Preserving the Legacy of the New Sweden Colony in America

The Swedish Colonial Society

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Philadelphia, PA 19147-4332

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Volume 1 – 7AB of the Colonial Records of the Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania.

The Gloria Dei records include minutes of vestry meetings and appointments, details on church and parsonage improvements, disciplinary actions, marriage, baptism and burial records, lists of contributors to the building or improvement of the church and to the minister’s salary, pew assignments, church censuses, etc. They are being supplemented by civil records relating to the church, such as land grants, deeds, petitions by the congregation, lawsuits, probate records and newspaper notices.Enhancing the records at Gloria Dei are extensive records of Sweden’s “American Mission” in the archives at Uppsala. They include letters from the pastors of Gloria Dei, letters or petitions from the congregation, and church censuses. The records show that not infrequently the pastor and congregation at Gloria Dei were at odds with the Swedish Lutheran Consistory in Uppsala on such issues as the use of the English language and English books in church services, and the appointment or recall of ministers. Other records in Sweden include the papers of Bishop Jesper Svedberg, who supervised Sweden’s American Mission in its early years and the diaries of several of the pastors.

The project covers not only the records of Gloria Dei Church but also its offshoots: St. Gabriel’s Church in Douglassville, Berks County; Christ Church of Upper Merion, Montgomery County; and St. James Church of Kingsessing in West Philadelphia. In addition, the records document the splitting off of New Jersey residents to establish their own church at Raccoon (now Swedesboro). Finally, some of the records pertain to Holy Trinity Church in Wilmington and its offshoot, St. George’s Church in Penn’s Neck, Salem County, NJ – records which had not previously been translated and published.

The time span covered by the project is from the founding of the first Swedish Church at Tinicum Island in the 1640s to the year 1787 when the charter of the United Swedish Lutheran Churches of Pennsylvania was amended, terminating the authority of the Archbishop of Sweden to appoint pastors for the churches. Thereafter, the pastors were appointed by the church’s vestrymen who were elected by church members. The final volumes in the series are now being edited by Ellen T. Rye and Kim-Eric Williams. The project will conclude with the year 1786, after which English records are available.

The colonial records of Gloria Dei Church constitute the major “missing link” in chronicling the dramatic history of Swedish settlement and culture on the Delaware River in the 17th and 18th centuries. The records of Holy Trinity Church in Wilmington were translated and published in 1890. The records of the Swedish churches at Raccoon (now Swedesboro) and Penns Neck (Pennsville), edited by Dr. Amandus Johnson, were published in 1938. It is fitting that the same be done for the records of Gloria Dei. The Swedish Colonial Society is proud to be a sponsor for this vital project.

The publication of this series has been a joint-project of Gloria Dei, Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia and the Swedish Colonial Society, 1995-2021.

We would like them to be used and thus we are offering special prices:

$10.00 each including postage for a single volume and $50.00 for the entire set of 9 volumes (1646-1786 volumes 1-7-B) including postage.  Thus for $20.00 you can get the last two volumes and for $50.00, all nine including postage.

Send your check, made out to “Gloria Dei Church” to:  Swedish Colonial Society Book Order, Gloria Dei Church, 916 S. Swanson St, Philadelphia, PA  19147-4332. OR you may order through the Swedish Colonial Society website-

Church office tel. 215-389-1513- on Tues., Wed. and Thurs., 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Orders lacking a USA address will be asked to pay the required postage.


The 26-year-old research project of the Swedish Colonial Society, “Colonial Records of Swedish Churches in Pennsylvania” is now complete. Covering the years 1768-1786 they tell of the unstable and frightful times for people during the American Revolution when the pastor of Gloria Dei was a Tory with mental instability and the church building was expropriated by British soldiers, making it unusable for three years. You will read about the successful English ministry of Matthias Hultgren and the funeral for signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Morton. A fabulous Index of 200 pages of personal names and places and 194 pages of vital records makes these two volumes a rare treasury of genealogical information.
The Complete Set – 9 volumes

Volume 1:
The Log Churches at Tinicum Island and Wicaco, 1646-1696. Includes the translated travel journal of Johan Companius, information about Governor Printz and his daughter, Armegard, the problematic lives of Lars Lock and Jacob Fabritius, the famous 1693 Census of Swedes in the Delaware Valley.

