in the pilgrim garb of unbleached homespun. The rest of the church was occupied by the members of the congregation, sprinkled with English churchmen and Quaker dissenters. And few Indians who were attracted by the wonderful music of the new organ, added to the picturesqueness of the scene.
The venerable little bell was again rung and while its melodious tones, resounding from the virgin forest on the New Jersey side of the Delaware, were calming to stillness, forthwith burst the little organ in the gallery into a voluntary, Jonas Auren of Vermland being at the keys. The echo of the organ was supplemented by violin, hautboy, trumpets and kettle-drums. Then followed the singing of a processional anthem in Latin, accompanied by the music, and the little procession appeared by the west portal. It was headed by two church wardens, Johan Cock and Andreas Benkson, clad in breeches and shoes with large brass buckles, the habit of gentlemen of the day. They were followed by the candidate, wearing the collegiate gown of the German University, and being accompanied by the Rev. Andreas Sandel, in black clerical robe, as sponsor and acting as consistorial secretary. Lastly came the Rev. Andreas Rudman, acting as suffragan or vice-bishop for the occasion and being robed in a girdled surplice, with chasuble and stole. The suffragan was accompanied by the Rev. Erik Bjork, wearing the black clerial robe.
When the procession reached the chancel rail, the two wardens stood on either side of the railing, while the suffragan and the two ministers entered within the chancel, the suffragan taking position in front of the altar, upon which were placed a crucifix and lighted tapers, and the two assistants ranged themselves on his either side. The anthem being ended, the suffragan opened the services with an invitation to prayer. Then followed the lengthy ceremony of the ordination, according to the Lutheran Liturgy.
A week after the ordination the Rev. Justus Falkner arrived to New York, where he officiated until his death in 1723.
Mr. Rudman, after his return to Philadelphia, ministered in the English church at Oxford and also in Philadelphia. His desire to return to his native land was finally interrupted by his death on September 17, 1708. Being nearly forty years of age and leaving a widow and two daughters. His remains lie beneath the chancel of the Gloria Dei Church in Wicaco.
About the time of the arrival of the three Swedish ministers at the Delaware, there arrived one Peter Schaefer, a native of Turku, Finland. Schaefer had the degree of Master of Arts in the university of his home town and was chased by the church authorities for his Pietist teachings, wherefore he boarded a ship in 1693 and after traveling in several countries in Europe finally arrived through England to the Delaware Colony. In Philadelphia Magister Schaefer presented himself to Edward Shippen, one of the prominent holders,of public offices of the time. He was permitted by Mr. Shippen and his wife Rebecca, to stay in their house as a guest for six weeks, during which time he persisted in living upon bread and water. The people of Finns Point (present Upper and Lower Pennsneck) in New Jersey, desired Schaefer to keep school for their children, which he did for a while. Afterwards he went to preach for the Germans in Germantown, and although the New Jersey Finns desired him to become their minister, Schaefer did not respond to the invitation but resolved to return in the year 1700 to his native town in Finland and finally succumbed in prison at Gefle, Sweden, for his religious opinions.
Before the arrival of the Rev. Sandel at the Delaware, another clergyman, Lars Tollstadius, had come to the colony from Sweden on his own accord, and was accepted by the Rev. Rudman to assist him in the Wicaco church. However, after the arrival of Sandel he was released and was only permitted by the other ministers to teach the catechism for children, for having not been commissioned for minister's office by the Consistory of Upsala, although he had sought for appointment. The Rev. Tollstadius however did not abide with the wishes of the other ministers, but went to the Finnish settlements in the West New Jersey, on their invitation, and preached every Sunday, first at the Raccoon Creek and then at Finns Point. As this territory was divided between the Wicaco and the Christina churches, the ministers of these churches objected so much more, as it diminished not only their congregations, but their income.
The Finns of West New Jersey had aided in the building of the Christina and Wicaco churches, and had been promised by these congregations aid when they wanted to build a church for themselves. The aid was not however forthcoming, as the ministers of those churches did not want the church built. But many of the people had to travel a long distance to get to the churches that already had been built, and besides had to cross the Delaware River in boats, which in winter time was very dangerous, some times even impossible, as the River is packed with floating ice, that is moving fast up and down the River with the tide. The West New Jersey settlers therefore did not abide with the wishes of the "regular" ministers, but commenced to build at the Raccoon Creek a church of their own in 1703 which became finished in the next year. The church was built of hewn logs, in the old Finnish style of architecture. On the second Sunday after Trinity, the church was consecrated by the Rev. Tollstadius, the other ministers failing to attain, although having been invited.
The Finns of West New Jersey, however soon lost their minister, as on the 29th of May 1706, Tollstadius was drowned in crossing the Delaware in a canoe. Before his death, the congregation had found objections against him, for his irregular mode of living.
The Rev. Jonas Auren, whom Charles XI., king of Sweden had sent with the other ministers to the Delaware, in order to make observations and to map the country, after which he was immediately to return to report to the king, was still in the country, as the king died before the arrival of the ministers to their destination. After doing some missionary work among the Indians, Mr. Auren settled in the Finnish colony at Elk River, in Maryland. Before that he had become acquainted with the Keithians in Philadelphia and was now a self confessed Sabbatarian, advocating Saturday as the real Sabbath, for which he was not in favor with the other Swedish ministers. The Finns of West New Jersey invited Mr. Auren to be their minister, after the death of Mr. Tollstadius, but he was not immediately willing to leave his congregation at the Elk River, however sent one Mr. Brunjan to be a lay reader and schoolmaster at the Raccoon congregation, and finally, in the spring of 1707, moved himself there. Although Auren retained his Sabbatarian notion, he was forbidden to urge it upon his new congregation by order of the governor of New York, before whom the Rev. Bjork cited him to appear. However, he wrote an almanac in English, calling it "Noah's Dove," in which he advocated the sabbatarian views, this caused Mr. Bjork, minister of Christina congregation, to publish an answer and refutation with the title: "A little olive leaf put into the mouth of that so-called 'Noah's Dove,' and sent home again, to let her master know that the waters are abated from off the face of the ground."
The Rev. Auren presided over the Raccoon Finnish parish until the year 1713, when on the 17th of February he died, leaving a widow, whose maiden name was Lydia Gustafsson and whom he married in 1710, besides two sons.
At this time there was a good supply of ministers, despite Mr. Auren's death. There was Mr. Sandel in Wicaco and Mr. Bjork in Christina, besides the Rev. Andreas Hesselius and the Rev. Abraham Lidenius, who arrived to the country on the 1st of May 1712. Mr. Hesselius was to release Mr. Bjork, who desired to return to his native country, and Lidenius was to assist in each congregation. Mr. Bjork like most of the Swedish ministers, had married from his congregation and had some property to mind about, remained in the colony despite the new ministers, until June 29, 1714, when he left for Sweden with his wife and five children, having before his departure received a commission to a pastorate in Sweden, signed by King Charles XII., in Timurtasch, in Turkey, where the king had entered after the defeat of his Swedish-Finnish army, in the battle of Poltava with the forces of Peter the Great of Russia.
Mr. Lidenius was desired by the Finns of Pennsneck to become their minister, wherefore he settled there on December 5, 1712, and after the death of Auren, he also served the Raccoon congregation. In 1715, the Pennsneck people commenced to build a church of their own, on the middle of the neck, on the highway. The place being known today as Church Landing. The church became finished however only in the spring of 1717, when it was consecrated on the 31st of March, and was called St. George's Church. It was built twenty-four feet square, of hewn logs and weather boarded, as the Finns used to build their log houses.
As the parsonage of Raccoon was not suitably situated for both churches, a farm was bought in 1720, for a new parsonage, in about midway between the churches, which were apart from each other about sixteen miles.
Since 1712, there had been three ministers for the Finns, but on June 25, 1719, Mr. Sandel of the Wicaco Parish left for Sweden, with his wife Maria Dalbo, whom he married in the colony, and two children, after having received a royal commission for the pastorate of Hedemora. It is interesting in this connection to note, that one of their grandsons became an illustrious general, Field Marshal Count Sandels, who during the Finnish War of 1808-9 gallantly led his Finnish Jaegers against the Russian multitudes.
Mr. Sandel was succeeded in the Wicaco Parish by the Rev. Jonas Lidman, who on the first Sunday in Advent was installed to his office. Between the departure of Sandel and the arrival of Lidman, the ministers of Christina and Raccoon parishes attended the Wicaco congregation. With Mr. Lidman arrived another minister, Samuel Hesselius, brother of Andreas Hesselius of the Christina Parish. Mr. Samuel Hesselius was to be assistant minister at Wicaco, until his brother's departure for Sweden. At first it was settled that he should preach for the Finns at Calkeon Hook and at the Neshaminy Creek, but as those Finns at Manatawny had some fifty miles to travel in coming to the Wicaco church, at the Parish meeting in Wicaco, on the 27th of March 1720, they pleaded Mr. Hesselius to move to live at their settlement, which was agreed and Hesselius was to take from there care of Neshaminy and by later decision also of Matzong (Matson's Ford) Finnish settlement.
The place called Manatawny was situated on north side of the Schuylkill River, between its two branches, the Manatawny and Manasisk Creeks. A part of it belonging to the present Montgomery County and the greater part to the Berks County. Some Finns who had sold their farms to the English immigrants, had settled there few years since, and on October 20, 1701, William Penn, before his second and last return to England authorized the Finns to take possessions of 10,000 acres of land there, without being obliged to pay for it anything else than their traditional quit-rent of one bushel of wheat per hundred acres yearly. This parcel of land consisted essentially of the present Amity Township, Berks County. The place where the Finns had their church, they called Morlatton, and is the present Douglasville. The church was built in 1733, of oak logs, had seats for 120 persons and was provided with iron fireplace. From Morlatton, Mr. Hesselius also ministered new German settlements in the neighborhood, called Falkner's Swamp, which originally was started on land purchased by the Frankfort Land Company.
Pastor Lidman of the Wicaco Parish left for Sweden on the 14th of November 1730, after having received assurances of suitable preferment as his reward of having come to America. The Wicaco congregation thereafter employed as their temporary minister a Swede Johan Eneberg, who had been preaching in the German settlements. For some reasons, known in Sweden, Eneberg was not commissioned to his office and it was only in the beginning of January 1733, that a new commissioned minister, the Rev. Gabriel Falk arrived to Philadelphia, where he and his servant were well received and provided by his congregation, after having lost everything when the ship on which he came over was wrecked in the Delaware Bay. The congregation also provided him with a new parsonage, which was built on the church land at Wicaco. The house was built of brick, two stories high, and had two rooms on each floor, with a convenient kitchen and garret besides. Before this, the ministers had been living in the parsonage at Passayunk or in their own houses.
Pastor Falk became to enjoy the graces of the Wicaco congregation only for few months however. One of the elders of the church fell under his suspicion of having improper relations with his own daughter, and the case having been taken to the court, Falk was condemned to pay five hundred pounds damages for the scandalized man and was driven away from Wicaco. Falk had been expelled from his student nation at the University of Upsala in 1720, likewise for scandalizing.
