the first of March 1643 Governor Printz began building a new fort on the
South River (Delaware) about fifteen miles south of Fort Christina to
control ship traffic approaching the New Sweden settlement. Fort Elfsborg
soon proved itself to be the most effective of all the military positions
in New Sweden. Reaching Elfsborg all vessels were required to cast their
anchors, strike their flag, pay a toll and send a small boat to Tinicum
Island to get Printz's permission before they could sail higher up the
river. The Dutch in particular found this situation irksome.
Stuyvesant came to New Amsterdam in May of 1647, replacing Governor Kielf.
His specific orders when appointed were to gain complete control of the
South (now the Delaware) River territory, the New Sweden Colony, but he
had to do it in a justifiable manner. He could not simply attack because
Sweden and The Netherlands were at peace with each other. Stuyvesant
quietly started working on the problem. It took several years but by 1651
Stuyvesant knew he had reached superiority over the Swedes and he was
ready to make his move.
Stuyvesant sent a fleet of eleven ships up the South River,
all armed and carrying soldiers. Four were warships and were heavily
gunned. They forced their way up past Fort Elfsborg, Fort Christina and
Tinicum Island to anchor off Fort Nassau. Governor Printz was taken by
surprise by the passing Dutch fleet. He recalled the garrisons from Forts
Elfsborg, Christina and Korsholm and assembled them at Tinicum.
Stuyvesant traveled overland with another 120 soldiers to
meet his ships. About a week after arriving by sailing up the river the
Dutch fleet sailed down the river with flags flying, drummers beating and
a continuous booming of salutes being fired from the guns of all ships.
All accounts say it was a colorful and loud spectacle with several back
and forth loops. It was an impressive water circus. Stuyvesant needed a
political excuse to justify a military takeover of all of New Sweden and
the South River territory. The water circus was part of his plan of
Vastly outnumbered and outgunned Governor Printz loaded all of his men
into his little yacht-rigged vessel and followed the Dutch fleet at a
discreet distance. It had been years since the arrival of the last support
ship from Sweden. Printz's supplies and force of soldiers had shrunk
dramatically. The Dutch force was so large its size was probably a
miscalculation. Some claim Stuyvesant was running a bluff but that seems
unlikely. An invasion of New Sweden could have been easily done.
Stuyvesant knew the 30 men in Printz’s unarmed yacht was
the entire military force of New Sweden. He could have simply destroyed
the yacht in mid-river. Had Stuyvesant done so he would have no reason to
build Fort Casimir. Why brother to buy land from the Indians and build a
fort, especially since he already claimed to own the land? With Governor
Printz and the Swedish soldiers disposed of Stuyvesant would have
available on the South River (the Delaware) three large, intact, Swedish
built forts and the Dutch Fort Nassau.
A model of a
1600-1650 yacht rigged vessel. The hull was approximately 30 feet
long. The term 'yacht' referred to the arrangement of mast and sails
rather than the use of the vessel. The big teardrop shaped devices
are called sideboards and provided directional control to the vessel
in place of an extended keel. Being movable they allowed the vessel
to operate in very shallow water. Governor Printz employed his yacht
mostly for communications and cargo carrying. It was not a
recreational or pleasure craft.
Collection, Mariners Museum, Newport News, VA
would have been easier for Stuyvesant to conquered New Sweden in 1651 than
in 1655. So why not? The reason was not military. He had overwhelming
military superiority on both occasions. He had a greater advantage in men
and heavy weapons (four warships) plus a better tactical situation in 1651
than he did in 1655 (one warship). The defenders were all in one small
yacht. Had Stuyvesant been intent on an aggressive military conquest he
had the massive firepower and more than enough soldiers available to
destroy Printz and all of the New Sweden soldiers in one quick battle.
This incident shows just how precarious the existence, or non-existence,
of an entire family can be. Riding on the yacht-rigged vessel with
Governor Printz was our Johan Anderson Stålkofta. This was
five years before he met and married Christina Carlsdaughter. Certainly at
that moment his life hung on Stuyvesant’s decision of exactly what the
Dutch forces were going to do.
Stuyvesant ignored Governor Printz’s little yacht-rigged
Stuyvesant landed his forces and erected a fort, Fort Cassimir, at
Sandhucken (Sand Hook), the spot were the town of New Castle, DE now
stands. This new Dutch fort was only five miles south of Fort Christina
and in a very unlikely location between two Swedish forts. This very
location had to be another attempt at provocation for it makes little
sense militarily. The new Dutch fort was built between two Swedish forts.
If Printz’s had more men and supplies available and had been able to
reactivate Fort Elfsborg then the Dutch fort would have quickly become
useless to the Dutch.
Dutch fort at Sand Hook and a newly built Swedish fort, Fort Trinity, in
front of it were to play another dramatic role in the life of Johan
Anderson Stålkofta in 1655. The Dutch captured him there when the
Swedish defenders surrendered under siege.
Again this was about a year before he met and married Christina
According to Swen Skute’s affidavit
the Dutch invasion fleet of 1655 consisted of six vessels, four “ships”,
one Bojort and one Shallop. He did not count the pilot boat.
Governor Risingh’s plan was to arm Fort Trinity with four odd-sized
14–pound naval cannons captured from the Danes and supplied by the ship
Eagle. Risingh intended to install them on the gun deck of Fort Trinity.
There were a dozen 12-pound Dutch cannons in Fort Cassimir when Governor
Risingh captured it but apparently the Dutch themselves had disabled them
even before they were installed.
At least two of the 14-pound Danish cannons were finally put in place, not
up on the gun deck but down in a trench between Fort Trinity and the
river. According to Lindeström’s drawing Risingh had constructed the
second level of Fort Trinity using horizontally stacked logs, log cabin
style. This construction method is completely unsuitable to withstand the
recoil forces when a heavy weapon is fired. Probably after two of the guns
were placed on the gun deck a test firing was conducted. The recoil likely
pushed over a section of the back wall and that collapsed a section of the
gun deck. Odds are the two cannons were damaged when they plunged more
than 20 feet down through the wreckage.
No explanation is given in Risingh’s Journal for the sudden switch in
locations except one incorrect claim by Risingh that the trench location
allowed a better firing sweep of the river.
The Court Martial record says that Lindeström and Johan Stålkofta
stood by in the gun trench ready to apply the match; that is, ready to
fire the two undamaged cannons at the Dutch ships as they passed. This is
very strange because Lindeström was trained as an engineer, not as a
Constable or Gunnery Sergeant. He probably had no knowledge at all about
how such heavy weapons were prepared and fired. Other testimony indicates
that he was actually standing up on the gun deck when the ships passed.
Since Lindeström rewrote the entire Court Martial record on the way back
to Sweden he may have substituted his own name in place of one of the
other gunnery sergeants to make himself appear to have played a more
The four Dutch “ships” were likely Flutes, the most numerous type of
vessel of the era. Each would have been armed with about twenty-two
12-pound naval cannons plus a number of smaller weapons. This meant that
with each run past the fort the four ships had a combined forty-four heavy
guns to fire versus the probable two that Skute had available. Fort
Trinity was outgunned about 22 to one. Even if all four guns were
available to Skute the fort would still be outgunned about eleven to one.
There was an elaborate and colorful ceremony observed with the surrender.
The defenders were allowed to march out with their banner [flag] flying,
with burning matches , bullet in the mouth , armored above and below
, together with every other ammunition . This ceremony implies an
honorable surrender to superior forces without being defeated.
As soon as the defenders marched out Stuyvesant stopped them. Swen Skute
had not named a specific place where they were to go in the surrender
agreement. Stuyvesant arrested all of the defenders to prevent them from
returning to Fort Christina as reinforcements for the duration of the
The officers were marched back into Fort Cassimir. All of the others,
soldiers and freemen, were placed on a Dutch ship and sent to New
Amsterdam. The officers, including our own Johan Andersson Stålkofta,
were held at Fort Cassimir until Governor Risingh agreed to the surrender
of all of New Sweden about two weeks later. Then they were taken to Fort
Christina to witness Governor Risingh’s own similar “march out” surrender
Forts Trinity and Cassimir were located at now New Castle, Delaware. After
Dutch rule ended both forts were abandoned and allowed to fall into decay.
The remains were demolished and removed several years after the English
arrived in the area.
Fort Christina was built in 1638. After the invasion it served as home to
Stålkofta for a year or more then served the Dutch until 1664. The
British moved in and used it for another 91 years. Altogether it served as
a fort, home or administrative center under Swedish, Dutch and British
rule to 1755, 117 years. It was then dismantled.
Of major interest to the STALCOP family is
that the wedding of Johan Andersson Stålkofta and Christina
Carlsdaughter took place in the big house located inside Fort
Christina. Thus began the Stalcop Family.
(1) The burning match was the slow burning fuse used to fire the
(2) The musket ball used for the first reload. Others were carried
in a leather pouch. Lead being
highly toxic this was not a healthy
(3) Term used to classify weapons carried above and below the belt.
It was a great dishonor to
lose “below” weapons.
(4) The term included edged weapons of all sorts plus musket balls
The Pilot Boat
A “yacht rigged” vessel about 30 feet long.
Not a pleasure craft in the
Governor Printz used his to haul cargo.
Mariners Museum Newport News, Virginia
Page 155 of Peter Lindeström’s book.
Fort Trinity in front with Fort Cassimir, located directly behind
but drawn above Fort Trinity on the page.
The two forts were not connected. By the included scale Fort Trinity
was 210 feet long, 24 feet high.
The walls of Fort Cassimir were 12 feet high. A Swedish flag is
flying over Fort Cassimir.
Watercolor painting of Fort
Christina located at THE ROCKS, in now Wilmington, DE.
Size and configuration based upon Lindeström’s 1654 scaled map.
Painting by Roslyn Stallcup 2008
FALL OF THE NEW SWEDEN COLONY
Larry S. Stallcup
When the Swedes built Fort
Christina in 1638 the Dutch reactivated their Fort Nassau located
higher up the South River on the east side. Governor Printz's
instructions were to deny all Dutch claims, including trade, on any
part of the west side of the river and if necessary to "repel force
by force". One of the two major new forts Printz was ordered to
build on the South River was a river traffic control fort. After a
long search he found the one place that met all of the requirements
at the mouth of Mill Creek. With this fort Printz named Elfsborg the
New Sweden Colony controlled all traffic on the South River.
When the Dutch Captain
DeVries sailed into the river in 1643 his ship had a shot fired
across the bow fired by Governor Printz who was in personal command
at Fort Elfsborg. After Elfsborg became active all vessels,
including English and Dutch vessels, entering the South River were
required to cast their anchors, strike their flag, pay a toll. They
then had to send a small boat up the river to Tinicum Island where
the Governor had established his official residence, to get Printz's
permission before they could sail higher up the river even to their
own Fort Nassau.
Almost at the same time
Printz busied himself building Fort Korsholm This was an Indian
trading fort so was not armed with heavy weapons. The river near
Korsholm was too shallow for Dutch ships to get close enough to fire
For the moment the Swedes
possessed the superior military power on the South River. The New
Netherlands Governor Kielf was soon replaced with Governor-General
Peter Stuyvesant. He came to New Amsterdam in May of 1647. One of
his orders when appointed was to gain complete control of all of the
territory claimed by the Dutch West India Company. This included all
of the South River (the Delaware) territory including the entirety
of the New Sweden Colony. Stuyvesant quietly started building up his
military forces. At length Stuyvesant felt he had reached
overwhelming military superiority over the Swedes and was ready to
make his first move.
In a show of force in 1651
Stuyvesant sent a fleet of eleven ships, all armed with cannons but
four of the ships were very heavily armed warships. All vessels were
carrying soldiers. They sailed down the Atlantic coast and back up
the South River forcing their way right past Fort Elfsborg, past
Fort Christina and Tinicum Island to Fort Nassau. Stuyvesant
travelled overland from New Amsterdam at the head of an additional
force of 120 men to meet the ships at Fort Nassau. After arriving
the fleet spent about a week loading the additional men and supplies
and then set sail down the river with flags, banners and streamers
flying, drummers beating at the rails and a continuous booming of
salutes roaring from of the big guns of all ships, right past
Tinicum and Fort Christina and turned around off Fort Elfsborg. All
accounts say it was quite a loud and most colorful spectacle. The
ships made several back and forth circuits up and down the river. It
is sometimes known as the Dutch Water Circus.
historians claim it was all a big bluff by Stuyvesant but it
probably was much more than that. It probably was the opening move
in Stuyvesant’s plan to gain control over all of the South River.
Stuyvesant needed a diplomatic excuse to justify his invasion and
military occupation of the South River territory. He was trying to
provoke Governor Printz into committing a military clash by firing
on the Dutch ships. That would give him the diplomatic excuse he
Governor Printz was taken
by surprise when the Dutch fleet sailed northward on its way to Fort
Nassau. He immediately recalled all his men to Tinicum including the
garrisons of Fort Christina, Fort Korsholm and Fort Elfsborg. As the
Dutch fleet sailed back down the river flying all of its colorful
flags and making all of the noise Printz loaded his entire military
force, about thirty men, onto his little yacht-rigged cargo vessel
and followed the Dutch fleet at a discreet distance. On board with
him was Johan Anderson from Strangnas, Sweden, who thirty
years later became the first Stalcop. Actually Printz was
powerless to interfere. He was vastly outnumbered in ships, heavy
weapons and soldiers. The Dutch force was overwhelming in size.
Printz would have been foolhardy to try to attack that huge fleet
with only his one little 30 foot unarmed cargo vessel and tiny force
When this initial
enticement scheme failed to produce the desired result; that is, it
failed to provoke an attack by the Swedes, Stuyvesant was forced to
proceed with the next step in his plan of provocation. He landed his
forces and proceeded to erect a fort at Sandhucken (Sand Hook); the
spot were the town of New Castle now stands.
On July 19, 1651
Stuyvesant purchased from a group of Indians, in the name of the
Dutch West India Company, all the land between the Minquas Creek
(Christina) and Bambo Huck This land was exactly the same land Peter
Minuit and the Swedes had purchased from the Indians more than a
dozen years before. This purchase is even more puzzling because it
was land the Dutch had not purshased earlier but claimed they
This new Dutch fort was
only five miles south of Fort Christina. A force of 200 men, half of
Stuyvesant’s soldiers, constructed the fort in just twelve days. The
Dutch named it Fort Cassimir. Upon completion of the fort Stuyvesant
and nine of the ships and most of the soldiers went back to New
Amsterdam. He left two ships to patrol and disrupt Swedish boat
traffic on the South River until winter set in. He left nine men to
garrison the new fort.
Cassimir, rather than the Dutch fleet, now became the bait in
Fort Casimir and the
patrolling Dutch ships appeared to cut direct communications between
Fort Christina and Fort Elfsborg, located ten miles farther down
river and over on the opposite (east) shore. Because he thought he
no longer had free communication and could not re-supply the fort
Printz decided to abandon Fort Elfsborg. Printz never gave an
'official' reason for the abandonment but only stated the garrison
was withdrawn. The ‘withdrawal’ was affected by simply not sending
the garrison back downriver to reactivate the fort.
Printz protested the
building of Fort Cassimir to Stuyvesant but he clearly knew that he
did not have the military power to force Stuyvesant out. He quickly
dispatched agents to Sweden asking for speedy reinforcements but his
request went unanswered. Sweden had been involved in European wars
for many years and by this time was drained, both of men and of
money. Another period of uneasy coexistence between the Dutch and
Swedes settled on the area but all was not quite among the Swedes.
Printz was a huge man,
reported to have weighed about 400 pounds. The Indians called him
'Big Belly' and the Swedes picked up this nickname. His rule as
governor had been quite harsh. Amid all his troubles with the Dutch
and a lack of support from the homeland a number of the colonist
signed a protest about his harsh rule. Printz took this protest to
be mutiny and reacted violently. Printz picked out three men who had
signed the protest and accused them of being the ringleaders of the
"mutiny". One of these men was a soldier and Printz had him
summarily executed by a firing squad. When this happened a number of
the people who had signed the protest fled to Maryland in fear of
their lives. Needless to say these events caused a great deal more
unrest in the colony.
With all the problems
within the colony, with the Dutch and the delays in getting supplies
and reinforcements from Sweden, things apparently became more than
Printz could stand. In September 1653 Printz simply resigned his
post as Governor and headed home to Sweden. He was promised to be
replaced after three years but he had been governor for ten years.
Back in Sweden the company
operating the colony had been reorganized and renamed. It was now
known as the American Company. The new company dispatched a
man-of-war, the Örnen (the Eagle), a Danish built ship that had been
captured in battle. Onboard the Eagle was Johan Risingh who was sent
out as a Commissary and Counselor to aid Governor Printz. Also
aboard were military officers and other forces in addition to some
On his voyage home Printz
fell ill and was confined to a sickbed when his ship docked in the
Netherlands. Word was sent on to Sweden and it reached Risingh
before the Eagle sailed. Risingh now made the first of a number of
his strange and ultimately very bad decisions. He deliberately
ordered the Eagle to not dock in the Netherlands for last minute
voyage repairs as was normal practice. Risingh deliberately deprived
himself of the opportunity to be informed first hand about the
situation in New Sweden by Governor Printz. He sailed on south and
eventually docked the Eagle in southern England.
After the Eagle
entered the South River the ship sailed up to the abandoned Fort
Elfsborg and anchored for the night. The Dutch commander of Fort
Cassimir had been advised about it’s arrival by Dutch settlers south
of Fort Cassimir. He sent four men in a boat downriver to meet the
Swedish ship. They stayed aboard ship all night. One of these men
was Ariaen van Tienhoven,
the Clerk of the local Dutch Court.
Ariaen van Tienhoven
apparently had been directed to tell Rising certain “military
secrets”. He was extremely forthcoming with information about the
military condition of Fort Cassimir. Risingh was told that the Dutch
fort was staffed by only nine men, the rest having been sent back to
New Amsterdam, and after three years the fort was in a very poor,
run down, condition. The real plum was that he told Risingh that the
fort was out of gunpowder and would be very easy to capture.
The next morning Risingh
disregarded all of his orders and in direct violation to those
orders he assumed complete military command. This must be considered
as a coup. He then ordered the ship captain to sail the Eagle up to
the Dutch fort, anchor it directly under the fort’s guns, and fire a
salute. The Dutch did not
return the salute.
Risingh next ordered
Captain Swen Skute ashore to demand the surrender of the fort
claiming it was standing on Swedish ground. The Dutch commander
delayed longer than Risingh thought necessary so he fired a second
salute and landed three files of musketeers, about 30 men, and
deployed them in preparation for storming the fort. Seeing Risingh
do this the Dutch commander surrendered. The muskets of seven of his
nine soldiers were in the gunsmith’s shop being repaired so he only
had two armed soldiers available.
The Dutch fort actually
had never even been supplied with any gunpowder or any 12-pound
cannonballs to fire from its dozen cannons as their records show.
All of the heavy weapons were, in fact, inoperable. Stuyvesant had
been collecting broken cannons, buying them from visiting ships, and
storing them at Fort Nassau for several years. He mounted a dozen of
the broken cannons in Fort Cassimir to complete the illusion of it
being an armed fort.
After his conquest of the
unarmed sham fort Risingh says he renamed Fort Cassimir "Trefalldigheet",
meaning Fort Trinity, because it was captured on Trinity Sunday, May
1654. Later, after Risingh built his timber bulwark fort Fort
Casimir regained it’s original name and Trinity became the name of
Risingh’s Timber fort.
Risingh had acted in
direct violation of several of his orders. By his foolish acts
Risingh provided the trigger that sprang the diplomatic trap
Stuyvesant had set beginning with his loud and colorful water
circus three years earlier. Risingh’s orders specifically
directed him not to use military force in any manner whatsoever
against the Dutch fort. He was specifically ordered to stay far away
unless the Dutch themselves voluntarily abandoned the fort. Risingh
was ordered to build an entirely new fort ten miles down river on
the west side of the river directly opposite Fort Elfsborg. Instead
Risingh built a dangerous all timber fort in the wrong place. Had
Risingh followed his orders two Swedish forts on opposite sides of
the river supporting each other would have placed a very strong
chokehold on all river traffic.
Risingh’s foolish military
act gave Stuyvesant the diplomatic excuse he needed to justify the
total conquest of New Sweden. About three months after the capture
of Fort Cassimir Stuyvesant sent a letter to Risingh informing him
that he intended to come to the South River in person and in force
to reclaim the entirety of New Sweden for the Dutch. At that moment
Risingh knew he had blundered badly exactly as he had been ordered
not to do. He also knew he would lose New Sweden entirely. he
started looking for someone to blame.
quickly settled down but it was only the calm before the storm. For
several months all was quite except that a Swedish ship, the GYLLENE
HAJ (Golden Shark), somehow managed to miss the mouth of Delaware
Bay and entered the Raritan River instead. The Dutch promptly
captured it. It’s cargo of badly needed Swedish supplies was
confiscated and sold off at auction.
In New Sweden the business
of building a colony once again started up. When Printz left the
colony his son in law, the Vice-Governor Johan Pappegoia, assumed
command of the colony. Soon after Risingh's arrival Papegoia also
returned to Sweden, leaving his wife, Lady Armegott Printz, daughter
of the former governor, and his children on their own in New Sweden.
Risingh had been directed to assume the position of Governor of New
Sweden if Printz was dead or no longer in the Colony but it was
September before his formal commission arrived. Those papers were
onboard the GYLLENE HAJ at the time of its capture. Captain Swen
Skute was supposed to become the military commander upon landing but
Risingh never let that happen.
Probably in response to
his realizing how had badly he had blundered Risingh ordered Swen
Skute, his deposed military commander, to build a new fortification
at Sandhook. This was to be a large bulwark type of log structure
located between the Dutch built Fort Cassimir and the riverbank. It
appears in a drawing made by the Risingh’s military engineer, Peter
Lindeström. Measured by the scale on the drawing it was two hundred
and ten feet long. This was about thirty feet greater than Fort
Cassimir. When completed it was twenty-four feet high or about twice
as tall as Fort Cassimir. The prudent thing to do would have been
to mount the four available Danish cannons in the Dutch fort in
place of four of the inoperable Dutch cannons and not build the
timber fort at all. Risingh apparently was already thinking that if
Skute was killed he could blame all of his own military blunders on
Skute. An all timber fort is a death trap.
structure completely masked the old fort from any command of the
river. The location, size and the choice of construction material of
this new fortification were to play a significant role in coming
events. Building this new structure at Sandhook was in direct
violation of Risingh’s orders. Had Risingh followed his orders he
would have also avoided the trap Stuyvesant had set three years
earlier. In addition he would have achieved several other positive
First, he would have
regained complete control over all shipping on the South River for
the Swedes. Second, the Dutch settlement and Fort Cassimir at
Sandhook would have become untenable and probably would have been
quickly abandoned by the Dutch without the Swedes having to do
Peter Stuyvesant set
about, very quietly trying not to alarm Risingh, to assemble a large
military force. In good time he felt they were ready to return and
take control of the South River for good. A number of the Swedish
settlers had business from time to time in New Amsterdam plus there
were diplomatic contacts. These people had observed the vast
military preparations underway in New Amsterdam. They told Governor
Risingh about what they had seen and heard upon returning to New
The Indians, who always
got along well with the Swedes, had a better information and
communications network than did the Swedes. They warned Governor
Risingh of Stuyvasent’s intent. This information reached Risingh
quite some time before the Dutch fleet sailed. Risingh sent his own
people to New Amsterdam to confirm the story. Risingh apparently did
not believe what Stuyvesant had told him, in writing, in his letter
of over a year earlier. Nor did he believe his own people and the
In August 1655 Stuyvesant
set sail from Manhattan with about 317 soldiers, organized in six
companies of 52 men each, plus about an equal number of sailors in
seven heavily armed ships. This force was smaller than the 1651
Water Circus but was still on the order of ten times the total of
all the military forces available to Governor Risingh and the
The Indians informed
Risingh about the departure of the Dutch expedition as soon as it
sailed. Acting on this information Risingh made another of his
strange decisions. He split his forces and sent Lt. Swen Skute with
men and some supplies to activate Fort Trinity. It appears that
Risingh selected those men he considered most dangerous to him to
send to man the dangerous Fort Trinity. Maybe he was counting on
their deaths at the hands of the Dutch.
In May, after he had
received Stuyvasant’s letter, Risingh sent a letter to Stuyvesant
about the upcoming invasion. He told Syuyvesant it was acceptable to
him if the Dutch killed everyone they found south of the Christina
River if Stuyvesant would halt the invasion at the Christina River
and preserve Risingh’s “Estate”. He had the idea that with the
killing of everyone south of the river and the Dutch overrunning of
the southern area, Stuyvesant would be satisfied and leave Risingh
and his “estate” alone. Risingh was offering the lives of his own
people to the Dutch save himself and his “estate”.
The men of Fort Trinity,
including the commander, Captain Swen Skute, had no idea of the
overwhelming size of the Dutch force being hurled at them. Risingh
did not tell them. Nor did he tell them about being offered up to be
killed. Stuyvesant did not reply to Risingh’s letter so it appears
that Rising wrongly assumed Stuyvesant had agreed with his death
Governor Risingh provided
Commandant Swen Skute with a set of written instructions concerning
the actions he was to take. Risingh later claimed these
“instructions” were direct orders. Risingh's instructions to Skute
read that he was to defend the fort in case of attack, but that when
the Dutch squadron should approach he should, if possible, send an
officer onboard to demand the nature of the 'visit'. Skute was to
warn the Dutch by no means to pass the fort upon pain of being fired
upon. In effect Risingh was ordering Skute to fire the first shot
and provoke return fire. Risingh's instructions went on to direct
that if the Dutch came as friends then Skute was to honor them with
a Swedish national salute and to assure them that the Swedes would
be amenable to a peaceful adjustment to their conflicting
The really strange thing
here is that Risingh seemed to completely ignore the fact that he
himself had inflicted a military and diplomatic defeat on the Dutch
in the capture of Fort Cassimir/Trinity. It also seems strange that
Risingh should have any doubts at all about to the nature of the
Dutch 'visit' since he had clearly been informed about it any number
of times. He had been informed in writing by Stuyvesant himself, by
the Indians and by his own people and he had just ordered a military
reinforcement of Fort Trinity. Why would he instruct Skute to fire
on the Dutch if they tried to pass the fort if he did not already
know the nature of their 'visit' ? The answer is simple. He wanted
Swen Skute and all the people at or near Fort Trinity to be killed
to fulfill his death proposal. Risingh seems to have ignored what
Stuyvesant had told him in his May letter about taking over the
entirety of New Sweden.
