Category Archives: Swedes on the Delaware

Per Stille of Humbl, Roslagen, Sweden and his son Per

Per Still was a prosperous farmer in the 1570s in Roslagen, eastern Sweden.1 His name was on a 1571 tax list of people in Solo, a farm belonging to Penningby Manor.2 The amount of tax shows “a very good economic position in comparison with the average peasant in the region”.3 In the list of church tithes for 1590 his name is missing, but the name of “Mrs. Brigitta” appears, probably his widow.

By 1596 the name Per Stille appears again on the bailiff accounts, probably a son of Per, with the same name. In 1601 lists were kept of people who were fed on the estate. Brigitta and Per appear several times. “The other farmers who were fed at the manor were (in contrast with Stille) never listed by name, but only as statistics. Stille thus appears to have held a unique position among the farmers… [possibly] the supervisor of the estate.”4 In 1609 the younger Per was listed as having a wife. After 1627 he was no longer on the Solo list, but on a different island, Humblö. “Apparently he has left the post of estate supervisor, and received the right to live on the latter island as a kind of pension.” By 1628, he is listed as “old Pär Stille” and by 1635 his name is gone and another man is living on Humblö.5The name of Per Stille’s wife is not known. From the names of three of her granddaughters, her name may have been Christina.6

Per and his wife are believed to have had at least six children. Three who did not immigrate are linked by estate records: Kerstin, Johannes and a sister who married a Larsson. When the inventory of Kerstin’s estate was taken in June 1670, Johannes was named as her brother and two Larssons are named as heirs, Witt Johan and Per. It is noticeable that these are people with white-color jobs. Witt Johan is an accountant and his brother Per is a customs inspector.7

There are also three siblings who did immigrate: Anna, Olof and Axel. They are documented in the records of the ship manifest in 1641 and in New Sweden, where Olof was a prominent figure.8 All six of them seem to be about the same generation. Anna was having children by about 1626 and Olof was married by 1632. Johannes was a student at Uppsala in 1625.

Presumed children of Per and an unknown wife:9

Kerstin, d. before June 1670, m. Nils Andersson Stake; a “naval artillerist”, he died before Sept 1667, when inventory was taken of his estate for the benefit of his widow. She had a stepdaughter Margareta Nielsdotter, and had been married previously, before the marriage to Stake.10

Johannes Peter Stille, d. 1672, married the daughter of his predecessor at Funbo. In the record of Kerstin’s estate, he was called the “worthy and learned Mr. John Stille”. Known child: Christina.

Anna, m. Måns Svensson Lom before 1626. Immigrated in 1641, settled on the Delaware River. He died in 1653 and Anna married Lars Andersson Collinus, a minister. Children with Mäns: Margaret, Catherine, Peter, Anna, Beata, Christina, Sven, Helena, Maria.

A sister who married a Larsson. Had two known sons, Witt Johan and Per, named in the record of Kerstin’s estate in 1670. They were grown by 1670, and must have been born before 1650.

Olof, married by 1632, immigrated in 1641, died about 1684. The name of his wife is not known. They had four known children: Ella, Anders, Christina, Johan.11

Axel, immigrated in 1641, a younger brother of Olof, alive in 1684. No children.

Olof was one of the most colorful of the early Swedish settlers. Because of some early court records we know some of his adventures.

“Although Olof Stille was on good terms with Erik Bielke, who inherited Penningby in 1629, he did not think well of Bielke’s wife, Catarina Fleming.

At the Norrtälje fair in 1636, Olof Stille indiscreetly voiced his opinion of Lady Catarina Fleming, who retaliated by prosecuting Olof for defamation and took his property at Humblö. When Olof refused to leave the island, he was imprisoned. After securing his freedom, Olof and his family resettled in Matsunda, where he was joined by one of his former servants named Anders. Lady Fleming, now a widow, had Anders seized on 18 March 1638 and imprisoned at Penningby under the claim that Anders had broken a verbal agreement with the late Lord Bielke to be their servant.

Olof Stille heard the news the next day, entered Penningby Castle by a secret door, broke the lock to the dungeon with his axe and then fled, with Anders carrying the axe and Olof his own rapier. On complaint from Lady Fleming, the Governor issued an order for Olof Stille’s arrest on 28 March 1638 – the same day that the first expedition to New Sweden was landing at the Rocks. At the trial on 13 April 1638 Olof Stille was convicted of burglary and sentenced to death by the sword. The appellate court, however, modified the sentence to a fine of 100 daler silver money, the equivalent of 17 months pay for a New Sweden soldier.