Thereafter Pastor Falk was preaching to the Finns at Morlatton about ten years, moving in 1735 to live there. From there he also took care of the German congregation of Falkner Swamp between the years of 1735 and 1742, where a log church was built in 1741.
Abraham Lidenius, who had been pastor of the Raccoon-Pennsneck congregation since 1712, departed to Sweden in 1726, and the newly arrived minister, the Rev. Peter Tranberg, who had been sent to release him, was installed in his place on June 30th of the same year. With Tranberg arrived from Sweden the Rev. Andreas Windrufva, as an adjunct pastor, and the two ministers agreed with the approval of the people, to divide the congregation between themselves, so that Tranberg was to preside over Raccoon church and Windrufva take care of the Pennsneck church. The former was to receive as regular salary forty pounds from Raccoon and the latter twenty pounds from Pennsneck, besides a house and provisions and a horse for his service. The arrangement soon however became into termination as Mr. Windrufva died on November 5, 1728, leaving a young widow of the Jaquet family.
The New Jersey congregations again became united under one minister, Mr. Tranberg continuing to preside in both churches.
In October 1723, the Rev. Andreas Hesselius left for Sweden and his brother, the Rev. Samuel Hesselius, pastor of the Finnish congregation of Morlatton succeeded him as minister of the Christina congregation. At the arrival of Samuel Hesselius to Christina, fifty acres of the land of the parsonage was sold for 40 pounds, to buy him a negro woman as servant. There was at this time also in dispute a will that had been made to the benefit of the Church. A childless member of the congregation, Aaron Johansson, had on the 20th of November, 1701, bequeathed all his property to fall to the church after his wife's death, except a part of it was to fall to Pastor Bjork, who was then the minister at Christina. The church wardens in office at that time were appointed executors. The farmer Johansson died in 1707, whereupon the church wardens had the will recorded in proper form. When Provost Bjork left for Sweden, the widow was still living, but she agreed with the church wardens that Bjork be allowed his share in fifty-two acres of land, which Bjork sold before his departure. The remainder was a valuable island in the Christiana Creek, about five miles from Christina. One of the two church wardens was Edward Robinson, an Irishman, who had by intermarriage united himself with the Finnish congregation. Mr. Robinson adopted the widow, calling her his mother, and got the widow to change the will for his benefit. In this he was supported by English Law, which prohibited to will land to any church, and although the Assembly of the Province had enacted a contradictory act, it did not finally become a law as it was repealed in England. Likewise the widow's support had to be taken into consideration. Before Andreas Hesselius left for Sweden, in 1723, the widow had died and therefore the will went into effect, and as Robertson insisted of keeping the land, a complaint was made by the elders of the church to Governor William Keith, who appointed three Justices of the Peace to examine the affair, and there the matter remained. The case could not be very well taken to the court, on account of the English law, unfavorable to the church. The congregation thought that whatever could be got from Robinson voluntarily, is best to take, and Robinson agreed to contribute 15 pounds in all for the will, the homestead being then valued over 700 pounds. Some members of the congregation notified these transactions to Provost Bjork and Bishop Svedberg in Sweden, likewise that Samuel Hesselius was using his time in attaining the English congregations and was neglecting his own church for weeks and the teaching of the children. Although Samuel Hesselius was not alone guilty for giving much attention to the English churches, as all the Swedish ministers from the time of Rudman and Bjork did it for the gifts or regular salaries that they received for doing it, from the English Society for Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. In a letter of December 11, 1710 to the Society, the Vestry of the English Episcopalian Church of Appoquimininck are describing the great services that Bjork had been doing to their congregation and petitioned some reward for him from the Society, saying that he was receiving from his own congregation only 15 pounds yearly, although Mr. Bjork during the first years at least received about 100 pounds, besides extra income from all burials, baptisms, marriages, churchings, etc., and had the parish house and a large glebe land to enjoy. Mr. Bjork left the country with a fortune. On account of the informations against Samuel Hesselius, he was strongly admonished by Provost Bjork and Bishop Svedberg, by letter, of neglect of his congregation and selling and giving up the Bread and Cheese Island, that was willed to the church by Johansson.
Governor Patrick Gordon likewise had received complaint against Robinson, from the old pastors Bjork and Andreas Hesselius. Upon this the governor appointed three Justices of the Peace to investigate. All parties concerned in the matter met on the 6th of September 1729, on the Brandywine Ferry, and Samuel Hesselius was totally acquitted of being guilty to any neglect of duty, or as regarded the sale of land. The Pastor sent over to Bishop Svedberg the decision, also good testimonial from the English clergy of the Province, from the English church in Chester and one from his own parish. Furthermore he decided to return to Sweden and with new testimonials left the country in November 1731. Samuel Hesselius had married in Manatawny, Brita Laikan (Laikainen), who soon died. His second wife Gerdrud Stille died during the voyage to Sweden, and was buried to the ocean. Hesselius arrived to Sweden with four children, and his recommendations from the colony did not help him in recovering the confidence of the church authorities upon him. He received a parish only in 1751, and died two years later.
Before the arrival of the Rev. Gabriel Falk to the Wicaco church in 1733, the congregation was presided over by the Rev. Johan Eneberg, who had come to America about that time and had been preaching first in the German Settlements. As the Christina congregation now became vacant after the departure of Samuel Hesselius, Eneberg came once a month to preach in that church and the Rev. Tranberg from Raccoon likewise attended the Christina congregation. Finally Eneberg moved to Christina, having received a commission as pastor of that congregation from King Frederick of Sweden, given at Stockholm on July 4, 1732. The Christina congregation at this time was preferred by the Swedish ministers, and Eneberg entered upon his duties there at the beginning of 1733.
At this period the Finns along the Brandywine and the Christiana Creeks had become great producers of wheat and all kinds of provisions. These they brought down the creeks to the neck of land formed by the conjunction of the above said creeks, where they had their church, in whose neighborhood merchants had sprung up. Finally there was born an idea of building a town like Philadelphia on the neck, it being much the same as the neck of land between the Schuylkill and Delaware upon which Philadelphia was first laid out. Just as Philadelphia was built a little distance above end of the neck, so was this new town built a short distance above the end of the peninsula. The good, navigable shore on the Christiana Creek and the fact that the old highways met at this section, favored this site for a commercial centre. The land at this section was owned by Andreas Justison or Gustafsson and by the Christina Church. On September 1731, Andreas Justison assigned to his son-in-law, Thomas Willing, an Englishman, a part of his land on the Christiana Creek, and the latter laid his parcel out for a town plot, after the plan of Philadelphia, starting to sell lots for adventurers in his "Willingtown." At 1735, the new town had about twenty houses, but at that time many lots were sold and new building activity ensued so that in the year 1736, the town plan shows thirty-four houses. On November 18th of the latter year, the Christina congregation likewise commissioned their church wardens, together with one of the elders, to act for the church as trustees in order to divide the church glebe and lay it out into streets and building lots and then to rent out these lots, to give deeds for the same and to receive the annual rents. They were to do this in their own name, as it was against the English law to a church to engage in any land transactions. The trustees were to keep book and to make account of their transactions to the congregation once a year. The minister of the church was to receive two-thirds of the yearly income of the lots and the remaining one-third was to be used for the maintenance of the church and parsonage. Two town lots were to be left to the parsonage for the use of the minister. An Englishman, Goldsmith E. Followel, a citizen of Willingtown, who was the sales agent for the lots to his Quaker friends, was assigned as the bookkeeper of the corporation, on bond of five hundred pounds.
But the provision, made by the Christina congregation, that the minister was to receive two-thirds of the income of the town lots, was most injurious to the land property of the church, as the ministers, desiring to make out of the land as much as possible, before their return back to Sweden, continually harrassed the trustees, who were obliged to make presents of lots to the ministers to rent out the lots as fast as possible, and to give from their own pockets moneys that had not come in regularly from the rents, wherefore they were forced to sell lots to get reimbursed. When the Rev. John. Eneberg left for his native country in 1742, the church property was already much vasted, and before his journey, the trustees were obliged to advance to him one, hundred pounds upon unpaid rents, for which they afterwards had to sell lots to pay the sum.
In 1740, the church wall on the north side was found to have bent outwards by the weight of the roof and the settling of the foundation, it was therefore necessary to built two arches for the support of the wall. These arches were built over the doors, and served as vestibules. The bell still was hanging in a walnut tree on the side of the church, but now a little wooden tower was built upon one of these outbuildings and the bell hung in it. The walnut tree was then cut down as the squirrels made it a perpetual home for themselves, on account of the nuts, and building their nests upon the arches injured the roof.
The new down was growing very handsomely, having more than one hundred and twenty houses in 1742. As the Trinity Church was the only one in the place, it became more and more the object of attention. On Christmas day, matins had been celebrated in the church, but as they became too much the curiosity of the new English population of the town, who gathered staring at it and to make fun of it, the celebrations were discontinued. To acquaint the reader to this festivity, we describe how Christmas was celebrated in the peasant homes in Finland during the very recent years. On the Christmas eve the peasant invited his tenants to his home, where in the large, rustic hall of the peasant house a Christmas tree had been set up, and at the blaze of fire in the large fire place, amplified by lit candles of the Christmas tree, a supper was enjoyed, Christmas hymns were sung and holiday stories from the Christmas magazines were read by some student member of the family, who had come home for the holiday season. The evening was pleasantly concluded by the distribution of gifts to the tenant families. These consisted of some products of the farm, as a large loaf of rye bread, which for Christmas was sweetened by fermentation, and a piece of pork or the like. Those tenants who did not keep horses were invited to gather again to the house in the morning, between four ana five o'clock, to be taken to the Matins in the church. For the journey to the church, the horses were harnessed luxuriously, and a great number of bells were attached to the harness. Early in the Christmas morning the country-side was then one hum of bells, after intervals superseded by the toll of the church bells, as the people rode to the Matins in sleighs. At the church were rows of stalls for the horses, each peasant having his own stable there. The large windows of the church were full of lit candles, making the edifice a perpetual light tower in the December night of the north. Over the aisles of the church, between intervals, arches had been placed with lit candles. The reflections of the prisms in the chandeliers and of the gilded ornaments of the altar, gave a brilliant aspect to the environment. The services consisted of an organ recital, singing of Christmas hymns, chorus recital and a sermon about the Child of Bethlehem, which by the acquisitions during centuries had developed to the highest pitch of elocution. The congregation, at the dawn of the daylight, marched out of the church at the rythm of the organ and the tolling of the church bells. Then the bell bedecked horses were drawn for comparison, the homeward journey was started, each party to his own direction, and although in other occasion it was against the etiquette to pass another church party on the highway, on the Christmas morning there was a great race, which was talked about with great delight during the rest of the holiday season.