The Dutch fleet arrived in
Delaware Bay and sailed up to the abandoned Fort Elfsborg and
anchored there for the night. Risingh made the assertion during the
Court Martial that the Dutch ships "must have been distinctly seen
from Fort Cassimir" but it is highly doubtful that the ships
anchored off Elfsborg in Mill Creek could be seen from Fort Trinity
at all. Based on Lindeström's contemporary Map B and Israel Acrelius'
map of about 1758, which itself was probably based on Lindeström's
map, it appears that the forts could be within sight of each other
but these maps are not scaled accurately. Fort Trinity is shown
located much farther south than it really is. It was ten miles and
there are two sharp bends in the river with two tree-covered points
of land in the direct line of sight between the two forts. Plus the
Dutch ships were anchored behind Verkins Island. It is simply not
possible to stand on the shore of the Delaware River at the site of
Fort Trinity and see the site of Fort Elfsborg, see the mouth of
Mill Creek or the even see the island in front of the ships. We are
informed that the Dutch ships came up to Fort Elfsborg and anchored
for the night. Visibility would be rapidly deteriorating with the
setting sun. We are not informed as to the state of the weather but
a heavy cloud cover or an afternoon shower, common in the area at
that time of year, would have greatly cut the distance anything
would be visible.
It is highly doubtful that
Swen Skute could have seen the Dutch ships but he may have known
they were near. It would have been a prudent act for Skute to set a
watch for the Dutch fleet. Risingh sent a boat from Fort Christina
down river three times to look for the Dutch fleet. Risingh’s boat
sighted the Dutch fleet as it was entering Delaware Bay but it went
right on by Fort Trinity without informing Skute of the sighting. It
is most probable that the fleet was not actually sighted from Fort
Trinity until it rounded the last bend in the river early in the
morning of August 31, 1655. Given a favorable wind the speed of
these ships was about five to six knots. With an inbound tide
flowing to add to this speed only about twenty minutes would pass
before the ships began passing the fort. Skute did not have time to
send an officer onboard to inquire as to the Dutch intentions before
the ships were passing in front of him. The Dutch ships sailed by
with drums beating and men standing above board, that is shoulder to
shoulder along the length of each ship. They loosened their sails
and let them flap in the breeze as they passed and let the tidal
current carry them on past the fort. They then anchored upstream,
out of the range of fire from the forts cannons.
This loosening of sails,
beating of drums and standing of soldiers in plain sight by the
Dutch apparently confused the Swedes for it signified peaceful
intentions to them. At this time Skute had no idea that the Dutch
were planning on the capture of the entire Colony but Skute was
fully aware that Governor Risingh was prepared to offer up Fort
Trinity, and all the men who manned it, as a sacrifice to appease
Stuyvesant if he just left the rest of the Colony alone. Risingh’s
orders to him had made that clear.
Immediately upon anchoring
Stuyvesant landed his troops and began throwing up breastworks
around Fort Trinity. One very detailed Dutch source says 317
soldiers and officers were landed.
Commandant Swen Skute then came out and met Stuyvesant,
probably trying his best to follow Risingh's instructions to inquire
as to the nature of the Dutch intentions. Stuyvesant told Skute that
he intended to reclaim all of the South River, that is, the entirety
of the New Sweden Colony, for the Dutch and not just Forts Cassimir
and Trinity. Swen Skute was a trained military officer. Skute could
see for himself the tremendous size of the forces he now faced. He
was outmanned about 10 to 1 without counting the sailors on the
ships. He faced one heavily armed warship, plus five other armed
ships, any one of which outgunned his entire fort.
There were only about 37
men, including Skute, a mixture of soldiers and civilians, and
likely only two, usable cannons under his command. Four unusual size
fourteen-pound cannons, Danish in origin, had been supplied by the
ship Eagle, and at Risingh’s orders, these two guns were mounted in
trenches in front of Fort Trinity after a test firing accident
destroyed two of the cannons when part of the fort collapsed.
Skute requested permission
to confer with Governor Risingh but Stuyvesant denied this. After
much discussion Stuyvesant agreed to an overnight delay. Upon
returning to the Fort Skute discovered there was a mutiny erupting
among his men. Half of the men did not like their odds of survival.
During the night Skute
covertly sent two messengers, Anders Daalboo (Dalbo) and Carl
Julius, in a canoe to Governor Risingh advising him of the situation
at Fort Trinity; advising him both as to the Dutch stated
intentions, the mutiny and to the large array of Dutch forces.
Risingh sent back instructions to Skute that he was to subdue those
that had mutinied and attempt to maintain the fort as long as
"If Skute was at last
unable to hold the Fort any longer, he sh [ould] not submit to
anything that was prejudicial to our Ruler, or any
disadvantage to our settlers."
Clearly this was an order
from Governor Risingh to surrender the fort if the situation was
hopeless, which it clearly was. In the morning Skute went out and
met with Stuyvesant and they agreed to surrender. He went aboard the
warship WAGH (the Scales or the Balance) with Stuyvesant where the
surrender agreement was signed.
The surrender ceremonies
described in the agreement signified an honorable capitulation
rather than defeat. After the Swedes marched out of the Fort they
were stopped by Stuyvesant and asked where they intended to go. When
Skute replied that he and his men intended to go to Fort Christina.
Stuyvesant said that such an destination was not stipulated in the
surrender accord and would not be allowed. Commandant Swen Skute and
his officers were then placed under arrest and held in Fort Casimir
to prevent them from returning to Fort Christina. The rest of the
men were placed on a Dutch ship and sent to New Amsterdam to make
sure they could not aid Risingh at Fort Christina.
Commandant Swen Skute and
the other officers actually spent the next two weeks dining with
Peter Stuyvesant in Fort Cassimer.
Later, on the day that
Skute surrendered The covert messengers had informed Risingh during
the pervious night that Fort Trinity was completely surrounded by
Dutch forces. Governor Risingh now made another of his puzzling
decision. He started a group of nine men across the Christina River
toward Fort Trinity.
He clearly knew that
Stuyvesant was denying open communications. Dutch troops had, by
this time, occupied all of the area on the south side of the
Christina River right up to the bank of the river just opposite Fort
Christina. As the little group of men landed their boats they were
attacked by a full Company of Dutch soldiers and seven were
captured. The other two escaped back across the river in their boat
under a hail of gunfire. Risingh fired a cannon shot over the heads
of the Dutch soldiers who immediately retreated into the woods out
of sight amid much cursing.
The shots exchanged in
this minor skirmish apparently were the only shots fired between the
Dutch and Swedes in actual combat although there were a few, over
the head, demonstration shots fired by both sides a few days later.
Stuyvesant now sent his ships and troops to besiege Fort Christina.
They landed on the Brandwine Creek side and eventually completely
surrounded the fort with entrenchments and batteries of heavy guns
without a single shot being fired at them by Risingh. The
encirclement was completed when several ships were brought up and
anchored in the mouth of Brandywine Creek.
Risingh knew for more than
a year that he could never hope to prevail over the Dutch by
military force. Risingh had about the same number of soldiers that
Skute had at Fort Trinity, twice as many after the munity, so was
outnumbered slightly less than Swen Skute, Some of the Dutch
soldiers were left behind to garrison Fort Cassimir.
Governor Risingh spent
some of this time before the Dutch arrived concealing cannonballs,
hand granadoes, gunpowder and all sorts of ammunition inside the
walls and under the floors of Fort Christina. This hidden material
was discovered a century later when Fort Christina was being
dismantled. Governor Risingh told the men doing the work of
concealment he did it so that the material would be immediately
available when the fort was regained. He told the Court Martial
hearing that he had sent nearly all of the ammunition to aid the men
at Fort Trinity. He knew from the 9 man boat incident that this was
impossible. In other words he told two completely different lies
about his reasons for the concealment.
Risingh surrendered Fort
Christina and the whole of the Colony of New Sweden to Peter
Stuyvesant on September 15, 1655. Risingh apparently never reentered
Fort Christina for any reason. This is significant because it means
the gunpower and ammunition concealment had to have been conceived
of, and carried out in its entirety, before the surrender of Fort
formally ended the colony of New Sweden in America. It did not end
the colony as a coherent and identifiable Swedish community. Six
moths later the arrival of the last ship sent from Sweden cause
quite an incidence. The Dutch/Swedish conference to end the
disturbance created the semi-independent self-governed Swedish
Nation, When the English defeated the Dutch in America nine years
later in 1664 they allowed the Swedish Nation to continue.
RISINGH’S ANGER AT CAPTAIN SVEN SKUTE
© 2012 All rights Reserved - Larry Spencer Stallcup
From the moment the ship Eagle arrived and anchored off Fort
Elfsborg in New Sweden Captain Sven Skute and Governor Risingh were
at loggerheads. Skute was designated to be the military commander
but Risingh immediately usurped all military command authority from
him. To make the situation worse Risingh ignored all advice from
both Sven Skute and the Eagle’s Captain from that moment onward. He
seemed determined to do the opposite of what Skute recommended.
Risingh immediately leaped into a Dutch trap from which there was no
escape. Risingh’s big leap caused the loss of the entire New Sweden
Colony to the Dutch his first day in the Colony.
Stuyvesant soon sent a letter to Risingh telling him the Dutch were
coming to take over all of New Sweden in response to his, Governor
Risingh’s, military attack and capture of the Dutch Fort Cassimir.
Rising sent a letter back to Stuyvesant saying that it was agreeable
to him if the Dutch killed everyone south of the Christina River if
he, Stuyvesant, would stop the invasion at that point and leave him
and his "estate", Timber Island, alone. Stuyvesant did not reply to
this letter. From his silence Risingh apparently assumed that
Stuyvesant agreed with his death proposal. Risingh apparently had
the idea that if everyone at Trinity died then no one would be left
alive who knew how badly he had blundered by disobeying his
orders. Swen Skute and everyone south of the Christina River
stayed alive was the reason Risingh was so upset about Skute not
firing on the Dutch ships.
Skute and the Fort Trinity officers were brought to Fort Christina
to witness Risingh surrendering of the Colony. That was probably
embarrassing for Risingh but worst was to come. Three days after
the surrender Stuyvesant made everyone in New Sweden a Freeman and
started handing out land patents. He offered to let Risingh stay on
as Vice-Governor reporting to him. That offer destroyed Risingh’s
entire plan for his own future. Risingh had all sort of perks in his
contract including that he be furnish with an estate free of charge,
he had selected Timber Island, and that a number of servants be
provided for him free of charge to operate his estate. Risingh’s
special free privileges suddenly vanished.
Risingh was furious at Skute. In his mind Sven Skute staying alive
was the cause of the loss of his “estate”, his job as an independent
governor and for the loss of all of his special privileges. Even if
Risingh stayed on in New Sweden as Stuyvesant’s Vice-Governor he
would have to pay the cost of running his estate and his servants
out of his own income. The New Sweden Colony operated on the “books”
as a “Company Store” non-cash type of system. That system had
suddenly ended and the Dutch cash system had replaced it. Like
everyone else Risingh had no cash income in New Sweden.
Sven Skute destroyed Risingh’s grand plans at every turn without
even knowing it.
The Chinese first cultivated apples. In fact they cultivated them to
the point where they could no longer grow true from seeds. There are
several technical reasons for that. Ever since then all true apple
trees have had to be grafted to a root stock using scions cut from
growing apple trees. This means apple orchards are not grown by
planting apple seeds. That means the Johnny Appleseed myth is simply
that, a complete myth.
Eventually apples and the grafting methods found their way into
Europe from China. There were no apple trees in North America when
the New Sweden Colonist arrived so scions had to be brought from
Sweden. They likely used the North American Crab Apple tree for the
root stock. Crab Apples trees grew abundantly in the New Sweden
Colony area and are still used as a root stock.
The only proven apple orchard in the 17-year history of New Sweden
Colony is the STALCOP Apple Orchard located just outside the north
entrance to Fort Christina. It is depicted on the 1654 map by Peter Lindeström.
The STALCOP Apple is a late maturing cooking and cider apple. The VanderVeer
family of innkeepers (Dutch) eventually spread the STALCOP Apple all
up and down the east coast of America. They established orchards of
them wherever they opened an Inn to provide the cider they served.
Farmers wanted them because they are both a good cooking apple and a
very good cider apple.
North Carolina State Memorial Orchard in an NC State Park northwest
of Winston Salem, NC has all apple tree varieties grown in the
state. They have a number of STALCOP Apple trees growing in their
orchard. If you visit in the late summer or early fall of year they
probably will be happy to show you the trees and give you a STALCOP
Apple from one of the trees.
on the Four Documents
Larry S. Stallcup
In 1988 for the 350th anniversary of the beginning of New Sweden in
America C. A. Weslager, Professor Emeritus of Brandywine College of
Widener University contributed an article to Volume 23 of the DELAWARE
HISTORY Series. The article was entitled A RUSE DE GUERRE – AND THE FALL
OF NEW SWEDEN. It presented translations and his commentary on four
documents relating to the Dutch invasion and the inquest or Court Martial
hearing held by Governor Risingh.
The article does not appear to be an objective look at the four documents
from arms length but rather appears to be highly slanted as if Dr.
Weslager were trying to provide proof of Risingh’s story. He flatly states
that it was Swen Skute’s surrender of Fort Trinity in the face of
overwhelming forces arrayed against him during the Dutch invasion led by
Peter Stuyvesant that was the sole cause of the loss of the Colony. This
is a repeat of Risingh’s accusation. To reach this goal he seems to be
deliberately ignoring a great deal of evidence that leads to another
conclusion altogether. One must wonder what would change about the loss of
the colony if Swen Skute had fired on the Dutch ships and the entire
garrison was annihilated in return. The only change would be that the
entire garrison would have been killed but the colony would have been lost
just the same. Swen Skute saved to life of everyone in the garrison.
Weslager totally ignores all the acts and bad judgment that Risingh
exhibited that were specific violations of his orders. That body of
evidence began before Risingh reached New Sweden and spans his entire
tenure. Those acts led directly to the Dutch invasion.
Weslager presents the documents out of chronological order. He seems to be
trying to make it appear that the two affidavits detailing what happened
were written after the hearing and in reaction to the Court Martial
hearing. They were, in fact, written and signed about three weeks
before the hearing and before it was even known there was going
to be a hearing. The forwarding letter sending the affidavits to the
Chancellor was written about five days after the hearing.
Weslager’s speculation that Governor Risingh himself took the affidavits
and forwarding letter to Sweden cannot be correct. If Risingh did not let
the original transcript of the hearing survive the voyage, which he did
not, then the affidavits and Skute’s letter to the Chancellor certainly
would not have survived the voyage either. Unknown to Risingh someone else
took the letter and affidavits and delivered them to the Chancellor.
All we the undersigned upper and lower officers witness with the
Commandant [. . . .] and manly Swen Skute, that he on the 31st of August
when Trefaldighet Fort was captured by General Stuyvesant, behaved in a
manly way, conducting himself faithfully and well with his upper and lower
officers. Also some few soldiers at Fort Trefaldighet were inclined to
stand, fight and defend. He behaved as an upright, loyal, and vigorous man
and held them under his command and for the Fatherland, likewise
admonished all the soldiers together in the highest way. However, at the
end they all became rebellious and called upon themselves all the 100
devils that live in Hell that they should not stand, though they would
part them into a thousand pieces.
Therefore, we the undersigned officers who were willing to fight call
upon each other as witness that the above named Commandant was willing to
stand against the enemy as a loyal, upright and manly soldier, had not the
rebellion of the soldiers caused a mutiny; and was compelled therefore to
surrender the Fort because we were besieged by enemies both inside and
outside the Fort. That this is so we the undersigned witness by our own
Subscribed in part at Fort Trefaldighet in New Sweden on the 31st of
Constable-Johan Andersson Stahlkoffta
Preacher-Peder Larsson Hjort
Lars And. Collins-Muster Clerk
This is an exact duplicate, word for word, of the original itself,
I the undersigned witness.
(1) This document must have been written, or at least
began, immediately after the mutiny so it was the first. The Dutch fleet
arrived, and the mutiny happened, on August 31st. The surrender took place
on September 1, 1655.
(2) Petter Lindeström later completely changed sides. He signed the two
affidavits supporting Skute. Several weeks later during the Court martial
hearings he started out being one of the defendants. Then he suddenly
switched sides and began supporting Governor Risingh. He even became what
appears to be a prosecutor and Court Reporter for Risingh. Today that
would raise all sorts of red flags and questions about what Risingh did to
get him to change sides.
A few days after the
Court Martial hearing ended Swen Skute wrote a letter to Chancellor Eric
Oxenstierna. This was a prudent step because Governor Risingh had declared
he was going to have Swen Skute and all of the officers at Fort Trinity,
one of which is our Johan Andersson Stålkofta, held responsible for loss
of the entire colony. During his negotiations for the surrender of Fort
Christina and the whole of the New Sweden Colony Governor Risingh had
Article 10 added in to the surrender document. This article gave him the
authority to hold Court Martial hearings. The purpose of the hearings was
to point the spotlight of blame away from Risingh and at someone else.
There were two affidavit enclosures to Skute’s letter. Below is the
In the year 1655, the 31st of August, came General Stuyvesant, Governor of
the Hollanders at Manhattan, sailing past Fort Trefaldighet (1), in the
South River(2) in New Sweden, with four ships, one shallop and one
bojort(3), allowing no hostility to show, not a shot fired nor anything
else, whereupon we could not decide whether they had all lowered their
sails before Trefaldighet Fort. However all of them cast anchor up at the
Sand Hook, and sent to us of the forts, on the same date, a veritable
command; namely, one Captain-Lieutenant with a sign of truce and one
drummer, whom Lieutenant Gyllengren met with two musketeers(4) at the
Thus, the Captain-Lieutenant [Dirck Smith] demanded according to the order
of his Governor [Stuyvesant] that the Commandant [Skute] agrees to
surrender the fort with contents because he had gotten a Resolution(6)
thereupon from the Crown in Sweden that it had been occupied without the
knowledge of the Crown and the Company. Thereupon the Lieutenant [Gyllengren]
answered: the Commandant [Skute] has no order to do so. Then he [Dirck
Smith] demanded to come into the fort and speak in person with the
Commandant, which was allowed after his eyes were bandaged over twice(7).
Then I [Skute] sent Anders Kiempe (with all of our consent) with one
Drummer and demanded that I might send word about it to Governor Johan
Rising. To which he [Stuyvesant] said an absolutely short no [-----] he
had us besieged all around. He there demanded that the Commandant [Skute]
should meet him halfway with four musketeers. The Commandant immediately
thereafter came, requesting more particulars of the above mentioned person
[Rising]. To this he [Stuyvesant] replied that could not possibly happen,
and repeated for the Commandant what has been touched upon above(8).
Now when the Commandant saw he had nothing to gain he excused himself, and
said he hoped he [Stuyvesant] would not think ill of him; that if the
outsider caused any hostility, he would answer for it. Stuyvesant replied,
yes, that might well happen. So Anders Kiempe went on a second trip to him
demanding a few days delay that I might hold a council about it with my
upper and lower Officers. To which he altogether shortly said no; however,
at last permitted a delay until eight o’clock the next morning, which
would be the absolute deadline(9). When I now looked around me and began
loudly to exhort the people(10) and the soldiers, the greatest part were
rebellious, and said they did not want to stand.(11) Some jumped over the
wall and got away, and some were brought back, and one shot to death. At
the last, however, I had not more than about eight men there about me whom
I could forgive, which made it next to impossible for me to hold out. They
will bear me witness with their own hands hereto subscribed. With what
heart I with them and they with me would have fought like men, and loyally
defended if we had had more help, oppressed as we were by the superior
enemy force, as well within as without the fort. Thereupon all we the
undersigned take God and our consciences to witness that this is the
passed on the above date.(12)
The Engineer Peter Lindeström
The Chaplain Petrus Laurenty Hiort
The Barber M. Tim. Stidem
The Constable[s] Johan Giostaphs
The Armorer Anders Kempe
The Scribe Carl Julius
Jacob Junge Hans Prÿdtz
Anders Dalbo Erich Bengtss
Manss Stacke Class Anderss
Pouvell Quist Swen Trummeslagare
Larss Jonss Larss Anderss
Larss Olufss Anders
Clementss Nilss Matss
Peter Håckan Ackerman
Johan Hinderss Frÿman
This copy agrees word for word with the original itself, which original
shall be delivered safely, I the undersigned testify.
(1) Swedish for “Trinity”
(2) Now called the Delaware River.
(3) The terms SHIP, SHALLOP AND BOJORT refers to the
arrangement of the sails and masts.
(4) Soldiers armed with matchlock muskets.
(5) It is speculated that a sketch or map originally
accompanied this affidavit but has been lost.
(6) A diplomatic communication between the Governments of
Sweden and Holland.
(7) Writing 40 or so years after the event Lindeström says arm
scarves were used to blindfold Smith and he was then let
to Skute's quarters. Geographia, page
(8) Skute not allowed to communicate with Risingh and repeated
the 'Resolution' statement.
(9) Stuyvesant probably granted this time because Stuyvesant's
preparation for attacking the forts were not complete.
He himself needed the time.
(10) The word “people” refers to what would today be called civilian
(11) Fight the Dutch. They could easily see that they were outnumbered
about 20 to 1. The fort was out gunned perhaps
more than that.
(12) No date is given but it was signed before the Dutch sent the
soldiers to New Amsterdam.
(13) Counting Skute 24 men signed the document. He says he could
trust eight of them. It is believed Skute began with a
total of 37 men.
Martial Hearing Record
The only known copy of the transcript of Governor
Risingh’s Court Martial Hearing held in his house on his “estate” on
Timber Island September 24th, nine days after he surrendered Fort
Christina and all of the New Sweden Colony to Peter Stuyvesant. It is a
copy made during the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Peter Lindeström
signs it as being a copy he himself had made. This begs the question of
what happened to the original transcript written during the hearing.
Because Risingh and Lindeström were traveling on the same ship and the
original was used to make the copy and the copy survived the journey
safely then what happened to the original document? Why did only
Lindeström’s copy survive the voyage?
Permission to hold the hearings was contained in Article 10 of the
Surrender Agreement. Lindeström began the Hearing as one of the accused
because he was one of the officers at Fort Trinity. He suddenly switched
sides and became the court reporter and apparently a prosecutor for
Risingh. Lindeström was removed from the pool of defendants and is the
only Fort Trinity officer to return to Sweden. He traveled on the same
Dutch ship with Governor Risingh as far as England where Risingh and his
bookkeeper, Hendrick von Elswick, were put ashore. There is no way to tell
what and how the wording was changed during his rewrite of the transcript.
In many places the copy appears to be more of a biased commentary on the
testimony rather than a simple recording of the questions and answers.
Considering that it seems clear that the copy is heavily slanted in favor
of Risingh it seem that the copy is only intended to place all blame for
the loss of New Sweden on Swen Skute rather than on Governor Risingh.
Words in brackets were supplied by C.A. Weslager’s transcription, A RUSE
DE GUERRE – AND THE FALL OF NEW SWEDEN appearing in Volume 23 (1988) of
The Delaware History series. The Swedish translations were by Dr. Richard
H. Hulan. The footnotes appearing below are those of Larry S. Stallcup.
how Schute  had conducted himself in turning over Treefalligheetz
The 30th and 31st of Aug. and 1st of Sept.:
And on the 24th of September, Anno 1655
Examined On Timber Island
Inquest concerning the Commandant Swen Schu[te] [: how] he had
conducted himself with his officers, the 31st of August and the 1st
of September in the year 1655. At that time [Tr]eefallidigheetz Fort
had been turned over through Accord . Examined in the presence of
the following persons:
The Lord Governor: Johan Risingh 
The Factor Hindrig von Elsswig
Vice Commiss: Jacob Swenson
Lieut. Swen Höök 
Ensign Peter Wendel
Freeman Per Romboo 
Freeman Matz Hanson
And then the
following things are reported there;
That on the 30th of August, Stuyvesandh lay in the cove
back of Verkens Island with his ships and by means of the ship’s shallop
let several Companies go ashore in Tamakonckz cove.  On the 31st ditto
he came sailing by the Fort with his people on seven merchant vessels and
ships , and had all the people standing on the foredeck. They went so
near the Fort that one could have hit them from the Fort with a musket,
and passed by there with a drum line and beating drums. 
Skute said that one little yacht, Sanders Lennarson’s,
was the foremost: and when he came in front of the Fort he struck sail.
But when the Governor asked whether the said yacht struck sail completely;
then it was found that none of the officers or soldiers who had been on
the scene could be sure of it. Jacob Junge [one of the soldiers] said, “I
don’t know whether he struck, but the gaff was hanging loose.”
The Engineer Peter Lindeström professed that the little
yacht that was leading did not strike. Johan Stålkoffta [the
constable] witnessed likewise, and that Peter Lindeström kept asking Skute,
from the first to the last vessel, whether he should shoot or not. But
Skute replied, “Don’t you see that they are striking sail?” 
Thereupon Rising said, “You have preformed expressly
against your orders; and if you had the heart to shoot at him, He would
have been unable to carry his artillery as close to the Fort as he did.”