Three years later, in May 1641, when the Charitas departed for New Sweden, the passenger list included Olof Stille, a mill-maker, his wife, a daughter aged 7 and a son aged 1 ½.  Also on board were Olof’s younger brother Axel Stille, and the family of Måns Svensson Lom, whose wife appears to have been Olof’s younger sister. His older brother, Johan Stille, later pastor at Fundbo, 1644-1672, and his sister Kerstin remained in Sweden.”12

Once in this country Olof, his brother Axel, and the Lom family settled in the present-day Chester County, Pennsylvania, on the banks of the Delaware River. According to Craig, “the Indians were frequent visitors to Techoherassi and liked Olof Stille very much, but they considered his heavy, black beard a monstrosity and conferred a strange name on him because of it.” Olof was a millwright, a rarity in the colony.

He was a leader among the colonists. He presented the list of grievances in 1653 to Governor Printz, who considered this an act of mutiny. Fortunately Printz was soon replaced by Governor Rising, who was more conciliatory. In fact in 1656, when the first Swedish court was organized under Dutch rule, Olof Stille was named the chief justice.13 He served for eight years, which must have been a satisfying turn of events for such a troublemaker.  In 1657 the magistrates for the South River were Olof Stille, Mathys Hanson, Peter Rambo and Peter Cook. Peter Rambo and Peter Cock continued to serve in various capacities for years afterwards.14

Olof died about 1684 and was survived by at least four children (Ella, Anders, Christina, and John).15 The name of his wife is not known. His brother Axel did not have children.

  1. Fritz Nordström, “Olof Stille of New Sweden”, Swedish American Genealogist (SAG), 1986, 6(3), originally published in 1947-48 (?), available online. Nordström and his two brothers owned Penningby Manor in the 1880s. He became curious about the Stille family when an American descendant visited the manor. Nordström researched the Swedish records, including court and tax records. Peter Craig published a follow-up article in SAG, 6(4) on the “Stille family in America 1641-1772”; this is no longer available online. (The relevant pages have been deleted in the issue of SAG.)
  2. Roslagen is the coastal and archipelago part of Uppsala County. Penningby Manor is in Stockholm County, just south of Uppsala County.
  3. Nordström, p. 102.
  4. Nordström, p. 103.
  5. Nordström, p. 103.
  6. An Ancestry tree gives it as Brigitta, with no evidence, but this might be a misreading of Nordström, whose evidence suggests that it was the older Per who was married to Brigitta.  The same tree gives dates of birth for Olof, Axel and Anna, again without sources.
  7. Nordström, p. 104.
  8. Peter S. Craig, “Olof Persson Stille and his Family”, Swedish Colonial News, 1(16), 1997, no longer available online except through the Internet Archive.
  9. This list is a combination of the work of Nordström and Peter Craig. Note that Craig accepted the relationship, and comments that Johan and Kerstin remained in Sweden, while Olof, Axel and Anna immigrated. (Craig, 1997).
  10. Nordström, p. 104. He cites court records  showing that she was the sister of John Stille, pastor at Funbo, and that she had a sister who married a Larsson and had sons Witt Johan and Per. He also quotes part of Chirsten’s will.
  11. Craig, 1997.
  12. Peter Craig, 1997.
  13. Peter Larsson Cock and Peter Gunnarsson Rambo served on the court with him.
  14. PA Archive, 2(8).
  15. Craig, 1997.

Måns Lom and Anna Petersdotter

Måns Svensson Lom and Anna Petersdotter were early settlers of New Sweden on the Delaware. They had a large family, but they are not as prominent as families like Rambo or Cox. As Peter S. Craig put it, “Although the surname of Lom died out by 1685, it is probable that Måns Svensson Lom had more descendants than any other settler of New Sweden. He had nine children, fifty or more grandchildren and at least 250 great-grandchildren.”1 The explanation is obvious. Seven of the nine children were daughters.

They immigrated in 1641 on the Charitas with the Stille brothers, Olof and Axel, so  Måns was probably from Roslagen, as they were. His wife was Anna Petersdotter, and she is believed to be a sister of Olof and Axel.2 On the passenger records of the Charitas, Lom is listed as a tailor, who “intends to begin agriculture in New Sweden. He has received 5 Riksdaler but otherwise no salary; he goes with his wife, two almost grown-up daughters and a little son.”3 The children were Margaret, Catherine and Peter. Another daughter was born at sea and five more children followed in New Sweden.