Volume 2:
The Rudman Years, 1697-1702. The arrival of Andreas Rudman, Eric Björk, and Jonas Auren to renew the mission of the Church of Sweden on the Delaware. The building of Gloria Dei Church at Wicaco, various letters from the Archbishop and King, reports back to Sweden, Members of Gloria Dei, Founding of churches at Matsunk (UpperMerion), Manatawny (Douglassville) and Swedesboro, NJ.

Volume 3:
The Sandel Years, 1702-1719. Years of growth and consolidation, Pew assignments, Ordination of Justus Falckner, Return of Eric Bjröck to Sweden and his letter describing the Indians, Provincial Council Minutes, Letters to and from the King and Bishop Svedberg, Sandel’s Diary, receipts and expenses, Baptisms and Burials.

Volume 4:
From Lidman to Nilsman, 1719-1750. Lidman’s steady leadership, Petition to PA Assembly, 1722, Letter from Bishop Svedberg, Disasterous ministry of Gabriel Falk, Exemplary ministry of Johannes Dylander, pIpe organ set up, plans for a church in Kingsessing, Per Kalm’s References, Problems with Moravians, Gabriel Näsman’s strict orthodoxy and Admonition to the congregation, His conflicts with Peter Kock, Installation of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg as pastor to Germans in Philadelphia, letters from Dean Israel Acrelius describing conditions, Burials, 1720-1750.

Volume 5:
The Parlin Years, 1750-1759. Letters from Dean Israel Acrelius, Journal of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, and the very capable Olof Parlin’s appointment as Dean over the congregations, his early death in 1757 and the work of Eric Nordenlind. Vital records from Wicaco and Manatawny.

Volume 6-A:
With Catechisms, The Wrangel Years, 1759-1766. First English version of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism (1749) and the Wrangel Rudiments of the Shorter Catechism (1761), Instructions for the American Mission, the Diary of Anders Borell, Journal of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Wrangel’s Diary, Vestry minutes and clerical conflicts.

Volume 6-B:
With Index, The Wrangel Years, 1766-1768. Continued conflicts, Letters to the Uppsala Consistory, Letters from Wrangel, Johan Wicksell, Vestry minutes, Baptisms and Marriages, Wicaco and Manatawny, 1759-1768, Burials, Wicaco, 1759-1768, Yardbook from KIngsessing.

Volume 7-A The Göransson and Hultgren Years, 1768-1786

The final volumes describe the conditions during the Revolution when British troops invaded Philadelphia and used Gloria Dei as a barracks, the Church then being closed to worship for three years. Pastor Göransson’s Tory sympathies and friendship with Anglican clergy. His mental instability and problems returning to Sweden. The funeral for John Morton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence. The arrival of Matthias Hultgren on a British vessel who capably officiated in English and rebuilt the three congregations.

Volume 7-B The Göransson and Hultgren Years, 1768-1786
The final days of Matthias Hultgren and the arrival of Nicholas Collin from Swedesboro as the last Swedish Lutheran clergy at Gloria Dei. More than 200 pages of persoanl and place names in a detailed Index for both volumes. Additional 194 pages of Pastoral acts for all three congregations’ Baptisms, Weddings, and burials.

The Rudman Hymns

The Swedish Colonial Society and the Gloria Dei Church Historic Preservation Trust have co-operated in publishing a small hardcover book, The Rudman Hymnals 1700. This new book contains the original Swedish words as written by Rudman, now in modern spelling and the 17th Century melodies that would have been used with them.

A special feature of the book are new musical compositions by virtuoso musician at Gloria Dei, Paul Fejko for each of the hymns, making them resound with the harmonies of the 21st Century.  And, of course the English translations are provided so that the hymns can be sung in English to either new or old tunes.