The church of Wicaco had been without a minister since the latter part of the year 1733, having been served by Eneberg from Christina and by Tranberg from Raccoon and Pennsneck, but on the 2nd of November 1737, a minister, the Rev. Johannes Dylander arrived to Philadelphia from Sweden. At this period the position of the Swedish ministers was getting difficult for the reason that great part of their congregations did not understand the Swedish language. The early Finnish colonists, having been. mostly born in the Finnish settlements in Sweden, had not fully acquired the Swedish language and had all passed away long since. Their descendants had been acquainted with the Swedish language only by the Swedish ministers and schoolmasters who taught them to read the catechism. At the arrival of Mr. Dylander, the congregation preferred the English language for their church and many had united with the English churches. The Wicaco congregation had only sixty families left on the arrival of the minister, but after Dylander had acquired the English language and was preaching on the Sunday afternoons in that language, he could increase his congregation into one hundred families. He also preached in the Wicaco church during more than a year, early in the morning in the German language, to that nationality, who were without minister. Mr. Dylander was an industrious man and was so well liked, that the English ministers, of Philadelphia made a complaint against him because the English had acquired the habit of celebrating their marriages in the Wicaco church. During his time the church went through extensive repairs and a new organ also was installed. The church finances also became improved for the reason that the suburb of Philadelphia, called Society Hill, had stretched itself to the neighborhood of the church, so the church land was divided into city lots and were rented out through the church wardens. The glebe in Passayunk likewise was rented out for pasture land.
Besides taking good care of his congregation Mr. Dylander travelled in the outlying Finnish, German and English settlements, delivering as many as sixteen sermons weekly. This however soon broke his health, he had on account of sickness to give up the German and English services and his entire work was terminated by death on the 2nd day of November 1741, Mr. Dylander left a widow who was the daughter of Peter Cock of Passayunk. He was interred beneath the chancel in the Wicaco church, the funeral being conducted in English by Pastor Tranberg, in presence of a large and cosmopolitan congregation.
Pastor Dylander having died and Pastor Eneberg of Christina church having left for Sweden on August 10, 1741, the Rev. Tranberg of Raccoon and Pennsneck was the only Swedish minister left in America. Mr. Tranberg had requested the Consistory of Upsala to be appointed for the Christina congregation after the departure of the Rev. Eneberg. This had been granted to him and while Mr. Eneberg still was in the country, Tranberg became the minister of the Christina Church, on August 1, 1741. Although the Christina people were pleased to receive a minister, the people of Raccoon and Pennsneck were much displeased for his transfer, especially as they felt that Mr. Tranberg had been well treated and had massed a fortune during his fourteen years with the New Jersey congregations. In a resolution entered into the Raccoon church book the congregation resented the arbitrary manner of the transfer by the Swedish king and bishop, declaring that the congregation alone had to do with the ministers, and that no more ministers to be ordered from Sweden.
The parsonage of the Christina congregation, in the Willingtown, now becoming to be known as Wilmington, had become antiquated, so Mr. Tranberg decided to build a house of his own, and for this purpose was given a lot, near the old parsonage, by the congregation. The house was built of brick and was then one of the finest in the new town, which at this time had some six hundred inhabitants. The negress of the parsonage, who in 1723, was bought for forty pounds, had likewise become old and contrary, wherefore she was sold in public auction at the slave market, bringing only seven shillings. A cow was the most valuable part of the inventory of the parsonage, that were turned over to Mr. Tranberg.
Like in the Wicaco congregation, here too the Finnish descendants had not had enough opportunity since the coming of the English people to keep up their understanding of the Swedish language, despite the efforts of the Swedish ministers. English had become the language of communication between the old settlers and the English, German and other new immigrants. A large part of the Finnish descendants preferred the English language to the Swedish in their church, besides there were many English non-Quakers in Wilmington who did not have any church at all, therefore, by the desire of the congregation, services were held in the morning in Swedish and in the afternoon in English. Mr. Tranberg also attended several English churches and sometimes also preached in the German church at Lancaster.
The land affairs of the church were the same as during the time of Mr. Eneberg. Some of the ground rent did not come in regularly and others did not come in at all. As the minister's income depended upon what was realized from the church land, the trustees naturally were chased by him to convert the property into money. To satisfy the minister he was given one whole block in Wilmington as his property forever, not however as settlement for the uncollected ground rents, as these were afterwards fully drawn out. In 1745, a new arrangement was invented by which the church land was committed into the hand of two trustees who were to handle the property as their own and to sell, rent and sue in their own name. For this each of the trustees were required to give a bond of five hundred pounds for the congregation. The property was fairly well managed by these trustees, only some moneys were lost for having been lent out without security, also notes were taken as part payments for lots and when the buyer occasionally failed, the notes became worthless.
The Wicaco congregation notified in a letter of November 16, 1741, to the Consistory of Upsala, Sweden, about the death of their minister, the Rev. Dylander, and requested for a new minister. But it was only on October 20, 1743, when a new minister the Rev. Gabriel Naesman arrived to Philadelphia. On the arrival of Mr. Naesman, he found the congregation in extremely bad shape. There were but few old people yet who could understand Swedish, most of the people had joined to the English churches and to an association established by George Whitefield, who by great elocution attracted the people of every variety of faith, while others were let away by so called Moravian Brethren or Herrnhuters. These Hussite dissenders were known as Moravians from their original abode, and as Herrnhuters from their patron and bishop, Count Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf had given them in 1722 land on his estate in Saxony, where they established their settlement known as Herrnhut (Lord's watch). Their first permanent settlements in Pennsylvania were Bethlehem and Nazareth. In December 1740, Count Zinzendorf arrived to Philadelphia, there being at this time about twenty-five or thirty Moravians in Pennsylvania. A sermon delivered by Count Zinzendorf, on the 10th day of January 1741, in Philadelphia, translated into English and printed by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, is found today in the Helsingfors University library. It had been given by Miss Elsa Cock of Philadelphia, on May 7, 1750 to Professor Kalm of the University of Turku, Finland, on his visit to America. Count Zinzendorf was a great elocutionist, and as the German immigrants, who came in numbers to the country at this time, were poorly provided or without a minister, he made a great success among the Germans.
A Swedish student, Paul Bryzelius, who had joined the Moravian Brethren in Germany, arrived in the first larger Moravian expedition to America, called the "First Sea Congregation," which landed at Philadelphia on June 7, 1742. Mr. Bryzelius, who was assigned to work among the Finns, was in the country before the arrival of Pastor Naesman, and had found an opportune time as there was only one Swedish minister, the Rev. Tranberg, working among the Finns. When Tranberg left the Raccoon and Pennsneck parishes, these were attended about a year by a Swedish student Olof Malander, who came to the country with the Rev. Dylander in 1637, to work as schoolmaster. But there are found complaints against his wife and Malander himself became imprisoned for debts, after which he obtained employment in the printing office of Benjamin Franklin. He joined to the Moravian Brotherhood, and produced the Moravian catechism in the Swedish language at the Franklin's printing establishment in 1743, having been translated from the German by Bryzelius. In January 1743, Bryzelius was ordained as a Moravian minister, by Bishop David Nitschmann, whereafter he was appointed by Zinzendorf to preach among the Finns at Maurice River, Cohanzie, Pennsneck, Raccoon, Ammasland, Potomock and Calcoen's Hook. As the churches of Raccoon and Pennsneck were without minister, these were open to the Rev. Bryzelius, while the congregation of Wicaco had not accepted his offer to preach. All these had to be met by the Rev. Naesman, on his arrival in October 1743. And more than that, Pastor Naesman was struck to a very vulnerable point, as his rival, Mr. Bryzelius, was the more acceptable to his congregation because he did not accept any salary for his work, but declared that the Moravians would not preach for money. In the Raccoon congregation was found however people who desired to hear the newly arrived minister of Wicaco to preach in their church, and on the third Sunday in Advent 1743, Naesman arrived to officiate there, supplanting Bryzelius who remained as listener. When the service was over, the Naesman party desired the congregation to invite him to preach there once a month, while Bryzelius declared that he is ready to preach them twice a month. This led to a lively argument between the two pastors and their supporters. However Naesman could not attend the Raccoon church every Sunday to keep his flock together and to the Pennsneck church he was not even invited, it had completely fallen to the Moravian sect. The Rev. Tranberg of Wilmington occasionally preached in the Pennsneck church, but he was not so particular about sects, he and his wife are accused of having been sympathizers with the Moravians and Bryzelius was welcomed to their home. The affairs became into culmination in Raccoon, in December 1744, as Bryzelius was to preach in the church. A great number of people had assembled, one party was composed of the supporters of Bryzelius and the other party was there to keep him out of the church, still others had come only to enjoy the fun. As the opposition party had the church-key, which they did not give up, therefore the supporters of Bryzelius broke a window and one of them crept in to open the door from inside. But no service could be held on account of the fight, noise and confusion that ensued. The affair ended that an arbitration court of twentyfive men were agreed upon to gather at Gloucester, New Jersey, before which appeared the Rev. Naesman and the Rev. Bryzelius as spokesmen for their respective party. Mr. Naesman at once overawed his opponent by flourishing a diploma as Master of Arts and also a minister's letter and commission from the Consigtory of Upsala. He made complaints and accusations against Bryzelius, who completely disappointed his followers by not making any reply. The Moravian party was fined fifty pounds and prohibited for keeping services in the church.
The Moravian movement among the Finns in western New Jersey, however did not perish to this, and although Bryzelius was recalled from the mission in 1745, there were now other Swedish students of theology at the disposal of the Brotherhood for this mission. The German Lutherans of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had received upon their application a minister from Sweden. This was the Rev. Lars Nyberg, who arrived to the country in 1744. Mr. Nyberg had been converted to Moravian. Brotherhood already in Sweden, although he kept it a secret, but within a year he had fully disposed himself, had married a Moravian sister and brought the congregation in turmoil and became closed out of the church with his party. Although Mr. Nyberg kept in Lancaster until 1748, where he founded a Moravian church, he visited the Finns in New Jersey and supplied them with Swedish missionaries, among which was Abraham Reincke, son of a Stockholm merchant, whom his parents had sent to Germany to study theology and had joined to the Moravians. Mr. Reincke's records show his operation among the New Jersey Finns, starting in the spring of 1745, after the recall of Mr. Bryzelius. The Raccoon and Pennsneck district was suitable for the new Swedish adventurers, who did not know the English language, as the people there were descendants of early Finnish and some Dutch settlers whose children had been taught to read in Swedish by the Swedish schoolmasters that came to the country with the ministers or by themselves as adventurers. As only few English had settled there, there were no English schools nor such a daily need of the English language as in other places along the Delaware. Therefore these were the last Finnish settlements to become Anglinized.
