Name: Hans MANSSON
Given Name: Hans
Change Date: 8 Oct 2006
A Brief History of the Early Swedes in New Jersey
Birth: ABT 1612 in Hanaskede, Skaraborg Ian, Sweden 1
Death: ABT 1691 in Senamensing, Burlington Co, New Jersey 1 2
In 1638, the Swedes landed at the present site of Wilmington, Delaware -- establishing Fort Christina and the New Sweden Colony. Ongoing land claim disputes followed between the Swedes/Finns, the Dutch (in 1651 Peter Stuyvesant purchases land from Christina Creek to Bombay Hook) and then the English (in 1680 William Penn, a Quaker, petitioned King Charles II for land north of Maryland).
In 1641 acting Governor Peter Ridder acquired land along the eastern shore of the Delaware River, including what is now Salem Couty, to expand the colony. In 1641 Swedish Governor Johan Printz built Fort Elfsborg near Salem, NJ. About this time some of these Swedish settlers who migrated across the Delaware River into what is now New Jersey, found the area greatly suited to farming. The majority of the Finns settled near the Finn's Point Lighthouse and the Swedes in the area that had at one time been called Churchtown.
According to the Pennsville Township Historical Society, "when the early colonists arrived there were three clans of the Lenni-Lenape tribe living in the area along the Delaware River which they called "Shanaigah". Obisquahassit was the name of the Indian Chief who sold land to the settlers. Records of land purchases date back to 1665." The Swedish settlers lived peaceable and agreeably with the Native Americans.
According to the Trinity Episcopal Church's web site: "The first settled pastor in South Jersey was Isreal Holg Fluviander who was assigned as Garrison priest at Ft. Elfsborg (near Salem) in 1643. But after the departure of Governor Printz and the loss of New Sweden to the Dutch, the Swedish and Finnish settlers in what was called "West Jersey" had to worship on the other side of the Delaware. With the renewal of the Church of Sweden's mission on the Delaware in 1697, the pastor of Gloria Dei, Wicaco, ministered to the needs of those living at Sveaborg (Swedesboro) and north of the Racoon Creek. But the passage across the river was treacherous and impossible in bad weather. Finally in 1701 Hans Stahl, a lay member of Holy Trinity, Wilmington, DE, was appointed as schoolmaster and lay preacher for the Swedes and Finns of New Jersey. He began the first regular services, but the pastors in Christina and Wicaco opposed the establishment of a Jersey parish until the debts for the new church buildings on the western side of the Delaware were satisfied." For more information on the past and continuing history of this church, visit the Trinity Episcopal Church's web site.
From Sanford Steelman's 2002 trip to Sweden (http://www.trellis.net/steel/steelman/trip.htm) :
The next day we made the long drive from Stockholm to Skara, in central Sweden. This is the area where Hans Mansson lived. We then travelled to Varnhem Abbey, where Hans Mansson cut down the fruit trees. For this crime, he was deported to America. This resulted in all of the Steelmans now llving in America rather than in Europe. Through the efforts of our guide and the librarian at the Skara library, we were able to contact Colonel Mac Catoni, the present owner of Hanaskede. In the Court proceedings, Hans Mansson is referred to as "Hans Mansson i Hanaskede". Colonel Catoni graciously agreed to let us visit us, and took us around the farm. Colonel
Catoni told us that portions of the current manor house date back to the early 1800's, long after Hans Mansson left for America. However, he indicated that the present
house was probably built upon the site of an earlier farmhouse.
Hans Mansson in America
On November 7, 1641, the ships Kalmar Nyckel and Charitas anchored in front of Fort Christina on the Delaware River, in New Sweden. Among the passengers on these ships was a 29 year old soldier named Hans Mansson, and a 7 year old girl named
Ella Stille. They had completed a six months journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Sweden to become colonists in America.
By 1652, Ella Stille had married Peter Jochimsson, a German soldier, and friend of Hans Mansson. Peter Jochimsson died in 1654 while on a diplomatic mission to New Amsterdam, and Hans Mansson married the young widow. Hans Mansson and Ella
Stille became the founders of the Steelman family in North America. The surname of Steelman was adopted by their five sons following the death of Hans Mansson, ca 1691. The Swedish practice of the sons bearing the first name of their father
(for instance Hans Mansson was Hans the son of Mans) was no longer practical in a society that was dominated by the English. The name of Steelman may have been a combination of Stille and Mans, or it may have been nom de guerre used by Hans
Mansson during his service as a soldier prior to coming to America.