With the Stille brothers, Måns and Anna settled on the banks of the Delaware River between Ridley Creek and Crum Creek. On October 1646 he delivered an ultimatum from the Swedish Governor Johan Printz to Andries Hudde, the Dutch commander at Fort Nassau. By July 1653 he was probably dead, since his name is missing from a petition submitted by many of the Swedish settlers to Governor Printz, setting forth various grievances.4

His widow Anna later married Lars Andersson Collinus, a minister, who later served on the Upland Court.  It is not known when she died.

Children of Måns and (probably) Anna:5

Margaret, b. 1626 in Roslagen, d. 1703, m. Peter Larsson Cock. They lived on an island at the mouth of the Schuylkill, where Peter died in 1687. He was prominent in the affairs of the colony, serving on the court and meeting with the Indians. Margaret outlived him and died in 1703. Children: Lars, Eric, Anna, Måns, John, Peter, Magdalena, Maria, Gabriel, Brigitta, Margaret, Catherine.6

Catherine, b. ab. 1628, m. John Wheeler. Wheeler was an Englishman who signed the 1653 protest against Johan Printz. To avoid reprisals he fled to New Castle County and later moved to Cecil County, Maryland. Catherine died by 1671; John died about 1677. Children: Samuel, John, Anna, Anders.7

Peter, b. ab. 1638 in Roslagen, married a daughter of Sven Gunnarsson and moved to Cecil County, Maryland. Had  a son Anders.8 An Ancestry tree said his wife’s name was Helene.

Anna, b. at sea in 1641, m. Giösta (Gustaf) Danielsson. He immigrated in 1654 as a tailor and soldier. They lived in Upland, where he died in 1681. Children: Margareta, Brigitta, Maria.9

Beate, b. 1643, m. Pastor Lars Carlsson Lock. Lock immigrated in 1648. In 1669 he owned land next to Ridley Creek, known formerly as Preacher’s Kill.10 He later owned the plantation of Olof Stille, Techoherassi. He was pastor to the churches at Tinicum Island and Crane Hook. He died in 1688, survived by Beata. Children: Anders, Måns, Catharina, Johan, Peter, Maria, Gustaf and an unidentified daughter.11

Christina, b. ab. 1645, m. Mårtin Garrettsson. Marten owned land on Christina Creek, patented to him in 1668. He drowned in his canoe on the Christina River in 1680. Children: Gertrude, Armegot, Gerrit, Marten.12

Sven, b. ab. 1648, died about 1685 in Blockley Township, Philadelphia County. The name of his wife is unknown. Child: Utro (Gertrude?)13

Helena, b. 1650, d. 1720, m. Michael Laicon in 1679. They moved to Shackamaxon, and later to Gloucester County, where he died in 1704. She died in 1720 in Gloucester County. Children: Catherine, Anna, Gertrude, Nils, Måns, Anders, Christina, Michael, Helena, Zacharias.14

Maria, b. ab. 1652, m. John Mattson, son of Matthias Hanson. They lived in Moyamensing, then moved to Gloucester County, where John died in 1701. They cared for the children of Lars and Beata Lock (Maria’s sister) after their deaths. Children: Matthias, Anna, Måns, Gertrude, Anders, Maria, and one or two daughters not identified.15

  1. Peter Stebbins Craig, Måns Svensson Lom, forgotten forefather, and his seven daughters, Swedish Colonial News, vol. 1, no. 12, 1995, at www. Lom.html. This article is no longer online in 2017, although it can still be referenced through the Internet Archive. Because Lom died before 1653, he does not appear in the 1671 or 1693 census of Swedes, although his children are there. Cf. Peter Craig, 1671 Census of the Delaware, 1999; Peter Craig, 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware, 1993.
  2. Craig, 1995. He bases this identification on the Swedish naming patterns, since Måns named his first son Peter (and his second son Sven). A son named Olof would have clinched the argument.
  3. Craig, 1995.
  4. Craig, 1995.
  5. Craig, 1995. Craig assumes that the childen were all with one wife. As he states, “It is unknown when Lom’s wife died. However, she was the mother of nine children.” However, there is a noticeable gap between the births of Catherine about 1628 and Peter about 1638. This suggests that Måns may have married twice, and that Anna was not the mother of the two oldest daughters. With no information about the names of the mothers of Måns or Anna, we have no onomastic evidence to go on. This question probably can’t be resolved with existing records.
  6. Craig, 1993, 1995.
  7. Craig, 1993, p. 46; 1995.
  8. Craig, 1993, p. 33; 1995.
  9. Craig, 1999, p. 31; 1995.
  10. His land there was shown on Thomas Holme’s map, circa 1685, as “Preest”, a name the Quakers gave to ministers of other faiths.
  11. Craig, 1995; 1999, p. 33.
  12. Craig, 1999, p. 65.
  13. Craig, 1995.
  14. Craig, 1995.
  15. Craig, 1995.