Skute [re]plied that when the first yacht ran by, he asked Lieut.
Gyllengren, “What do you think, should we fire on them?” Gyllengren had
[said, “Let] it go,” being of the opinion that she would bring along some
emissary (because she [was] some distance ahead of the other ships) to
speak with him. Therefore he [allowed] her past.
Then Skute was asked whether he had with the counsel of
his Officers permitted the ships to pass by the Fort? Or [had he] let them
see the Resolution [Rising’s written orders] he and the undersigned
[Rising] had that he should fire on the ships and not let them slip past?
And had the 4 points thereof then with [word obliterated] been read? And
the Governor sharply expostulated with him, that he had thereby given the
enemy a quadruple advantage, and was the cause of the forfeit of all of
New Sweden .
But he replied, “since they struck sail, what should I
The Governor said, “That would not excuse you at all,
even if he had struck; because if your adversary who presents a rapier
also takes off his hat with the other hand, are you willing to lower your
rapier and lose your life? But I heard the Dutch officers say afterward
that they did not strike until they were just past the fort where they
intended to stop [soo meenigen duycker gestrocken], and that the large
ships also had to drop their sails so they could heave to there.” 
But Skute held to his previous statement which could
not give him any help in his error.  The officers (namely Gyllengreen,
Lindeström and the Constapel Johan Stålkoffta) professed that they had not
seen Skute’s orders, but were inclined on the basis of the Governor’s
express commands, to shoot, and only held off for Skute’s command. If he
had ordered it they all testified to what is stated above. 
Then Jacob Junge was called forward and related that when the ships came
by, he stood on the highest point, namely, the southeast point, where
Skute. Lieut. Gyllengreen, and Engineer Petter Lindheström stood; that one
little yacht came sailing past with a mizzen sail and the gaff hung loose;
that they didn’t know whether he struck or not.
The Engineer Lindheström asked Skute, “Shall I
shoot? But Skute asked for Constapel Ståhlkoffta, who then
stood between the pole works [the outer palisades?] and the Fort among the
fourteen-pounders; and Stålkofta stepped forth and said, “You have the
orders, do as you are ordered.” [And in the] meantime the ships came in a
line, one after another. And all the officers affirm this, with one voice;
that they had requested Skute for orders, to shoot or not. To this they
all now here testify.
The same day when Stuyvesandh sat at anchor [before]
Sander Boyes house where he had the people set up, he immediately sent the
Ca[pt Lie]ut. Smidt with a drummer and had him demand the Fort. Then Skute
[sent] Lieut. Gallengreen towards him, to the little creek where his [word
partly missing] was standing with a high flag [of truce]. And Gyllengreen
answered him [i,e, Captain Smidt], his orders were not to surrender the
Fort but to fight to the last man. Then he asked permission to come into
the Fort and speak in person with [Skute]. This was granted and he was led
into the fort with blindfolded eyes. When he came into Skute’s dwelling
the blindfold was untied, and then for the second time he demanded the
Fort, but Skute answered, “I have no other orders than to fight.” Then he
went with bound eyes, back again with the answer. Half an hour later he
returned, with a high banner and a drummer. Lieut Gyllengreen met him the
second time with two musketeers, his request was again that the Fort be
turned over to him; but Gyllengreen answered him the same as formerly, and
that he should not come again on that subject because it was His Royal
Majesty’s Land and privilege [Charles X of Sweden], and they would defend
it to the last man. Then he requested for a second time to speak with
Skute. As previously, he was now allowed there [at Skute’s quarters]. And
received the response from Skute that he wished to send the Sergeant to
speak with the General [Stuyvesant]; that he should press this case with
the Governor, because he had no orders to turn over the Fort. When
Sergeant Kiämpe came to Stuyvesant, he got the reply that Skute should
meet Stuyvesant half way. And that he did.
Swen the Drummer’s relation about Kiämpe:
That he was sent into Stuyvesant’s camp by Skute, and
should request that Stuyvesant might send to ask the Governor [about it].
Then Kiämpe got the answer, that he (Stuyvesant) had received no message
from Johan Rising, when he took Fort Casimir; he (Stuyvesant) had no
desire to wait upon the Governor’s resolution. 
When Kiämpe returned with that answer, Stuyvesand
requested that Skute should meet him in the clearing halfway [i.e. half
way between the fort and Stuyvesant’s camp], with 4 musketeers and a
Skute now came to Stuyvesand; then Stuyvesand asked him
if he had decided whether he would turn over the Fort. Then Skute
answered, “If I can get an order from my Governor that he is willing to
give you the Fort, I am prepared; but otherwise I shall [not] give up the
Then Stuyvesand answered, “inasmuch as you are
separated, I s[ . . .] have him just as if he hung in chains.” Skute
requested a hal[f] hour’s respite, which was allowed.
After h[aft] an hour, Skute again sent Kiämpe to
Stuyvesandt and requested [. . . . a delay?] until the next morning, which
he got on the condition that Skute [s]hould himself meet the General the
next day at 8 o’clock and speak with h[im]. 
Now in the meantime while Skute was outside, the
people had begun to mutiny. And most of them [ . . . . ] Anders Kiämpe had
said to them, when he came back into the Fort, “Ah, fellows, we could
never stand against them, they are as numerous as the straw in the
Now when Skute came back into the Fort he went to
the high point: then Stålkoffta went up to him and said, “The people are
rebellious.” Then Skute went down to the perimeter wall and asked them, “
Soldiers, how is it with you? Do you intend to get rebellious, now that we
have the enemy outside the fort? Or how is it with you?”
Then the biggest part of them answered, “We don’t want
to resist. We wouldn’t be able to stand [i.e. withstand the attack from
the Dutch who greatly outnumbered them].”
Then Skute shouted very loudly through the Fort,
“Whoever wants to be a loyal fellow, and serve his Ruler like an honest
man, step forth from this rebellious lot and come with me.”
Then the greatest part came back to Skute, except for
15 or 16 men, who stayed behind in the courtyard, and they were released
from their oaths by the Corporal. Skute will hand over a list of these.
During this same disturbance one jumped over the wall, named Oluff Isgråå,
who then reported all the circumstances to Stuyvesandt. Yet another
freeman, named Hindrich Johanson, sneaked outside the gate at another
place during the nighttime. The third, named Gabriel Forsman, jumped over
the wall. Gyllengren shot the leg off this one, and pulled him into the
Fort, where he subsequently died. 
On the same Friday night [August 31] Skute sent Anders
Daalboo and Carl Julius to the Governor in a canoe, who related that the
people  mutinied, and now he was besieged, likewise how many stringent
demands Stuyvesandh had made; and Skute requested that the Governor should
send him assistance because he could not hold the Fort with so few people.
The Governor replied that Skute should subdue those who
mutinied, every one, as this could not be allowed to happen; that Skute
should then attempt to maintain the Fort with the people who were willing
to stand (because many fortresses had been held by a few people) ;
until he had finally come to a [.. word obliterated . .] and that the
Governor was then awaiting the Factor with freemen from [u]p the River,
whom he would send [down] there with the first and greatest haste.  If
Skute was at last unable to hold the Fort any longer, he sh[ould] not
submit to anything that was prejudicial to our Ruler, or any disadvantage
to our settlers. Andhers Daalboo (Anders Dalbo} and Carl Julius professed
[corroborated] this, [tha]t the Governor had given them this answer, and
they had [deliv]ered the same to Skute.  Early in the morning at 8
o’clock on Saturday, September 1st, Skute sent Andress Kiämpe with a
drummer to Stuyvesandhz camp. Then the drummer was sent away for as long
as Kiämpe was speaking with Stuyvesandh so that he could not hear what was
said. Gyllengreen, Stålkoffta, and the others say they had no knowledge of
what orders Kiämpe had [from Skute].
Now Swen the Drummer relates that [when he and Kiämpe
returned to the fort] Stuyvesandh sent a Lieutenant with a drummer with
Kiämpe, who requested that Skute himself should come and talk with
Stuyvesandh, and they were standing by the little creek.
Now Skute was asked whether he had, in all this as it
is aforesaid, taken the counsel of his officers. Skute answered “Yes,” but
the other officers absolutely denied it. But about the accord [peace terms
with Stuyvesant] they all jointly gave their advice, that he should see
that it was good for the Ruler and for them; and that they would rather
die in there than that they should lose so much as a button off the
uniforms,  much less the territory. Gyllengren and Stållkofta testify
On the same date early in the morning Skute went with
the said Lieutenant and Tambour [drummer] with two musketeers, and then
they met Stuyvesandh in the middle of the clearing, between the Fort and
his camp. Then Stuyvesandh asked Skute if he would turn over the Fort, and
Skute answered, I don’t know what I should reply to you, I have never
considered it, because I have not thought that you would come and attack
his Royal Majesty’s Fort.”
Then Stuyvesandh answered, “That is not His Royal
Majesty’s Fort, but the States General’s and the West India Company’s Fort
and Land,” and that he intended to let the soldiers go up there without
firing a shot.
Skute replied, “Then they wouldn’t all come back again
To that Stuyvesanvsh answered, “If I lose one man, then
not a man, dog or rooster of you will be spared.”
Skute then requested that he be permitted to see
Stuyvesandtz orders. To this Stuyvesandh replied, “I have orders [from the
Gener]al States and the West India Company, which have had messages to
Swe[den] to His Royal Majesty. He [Charles X] says he knows nothing of the
order that [you] should capture Fort Cassimir.” 
And Captain [K . . . ]ings [Frederick de Coningh,
commander of the Wagh  said he himself had been in Sweden about that;
whereupon Stufv[esa]ndh walked away, and let Skute stand among the others.
Finally he returned and said, “[. . .] you to come aboard with me, as I am
willing to show you my orders.”
[There] with Skute accompanied Stuyfesandh on board
[the Wagh]. Then when he came there he [Stuyvesant] showed him a letter
[and] he read it to him, in which it was stated that he should occupy Fort
Cassimir, And this he said himself, before and afterward, that he had
nothing to do with Fort Christina, but only wished that he could become
such good friends with the Governor that they could walk arm in arm with
His officers, Lieutenant Gyllengreen, Johan Stålkoffta
and the others profess that they had admonished Skute when he went out,
that he should negotiate in the best way that was possible; that they
should get to march out, with the banner flying, burning matches, bullet
in the mouth, armored above and below, together with every other
ammunition, or they would not go out of the Fort alive, nor forfeit so
much as a button’s worth. Nils Utter testified likewise. But Skute and
the Corporal say that they had not spoken about flying banners, burning
matches, or any other ammunition that morning. But they do not deny that
the following day it had been so discussed.  In the meantime, Skute
had made an accord with Stuyfvesandh on the ship [Wagh] and signed it, of
which the original in High German [which both men understood] is [now] in
the possession of the Governor. In which the second point states that he [Skute]
should march out with the people, but no room or place, to Christina, or
elsewhere, is stipulated, and nothing at all about the time when they
should march. And then when he came home he brought the enemy with him to
the Fort. 
The people who were there in the Fort were assembled,
and were asked how things were. Then they all reported with one voice when
Skute to the Fort with Captain Konings, A Dutch troop of 78 men followed
on his heels all the way to the little creek. Then Skute sent Swen the
drummer to the Fort and ordered the gate opened, and the Dutch troop filed
across the creek, man after man, and then stationed themselves under the
embankment. Gyllengreen then shouted from the northeast perch to Skute,
“How now? How now? What kind of accord?”
Skute [answ]ered with a gesture of decision,
“Everything we requested has been [al]lowed. We could’nt ask for a better
accord.” The Engineer [Lindest]röm also testifies that he heard the same
thing from Skute. The [ . . .sol]diers testified likewise that they heard
the same thing thereafter in [ . . .] the Fort.
THIS ENDS THE COURT MARTIAL OR INQUEST HEARING. THE RECORD SHOULD END
HERE AS WELL 
On this same day, the 24th of September, after all this
above [inquest] had been conducted The Governor asked Skute whether he had
now preformed a service for the Dutch? Skute replied, “That would [ . . .]
from my orders. I have not done that.” Again the Governor asked Skute,
“Why then have you sought to debauch the Crown’s people who wanted to go
with him to the Fatherland, “to stay here with you in this country? I am
not halfway convinced that you can hereafter be trusted here on the
Then Skute swore that he had never thought, much less
behaved that way.
Then the Governor had Nils Utter and Nils Räff to come
in; and Nils Utter professed that Skute had at first talked with him in a
friendly manner, That he should become his guard. But afterwards Utter
still refused and said he would not stay behind [remain on the Delaware]
no matter how much he would give him. Then Skute said that those who had
formerly stood under his comman[d sh]ould also continue to do so
hereafter. Then Utter had answered, “Before I would now stay here on the
River, I should rather go to Virginia and wait there until spring, and set
out for home with the ships.” Then Skute had said he would be damned if
anybody would go out from the River without his signature. To all of this
Nils Räff and the said Utter testify.  Then the Governor continued to
interrogate: “Schute, to what end did you send me the message that I
should not slaughter any oxen here because you wanted them for breaking
[i.e. e. plowing] your fields.  Furthermore, you promised Räff a half
share of my tobacco if he would stay with you.”
Utter and Nils Räff confirmed this in full view of
Skute, but he swore against it so badly it was a sin to hear it; and the
people wondered at it greatly, since the greater part of them knew that
all this was the truth.
Then the Governor asked Skute if he had not said that
the Governor would not come away from here with any more strength than his
own six [servants?] excepting the Factor [von Elswick] with his servant.
This Skute completely denied, now as before and swore s[. . .] that none
of this was the truth that indeed 2[person?], Nils Utter and Nils raff had
wanted to be clear about his rank whether that [obliterated] of all this,
only that it is the truth.
On the boat be[tween] the Island [Timber Island] and
the Fort, Skute asked the Governor for advice what he should do.  He
had thought about moving here to live in Fort Christina with some others
who are staying here in the country, [na]ming Jöns Smeedh, Petter
Semskemakare, and others who are staying here.
Thereupon the Governor answered him [that] it is
squarely against every resolution [of himself  and his officers]. We
have [for] one [thing] turned over the Fort to the Hollanders after a
complete accord, and the one who now stays as a resident here cannot be
held as his Royal Majesty’s faithful man. But for another, until this our
most gracious King and the principals redress all this, do as you please.
Then after they exchanged words in the Fort, the
Governor said to Skute, “I hear that you and my [servant] boy Christopher
have been enticed by our former Drummer Schalbrichson, to demand
permission that he should cast his lot with you, and have said that you
can go as far away from home in Sweden as I.” Skute denied this with great
and solemn oaths, but nevertheless that had truly happened, as the said
Christopher attests, and others had heard.
IT APPEARS THE
ORIGINAL COURT MARTIAL OR INQUEST HEARING RECORD BEGINS AGAIN AT
That this was done as stated, and nothing was recorded here that had not
been proven with evidence or witnesses, we the undersigned testify, Actum
ut Supra, on Timber Island near Christina Fort, the 24th of September,
Hindrich von Elsswick
Per Hanson Wendel Mat Hanson
Per Ramboos bomarcke [his mark]
I the undersigned witness that this copy corresponds exactly to the
original itself. 
1 The spelling of names often takes many forms. Where possible
it is rendered as “Skute”.
2 An agreement between the two sides.
3 Rising had been ennobled by Queen Christina before leaving
Sweden and he added an “h” to his
name. He is generally called “the Lord Governor”.
Has been rendered mostly as “Governor”.
4 Hendrick von Elswick was the Factor (bookkeeper) at Fort
Christina. Born in Germany he became a
merchant in Stockholm. He came to America in command of
the Gyllene Haj (Golden Shark) He
missed Delaware Bay and sailed into New Netherlands
territory where the Dutch seized the ship.
Elswick then traveled overland to reach Fort Christina.
5 Second in Command at Fort Christina. Came with von Elswick
on the Gyllene Haj.
6 The two Freemen, Peter Rambo and Mat Hanson, were among 9 or
10 upriver freemen who
volunteered. Most were captured after they rowed their
boats across the Christina River. Peter
Rambo and Mat Hanson arrived a day late so was not
captured by the Dutch.
7 C.A. Weslager says on Wednesday, August 29th, the Dutch
fleet anchored nears the ruins of Fort
Elfsborg south of the mouth of Verkins Kill. He went on
to say that Verkins Island does not appear
on any contemporary maps. Weslager miss-identified
Verkins Kill as the Salem River. Verkins Kill is
now known as Mill Creek and the island appears on
contemporary maps. It is just not identified by
the name of Verkins Island. Tamakonckz cove is at the
mouth of Tamakonckz Kill, the first stream
south of New Castle. The Dutch took a number of Swedes
prisoners during the night. In effect
Stuyvesant had “flanked” Fort Trinity and was in a
position to attack on three sides, by troops on
both the north and south sides and by ships to the
east. Apparently Skute was never aware of the
Dutch troops on the south side of the fort.
8 Skute identified six ships in the Dutch fleet. Apparently he
did not include the pilot boat as part of the
invasion fleet. The pilot boat was a yacht-rigged
vessel owned by a local Scot.
9 Both the Dutch and Swedes associated drum beating with
10 Sander Lennarson (Alexander Lindsay) was a pro-Dutch Scot who
apparently leased himself and his
“yacht” to pilot the Dutch ships up the narrow channel
near the shore past the fort and on to an
anchorage north of the fort. Two weeks later he took
Rising’s surrender document to Stuyvesant’s
Council in New Amsterdam.
11 Apparently it would have been a great breech of conduct to fire on a
ship that had both drummers
beating and loose sails.
12 Risingh here displays his lack of military knowledge. The ships alone
carried far more firepower than
what Stuyvesant offloaded and moved into a siege
position north of the fort. Indeed, the land artillery
was not needed at all to reduce the fort and the
13 Risingh had received Stuyvesant’s letter plainly stating he was going
to invade and take over New
Sweden. He also likely had received the Resolution from
the Swedish Crown that he, Risingh, had
attacked and captured Fort Cassimir without the Crown’s
or the Company’s knowledge or consent.
In effect Risingh was deliberately ordering Skute to
fire on the Dutch ships and to sacrifice not only
Skute’s life but also the lives of all the other
defenders, all against his express orders from the Crown
and the Company.
14 Dr. Charles T. Gehring of the New York State Library translated the
four Dutch words as “then many
struck [their] rigging or sail rigging.” It seems clear
that the Dutch did strike their sails but not at the
place where Risingh thought they should have done so.
They struck upstream of the Swedish guns,
which could fire only straight out into the river,
rather than downstream of them. This is an example of
commentary written into the hearing record.
15 This is an example of commentary written into the hearing record.
16 This has to be an example of slanting the record in favor of Risingh.
If the officers had not read the
Governor’s orders and knew nothing of them until the
Court Martial Hearing they could not be
inclined to shoot on the basis of the Governor’s
17 The question is how could Lindeström be up on the high point trying to
decide if the Dutch ships
struck sail and be down in the gun trench at the same
moment to ask, “Shall I shoot? Three people
saw him up on the High Point so it seems very clear
that he LIED about asking, “Shall I shoot? If he
was lying about that then what else did he falsify in
18 Weslager was mistaken about which message Stuyvesant was referring.
Stuyvesant said that Rising
had not sent him a message when he attacked Fort
Cassimir so he was not going to wait for Risingh to
send a message now. He was referring to the day that
Risingh captured Fort Cassimir. There was a
later exchange of letters between the two Governors
several months after Risingh’s attack that is the
exchange to which Weslager was referring.
19 Stuyvesant granted this delay because he had not completed all of his
preparations to attack. This
delay was crucial as it allowed Skute to send a message
to Risingh and to receive an answer back
20 This was the only casualty during the entire invasion, both at Fort
Trinity and Fort Christina.
21 Weslager say that the word people refer principally to the soldiers
although there were also civilians
among the defenders.
22 It is not clear if this is Weslager’s insertion or if it is Risingh’s
23 See Footnote 6 above.
24 This is very clear instructions from Risingh giving Skute permission to
surrender if the situation was
hopeless. It was. The two messengers confirmed the
message from Risingh and no doubt that Skute
guarded the written copy very carefully as evidence of
who had made the decision.
24 Probably a mis-translated word because the Swedes did not have
uniforms. Probably “clothing” or
25 This means that Risingh had attacked and captured Fort Cassimir both
against his orders and without
the Crown’s knowledge. It seems very unlikely that the
Crown had had such a discussion with the
Dutch Government and had not communicated with Risingh
on the subject. It is also clear that Risingh
had withheld all such information from Skute and his
26 This means that Risingh had attacked and captured Fort Cassimir both
against his orders and without
the Crown’s knowledge. It seems very unlikely that the
Crown had had such a discussion with the
Dutch Government and had not communicated with Risingh
on the subject. It is also clear that Risingh
had withheld all such information from Skute and his
27 The Balance or Scales. This ship was a full-fledged warship.
28 This testimony shows that all the officers knew Skute’s intent to
surrender the Fort when he went out.
They must have discussed it during the night,
especially after the arrival back of the messengers from
Risingh with his order to surrender.
29 The dates are in agreement. Both the officers and Skute testified that
the surrender formalities
discussion happened on the same morning as the
surrender itself. The formalities described indicate an
honorable capitulation to superior forces.
30 This must be referring to Dutch soldiers entering Fort Cassimir. At
Fort Christina it was the other way
around. Skute and the officers were held in Fort
Cassimir and the soldiers placed on a ship and sent
to New Amsterdam. After Risingh surrendered Skute and
the officers were taken to Fort Christina to
be witnesses to Governor Risingh’s own march out
31 This exchange took place sometime after the “Inquest” which was six
days after the Dutch began
handing out land patents. This entire exchange and what
follows may or may not have happened and
in any event it should not have be included as part of
the Inquest record. It was not a part of the
Hearing. There is a noticeable change in writing style
indicating it may have been added at a later date.
By this date Risingh knew that not many settlers wanted
to return to Sweden with him. Only one
freeman appears on the list of those returning but
since the list includes only 20 names and not all 37
there may have been other freemen returning.
32 Nils Utter was called to testify during the hearing but not about this
subject. Since it is known
Lindeström falsified other parts of the record when he
made the copy it is impossible to now know
what is true and what is false.
33 At this time Skute was living in a house on a small lot near Fort
Trinity. Risingh had refused to honor
the Queen’s grant of land to Skute.
34 It seems highly improbable that Skute would ask for any advice from
35 Risingh wanted Skute to go to Sweden with him so he could complete his
finger-pointing scheme. He
desperately needed to divert attention away from
himself so that his sale of the Forts cannons, and
theft of the money, would not be discovered. He also
needed to divert attention away from his many
violations of his own orders.
36 The entire certification appears to have been moved probably to allow
for the addition of the hearsay
against Skute and in support of the Governor. In the
body of the additional material it states some of
the exchanges took place inside the Fort and some took
place on a boat between the Fort and
Timber Island yet the certification and signatures
state all testimony took place on Timber Island, ie at
Risingh’s residence. The very Certification proves that
parts of the document had been falsified.
All of this begs the question about what happened to the original
document? If the copy survived and both the original and the copy were
together on the ship for Lindeström to make the copy, then what happened
to the original document?
LETTER TO CHANCELLOR ERIC OXENSTIERNA(1)
Forwarding two affidavits.
Most noble Count, gracious Lord, and very
powerful sire, besides long-patient ---Lifelong health! In the course of
service, humbly and diligently wishing happiness, I thank your Countly
Excellency together with your Countly Excellency’s noble family, in the
most humble servility for the favor of all good and high promotion. On
this account I am duty bound, so long as I live, to stay firm to my utmost
ability, and shall faithfully serve.
I must make your Countly Excellency aware of those events, how the
Hollandish General Peter Stuyvesant came about the 31st day of August in
the year 1655 before Fort Trefaldighet [Trinity] with 4 ships and 3
sloops(2) full of people, namely 800 men(3), and plundered us; whereas we
Swedes were no more than a handful of folk against them, and the biggest
part thereof were rebellious. Thus, I had no more than a squad of ten
including myself; so the people escaped over the Fort, and one was shot in
the road when he jumped over the wall [Gabriel Forsman], and the
Hollanders got a complete reconnaissance of everything; so because it was
an impossibility for me to garrison such a thoroughly surrounded fort,
much less defend it; therefore it was not half ready (such
a fort can
only be well staffed with 200 men at the least). Considering this, your
Countly Excellency may judge. Therefore I was compelled to give up the
fort by Accord, for I had enemies both within and without the
fortification. God knows this cannot be blamed on me, as may be seen by
the enclosed copy, that is the affidavit of the upper and lower officers
as well as rank and file. I should indeed travel back to Sweden now, as
the others do, but on account of the unreadiness of my affairs I shall
have to await a convenient time here. By and by when ships and people will
arrive here I shall look forward to setting up the fort for the Crown, as
also the Most Praiseworthy Company, on the same Conditions.
Awaiting Your Countly Excellency’s favorable Resolution hereupon in the
hope that your Countly Excellency will not think ill of me out here;
Wishing hereby Your Excellency and all your Countly Excellency’s family to
be under God’s benevolent protection, and pledging myself
Your Countly Excellency’s most humble and
faithful servant while I live,
Dated the Sandhook [New Castle] 29 Sept. in the year 1655(4).
first arrived in New Sweden in New Sweden1643 with Governor Printz. He was
second in command. He supervised
the construction of Fort Elfsborg and
commanded it during its busy service years. Printz sent him back to Sweden
in the fall
of 1650 as an emissary with messages for
the government (see Swedish Settlements 1:338). He helped recruit
Rishingh's expedition on the Orn (Eagle)
and was promoted to a captaincy. He sailed as the Military Commander
and with a land grant from the Queen. Once
in New Sweden Risingh did not honor either the position of Military
Commander or the Queen's land grant.
Chancellor Eric Oxenstierna was the son of the legendary Axel Oxenstierna
followed his father into office.