Hans Mansson and Ella Stille resided at Aronameck plantation, located on the south bank of the Schuykill River, in present day Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1672, Hans Mansson was designated as captain and commander of the first militia
organized in Philadelphia. In the mid-1670's the family moved across the Delaware River to what is now New Jersey. Hans Mansson died around 1691. His wife, Ella, lived until January of 1718, when she died at age 83. Ella Stille is buried at the
Old Swedes Church in Swedesboro, New Jersey.
The only tangible reminder that we have of Hans Mansson and Ella Stille are the marks that Hans Mansson made on two affidavits given on January 11, 1683 and June 25, 1684. These statements were used by William Penn before the Lords of Trade, in
London, England, in September of 1685 to successfully defend a claim on a portion of Pennsylvania by Lord Baltimore.
The Mark of Captain Hans Mansson
(saved as hanssig.gif)
Hans Månsson and his Steelman Family, by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig
Fellow, American Society of Genealogists Fellow, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania Historian, Swedish Colonial Society - originally published in Swedish Colonial News,
Volume 1, Number 10 (Fall 1994)
Hans Månsson chose to go to New Sweden with alacrity. His alternative was death by
In the autumn of 1640, a young trooper called Hans Månsson from Hanaskede, SkaraborgIän, Sweden, entered the Crown's garden at the monastery in Varnhem "and there ruined six of the best apple trees and two of the best cherry trees in order to obtain material for some mane combs." At his sentencing on 31 May 1641 he was given the choice of being sent to New Sweden with his wife and children or of going to the gallows.
Born about 1612, Hans Månsson was not yet 30 years old when he departed from Göteborg on either the Kalmar Nyckel or the Charitas in July 1641. It is probable that his wife and children accompanied him, although no later reference to them has been found. Arriving in New Sweden in November, Hans served for at least five years as a convict laborer before gaining his freedom. He then settled on a tract of land on the west side of the Delaware known as Aronameck with Peter Jochimsson, a former Swedish soldier who married Ella Stille, daughter of Olof Stille.
In 1653 Hans Månsson joined Peter Jochimsson and 20 other freemen in signing a petition to Governor Printz raising objections to the harshness of his rule. Printz labeled the petition a "mutiny" and then abruptly returned to Sweden. When Governor Rising arrived in 1654 to assume command, both Hans and Peter joined other freemen in pledging their allegiance.
Peter Jochimsson then agreed to go to New Amsterdam to deliver a letter of friendship from Rising to Governor Stuyvesant and to bring back the Dutch governor's reply. However, Peter became ill in Manhattan and died there in the summer of 1654, leaving the young widow Ella and their two infant children, Peter and Elizabeth. Hans Månsson, then 42, married Ella Stille, then 20, and started his second family.
Hans Månsson 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 who in 1660 successfully opposed Stuyvesant's plan for them to move to a single, fortified village. His 1100-acre plantation fronted on the Schuylkill between present Woodlands Cemetery and about 60th Street and extended westward as far as Cobb's Creek.
In the mid-1670s, Hans Månsson also became the first white settler on Pennsauken Creek in present Burlington County. 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.
Ella's known children, all but the first two born to Hans Månsson, were:
1. Peter Petersson Yocum, born 1652, who married Judith Jonasdotter, daughter of Jonas Nilsson of Kingsessing, in 1676 and had ten children, seven of them sons, before his death at Aronameck in 1702.
2. Elizabeth Petersdotter, born 1654, who married John Ogle, an English soldier. They resided on White Clay Creek in New Castle County and had two sons before Ogle's death in 1684. She died in the early 1690s.
3. John Hansson Steelman, born 1655, moved to New Castle County by 1687 and married Maria, daughter of John Andersson Stalcop. Moving to Cecil County, MD, by 1693 he became an Indian trader and died in present Adams County, PA, in 1749. He had at least two sons, possibly more.
4. Christiern Hansson Steelman followed his brother John to New Castle County. By 1708 he was the second husband of Mary Cann, a Quaker, widow of James Claypoole, Jr. Thereafter, until at least 1737, Christiern was an active communicant at Holy Trinity Church. Children, if any, are unknown.
5. James Hansson Steelman married Susannah Toy by 1690. In 1695 he acquired lands at Great Egg Harbor in the area of present Atlantic City. He died in 1734, survived by six sons and two daughters.
6. Peter Hansson Steelman, born c. 1674, married Gertrude Keen, daughter of Hans Keen, c. 1695. He, too, acquired lands in the Atlantic City area, where he died after 1737, survived by five sons and two known daughters.
7. Charles Hansson Steelman, born 1679, married Anna, daughter of Anthony Nilsson, c. 1702. He died six years later at Senamensing in Burlington County, NJ, survived by one son and two daughters, all of whom moved to New Castle County.
8. Eric Hansson Steelman, born 1681, married Brigitta [parents not identified] and acquired land in Gloucester County, NJ, from Gustaf Lock in 1715. He died of smallpox in 1731, survived by two sons and four daughters.
