Johan Anderson från Strängnäs
Stålkofta (1646 -Swedish)
Stalcop, Stallcop (1664- Eng)
Larry Spencer Stallcup
Click on Stålkofta’s armor and beaver hat for the
STALCOP FAMILY NEWS.
You are requested and encouraged to add your comments and contribute your
news and Stalcop Family stories to this web site.
Stålkofta’s Armor & Beaver Hat
|Not long after arrival in New
Sweden, and especially after falling under Dutch control, the
settlers found themselves having to rely on their own resources. The
beaver felt hat is like the ones they could make for themselves. The
feather adornments are from birds they would encounter in their new
home. This hat has wild turkey, seagull and a guinea fowl feathers.
The settlers brought the guinea fowl, native to Africa, with them to
Settler trade with the native peoples was prohibited but they dealt
with English traders. Johan Anderson is believer to obtained his
“Steelcoat” armor from an English trader. The English imported large
quantities of plate armor mostly for trade with the natives. The
armor became the basis of his nickname and still later the basis for
the Stalcop family surname.
The family reunion is comping up fast! I just want
to send out a little reminder that our gathering is
next weekend! Thank you for all the
RVSPs sent so far. If I haven't heard from you
yet, just send out a quick reply via Email or the Evite
Evite link -
gather at 710 Hughes Branch Rd, Bryson City, NC
Saturday, July 9th at 4pm
are a few updates:
Larry has been recovering wonderfully this past month
and believes that he will make it to the reunion.
I'm happy for this because I know how much this
gathering means to him.
mom's goal for this year's reunion is to make it more
kid friendly/fun. she has secured a bounce house
and wants me to do face painting. Like always,
there will be water-gun fights, old fashioned toyas, and
bubbles to enjoy.
- So far no one has offered to tell stories on the front porch, but it's
not too late to do so! If you decide to share the
day of, just speak up.
- the Maypole will be up, though I haven't decided if we are going to
dance around it yet. We'll see that day what
everyone wants to do.
- Larry wished to do a family tree photo collage. He sent out an
email recently asking for photos to complete it.
Please bring photos of yourselves and your family to put
on the collage.
Free free to ask any questions may have - I can't wait
to see everyone!
join us for the 2016 Stalcop Family Gathering in Bryson
City, North Carolina. This will be the 375th anniversary
of the arrival in America of the first ever member of
the Stalcop Family.
Bryson City borders
one of our most beautiful parks, The Great Smoky
Mountain National Park. Additionally there are lots of
other nearby attractions. Kids of all ages seem to
delight in tubing down Deep Creek.
As usual food and drink for all will be provided. We
need a count of everyone attending so that we can do
this. We may even get the chance to serve a tradition
family dish that all of us have enjoyed over the years.
As the Sun sets the youngsters may enjoy watching the
fireflies (lighting bugs to us country folk) working to
synchronize themselves to all flash at the same time.
4 PM until - - -
JULY 9, 2016
BRANCH ROAD, BRYSON
HOME OF CHARLIE AND MARY STALLCUP THEY BUILT
FOR THEIR FAMILY IN 1900. WE USE THE 1933 LOG CABIN.
more about great events in the
WE ARE USING AN EMAIL
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AND MAKE SURE WE
HAVE EVERYONE’S CORRECT EMAIL ADDRESS.
Send your RSVP via
Tell us your name,
and eMail address plus how many kinfolks will BE
WITH YOU so we may provide everyone with
food and drink. Send a letter or card if you do
not have access to Email.
questions and comments about the
Gathering or the Family History ?
Send your RSVP plus questions and
comments to :
- 1436 Lakeview Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Phone : 757-464-4974
Swedish Midsummer Pole at
the dedication of a monument. The many Swedish
dances are all “Circle” dances and there are no
ribbons. As can be seen it is a lifelong
participation event. As part of the celebration
the poles are covered completely with greenery.
Plan on coming early or staying afterward in the
Smokey Mountains to ride the scenic train, enjoy
the National Park, tubing with the kids on Deep
Creek or try your luck at the Cherokee Casino.
COME DRESSED LIKE
Be part of the action - Come dressed as
your Grandma and Grandpa, maybe even your great
grandparents. Everything from those wonderful ladies
long dresses with wide brimmed southern belle hats or
sun bonnets to Daisy Mae outfits to Civil War garb,
hunting outfits to bib overalls and high top shoes.
GREAT FUN With lots of photo opportunities.
Visit the family web site at
Well, the 2012
Stalcop Family GATHERING is in the books. In spite of
some last minute changes and the hot weather it came off
very well. We had planned to have a country band to
perform for us but problems arose at the last minute so
they could not appear. We replaced them with a series of
well received stories narrated from the SHORT & TALL
TALES of the STALCOP FAMILY COLLECTION. As usual
everyone enjoyed lunch.
Caroline Stallcup Violette made two new display panels
for us. One featured an often requested series of
photos of various family groups. Included were several
large groups from previous GATHERINGS. There were also
smaller groups such as sister-in-laws groups and
individual family groups. Some were wedding parties
and Easter assemblies. One showed the Queens Honor
Guard for the arrival of the Governor during the
dedication of the New Sweden Centre Museum.