Pastor Naesman had repeatedly urged the Finns at Raccoon to call for a minister from Sweden, but Mr. Reincke, preaching around in the private houses and in the Pennsneck church, kept with the aid of Mr. Nyberg the congregation so scattered, that it was only on November 17, 1745, when a petition was, finally mailed. And as things did not work fast in those days, it was on May 25, 1747, when the Rev. Johan Sandin was appointed to the mission as Provost of the Swedish ministers in America. After eighteen weeks journey, Pastor Sandin arrived to Philadelphia overland from New York, on March 29, 1748 and preached his first sermon in the Raccoon church on the following Palm Sunday. But the Pennsneck people held to the Moravians, and although the church had been closed for their preachers in 1746, the Brethren again occupied the pulpit there at the arrival of Provost Sandin. As Mr. Sandin offered his services to them, they accepted his offer only on the condition, that he officiate in the English language. This naturally was hard for a man newly arrived from Sweden, and Pastor Sandin has much complaints to make in his letters to the Consistory of Upsala. He found the conditions here much different than in Sweden. The people could not be prevailed upon here for church discipline and besides there was the general Anglinizing movement going then on among the non-English colonists, a movement in the evolution of nations against which an individual or group of individuals will be out of luck. Provost Sandin's struggle against the great odds however were not long, after having been in the country a little less than six months, he died on September 22, 1748, leaving a widow, m. n. Anna Margareta Sjoman, with a daughter and new-born baby to a strange land.
As the Finnish and the German congregations were hard pressed by the Moravians, some of the members of these congregations worked for a union against these intruders. The Finnish congregation of Wicaco had received as a member one Peter Kock, a newly arrived Swedish adventurer, (not belonging to the Peter Cock family of the early colonists, whose descendants were now mostly known as Cox), who had engaged in business in Philadelphia. As the descendants of the old Finnish families, who had built the church, were not taking much active interest in the church affairs, on account of being Anglinized and not knowing the Swedish language, Mr. Kock became the real leader of the church affairs. He supported and worked for the union of these old churches of the Finns and of the German Lutherans, but Pastor Naesman of Wicaco was against this plan for the reason that these old Finnish churches had valuable properties in church buildings and lands, while the German congregations still were poor. But Mr. Kock, who had large business interests among the Germans, insisted upon union and finally tried to get Pastor Naesman out of the way, by writing against him to the Consistory of Upsala requesting his recall and offering to pay the travelling expenses of a new minister. On the other hand he tried to force Mr. Naesman to quit, by holding the rents that came from the lots owned by the church, that were to pay the salary of the minister. Mr. Naesman however managed to make his living by preaching in the outlying settlements.
The Consistory of Upsala, not being able to notice that the real fault of the troubles was that the Swedish ministers had grown out of date in America, sent two new ministers for the Finnish congregations on the Delaware. These were the Rev. Israel Acrelius and the Rev. Erik Unander, who arrived to Philadelphia on November 6, 1749, bringing a letter from the Consistory of Upsala to Pastor Naesman advising him to prepare for his return to Sweden, as another minister, to replace him, was only detained in Sweden on account of falling sick when the other ministers departed. This was a disappointment to Pastor Naesman, as he had thought that things would be alright now as his opponent Mr. Kock had lately died.
Pastor Acrelius who had been appointed as provost of the Swedish ministers in America, likewise brought a recall to Sweden for Pastor Tranberg of Christina, who after Provost Sandin's death had written to the consistory of Upsala, desiring to be promoted to the office of provost, but which did not materialize for he was suspected of Moravian syrlipathies. Pastor Tranberg did not however live to be disappointed, for he died on a visit to his old congregation in Pennsneck, on November 8, 1748, and his remains were interred beneath the great aisle in the Trinity Church at Wilmington.
The Moravians had made a considerable progress among the Finns in New Jersey. At Raccoon their meetings were held in private houses, but in Piles Grove they built a church of their own, which was dedicated by the Moravian Bishop Spangenberg and the Rev. Lars Nyberg in 1749. The Finnish church at Pennsneck was very much theirs since the death of Pastor Sandin, while at Maurice River they had a meeting house, which was dedicated on December 18, 1746. Meetings were also held at Great and Little Egg Harbor.
The first burial in the Moravian graveyard at Piles Grove church was that of Molly Holstein, wife of Lars Holstein, who died on November 20, 1748, nine days after the birth of a child Mary.
Among the prominent families of the old Finnish colonists, that belonged to the Moravian congregations in New Jersey, were the Holsteins (original name Halttunen, changed to Haltun, Holton and Holstein), the Mullicas, first settlers and founders of the town of Mullica Hill, New Jersey, (original name Mullikka), the Locks, descendants of the Rev. Laurentius Carolus Lokenius, the Rambos, descendants of Peter Rambo, the first emigrant to America from Finland, the Kyns, (original name Yrjana Kyy, changed to Jurriaen Kyyn, Kyn and Keen) and the Senecksens (original name Sinikka).
After the death of the Rev. Sandin in August 1748, and Pastor Tranberg in November of the same year, the Finnish churches had only one Swedish minister, the Rev. Naesman, and his standing badly shaken by the machinations of the Swedish merchant Kock. Fortunately there arrived on September 15, 1748, to Philadelphia Mr. Peter Kalm, Professor of Economics at the University of Turku, Finland. Professor Kalm came to America to discover plants that might be cultivated in the northern countries of Europe. Being a minister's son from the northern Finland and himself an ordained Lutheran Minister, Mr. Kalm used his time in the winter of 1748-49 to preach in the Raccoon church on Sundays. He remained in America until February 16, 1751, during which time he made a systematic study of the vegetation of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Eastern Canada, and the flora of Sweden and Finland became much enriched by the seeds and plants that Professor Kalm took with him or shipped before his return. During his stay here, Kalm married the widow of Provost Sandin in Raccoon, in February 1750.
Professor Kalm, on his return to Finland, commenced to write an account of his observations during his journey to and in America. This was done in the manner of a diary, and three volumes of it became published between the years of 1753-61, containing observations made until October 2, 1749. It was his plan to continue the work in three more volumes, but he developed some eye trouble and his time was much occupied in the University and in the endeavor to make the American plants successful in his experimenting grounds, besides he had taken up the ministerial duties of a parish near the town of Turku and had the ambition to become a bishop. It was only in 1778, that Kalm was ready with his fourth volume, but in the meantime his publisher in Stockholm, Sweden, had died and the business discontinued, and although Kalm's first volumes, which were written in Swedish, had been translated and published in several languages, he could not find a Swedish publisher, who would have taken up to continue the publication of his work. While negotiations were going on to publish them in the German language in Germany, Kalm died on November 2, 1779, and the rest of his work never became published. The manuscripts became lost, which is regrettable as the published part of his work is the best source in existence for information about manners, customs, social conditions and about he life in general at that period in America. Kalm's manuscripts became the property of the University of Turku in 1826, and it is believed that the manuscripts for the unpublished part of his American travel were destroyed in 1827, when the city of Turku was devastated by fire and with it went into ashes most part of the library and archives of the ancient university. Fortunately Kalm's diary, which had served as the foundation for the printed volumes, and little further, has found its way to the library of the University of Helsingfors. This embraces the time up to January 12, 1750.
A number of books, of which some are the only copies in existence, printed by William Bradford, Benjamin Franklin and Reinier Jansen, collected by Professor Kalm during his visit in America, are today found in the library of the Helsingfors University.
If Kalm, as being a naturalist, had given himself scientific names to the great number of new types of plants and animals that he discovered in Northern Europe and America, instead of modestly leaving it to be done by Carl Linné of Sweden, his name would be known today among the great naturalists of the time. However his name is immortalized by the scientific name Kalmia latifolia of the beautifully blooming Mountain-laurel, that is the chiefest adornation of the forests in America in which Kalm spent two years and a half in studying. This name was the contribution of Linné.
As the Rev. Eric Unander arrived to Philadelphia on November 6, 1749, to became the minister for the Finnish churches of Raccoon and Pennsneck, the services of Mr. Kalm were no longer required there. Mr. Unander also preached for the Finns at Maurice River and on the Timber Creek, during week-days. In June 1751, there arrived another minister, John Abraham Lidenius, to be assistant minister with the New Jersey congregations. Mr. Lidenius was a native of Raccoon, who was taken to Sweden in 1725 with his parents, the Rev. Abraham Lidenius and Maria, daughter of Van Naeman. He alternated with Unander in preaching in the settlements on the east side of the Delaware River, and also went to preach for the Finns in Morlatton at Manatawny. In November 1752, Mr. Lidenius by the desire of the people of Morlatton went to reside with them and in the following month became married there, to the daughter of the village tailor Ringberg. The Finnish church in Morlatton had been served for few years before this by the German Baron Muhlenberg, who was the minister of the German congregation of Falkner Swamp.
The Rev. Olof Parlin who was commissioned by the Consistory of Upsala, together with Acrelius and Unander, on May 29, 1749, for a mission to America, had recovered from his intermittent fever to which he fell at the time that his partners departed for the journey, and arrived to Philadelphia on July 7, 1750. Mr. Parlin replaced the Rev. Naesman in the Wicaco parish, whom the congregation provided with twenty pounds for traveling expenses, besides paying the balance of his salary which amounted to ninety-six pounds and thirteen shillings. But Mr. Naesman did not hurry back to Sweden however, it was only in November 1751, when he left Philadelphia for the West Indies, leaving his wife Margaretta Rambo and a little son David behind him. In the islands of Antigua and St. Eustasia, he was trying his luck in business and also was tutoring and preaching to the new German colonists, finally reaching Amsterdam, Holland, from where he wrote to the Consistory of Upsala informing of his want of means to reach home and likewise had his wife and baby in America. In the meantime letters of the new Swedish ministers in America had made the Consistory aware that Mr. Naesman was not so much to be blamed but the fault was in the people. (The real fault being that but few of the Finnish descendants understood the Swedish language and their parents having been born on the Delaware River, they felt themselves Americans.) The Swedish government therefore provided for Mr. Naesman one thousand five hundred daler in copper coin and an equal sum was deposited in London for his wife and child. While in the uncertainty in waiting his reply from Sweden, Mr. Naesman interested himself in the science of medicine. And after having spent three months in Paris, France, specializing in the department of midwifery, he intended to return to Pennsylvania as a physician, but as he was looking for passage over the ocean in Rouen, a letter from the Archbishop of Sweden was delivered to him, informing that money for his home journey was already in Amsterdam and likewise for his famiby in London. Mr. Naesman therefore changed his plans and returned to Sweden, where he received one thousand two hundred daler in copper per year for five years, nearly corresponding to the time that he had left his congregation, besides the title of Professor was bestowed upon him, which is the greatest honor in the line of learning in Sweden, furthermore he was appointed to the first class parish of Christianstad.
The Finnish congregations on the Delaware, now had four Swedish ministers, and new spirit had been introduced to the churches. The Moravian movement among the Finns had subsided, the Rev. Nyberg had disappeared from. the scene and although the Rev. Bryzelius appear in the Moravian churches at Piles Grove and Maurice River, his spirit is broken. The Rev. Nyberg finally appears in Sweden, regretful and pardoned.