Peter and Magdalena Rambo

Peter Rambo of Providence Township was born in 1678, the second son of Gunnar Rambo and Anna Cock. He grew up on their farm in Upper Merion on the Schuylkill River. About 1715 he married a woman named Magdalena; her last name is not known. It is often said to be Bauer, but this is based on a bad record transcription in 1912. In fact Magdalena Bauer was an elderly spinster who boarded with Peter Jr and his wife Mary. The journal of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg described her living arrangements and called her a “maiden lady of New Providence”.1

By 1722 Peter and Magdalena owned land on the Perkiomen Creek, on the opposite side of the Schuylkill from Upper Merion. They lived there in Providence Township and had six known children. Peter was active in St. James Church in Perkiomen. The first church there was built in 1721, and in a record of 1738 Peter was listed as a warden, along with Samuel Lane, whose daughter Ann was married to Peter’s son John.2

Peter wrote his will in 1744.3 Since Magdalena was not named in it, she must have died before then. In the will he left 120 acres on the east side of Perkiomen Creek to his son John, and eighty acres on the west side of the creek to his son Peter. They were both to make payments to their younger brothers William and Gunnar. William was to be put out to a trade of his own choice. Daughter Ann, wife of Roger North, received one shilling, “on Consideration of what I have already given her and other Reasons Best known to my Self.” His daughter Mary, married to John Koplin, received one shilling with the same wording. Finally, John got the legacy of the plantation on condition that he maintain his father for the rest of his life, providing “Sufficient meat Drink Apparel Lodging and Washing Suitable to my age and condition”.4 John was also to pay Peter’s debts at the time of his death and the funeral expenses, as well as serving as the executor. Peter died in 1753. He is undoubtedly buried at St. James with Magdalena, but there is apparently no record for them.

Children of Peter and Magdalena:

Ann, b. 1716, m. 1733 Roger North, who immigrated with his parents from Ireland in 1729. He was the son of Caleb North and Jane.5 Roger and Ann lived in Providence Township, where they owned a mill. They had thirteen children, including eight sons who fought in the Revolution. Both Ann and Roger left wills. In his will he left the property to their son Thomas, on condition that he maintain Ann there, “in the middle room”. He died in 1785. She died in 1798. In her will she left clothing and household goods to her four surviving daughters, and her cash property to be divided among them. Children: Sophia, Sarah, Samuel, Elizabeth, John, Joshua, William, Roger, Ann Nancy, George, Caleb, Thomas, Hannah.6

Mary, m. about 1742 John Koplin. They had nine children, born between 1742 and 1756. However, according to the will of John’s father Matthias Koplin of Providence Township in 1769, John had “wantonly wasted” most of the estate Matthias had given him, and had lived a disorderly life. In fact he had forfeited his father’s confidence and “absconded the Province”.7 Mary was still alive in 1762 when she witnessed a deed. Children: Matthias, Mary, Alice, John, Christian, William, Esther, and Sophia.8

John, m. about 1744 Ann Lane, daughter of Samuel Lane. They lived in Providence Township. Ann died in 1754 and was buried at St. James Episcopal Church. John wrote his will in March 1758, a day after his brother William wrote his will. John named six children. They were to be bound out to trades, and the son Peter was to be educated as far as the “rule of three”.9 The property was to be sold and the proceeds divided among the children. John died less than a month later, and was undoubtedly buried with Ann at St. James. Children: Elizabeth, Ann, Mary, Alice, Peter, and Rachel.10

Gunnar, b. about 1723, lived in Limerick Township, taxed for 160 acres there  in 1782. The name of his wife is not known. She died before him and was not named in his will. He wrote his will in 1802. In it he left tracts of land to his sons Abraham and Eli, and the tract on which he lived to son John. The other sons, Aaron and Moses, received cash payments. The property of John and Eli were adjoining, and in an interesting provision, Eli was to have the privilege of diverting water from the stream, from March through October, to water his meadow, and John and Eli were to jointly maintain the ditches and dams for this. Gunnar died a month later.11 Children: Moses, Aaron, John, Abraham, Eli.