A second panel featured photos of Stalcop Family
memorials. Most are tombstones but several were
unconventional memorials such as the Swedish and
American toasting cups made from silver coins. The
Swedish Cup dates from 1720. Both cups are passed down
by direct inheritance. The Swedish cup via the female
line (no Stalcops in Sweden) and the American cup via
the male (Stalcop named) line. Central to the memorial
panel is a photo of the Holy Trinity (Old Swedes)
Churchyard. This church played a big part in the early
family history spanning about five generations. It is
a National Historical Site and still has an ongoing
active congregation. It opened its doors in 1699. One
of the early family members was the official Bell
Ringer. Many current family members have had the
pleasure of pulling the rope to ring the bell.
Change is in the air. This is
the first attempt to pass the word about the
GATHERINGS along by e-Mail messages. We collected
e-Mail addresses from as many family members as we
could before and during the Gathering. PASS THE WORD.
Encourage your Stalcop relatives to send us an e-Mail
note so that we may add them to the mailing list.
WORD ABOUT ATTENDING
THE STALCOP GATHERINGS
LARRY'S FIRST NEWSLETTER
years ago when I first discovered the Stalcop apple trees
growing in the North Carolina State Orchard at Horne Creek
State Park I was discussing, by email, my wonderful find with
Hans Ling in Sweden. Hans mentioned that there were few, if
any, of the 1600s verities of apple trees in Sweden because
the hard winters in the early 1700s killed most of them. Hans
and I came up with the big idea that it would be good to
return a few of the original Swedish varieties of apple trees
to Sweden. At the time I did not know much about apples and
During my next trip to NC I stopped in and talked to the
director of the NC State Orchard. He sent me to the North
American Fruit Tree Gene Bank in New York to get true Stalcop
apple scions. That is when I learned that apple trees are not
grown from seeds but grafted to a rootstock using scions.
Guess I talked too much about the project for someone soon
contacted me asking to have “Rambo” apple scions included in
the “return to Sweden” project. Well, what an unexpected bump
in the road I hit! When I asked the North American Fruit Tree
Gene Bank for scions for the Rambo apple the response was
"There is no such thing as a true Rambo apple." I was told
that the name "Rambo" was merely a marketing name. They were
whichever saplings the salesman had available when the farmers
asked for Rambo saplings. Whatever was available instantly
became Rambo saplings. This bit of bad news was passed on. Not
long afterward the Stalcop apple was completely shut out of
the Return The Apple Trees To Sweden project. Only “Rambo”
apple scions were returned to Sweden. Being excluded may prove
to be a blessing in disguise.
The 1655 Dutch conquest of New Sweden did not solve all of the
Dutch problems. Stuyvesant had to quickly return his soldiers
home to defend the New Netherlands settlers. At the same time
he desperately needed the New Sweden colonist to stay right
where they where to prevent encroachment by the English. He
solved both problems by staging a land give-away. Three days
after the surrender he began issuing land patents to the
Swedish settlers for the land they were assigned to work under
the government of the New Sweden Colony. Constable Johan
Andersson Stålkofta, being the only officer living at Fort
Christina, received a Dutch patent for the entirety of the
Company Reserved land. This included nearly a thousand acres
including Fort Christina and all of the land around it.
The engineer Peter Lindeström drew a map in 1654, more than a
year before the Dutch invasion. Just outside the main gate of
the Fort his map shows a fenced area enclosing garden plots
and an orchard. Stålkofta lived in
one of the three houses shown on this
map so he may have been the person who planted the garden and
trees. The orchard and garden plots were in place when
Governor Risingh arrived so it must have been planted earlier
under Governor Printz.
According to Governor Risingh’s Journal
the fence around them was built to prevent damage from free
roaming hogs and cattle. It may be the oldest proven orchard
in the United States. Stålkofta became the clear owner of the
orchard and garden in 1655 as part of the Dutch land
give-away. Post invasion reports by Governor Risingh say
Stålkofta’s house and garden were damaged during the siege.
Stålkofta is the only soldier acknowledged with a garden.
Portion of 1654 Map
The apples on those trees surrounded by that fence quickly
became known as the Stalcop variety of apple. About a century
later, after 1750, and after the trees were spread to other
places, the apples began to be called VanderVers because they
were often associated with Inns operated by members of the
VanderVer family. The Stalcop apples are considered as
excellent apples for making apple cider, a staple of the Inns
of the period.
The timing proves the scions for the VanderVer apples came
from the Stalcop apple trees. The trees appeared on the 1654
map some ten years before Jacob VanderVeer arrived at
2010 - A fruit bearing Stalcop Apple tree
Timber Island across the Brandywine
Creek from Fort Christina. Still later there were marriages
between Stalcop daughters and Van der Veer sons. No doubt all
sorts of things, including apple scions, were swapped between
the two families after that. The Stalcop apple variety was
quickly spread up and down the East Coast from New York to
Georgia, at first mostly in orchards near the VanderVer
operated Inns and later to individual farms. Both Benjamin
Franklin and George Washington grew Stalcop apples:
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PAPERS, Volume 14, page 53: list of Apple
Scions sent to Benjamin Franklin by
Lewis Morris and Hugh Roberts dated 21 Feb 1767:
“This canister contains No 1 a bundle of Cions from … No 2 a
bundle of Cions from … No 3 a small bundle of Cions from an
excellent Vandever apple... No 4 a
of Cions from …”
DIARIES OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, Volume 4,
p. 286: (27 Feb 1786)
“Having received, yesterday evening a number of fruit trees
from my Nephew, Mr. William Washington of Blenheim I planted
them in my fruit garden … Vandiviers ”
The Stalcop variety of apples have been grown and marketed
under more than fifty names. In 2010 the North Carolina State
Orchard, located at Horne Creek State Park near Pilot
Mountain, NC has seven Stalcop apple trees propagated from
scions obtained from the North American Fruit Tree Gene Bank.