(2) Here Skute includes the pilot boat as part of the Dutch fleet.
(3) One detail account says the Dutch force consisted of 317 soldier
but there is no reliable count of the sailors. The sailors
would probably outnumber the soldiers and were
expected to fight whenever there was a need.
(4) Weslager speculated that Risingh himself took this letter and
the two enclosed affidavits to Sweden when he returned. It is
this writers opinion that neither Skute's letter
nor the two affidavits would have survived the voyage if Risingh had known
they were on the same ship.
Governor Risingh had a terrible problem. His 1654 attack on the Dutch fort
in direct violation of his orders had triggered the fall of the entire New
Sweden Colony. He had to think clearly and come up with a plan to keep his
head on his shoulders. He decided on a simple plan that had been used many
times with success. He would point a finger of blame at someone else. He
pointed his finger for the loss of the entire Colony at Captain Swen Skute
and all of his officers at Fort Trinity/Cassimir. That included Johan
In addition to ignoring his orders to stay away from the Dutch fort
Risingh was guilty of doing exactly the same thing he was accusing Skute
of doing; that is, he never opened fire on the Dutch forces from Fort
Christina. All the time the Dutch were anchoring their ships, building
their trenches and placing their gun batteries they were within easy range
of Risingh's guns in the Fort. That was when the Dutch were most
vulnerable to attack because they were not yet prepared to shoot back.
Risingh's own failure to fire on the Dutch when it would be the most
effective guaranteed the Dutch would prevail.
If he were successful in his finger-pointing scheme no one would look hard
at his actions. No one would realize that at Fort Christina he had started
with at least the same number of defenders and more than four times as
many heavy weapons as did Skute at Fort Trinity. After the mutiny Risingh
had twice as many effective men as did Skute. He had more supplies, more
usable heavy weapons and more ammunition and he had a much better
defensive position than did Skute. Fort Christina had an earthen
embankment to protect against flying wood splinters. Fort Trinity, built
specifically to Risingh’s design, was all timber and had no such splinter
Risingh knew he could not prevail any more than could Skute. Both were
greatly outnumbered. If he were successful in his scheme no one would ask
him why he ordered Skute to surrender Fort Trinity. No one would ask him
why he himself surrendered without firing a shot. After all, by the time
the Dutch forces arrived off Fort Christina Risingh could have no doubts
whatsoever about their intentions. Actually he had known Dutch intentions
for many months. Stuyvesant told him clearly in a letter he was going to
invade New Sweden.
Risingh had planned out his scheme to place blame for the loss of the
colony on someone other than himself well before he surrendered. We know
this because he had a special article written into the accord during his
negotiations when he surrendered Fort Christina and the whole of New
Sweden to Stuyvesant.
Risingh has perfect liberty to inform himself about the conduct of
the Commandant Swen Skute, with that of the officers and men in
surrendering Fort Cassimir" (1)
This article gave
Risingh permission to conduct a court-martial hearing. This definitely
placed the future of Johan Andersson Stålkofta, as well as Swen
Skute and all the officers at Fort Trinity/Cassimir, in life or death
jeopardy. Risingh did not have the authority, however, to pass judgments
and carry out any sentence. That had to await the return to Sweden. That
probably saved a number of future families including the Stalcop Family.
Dr. Amandus Johnson, in talking of Risingh's attitude, had this to say
about the court martial proceedings held by Governor Risingh.
Skute) was blamed for not giving orders to fire on the Dutch ships
as they passed, although Linstestrom and Stålkofta stood by the guns
ready to apply the match. He was also accused of not taking council
with his officers about what was to be done.”(2)
"It seems that
Skute had expected to be held accountable for giving up the fort,
for he prepared a statement, which being signed by Lieutenant Elias
Gyllengren, Rev. Peter Hjort, Constaple Johan Andersson (our
Stålkofta) and others, exonerated him from all blame.”(3)
Three days after
Risingh’s surrender Peter Stuyvesant and the Dutch made a brilliant move
that completely undid all of Governor Risingh’s careful planning for blame
The Dutch needed the colonist to stay in the colony, but under their
control, to protect their territorial interest from encroachment from the
English in New England and, to a lesser extent, from Maryland. Stuyvesant
also had an urgent need to return his soldiers to New Amsterdam. The
Indians around New Amsterdam had come to hate the Dutch and had seized the
opportunity of Stuyvesant's forces sailing for New Sweden. They began to
attack the unprotected Dutch settlements. With this urgent need to return
to New Amsterdam in mind immediately after the surrender of Fort Christina
Stuyvesant made a surprising offer to Governor Risingh. He offered to let
the Governor march back into the fort and continue to rule the colony but
as a Dutch colony. Governor Rising refused(4) this offer. Stuyvesant then
directly presented the colonist with a choice. Each individual could
Leaving with Governor Risingh and returning to Sweden
at Dutch expense.
They could sign an oath to New Netherlands and stay
right where they
were and become 'freemen'.
They had a year to
make up their minds to accept or reject the offer.
It has been estimated that the New Sweden colony consisted of 368 people
at the time of the surrender. About half of this number was women and
children. They were scattered over an area of about 300 square miles
extending from about the present cities of New Castle, Delaware to the
north side of Philadelphia. A number of them were 'involuntary colonist'.
They were in the colony because they had been sent there as punishment.
All had left almost everything they possessed when they left Sweden and so
they had nothing to go back to. For at least half of the soldiers, and all
of the officers at Fort Trinity, except one(5), the idea of returning to
Sweden was not very appealing.
Risingh had clearly stated that he intended to have them held responsible
for the loss of the colony. They could be executed if found guilty. They
also realized that with Governor Risingh, a nobleman, pointing his finger
at them it would be an uphill battle to get anyone in Sweden to even
listen to their side of the story.
Risingh further stacked the deck against them. He totally rewrote his
Journal and the Courts Martial records during the voyage back across the
Atlantic. Peter Lindeström helped him with this task. No trace of the
original journal, documents or the separate secret article selling all of
the weapons of Fort Christina to the Dutch has ever been found in Sweden.
Only the rewritten Journal and Court Martial hearing papers are in the
Risingh claimed in his rewritten journal that he did not fire on the Dutch
because he had sent all of the Fort Christina gunpowder and cannonballs to
Captain Skute at Fort Trinity. This claim is untrue for several reasons.
First, no gunpowder or cannonballs appear on the list of supplies sent to
Fort Trinity before the Dutch arrived. Second, after they arrived the
Dutch did not allow free communications with Fort Trinity. Third, a
century later when Fort Christina was being dismantled a great store of
gunpowder; 12-pound cannonballs and many other weapons were found hidden
inside the walls. No doubt Risingh had it hidden in the walls to support
his claim that he had sent all of the gunpowder and cannonballs to Fort
Trinity. Governor Risingh had no military training. If he had he would
have known that Fort Trinity was armed with captured 14-pound Danish
cannons and not with 12-pound Swedish built cannons. The Swedish
cannonballs he hid in the walls were the wrong size.
One overriding factor was involved in the choice the settlers faced. Under
Swedish rule all the land and property, including buildings, tools and
animals, were the property of the Company. In theory the colonist could
purchase land from the Indians or from the Company. In reality there was
no such thing as private ownership of land in the colony. All of the
people in the colony were simply employees of the Company. They did not
own the land they worked. Even the few individual land grants, such as the
two that had been awarded Captain Swen Skute(6) and Lt. Elias Gyllengren
by the Queen, were valid only so long as they remained in the service of
the Company and remained in the colony. They could not pass title on to
their heirs. Risingh, however, refused to honor the Queen’s land grants
and refused to issue patents to the two officers.
The Dutch held an entirely different view. They did not care who owned the
land. It was plentiful and they were interested only in the profits to be
made from the land; the value of furs and crops and the taxes, to be made
from the land. With Stuyvesant's offer all of the New Sweden colonists
were presented with an opportunity to personally own their own land and
property. Three days after the surrender, September 18, 1655, the Dutch
began issuing land patents to the New Sweden colonists. The settlers’
occupation of land suddenly equated to ownership. Under Dutch rule they
could keep all of the fruits of their own labors for themselves and for
the future benefit of their families. To the colonist this must have
seemed like a reward sent to them straight from Heaven. The chance to
become free land and property owners convinced all of the settlers it was
time to switch flags.
For the most part the settlers claimed the same land they had been
assigned to work when under Swedish rule. Possession suddenly equated to
ownership. All of the Company owned animals and tools now became the
property of the new landowners. Stålkofta was the only officer
remaining at Fort Christina so he was granted a patent for nearly all of
the South Company reserve land around Fort Christina(7). All of the
remaining Company owned supplies and tools and equipment also seems to
have come into his possession. He was the highest-ranking person remaining
at Fort Christina after Governor Risingh departed. Under Risingh’s rule he
had only been assigned the use of a small lot and house and a small garden
plot called Bee Island near Fort Christina. His house and garden was
reported destroyed during the Dutch siege.
Governor Risingh and 37 others, all soldiers or officials under Risingh’s
direct command with no property interest in the Colony, turned down this
fantastic reward and sailed for Sweden. All the rest, approximately 331
people, including all of the officers Risingh was pointing his finger at
in his blame-shifting scheme, accepted the reward and stayed in New
Sweden. There was a quick change of flags. Johan Andersson Stålkofta
was part of the group that decided to stay. In one simple act Stuyvesant
had completely undercut Risingh’s careful plan. Risingh had no choice but
to continue with his finger-pointing scheme even though his intended
victims were suddenly out of his reach. The scheme included the rewriting
of his Journal, and the court martial hearing record, to support only his
version of the story and secret selling of the nine cannons to Stuyvesant.
All of the settlers deciding to stay in New Sweden helped Risingh in this
because there was no one returning to Sweden who could, or would, counter
his version of the story. The drawback was that Risingh had to pretend he
was poor for the rest of his life.
The secret agreement(8) selling the weapons of Fort Christina appears only
in the Dutch records. No trace of it has been found in Swedish records.
Within was a provision that Governor Risingh and his bookkeeper were to be
put ashore in England or France during the voyage home. They landed in
England. Once ashore the two traveled overland to London where Risingh
converted the draft Stuyvesant had given him into cash. They next traveled
to Amsterdam where they parted company. The bookkeeper went to Sweden.
Risingh traveled to Germany to make his report to the King on the lost of
the Colony before going to Sweden. Like the secret document no record has
ever been found in Sweden of the 300 Flemish Pounds Risingh was paid for
the Fort Christina weapons. Since everyone, including Risingh, were
traveling at Dutch expense, Risingh did not need to make the sale to pay
the return party’s expenses. It is difficult to determine the amount in
terms of an equivalent in today’s money but several estimates place it at
about nine hundred thousand US Dollars.
A number of smaller weapons were also included, especially the five large
and one small shotgun like weapons. After the English invasion of 1664 all
of the New Amsterdam weapons were taken over by the English and they were
removed from America at the end of the Revolutionary War. These weapons,
displayed in Warwick Castle today, are nearly identical in number and type
to the large Swedish shotguns
known to be in New Sweden.
Risingh neither reported the sale nor did he turn over the money once he
arrived in Sweden with it. It is probable that the Bookkeeper received
part of the money to keep silent and it also probable Peter Lindeström was
paid to switch to Risingh’s side. Even with all that money in his pocket
for the rest of his life Risingh appeared to be living in poverty. At
death his body was not buried right away for lack of money. He likely
still had lots of the cannon money hidden away somewhere but no one knew
where to find it.
(1) Amandus Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 2:613
(2) Ibid. 2:609 Other testimony says Lindeström was up on the gun
deck when the ships passed.
(3) Ibid. 2:614 This writer's opinion is that Skute was simply
recording the events because the two affidavits were signed
weeks before Risingh inserted Article 10
and held his hearings. Skute did not sign the exoneation affidavit, Only
[upper(?)] officers signed it.
(4) Risingh probably refused because his sale of the Fort's cannons
would have been cancelled. He would not have collected all
that money from the sale in London.
(5) The Engineer Peter Lindeström appears to have switched sides. He
was at Fort Trinity so at first he supported Swen Skute
and the Fort Trinity officer’s position.
Soon after the start of the court martial hearing he suddenly and
over to support the finger pointing of Governor
Risingh. He even became the court reporter for Risingh. He returned to
Sweden but was never charged with anything as
Risingh had stated would be the fate of all at Fort Trinity.
(6) Craig, Swedish Colonial News, 1993
(7) The Barber-Surgeon, Tymon Stiddem, received a patent for a lot
and house near Fort Trinity. He livered there with his
family until the Colony was split into two
parts. He apparently purchased a strip of land from Johan at Fort
received a deed for it. This was about
eighteen months after the Dutch invasion.
(8) New York Historical Manuscripts, 18:19 To be fair it calls the
transaction a six-month loan but with travel times by ship
across the Atlantic an average of five
months this was window dressing. Risingh did not report the “loan” so the
made no attempt to repay the “loan”.
This made it a disguised “sale”. Two copies were made and signed by
Stuyvesant. Risingh's copy apparently did not
survive the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
American English is one of several “second languages” Hans is able
This is from Larry’s correspondence with Hans.
I perhaps should tell you what I know about the Swedish flag.
As far as I have got it there are two explanations of the yellow cross
against the blue background. One is that the Swedish army carried a golden
cross in front once when they invaded Finland to make it Christian. The
flag should have been composed to remember of that cross against the blue
sky. Another explanation is that the Swedish national arm shield consists
of four blue fields separated by a yellow cross. The fields contain
different symbols - lions and crowns. The flag should according to that
theory be a simplified variety of that shield, with the symbols taken
away. A known fact is that one of the most important Royal families during
the medieval time had blue as their colour and that Uppsala at a national
meeting in the middle of the 13th century was decorated with blue cloths.
Another fact is that the king during the 1560s decided that ships
belonging to the Swedish navy should have blue flags with a yellow cross
to separate them from hostile ships at see. Those flags became very
popular also among owners of private ships. They started to use the same
flag to avoid attacks from pirates. By the time it was decided that the
warships should have flags with three thongs and civil ships flags without
thongs. The infantry used other flags. Each regiment had its own flag. The
king as high commander had a flag with three thongs and the national
weapon shield at the centre of the cross. There was also a national flag.
It was white with the national shield in the centre. During the early
1800s it was decided that the national flag should be the one we still
have. After that time the other flags more or less disappeared except
those at naval ships and the personal flag of the king.
Beside those flags the stripers developed, first for smaller naval ships.
But they by time became very popular also among private people. A flag
shall be taken down at sunset and raised again in the morning. But the
striper may be up day and night and is more convenient. The upper half of
the striper (vimpels) is blue and the lower yellow. During the last years
also stripers with a cross have become popular. In Denmark they have long
had such stripers (red with white cross.
The national weapon shield shows a lion passing three streams in the upper
right and lower left blue fields. That is the symbol of the Royal family I
mentioned which had blue as their colour. No one today knows what the
symbol means. But the lion has become a symbol for Sweden. You can often
see lions at old buildings and monuments. In the upper left and lower
right blue field there a three golden crowns. That symbol can be
interpreted in many ways - and that is perhaps the very idea. It first
appeared when the three kingdoms Sweden, Denmark and Norway were in a
union. To that comes that until the present king the kings called
themselves King of the Swedes, the Goths and the Vandals. Sweden was
originally only the present central Sweden. Götaland (the land of the
Goths) is the southern part of present Sweden. Venden is a part of Poland
which earlier had belonged to Sweden. It was considered to have got its
name from the Vandals who had emigrated from Vendel north of Uppsala. As
it was the Goths and the Vandals who conquered the Roman Empire those
titles was a sort of excuse for the Swedish kings to intervene in European
politics. The three crowns also can symbolize Christianity (Holy Trinity
or Maria as Queen of Heaven, or the three kings who came to Bethlehem) and
also good luck - all good things are three. In the centre of the yellow
cross at the shield is the shield of the Royal family.
This is the general pattern, but perhaps in slightly different
proportions, of the flags that flew over the New Sweden Colony. They were
three thong (tail) Naval flags supplied by the ships that brought the
settlers to the Colony.
Reproductions of this flag are flown over the Stalcop Family Gatherings in
FORTS CASSIMIR & TRINITY
first of September 1655 was a dramatic and significant turning point in
the life of the Stalcop family even though there was not yet a Stalcop
family. It was the beginning of the Dutch siege of the Colony of New
Sweden. Johan Andersson Stålkofta, the future founder of the Stalcop
family, was a gunnery sergeant manning one of the cannon positions at Fort
Three days later he and the entire Swedish garrison were prisoners of
Director-General Peter Stuyvesant commanding the Dutch invasion force. The
accounts of this event, and its aftermath, led me into lots of confusion
about what really happened to Johan Andersson during the invasion. I set
about trying to figure it all out.
For the 350 year anniversary of the founding of the New
Sweden Colony Professor Emeritus C. A. Weslager of Widener University
wrote a book about the Swedes and Dutch at New Castle. This book provided
lots of information but it also added to my confusion. Some things still
did not make any sense.
Approximately sixteen months earlier, the very day Governor
Risingh arrived in the New Sweden Colony, he anchored his ship in front of
the Dutch fort, landed troop and sent Capt Swen Skute to demand the
surrender of the Dutch Fort Cassimir. He immediately renamed it Fort
Trinity because he captured it on Trinity Sunday. The problem I had was
that the descriptions of the fort in later records did not seem to match
the physical structure of the fort. Governor Risingh’s appointed military
engineer, Peter Lindeström, made a drawing in 1655 shortly before the
Dutch invasion that he later published in his book. This drawing clearly
defines both the older Dutch fort as well as a newer, Swedish built
structure in front of it.
Peter Lindeström’s drawing has generated a lot of confusion. The main
problem is that it was drawn using 17th century drafting standards.
Applying 17th century standards the drawing shows two completely separate
structures with the Dutch Fort located directly behind the Swedish Fort.
On the paper the drawing the Dutch fort is placed above the newer
Swedish structure. Applying modern standards most people erroneous
conclude the structures are connected and the drawing shows one very
large, very tall, structure with the Dutch fort sitting completely on top
of the Swedish fort.
Weslager included a 1905 sketch that shows the older Dutch
fort sitting on top of a soil filled square shaped timber structure that
scales out to be some 210 feet on each side. Using the same scale
the top of the soil fill supporting the Dutch fort is 42 feet above ground
level. Approximately one million cubic feet of soil was involved.
According to Governor Risingh’s Journal a work force of only 20 men,
including the commander, Captain Swen Skute, was available at Sand Hook.
These few men had to somehow elevate the entire Dutch fort,
intact, 42 feet into the air and then to build and fill the lower
structure. Clearly this was an impossibility considering that only hand
tools were available and all the work had to be accomplished manually.
Considering the soil filling task alone the entire available Swedish
workforce of 19 men would have to labor ten hours per day, six days per
week, for over four years each just to move all of the soil. They only had
a matter of months. The method they could have used to elevate the Dutch
fort, intact, to a height of 42 feet is unknown.
Weslager included a small part of Lindeström’s Map B
showing the area of Sand Hook, now the town of New Castle, DE, in the
vicinity of the fort. Lindeström’s map clearly shows two separate
structures, one located in front of the other, exactly as Lindeström’s
drawing in his book shows. Weslager does not address the
implications of that. Weslager also talks a great deal about Sand Hook
itself. He describes it a large point of land jutting out into the river
which has since been washed away by the river. The problem with this
description is that the same map, Lindeström’s Map B, drawn when both
The above are
my sketches of what I think the double fort complex at Sand Hook looked
like just before the Dutch invasion.
structures were located there, does not indicate any sort of point of land
jutting out into the river. Lindeström’s Map B essentially indicates the
same river banks as river banks of today.
Approximate cross–section of
Governor Risingh’s “Bulwark”, Fort Trinity.
It was 210 feet long and 24 feet high on the riverside.
add more to the confusion the renamed Dutch fort now regained its name and
the new Swedish built fort in front of it assumed the name of Fort
Although never mentioned Risingh’s rewritten Journal makes
it appear that the large blockhouse shaped structure apparently was never
completed and the heavy weapons intended for the gun Deck were never
installed. A much more likely sequence of events is that the timber
portion of the fort was completed and one or more of the four 14 pound
guns obtained from the ship Örnen (Eagle) was installed on the gun deck. A
major structural design flaw made itself known as soon as one of the
weapons was test fired. Stacked log wall are about the poorest choice of a
structural method that can be used to absorb the recoil force of firing a
heavy weapon. It is likely that a section of the back wall was pushed over
and that, it turn, collapsed a part of the gun deck. The heavy gun
probably crashed down and lodged in the wreckage some 20 feet below.
Governor Risingh ordered a sudden change of direction
without giving any reason for his decision. He suddenly ordered that the
guns were to be mounted in trenches in front of the large blockhouse.
Neither does he say that all four of the guns were installed in the
trenches. There were four Gunners available to fire the weapons but only
two of them stood by to fire the guns as the Dutch ships sailed by. Our
Johan Andersson Stålkofta was one of the Gunners standing in the trenches
ready to fire on the Dutch ships.
Our ancestor was standing
inside the gun level trench in front of Risingh’s timber
blockhouse so he would have been in the lethal flying splinter zone.
During the siege’s first night Captain Skute covertly sent two messengers,
Anders Daalboo (Dalbo) and Carl Julius, in a canoe to Governor Risingh
advising him of the situation at Fort Trinity, of the Dutch intentions,
and the array of Dutch forces. Risingh sent back instructions to Skute
that he was to attempt to maintain the fort as long as possible but;
“If Skute was at last unable to hold the Fort any
longer, he sh[ould] not submit to anything that was prejudicial to
our Ruler, or any disadvantage to our settlers.”
Clearly this was an order from Governor Risingh to
surrender the fort if the situation was hopeless, which it was. Near the
end of the siege the Swedish forces were out manned about 20 to one. Worst
still was Risingh’s timber blockhouse structure. As any military man of
that era knew, and Captain Skute was a trained military officer, when hit
by high-speed projectiles timber tends to shatter into long, sharply
pointed, splinters and to fly away from the impact point in all
directions. Just one or two cannon ball hits from Dutch ships on that
timber blockhouse likely would have killed or wounded everyone on or near
it from flying splinters. Governor Risingh had no military training at
Captain Swen Skute delayed for as long as he could, three
days, and then surrendered to fort. Johan Andersson Stålkofta found
himself a prisoner of Peter Stuyvesant and the Dutch forces. He and all of
the other officers were placed under arrest and held in the Dutch fort.
The ordinary soldiers were placed on a Dutch ship and sent to New
Amsterdam (New York) to ensure they could not join Governor Risingh’s
forces at Fort Christina.
Only the cool head of Captain Swen Skute in the face of overwhelming odds
saved the life of every man defending Fort Trinity including Johan
Andersson Stålkofta’s life and the entire Stalcop family yet to be.
Artist sketch of Forts Trinity
and Cassimir in 1655 at Sand Hook (New Castle, DE) Based upon
Lindeström’s scale drawing of 1654 and 1655. View is from upstream
out in the river and is approximately what the Dutch forces would
have seen a few
moments before they anchored their ships.
Gunnery Sergeant Johan Anderson Stålkofta was commanding a cannon
mounted in a trench dug into the soil in front of the blockhouse and
most likely in the one located on the south side of the pier.
According to testimony in the Court Martial hearing as the Dutch
ships approached from the south Captain Swen Skute, the engineer
Peter Lindeström and another officer were standing on the southern
lookout platform at the top of the blockhouse. Skute and Stålkofta
were talking with each other. Stålkofta must have been standing in
the gun trench just below him.
After the Dutch ships passed the pier his view of the ships was
obstructed and his cannon could no longer bear on the Dutch ships.
Swedish built all timber bulwark style fort 210 feet long by
approximately 16 feet wide and 24 feet high. Gun deck was located at
approximately 20-feet above ground level.
The lower half of the fort had vertical log walls 12 feet high. The
upper half had stacked log walls another 12 feet high. Fort was
centered in front of Fort Casimir. No splinter protection at all was
protecting the timber structure.
A force of 20 men built it over a one-year period of 1654-1655.
During the invasion no cannons were mounted on the Gun Deck.
Apparently the only operable weapons were four odd-sized 14# naval
cannons supplied from the ship “Örn” (Eagle). The cannons were
captured Danish cannons mounted in one, possibly two, trenches dug
between Fort Trinity and the bank of the river.
Dutch built fort at approximately 180 feet square point to point of
the ramparts. It was a vertical log and earth style fort with walls
12 feet high. Soil piled up outside the log walls served as splinter
The fort was built in 1652 by a work force of 200 men over a
Soil filled gun mount ramparts in all four corners with three 12#
Naval cannons in each, a total of twelve cannons. The Dutch cannons
likely were all non-operable. They were never used by either the
Dutch or the Swedish forces. There were no 12# cannonballs furnished
to the fort by either the Dutch or Swedes and the Dutch commander
reported that he had no gunpowder available.
STILL ANOTHER CLOSE CALL
Dutch Vice-director, Willem Beeckman, wrote to Peter Stuyvesant and the
Council on November 24, 1662 and conveyed to the Dutch authorities in
Manhattan the following news:
“.....My Lords, an hour before evening on the 17th of
the Indians murdered a young man about 400 paces from the fort here.
He was Jan Staelcop's servant whose parents lived in the colony and
died there. His master had just left him. I have not been able
to find out what nation was responsible but I believe they belonged
to the River Indians, because they are around here hunting. They
exonerated themselves, saying that Minckes or Sinnecus were
responsible. We have summoned the chief from Passajongh under whose
command those who are hunting here fall. We shall do our best to
find out as much as possible.......”
