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Report of Colonel Morgan Morgan

Associated Reading to the Report of Colonel Morgan ap Morgan

Head | Part I | Part II | Part III | Works Cited

Reverend Ericus (Eric, Erik) Biorck (Biork, Bjork): For years the Finns of Delaware had pleaded for a minister to be sent to them, but their requests had gone unapproved. Sir William Penn had personally forwarded their requests to the Swedish ambassador in London, however it had turned no results. Charles Springer had written to the authorities in Sweden but too received no response, causing him to contact the Lutheran Consistory in Amsterdam, Holland, but the colonists still heard no word. A Swedish sailor carried their petition to the postmaster of Sweden, who conveyed it to King Charles XI. Charles instructed the Bishop of Turku, Finland, to arrange for religious care in Delaware, and a selection of books were provided, however Charles soon lost interest as well and the religious assiduousness of Delaware’s Finn’s ceased. Eventually, the matter was directed to Olaus Svebelius, Archbishop of Sweden, and prevost of Svedberg, who selected Ericus Biorck and Andrew Rudman, both ordained at Upsal, to embark on the mission. These ministers were from Finnish settlements in Sweden, and were sent with Jonas Auren of Vermland, appointed by the king to study the inhabitants and country, along with their assistant, Jonas Bjurstrom. The men departed with over one-thousand religious books, some intended to be given to the Indians of the region as many were translated into their language by Reverend Johan Campanius. After four months at sea, their ship reached the James River, Virginia. They remained with the ship until it reached Annapolis on the 19th of June, and after being hosted by Governor Francis Nicholson of Maryland for several days, they departed aboard a smaller ship for the Elk River to the surprise and excitement of the people of Delaware. On the 24th they arrived at the Swedish settlement of Sahakitko, located at the Head of Elk. The people of Sahakitko quickly sent word to their neighbors along the Delaware that the ministers had arrived. Delegates were immediately dispatched to escort the new pastors and the load of books to Crane Hook, where Biorck and Rudman conducted a short prayer and thanks for their safe arrival. Biorck would write home that prior to their arrival, the colonists scarcely had three books among them, which were of poor quality, being highly worn, and that the church buildings were in decay. On the 30th of June, Biorck and Rudman met with the congregation of Wicaco to read the messages of the King and Archbishop, and Rudman, as the senior pastor, chose the Wicaco congregation as his own, while Biorck took charge at the congregation at Crane Hook. It became evident to both Biorck and Rudman that the old, run-down log churches at Wicaco and Crane Hook were not adequate for the congregations they served. It was decided to replace them with new stone and brick edifices. Biorck’s congregation agreed to build it’s church at Christiana, and became known as Old Swede‘s Church, while Rudman’s congregation disputed over whether to build theirs at Wicaco or Passyunk. Biorck brought craftsmen from Philadelphia to build a fine place of worship to house his congregation. Joseph Yard Sr., and three of his sons came as masons, with John Brett, John Smart, and master builder John Harrison as carpenters. Biorck pastured in this church until 1712 when he was replaced by Reverend Andrew Hesselius, who arrived in Delaware with colleague Reverend Abraham Lidenius. Biorck would return to Sweden in 1714.