Espalier Stalcop Apple Tree - 2010
Stalcop Apple – Artist Rendering
Ros Stalcup 2010
Espalier Stalcop Apple Tree - 2010
TREE PLANTING - 2010 STALCOP
A Stalcop apple tree was planted at the
log cabin in Swain County, North Carolina during the 2010
STALCOP FAMILY GATHERING some 355 years after the Stalcop
Apple trees clearly became part of the family holdings. The
area, now the property of Crayton and Freida Stallcup Gilsdorf,
was once a Stallcup family apple orchard beginning about 1905.
Left to Right:
Freida Stallcup Gilsdorf, Crayton Gilsdorf,
Mary Jane Stallcup Joyner,
Larry Spencer Stallcup and Juanitta Stallcup Baldwin
A stone monument inscribed to mark the
ceremony was installed at the base of the new tree.
The following description is from A VIEW OF THE CULTIVATION OF
FRUIT TREES, AND THE MANAGEMENT OF ORCHARDS AND CIDER: by
William Coxe, 1817:
pp. 141-2: “No. 71. VANDERVERE. This apple is sometimes
called the Staalcubs [Stalcop], from a family in Delaware
State, by whom it was cultivated . . . . .
. . . . it is of moderate size, and when growing on a highly
cultivated light rich soil, is a much admired fruit for
culinary purposes; it is a tolerable eating apple, and . . . .
makes good cider – it is a winter fruit, but can be used for
cooking very early, when quite green, and not half grown.
. . . . . The form is flat; when ripe, the skin is a pale red
with rough yellowish spots, and some clear yellow; the flesh
is rich, yellow, sprightly, and tender.”
Larry Stallcup was asked to be the speaker during the
joint Forefathers Luncheon and Annual Meetings of the
Swedish Colonial Society and the Delaware Swedish
Colonial Society. The luncheon was held at a location
high up on the riverbank that provided a magnificent
view of Tinicum Island on the opposite shore of the
Delaware River. Tinicum was the capital of the New
Sweden Colony under Governor Printz.
Larry’s talk was about the location and archeological
search for the site of Fort Elfsborg, 1643 to 1652. If
the site of the fort can be located it should provide a
major addition to the knowledge of the life and times in
the early New Sweden Colony. Fort Elfsborg was the only
New Sweden site abruptly abandoned and allowed to decay
naturally so most of the artifacts should be preserved
and EDWARDS “Ed” STALCUP
Far traveling adventurers
By Ann Stalcup
My Life in England During
World War II:
I was born Josephine Ann Hotchkiss in England, in the
small town of Lydney, in the county of Gloucestershire,
right next to the South Wales border. I am the daughter
of Samuel Joseph and Elsie Watson Hotchkiss.
Soon after my fourth birthday the Second World War began
(1939). It was a strange time to be a child. Although I
lived in the countryside, a long way from the cities
that were badly bombed, our lives changed in many, many
ways. You can read about my wartime adventures in
my first book, On the Home Front: Growing Up in
Ballerina, Artist . . .
As a published writer I often meet other writers. Most
of them tell me that they loved to write when they were
children - diaries, stories, and plays. Although my
mother's love of poetry and good literature instilled in
me a love of words, being a writer was not part of my
dreams. I had only one career in mind. I wanted to be a
ballerina. I was good at art, too, so sometimes I
thought I could be an artist if I changed my mind about
When I was 18, I realized that I was never going to be a
great ballerina or great artist so I went to college and
trained to be an elementary school teacher. As a teacher
I have been able to teach dance and art as well as all
of the other subjects that my students needed to know.
After over 40 years of teaching I have never been sorry
that I chose teaching as my career. And I'm still
Off to See the World
When I was 24, I decided it was time to see something of
the world. Until then, I had never been outside England.
So I taught in Vancouver, Canada, for two years, and
during the vacations, I explored the United States, the
Caribbean Islands, Mexico, and Hawaii. During the school
year, in the evenings and on weekends, I worked as a
babysitter and dressmaker. I saved enough to travel
around the world for a whole year. And it was those
travels that led to my becoming a writer.
When I got back to England, my next door neighbor said,
"Did you have a nice time, dear?" I said, "Yes, thank
you." No one else asked me where I had been for three
years. And I was too shy to tell them. That's when I
realized that if I were too shy to TALK about my
travels, then WRITING about them was another way of
talking. And I have been writing ever since. But it was
30 years before my first book was published.