(See New York Historical Manuscripts, 19:67)
murder of this unidentified servant of “John Staelcop” triggered a
full-scale war between two Indian tribes, the Minquas and the Sinnecus. It
seems that Beeckman was mistaken about which tribe was responsible. A
Sinnecus who had been a captive (slave) of the Minquas apparently
committed the murder. The Minquas felt themselves shamed by this murder
and determined on punishing the Sinnecus. The war lasted about two years
and cost many lives on both sides. Eventually both Dutch troops and
English forces from Maryland were dragged into the conflict.
This murder must have been in the immediate vicinity of Johan Anderson
Stålkofta’s new home. He and his family had been living in the fort itself
since his assigned house had been destroyed during the Dutch siege. The
Meyer house he purchased in 1660 was much closer to the fort, probably
within 75 paces. From this we know that probably by 1657/1658, he had
completed his new home farther from the fort and his family had moved into
it. This new house likely was up on the hill overlooking Fort Christina
near the small stream called Stalcop’s Gut maybe in the area of the
current 5th and Walnut Streets.
statement that “His master had just left him” illustrates just how much
luck or random chance seems to play in the survival of a family. Had Johan
Anderson remained just a few minutes longer he might have been murdered
along with his servant. Johan Anderson's son, Pietter, that was to become
the direct ancestor to probably one-half of all of the living members of
the Stalcop families, was yet to be born.
This story goes back to the beginning of the Stalcop Family.
Things have not changed much in our sense of right and wrong. Long on
patience’s until a breaking point is reached when enough becomes quite
1659 Johan Anderson ‘Staelcop’
“bought a certain piece of land - lot and house -
near the fort here”
adjoining his own land from a man named Peter Meyer. Meyer
claimed he had lost his Dutch patent for the land so could not convey a
clear title to Johan Anderson. To solve this problem the Vice-Director of
the South River, Willem Beeckman, wrote a letter to Director-General Peter
Stuyvesant in an attempt to solve the problem. This letter is dated
September 4, 1660 at Altena (Fort Christina as renamed by the Dutch).
Stuyvesant signed a replacement patent to Meyer on September 18, 1660 for
Meyer’s lot was part of the town of Christianhamm that
Governor Risingh had started constructing. Four completed houses are shown
on the 1654 map drawn by Peter Lindeströme. Meyer’s and Stålkofta’s houses
may have been the only two houses to be assigned before the Dutch siege
and Meyer’s lot and house is he only one that apparently was patented by
Peter Meyer was a Swede who first appears on the colony roll in 1644 as a
soldier. He seemed to be a person always in the middle of a conflict.
Within the body of the same paragraph of Beeckman's letter he goes on to
say of Peter Meyer
......”I wish that I were rid of this disruptive
character (Meyer) once and for all. Yesterday (September 3, 1660) he
had another quarrel with his adversary (our Johan Anderson Stålkofta)
and they went at each other with drawn swords......”
seems as if our Johan Anderson Stålkofta had a temper and was willing to
fight for his rights. For some time he had been after Meyer to make him a
clear title to the land but Meyer claimed he had lost his Dutch patent.
Johan Anderson was afraid he would lose his investment in the land if he
could not get Meyer to make him a clear title.
Meyer then changed his tactics. He denied that he had promised Johan
Anderson a patent for the land and requested the Court to make a ruling on
the matter. Probably much to his surprise the Court found in favor of
Johan Anderson Stålkofta because he had
“... immediately taken possession of the land by plowing, sowing,
Meyer was ordered by the Court to make Johan Anderson a patent for the
land within three months. As Meyer claimed he had lost his
original patent Beeckman was writing to Stuyvesant for a replacement
patent to finally settle the problem of the land patents.
There is no firm indication of the size of the Meyer lot or precisely
where it was located but it is described as being adjacent to land owned
by Johan Anderson Stålkofta. In all likelihood it was completely
surrounded by Stålkofta’s land and was located just outside of Fort
Christina. It probably was one of the three houses shown on the eastern
street leading into the fort.
Stålkofta likely purchased this lot from Meyer simply to
consolidate his complete control of all the former New Sweden reserved
land holdings. He appears not to have moved his family into the Meyer
house because the court record indicates he took possession by “plowing,
sowing and mowing” and not by taking
up residence. Meyers was known to be a disagreeable sort of person. Buying
him out may have been Stålkofta’s way of removing the aggravation.
These passages make it clear that the Dutch had started issuing land
patents to the Swedish settlers within three days of the surrender.
Johan Stålkofta suddenly found himself in command by being the only
“officer” of the New Sweden Company living in the area of Fort Christina.
The fort itself was eventually taken over by the Dutch administration of
the Colony of the Company. This happened about eighteen months after the
surrender when two separate Dutch colonies were formed out of the former
New Sweden area. Meanwhile Stålkofta and his new family had the fort all
New Sweden Colony administration had reserved for itself all of the land
between Brandywine Creek and the Christina River from where the Brandywine
joins the Christina westward to the vicinity of Union and Scott Streets in
the now City of Wilmington. Because he was the only “officer” remaining in
the Fort Christina area all of this land was now under the direct control
of Johan Stålkofta. So, when the Dutch began issuing patents Johan
Stålkofta suddenly found himself the owner of all of the “reserved” or
Company land and all of the equipment of the colony remaining in the fort.
This included Fort Christina itself. It consisted of about one thousand
acres mostly of what is now the city of Wilmington, Delaware.
Although none of the original Dutch patents for land in the
vicinity of Fort Christina have survived apparently at least two of them
were issued. One went to Meyer for his house and lot that he later sold to
Stålkofta. Johan Stålkofta held the patent for all of the rest of the New
Sweden reserve land including the land where the fort stood.
Timen Stidden held a deed, not a patent, for a large strip of land running
parallel to Brandywine Creek from about the current Church Street to the
western limit of the New Sweden reserve land. How Timen Stidden and Johan
Stålkofta decided upon this division of this land is not known. It is
known that Timen Stidden received a Dutch patent for a house and lot near
Fort Trinity/Fort Casimir (now New Castle, DL) and he continued to reside
with his family there until the colony was split into two parts. He then
moved north to Fort Christina. This is a strong indication that Timen
Stidden purchased the tract running along the Brandywine Creek from Johan
Andersson Stålkofta, hence the deed rather than a patent.
significance is the fact Fort Christina itself was now sitting on land
patented to Johan Anderson Stålkofta. Inside of the fort was the large
house originally built for Lady Armegot Printz. Governor Risingh had
commandeered this house after his arrival. This forced Lady Armegot Printz
and her children to move north to her father’s old estate. Stålkofta
undoubtedly took up residence in the big red house after the surrender
because his own company assigned house was reported destroyed during the
Dutch siege. He used the big red house for his residence for the next year
and a half until the colony was split into two parts.
style of this house is somewhat typical of country houses found in Sweden.
It spans about half the width of the courtyard inside the fort. It is
shown painted red with white trim. Red was, and remains, a very popular
Swedish color. This house was described as having a large basement, which
apparently was only partially below ground level because of the underlying
bedrock was so close to the surface. This increased the overall height of
the house and elevated the main floor level. There was a large porch with
a sheltering roof and a set of white painted steps leading up to the main
house had a second floor level extending into the roof/attic space. This
forced the second floor windows to be restricted in height. Again this is
typical of Swedish houses of the period. The upper floor was eventually
divided into rooms and used for the temporary housing of some of the
colonist that arrived with Governor Risingh.
of the newly arrived families onboard the last ship from Sweden,
The Mercurius, and possibly temporarily living on that second
floor, was the family of Carl Jönssön, later known as Charles Johnson. His
family consisted of his wife, three daughters, and a maid. One of Carl
Jönssön’s daughters, Christina, very soon after arrival, became the bride
of Stålkofta. Christina’s and Stålkofta’s wedding, in all likelihood, was
conducted inside the big red house.
1654 map shows an apple orchard and garden area located just outside the
fort main gate. The orchard had a fence, complete with a climb over gate,
to prevent damage from free roaming cattle and hogs. After the young trees
started producing apples they became known as the “Stalcop” Apple. The
three completed houses are shown on the left outside of the fort.
orchard and the garden plots are shown fenced off on the east side. It has
been over 350 years
but fences constructed like those shown on this map can still be seen in
portion of page 3 of former Governor Johan Risingh’s 1667 list of
property destroyed by Dutch Forces during the 1655 invasion. He is
reported to have made out several such lists, all apparently in an
attempt to portray an image that he was a victim when he himself was
the direct cause of the invasion and loss of the Colony.
Number 6 on this list is Gunnery Sergeant Johan “Stålkoftta” and
reports the destruction of his garden at Bee Island and his house near
Fort Christina. Actually none of this was Stålkofta’s property at the
time it was destroyed because at that time it all belonged to the
Company. The property was simply assigned for his use.
FIRST STALCOP GRISTMILL
Larry S. Stallcup
The first known water powered gristmill in the Stalcop family was
a Swedish mill that, in a roundabout way, was a gift from Peter
Stuyvesant and the Dutch.
The disassembled parts for a water-powered mill were shipped to
New Sweden aboard the ship Örn (Eagle) when Governor Risingh
arrived in 1654. Two large saw blades; one log saw and one small
saw blade were shipped along with the mill parts. Governor Risingh
made several trips up the streams of New Sweden near Fort
Christina. He reported in his Journal that he found a suitable
waterfall in Naaman’s Kill (Creek) to erect a sawmill. Naaman’s
Creek is about ten miles north of the Christina River and empties
into the South (Delaware) River.
Governor Risingh wanted the sawmill to both supply the needs of
the colony for lumber and to produce wood products to be sold for
income. The sawmill was never built. The project was postponed due
to the expected Dutch invasion. After the surrender the parts for
the mill, the water powering mechanism and the saw blades,
were all still inside Fort Christina when the Fort and all of the
Company reserved land was patented to, and turned over to, Johan
Anderson Stålkofta by Peter Stuyvesant and the Dutch. It took
several years but the mill parts were eventually put to use.
The “large” saw blades in the Eagle’s cargo are believed to be
circular saw blades. Tub mills turn at relatively high speed
suitable to power a large saw blade. The “log saw” is thought to
be a long flat blade used in a reciprocating type of operation.
The small blade mentioned was probably a handsaw.
The mill mechanism sent on the Örn is believed to be a Swedish or
Norse “Tub” mill, a small mill with a horizontally mounted cup
type water wheel powered by a stream of water falling from a
considerable height and funneled directly into the cups of the
wheel. The need for height probably was why Governor Risingh was
looking for a suitable waterfall as a location for a sawmill.
The water wheel was made of several large and thick slabs of wood.
The slabs are pinned together and then cut into a round disk
shape, or thick wheel. Then they are locked together by two steel
rings in the same manner as a wooden wagon wheel. The steel rings
are heated to red hot and then hammered down over the edge of the
wooden disk. A heated steel ring is forced over both sides of the
solid wooden wheel. When the steel is heated it expands. Upon
cooling it will shrink thereby binding the wooden slabs tightly
together. Next a series of buckets or tubs are carved out of the
wood. The bottom of each tub is formed into a tapered airfoil
shape to change the direction of the water as it exits the wheel
and provide a rotational force.
Tub mills were small and compact. They do not require a large
building. A carpenter and blacksmith with hand tools can build
them. Tub mills were being built and used in America until about
the middle of the 20th century, particularly in the vicinity of
western North Carolina and northern Georgia and the surrounding
territory where a number of the descendants of the early New
Sweden colonist migrated after the grand exodus of about
1768-1770. Disassembled Tub mills could easily be stowed aboard
ship and transported to a mill site near a waterfall. The
waterwheel is about the same diameter as the grinding stones. The
grindstones used for this mill were probably manufactured in New
Sweden since none are listed in the cargo of the Örn.
Apparently the first Stalcop water powered mill used the parts
brought by the ship Örn in 1654. Johan Anderson Stalcop, in
partnership with Hans Block and Lucas Peterson, built a mill on
Shellpot Creek located at the waterfall about “30 minutes”, or
about one mile, from the fort. This mill construction project is
mentioned in the letter from Willem Beeckman to Peter Stuyvesant
of May 10, 1662. It was a gristmill rather than a sawmill as
Governor Risingh had originally intended. A petition from the
three men was included in Beeckman’s letter asking for a patent
(deed). The three owners promised that the mill would provide free
milling for the Dutch garrison. They farther agreed that the mill
would not be sold unless Stuyvesant or his representatives agreed
to the sale. Included in with the patent for the mill itself was
some additional land for
cultivation to be used for the support by the miller so he could
live at the mill. Stuyvesant granted the three partners a patent
for the mill and the mill support land.
There was a second patent granted later to the same three partners
for some 70+ acres of land nearby for a larger farm. The widows of
the partners eventually sold this parcel of land. Sometime in the
intervening years one of the partners disposed of his one-third
share of this second parcel so the widow of the new buyer plus the
widows of the two original partners were selling it. One of the
three widows was Christina Carlsdaughter. The original pledge of
not selling the Shellpot Creek mill itself apparently held for at
least three generations and past a change in governments. A
grandson of Johan Anderson Stalcop and Christina Carlsdaughter
served as the miller in residence for several years.
One son of Johan Anderson Stalcop, Pietter Stallcop, owned about
1400 acres of land along Red Clay Creek. Pietter also owned and
operated an estimated nine waterpowered mills along Red Clay
Creek. These were a mixture of gristmills and sawmills. Pietter’s
large landholdings supplied grain and timber processed by the
mills. Pietter supplied lumber for the building of Holy Trinity
Church including the American Black Walnut wood used to build the
pulpit that is still in use. He also supplied the wood lath for
the plastering work done inside the church. It is a very good bet
that the saw blades brought over on the ship Örn in 1654 were used
somewhere along Red Clay Creek by Pietter Stallcop.
Sketches made from a Tub Mill that operated until about the mid-twenth
made to build a reproduction waterwheel for the mill using
dimensions taken from the original waterwheel.
The following two
documents are part of an August, 1679 New Castle court session concerning
an incident that began in 1678 and first came to court in March 1679.
Jacob Van der Veer sold a very big bag of feathers, supposed weighing
21-pounds, to the English trader, Thomas Harwood. Feathers were highly
prized for bedding and pillows. Jacob Van der Veer apparently decided to
increase his profit on the sale. A four-pound stone was discovered inside
the bag after it had been weighted at least twice. The second weighing
event took place at Johan Anderson Stålkofta’s (John Anderson Stalcop)
house near the Christina River in what is now Wilmington, Delaware, which
is how the Stalcops became involved in the case. These two statements were
made at “Christina”, that is, in John Stalcops house or in the nearby Fort
Christina and not at the court in now New Castle.
The documents are in 17th Century English and show that while the language
has changed greatly it is still understandable more than three centuries
The case provided quite a lot of entertainment for the community and was
stretched out for as long as possible. These two depositions took place
about six months after the case began.
Of great interest to us is that John Anderson signed the documents. This
testimony happened soon after his eldest daughter was married and he had
written his Will. It is also interesting that he was using his patronymic
name. This was several years before the arrival of William Penn and
everyone was forced to choose a surname.
Jacob Van der Veer was a Dutch soldier who first came to New Sweden as
part of the invasion force of 1655. Later, after his discharge at New
Amsterdam, he returned to New Sweden and received a patent for former
Governor Risingh’s estate on Timber Island. This was not really an island
but bordered on Brandywine Creek and was located east and west between two
small streams. It was directly across Brandywine Creek from the land of
Stålkofta and Timen Stidham. Jacob Van der Veer had a large family.
Several of his sons and grandsons married Stalcop daughters.
An Ell was a measure of length used mostly to measure cloth. A “Schepell”
[sp?] was a measure of volume used mostly for foodstuffs.
21:49 NYHM- Dutch
[TESTIMONY OF JOHN
ANDERSON AND CHRISTINA CARRLLSDOTTER IN THE SUIT BETWEEN JACOB VAN DER
VEER AND THOMAS HARWOOD]
Because Jacob van Derweer have Dessiret testimony Concerning som
trockencloatt(1), Mr. Harworet(2) resewed(3) fro heem, and wy Kan nott
Denay him the Same and the truth So Faare wy and Cnow theraff, that Mr.
Harwooreet hath Come to our hous and brogt tw(4) peases of trockenclott
ine read and one blow(5), and wy Deseyread him to measure the Same, and
hee Dead(6) allsoo, and wy ascke him iff itt was richt(7), he answert
y.(8) and littell teim thereafter hee Comming From Peter Coocks Tolld that
he have loockt ower his Aconnt and he wanted tree Ells, and Farther having
nooe Knoulegh, that this is the truth are wy ready to Confirme with our
oaths and testeffy it whitt our hand.
Datum Christina the 16 Agusty Anno 1679
[Signed] John Anderson Christina carrllsdotter(9)
[Endorsed:] Jacob Van der Veere(10)
1 – Possibly
a term used by the Swedes for “duffel.” Cf., 21:50 where Anderson writes
dyffels. Duffel is a heavy canvas-like cloth similar to denim much desired
by the natives as a trade item.
2 – Thomas Harwood (An English Trader who traded extensively with the
Swedes and the Dutch.)
3 – ie. received.
4 – ie. two.
5 – ie. blue.
6 – ie. did.
7 – ie. right.
8 – ie. aye. (Yes)
9 – The Swedish patronymic for: Christina the daughter of Carl.
10 – Written in the hand of Matthias Nicolls.
21:50 NYHM- Dutch
[TESTIMONY OF JOHN
ANDERSON IN THE SUIT BETWEEN JACOB VAN DER VEER AND THOMAS HARWOOD](1)
All the dealings that wy have haede, have y Declared For the Corret at the
Sandhoeck(2), that Mr. Harwordt have solld me Fiyff Ells penneston For one
bever and tree Ells dyffels For one beaver, that this is the truth
testeffey y whitt my one(3) hand heer under ritten.
Datum Christina the 16 Agusty Anno 1679
[Signed] John Anderson
Further Doe y testiffey that
y have boegt For twenty Schepell
Wheat one peas off Linnen.
1 - A few
lines have been lost at the top of this document due to trimming.
2 – Zand Hoek (Sand Hook) was the Dutch name for the land upon which Fort
Casimir/Fort Trinity stood. It is now New Castle, Delaware. The reference
here is to the court at New Castle. The spot is often called a “neck” of
land and is sometimes described as projecting out into the river. That
description appears to be a modern day mistake as contemporary maps show
nearly the same riverbanks as exist today.)
3 – ie. own
STONE SOLD FOR FEATHERS
The next court case
does not specifically involve Johan Andersson Stalcop as a
direct party, merely as a witness. It is presented in direct time
sequence from the court records so that the full story can be judged
in its political, legal and entertainment context. Jacob VanderVeer
was eventually to become associated with the Stalcop family
by having descendants that married Stalcop daughters and by
having taken over the growing of Stalcop apples. The
Stalcop apple later became widely known as the Vanderver apple.
It is said to be a very good cider apple and numerous members of the
Vanderver family operated taverns and inns.
Thomas Harwood was an
English trader. Jacob VanderVeer was a former Dutch soldier who came
to Christina and made it his residence. He had a large family
consisting mostly of sons.
Att a Court held In the Towne of New Castle
in Delowar by the Authority of or
Soueraigne Lord King Charles the Second of England Scottland france
and Ireland King Defender of the Faith, The 7th
day of Jannuary and in ye
yeare of his said Mayties
Raigne Annoq Dom : 1678/9 
Thomas Harwood Plt
Jacob Vander Veer Deft
Jacob Vander Veer was this day by the Court
bound in a bond of ten pounds To appeare att the next Court to bee
held in this Towne of New Castle on the fist Teusday of the month of
February now next ensuing, to answer to what shall then & there be
alledged against him for a Certaine stone fraudulently by him putt
into a bagg of feathers sould and delivered unto Thomas Harwood the
laest Jeare, wch
stone was now produced in Court etc.
Thomas harwood sworne in Court decleared that
Laest Jeare hee Receiuing a bagg of feathers of Jacob Vander Veer
weighing 21 lb. English wtt In wch
Bagg the desponant coming therewith to New Castle found a stone of
About 4 or 5 lb weight wch
sd stone was waiged and delivered to him for fethers.
Mary the wife of John Kan sworne in Court
sayeth that shee was prsent
the Laest yeare when Thomas harwood came wth the bagg of feathers
from Jacob Vander Veers and when the sd
Bagg was Emtyed there was found in itt a Stone, wch
the deponant believes to bee the same or the Lyke stone now produced
was in court often. During this same court session he was being sue
by Thomas Harwood for another debt and by Timen Stidham over a sale
of land. The next Court date is when Johan Andersson Stalcop
is called as a witness in the case. Jacob VanderVer was always
pleading poverty but he managed to acquire lots of land, ever the
former Governor Johan Risingh’s “estate”, plus lots of merchandise.
He seemed to be very good at not paying for things he purchased. If
he could sell a four-pound stone for the price of feathers he seems
have been a fair to middling con man.
Att a Cort
held in the Towne of New Castle in delowar, by this Mayties
authority February the 4th
annoq Dom : 1678/9 
Jacob Vander Veer being examined about ye
was in ye feathers by him sould and delivered unto Thomas harwood ;
Did deny to haue put the sd
stone in ye
feathers. Jan Staalcop sworne in Court decleared that Jacob
Vander Veers son, bringing Laest Jeare a bagg of feathers to this
desponants house, for Tho : harwood the sd
Bagg was weiged by the desponant the weight thereof then did agree wth
what the sd
boy did say that the feathers had weiged att his fathers house, and
as soon as the feathers wer weiged the servant of Thomas harwood did
bring them in the Cano : but whether the stone was in the feathers
or noe the deponant Cannot tell.
 The court upon Examination of all the
Buisnesse, Greatly suspecting that Jacob Vander Veer is Guilty of
the fact, and not being willing to proceed to Judgemt
before that all evidences were brought in, Doe therefore order, that
Jacob Vander Veer appeare at the next Court and that then alsoe
appeare, the prson
that was Tho : hardwoods servant Laest Jeare and that found the
stone first in ye
Att a Court held in the Towne of New Castle
By the authority of or
Soueraigne Lord Charles the 2nd
King of England etc: the 4th
dayes of March in ye
31th yeare of his sd
Raigne Annoq Dom: 167 .
Jacob Vander veer being ordered the laest
Court to appeare att this Court for to answer to ye
action of the stone wch
was Put into ye
feathers By him sould and delivered unto Thomas harwood and being
three tymes Called and not appearing, Reynier Petersen sworne in
Court declared that Laest Jeare hee being servant to Thomas Harwood
harwood att John Staalcops house in
Christina, where att that same tyme was brought by Jacob Vander
Veers sons some Corne and a bagg of feathers and the deponant being
att the Canoe wth
Jacob Vander Veers sons takeing ye
bagg of feathers out of Jacobs Canoe & putting ye
same in Thom : hardwoods Canoe did feele a stone in ye
bagg of feathers & afterward Telling his master, when they came to
New Castle, opening ye
bagg did find ye
same stone in itt.
All Circumstances & Evidences being taken in
Consideracon, The Cort
are of opinion & doe find that ye
stone was fraudulently by Jacob Vander Veer or his order put into ye
bagg of feathers & wth
same weighed and sould for feathers, and hee the said Jacob
peremptorily Refusing the laest Court day to appeare att this Court
day, all wch
& other uncivill carriadges doe merritt a seuere punishment, Yet the
Considering the Poverty of him ye
Jacob Doe therefore only Condemne him to pay a fine of Twoo
hundrered gilders, for ye
use & Repairing of the forte, to be Levyed upon his goods & Chattles
Lands and tenements Together wth
all Cost & Charges.
From this finding it
appears that Thomas Harwood still had to pay for a stone at the
going rate for feathers. The Court makes no mention that Jacob
Vander Veer had to give a refund to Thomas Harwood.
 Records of
the Court at New Castle, Vol. I, pages 273-274.
 Records of the Court at New Castle, Vol. I, page 290.
 Restated in more modern English this passage says: John
Stalcop was sworn in as a witness in court. He testified that
the son of Jacob VanderVeer last year brought a bag of feathers to
his house for Thomas Harwood. He, Stalcop, weighed the bag
and the weigh agreed with what the boy said it weighed at
VanderVeer’s house located north of Brandywine Creek. Just after it
was weighed Thomas Harwood’ servant took the bag and put the bag
into a canoe for the trip on to New Castle. John Stalcop said
he could not tell if the stone was in the bag of feather at that
time. In this era feathers were a highly valued commodity. They were
used for bedding and pillows and sometimes for winter clothing.
 Records of the Court at New Castle, Vol. I, pages 300-302.
'Rebellion' of the Long Finn
During the year 1669
a very strange event disturbed the New Sweden community. It played on the
fears of the English authorities to such an extent that they took some
very harsh measures. These measures slapped at Johan Andersson Stalcop and
rippled through the Stalcop family for a number of years. It could even be
said it took Johan Andersson Stalcop's death sixteen years later to
finally close the matter. The event is known to history as the
Long Finn Rebellion.
Within the New Sweden community there was a man named Marcus Jacobson of
Finnish ancestry. Jacobson started making drunken speeches, mostly
boasting, in the inns or 'taverns' of the area claiming that he was the
"son of Coningsmark(1)" and that a Swedish fleet would soon appear off the
coast to "deliver them". It was never clear why a Finn wanted to be known
as the son of a Swedish hero. And it was never clear what it was the
colonists were to be delivered from.
Jacobson came to be known as the Long Finn or sometimes as the Long Sweed.
Several people joined in on the drunken rabble rousing, most notably
Armegot Printz, Madam Papegoja, the daughter for the former Swedish
Governor Printz and the widow of former Vice-Governor Johan Papegoja. From
the available records it seems as if Madam Papegoja actually did most of
the speech making. Another who must have joined in was a man by the name
of Hendrick Coleman. Johan Andersson Stalcop was right in the middle of
things as well for he was later accused as being one of the "chief
The English authorities had, at best, an ambivalent attitude toward the
Swedes. During the five years since the English invasion the colonists had
conducted themselves with such propriety that they should have earned the
respect of the English. Yet, when the English heard the drunken 'rabble
rousing' they viewed the event with such alarm that they branded it a
'rebellion'. Perhaps it was the fact they controlled the Delaware area by
virtue of a military occupation that they allowed their paranoia to
dictate their actions.