The management of the Wicaco church property was permanently settled upon twelve trustees, who were to elect twelve new trustees in their place from the members of the congregation, after only five of the first twelve survived and the same proceeding was to continue. Two of the trustees were to be annually elected as administrators, who should collect the rent and give an account of the same to the vestry of the congregation. The yearly rents at this time amounted to fifty pounds. A contribution was taken up in the Wicaco congregation and the roof, windows and organ of the church were repaired, also the churchyard and parsonage grounds were fenced in. At the Wilmington church the hymnbooks were rebound, the church was emptied from birds' nests from the inside, the walls and ceiling were whitewashed, the pulpit and chancel around ithe altar polished, the altar provided with linen, which all had been neglected in late years, and the women of the congregation came together and scoured the floor and pews of the church. New windows also were made to the church and the roof was repaired. The congregation collected fifteen pounds to buy a horse as a gift to their new minister Acrelius. Furthermore, a new parsonage was built in Wilmington, of brick, three stories high, with two rooms upon each floor, while the old parson house was converted into an outbuilding and stable for the new one. The accounts of the management of the church property in Wilmington were audited when a deficiency of about fifty pounds was found and the management rearranged on more equitable basis. The income from money and lots owned by the church at this period exceeded fifty pounds. Besides his salary and extra income the minister had been for his use provided with a considerable area of garden, grain field, forest and meadow land.
In Raccoon the parsonage was repaired and several rooms added to it. The garden was fenced in, and a fine vegetable garden made in front of the house, also a barn was built for the use of the minister. The farm belonging to the parsonage was well fenced, the fields manured and increased by new clearings. The meadow was ditched and cleared up, increasing it to many loads of hay.
But despite all the good will of the Finnish descendants to preserve their forefathers' religion and the edifices of worship built by their ancestors, all went to ruin for the selfish desire of the authorities in Sweden to propagate and preserve the Swedish language in America. The third article of the instructions given by the Consistory of Upsala to Provost Acrelius, to be followed Ly the Swedish ministers, orders that all teaching in the schools must be done in the Swedish language. At this period the Finns had nearly forgotten the Swedish language, they apologized to Provost Acrelius that they did not understand Swedish, although they did like to. Therefore, while the Wilmington congregation had in 1753 and 1754 as many as 516 members, only 68 of these were communicants. The Philadelphia congregation had 430 members and only 21 communicants. The Raccoon and Pennsneck congregations had 450 members and proportionately little communicants. The people, although they remained as members in their forefathers' churches, went to the English churches for not understanding the Swedish language. The parents likewise sent their children to the English schools to learn a language that was not only useful but necessary for any advancement in the country, where it now was the universal language.
The Rev. John Lidenius of Morlatton, who was a native of the Delaware River settlement, better understood the psychology of the natives, and preached and taught school in the English language, wherefore he was warned in brotherly way of it by Provost Acrelius, and when it did not change his attitude, although he was likewise persuaded to retract by the German ministers, who also were engaged in the hopeless task of fighting the Anglinizing movement among their congregations. The Provost wrote on October 31, 1754, to the Consistory of Upsala, requesting the suspension of the Rev. Lidenius from the Swedish ministerial office. Mr. Lidenius now started to think of the consequences at his probable return to Sweden, he would not have a ny hope of receiving a minister's office there, in a country where it was so highly valued. He therefore left Morlatton in the spring of 1755, and settled at Amasland, where he preached on three Sundays a month and the rest of the time in Marcus Hook and other places. Mr. Lidenius was welcomed to the society of his ministerial brethren and on May 23, 1755, Provost Acrelius wrote to the Consistory of Upsala, recommending pardon for Lidenius.
But all these had exactly the results against which the Swedish ministers were so eagerly fighting. For the futile efforts of the Swedish government to maintain the Swedish language among the Finns in America, the Finnish descendants even lost their forefathers' religion. The Finnish congregation in Morlatton, together with few English families in Reading, Pennsylvania, agreed to call an English minister for themselves and subscribed to pay to the minister sixty pounds in yearly salary. In 1760, they wrote to London, England, for the Society of Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, desiring a missionary of the church of England, and proposing to the office Joseph Mathers, who was born in Pennsylvania. An English Episcopal minister Alexander Murray was soon sent for them, and on April 9, 1763, he writes to London about the conditions in his parish. There were then thirty-six families in Morlatton, consisting of 232 souls, whereof 65 were under seven years of age. Most all the people were Finns, of which in 1760 twenty-seven could understand Swedish.
On June 17, 1765, the church wardens and vestrymen of the "Episcopal Congregation at Morlatton, in the County of Berks," wrote to the Society of Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, at London, "That your petitioners do most heartily concur with their Brethren at Reading in presenting their humble and grateful acknowledgments for the benefit of the Mission appointed them and are sincerely desirous to pursue every measure that may conduce to its establishment, and as they are allowed sixty pounds out of the profit of a lottery for repairing their church, they have engaged to raise one hundred pounds more for forwarding that necessary work and which must cost them considerable more before it is completed. But as it will accommodate themselves so they hope it will also encourage others to unite with them and enable them soon after to provide a glebe and parsonage and a better maintenance for their worthy missionary," etc.
The position of the Swedish missionaries in America was not to be envied at this period. They were fighting against the birth of a new nation that nature had destined to evolve out of different sections of humanity, therefore they were men of hard luck and their letters to the Consistory of Upsala and their annals are full of doleful complaints. The Rev. Acrelius writes about the "downward slide" of his flock that : "Formerly the church people could come some Swedish miles on foot to church; now the young as well as the old, must be upon horseback. Then many a good and honest man rode upon a piece of bear skin; now scarcely any saddle is valued unless it has a saddle-cloth with galloon and fringe. Then servants and girls were seen in church barefooted; now young people will be like persons of quality in their dress; servants are seen with wigs of hair, and the like; girls with hooped skirts, fine-stuff shoes, and other finery. Then respectable families lived in low log-houses, where the chimney was made of sticks covered with clay, now they erect painted houses of stone and brick in the country. Then they used ale and brandy, now wine and punch. Then they lived upon grits and mush, now upon tea, coffee, and chocolate."
In another conpection, Pastor Acrelius shows himself to be very fond of luxurious cooking and a great admirer of the noblest of wines. He also wore a wig, which he is said to have placed upon the pulpit while preaching. Where he got these privileges, he fails to explain.
Another minister, the Rev. Erik Nordenlind, who arrived to the country in September 1756, before having been two months in the country wrote the first one of his eight petitions to the Consistory of Upsala asking to be recalled home.
Provost Acrelius left for Sweden on November 9, 1756, after having petitioned to be released three years earlier. The Rev. Parlin of the Wicaco congregation died on December 22, 1757, Mr. Nordenlind continuing with that congregation. The Rev. Unander of the parish of Raccoon and Pennsneck, who had petitioned his archbishop to be permitted to return to Sweden with Mr. Acrelius, was appointed to take the latter's place in the parish of Wilmington, while Mr. Lidenius of Amasland was appointed to the parish of Raccoon and Pennsneck.
Once more the Swedish authorities made a grand assault for the maintenance of the Swedish language in America. On June 12, 1758, the Rev. Doctor Carl Magnus Wrangel, and the Rev. Andreas Borell, were commissioned to go to America, Dr. Wrangel, who was one of the Swedish branch of nobility, of the illustrious Esthonian family of Wrangels, was to be the provost of the Swedish ministers, and his commission for the maintenance of the Swedish language was as drastic as ever. The fifth article of his commission reads:
"For keeping the Swedish language in power, the ministers must take all imaginable care, and not without absolute necessity in their transactions depart of it, less to let their audience occasion to think indifferently and equally unbiased way thereof, if they desire in the future teachers from Sweden. To this end they must also keep the Swedish books in busy and active use, and when the ministers visit in the houses of the members of their congregation, they shall instruct how the Swedish books should be used. And when the old people of the family die, the ministers must ask for the Swedish books found in the family, and not to allow them to come to another hands, but those who use them; otherwise to take them away, and allow no books sold, exchanged, given away, or disposed in any manner whatever, but to the true purpose of the mission."
The authorities in Sweden must have had a wrong illusion of the chances of the Swedish language in America. The Morlatton congregation had already fallen off from the reach of the Swedish missionaries, who at this time were sent uninvited to this country. In the congregations of Philadelphia and Wilmington, there were only a handful of Swedish- speaking families of newly arrived Swedes, who had been coming in with the ministers. These had not been able to support missionaries, but the Finns who had built the church had provided the same with lands of which incomes now were derived. In Philadelphia the income from the lands handsomely paid the salary of the minister and the maintenance of the church, while in Wilmington the income was larger at this period than could be well used for these purposes, therefore the Swedish missionaries in these congregations could afford to preach in Swedish for the empty churches. The descendants of the Finns, although still interested in the churches of their forefathers, went to the English churches where they could understand the sermons. In the Finnish churches of New Jersey and especially at Raccoon, the position was somewhat different. There the Finns had not had the opportunity to send their children to English schools, but had their children taught to read by the Swedish schoolmasters, that were brought in by the missionaries. Therefore the Finns in New Jersey retained some understanding in the Swedish language longer than those in Pennsylvania and in the present state of Delaware. The New Jersey parishes were not however so desirable to the Swedish missionaries as were those of Philadelphia and Wilmington, for the reason that the salaries in the former parishes were paid by contribution, as the church lands there did not produce much income as yet. Besides this, the salaries there were liable to be small, as the Finns there, although not numerous, had four churches, a Lutheran church in Raccoon and another in Pennsneck, and a Moravian church in Piles Grove and another at Maurice River.
The Moravian church at Maurice River later was used by the Lutheran congregation, after Paul Bryzelius, the Moravian propagator had finally left the place for having become converted and forgiven, and embraced in the flock of the "right minded shepherds."
The new missionaries, Wrangel and Borell, arrived to Philadelphia in the beginning of April 1759, where Wrangel delivered his installation sermon on the 15th of that month. The Rev. Nordenlind, who had been preaching in the Wicaco church since the death of Parlin in December 1757, was commissioned for the Raccoon and Pennsneck congregations, in place of Lidenius who received his commission for the Wilmington parish. And Unander of Wilmington was recalled to Sweden. However all these arrangements could not be carried on, as the New Jersey congregations did not want Nordenlind, who seemed to have fallen too much away from the holy spirit to the country's distilled spirits. Lidenius was satisfied to remain in Raccoon, for his poverty, to escape moving expenses and because he was liked by the people there, although complaints are made about his great love of liquors. And the Rev. Unander could not immediately start to Sweden on account of his debts. A letter of Dr. Wrangel to the Archbishop of Sweden, on October 13, 1760, partly explains the cause of the poverty of these three ministers. He says: "I am ashamed to mention that the strong drinks of this country have been the greatest ruin for a part of our ministers, who however both here and in the fatherland do not shame to complain for poverty, although their consciousness tells them that a saving in this had freed them from such load."
Dr. Wrangel undoubtedly was right, as at the time Nordenlind was minister in the Wicaco church, the extra incomes, besides regular salary, the use of parsonage and the use of land, according to the Rev. Unander, were 2000 Swedish copper daler. This income came especially from marriages, as the English peoples of Philadelphia had acquired the habit of getting their marriages solemnized in the old Finns' church of Wicaco. Yet poverty seemed to have been the second name of Nordenlind in his letters to the authorities in Sweden.
On June 1, 1759, the Swedish ministers sent a petition to the Consistory of Upsala for Nordenlind, who desired his recall. Upon this, it was sent to him from Sweden on October 10, 1760, but before this Nordenlind was no more. On a visit to the parsonage of Raccoon he fell sick and died on September 30, 1760. His remains were interred in the Wilmington church two days later.