A Lifetime of Traveling - and Writing
I was 28 when I met my husband, Edwards Stalcup – at a
bus stop in Athens, Greece I had just completed two
years of teaching in Vancouver, Canada followed by a
9-month trip around the world - alone. Ed was a teacher,
also, an American who grew up in Texas. It was the first
time he'd been to Europe. We were married four months
later. I said goodbye to my family and settled in Los
Angeles, California, and later in Malibu. A year later
Ann & Ed
Stalcup in Chile (Torres del Paine in Patagonia)
Ann & Ed Stalcup sightseeing in Greece
Ed and I spent 15 months traveling in Europe and since
then we have traveled during every school holiday. We
have ridden donkeys, camels, and elephants, visited
remote spots like Timbuktu, Machu Picchu, Papua New
Guinea, and Antarctica, and camped with tribal people in
Mali, Niger, and Ethiopia. Together we have visited over
150 countries and all seven continents. Most of my
writing has related to my experiences. And when I'm not
writing or teaching, I love to cycle, walk, read, spend
time with friends - or dance.
and Ed Stalcup in Cuba
Lyman Stalcup was born in Goree, Texas in April, 1931 to
Ira Lyman and Delta Edwards Stalcup. Ira Lyman Stalcup
had settled there after moving from east Texas. Ed’s
parents were in the grocery business. Ed graduated high
school in 1948 and attended Texas Tech in Lubbock for
three years. He joined the Navy during the Korean War
and was stationed in California for almost four years.
After his discharge from the Navy, he attended UCLA and
got his degree in History. After attending summer
classes at the University in Mexico City; he returned to
Los Angeles to qualify for a teaching credential. He
taught at Mark Twain Junior High School in Los Angeles
for 35 years before retiring. I was a teacher at the
elementary level. As teachers our vacation time has
given us plenty of time to explore the world. We are
still married and still traveling. In Ed's spare time,
with absolutely no practical background in art, he has
become a watercolorist
exhibiting and selling his work. Some of his work can be
afternoon view from Ann & Ed's home in Malibu, CA
CHASING THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Many years ago I learned about a shipment of Swedish language
Bibles and spelling books sent to the New Sweden Colony. They
were requested when the Swedish Colony was re-discovered along
the banks of the Delaware River almost 40 years after the
Dutch conquered them and they had been long since forgotten in
Sweden. A 1693 census of the New Sweden community was
conducted and a letter with the census was sent off to Sweden
requesting Bibles, spelling books and Swedish ministers.
Three ministers and several boxes of Swedish Bibles and
spelling books finally arrived in 1697. One of the ministers
sent over was Erik Björk, who five years later married
Christina Stalcop, granddaughter of Johan Andersson, alias
Stålkofta/Stalcop, the ancestor of all Stalcops. The Bibles
were distributed to the heads of the Swedish families. Our
ancestor, second generation Pietter Stallcop, Christina’s
father, received one of the Bibles.
How is it possible for a Bible to survive that long? It is
very possible. Several years ago one of the original spelling
books was discovered in an old house in New Jersey. It had
survived for three and a half centuries. A Bible probably
would have had better care than a spelling book so a Bible may
have had an even better chance at survival.
I was told about a foreign language Bible in Murphy, NC
supposedly in the keeping of a man named Horace Stalcup.
Horace passed away before I could arrange to meet him and it
was never clear what happened to the reported Bible. The
problem has been to find who has the Bible to verify that it
does actually exists and then being allowed to have it
examined. If it exists there is a possibility that the Bible
could be the Swedish Bible passed down from second generation
Pietter Stallcop. The discovery of one of those 1697 Bibles
historically would be a great find. It would help put the
Stalcop Family in its proper place in early American colonial
history and could provide a big boost to New Sweden and North
Carolina history as well.
If the Bible exists there is probably only a slim chance that
it is a Swedish language Bible. After the exodus of the
Stalcop family from the former New Sweden Colony area, about
1768-1770, sixth generation Peter Stalcop married a Dutch
girl, Polly Garrison, in Orange County, North Carolina. Polly
Garrison Stalcop was the grandmother of all of the patriarchal
Stalcop early settlers of Cherokee County including Jesse R.
“Hyatt” Stalcop/Stalcup, among other Stalcops. A stronger
possibility to explain the Bible, if it exists, is that it may
be handed down from Polly’s Garrison family and is printed in
Polly’s family, her parents and siblings, had taken part in
the exodus and settled in Orange County, NC very near the
Stalcop family. Peter Stalcop and Polly Garrison were married
in Orange County in 1780. In 1783 William Stalcop moved his
family yet again westward to Davidson County, NC. The area is
now Trousdale County, TN. Peter and Polly moved with William.
Henry Garrison, Polly’s father, moved his family in concert
with Peter and Polly’s move.
Because the TN area was simply confiscated from them the
Native Americans reacted violently. Homes and farms were
attacked. Finally, a number of the early settlers with young
children retreated eastward across the mountains into Burke
County, NC about 1796. The families of Peter and Polly Stalcop
and Henry Garrison were among them. Henry Garrison died in
Burke County about 1805. Polly is believed to have died in
Burke County about 1807. Peter Stalcop remarried and with his
second wife and most of his and Polly’s younger children moved
to Orange County, Indiana in 1810. At least one, possibly two,
of Polly’s older children remained in Burke County. About 1837
those children and grandchildren all left Burke County,
apparently taking the Bible with them, and moved deeper into
the Smoky Mountains, to Macon and Cherokee Counties.
The Bible, if it ever existed, possibly being a Garrison Bible
and printed in Dutch is probably a much stronger possibility
than it being an older Swedish Bible. There would be less
survival time required and fewer pass-down inheritance
decisions involved. Of course if it is either a real Stalcop
or Garrison family Bible in either Swedish or Dutch would make
little difference. It would be a tremendous artifact enhancing
the history of both families, of Colonial America as well as
Burke, Macon and Cherokee Counties and North Carolina history.