On August 2, 1669, Governor Lovelace issued a proclamation for the arrest
of all persons involved(2). This net apparently included people who just
happen to hear the Long Finn's or Madam Papegoja's drunken boasting. No
treasonable acts were ever formally charged against anyone except against
Jacobson. Madam Papegoja’s involvement appears to have been completely
ignored. Jacobson was charged with "raising speeches, very seditious and
false, tending to the disturbance of his Majesty's peace and the laws of
the government(3)." The wording of these charges make it seem they were
grounded in fear. No one knew what laws had been broken because they had
never been spelled out.
A considerable number of the colonists were charged and Marcus Jacobson
was imprisoned. There is a letter from Governor Lovelace in New York to
Captain John Carr at New Castle concerning the Governor’s personal
perception from New York of Johan Andersson Stalcop’s involvement.
There had never been a formal criminal trial held on the Delaware before.
Instructions as to how to conduct such a trial were sent from New York.
Only Marcus Jacobson was treated to a formal 'criminal' trial and the
instructions gave several alias' for him. In the instructions he is named
John Binckson, alias Coningsmarke, alias Coningsmarcus, alias Matheus
Hencks, alias XX(4).
Jacobson was found guilty and sentenced to be whipped, 'stigmatized'; that
is, branded on the face with the letter R, and then 'transported'. This
last means that he was shipped to Barbados where he was sold into slavery.
A severe penalty for being drunk.
Authorities on the spot apparently did not share Governor Lovelace’s long
distance perceptions about Johan Andersson Stalcop. He was not treated to
the same form of criminal trial as Jacobson. Nor was he sentenced to the
same form of punishment. It is even unsure if he was confined before the
trial. At least there is record of only Jacobson being confined.
It is difficult today to know exactly what form the trial and sentences to
all the others actually took. There are indications that the fines for
those who owned land, were set at one-half of the value of their land.
Some of the smaller fines seemed to have been paid in tobacco or grain.
There are at least four surviving lists of those fined. These lists span
some six years. Three of the lists give fines in terms of "Guilders" but
one of the earliest list, that of December 13, 1669, seems to be a list of
persons paying their fines in wheat(5). No two of the lists are alike
either in the persons listed or in the amounts of the fines.
Johan Andersson Stalcop's name appears at the top of one of the lists(6)
with a fine of 1500 Guilders. He also appears farther down on another list
with the same fine amount. At least one other person paid a much larger
fine than did Johan Andersson. Olle Fransen is shown on one list with a
fine of 2000 Guilders. Hendrick Coleman, a man called a ringleader of the
"rebellion" and a large landowner, was fined 930 Guilders. Fransen’s and
Coleman’s fines could be an indication that at least some of the fines
were indeed set at one-half of the presumed value of the defendant’s land.
Coleman did not own as much land as did Johan Andersson Stalcop.
Johan Andersson Stalcop certainly made a most unusual sale of the land he
owned at the time. On April 16, 1673, some three years after the trial,
and two years after Governor Lovelace had reconfirmed his title to the
land; Johan Andersson Stalcop sold an undivided one-half of his land to
two different people. After his death, a dozen years later, this undivided
half was finally carved out of the center of the original 800 (actually
994) acre tract leaving equal sized tracts on either side.
One portion of the land went to Samuel Peterson and the other portion went
to Lars Cornelison. These two strips of land were carved right out of the
middle of the whole track with Cornelison taking the northern strip and
Samuel Peterson the southern. Now an interesting series of sales occurred.
Cornelison sold his tract to Justa Andries; Andries sold it to Mathias De
Foss (the Fox) who in turn sold it to Charles Pickering. Pickering then
purchased a second track of about equal size extending beyond the west
boundary. Pickering then sold both of his tracks to Johan Andersson
Stalcop's widow, Christina Carlsdotter, and to her son, John Stalcop.
Title to Cornelison’s portion of the land had made a considerable journey
but like a boomerang it came directly back into the Stalcop family.
It was this final division of land after Johan Andersson Stalcop’s death
some sixteen years after the event that finally brought to a close the
Long Finn affair for the Stalcop family.
(1) Coningsmark was a former general to the King of Sweden. Why a
Finn would want to claim to be
the son of a Swedish general is not clear
but apparently some sort of mystical power was associated
with the name.
(2) It is interesting that Foppe Johnson, the owner/operator of the
most popular tavern in the area was
not arrested. He had to be in the middle of
everything. Perhaps he was not arrested because he was
Dutch rather than Swedish.
(3) Council Book, Secretary of State's Office, Albany, New York.
(4) New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch, Vol XX-XXI, Delaware
Papers, Gehring, 1977,
20:4, page 5. The “XX” apparently was to be
filled with any other alias' that happened to come up.
It is interesting to note the name of
Marcus Jacobson does not appear.
(5) New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch, Vol XX-XXI, Delaware
Papers, Gehring, 1977,
20:5, 20:6, 20:7, and 20:8.
(6) Ibid; 20:5
The Long Finn Affair - 1669
LETTER FROM GOVERNOR LOVELACE TO CAPTAIN JOHN CARR & AND THE SHERIFF
AND COMMISSARIES (deputies or delegates) AT NEW CASTLE UPON
I do not think it
would be amiss if for punishmt to the Simpler Sort of those who have been
drawn in to this Comotion you injoin them to labour sometimes in ye
Reparation of the Works about Ye Fort, But for John Stalcop be sure he be
secured in the like maner as ye Long Sweede he having been I perceive a
chief Formentor as well as an Actor, in this by them intended Tragety, ye
Mischeif whereof is like to fall upon their Own heads.
c/f Pennsylvania Archives Series 2
This letter is about
Johan Andersson Stålkofta (alias Stalcop) It was written before the trial
was held but the British Governor had already convicted everyone and was
The Governor’s long distance perceptions apparently proved to be wrong
about John Andersson Stalcop for he was not secured (incarcerated) and he
was not punished the same as the Long Swede. He did lose half of his
original land but was granted more land than he lost a few years later
(1677) by the same Court that imposed his fine. He did not lose the land
during his lifetime. It was divided after his death during the settlement
of his estate.
The loss of land in England would have been horrendous but in America at
that moment in time it was hardly a slap on the wrist.
The Long Finn Affair - 1669
FROM GOVERNOR LOVELACE TO CAPTAIN JOHN CARR
At a Council
then held & c
Present – The Governor,
Mr. Ralph Whitfield,
Mr. Thos Delavall,
Mr. Thor Willett,
The matters under Consideration was, the Insurrection at Delaware
occasioned by the Long Finne and the rape committed by an Indian there.
Upon serious and due consideration had of the
Insurrection began by the Long Finne at Dela Ware who gave himself out to
be the son of Connigsmarke a Swedish General, & the dangerous consequence
It is adjudged that the said Long Finne deserves to dye
for the same, yet in regard that many others being concerned with him in
that insurrection might be involved in the premmire if the rigor of the
law should be extended, & among them divers simple & ignorant people: It
is thought fitt & Ordered that the said Long Finne shall be publickly and
severely whipt & Stigmatiz’d or branded in the face with the Letter (R)
with an Inscription written in great Letters and put upon his Breast That
he received that punishmt for attempting Rebellion, after which that he be
Secured until he can be Sent & Sold to the Barbadoes or some other of
those remote plantations.
That the Chelfest of his Complices & those
concerned with him most do forfeit to his Maty ye one-half of their Goods
and Chattels, and that a smaller Mulet or Fine be imposed on the rest that
were drawn in & followed him. The which shall be left to the discretion of
ye Comissionners who shall be appointed to make enquiry into and Examine
That the Indian who committed the rape upon the
Body of a Christian Woman be put to Death (if he can be found) for that
foul fact according to the Sentence already past upon him, and that the
Sachems under whom he is, be sent to that they deliver him up that Justice
may be executed upon him accordingly.
By order & c.
c/f Pennsylvania Archives Series 2
This is political
doublespeak. The Governor and Council had managed to get all of the
Swedish Settlers and the Indians very mad at the British at the same time.
It says we screwed this up big time so now we are handing it off to you,
Captain Carr, so you can take the blame.
The following is based upon a documented event in the very first
Stalcop family. It has been adapted and retold in somewhat current
language from New Castle County (Delaware) Court records.
THE STOLEN BONNET
was a nice warm summer day perhaps in mid-June of 1679. It was planned to
be a glorious day. It was the wedding day of the oldest Stalcop daughter,
indeed the very first Stalcop daughter ever to marry. Sadly the given name
of this Stalcop daughter has been lost in the mist of time. She was being
wed to Lylof Stidham, the son of the next-door neighbor, the
barber-surgeon Timen Stidham. If custom was followed the wedding was held
in the Stalcop home, the home of the bride’s parents.
Shortly after the wedding, Johan Andersson Stalcop, father
of the bride, prepared his Will. In it he mentions that he had given Lylof
Stidham certain gifts, really gifts for his daughter, on the occasion of
their wedding day. He signed his Will on August 24, 1679. From this we
know the Stalcop daughter/Lylof Stidham wedding occurred sometime before
August 24, 1679.
After the wedding, Christina Stalcop, mother of the bride, spoke to one of
the guests, Christina, wife of Walraven Jansen. She told Christina that
Aetlie, wife of Justa Anderson, was a thief who had stolen her bonnet.
Worst still, Aetlie had the nerve to wear the stolen bonnet to the Stalcop/Stidham
wedding. Sara, wife of Mathias Mathiasson, was present a few moments later
when Christina Stalcop confronted Aetlie herself, telling her that she
should give the bonnet back. The argument that day ended at that point. It
simmered below the surface for at least the next six months.
argument exploded the following year. Ironically it was at another
wedding. Neighbor Timen Stidham married for the third time on February 23,
1679/80. This wedding was in the Stidham home. Both Christina and Johan
Andersson Stalcop made accusations at this wedding and this time it landed
them in a lawsuit. Almost immediately Justa Anderson and his wife Aetlie
filed suit in the New Castle County Court for slander and defamation.
case came up in Court just seven days after the wedding on March 2,
1679/80. It was deferred because none of the witnesses, nor Justa
Anderson, were present. It came before the Court again the next month,
April 6, 1680.
Several witnesses were called to testify including Sara,
wife of Mathias Mathiasson, and Christina, wife of Walraven Jansen. Ann,
the wife of William Sanford, testified that she heard Christina Stalcop
challenge the bonnet and say that it was her property.
Robert White testified that he was in Timen Stidhams house where he heard
John Stalcop say to Justa Anderson his wife had stolen a bonnet from
Stalcop’s wife. He further testified that Justa Anderson said, “Will you
prove that?” and heard Johan Stalcop answered that he would.
William Cob gave a sworn deposition before the Upland Court
that was read into the records of the New Castle Court. In it he said that
at the wedding held Timen Stidham's house he heard John Stalcop call Justa
Anderson’s wife a thief but said he did not know what she had stolen.
case was continued to the next month when John Stalcop was to appear in
When the case came before the Court again on May 4, 1680 the justices
decided to have a jury decide on a verdict even though most of the
witnesses had already been heard. Hendrick Lemmens was called as a defense
witness and testified that he heard John Stalcop say to Justa
Anderson “Why do you go by my house [on his way to Timen
Stidham's house] and not come in?” Lemmens said that Justa
answered “Because you have accused my wife as a thief.” John
Stalcop said: “So, if our wives have trouble together let us be friends
and drink for we have come here to be merry.” He also testified that
he did not hear John Stalcop call Justa, or his wife, a thief.
jury found in favor of Justa Anderson and Aetlie. The Court set the
damages at twelve Pence plus the cost of the suit.
The records of this event are found in Records of
the Court of New Castle, Volume 1, pages 390, 403-404, and
This case has led to lots of confusion and the
mythical creation of a Stalcop Daughter. While there were two
weddings there was only one Stalcop wedding and one Stalcop daughter
involved. The second wedding was Timen Stidham’s wedding.
Twelve pence was one Shilling or one ‘bob’. There
were 20 pence in a British pound. Difficult to say what the
equivalent would be in today’s money.
SLANDER MOST FOUL
This court appearance for the Stalcop family, besides being
funny, has been the center of much misunderstanding and has led to
several questionable conclusions.
Att a Court held in the Towne of New Castle by his
Authority March the 2d
Justa Andries & his wife Aeltie
Jan Andriess Staalcop
In an action of Defamation
The Case is by the
referred till next Court day, as when all ye
witnesses are personally to appeare, and also Justa Andries.
|Att a Court
held by his
Authority in the Towne of New Castle Aprile
6th 1680. 
Justa Andries and Plts
In an action of
Slaunder & defamation
Andriese Staalcop Deft
both absent: upon the Plts
request the following witnesses were Examined & sworne in Cort.
wife of Mathias Mathiasse sworne declares that being upon ye
wedding of Staalcops daughter, shee ye
deponant see & heard Staalcops wife Challenge the Capp
head of ye
daughter of walraeven Jansen: & sd
Staalcops wife sayed further that shee could sweare
that it was hur Caoo & afterwards the deponant heard sd
Staalcops wife say that Justa’s aeltie should Restore
Cap or quoif againe & that itt was hurs.
Christina the wife of walraeven Janss sworne in Cort
declares upon oath that Staalcops wife tould hur that
shee had not don well to give ye quoife bake to Jasta’s wife,
for that a theefe would bee found out by itt.
wife of Will: Sanford sworne declares that shee heard Jan
Staalcops wife Challenge ye
quoife & say that itt was hurs.
Whyte sworne in Court declares that upon ye
23d day of February being in Company in mr
Tymens house in Christina hee ye
deponant did heare Jan Staalcop say to Justa Andries
that his wife had stole a mutch or Capp from his wife, the sd
Justa sayed wil you prove that, Jan Staalcop answered
hee would do it.
Cob was sworne before Justice Otto Ernest in upland County his
declaration is as followeth vizt:
That upon ye 23d
day of February being in Company att Mr
Tymens house in Christina did heare John Staalcop call
Justa Anderson his wife a theef to his face but for what ye
deponant could not tell.
did Continue this action until next Court day & then Jan
Staalcop to appeare.
This was the
first case to be heard during the next session of court.
Att a Court
held in the Towne of New Castle by
Authority the 4th of May 1680
JUSTA ANDRIES and Plts
In an action
slaunder & defamation
JAN ANDRIESE STAALCOP
The case of difference being about some Slaunderous words that
& his wyfe should have Called this Plts
wife a theef. The Cort
did thinke fitt to referre ye
Case to a Jury, whoe being Returned brought in a vertict for ye
as followeth vizt
wee find for ye
12 pence damadge wth
Cost of suite. The Cort
according to verdict: Hendrik Lemmens a witnesse for ye
was sworne in Cort
Jury went out declared that being att ye
wedding of Mr
Tymens hee heard ye
Jan Staalcop sayed to Justa Andries why doe you goe by
my house & doe not come in. Justa answered that because you
haue accused my wife for a theef. Jan Staalcop sayed
So if or
wyves haue trouble together Let us be frinds & drinke for wee
are Come heither to bee merry, and ye
deponant sayes that hee did not hear Jan Andriess caal
Justa or his wife a theef.
As mentioned above this
case has been the source of much confusion and has led to much
speculation. The confusion stems from the belief that the various
court sessions were all discussing one event or confrontation. Close
examination of the court testimony makes it abundantly clear that
there were actually two such confrontations. Both occurred at
The first confrontation
was between Christina Carlsdotter and Aeltie, the wife of
Justa Andersson. It occurred at the wedding of the Stalcop
daughter of unknown name when she married Lulof Stiddam sometime
prior to August 24, 1679. We know this occurred at the Stalcop’s
daughter’s wedding because of the testimony of Sara, the wife of
Mathias Mathiasson. We know the date was before August 24, 1679
because that is when Johan Andersson Stalcop wrote out his
Will wherein he mentions that the wedding of his daughter to Lulof
Stidham had already taken place.
It was the custom that
weddings took place in the bride’s home. This places the first
confrontation over the stolen bonnet in the Stalcop home, not
in the Stidham home.
confrontation was in two parts. The first part was between Johan
Andersson Stalcop and Justa Andersson. The event of Justa
Andersson passing by without speaking while on his way to the
wedding of Timen Stidham to his third wife, Christina Ollesdotter,
occurred in front of Johan Andersson Stalcop’s home. The
statement made by Johan Andersson Stalcop about it were made
later in Timan Stedham’s home. We know this from the testimony of
Hendrick Lemmens. The second part of the confrontation also took
place at or in Timan Stedham’s home. It was a virual repeat of the
first confrontation between Christina Carlsdotter and Aeltie, the
wife of Justa Andersson. We know from the testimony of Robert White
(Robberd Whyte) and William Cobb that the date it happened was
February 23, 1680 (1679/80). This was more than six months after the
wedding of the Stalcop daughter and approximately six months
after Johan Andersson Stalcop made out his will. Clearly,
these two weddings and the several confrontations involving the
stolen bonnet were separated in time by over six months.
It has been speculated
that, contrary to Hendrick Lemmens testimony, the wedding on
February 23, 1680 at Timon Stidham’s house was between a second
unknown name Stalcop daughter and an Englishman. This wedding
supposedly took place in Timen Stidham’s home and not in the
Stalcop house because her parents had disowned their daughter
for marrying an Englishman not of the Swedish Lutheran faith. If
there was any truth to this wild bit of speculation it seems highly
unlikely that the parents, Johan Andersson Stalcop and
Christina Carlsdotter, would have attended a disowned daughters
wedding in their neighbor’s home. The reasons why this speculation
cannot be true, however, are two fold. One reason is that Hendrick
Lemmens clearly testified otherwise in court. No one contradicted
his testimony. The second reason is that there simply are not enough
birth slots in the Stalcop family to allow for this second
speculative Stalcop daughter of unknown name to even exist.
The saga of the stolen
bonnet provided entertainment for the community for the better part
of a year.
It may be difficult
for us today to imagine our grandparents’ daily routine during
their efforts to establish a life and livelihood in a new world.
Diversions from such a demanding life were few. There was no
formal entertainment available, such as television, movies, radio
or theaters. There were not even restaurants available so that an
occasional meal out could be enjoyed. Indeed, there were not even
stores to purchase food. It had to all be provided on their own.
will find ways to make do with whatever is available. So it was
with the problem of entertainment. As it happens there was one
“show” that made regular appearances in the community. This was
the court sessions. These sessions always attracted sizable crowds
for, buried within all of the routine cases, there nearly always
was several cases that proved to be highly entertaining.
Keep in mind that in
New Sweden there were very few written laws. Existing laws almost
never covered the disputes that arose. Disputes were presented to
the court justices for a decision. The number of times a
particular person found him or herself a party to a court case was
far greater than we would expect today. This was quite true for
Johan Andersson Stalcop and Christina Carlsdotter. Not
all of their court records will be cited. We will ignore those
records where one or the other is mentioned but did not actually
make a court appearance, such as being named as an adjoining
property owner in a deed.
We have available
court records from some of the cases Johan Andersson Stalcop
and Christina Carlsdotter were involved in. Being just
minutes or condensed extracts these court records do not tell us
everything about what was going on but they do give us an
indication of events. You can decide for yourself if any of these
cases would provide entertainment for the community.
At a Court
held att New Castle the 5th
day of decembr
Peticon of Walraeven Janss, Marten Gerretsen, Jan Staal Kopp,
John Ogle, Andries Andriess, Jan Andriess Andries, Simecus Sophy,
Andries Jurianss widow, Jan Gerritz & Peter Je,gou : -- desiering
that this Court would give them Leave, when they fetch in their
old outlying hoghs to Marke the Joung ones that shall be wth
them, in the prsence
of their Neigbours in Chistina Creek etc : The Court Referr the
to the former orders Provyded In such Lyke Cases. 
Notice the spelling
of John Stalcop (Jan Staal Kopp). The court
clerk taking these minutes was probably Dutch, hence the Dutch
flavor to the spelling of all of the names. At least two of the
six justices hearing this request were Dutch. The requestors were
asking for permission to hold a pig roundup. Their hogs that had
been living more or less wild out in the woods and needed to be
rounded up all so that the piglets could be marked for ownership
the same as the mother pigs. The marking was to be a public event
so that there would be no later disputes over ownership of the
Anyone who has ever
tried to catch a free running piglet will have no trouble at all
imagining the amount of entertainment this event would provide to
 Records of the
Court of New Castle on Delaware (RCNC), Vol. I. 1676-1681, 1904
Reprint 2000, page 84. Commas added to ease names separation
WOLVES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The next court action
illustrates the many changes that have happened to the countryside
during the past three and a half centuries. There have indeed been
considerable environmental changes.
sate.  (1677)
An order for ye
making of Woolfepitts.
The Court taking into Conciederation the
dayly & Continuall spoyle & damadge wch
Woolves Committ upon the stockes of the Inhabitants, and that the
said wolves (notwithstanding the former order of the Laest high
Court allowing 40 gilders for each Woolfe head) are in no wayes
more destroyed than heretofore: Itt was therefore this day
Resolved and ordered by the Court for the good of the Country in
generall that att or about the places, neighbourhoods &
plantations hereafter mentioned by the Inhabitants thereof bee
made and erected fitting woolfe pitts or houses wherein the said
varmin may bee catched & destroyed, the same to bee made by the
first of the month of May next upon ye
forfeiture and penalty of seventy and five gilders each partee
neglecting the same: The severall Constables from tyme to tyme are
to see that this order bee fulfilled and observed, and alsoe that
the said pitts or houses bee in good order well bayted & tended;
They to Inforrme agst
the neglectors, and to haue halfe of the forfeiture for their
Some 53 wolf pits or
trap houses were ordered to be built covering the entire territory
of the court jurisdiction. One pit was ordered to be built by “Jan
Andriesse Stalcop & Tymen Stidham”, the next door neighbor.
Their wolf pit was successful because a son of Tyman Stidham was
later paid a bounty on one wolf head.
 RECORDS OF THE
COURT AT NEW CASTLE, Vol. I, pages 176-178.
Att a Court held
in New Castle November the fifth 1678. 
of Christina Creeke prooveing in Court by the oaths of Mr
Tymen Stidham Jan Staalcop & Lasse Wayman, that Juns
Anderson smith Late of Christina deceased by a nun
cuppative will before his deceased hath willed & bequeathed all
his Estate to him the sd Samuel Peterson
& hath made him his heir.
John Anderson, the
blacksmith, was the father-in-law of Samuel Peterson. The
granddaughter of this John Anderson was later to become the wife
of Pietter Stalcop. This nun capative will was accepted by
the Court because they judged the estate to be small and that
Samuel Peterson had probably paid out more money in funeral
expenses than the estate was worth. Samuel Peterson was ordered by
the Court to serve as the administrator of the estate and to file
all of the necessary papers with the Court.
 RECORDS OF THE
COURT AT NEW CASTLE, Vol. I, pages 244-345.
A NEW ROAD
The next court order
represents a marked difference from the present methods of
creating the infrastructure of the community.
Jann : 9th
1678/9 The Cort
Repesented to the Court yt
there is need of a highway to come from Jan Staalcops Round
Christina to this Towne of New Castle, The Court therefore
ordered, that all the Inhabitants dwelling on the North side of
Christina, from brandywyn Creeke to the place or plantation of
John Ogle, Including him the sd
John Ogle, Doe wth
all Convenient speede made and clear a good and passable Highway
Staalcops house Round Christina Creeke to this Town of New
Castle, and doe appoint for overseer thereof Mr
Abram Man : whoe is desiered to see the worke Effectually done.
This order for a
highway says the road is to come around Christina Creek yet Johan
Stalcop’s house and New Castle were on opposite sides of the
creek. It is also interesting that only those persons living on
the north side of the creek, including John Ogle in New Castle,
were ordered to build the road. Not just pay for the road but to
actually perform the labor of building it. At the time this road
would be of little benefit to people living either in New Castle
or near Fort Christina. It is clear this road was wanted by one
particular individual and not by the majority of the inhabitants.
A number of protests and court cases followed but politics being
what they have always been the road was eventually built. Most of
its route probably can be traveled today as Route 4 to Newport and
Route 141 from Newport to New Castle.
 RECORDS OF THE
COURT AT NEW CASTLE, Vol. I, page 288.
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
GOVERNOR JOHAN BJÖRNSSON PRINTZ
Björnsson Printz (born July 20, 1592, – died May 3, 1663) was
governor from 1643 until 1653 of the Swedish colony of New Sweden on
the Delaware River in North America.
born in Bottnaryd, Jönköping County, in the province of Småland. He
was the son of a Lutheran pastor, Björn Hansson, and Gunilla
Svensdotter. Printz received his early education in Sweden followed
by theological studies at German universities. While on a journey in
about 1620, he was pressed into military service. His involuntary
change in occupation turned out to suit him.
During the Thirty Years’ War, he became a mercenary for Archduke
Leopold of Austria, Duke Christian of Brunswick, and King Christian
IV of Denmark. Printz entered the Swedish army in 1625 rising to the
rank of lieutenant colonel under King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.
He was dismissed from service for surrendering the Saxon town of
By 1642, he was restored to royal favor, ennobled and appointed to
be the third governor of New Sweden. He arrived at Fort Christina in
the colony on 15 February 1643 with two ships, Fama (Fawn) and
Svanen (The Swan). His appointment was of limited duration intended
to last only about two years. Instead, he was more or less abandoned
to his own resources and he served as Governor for ten years.
Johan Anderson från
Strängnäs was one of the people meeting him as he arrived at Fort
Christina having arrived in New Sweden himself two years before.
