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The Delaware Finns

E. A. Louhi

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 V. The Third Expedition. Finnish Colonists Brought to the Delaware River.

When the Kalmar Nyckel arrived from the second expedition in the beginning of July 1640, it brought letters and reports to Admiral Fleming and Chancellor Oxenstierna from Ridder the new commander of the colony, and from Van Dyck who also went with the second expedition as an employe of the company. In their letters they request for colonists, and skilled workmen. Ridder complained that he did not have a man who could build a common peasant's house, or saw a board, adding that it would be impossible to find more stupid people in all Sweden, than those in the colony. It is true that those people that were brought to the colony before the third expedition were mostly adventurous city dwellers, who had not been brought up to any creative work but to parasitical ideals, who cherished in their minds of obtaining the peltries from the Indians in exchange of trinkets and of guarding the trading post. The letters arrived in Stockholm on July 12, 1640, and when discussed about in the meeting of the Council of State, it was ordered that a letter should be written to Johan Hindricksson, governor of the province of Elfsborg and Gothenburg, to the effect that since the crown's ship had returned from America with safe voyage and her royal majesty intended further to continue the same trade to America, the governor was to be commanded to gather people with horses and all their belongings and to prevail upon them to go to that country. The letter to the governor was written on July 13, 1640.

Preparations for a new expedition were now revived and Hendrick Huygen, who returned from the colony with the second expedition, was sent to Holland to buy supplies for the voyage, and to hire sailors. Also other Swedish government agents in Holland were instructed to buy merchandise for the colonial trade. The Kalmar Nyckel and another ship the Charitas were assigned for the voyage and Fleming ordered them repaired.

But no success had been attained in securing colonists, when a letter arrived from Gustaf Leijonhufvud, governor of the province of Nerike and of Bergslagen or the mining districts of south-central Sweden. Governor Leijonhufvud had previously in a letter of July 27, 1639, to the government, complained that the Finns in the Finnmarks of his province were destroying much forest. He petitions for new courts and law readers for the Finnish districts of Linne and New Kopperberg. He also proposes that something more drastic than money fines must be laid upon the Finns as, he says, they care a little about fines. About these he desired the government's advice. Another letter from the Governor Leijonhufvud arrived to the government while colonists were much wanted for New Sweden. In this letter he tells of having a multitude of Finns in the mining districts of his province. To some of these he is disposed to allow to occupy abandoned farms (from which the Finns had been driven away) and asks what to do with the rest of the "vagrant Finns."

On July 30, 1640 the government replies to Leijonhufvud's letter and says, "In gracious answer it satisfies us if some good men among the Finns, who will take up abandoned farms and practice no burnbeating, may use them. The unsettled cannot be trusted with the abandoned farms, but you may prevail upon them to go with their wives and children to New Sweden, to where we are sending Kalmar Nyckel (which lately returned from there and is now in Gothenburg), with a multitude of people. You make them understand that there is a choice and fruitful land, overgrown with all kinds of beautiful forests and there are all kinds of wild animals in plenty, and that they can go there with confidence as a great multitude already have gone there with the Swedes and are now living there. Here are now also some Finns who are desirous to go on this ship. You would make us a great service if you could manage to get these or other families there, but if they cannot be persuaded, then you take advantage of the patent which we have published for such unsettled Finns."

By the patent is referred to the order issued on September 4, 1636, commanding all "Finnish vagrants," whose homesteads had been burned and destroyed and who had been driven to destitute and to seek for employment at the mines, to leave Sweden and return to Finland before the Walpurgis night of 1637 on pain of being put in irons and kept to work on the government's castles and farms. To a man thus driven to destitute with a great family, there was a slight chance to travel back to Finland. That had required a considerable capital.

Four Finnish peasants in the parish of Sund, in southwestern Sweden, near the Norwegian boundary line, had been found in 1640 guilty of burnbeating on their farms. These men, Eskil Larsson, Klement Joransson, Jons Pafvelsson and Bertil Eskilsson, were therefore ordered to the army and their property confiscated to the crown. They applied to the government for permission to go to New Sweden, which was granted and Governor Olof Stake of Vermland and Dal was instructed on July 9, 1640 to hold them on bonds for appearance at Gothenburg as soon as the government called them there. Eskil Larsson however had escaped from the army and was now held in Smedjegard prison at Stockholm.