The Bible has no monetary value at all. On the other hand
historically and academically it could be extremely important
to the history of the Stalcop Family. But we will never know
what it is unless the Bible is found and experts are allowed
to examine it.
somewhat rare in the Stalcop family has happened.
grandchildren, friends and relatives all gathered to celebrate the
May 15, 1959
May 15, 2009
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
By Christina W. Lassen,
Swedish Colonial Society
June 13, 2009, the Historic Elk Landing Foundation (HELF) held a
ceremony to dedicate “the first phase” of the restoration of the
John Hanson Steelman house. It was a beautiful day in which to
unveil what could be considered to be a miracle. There were speeches
by Josh Brown, president of HELF, and by Mayor Joseph Fisona of the
Town of Elkton. There was a musket volley by four members of the Col
Henry Hollingsworth Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution,
Cecil County Militia of 1777.
the ceremony in front of the newly restored house, the group walked
over to the herb garden. The garden had been lovingly restored by
the Master Garden Club of Cecil County. During a second
ribbon-cutting ceremony, the garden was dedicated to Julie Anne
Wilcox, a daughter of Judge and Mrs. Wilcox, who had died of breast
The house had been in a state of complete shambles. It needed an
infusion of $400,000.00 to stabilize it. Miraculously, the small
band of sixteen board members had secured grants from the Maryland
Historical Trust and from the State of Maryland and had matched the
The house, which is situated on the East bank of the Little Elk
River, had been full of snakes. Tall trees grew inside. On the
exterior there had been a frightening bulge in the stonework, which,
if it had given way, could have brought down the entire structure.
Over the course of a long winter all these problems had been
corrected. The stone had been re-pointed. A plywood floor and
temporary stairs had been constructed in the interior. As if to
celebrate the newly refurbished house, a colony of bees were
promptly taking up residence. As part of the day’s celebration, a
local bee keeper discussed bee keeping.
A professional photographer had documented the restoration and had a
scrapbook there for visitors to enjoy.
In attendance were members of the Hollingsworth family. The
Hollingsworth house is on the Elk Landing site and was the first
building HELF restored. The descendants of Valentine Hollingsworth
convene there for reunions.
The Steelman house is still in need of windows (@3,000.00) and
mechanical systems. Contributions may be sent to The Historic Elk
Landing Foundation, Inc., The End of Landing Lane, P.O.Box 277,
Elkton, MD 21922-0277.
HOUSE BEING SAVED
Thanks to the
hard work of Judge and Mrs. Kenneth Wilcox and the Historic Elk
Landing Foundation the oldest house associated with the Stalcop
Family is still in existence and has been started on it way to being
June 2009, there was a dedication ceremony held at the house to mark
the end of the first, and perhaps the most crucial, phase of the
project. If it had not been successful the house would have been
lost. Structural floors and a new roof were built to replace the
structures that had collapsed. Additional work was done to stabilize
the outer walls. Those walls were built of native stone from the
area. All of the walls were re-pointed with mortar to replace the
mortar that had deteriorated during three plus centuries.
Dr. Peter S. Craig and Dr. Richard Hulan, both of Washington, DC,
were successful in having the house listed on the National Register
of Historic Places in 1984. The house has been the subject of
several Swedish Colonial News articles. Dr. Craig wrote an article
for the Fall issue of 1994. A second article appeared in the Summer,
2000 issue. The Spring 2008
Front and right side of the
house after the first phase of the restoration work
issue of the Swedish Colonial News
includes an excellent article by Christina W. Lassen. Photographs
appearing in her article show the house in 1949 when it was still
being used as a residence and the derelict state the house was in 58
years later in 2007 after the roof and floors gave way. Christina
Lassen is from PA and is a Councilor of the Swedish Colonial
The Stalcop Connection?
The house was both residence to John Hans Steelman and his wife and
children and his Indian Trading Post. His wife, Maria Stalcop, was
the youngest daughter of original New Sweden settler Johan Andersson
Stålkofta/Stalcop and his wife Christina Carlsdotter.
Steelman began building the stone house possibly as early as 1693
when he moved from New Castle County, Delaware. The 1693 census of
New Sweden shows his family, consisting of five “Souls”, living at
Sahakitko, or now Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland. The house clearly
seemed to have been completed sometime before the three Swedish
ministers arrived in 1697.
Trading activities took place at the basement level of the house.
That level faced the creek. The creek can be glimpsed on the right
side behind the house and there likely was a dock at waters edge.
This dock was very important because it helped ease the
loading/unloading tasks of the trading post customers as well as
Steelman’s work in restocking and shipping out the items he acquired
in his trading business.
Transportation in Steelman’s era was nearly all by boat. There were
at least one, if not several, archways, now closed up with
stonework, along the creek side of the house that provided access
into the interior of the trading post.
Two back to back corner
fireplaces at the main living level. A wall, no longer present
will be restored, divided the space into two rooms. A similar
pair of fireplaces are found on the
floor above. The big chimney serves all four of them. The flue
in the back right corner of the
house served two smaller fireplaces, one on each floor.