The two hymnals that Pastor Andreas Rudman published at Philadelphia in 1700 are the first Swedish imprints in America and were no doubt the first authored hymnals published in any language in America. A description of them was published in the Fall, 2019 issue of the Swedish Colonial Society Journal (Volume 5, no.11) and in the July, 2018 issue of The Swedish-American Historical Quarterly (Volume 69, No.3).

This richly illustrated volume may be ordered for $20 @ at the website of Gloria Dei Church, or at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia.

—Kim-Eric Williams

The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware

by Peter Stebbins Craig, J.D.

The 228-page, hardbound book contains a forward by Dr. C. A. Weslager, a lengthy introduction and seven chapters on the colonial Wicaco (Philadelphia) and Crane Hook (Wilmington) congregations, an appendix, abbreviations for commonly used references, eight pages of bibliography, an index of place names, a detailed and well-referenced index of personal names, and two maps of the 1693 service areas of the two churches.

The 1693 census book is $45 plus $5 shipping and handling.

Studies in Swedish American Genealogy II
Olof Stille in New Sweden

by Fritz Nordstrom, translated by Richard H. Hulm

The Stille Family in America, 1641-1772

by Peter Stebbins Craig
(Reprinted from Swedish American Genealogist, Vol. VI, Nos.3 and 4, Sept. and Dec., 1986. Out of print.)

Olof_StilleReprints of two articles about the Stille Family. 46 pages plus 9 page name index.

The book is $16 plus $5 shipping and handling.

The Faces of New Sweden

**Available from The Swedish Colonial Society**

Erik Bjork, Christina Stalcop & America’s First Portrait Painter by Hans Ling


History and art converge in the true story of the portrait of the Rev. Erik Bjork, pastor of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes’) Church, Wilmington, DE; the portrait of his wife, Christina Stalcop; and the fascinating connection between the New Sweden Colony and Gustavus Hesselius, the first portrait painter in America. Learn how two paintings from Colonial America were “lost” but then re-discovered nearly three centuries later and an ocean away, and returned to their original home.

The long-awaited publication of this landmark, 104-page book The Faces of New Sweden is now available and was premiered at the New Sweden History Conference in Wilmington, DE. It is a perfect-bound book and includes many full color reproductions of the recently rediscovered paintings of Pastor Erik Björk and his wife Christina Stalcop.

Erik Björk was one of the three Church of Sweden priests sent to America in 1697 by Jesper Svedberg and King Carl XI to revive the churches and serve the remaining Swedes on the Delaware. He was pastor at Holy Trinity (Old Swedes’) Church in Wilmington from 1697 until 1713. The portraits of Björk and his wife seem to date to 1712 and are by America’s first portrait painter, Gustavus (Gustaf) Hesselius, who was the brother of the next two Swedish priests to serve in Wilmington, Andreas Hesselius and Samuel Hesselius.

The family background of the painter Gustavus Hesselius and the families of Erik Björk and Christina Stalcop is told by the author Hans Ling of Uppsala, Sweden, legal advisor to the National Heritage Board and a Forefather member of the Swedish Colonial Society. The fascinating story of the discovery of these original oils at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm is told by Dr. Peter S. Craig, the Historian of the Swedish Colonial Society.

The book is $20 plus shipping

Image from page 15 of the book: The restored Björk and Stalcop paintings are admired at the 365th Jubilee Celebration in Wilmington in 2003 by SCS Historian Peter Craig (l.), Forefather Member Larry Stallcup, Historical Society of Delaware Chair Ellen Semple, HSD Executive Director Barbara Benson, Forefather Member Lowell Smith, SCS Honorary Governor Herbert Rambo, Kerstin Eliasson, Ambassador of Sweden Jan Eliasson, Stockholm Lord Mayor Barry Andersson and SCS Governor Ronald Hendrickson. 

Consider a Tax Deductible Donation to the Ongoing Educational Projects offered by the Swedish Colonial Society