The relations of Dr. Wrangel and the Rev. Unander were not very cordial, as the latter was disappointed of not having been commissioned for the office of Provost, and therefore tried to make every hindrance to Dr. Wrangel. However, for the economic situation of Unander, Dr. Wrangel in conjunction of the other ministers, sent a petition on June 1, 1759, to the Consistory of Upsala, requesting that Unander might stay some time in his parish, although he had been recalled to Sweden.
At this time, the Wilmington congregation was threatened by a loss of some property. In 1749, the church land property was left to two trustees, who were to handle the land as their own, as the English laws forbid a church to own land for its maintenance. One of the trustees, Anders Tranberg, son of the former Pastor Tranberg, died in January 1759, and had one thousand and two hundred pounds of the congregation's money in his care. The congregation could not sue for this in the court and there were some difficulties to get it out. To prevent this in the future, a new charter was drafted to replace the old charter of the year 1699. In the new charter, which was accepted by the government on October 27, 1759, it was provided that the church property was to be left to the care of nine commissioners, who together with the minister were to elect two trustees, to manage together with the minister the property of the congregation. In case some of the commissioners die, the congregation was to elect a new man in his place.
The relations between Wrangel and Unander grew worse with time, and the former desired the latter's return to Sweden, according to his recall. Finally it went so far that Provost Wrangel appeared in the Wilmington church and notified the congregation of pastor Unander's recall to Sweden, besides making some accusations against the minister, which led to a scene and verbal encounter between the two ministers. Pastor Unander however left the country in the last days of July 1760, and Anders Borell became the minister of the Wilmington parish.
According to the desire of the congregations of Raccoon and Pennsneck, Lidenius stayed there, and the ministers in their letter of June 1, 1759, petitioned the Consistory of Upsala for the acceptance of this arrangement. Soon after the home journey of Unander and the death of Nordenlind, the New Jersey congregations began however to get in trouble for their favorite son. The Rev. Lidenius, for his over mediation with the distilled spirits, could not keep himself out of debts. To pay his creditors, the congregation allowed him to sell from the forest of the church, fifty cords of wood in 1760. Besides the congregation often waited in vain in the church as no minister came to preach. And worse than that, the pastor was imprisoned by the authorities for denouncing God. The affair came in conclusion when Lidenius in the spring of 1761, was committed to the debtors' prison by his creditors. The congregation paid his debts, amounting to two hundred pounds, to get him out of prison, but refused him as their minister any longer. The other Swedish ministers therefore petitioned on August 21, 1761, the Consistory of Upsala for the recall of Lidenius. The people of the congregation had however great hearts and once more Lidenius was given a chance to come back, but this he could not do. Dr. Wrangel and others accuse his wife for his downfall.
At this time the Herrnhuters sent the Rev. Paul Bryzelius to the Finnish settlements of Western New Jersey, to take advantage of the conditions there. Here he met Dr. Wrangel, who converted him back to the Lutheran Church, in the autumn of 1760. At the German ministers' council, on October 20, 1760, Bryzelius departed from the Moravian Brotherhood to which he had belonged twenty years, and became taken to the Lutheran ministry. At first he preached for the Finns in Morlatton, until he could be given a position in some of the German churches. In 1761 he was installed in a German congregation in New Jersey. He was then over seventy years of age, had a wife and six children, and was in poor circumstances. Later he became English minister, as "chief chaplain" of Nova Scotia Squadron.
As a result of the request for the recall of Lidenius there arrived on May 3, 1762, to Philadelphia the Rev. Johan Wicksell, bringing from the Consistory of Upsala the desired recall. Consequently Lidenius started to prepare for the journey, and delivered his farewell sermons in the various churches in New Jersey and in Wilmington during the month of August and September, while Pastor Wicksell was installed to the New Jersey congregations on July 11, 1762. The fathers of the Consistory of Upsala had been prudent so far as to send the traveling money of thirty pounds to the hands of Dr. Wrangel, to be delivered to Lidenius as soon as he was ready for the journey. But they were not farsighted enough to buy a ticket with the money, as the journey of Mr. Lidenius ended in the nearest place to satisfy the old craving. On May 12, 1763, Lidenius finally was presented with a letter of expulsion from the ministry by Dr. Wrangel, on power given to him by the Consistory of Upsala, in case Lidenius would not obey his recall.
Hereafter Lidenius never again preached in the Churches, but did some preaching in the homes of the members of his old congregations, and acted as teacher of the school at Rapapu, which he is credited of having done well. In the winter of 1768, Lidenius died in poverty and forgotten. His body was buried in the yard of the house where he lived, but still it was his native soil. What is a golden casket and a tomb of splendor in a foreign land compared to one's native earth.
The Rev. Wicksell preached first time in Raccoon on July 18, 1762, and in Pennsneck on July 25th. The wooden churches had grown old, that of Raccoon was almost beyond repair. The windows of the Pennsneck church were broken and the parish house was in bad shape. In the autumn of 1762 the roof of the Pennsneck church was repaired and the other repairings completed during the following year.
Before the arrival of Wicksell, it had been contemplated to build a town about the Raccoon church, by which income could be derived from the church land. The idea was carried in effect in 1765, when a charter for the town of Sveaborg (after the fortress in the harbor of Helsingfors, Finland) was obtained from the governor of New Jersey. The church land was divided into lots and after a few years about ten houses had been built in the new town. The Raccoon congregation built a new parish house in the town, which was ready on March 14, 1765, when Pastor Wicksell moved in, after having rented the old parish house and glebe for twenty pounds a year. The new parish house in Sveaborg was built of pine logs, two stories high, with three rooms on each floor. A stable also belonged to it and a garden of three acres, with one hundred and fifty fruit trees. Besides these, five acres of marsh was improved to pasture land and six acres on the Raccoon Creek, about three miles below the town, were reclaimed by a dike of six feet in height, for the use of the minister.
A new charter for the Raccoon church, to protect the property of the church, was obtained on October 1, 1765, from Governor William Franklin of New Jersey. By this the management of the church affairs were invested upon the minister, two church wardens and upon six or more vestrymen, however not to exceed eleven persons altogether.
At the Maurice River were living some twenty or thirty Finnish families, of which many still understood Swedish. During the time they were embracing the Moravian teaching, they hard built a wooden church. Pastor Wicksell preached in the church once a month, on a week-day. When Wicksell returned to Sweden the Finns of Maurice River desired their own minister, for which purpose they had subscribed a salary of between eighty and one hundred pounds. A member of the congregation promised 200 acres of land for parsonage and five acres for the church, church yard and school. However the Revolutionary War cut off all connections with Sweden and nothing came about it.
At Egg Harbor were living about thirty Finnish families, scattered in a large area. Only seldom had any of the Swedish ministers visited there, when Dr. Wrangel visited them in 1764, they had not seen a Swedish minister in twenty years. Of the people there, it is said, that they were not much interested in the minister's visit and "listened to violin rather than a sermon." Dancing and drinking was much in vogue there and the people lived like pagans, says Wrangel. He found there however a family whose all members gathered in a family worship every Sunday. Dr. Wrangel therefore decided to deliver few revival sermons there and says of having plaid great havoc thereby among the people.
The position of the Swedish ministers in America was becoming more and more difficult. Although in the year of 1760, the Finnish congregations had about 3000 members, among these were few who understood Swedish. The reason of these peoples forgetting the Swedish language so soon, despite all the efforts of the Swedish ministers, was that they were not Swedish by their mother tongue, but Finnish. The early Finnish colonists never had become fully acquainted with the Swedish language, as they used the Finnish in their homes, although Swedish was used in communications between the Finns and the Dutch. Practically the only Swedes in the colony were few families of newly arrived adventurers, schoolmasters that had been brought to America by the missionaries and the families of some Swedish ministers, who died here. The Rev. Unander who was in America in 1749-1760, says that he never saw in any Swedish service here more than fifty people and sometimes not more than twelve, it also happened that not one came to the service. However when English was preached, the services were well attended. In 1767, the English services in the Wilmington church were attended, according to the report of the minister of the time, by 200 to 400 persons.
When the Wicaco congregation on January 2, 1758, in a letter notified the Consistory of Upsala of the death of their minister the Rev. Parlin, they expressed their desire that the new minister should be able to hold services in English. To this the consistory replied that: "As the provost and the ministers have and always have had instructions to conduct all their official business not only after Swedish usages but also in the Swedish language, so the Consistory cannot make any changes in it. Furthermore it is required by necessity that if the American Congregations will look towards Sweden and enjoy the care of the Swedish kings, as heretofore it should be their duty to preserve the Swedish language so that their members, the young and old, the masters, children and servants will obtain their knowledge in Christianity in Swedish and in the same language conduct both their private and common worship."
On the arrival of Dr. Wrangel to America in the Spring of 1759, he immediately saw that the instructions given to him by the Consistory of Upsala, in regard to the Swedish language, could not be carried on as strictly as ordered. The Swedish ministers already had been compelled to use English in their transactions with the members of their congregations and also more or less in the church services, during the last fifty years. In the Wicaco congregation a number of the descendants of the Finns in Kingsessing, who did not understand Swedish sermons, were now contemplating the building of another church, where they would not be bothered with the Swedish language.
The lack of knowledge in English forced the Swedish ministers to act within their instructions on their arrival, but after having preached little more than two months, Dr. Wrangel saw the impossibility and wrote to his Consistory in Sweden, that not one-fourth of the members of his congregation understood Swedish sermons. As Dr. Wrangel was a linguist, it was easy to him to acquire the English so far as to read his sermons in that language and the rest of the services were conducted according to and by the use of the church books of the English Episcopal Church, as the Lutheran Church literature were not then found in the English language. On November 3, 1759, Dr. Wrangel wrote to the Consistory of Upsala that: "A minister, who will satisfy his conscience, cannot possibly altogether deny of preaching in English."
The leaders of the Anglican church did not either remain idle, the Finnish descendants were induced to their Church in Chester, by electing them to the offices of their church. Likewise, as the Episcopalian liturgy was followed by the Swedish ministers in their English services, the Lutherans did not see any difference between these two churches. The lack of Lutheran Church literature in the English language and the propagation of the Swedish language in America, were the causes that drove the descendants of the early Finnish colonists on the Delaware away forever from their forefathers' religion.
On August 3, 1761, the Swedish ministers had a meeting in Wicaco, at which the Finnish descendants, members of the Wicaco congregation, who lived in Kingsessing and in that neighborhood, notified the ministers of their decision to build a church in Kingsessing at their own cost, where the services will be held only in the English language. This was done to hold on to the Lutheran religion and to prevent misunderstanding, they desired the Swedish ministers to inform the Swedish Consistory accordingly.
In notifying about this to his superiors in Sweden, Dr. Wrangel begs the Consistory to use its influence before the king, that the new ministers might be prepared to endeavor by the use of English language to hold the people in their forefathers' religion.