Steelman’s house reflects
that he once was a wealthy man. It is both a well-designed and
well-constructed house. It has four usable floors. It had a basement
or trading post level, two main living levels plus an attic level
that was probably used by his
Two smaller back-to-back corner
fireplaces, again with the dividing wall missing, on the
second living level
directly above the larger ones below.
children as sleeping
quarters and play room during bad weather. There probably were at
least six fireplaces, each a typical Swedish style corner fireplace.
Five of the fireplaces are still in situ.
Fireplace in the right back
corner on the main living floor. Note the very large size of
The doorway once opened out to the right side porch. The round
hole is from a smoke pipe from a later iron stove.
Another measure of wealth
when the house was build was in the number of windows. Glass was
very hard to obtain and very expensive. There are thirteen windows
with five in the front wall and five in the back wall. They were
very large for the times. Three smaller windows were set at the
attic level, two on the left side and one on the right side. The
front and back entrance doors even had a transom window above them.
All of the windows and doors will have to be restored.
Entrance leading to the
basement trading level on the
left side of the house.
The house likely had porches
on three sides, one in the front, one on the right side and one on
the creek side. There are doorways through the outer walls on all
three sides. There is a large semi-horizontal access doorway with
steps leading down into the basement or trading level from the
outside on the left side of the house. The basement originally had
only a dirt floor.
An archeological survey found evidence of a log structure nearby.
This most likely would have been a smokehouse or a combination
Swedish bathhouse and smokehouse. Dr. Peter Craig suggests the
structure may have been the original home of Steelman in Cecil
Maria Stalcop was probably the sixth of Johan Andersson Stålkofta
and Christina Carlsdotter’s children and born about the year 1666.
She was about 13 years old when her father wrote out his will. She
is known to have married John Hanson Steelman and to have been the
mother of at least five children. The identities of her children are
not clear. Two were sons, John Hans Jr. and Måns. Maria seems to
have been the last survivor of Johan Andersson’s Stålkofta/
After the rediscovery of the community in America upon the arrival
of the 1693 letter and census sent to Sweden the Swedish Church
dispatched three ministers. Upon arrival in 1697 they first landed
at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony and spent two
Right side of the house.
Easily seen are the remains of the porch floor levels in front
and on this right side
that have been removed. Also evident is
what appears to be an added room once attached to the house by
marks of a pitched roof in the line of the stucco.
weeks there refreshing themselves
and replenishing their vessel before continuing their trip up the
Chesapeake Bay. They stopped at St Mary’s, Maryland and stayed two
days with the Governor of that Colony before traveling on the head
of the Bay. After landing they journeyed overland until they arrived
at the first Swedish home. Word about their arrival spread quickly
and by the next day people had gathered at the house from as far
away as fifty miles. A great celebration was held. This celebration
was at the home of Maria Stalcop and John Hans Steelman
at Elk Landing.
John Hanson was born in 1655 to Hans Månsson and Ella Stille. He
later called himself John Hans Steelman. He was an Indian trader and
interpreter. He led a colorful life and was involved not only in the
affairs of the Swedish community but also in those of Maryland and
Pennsylvania. Steelman was a major contributor toward the building
of the Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church, probably providing as much
as one-third of the building cost.
The following is adapted from an article found on the Internet
written by Frank Whelan, Lehigh County Historical Society, Lehigh
Valley Heritage Museum.
Hans Mansson, the father of John Hans Steelman did not come to
America voluntarily. In the summer of 1640 he entered the garden of
a monastery owned by the King of Sweden and chopped down some cherry
trees (two cherry & six apple
trees) whose wood he wanted to
use to make into mane combs for his horses. Brought to trial Mansson
was given a choice of being sent to New Sweden or being hung. He
chose to go New Sweden. (He
arrived in July 1641 on the same voyage that brought Johan Andersson
Stålkofta) After serving five
years in New Sweden Mansson was given his freedom. In 1653 he signed
a petition in opposition to the harsh rule of Governor Johan Printz.
Printz soon returned to Sweden and Mansson and the 20 other signers,
among them his friend Peter Jochimsson, welcomed his replacement.
Sent to New Amsterdam, now New York, by new Governor Risingh,
Jochimsson unexpectedly became ill and died there. (He
left a widow and two Jochimsson children).
Hans Mansson married his friend’s widow, Ella Stille. They were to
have six sons known as Hansson or son of Hans. The sons adopted the
surname of Steelman after their mother’s maiden name of Stille. One
(the first born)
of those sons, John Hansson Steelman, was born in 1655 at what is
now Grays Ferry Bridge (Aronameck)
in the city of Philadelphia. He (John
Hans) moved to New Castle
County, DE by 1687, married Maria Stalcop and by 1693 they
were living in Elk Landing, Cecil County, Maryland.
In partnership with his brother-in-law, Peter Stalcop, Steelman
owned land on Red Clay Creek in New Castle County. Peter Stalcop
owned and operated a number of water-powered grist and saw mills.
The land probably provided raw materials to those mills.