Under Printz’s rule the Swedish colony initially prospered. He built
Fort Nya Elfsborg, A military river control fort on the east bank of
the Delaware, and Fort Korshom, an Indian trading fort, on Cock’s
Island near the mouth of the Schuylkill River. Fort Korshom allowed
him to intercept the trade of natives coming up the Indian Great
Trading Path before they had to cross the South (later Delaware)
River to reach the Dutch at Fort Nassau or Staten Island.
He secured a near monopoly of trade with the Indians that inhabited
both sides of the bay and river as far north as Trenton and to the
south and west of the coast.
He built New Gothenburg on Tinicum Island as his
administration center, his capital, if you will, It was known as
Printzhof. The first building burned and a second built to replace
it. It was two stories high, made of hewn logs and had fire places
of brick imported from Sweden. It was a fortified house built to
withstand an attack by the natives but it was probably never meant
to withstand an attack from a ship firing from out in the river. It
is said to have glass in the windows and lavish draperies. He built
his own manor house and farm at Upland between Tinicum and Ft
Christina that he named Printztorp.
Printz was an energetic and conscientious governor. He established
harmony with the local Indians once even helping them in a war with
their enemy, the Seneca Indians. He was a very large man, reputably
over 400 pounds, which earned him the nickname "Big Belly," from the
native people, the Lenni Lenape tribe. The influx of Swedish
settlers was made up of mostly farmers who interacted fairly with
the Indians and established a precedent of kindliness and justice.
William Penn and
his followers later became indirect beneficiaries of this treatment
when the Indians received them in a friendly manner.
Printz arranged amicable relations with English settlers, initiated
trade connections with both the English and the Dutch and directed
several commercial enterprises within New Sweden.
In time, problems with the surrounding Dutch and English colonies
and lack of support from Sweden became increasingly severe. Short of
supplies from Sweden, Printz was unable to prevent the Dutch and the
English from practically monopolizing the beaver fur trade in the
area. His main adversary was Peter Stuyvesant, Director
General of New Netherlands.
Printz was an autocratic administrator and his growing quarrels with
the settlers led some of them to sign a protest. Printz branded it
as munity and had one of the signers, a soldier, Anders Jönsson,
executed. This caused tensions to grow even worse. In the end Printz
found his position impossible, and in 1654 he returned to Sweden to
in an attempt to secure aid for the colony himself. His son-in-law
Johan Papegoja was appointed vice-governor of New Sweden.
During his return to Sweden Printz became ill and was confined to a
sickbed in Amsterdam. His relief, Johan Risingh, sailed by without
stopping. When Printz arrived back in Sweden he was made a general.
Several years later, in 1658, he was appointed governor of Jönköping.
At his death May 3, 1663 five daughters and his second wife, Maria
von Linnestau, who he had married in 1642, survived him. His son
Sometimes it is nice to know something
about the friends and neighbors living around your ancestors. Here are a
few of the folks living around the very first Stalcop, Johan Andersson
Captain Sven Skute
Savior of the Family
There is no
doubt that Captain Sven Skute’s expertise as a military officer and
his skill at following the letter of his orders saved the life of
Johan Andersson Stålkofta. He also saved the life of everyone at
Fort Trinity during the 1655 Dutch invasion. He did this by very
carefully following exactly what his orders told him to do. Peter
Stuyvesant later told him that had the Dutch forces been fired upon
the Dutch forces had orders not leave even a rooster alive. The
Dutch invasion happened about six months prior to Christina
Carlsdotter’s arrival in New Sweden and before the Stalcop family
came into being.
The following is
adapted from the research of Dr. Peter Craig, Hans Ling and Larry
Sven Svensson Skute, born of Swedish parents came from Kronoby in
Finland and was married to Anna Johansdotter in Sweden. He was a
veteran of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). He had served as a
lieutenant with the Åbo and Björneborg County cavalry.
On his first trip to New Sweden Skute left his bride behind. She
resided at Sven Skute’s farm at Näsby in Dingtuna parish,
Västmanland, and, with his brother Jacob Svensson, is reported to
have collected money from his wages while he was in America. Lt.
Sven Skute's salary was substantial by contemporary standards. He
earned about four times the wage of common soldiers and company
The area of Sven Skute’s farm in
Näsby, Dingtuna parish, Västmanland, Sweden
as it looks today.
arriving in New Sweden, Lt. Sven Skute was assigned to supervising
the construction of Fort Elfsborg on the New Jersey side of the
river. He was still there in 1644 when he fired on, and boarded,
Governor Winthrop's ship from New England. In 1648, he led the
Swedish soldiers who barred Dutch settlement near Fort Beversreede
on the Schuylkill River. In the summer of 1650 Governor Printz
ordered Sven Skute to return to Sweden with letters to plea for more
assistance for the colony. He arrived in Stockholm in early November
In March 1651 he secured an audience with Queen Christina and
reported that there were only 70 men remaining in New Sweden and
that more settlers and supplies were desperately needed. Queen
Christina was very slow in responding to this plea. Two and a half
years later, in August 1653, instructions were issued to Sven Skute
to find 250 new settlers for the colony. Skute was also well
rewarded for his past services. The Queen promoted him to captain
and on August 20, 1653 she issued him a Royal patent for extensive
lands in present South and West Philadelphia.
Skute immediately began an extensive recruiting trip through
Våsterås, Värmland and Dalsland. He recruited more settlers than the
next ship, the Eagle, could carry. The ship, with the new
Governor, Johan Rising, aboard left Gothenberg Feb. 2, 1654 and
arrived at St. Christopher in the West Indies on April 16, 1654
where Skute went ashore to obtain fresh fruit and water. On May 20,
1654 the ship reached Fort Elfsborg, which was found ruined and
During the night a party of Dutchmen from Fort Cassimir were sent to
the Eagle to confer with the Governor, Johan Risingh. Their
visit lasted all night. The next morning Governor Risingh ordered
the ship to sail the ten miles up the river and to anchor directly
in front of Fort Casimir (present New Castle). Rising had no
military training. He clearly over-road very strong objections from
both of his military commander, Sven Skute, and Captain Buckhorn of
the ship Eagle, in ordering such a foolish action. This probably was
the beginning of a very prickly relationship between Governor
Risingh and Captain Sven Skute that continued until Risingh departed
the Colony after he surrendered it to the Dutch.
After Risingh fired a Swedish National salute from the Eagle Sven
Skute was ordered ashore with three squads of musketeers, about 30
men, to demand the surrender of the Dutch fort. After Risingh fired
a second Swedish National salute from the ship the Dutch garrison
surrendered without resistance.
It is believed the Dutch party that spent the night aboard the Eagle
was sent to deliberately informed Risingh that the fort had no
gunpowder or cannonballs. There is a note in the Minutes of the
Dutch Council dated soon after the completion of Fort Cassimir that
there was 17 tons of gunpowder available in reserve. The Dutch
clearly were not short of gunpowder. A number of Dutch re-supply
ships had arrive at Fort Cassimir during the three years between
when the fort was built in 1651 and when Risingh arrived in 1654.
All of them could have brought a supply of gunpowder and
cannonballs. None did.
After its capture Sven Skute and his wife, Anna Johansdotter, made
their home near the former Dutch Fort, Cassimir, which had been
renamed Fort Trinity. Skute initially was ordered to begin the
difficult task of rebuilding the Dutch fort. Due to his rank Skute
served on Governor Rising's Council that governed the colony and
heard court cases. Soon he was ordered by Risingh to build a huge,
all timber, bulwark like, fort between Fort Cassimir and the river.
The timber bulwark now assumed the name of Fort Trinity and the
Dutch fort regained its original name of Fort Cassimir. Finally,
just days before the Dutch invasion Skute was ordered by Risingh to
dig trenches with raised soil ramparts out in front of the timber
bulwark to mount the guns.
In June 1654 Skute presented Queen Christina's land patent to
Governor Rising for confirmation. Rising, however, refused to allow
Skute to occupy the land given to him by the Queen’s Royal Patent.
He ruled that granting it was dependent on his confirmation, which
he refused to give. He did the same in the case of Lt. Elias
Gyllengren’s Royal Patent. The only Royal patent he recognized was
for his own “estate” of Timber Island.
On August 30, 1655, Governor Peter Stuyvesant of New Netherlands
appeared in the South (Delaware) River with six armed ships and a
pilot boat. The fleet had 317 soldiers aboard plus several hundred
sailors. Sven Skute long had recognized that fighting was useless.
Governor Risingh had split his forces of about 50 soldiers and about
two-dozen New Sweden Freemen volunteers between the two forts.
Risingh ordered Captain Sven Skute to fire on the Dutch ships if
they tried to sail past but not to fire if they came in peace. The
Dutch ships had drummers beating at the rail and they loosened their
sails as they passed by. Both acts signaled peaceful intent. Sven
Skute did not order that the ships were to be fired upon in strict
adherence to Risingh’s orders. The Dutch ships road the inbound
tidal current passed the fort and anchored just north of it. During
that night by covert canoe messenger, Risingh ordered Skute to hold
out a long as he could, with his 37 men, over half of whom had
mutinied, and were placed under arrest, but then to surrendered Fort
Trinity if the situation was hopeless.
The situation had been hopeless from the moment Governor Rising
attacked Fort Cassimir the very day he arrived in direct violation
of his orders. Skute surrendered to Stuyvesant on September 1, 1655.
Governor Rising surrendered Fort Christina and all of New Sweden two
weeks later. Not only was the Swedish forces under Sven Skute
overwhelmingly outnumbered and outgunned the real problem was the
big timber structure Governor Risingh had ordered him to built. It
was a death trap. Being a trained military officer Skute was no
doubt well aware of that fact. Under high-speed impacts from
cannonball hits wood tends to shatter into long and very sharply
pointed splinters that fly off in a cloud in all directions. The
splinter clouds are lethal and greatly multiply the effects of the
cannonball hits. Just a few impacts on that timber fort from the
first 44-gun broadside from the ships likely would have killed
everyone near it in a few moments. Stålkofta was standing in
a gun trench immediately in front of the timber structure as the
Dutch ships sailed past. He was, in effect, the aiming point of the
It seems clear that all twelve of the Dutch heavy guns captured in
Fort Cassimir had been disabled and were incapable of firing. They
probably had been un-useable from the beginning when they were
installed by the Dutch. The Dutch guns were not used to fire at the
anchored Eagle, or to even to return a salute, nor were the guns
available to Sven Skute and the defenders in September 1655.
Risingh was pointing his finger as hard as he could at Skute and the
officers at Fort Trinity, Stålkofta being one of them, as
being responsible for the loss of the Colony. In fact it was
Risingh’s attack and capture of Fort Cassimir in direct violation of
his orders his first day on the job that caused the loss of the
Colony. After he lost the Colony Governor Risingh was trying hard to
divert attention away from his own acts.
After the surrender of the entirety of New Sweden, Governor
Stuyvesant agreed to allow the Swedes to retain their lands north of
the Christina River and to establish their own government. The Dutch
issued them patents for their land and made them all “freemen”. This
new "Swedish Nation," later known as the Upland Court, was
established in 1656. It was a great reward for losing the war.
Remaining at Fort Casimir (now New Castle) under Dutch rule was not
possible for the Skute family. They sold their lots and grain in the
spring of 1656 and moved to the west bank of the Schuylkill River,
on the northeast side of Kvarn Kill (Mill Creek), in the vicinity of
present Woodlands Cemetery. There is a 1658 Dutch reference to "Sven
the miller," which is probably a reference to Sven Skute's
occupation in his forced retirement. He also, however, was captain
of the militia for the new "Swedish Nation."
It is crystal clear that it was only Sven Skute’s calm thinking and
strict adherence to exactly what his orders said and his not
foolishly firing on the Dutch ships that saved the life of every one
of the defenders at Fort Trinity that morning. That included the
life of Johan Andersson Stålkofta and the Stalcop
Family yet to be.
Captain Sven Skute died at his Schuylkill plantation about 1665.
Four known children survived him: Johan Skute, born
Sept. 4, 1654 at Fort Trinity (New Castle). Johan married Armegot,
daughter of Mårten Garretson and Christina Lom. The surname
continued under the spelling of Schooten. Christina
married William Warner, Jr. They moved to Woodbury Creek, Gloucester
County, NJ, by 1681. Five children; William, Sven, Isaac, Hannah and
Jacob. Magdalena, born March 25, 1660, married Peter
Rambo, Jr., Nov. 12,1676. They made their home on Pennypack Creek in
Lower Dublin Township. 7 children; Swan, Brigitta, Peter, Andrew,
Elias, Jacob and John. Gertrude, born c. 1664.
of Gothenburg, Sweden, a barber-surgeon for the New Sweden Colony,
apparently crossed the ocean seven times before he finally settled
in America. Based on a 1651 letter that he wrote to Axel
Oxenstierna, the regent of Sweden for the child queen, Christina, he
was one of two barber-surgeons on the Kalmar Nyckel on its
first voyage in 1637-38. He remained with the ship and, after its
second voyage to the new world; Timen became the resident
barber-surgeon in New Sweden from 1640 to 1644. Returning to Sweden,
Stiddem married and departed again for New Sweden on the Kattan
in 1649 with his wife and two small children. A third child was born
the Kattan ran aground at Puerto Rico and the survivors were
taken prisoner by the Spanish. Timen's wife and three children
perished while prisoners of the Spanish. See the Fate of the Cat
story. Timen Stiddem miraculously escaped and made his way back to
Sweden by 1651. Marrying again, he sailed on his seventh Atlantic
crossing, to New Sweden with Governor Rising in 1654. This time he
Timen Stiddem settled at Fort Trinity (New Castle), but some while
after the surrender of New Sweden to the Dutch in 1655, he moved to
Christina (Wilmington) where he led an active life until his death
in 1686. This change in residence may have been in response to the
division of the colony into two parts by the Dutch.
Being the only
Swedish doctor in America, he periodically had to travel by canoe as
far as Upland (now Chester, PA) to serve his patients.
Stiddem's second wife (name unknown) died before 1679 when he
married his third wife, Christina Ollesdotter, the widow of Walraven
Jansen DeVos. This wedding is when the argument over the stolen
In his will
Timen Stiddem wrote that he had been born in "Hammell" which may be
a reference to Hammel in Denmark. Timen's father, Lulof Stiddem,
formerly of Copenhagen, became a prominent burgher in Gothenburg and
was buried there at the Kristina Kyrka, 3 July 1639. Nine children
survived Timen, all born to his second wife. His male descendants
eventually adopted "Stidham" as the preferred spelling of the family
surname. The nine surviving children, in the order of their birth,
born c. 1654, and named for his grandfather, married twice, first c.
1679, to the eldest daughter of Johan Andersson Stalcop. His second
wife was the widow of Andrew Stalcop. Lulof died in 1704, survived
by six children.
born c. 1656, married twice. The name of his first wife, mother of
all his eight surviving children, is unknown. Lucas died in 1726.
(also called Asmund), born c. 1658, married Margaret, the daughter
of Samuel Peterson. He died in 1712, survived by seven children.
born c. 1660, married Catharina (parents unknown) and had six
children before his death in 1695.
born c. 1662, married Anna, daughter of Olle Ollesson Thorsson, and
had five children before his death in 1699.
born c. 1664, married Peter Jaquet, son of the former Dutch
governor, Jean Paul Jaquet, by 1686. She died before 1713 and was
survived by six known children.
born c. 1666, apparently never married.
born c. 1668, married Mårten Knutsson, son of Knut Mårtensson from
Vasa, Finland, and had at least three sons before she died at Marcus
Hook after 1732.
born c. 1671, married Peter Andersson, son of Anders Jöransson, and
she died after 1721, probably at Red Lyon Creek; number of children
Andersson Stalcop and Timen Stiddem owned all of the land between
the Christina River and Brandywine Creek they and their families
were indeed close neighbors.
FOPPEN JANSEN OUTHOUT
was a Hollander who first came to the Delaware as a member of Peter
Stuyvesant’s invasion force in 1655. He later was called Fop
Johnson. He may have first become aquatinted with Johan Anderson
Stalcop early on as he may have been one of the guards set to watch
JAS and the other officers following the siege and surrender of Fort
Trinity. There is no proof of this.
Fop went back
to New Amsterdam after the invasion ended and was discharged but he
soon returned to New Amstel (later renamed New Castle, Delaware). He
opened up a tavern there by 1660. He apparently became a very good
friend of Johan Anderson Stålkofta/Stalcop. He became a justice of
the New Castle Court and served in this position until 1680. He
moved his home across the river to Penns Neck, NJ where he died by
1693 leaving a widow and two daughters.
Fop could read
and write in both Dutch and English. The English required that all
court documents be written in English so his writing skills were
often in demand. He wrote out Johan Anderson’s Will in 1679 and he
signed it as a witness. He also added another sworn statement to it
on July 20, 1685 after Johan Andersson Stålkofta/Stalcop died.
Because he was a Hollander he used Dutch (i.e.: Jan Anderisson)
rather than English or Swedish spellings for the names mentioned in
the Will. This has lead to lots of confusion and wrong conclusions.
Samuel Petersson of Christina
by Dr. Peter S. Craig Adapted by Larry Stallcup
When the ship Örnen
(the Eagle) arrived in New Sweden in 1654, it brought two new
freemen to the country named Samuel Petersson, both of them
Finns. They were distinguished by their place of origin and
their marks. Both appeared at Tinicum Island on 9 June 1654 to
sign the loyalty oath to the new Governor of New Sweden, Johan
Risingh. One was recorded as Samuel Petersson of Fryksände
Parish in Värmland, Sweden; the other as Samuel Petersson of
Bogen, Gunnarskog Parish in Värmland. The latter purchased
goods from the company store on July 8, 1654 and soon
disappeared from history.
Samuel Petersson of Fryksände bought goods from the company
store on August 2, 1654. He was residing in the Fort Trinity
area (near present New Castle) when that fort was surrendered
to the Dutch in September 1655. He then signed an oath of
allegiance to the Dutch, signing by his mark. In 1657, the
Dutch paid Samuel and his co-worker, Måns Larsson, 18 guilders
for services rendered.
The English census of May 1671, found Samuel Petersson and his
family residing at Crane Hook on the Delaware River, south of
the Christina River. He was among the Finns moving to this
location in 1663 at the invitation of the Dutch Governor
d’Hinoyossa. In 1669, after the English captured the Delaware
from the Dutch, Samuel played a minor role in the “Long Finn
Rebellion” for which he was fined 50 guilders. A ringleader in
this rebellion was Johan Andersson Stalcop, who owned
extensive lands north of the Christina River adjacent to old
Fort Christina. To pay for his fine, Stalcop was forced
to sell part of his lands. By deeds dated September 2, 1674
and April 16,1675, Samuel Petersson purchased the lower
quarter of the Stalcop plantation, fronting on
Christina Creek. This land at Christina became Samuel
Petersson’s home until his death in 1689. He also added land
to his holdings. This included a patent dated July 30, 1684
from William Penn for “Mill Point,” 300 acres, bounded by land
belonging to John & Andrew Stalcop, the “old land” of
Samuel Petersson and land of Lucas Stedham.
Samuel Petersson was very active in the Swedish church. He
gave a 30-foot strip of his former land at Crane Hook for the
church at that location. Further, in the dispute between
Pastor Lars Carlsson Lock and Pastor Jacobus Fabritius for the
right to the pulpit. Samuel Peterson, a warden of the church,
supported Lock and by a letter to the English government of
August 14,1675 joined other leaders of his congregation to
urge that Fabritius, who could not speak Swedish, be rejected
as their pastor. Samuel signed the letter with the same mark
used when signing the oaths of allegiance to Governor Risingh
in 1654 and to Governor Stuyvesant in 1655.
Samuel Petersson’s wife was Brita, daughter of Jöns Andersson
the blacksmith at Christina. Jöns’ will, proved November 5,
1678, left his entire estate to Samuel Petersson. Jöns
Andersson and his wife Maria had also arrived on the Eagle in
1654. He lived near Fort Christina and made several purchases
from the company store from June 17, 1654 to August 8, 1655.
After the surrender of New Sweden to the Dutch in September
1655, he informed Captain Sven Skute that he intended to
remain at Fort Christina. He and his wife Maria submitted an
affidavit on March 7, 1660 to the Dutch authorities regarding
the illegal sale of liquor to the Indians by Hans Juriansen
Becker, a Dutch soldier.
The will of Samuel Petersson, dated November 20, 1689, has
been lost. However, we know from later deeds that the will
included a bequest that “he of my sons whom is longest with my
loving wife he shall have my now dwelling plantation.” His
wife Brita and at least nine children, three sons and six
daughters, survived him.
His widow Brita Petersson was listed on the 1693 census as
head of a household that included seven others persons. Soon
thereafter she married Joshua Jones, an Englishman. On June
24, 1697 she was granted administration of his estate. In
August 1697, “Mrs. Brita” subscribed £ 2 towards construction
of Holy Trinity Church; her daughter Brita added 12 shillings.
During construction of the church, “Mistress Brita” boarded
workmen at her house “on the old land” for five weeks. An
audit of quitrents (property taxes) in 1701 reported that
“Bridget Peterson alias Jones” was current on her taxes. She
died in the following year.
The 1701 audit showed the existence of two plantations. The
one occupied by widow Brita Jones was on the “old land,”
originally acquired from Stalcop. Peter Peterson, the
youngest son, who had lived the longest with his mother, would
inherit this. Matthias Peterson then occupied the “new land”.
It was north of Christina and supposed to contain 300 acres
when granted by William Penn, but on resurvey was shown to
contain 618 acres. Matthias was unwilling to pay the money
required to keep the “overplus,” so he kept only the 300 acres
of his choosing. To fulfill his father’s directions in his
will, Matthias Peterson executed a deed in December 1702
confirming the “old land” to his brother Peter Peterson.
Margareta Petersson, born c. 1663, was first married
about 1686 to Erasmus Stedham, son of Dr. Timen Stiddem.
He was father of all of her children. Erasmus, often called "Asmund,"
was born c. 1658. On 20 October 1686 he acquired from Adam and
Benedict Stedham their l/8th shares in the Timen Stiddem
plantation, which he apparently shared with his brother Lulof.
He served as a churchwarden of Holy Trinity, 1704-1707. Widow
Margaret married Thomas Jones on Sept. 7, 1714 and was buried
2. Catharina Peterson, born c. 1665, was married by
1685 to Peter Stalcop, born c. 1664, the son of
Johan Andersson Stalcop and Christina Carlsdotter.
Peter Stalcop owned extensive lands on Red Clay Creek.
He pledged £7 for construction of Holy Trinity Church, helped
in its construction for 14 days, furnished horses for two days
and lathe for the plastering. On 24 June 1699 he and Catharine
were assigned pews. Peter’s will, dated September 3, 1709 and
proved May 16, 1710, named Catharina and his son-in-law pastor
Ericus Björk co-executors, to be joined by his son John when
he came of age. Soon after September 26, 1711, his widow
Catharina became the second wife of Lucas Stedham, Sr.. There
were no children by her second marriage. Karin (Catharina)
last took communion on 6 June 1731. By her first marriage,
Catharina had six Stalcop children who grew to
Christina Peterson, born c. 1667, married in the
late 1680s to Gisbert (Jesper) Walraven, son of Walraven
Jansen DeVos and Christina Ollesdotter. She was buried
December 20, 1725. Gisbert Walraven, also known as Jesper
Walraven, was born about 1660. They lived at Middlle Borough,
Christiana Hundred, where he divided his father's plantation
with his younger brother Jonas Walraven, April 19, 1708. His
will of the same date, proved 4 June 1708, named five
Samuel Peterson, Jr., born in 1668, died without
making a will (intestate) and unmarried before March 10,
1691/2, when an inventory was made listing his property (six
cattle, four pigs, a gun, axe, frying pan, iron pot, chest,
anchor and his clothing) as worth £19.
Matthias Peterson, born c. 1671, was married c. 1695
to Elisabeth Justis, daughter of John Giöstason of Kingsessing.
He pledged £1.1.0 in 1697 for the building of Holy Trinity
Church, worked 9 days helping to build the church and provided
lathe for the plastering. He and his wife were assigned pews
in 1699. He became a warden of the church and served for
several years on the church council. Matthias Peterson was
buried September 27, 1719. His widow Elisabeth married Edward
Robinson October 18, 1720.
Sarah Peterson, born c. 1673, married Jonas Walraven,
youngest son of Walraven Jansen de Vos ( the fox) in 1693. She
died c. 1708. Sarah Peterson Walraven had five children by her
Peter Peterson, born c. 1675, married Helena
Peterson (daughter of Hans Peterson of Brandywine Hundred) c.
1697. He subscribed £2 for the building of Holy Trinity Church
and worked 35½ days on the actual construction of the church.
He also served as a churchwarden and was a member of the
church council when he was buried February 6, 1715. He was
frequently called Peter Peterson Caupany to distinguish him
from Peter Peterson Smith (son of Hans Peterson of Brandywine
hundred). Caupany was derived from the Swedish word “kåpa”
meaning a short cloak. By his will of January 29, 1715, Peter
bequeathed his 211 acres (the “old ground”), after his wife’s
death, to his two surviving sons, Peter, Jr. and Hans.
Brita Peterson, born c. 1680, married by 1704 Anders
Justis, son of Johan Giöstason of Kingsessing. The couple
lived on the land (300 acres) that Matthias Peterson had
inherited from his father. After Matthias Peterson declined to
buy the overplus for such land, Anders Justis made repeated
requests to the Board of Property in Philadelphia to buy that
overplus. He finally succeeded and on May 8, 1727 he traded
the 150 acres thus acquired to his brother-in-law Peter
Peterson Caupany for 105 acres of the “old ground” (former
Stalcop land) situated on the north side of Christina
Creek. Soon thereafter, “Andrew and Bridget Justison” began
subdividing the land, an endeavor in which their son-in-law
Thomas Willing later joined. The result was the creation of
“Willings Town,” now known as Wilmington. Brita was buried
June 27, 1737.