In the Wilmington congregation, the conditions were the same as in Wicaco. The southern wall of the church having given out eighteen inches on account of the weight of the roof and a vestibule, thirty feet wide with walls five feet thick, was necessary to support the falling wall. This work involved a greater expense than one-fourth of the income from the church land property reached and therefore a tax had to be levied upon the members. But the vast majority of the members not understanding the Swedish language and therefore having no profit of the services in the church, refused to contribute unless English is used in the church. The Rev. Borell therefore had to ascend to hold English services every other Sunday, against his instructions from Sweden, and in a letter in September 1762, acceptance for this was requested from the Consistory of Upsala, but the letter became lost on the way.
At the old Finns' Point, now known as Pennsneck, none of the Finnish descendants any longer could understand Swedish and refused any expense unless English is preached in their church, to which the Rev. Wicksell did not see any other way but to accede. Only in Raccoon, where the Finnish children were continuously taught by Swedish schoolmasters, many of the people still could understand a Swedish sermon.
To the petitions for English sermons, the Consistory of Upsala reluctantly consented that it may happen in certain time and places, however adding that the Swedish language must be by all possible ways maintained.
After having won the confidence of his congregation, by preaching in English, Dr. Wrangel found the necessity of reorganizing the English school of the Finns in Kingsessing. For the request of the congregation, he drafted instructions for the schoolmaster. These provided that the schoolmaster must be Lutheran in religion and be well learned in the reading and writing of the English language. The instructions are dated November 27, 1761.
In Kingsessing Dr. Wrangel preached during the summer time in a shed and during the winter in the schoolhouse and in the house of an Englishman Coultas, who had got the benches and the pulpit for that purpose. So great was the interest for the new church that four hundred pounds was soon subscribed for its building. On August 2, 1762, Dr. Wrangel laid the corner stone of the Kingsessing church. The members of the congregation made the work themselves, often there were one hundred men on the job. The Englishman Coultas, who had joined the congregation and had contributed forty pounds to the building fund, was invested with the supervison of the work. In 1763, the church was ready and was dedicated by Dr. Wrangel. It was called St. James Church. The edifice was intended for an audience of 600 people, was sixty feet long, forty-five feet wide and had also a balcony.
Several new improvements have been added to the old church of Kingsessing. The church stands on Darby Road, between 68th and 69th Streets in Philadelphia. Kingsessing, the old Finnish town is today included in the city of Philadelphia.
About the time the Kingsessing church was built, another church was built by the Finns at Upper Matzong or Upper Merion. Dr. Wrangel used to preach there once a week during weekdays and few times a year on Sundays. For the additional work, the congregation agreed to pay twenty pounds for an assistant minister and Wrangel from his side agreed to give free board for the assistant, these arrangements were made in a minister's meeting on August 3, 1761, in Wicaco. Accordingly a minister was petitioned for, from Sweden and the king paid the traveling expenses of the first minister, with the hope that congregation afterwards could be able to provide for the same. As the result thereof Johan Haggblad was sent from Sweden as assistant minister for Wrangel.
The Upper Merion church was built in 1763, and was called Christ Church. It stands on the west bank of the Schuylkill, below Norristown and about sixteen miles from the Wicaco church. The first Finnish settlers in this region were Mats Holstein, (original name Halttunen and originating from Halttulapohja, Kankaanpaa, Finland), and Peter Rambo, (descendant of Peter Rambo and his wife Brita Mattson, both born in Vasa, Finland), with their families. Mats (Mathias) Holstein had one thousand acres of land in the neighborhood of what was formerly called Swede's Ford, after him.
The Rev. Johan Haggblad arrived to Philadelphia on September 20, 1763, as Dr. Wrangel's assistant. Wrangel gave him free board and allowed him half of the extra incomes and later pursuaded the congregation to allow sixty pounds yearly salary for Haggblad, that he might be able to board in the country.
In order to keep the Wicaco church and the newly built annex churches at Kinsessing and Upper Merion in the hands of the descendants of the people who built them, and in order to secure their Lutheran faith, these churches were united into a corporation. Although the incorporators were mostly Finns, there being besides Provost Wrangel presumably one Swede, Otto Nisellis, (Hesselius) the incorporated name of these churches was "United Swedish Lutheran Churches." A charter for these churches was granted by Governor John Penn, on September 25, 1765.
Dr. Wrangel also preached once a month for the Finns at Pennypack Creek, but the people being too few there to build a church of their own, they united with the English and German neighbors to an Episcopalian congregation in 1773.
The school at Kingsessing, having been built for sixty students, could not accommodate all applicants, therefore a new school was necessary. In a letter of November 5, 1763, to the Archbishop of Sweden, Dr. Wrangel tells of another new school, to be built when the church is ready, for which purpose eighty pounds already had been subscribed.
At this time Dr. Wrangel made propositions that students from among the congregations should be sent to Sweden to be prepared as Lutheran ministers for their relatives in America. Thus Wrangel had taken the steps that might have saved to the Finnish descendants their Lutheran religion, that their forefathers so zealously had guarded and had built churches and provided for their maintenance that their posterity might not find difficulty in their worship. Dr. Wrangel had common sense to see that the Swedish language at this period was the destructive force within the congregations, that its propagation drove the descendants of the original builders of the churches away and left only a handful of people, the families of few newly arrived adventurers from Sweden, who had not had part in the building of the churches or in providing their maintenance. For this Dr. Wrangel however drew the displeasure of the Consistory of Upsala upon himself, and became the scapegoat of everything that was not to the liking of his superiors in Sweden, or his fellow ministers here.
On May 29, 1763, Pastor Borell of Wilmington and Pastor Wicksell of Raccoon together sent a letter to the Consistory of Upsala, complaining against Dr. Wrangel, and requesting for his recall to Sweden. Besides all their displeasures towards Dr. Wrangel, they had a strong case against him. In December 29, 1762, arrived to America one Nils Hornell, a Lutheran minister from Sweden, who had escaped from the country, accused of murder. This man was accosted by Pastor Borell in Wilmington during five weeks, after which Borell furnished him with recommendations and a petition to Dr. Wrangel, that he should for the sake of Christian charity find some employment to the Rev. Hornell. This Borell did although having received a warning about Hornell from England. As no other employment was available, Dr. Wrangel allowed Hornell to deliver the Swedish sermons in the Wicaco church, and after the true character of Hornell became known, this was used by the other ministers against Provost Wrangel.
As the result of these complaints against Dr. Wrangel, the Consistory of Upsala on March 14, 1764, wrote to Wrangel, requesting him to petition for recall. In consequence hereof Dr. Wrangel received in June 1765, his recall and at the same time was notified that Pastor Borell had been appointed in his place. Dr. Wrangel knowing Pastor Borell's unfitness to the office of provost, decided to remain despite his recall and did not deliver the commission to Pastor Borell. The pastor had lost his confidence in his congregation by the habit of drunkeness and questionable mode of living, wherefore the services in the Wilmington church were no longer attended and the congregation desired to get rid of him. Of these Dr. Wrangel notified the Consistory of Upsala in his letter of October 1, 1765. This was followed by a letter of October 10, 1765, to the Consistory from the united congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion, who desired Dr. Wrangel to stay with them. Before any reply had yet arrived for the above letters, Pastor Borell's position had grown worse. On July 13, 1766, before the church council in Wicaco, Pastor Borell was accused by the widow of the Rev. Nordenlind, of things unbecoming to a minister of the church, wherefore the council declared that it would not accept Pastor Borell as their provost. In the meantime Dr. Wrangel had got additional force fighting against him. On September 20, 1763, arrived from Sweden, the Rev. Johan Haggblad, to be assistant for Wrangel. At the same time as Dr. Wrangel was recalled, he was instructed to install Pastor Haggblad as minister of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion. Now Haggblad desired Wrangel's departure, that he might receive the office, but the congregations refused to accept him for his indifference and slowness to learn the English language, and in same letter in which the congregations desired to have Dr. Wrangel to stay here, they notified the Consistory of Upsala of their decision as to Pastor Haggblad. This was taken so hard by Haggblad that he fell sick and died on January 15, 1766. His remains were interred in the Wicaco church. All this made it more necessary to Dr. Wrangel to stay here.
The reply of the Consistory of Upsala to Dr. Wrangel, on April 30, 1766, was entirely different than one would have supposed. The Consistory was much displeased of Dr. Wrangel's stay here and upheld its former appointment of Pastor Borell as the provost. After this, Dr. Wrangel could not see other way but to return to Sweden and arranged for his passage. On Sunday, October 12, 1766, he notified his congregations of his leaving them and invited their vestries to a meeting in Wicaco on October 15th. In the meeting of the vestries, it became divulged that Pastor Borsal was impossible, but they would not accept Pastor Wicksell of Raccoon either, for his blackmail work against Wrangel and for a scandal in which he had lately become involved in the German church at Cohanzie, where the Swedish ministers also used to preach, as some fifteen Finnish families were united with that church. The vestries wanted Dr. Wrangel to stay here and promised to stand with him for whatever follows. The vestries could not believe that their letter of October 10, 1765, had reached to the Consistory, as no reply had come. (The letter never arrived to the Consistory.) The schoolmaster, students and a large number of the members of the Wicaco congregation petitioned the vestries to pursuade Dr. Wrangel to stay in the country, therefore, after the rest of the members of the congregations had expressed their desire for the same, a new petition on behalf of Dr. Wrangel was sent to the Consistory of Upsala, by the united congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion, on November 12, 1766.
Before this, Dr. Baron Heinrich Muhlenberg, head of the German Lutheran Churches in America, had on September 1, 1766, written to the Archbishop of Sweden, in the name of the German ministers, on behalf of Dr. Wrangel. In this letter Dr. Muhlenberg says that Dr. Wrangel was the only Swedish minister here, fit for the mission and that Borell, Wicksell and Haggblad were the most fatal elements for the church.
That Dr. Wrangel really was devoted to his mission, can be judged of the fact that he was teaching the negro slaves in Christianity and says in his letter to the Archbishop of Sweden on October 13, 1760, of having baptized more than twenty of them.
All the petitions and circumstances in favor of Dr. Wrangel did not make any change in the attitude of the authorities in Sweden. They resented the building and chartering the churches without their authorization and maintained that their orders must be obeyed regardless of circumstances. Steps were taken in order to compel Dr. Wrangel to return to Sweden and Borell was upheld as provost. On April 6, 1767, the Consistory commissioned the Rev. Andres Goransson as minister for Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion and the Rev. Lars Girelius to be pastor extraordinary with the mission. These new ministers arrived to Philadelphia on October 1, 1767, but in the meeting of the vestries of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion, soon after their arrival, there were expressions uttered, that if the congregations have addressed letters to the authorities in Sweden, this has been only out of courtesy and must not be abused and understood that the congregations are by no means bound to accept anybody that some Swedish king send to their neck. When Rev. Goransson told the vestries that he will discuss about it with his superior, Provost Borrell, he was informed that the Wicaco church was closed for Borell.