Some Finns in Stockholm had presented themselves voluntarily to go to New Sweden, but still the number of colonists was not sufficient. Mans Kling, who returned from the colony with the second expedition and who knew about the new country, was therefore commissioned on September 26, 1640 to go to Bergslagen or the mining districts in the province of Dalarne, northwest of Stockholm, where the population was mostly Finns. He was instructed to collect and hire unsettled Finns in these districts, and to instruct them to proceed to Stockholm before the sailing of the ship. The governors in the districts that he was expected to visit were requested by the government to aid him in his work. He visited the Finnish settlement of Kopparberget and other places and some colonists came from there.

On February 8, 1641, the government again wrote to Governor Leijonhufvud ordering him, in case he could not prevail upon people to go to New Sweden, to capture all the "forest destroying" Finns found in his district, about whom he had made complaints. They were to be kept in readiness for the sailing of the ship. .

In the spring of 1641, Kling was again sent out to gather soldiers and, servants and he hired fourteen men, many of which were Finns.

Johan Printz, who later was appointed as governor of New Sweden was likewise requested to look for skilled workmen and young people in Finland, who would be willing to go to America. Johan Printz had acquaintances in Finland, as in the Polish war in 1625, and in the ensuing campaigns he had become identified with the Finnish cavalry. When Sweden entered to the Thirty Years' War in 1630, Printz was appointed as captain in the Finnish cavalry regiment of the province of Pohjanmaa (Osterbotten), Finland. After the death of king Gustavus Adolphus, Printz retired from the army for a while and rented a government land estate, Korsholm, in the province of Pohjanmaa. In 1634 he was in trouble with his Finnish peasant neighbors of Mustasaari, but before that had been advanced to the rank of major in the Pohjanmaa regiment and had again a short visit to the scene of war in Central Europe. In 1638, Printz was again back in the province of Pohjanmaa, recruiting men to his regiment. During the latter year he was appointed as lieutenant-colonel in the Swedish West Gothland regiment and in April 1640 was forced to capitulate the city of Chemnitz in Germany to the Papist forces, whereafter he without leave went to Sweden and became expelled from the army, although freed of further punishment. A letter of Printz to Chancellor Oxenstierna, from Korsholm, in the province of Pohjanmaa, in the winter of 1641, reveals that he was there recruiting emigrants for the Delaware colony among the people at that province who were known of being capable carpenters, shipbuilders, blacksmiths, farmers and sailors. The recruiting of Printz in the province of Pohjanmaa did not have great results immediately, but from this province came to the Delaware colony such colonists as Knut Martinson, Marten Martinsson, Hindrich Jacobson, Jacob Clemetsson, Matz Erichsson, Hendrich Larsson, Martin Thomasson, Brita Mattson and her husband Petter Gunnarsson Rambo, who already was in the colony. With this expedition came from Southern Finland, Karl Johnsson from the town of Käkisalmi (Kexholm) and Mats Hansson from Admiral Fleming's family estate near the town of Porvoo (Borgo). Both of these latter once were sent for punishment of some misdemeanor. One immigrant Mickel Jonsson came from Reval, Esthonia.

Emigrants who would voluntarily depart for the colony were still hard to be secured. On April 13, 1641, the government wrote to Governor Carl Siggesson of the province of Skaraborg to allow a trooper, Hans Mansson, who had destroyed some fruit trees at the royal estate of Warnhem, to choose being hanged or to go to New Sweden with his wife and children. He was to be allowed to return home after six years. The sentence was to be kept secret from the public until executed.