It is not unlikely that Ella Stille, who was bearing children for almost 30 years (1652-1681) had additional daughters who have not been identified. ___________________________
Sources utilized by Sanford Steelman, Jr: SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON THE STEELMAN FAMILY (Last Updated July 6, 2000) 1.Adams, Arthur, Notes on the Steelman Family of Cinnaminson Township in Burlington County and Greenwich Township in Gloucester County, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 36, pp 464-472.
2.Adams, Arthur, The Steelman Family, Atlantic County Historical Society, Volume 3, No. 1 (1956) pp 51-69.***
3.Anderson, Carl Magnus, (translator and editor), Pastor Wrangel's Trip to the Shore, New Jersey History, Volume LXXXVII, (1969).
4.Cook, Ross and Adams, Arthur, Captain Hans Mansson, Ancestor of the Steelman Family, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume LXXIX, no. 3 (1948), pp 112-121.***
5.Cook, Ross, Hans Mansson and the Steelman Family, manuscript found at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (1936).***
6.Craig, Peter Stebbins and Yocum, Henry Wesley, The Yocums of Aronameck in Philadelphia, 1648-1702, National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 71, Number 4 (1983) pp 243-279.***
7.Craig, Peter Stebbins, The Stille Family in America 1641-1772, Swedish American Genealogist, Volume VI, Nos. 3 and 4 (1986) pp 141-176.***
8.Craig, Peter Stebbins, The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware, SAG Publications, Winter Park, Florida (1993).
9.Craig, Peter Stebbins, 1671 Census of the Delaware, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, (1999).
10.Craig, Peter Stebbins, Chronology of Colonial Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1713, Swedish Colonial Neews, Volume 2, Number 5, Fall, 2001, pp. 12-15. This is a wonderful source of information to put the events of Hans Mansson's life in historical perspective.
11.Dunlap, A.R., and Weslager, C.A., More Missing Evidence: Two Depositions by Early Swedish Settlers, The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 91, (1967), p. 35.
12.Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, State of New Jersey, The Records of the Swedish Lutheran Churches at Raccoon and Penns Neck 1713-1786, The New Jersey Commission to Commemorate the 300th Anniversary of the Settlement by the Swedes and Finns on the Delaware, (Colby and McGowan, Inc., Elizabeth, New Jersey), 1938. Reprinted 1982 by the Gloucester County Historical Society, Woodbury, New Jersey.
13.Steelman, Harold M., Descendants of Matthias & Ruth Steelman of Surry County, North Carolina, privately published manuscript (1977), copy in the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina, and in the Forsyth County Library, Winston-Salem,
14.Steelman, Robert B., and Steelman, James F., A Riddle Resolved, Hans Mansson Was The Swedish Trooper in 1641, Bulletin of the Gloucester County Historical Society, Vol. 22, No. 8, June, 1991, pp. 22-57.
15.Steelman, William D., A Revisit to Hans Mansson, The Swedish Trooper in 1641, Bulletin of the Gloucester County Historical Society, Vol. 25, No. 4, June, 1996, pp. 25-27.
16.Steelman, William D., Hans Mansson's Parents (?), Bulletin of the Gloucester County Historical Society, Vol. 25, No. 7, March, 1997, pp. 49-51.
17.Thurston, Ruby Steelman, Steelman Relatives, privately published manuscript, (1981).
18.Turp, Ralph K., West Jersey Under Four Flags, Dorrance & Company, Philadelphia, (1975).
*** A copy of these articles have been placed in the Yadkin County Library, Yadkinville, North Carolina.
Ella STILLE b: ABT 1634 in Roslagen, Sweden
- John Hansson STEELMAN b: ABT 1655 in Grey's Ferry
- James Hansson STEELMAN b: ABT 1665 in Grey's Ferry
- Peter Hansson STEELMAN b: ABT 1667 in Gloucester, NJ / Grey's Ferry
- Christiern Hansson STEELMAN b: ABT 1670 in Grey's Ferry
- Charles Hansson STEELMAN b: ABT 1679 in Grey's Ferry
- Eric Hansson STEELMAN b: ABT 1681 in Cinnaminson Township, New Jersey
- Abbrev: Sanford L Steelman, Jr - website: http://www.trel
Title: Sanford L Steelman, Jr - website: http://www.trellis.net/steel/steelman/index.htm
- Abbrev: Hans Månsson and his Steelman Family, by Dr. Peter
Title: Hans Månsson and his Steelman Family, by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, Fellow, American Society of Genealogists Fellow, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania Historian, Swedish Colonial Society, originally published in Swedish Colonial News, Volume 1, Number 10 (Fall 1994)