This situation of the affairs affected Goransson, who had insane tendencies, so much that upon the governor's order he had to be placed in the insane asylum, for being so violent that four men could not hold him. Provost Borell, who had been suffering some time for jaundice, died on April 4, 1768, and was interred on the following day in the Wilmington church. Pastor Goransson, who had now somewhat recovered, officiated at the burial. Among the papers of Pastor Borell were found a forged marriage certificate and other documents, indicating of a private life, unbecoming to a minister.
On May 9, 1768, the congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion had a meeting for electing members for their vestries. Pastors Goransson and Wicksell being present, were told that the former could not be accepted for his sickness and in regard to the latter, only his permission from the king of England saved him of being handled as disturber of the privileges that were theirs as subjects of the English crown. At this meeting, Dr. Wrangel declared his intention to depart for Sweden, upon which the Rev. Goransson presented a written request for a final answer of the vestries in regard of him being accepted as minister. The answer was "no," and he was offered a free ticket to Sweden.
The Swedish ministers, opposed to Dr. Wrangel, had from the Consistory of Upsala a warrant for legal steps and to petition the Governor of Pennsylvania for the forcible expulsion of Wrangel. These proceedings were not needed however, as Dr. Wrangel, in the beginning of September 1768, left for Sweden, where he was questioned before the Consistory during four days at his arrival. On August 20, 1771, Dr. Wrangel became appointed to the office of chief chaplain of the royal court.
After the departure of Dr. Wrangel from America, the congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion would not accept the Rev. Goransson as their minister. The Consistory of Upsala wrote therefore on May 19, 1769, to Proprietary Penn and to his nephew John Penn, Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania, for their interference in the matter.
On May 12, 1770, arrived to Philadelphia the Rev. Nils Collin, as pastor extraordinary, whom the above mentioned congregations invited to be their minister. Some prevailing however probably had taken place from the side of the Proprietary, as soon after the arrival of Collin, the parsonage of Wicaco was opened to Goransson and on July 12, 1770, the vestry voted him a yearly salary of one hundred and twenty pounds. However when the matter was presented for the approval of the congregations, there were utterances that no king or any Consistory of Upsala has right to impose upon them a minister that they do not want.
According to commissions brought from Sweden by Collin, Wicksell of Raccoon became vice-provost and Girelius became the minister of Wilmington church. At this time the Wilmington church was whitewashed and decorated also a stove for heating was installed. From London was brought a new bell, but as the old belfry was found to be inadequate, a new tower was built on the western end of the church. A communion set of silver also was obtained for the church.
The Rev. Collin originally was commissioned to assist Vice-Provost Wicksell in Raccoon and Pennsneck, and held his installation sermon in the Raccoon church on June 3, 1770.
On September 1, 1773, arrived to Philadelphia another Swedish clergyman, the Rev. Carl Johan Luut, as pastor extraordinary. He brought to Vice-Provost Wicksell his already in 1768 desired recall, Goransson was to be the provost and Collin was commissioned as minister at Raccoon and Pennsneck. Other changes soon took place, when on September 22, 1775, king Gustavus III. of Sweden signed the recall of Girelius and Goransson on their earlier request.
In the year of 1771, Daniel Kuhn, a descendant of the early colonists, went to Sweden to study theology in the University of Upsala, upon the long since introduced proposition that the native Americans are best suited to be ministers for the American Lutheran congregations. In September 1775, after having become an ordained Lutheran minister, the Rev. Kuhn wrote to the king of Sweden petitioning for appointment for the American congregations, after having been previously recommended by Dr. Wrangel and by the congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion. Kuhn's case had previously caused much discussion in Sweden, the Swedish clergy in America were afraid that a native American would stay in his position and therefore be on the way of the Swedish ministers. Also it was feared that an American born would pay little attention to the orders of the Swedish Consistory and would care little about Swedish commissions once he had got into the congregations. The Consistory of Upsala therefore did not find it advisable to use native Americans for the mission. And the decision of the king on May 3, 1775, was that only native Swedes would be used for the mission. However exception was made in the case of Kuhn, as on September 22, 1775, he received commission as minister for the Wilmington congregation. On the same day the Rev. Mathias Hultgren was commissioned to follow Kuhn to America as pastor extraordinary, and the Rev. Luut, who already was in America, was commissioned as minister of the congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion.
Heretofore the Swedish crown had furnished the missionaries to America with traveling expenses, but by the decision of the royal commission for the reformation of the state machinery, on February 13, 1775, these expenses were wiped out. The Rev. Wicksell's opinion about this had been asked and consequently he submitted his opinions on March 6, 1775. Wicksell thought that he could not recommend that the poor people of the home country should expend money on behalf of people who are daily growing richer.
In 1775, began the struggle for the liberty and independence of the United States. This noble campaign, being well known and well understood, does not require to be reviewed in this work. It was natural that the Finnish descendants, some of whose forefathers had arrived to the Delaware country one hundred and thirty-six years before, were the most eager to fight for their native country. They were the first real Americans, as the Englishmen still were Englishman, and the Germans and Dutch were clinging to their languages, while the Finns already had lost all that tied them to their homelands. The Finnish and Swedish languages that they spoke, had become extinct among the Finns long since. What there was left of the Swedish language was among few newly arrived Swedes and the families of the Swedish ministers.
The old and settled area, inhabited by the Finnish descendants, was very much in the midst of the conflicts of the Revolution. The old, venerable bell of the Wicaco church was carried to safety by the American forces. In 1776, there was a naval encounter opposite the Pennsneck church between English and American naval forces. In the Wilmington church were two companies of American forces encamped in 1777. And in 1778, the English troops broke the pews of the Wicaco church to convert the building into a hospital. The Raccoon church was used for a while as barrack by the American forces and the school house was consumed by fire during the occupations.
The Swedish ministers were not quite in sympathy with the new freedom. Goransson in his provost-book had made utterances that might have cost him dearly if the men who were fighting for their country's liberty had happened to put their hands upon them. Collin likewise was arrested on February 4, 1777, by the American troops, upon information of a member of his congregation. In October of the same year, Collin was again arrested as a spy, after the battle of Red Bank, however he succeeded to get free on both occasions. He admits of having been undecided whether to withdraw behind the English lines. The Rev. Luut left the country on March 8, 1778, without having received any recall and the Rev. Mathias Hultgren was waiting in London for a chance to get passage to America, but the Rev. Daniel Kuhn never got back to his native country, he died in London, on October 7, 1776. Finally on October 19, 1779, Hultgren arrived to Philadelphia, having found chance to come over to New York on an English ship. He brought the recall for Goransson and Girelius.
The Wicaco church at this time could not be used for worship on account of damages made when the English troops used it as their hospital. In September 1780, Goransson left for Sweden, but Girelius stayed here until the next year on account of conditions in his family.
After the Revolutionary War, there were no longer Swedish services held in the old churches built by the Finns. Only in the Raccoon church Swedish was preached still about once a month for a while. The new minister, the Rev. Hultgren in writing back to Sweden about the conditions in his congregations says that: "No sane man would come to be minister with these so-called Swedish congregations, if he could have in Sweden the right idea of the conditions among the Swedish descendants, who have no more sympathy towards anything from Sweden than if it was from Turkey."
The Rev. Hultgren did not have apprehension that these "Swedish descendants" were nearer related to the Turks than to the Swedes, and that their ancestors coming from Sweden could not, for their sad experiences, live to their children the illusion of Sweden being the old, sweet homeland, but a place of persecution, massacres and violence.
The Rev. Collin likewise had many times petitioned to be recalled and on November 22, 1782, his recall was signed by the king, while at the same time Girelius was commissioned as provost although he also had already permission to go back to Sweden. Hultgren at the same time was appointed by the king to be minister of the congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion.
At this time the Raccoon congregation had started to finally build its long time contemplated new church, for this, one thousand and two hundred pounds had been subscribed and in 1784, the work was started. The new temple was ready in March 1786, and the Rev. Collin, who on account of the building of it had been interested to remain in the country a little longer, says about the new church that: "Those who have seen America, say that it has few of its equal in country places and surpasses all in the State of New Jersey." The church was built of brick, the length being sixty feet, width forty feet and height thirty feet. It had three doors and three balconies, and twenty-seven windows in two rows upon each other. It was built on the ground of the old church. The Wicaco church and parsonage likewise were repaired soon after the war and services restored in the church.
Since the end of the war, it had been openly discussed about, that native born ministers were more suitable for the congregations, than those sent from Sweden and in July 1784, the Swedish ministers notified the authorities in Sweden about resolution passed by the congregations, upon the king's decision to withdraw the traveling expenses for the Swedish ministers, the congregations being willing, in recognition of favors extended by the Swedish kings, to pay traveling expenses for Swedish ministers who can preach in the English language.
The Rev. Hultgren left America in 1786, after having received his recall to Sweden. After him the vestry of the congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion accepted the Rev. Collin to be their minister, with the following resolution: "Whereupon the vestry do agree to receive the Rev. Mr. Collin as their minister; but 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 authorized and required to write to the Archbishop of Upsala, 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 present 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 of 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."
On account of the above resolution, the wardens of the Wicaco church, R. Keen and John Stille, wrote to Archbishop Mennander of Upsala a letter, dated at Philadelphia, on June 16, 1786, in which it is said that: "The Vestry, always maintaining a due sense of the care and attention of his present Majesty the King of Sweden and his Royal pudension towards these Churches, has agreed to acceive the Rev. Mr. Collin as their Pastor and Rector, reserving to the Congregations a right hereafter of their own appointment of a minister from this side the water, should they find it not convenient and beneficial to themselves and for the welfare of these churches, so that hereafter it will be entirely unnecessary for any future appointment to take place from Sweden of a minister to serve in these Congregations, unless a request of that kind should be made in due form, which is not very probable, as the Swedish language is almost entirely extinct in Pennsylvania. Therefore whenever it shall please his Gracious Majesty the King of Sweden to recall from these Congregations their present Pastor Collin, the Mission will undoubtedly cease."
Since the removal of Collin to Wicaco, the congregations of Raccoon and Pennsneck have been served by Episcopal rectors. The Raccoon parish is known today as "Trinity Parish," and the town, originally named as "Sveaborg," after the fortress in the harbor of Helsingsfors, Finland, (now Suomenlinna), is known today as Swedesboro.
In the spring of 1791, Girelius left for Sweden, after his departure and ever since the Trinity Church of Wilmington has had rectors of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
The Rev. Collin was, after the departure of Pastor Girelius, compelled for domestic reasons to stay yet in the country and it seems that he was satisfied with his congregations and they with him, as Collin never left America. He worked with his congregations forty years more and died on October 7, 1831, being eighty-six years of age. After the death of the Rev. Collin, the United Congregations of Wicaco, Kingsessing and Upper Merion elected the Rev. Jehu Curtis Clay, an Episcopalian, as their rector. The Rev. Clay was of Finnish descent, belonging to the Holstein family. These churches have been ministered by the Episcopal clergyman ever since.
Thus all the sanctuaries, built by the descendants of the early Finnish colonists in America, had become Episcopal churches.
Publication: E. A. Louhi: The Delaware Finns or The First Permanent Settlements in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey, and Eastern Part of Maryland. New York, The Humanity Press Publishers. 1925, 331 pages.
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