Steelman probably became an Indian trader when he lived in New
Castle County. In 1655 Governor Risingh purchased Sahakitko, now
Elkton, an Indian trading center, from the Minquas Indians. It was
located at the head of the Elk River where the Little Elk and Big
Elk meet. Nearly four decades later the 1693 church census shows
five Swedish families living at Sahakitko as part of the Crane Hook
John Hans Steelman moved his home and business several times as his
customers moved westward. He died west of the Susquehanna in present
Adams County in 1749 at about the age of 94. By the time of his
death he had lost most of his wealth. His estate brought only £23 at
auction with most of the items purchased by a grandson. It has not
been determined exactly when and where Maria Stalcop Steelman
passed away. Probably in Adams County, PA. She and her husband were
granted the right to be buried under the floor of Holy Trinity (Old
Swedes) Church but this right was not used.
Photos by L. S.
Stallcup, September 2009
WANT TO HELP IN
RESTORING AND PRESERVING THIS
OLDEST OF STALCOP FAMILY HOMES?
THE ONE CONTROLLING INGREDIENT THAT IS ALWAYS IN SHORT SUPPLY IS
The Foundation has commitments from the Maryland Historical Trust
and the State of Maryland to receive matching funds provided they
raise enough money to reach certain goals.
The work done so far cost about $400,000. Half of that amount had to
be raised to receive a matching amount needed to make the necessary
first phase repairs. The remaining work will cost at least as much
money, or more. It has to be raised before a matching grant can be
ANY AMOUNT HELPS
Please send your generous tax-deductible donations to:
HISTORIC ELK LANDING
P. O. Box 277,
Elkton, MD 21922-0277
Be sure to include accurate contact information: your name, address,
telephone number and
email address so that an acknowledgement of
your generosity can be made.
John Hans Steelman’ father was Hans Månsson. Born in Sweden, he
became a respected leader of the up-river Swedes living within the
jurisdiction of the "Swedish Nation," later known as the Upland
Court. He succeeded Sven Skute as captain of the militia and served
as spokesman for settlers in his area and in 1660 successfully
opposed Stuyvesant's plan for them to move to a single, fortified
village. His 1100-acre plantation fronted on the Schuylkill River
between present Woodlands Cemetery and about 60th Street and
extended westward as far as Cobb's Creek (City of Philadelphia).
In the mid-1670s, Hans Månsson became the first white settler on
Pennsauken Creek in present Burlington County (NJ). He moved
permanently to this site by 1681 when he sold his Aronameck
plantation to his stepson, Peter Petersson Yocum. Hans returned to
Pennsylvania on occasion. On 25 June 1684, at the request of William
Penn, Hans Månsson, aged "72 years or thereabouts," joined Peter
Cock, 74, and Peter Rambo, 72, in signing an affidavit relating
facts designed to show that Lord Baltimore recognized the right of
New Sweden to occupy lands on the Delaware.
Hans Månsson died
at Senamensing, Burlington County, about 1691. In the following year
his property was taxed to "Widow Hance."
By 1693 Hans
Månsson's widow and his six sons (known as Hansson, or son of Hans)
adopted the surname of Steelman, undoubtedly derived from her maiden
name of Stille. Old Ella Steelman, born in Sweden, was buried in
Gloucester County, NJ, 22 Jan. 1718, at the age of 83.
VISIT TO CHRISTINA CHURCH
A memory of
Roslyn and Larry Stallcup
If my identification [my memory] is
correct this is Christina Church in
Meta, Hans and Larry entering the
church. The date in the window above
the door is 1655.
The Magnificent Pulpit
It is mounted on one of the large columns
and is easily in view of everone seated in the church. The floor was
replaced in 1906
because the old one was dangerous to walk upon due to the uneven
nature of the many carved gravestones.
Christina Stalcop, and her husband, Rev.
Erik Bjork, are buried in the “Priest grave”,
the area reserved for priest and their wives, somewhere near the
spot where the photo
was taken. Their tombstones were moved outside when the new floor
was installed so
it is now impossible to know the exact
location of their resting place.
This tremendous organ is one of the newer features
of the church. It is
about 30 feet wide and about
35 feet tall.
This is a
memorial plaque dating
from 1678. It gives the related
families of the deceased with
their shield designs and their
A number of these plaques were mounted on the outer walls of the
My wife Roslyn and I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit
Sweden in 2004. A year earlier we had the pleasure of meeting my
distant cousin Hans Ling and his beautiful wife Meta when they came
over to the former New Sweden Colony for the dedication of the
restored 1712 portraits of Rev. Erik Björk and Christina Stalcop.
Hans and Meta graciously invited us to visit them in Sweden if we
ever had the opportunity. We had no idea that a chance would appear
the very next year when Roslyn was asked to conduct a seminar in the
Netherlands. It was just a short flight from Amsterdam to Sweden.
Thanks to Hans and Meta we visited a number of places, particularly
places of importance to the history of the Stalcop family. All were
fascinating but several of them have stood out in our memories over
the years. Christina Church is one of them.
Falum is the center of the copper mining area in Sweden. Often
called “Cooperburg” it was the center of several important
industries. Among them was the cannon manufacturing and coin minting
industries. Since copper was abundant the most abundant coins were
minted in copper.
A one Öre coin Ca 1640 from the era Johan
Andersson Stålkofta departed
for the New Sweden Colony. He was advanced some 320 of these
when he signed on to go to New Sweden. It is about the size of
a US Quarter
but somewhat thicker.
Larry Stallcup and Hans Ling in front of an
portrait of Rev. Björk showing him later in life. The
portrait below, painted at about age 43,
before his return to Sweden, is a more true to life image.