On April 16, 1641, a royal letter was sent to Governor Olof Stake of Vermland and Dal, in which it is said, "We can understand of your humble letter, Mr. Governor, how you have according to our order made your best to prevail upon the forest destroyers and Finns who are in your province, that they would go voluntarily with their wives and children to New Sweden. And as the same Finns now have moved to Norway and but occasionally visit in your province and also are uncertain to secure, you have, subject to our further orders let a multitude of them be captured and to be taken to Carlstad prison, and you humbly ask us what to do with them.

In gracious answer it delights us that you have been busy to get such destructive and forest destroying Finns and drifters alive. And we graciously order you that if the same who have been so captured would not go to New Sweden, you detain them to secure dependable bandsmen to guarantee that they would take up abandoned farms or new homesteads and use them as law provides. But if they cannot secure dependable 'bondsmen, then there is no other way but they have to go either to New Sweden or to be put in irons and to work in our or crown's castles and estates. If they allow to be prevailed upon to go to New Sweden, then you may correspond about it with our Lord Mayer Klaus Fleming and wait for information from him, when and to what place they will be taken to board a ship for New Sweden. We graciously do not require your answer."

The ship Charitas left Stockholm for Gothenburg on May 3, 1641, having on board eight hired soldiers, two soldier prisoners and two misdemeanants who were sent for punishment, and twenty-three others, among which were some hired servants for the company, a nobleman and a priest who both took a trip to the colony for adventure, and several other adventurers, besides few regular colonists. But in Gothenburg, where the ship Kalmar Nyckel was prepared for the voyage, were gathered the imprisoned and many other Finns with their families, who all were born pioneers and colonists. Both of the ships left Gothenburg in July 1641. The officers on the ships and for the trading post were Dutch, with one exception and the majority of the soldiers and some of the sailors were Swedes and Finns. The actual colonists were nearly all Finns, most of whom had their families with them. Among the Finns that arrived to the Delaware River with this expedition were:

Anders Andersson, involuntary emigrant, served the company until 1648, then became freeman. Had a farm in the neighborhood of Finland. Has numerous descendants in Pennsylvania.

Mans Andersson, was employed as servant for the company until 1648, thereafter became freeman and began a farm at Finland which the company in 1654 acquired.

Anders Hansson, hired as soldier by Kling, began later farm at Finland.

Matts Hansson, brother of the former, was hired as constable (gunner), brought his wife with him to the colony. Became freeman in 1646. Was one of the commissaries of the Finnish colony during the Dutch rule.

Matts Hansson, from Admiral Fleming's family estate near the town of Porvoo, Finland. - Was sent as punishment for the

colony and in 1653 received permission to return home.

Israel Helme, involuntary emigrant, from Mora, Central Sweden. Brought his family with him. During the Dutch rule he became a prominent business man and was one of the most influential men in the Finnish colony and on the Delaware River before the establishment of William Penn's colony.

Ivar Hendricksson (also spelled Ivert and Evert), was hired as soldier by Kling. In the colony he was later known as a turbulent fellow. Had a farm first time at Finland and later at Crane Hook, where he was captain of the Finnish militia during the rule of the Duke of York.

Karl Johansson, bookkeeper from Kakisalmi, a town on the Lake Ladoga, in Finland. Was sent for punishment for some misdemeanor. Worked in the colony as commissary of provisions and auditor of accounts. Returned to Finland in 1648.

Clement Joransson, sent for burnbeating. Was planting tobacco at Upland in 1644. Served also as a soldier and later became freeman.

Jons Pafvelsson, sent for burnbeating. Died on July 9, 1643, at Upland.

Mans Jurrensson (also Joransson), involuntary emigrant. Worked as laborer and later became freeman.

Peter Larsson Cock (Kock), involuntary emigrant. Was held in Smedjegard prison at Stockholm waiting for the sailing of the ship Charitas. Planting tobacco at the Schuylkill River in 1644. Later became freeman. Married Margaret Helme, daughter of Israel Helme. Peter Cock became one of the leaders in the Finnish colony after the downfall of the Swedish rule and was the most influential man on the Delaware River at the arrival of William Penn. He had six sons and six daughters and his family had branched in 1693 into forty-seven persons, bearing the name of Cock, besides the children of her daughters. Peter Cock died in 1688, in great prosperity. His descendants bear mostly the name of Cox.