Elisabeth Peterson, born c. 1684, married
Christiern Jöranson (generally called Christian Urinson)
c. 1710. A carpenter by trade, Christiern pledged 1½ pounds in
1697 toward construction of Holy Trinity Church in Christina.
He was employed in the fall of 1698 to work on the church
roof. He worked at this task and other carpentry jobs at the
church for 33½ days. About 1712, at the age of 48, Christiern
married Elisabeth Petersson. They had three children (Sophia,
Christiern and Margareta), born between 1713 and 1716, all of
whom died in childhood. Elisabeth next married Valentine Cock
of Boon's Island, Kingsessing, on April 23, 1720. She moved to
Boon's Island to live on her new husband's plantation.
Elisabeth had no children by this marriage. After the death of
Valentine Cock in 1725, Elisabeth renounced her right to
administer his estate and returned to New Castle County where
she became housekeeper for the widower Conrad Constantine. On
May 14,1730 she married John Garretson of Newport, son of Paul
Garretson. At the time she was pregnant. Their son Thomas
Garretson, "some weeks old," was baptized at Holy Trinity
Church on December 13,1730. The last discovered reference to
Elisabeth Peterson Jöransson Cock Garretson was on May 18,
1734 when John Garretson of White Clay Creek Hundred and
Elisabeth his wife sold her 15 acres at Fish Point, New Castle
GARRIT VAN SWERINGEN
In 1684 a
Hollander, Garrit van Sweringen, gave a deposition in support of
Lord Baltimore’s boundary dispute with William Penn. For the period
before his arrival in America, 1657, the deposition is based mostly
on hearsay and it is very inaccurate. Nevertheless the deposition
does contain some useful information.
that he arrived in America aboard the ship ‘Prince Maurits.’
The ship sailed from Texel, in Holland, on December 25, 1656. and
was wrecked on Long Island March 9, 1657. Garrit had been the
supercargo (similar to a modern day Purser) on the ship and probably
was about 21 years old when he sailed for America.
Garrit was in
the employ of the Dutch West Indies Company. After his survival of
the shipwreck he requested and was granted a discharge from the
Company’s service. He then headed south to New Amstel, now the city
of New Castle, Delaware. Once there Peter Alrichs appointed him
commissary in May 1657. Under Alrichs, and under d’Hinoyossa after
Alrichs death, Garrit quickly assumed other positions. He was schout
or sheriff, councilor, and justice. He rose to be second in command
of the City of Amsterdam’s “Colony of the City.”
The former New
Sweden Colony had been divided into two parts. Peter Stuyvesant had
borrowed heavily to finance the invasion of New Sweden so in order
to pay off the debt he ceded the southern portion to the Burgers of
the City of Amsterdam. That portion became known as the “Colony of
the City.” The northern portion was retained by Stuyvesant and
became known as the “Colony of the Company,” that is, the Dutch West
Indies Company. Stuyvesant was nominally in charge of both colonies.
Sweringen got into serious trouble with Peter Stuyvesant in 1660
over the treatment of Jan Gerritsen van Marcken, a New Amsterdam
merchant who had gone to New Amstel to collect some debts. He was
thrown into prison for saying some words that displeased d’Hinoyossa
and van Sweringen. As sheriff van Sweringen brought criminal charges
against van Marcken. Trials were held in February and March 1660.
Jan Gerritsen van Marcken was convicted of about everything in the
On June 7,
1660 Stuyvesant reversed the judgment as arbitrary and required
Garrit van Sweringen to pay the cost of the suit and to indemnify
Jan Gerritsen van Marcken for his wrongful arrest.
On August 30,
1660 Garrit van Sweringen and his wife sailed for Amsterdam without
obtaining a passport from Stuyvesant. He took with him 31 skins,
which he declared, and another 100 skins that he did not declare. He
had bribed the supercargo of the ship. In Amsterdam he used the
extra 100 skins to bribe the Directors of the West Indies Company.
24, 1660, the directors of the Dutch West Indies Company sent
Stuyvesant a letter chastising him for overruling Garrit van
Sweringen’s case against Jan Gerritsen van Marcken, saying it was
politically unwise for him to interfere with the affairs of the City
of Amsterdam’s colony at New Amstel.
van Sweringen met Jan Gerritsen van Marcken at an inn in Amsterdam
in April of 1661. It is said that some very harsh words were
Sweringens stayed in Holland until November 1661, when they sailed
again for New Amstel. Garrit van Sweringen and his wife, with a
servant and a maid, arrived at New Amstel February 3, 1662 aboard
the ship ‘Purmerlander Kerck’. The rift between New Amstel
and New Amsterdam widened very rapidly after that.
On the evening
of June 20, 1662 three of Stuyvesant’s soldiers were in New Amstel
enjoying drinks at Fop Johnson Outhout’s inn. They went out for a
stroll and were having a great time singing. Their path took them
near Garrit van Sweringen’s home. He took exception to their singing
and after a few shouts fired on the soldiers. His shot killed Hermen
Hendricksen van Deventer.
South River (the Delaware River) deputy, Willem Beeckman, was
furious and collected affidavits and interrogatories from witnesses
that he forwarded to Stuyvesant. The affidavits and interrogatories
were taken in the home of Johan Andersson Stalcop. Perhaps it was
considered as the nearest neutral site.
of the Colony of the City, d’Hinoyossa, did nothing about it other
than temporarily suspending van Sweringen as schout. Stuyvesant felt
helpless to do anything about it. He wrote to Amsterdam that he
thought the burgomasters of the City of Amsterdam should hear the
was never tried. Instead his superiors in Amsterdam decided the
killing had been done in “self-defense.“ The soldiers were
completely unarmed. Garrit van Sweringen was officially pardoned.
A little over
a year later the English stormed New Amsterdam and Stuyvesant was
forced to surrender in much the same way that he had forced the
surrender of New Sweden nine years earlier. He surrendered the
Colony of the Company on the South River but told the English that
he had no authority to surrender the Colony of the City.
A ship under
the command of Captain John Carr was dispatched to the South River.
It is said that as soon as the English ship came into view Garrit
van Sweringen abandoned his post, jumped over the fort wall and fled
with his wife and family to St. Mary’s, Maryland. He had been
sending bribes to the Governor of Maryland for some time in
anticipation of just such an event. All of his lands, houses and
estate remaining in the Colony of the City after he fled were
confiscated and awarded to Captain John Carr.
Garrit van Sweringen was never able to gain the political power and
authority his position in the Colony of the City had afforded him.
He must have passed on his great dislike of the British to his
children and grandchildren. An unusually high percentage of them
served in the American Revolutionary War fighting against the
Sweringen opened up a tavern in St. Mary’s Maryland and operated it
until his death. His tavern was the subject of an archeological dig
in recent years.
generation granddaughter, Mary (Polly) Swearingen married Jeremiah
Stillwell in Haywood County, NC. Their daughter, Neccessa (later
attempted to be “corrected” to Narcissus) Stillwell, married Jesse
Benjamin Hall. They became the parents of Maude Almarine Hall, the
wife of Lucius Harvey Stallcup.
It took two
centuries and a movement of nearly 700 miles but descendants of two
men that certainly knew about each other and lived within five miles
of each other on the Delaware River between 1657 and 1664 had
finally met. Neither Garrit van Sweringen’s nor Johan Andersson
Stalcop’s descendants had retained any traces of the knowledge that
their respective ancestors had ever known each other. All memory of
the two men themselves and the events that happened in New Sweden
had long since vanished from the collective memories of both
by Hans Ling
Christina Stalcop was
buried in Christine Church in Falun, Sweden, the 12 of April 1720.
After the funeral the
texts from the sermon where publish in two books. They are of different
size and also have a few other small differences. They begin with 2 title
pages. Then come 53 pages about the sermon followed by a biography on 14
I have made this
translation of the first part of the biography:
So that the well-deserved
eulogy and Christian remembrance of those who have expired in The
Lord not may be covered together with the body, but live with all
proper honor in constant glory with all those devoted and honest
until late succeeding generations; therefore is since long times ago
the Christ-praising custom established and used at the Christians
travel to earth, that one use to mention the origin, beginning,
growth and walk and finally death and departure of those who have
expired in The Lord; to be to some consolation and comfort to them
in sorrow and grief and as example and encouragement to a Christian
and honorable conduct of life and unfeigned piety for those who are
left alive. Therefore may this honorable congregation of God in due
follow of the same old and lawful use with patience listen to what
one may in short have to tell at this sad funeral act.
The year after Christ's
birth 1686 the 19 of April is this formerly honor-born, godly and
honorable, now at God for ever blessed, matron and noble
provosts-wife Christina Stalcop - before this the lovely friend and
wife of the reverend and most learned Sir parson and provost here in
the congregation Mister Eric Biörck - born to this world by honest
parents in Christine congregation in Pennsylvania and America, that
is the western part of the world. The father was the formerly
honor-born and honest farmer and merchant at that place Mister
Pettier Stalcop; the mother the honor-born and godly matron
Catharina Samuelsdaughter. These parents have in due attention taken
the Christian care of this their loved and first child so that she
early might be accepted in her Gods and Jesus alliance of favor
throe the baptism and the bath of the new birth. Afterwards may her
younger years gradually advance in all proper and Christian
instruction while the greatest and first concern and care of her
loved parents were how their loved daughter may well learn and
understand her Christianism-texts and from them solidly get the
right knowledge of her God, the way to her blessing and how to
follow it. As there, during this exercise was a notable, natural
witty in her to learn and understand, the parents have used all
un-spared pains, diligence and expenses for that purpose. And as
they found this thing to be of such importance that it ought to be
trusted to the attention of good teachers; therefore were several
praiseworthy teachers provided and selected for her. But among
others was specially mister Carl Springer - now later being senator
there on that place - given this important matter. Under his earnest
instruction she may in a little while grow so that she could read,
write and count as well in English as in Swedish and thereby gave
both her teacher as well as her parents desired pleasure. Moreover
they also have spared no less of what else that could be needed for
her to gather knowledge of other nice professions that were becoming
to her and her sex; because she always gave the good hope about her
that they from such an expense with delight and joy should be able
to harvest a rich fruit in the future; which also did not fail them.
In this aspect there was a mutual competition between them; on the
parents side in daily demonstration of goodness, love and
beneficence; on her side always to assist, honor and serve her loved
parents throe compliance, obedience and all daughterly respect; so
that she grew in age and grace before God and humans.
she thus had spent her younger years in all virtue, decency and
unfeigned piety and now had reached tolerable maturity and thus had
made herself suitable and prepared to enter into another position
according to Gods graceful pleasure; so might The Lord in his divine
providence destine and send her a good and honest man and husband
from such a long distance; which happened in the following way.
According to the graceful providence and sending of the most highest
God and the most praise-worth care of king Carl XI - of glorious
memory - for our distressed Christian brothers and sisters down
there in the West-Indies; who at that time almost were placed in
blind darkness without God's words; there to preach God's holy word
and lead the poor distressed sheep on the way to salvation; and
among others also the honor-worthy and high-learned sir mister Eric
Biörck to be the teacher of God's holy word in the Swedish
congregations. Who after a few years-circulation and more close
acquaintance to his Swedes living there, throe the providence and
inspiration of God, finally got such a special affection and love to
this for her warmth in The Lord blessed matron, her decent life,
virtue and skillfulness that he wanted and considered it as a
special gift from God and The Lords blessing if he one day could win
the happiness to be bound to such a decent and virtuous wife. Which
wish also became fulfilled; so that this mutual sweet band of love
after serious consideration on both sides and with the parents good
yes and acceptance first with betrothment and then a little more
than a year thereafter - that is year 1702 the 6 October when she
had reached her 16:th years age - sanctioned and completed in
Christine church with Christian and customary ceremonies by the then
just there arrived - and also now just from there to Hedemora
congregation arrived - provost and parson Sir Master of Art Andreas
Sandel (Sandel and Björk were both honored with the title Master of
Art by a decision of King Fredric I the 8 April 1721. (My comment)).
By this true band a not small joy was caused among the Swedes who
were there, and especially in the congregation called Christina,
where they lived; so that everyone were glad of the good pleasure
which they noticed that their teacher in this way had found among
them and therefore they loved him back with all their harts, above
all because he had came from their very old native country and
wanted to join and unite so closely with them. As this dear true
band now was started in God; so might also gladness, joy and
pleasure live there with all sweetness. But as The Lord always uses
to keep his children here in the world under a cross and grief and a
visible prove that no joy and happiness is constant under the sun;
so may The Lord God disturb them with the sorrow that her lovely
father after the circulation of seven years, that is 1709 the 5
September, went away throe the death, when the mother as well as the
children must miss their earthly joy so that their gladness-sun now
seemed to have gone down for them; but however all were glad about
the sufficient support and honor that The Lord God also had given
their house. And as the same now was their only consolation and
delight in their sorrow and sadness; so might it so much more hurt
their harts when short thereafter her loved man the honorworthy sir
provost was called home to his native country throe the all-wise
disposal of the same The Highest and of gracious command by king
Carl XII - of high-praised memory - with a gracious assurance of a
sure and good piece of bred at the return; so that when finally Sir
Master of Art (He was given that title at the same occasion as Björk
and Sandel. (My comment)) Andreas Hesselius and Mister Abraham
Lidenius, who were sent down there as exchange, happily arrived;
then the journey back to Sweden and the native country must at
length be decided. Which journey, not without reason, not only all
the members of the congregation bewailed and regretted as follow of
mutual love caused by such a long friendship and acquaintance; but
also in particular the loved mother, brothers and sisters and
relatives of this blessed matron so that their material joy and
pleasure now seemed to be taken away and completely disappeared
throe this divorce. Also it could not seem to this blessed matron
else than strange and difficult that she in this way should leave
her place of birth and native country and must so far separate from
her nearest persons without hope ever to see them again in the
world, especially also as she should be the first of all women who
was to make such a long and difficult journey. But after all,
considering the more important reasons, specially the gracious will
and call of The Lord to leave her native country and the advises of
her loved man and friends, she became well content and easy,
specially also because His Royal Majesty's letter of attorney to
this honest parish of Falun - dated Timurtasch in the year 1713 the
28 May - arrived in the hands of the honorworthy sir provost before
the departure. So that she during such a dangerous and adventurous
journey should have some peace and pleasure also from her own
persons; therefore she instantly finds her loved brother in law and
loved sister willing to make with her an agreeable and sweet company
so that she might have much delight from their dear intercourse. Who
well intended to go back again after some time; but as Gods
wonderful disposal and human plans are of quite different
constitution; so might also The Lord God in his merciful grace make
the change here-in that the loved sister of this blessed matron not
without sorrow and tears must follow to the grave first her blessed
loved man and husband and one little child of hers and now finally
her well-beloved sister.
In the year
1714 the 29 of June this journey at last was undertaken in The Lord,
which run off so well and happily that this blessed matron by the
gracious assistance of God and conduct by His angels together with
her loved man and quite tender children and kinsmen in good health
and wholesomeness arrived to this place Falun at Christmas-time the
continues with a description of Christina Stalcops life in Falun. It
is told that she in the beginning had difficulties to get used to
Falun, it's inhabitants and their customs and especially so because
Sweden was in war and great danger. She longed for the more calm and
safe America. But as time passed she became loved by the people and
got as many friends in Falun as she had had in America. Her husband
did all what he could to comfort her. In their marriage, that "last
6:th of October" had lasted "in on the eighteenth year" they got 10
children, of which 6 were born in Pennsylvania and 4 in Falun. Of
them were 4 boys, of which one died "down there in the West-Indies"
and 2 in Falun. One of the daughters, born in Pennsylvania, died in
Falun. Therefore only one son and 5 daughters were present at the
funeral. In her daily life Christina Stalcop was a religious woman.
She often went to church and at home she use to read and sing
Christian texts and songs together with her children and servants.
Every morning and evening she and her husband used to pray together
at the bed. She found it difficult to understand that so many
persons in her time did not care about God in spite of so much
information about him was available. In her opinion it was a great
sin to hear Gods word without listening to it.
Christina Stalcops death it is said that it was caused by "an
unexpected child-birth". She had been forced to go to bed the 26
February, but gave good hope to be well again until the 11 March,
when her strength left her in the morning. She had high fever and
fought with it until the night between the 14 and 15 March, when she
fell in a calm sleep. When she woke up at 7 o'clock in the morning
she realized that the death was near and took good-by of her husband
and children and wished them happiness. At 9 o'clock she fell asleep
again and rested calmly until 2 o'clock in the morning the 16 March,
when she stopped breathing. Her age was then 34 years except one
month and 3 days.
biography follows a thanksgiving and 3 pages with prayers and hymns.
Among them I have tried to translate Christina Stalcops
God be praised
for this good and calm day. God give me a good night,
especially to sleep in calm and wake up with health and joy.
Save, o God, all my gracious authorities as well here in
Sweden as in England; give peaceful deliberations between all
kings, sovereigns and regents, especially between Sweden and
England so that they may live in peace and calm with each
other in the future as in the past; be a protection, my God,
to us unprotected and let peace stay in all our days. Save and
bless your church and congregation in Sweden as in America and
everywhere else where the church is; give strength throe your
word and help us so that we may keep your word and sacrament
in its right use and order for us and our descendants until
the end of the world. Save my parents, sisters and brothers,
relatives, friends, enemies, known, unknown, all one with
another, care graciously for each and one according to their
conditions and circumstances. Think of the poor heathens (I
have never seen the word Indians used in the texts from that
time. They are called "the heathens", "the wild-men" or at
some occasion "the Americans". (My comment.) ) in your grace
and mercy; strengthen us all who have converted; help all
those who are misguided to the right way again, also me if I
may be on the wrong way. Bless me, my loved God, together with
the child ("So we called each other." (Note by Erik Björk) you
have given me so that we may stay in piety, always live in a
pleasant and calm company and at last meet in the eternal
peace and joy. Let the children You has given us always be
recommended to the best for You; let us educate them in piety
to You, to Your honor, their blessedness, our and others joy
and use; let them grow in wisdom, age and grace both for You
What else, my
God, that You want to concede us of earthly good, let it
thrive under Your blessing, for Your honor and our needy
livelihood and subsistence. Amen.
But last, my God;
as I do not know when or in which way I may be separated from
this miserable world, I pray and ask for a gracious and
blessed departure from life."
part of the books is a memorial by Gustav Rudbeck. He was provost
of the cathedral in Uppsala and married to Erik Björks sister
Margareta Björk. His grandfather Olov Rudbeck (Olov Rudbeck was
rector of the University of Uppsala and is still the greatest name
in it's history. He had an idea that the climate was more
important for the character of a person than heritage. May-be that
can have had some influence on Erik Björks view upon the Indians.)
was a brother of Erik Björks grandmother’s sister Cecila Rudbeckia.
Gustav Rudbeck had given the first two tinkling-bags to Holy
Trinity Church in Wilmington. Among other he says:
I will tell you
to whom this grave is opened. There is said to be a land
some hundreds of miles (An
old Swedish mile is a little more than 10 kilometers.) from
here, situated in the west, about which I have much heard,
and which name is America. One may especially love it for
it's fertility, because, if it is true what I have heard,
one can there find a superfluity of everything so that
nothing is missing of all that worldly is necessary for the
peace of mind and joy and the body's food and needs.
this land she is born who now goes into the chamber of death
to rest her legs. I know quite well that you in your heart
is surprised over such a change, that she has begun her life
in such a wonderful land and wanted to end it in this hard
place of copper (Rudbeck is referring to the copper-mine of
But I know the reason well. She had never accepted to do
such a long and adventurous journey if she not had brought
with her what she appreciated more than all worldly
pleasures. A treasure which she not wanted to exchange
against all the Mogul empire or all the gold in Peru; a
loved and sweet man, Sir Provost Erik Björk.
Rudbeck says that she was a religious person and that he often
repined that a person grown up among heathens should make the
Swedes ashamed. She was honest and never said anything that she
did not believe and not believed anything that she did not say.
She was helpful to everyone and had mercy for all the poor. She
gave to all who asked for help, thou she never before in her land
had seen a beggar. She put an honor in obeying her husband and was
an effective leader of her household without using hard words. She
never gossiped and never asked for news as she knew that nothing
new happens under the sun. "She died daily while she lived and
therefore she lives now when she is dead. And as she had Jesus
with her here on earth Jesus now has taken her to him in Heaven."
A last Rudbeck says some words to comfort Erik Björk and then ends
his speech: "From America, an earthly paradise, she has come. She
has now changed it for the paradise in Heaven."
Rudbecks memorial follows 21 pages of poems. One of the poems is
said to have been read at the grave by her children. It is written
by the son Tobias Björk who at that time was only 16 years old.
Hans Ling of Uppsala, Sweden, is a descendant of Rev
Eric Björk and Christina Stalcop. That makes Hans a Swedish cousin to all
Stalcop descendants in the Pietter Stallcop line. He translated the above
in 2001 at the request of Larry Spencer Stallcup.
CUPS & CURIOUS COUSIN
world we live in, once so vast it took New Sweden
settlers an average of five and a half months to make the journey from Sweden,
appears to be getting very small. Today communication between any two
places on earth seemingly is instant. The Internet is the marvel that
makes this possible. In early March 2001 a gentleman in Sweden
was doing some exploring and discovered the web site for The Swedish
Colonial Society. Having a strong family curiosity he sent off an inquiry
to the Society in an attempt to learn the answers to several questions.
curious gentleman, Hans Ling of Uppsala, Sweden,
is a descendant of Reverend Ericus Björk, the founder and first minister
of the Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church in
DL. He wanted to know if two portraits were still in the Church. One was
of Reverend Björk and the other of Christina Stalcop, the wife of Reverend
Björk. The portraits were given to the Church in 1714 as a remembrance
when Reverend Björk was recalled to Sweden.
Hans also mentioned that he was the owner of a small silver bowl, or cup,
made to honor Christina Stalcop after her 1720 death.
sent his inquiry via the Internet to Ronald Hendrickson, at that time
the Senior Deputy Governor and Webmaster for the Society. The message was
forwarded to Dr. Peter Craig, Historian for the Society, who was kind
enough to forward a copy on to me. I was included because Christina
Stalcop is the daughter of one of my direct ancestors, Pietter Stalcop,
and the granddaughter of Johan Andersson, alias Stålkofta/Stalcop, the
primogenitor of the entire Stalcop family. Dr. Craig immediately
recognized the portraits and the cup as being important artifacts of New
and of early American history.
are also important artifacts in the Stalcop family. The portraits are the
oldest items to be associated with the family known to still exist. The
portrait of Christina, later found by Hans Ling in the attic of a museum
is the oldest known visual image of any member of the Stalcop family. It
may also be among the earliest of portraits of any woman painted in
Swedish Stalcop silver cup has been passed down by direct inheritance.
Hans inherited it in 1998 from his mother. There is a continuous
documented record of all of its owners. The cup started life as a coin, an
English Silver Crown, minted in 1677. It was transformed into a cup in Falun, Sweden
after Christina Stalcop's death in 1720. The cup bares the silversmith's
mark. The mint date and a Latin motto can still be read on the lip of the
cup. The cup is inscribed: “Christina Pet: Stalkop Född I Pennsilvanien
1685. Ther Gift til Probst: Er: Biörck 1702
Kom med honom Swerige 1714 dödde I Fahlum 1720”. Christina was born
April 16, 1686
so there is an inexplicable error of one year in her date of birth.
English coin came to be available in Sweden
is not so certain but it is possible that Christina acquired it in
during a stop on their trip to Sweden.
Another possibility is that it was among the gifts exchanged with the Holy
Trinity Congregation as the family departed from New Sweden in 1714.
A third possibility, suggested by Hans Ling, is that some member of her
family gave the coin to Christina, perhaps as a keepsake passed on from
her father or grandfather, when she left America. It was
clear she would never see any of her family in
ever again. In any event it seems sure that the coin held some great or
personal value to Christina to warrant having it transformed into a
lasting memorial to her memory.
my first e-mail message to Hans Ling I identified myself as being a
descendant, not of Christina Stalcop, but of her parents, Pietter Stalcop
and Catherine Samuel’s daughter and of her brother John. I pointed out
that this meant that since he and I shared the same grandparents we are
cousins even if it is very distant cousins. In his reply Hans said “Never
in my life [have] I thought that I should find a relative in Virginia.”
He could not have been any more astonished than I at finding a Stalcop
relative in Sweden.
Because I am descended from at least twenty-two other New Sweden immigrant
settlers I have always believed that I may have distant cousins yet living
in Sweden that are descended from some of them. But that was not true for
the Stalcop family. The Stalcop family has never resided in Sweden.
Christina Stalcop is the only member of the family to permanently live in Sweden
and is the only one known to leave descendants there. None of her
descendants carry the Stalcop name. All Stalcops are descended from one
lad, or boy, who traveled to New
Sweden, alone, at about the age of 13. Five years after his arrival he
acquired a nickname that eventually an English phonetic equivalent became
the American surname for his children and all other descendants.
and his wife Meta visited the former New Sweden Colony in 2003 for the
dedication, by Crown Princess Victoria, of the restored portraits. My wife
Roslyn and I had a wonderful return visit with Hans and Meta
in 2004. Between those visits a silversmith in the same city, Falum, where
the 1720 Stalcop cup was made had fashioned a second cup from an American
silver dollar coin. Roslyn and I brought the new cup back with us. It was
dedicated and started on its journey through time during the 2007 Family
and I have maintained contact with each other via the Internet. He
is the rarest of relatives. He has both a deep interest in the history of
his family and the curiosity to discover new facts about them. Best of all
he is willing to share what he has found. He has discovered historical
documents, provided translations and improved translations for documents
that otherwise would never be available in America.
truly been a rewarding experience for me to get to know my Swedish cousin.
I hope the experience has been rewarding to him.
* * *
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