View looking back toward the entrance door. The
organ can be seen up above the balcony. The pulpit is
to the right of the camera.
This is the
church Rev. Erikus Bjork served when he was promoted to Provost and
returned to Sweden. This is the church Christina Stalcop attended
until her death in 1720. Her funeral service was conducted here.
Other than the new floor, new organ, updated lighting and perhaps
the color scheme, very little has changed since their time.
The church apparently did not have a name when Bjork arrived. It
soon became known as Kristine Kyrka (Christina Church). There is
nothing to indicate that it was named for Christina, her grandmother
Christina Carlsdaughter, for the community of Christina in New
Sweden or perhaps for all three.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE CHURCH IN FALUN, SWEDEN
New information has recently come to light in 2011 about the
Christina Church in Falum, Sweden. The location of the grave of
Christina Stalcop has been determined based upon the map made when
the new floor was installed.
Christina Stalcop and her
husband, Erik Björk, are reported to rest in Grave 61 immediately in
front of and just to the right of the altar. A place of honor.
A late nineteenth century painting of a winter scene in the area of
the church showing the street and possibly a tiny portion of the
house, mostly as a dark corner, and perhaps a small portion of the
garden where Christina Stalcop and Eric Björk resided. It is on the
extreme right side of the painting. The house is said to be the
former residence of the Governor of the area who had moved over into
the house next door. Notice the curbs and the street lamps that were
possibly very early electric lights, or more likely, gaslights.
The houses are still there
and are still being used as residences. Notice that the church is
set at an angle to the street. There is a turn in the street in
front of the church unseen in this painting. The church entrance and
bell tower are located very close to the street.
It was DRESS UP at the Gathering. All were encouraged to come dressed as
an ancestor, real or imaginary. We had farmers, housewives, soldiers and
sparking young girls. Paige Stallcup Violette dressed as Al Capp’s
imaginary Daisy Mae. Jenny Stallcup Gilsforf was a wood nymph.
BRYSON CITY GOTHIC
Kristie Stallcup Violette, Roslyn Stallcup and Larry Stallcup.
are dressed as immediately after the Civil War ended.
The CSA uniform simulates the 1st NC State Calvary uniform worn by
Lucius Harvey Stallcup, complete with brogans, slouch hat and saber
during his two years in the Army.
GOTHIC - LOST IT!
Roslyn Stallcup of Virginia Beach, VA and Sanford Stallcup of
Having too much fun to hold those
frowns for long.
LONG TIME DREAM
MarMary Jane Stallcup Joyner and Juanitta
Earlier this year two
sisters fulfilled a long time dream. They had always wanted to go see
the Kentucky Derby in person. Better than that one of them won her bet
on the 50 to 1 long shot placed at the last second. More of this story
will be in volume 3 of Short & Tall Tales.
WHITE HOUSE RECEPTION
For an ordinary citizen
Roslyn Stallcup was rewarded with an extraordinary invitation. It came
from the White House and invited her to a reception in thanks for the
volunteer efforts she put into painting some of the Christmas decorations
that made up the Red White and Blue 2008 Christmas at the White House.
At the request
of the Old Swedes Church & Hendrickson House Museum Larry Spencer Stallcup
dressed and playing the part of Johan Anderson Stålkofta for the Four
Centuries Fete in Wilmington, DE. The grounds of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes)
Church were once part of the land owned by The Stalcop family. Stålkofta’s
son John Stalcop provided the land, inherited from his father, where the
church stands and his son Pietter provided labor and materials. Wood to
build the pulpit, American Black Walnut, was cut and donated by Pietter
Stallcop. That pulpit, now 310 years old, is still in regular use.
Following the 1699 church dedication John Stalcop hosted the reception for
the dignitaries at his home nearby. Pietter Stallcop’s daughter,
Christina, married the first minister of the church, Rev. Ericus Björk, in
Invitation card sent out announcing the event. The
setting behind Larry
is the porch of Freida
Stallcup Gilsdorf’s Bryson City, NC log cabin
where Stalcop Family Gatherings are held.
A distant cousin, Ken Peterson of New Jersey, was the other New Sweden
re-enactor appearing during the Four Centuries Fete. Catherine
Samuelsdaughter, the daughter of Ken’s ancestor, Samuel Peterson, was the
wife of our Pietter Stalcop.
Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church is the oldest church in America with a
continuous congregation and that still uses the original building. There
are 23 early Stalcop family members documented as resting in the
churchyard. It is believed that Stålkofta and his wife Christina, and four
of their children; Andrew, Charles, Jonas, and the unknown name daughter
were all laid to rest in the graveyard before the church was built and
before written records of burials began. Only one Stalcop tombstone, now
unreadable, survives but a memorial stone remembering the many early
family members resting there has been placed beside it.
Stalcop 1712 Portrait Larry & Ken Peterson 2007
Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church, Wilmington, DE
September 2008. The stone and brickwork
was begun in 1697, completed in 1699. The bell
hung in a nearby tree until the bell tower was
A visit to Holy Trinity Church, Fort Christina
Park with its Stalcop Family log cabin, the Kalmar
Nyckle ship and shipyard and the New Sweden Centre
Museum are all must see sights during any visit to
the birthplace of the Stalcop Family. The
Hendrickson House and the Delaware Historical
Museum preserve many Stalcop family records.
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2008-2016 Larry Spencer Stallcup
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