Eskil Larsson, involuntary emigrant. Had been condemned to serve in the army and his property confiscated for burnbeating. He had escaped from the army and was held in Smedjegard prison at Stockholm from where he was placed on board the ship Charitas. Was planting tobacco for the company at Upland in 1644.

Bertil Eskilsson, the former's son. He had been condemned to the army and his property confiscated for burnbeating. Later he requested to be sent to the Delaware Colony, which was permitted. He had a farm at Kalkeon hook in 1677.

Hendrick Mattson, a boy hired by Kling, his salary was to be 10 R.D. a year and received 10 D. in copper money on departure. Was planting tobacco for the company at the Schuylkill River in 1644. Became a soldier on October 1, 1646, and served until March 1, 1648, when he became a freeman.

Knut Martensson from Vasa Finland, came over as a sailor on the ship Charitas. Was planting tobacco for the company at Christina in 1644. Had a farm at Finland in 1677.

Anders Classon Mink, involuntary emigrant. Was herding the company's hogs in 1644 and became freeman in 1646.

Clas Andersson Mink, the former's son. Was herding hogs with his father in 1644.

Paul Mink, another son of Anders Classon Mink, also born in Sweden. Lived yet in 1693 as a farmer.

Mans Mansson, came over voluntarily and worked four years for the company to pay for the passage over the ocean. In 1654 he rented land from the company at Finland, the company was to furnish a pair of oxen and give half of the seed and in return the company was to receive half of the product of his land.

Martin Thomasson, from Pohjanmaa, Finland. Served as soldier and was killed by the Indians on March 4, 1643, between Fort Christina and Elfsborg.

Johan, a boy hired by Kling. Was drowned at Upland on March 1, 1644.

Olle Tossa (Tossawa), came over as a sailor on the Kalmar Nyckel. During the Swedish rule he went under the name of Olof Toorsson. One of his descendants has a two century old gravestone standing at the Trinity Church in Wilmington, Delaware.

The voyage over the ocean was stormy and two colonists and some cattle died and had to be thrown overboard. They arrived to the. settlement on November 7, 1641. The ships left the Delaware at the end of November, and taking cargoes of salt in Rochelle, France, they arrived at Stockholm about the first of June 1642. Many of the old employees of the trading post returned to Sweden, among them the commissioner Langdonk. The sum of 11,172 florins was paid in salaries for the returning servants, soldiers and sailors, as money was not sent to the colony.

On the arrival of the new colonists, they found the trading post in rather sad condition. Only six beaver skins, and a number of fishhooks and axes were in the storehouse, and the traders were eagerly waiting provisions to arrive from Sweden. The merchants from New England and Virginia came with their sloops, loaded with provisions to the Delaware settlements, but the traders did no longer have anything with which to buy the provisions, the merchandise and the peltry were all gone. However large supplies arrived now with the expedition, and a majority of the newcomers were people who despised above everything the idea of living upon the fruits of other peoples' labor. Productive labor, according to their ideal, was the highest and noblest occupation of man. The Finnish colonists immediately felt at home in the silence of the vast forests and at once saw their opportunity. Plots were selected. for farms, and verdant knolls, shadowed by majestic elm trees, were occupied for log cabins. The woods were thick with game, and the fish were playing hide and seek, jumping in the November sunshine on the placid waters of the noble River Delaware. Ripe, wild fruit was abundant in the forests on their arrival, and the falling leaves were departing a fragrant scent into the atmosphere. The scenery, rich in the gorgeous hues of autumnal foliage, was filling the hearts of the settlers of wonder and hope, infinite and sublime. When the spring came, the monotony of the stately forest on the Delaware was broken by farm clearings and smoke pillars ascending from the log cabins at the New Finnish settlements of Finland and Upland. The grain was sprouting from the furrows in the fields and the Delaware colony had then been founded on the basis that was going to be the foundation of American civilization, and of all civilizations in the past, today and forever.

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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