Peter, b. about  1724, m. 1748 Mary Peters, daughter of Peter Peters. The spinster Magdalena Bauerin lived with them before her death. In 1774 Peter was taxed for 40 acres in Providence Township and was still there through 1780, but in 1781 he was taxed for 160 acres in East Hanover Township, Dauphin County. Peter must have moved to Dauphin County about then; he appears in a church record there in 1787. Mary was named in her father’s will in 1772; it is not known when she or Peter died. Known children: Anna, Ezekiel, another baptized in 1752 at Trappe Church.12

William, m. Hannah Lane, daughter of Samuel Lane and sister to Ann Lane. They lived in Upper Merion, where William signed his will in March 1758, the day before his brother John. William left cash legacies to his daughters Rebecca and Ann, and the remainder of his estate to Hannah. He died about a month later. Hannah married Zachariah Davis and had four or five children with him. Children of William and Hannah: Rebecca and Ann.13

  1. Rambo Family Tree, p. 51-52. The primary source for the lives of Peter and Magdalena and their children is the massive family tree compiled by Beverly Rambo, and supplemented by Ron Beatty, here called Rambo Family Tree. The several sections are available in published form and as downloads at (as of 2/6/18). The page numbers given here are for Volume 2.
  2. A. J. Barrow, “St James, Perkiomen”, PA Magazine of History and Biography, 1895, Vol. 19(1), pp. 87-95, available online at JSTOR.
  3. Rambo Family Tree, pp. 49-51.
  4. Rambo Family Tree, p. 50.
  5. Jane was not the daughter of Eckerly, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. This is based on a claim by Harriet Bainbridge DeSalis, a genealogist who faked noble ancestry for her clients. She was exposed in 1880 when a client became suspicious and hired a genealogist who confronted her with her forged documents and made her promise not to take any more commissions from American clients. (The American Genealogist, 1994, vol. 69, pp. 9-14)
  6. Rambo Family Tree, pp. 124-25. It is noteworthy that Roger and Ann did not name any sons for her father Peter, in spite of the opportunities to do so, breaking the strong Swedish tradition of naming sons for their grandfathers.
  7. Rambo Family Tree, pp. 128-131.
  8. Rambo Family Tree, p. 128. Another daughter, unnamed, died at age 20 in 1762. Again, Mary did not name any sons for her father Peter.
  9. Rambo Family Tree, p. 132.
  10. Rambo Family Tree, p. 132. Only Ann, Alice, Peter and Rachel were named in the will of Samuel Lane in 1771.
  11. Rambo Family Tree, p. 137-138.
  12. Rambo Family Tree, p. 134.
  13. Rambo Family Tree, p. 135.

Gunnar Rambo and Anna Cock

Gunnar Rambo was born on January 6, 1648/49.1 He was the oldest son of Peter Gunnarsson Rambo and Britta Mattsdotter, and grew up on his parents’ farm in Passyunk, on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia. In 1670 he married Anna Cock, daughter of Peter Cock and Margaret Lom. The Cock and Rambo families were two of the most prominent among the Swedes, linked by marriage and by the shared service of Peter Rambo and Peter Cock in the courts.

Gunnar and Anna moved to Shackamaxon, a few miles north of Philadelphia, along the Delaware River.2 The creek that empties into the Delaware around modern-day Kensington was named Gunnar’s Run, after Gunnar. They were living there when the Quakers arrived in large numbers, starting in summer of 1682. Tradition says that Penn met the Indians at Shackamaxon to sign a treaty of peace, commemorated in the famous painting by Benjamin West.3

In January 1683, Gunnar was naturalized, along with his father Peter and other Swedes.4 He became a citizen, able to serve on juries and in the Assembly. Gunnar would do both. In 12th month 1683, he was called to serve on the grand jury in Pennsylvania’s only witchcraft trial. He was the only Swede on the jury.  Margaret Mattson was hauled before the Provincial Council, accused of being a witch.5 Penn presided over the case and a grand jury was called. They found enough evidence to bring her to trial and a parade of witnesses came forward. Margaret did not speak English and Lasse Cock, Anna’s brother, was called to interpret. Henry Drystreet testified that he was told 20 years before that she could bewitch cows. James Sanderland’s mother said that her cow was bewitched. Charles Ashcom testified that Mattson’s daughter sent for him one night because she saw an old woman with a knife in her hand standing at the foot of the bed. Annakey Vanculin and his husband John believed that their cattle were bewitched, and in order to prove it took a heart of a dead calf, and boiled it. (There was a superstition that this made the witch feel the burning pain, and that she would have to come to them to break the spell.) In fact, they claimed, Mattson did come in and asked them what they were doing. When they told her, she said “they had better they had boiled the bones”. Mattson in her defense denied going into their house, said she was never out of her canoe. She also pointed out that the other evidence against her was hearsay, saying, “Where is my daughter? Let her come and say so.” The jury brought in a verdict that she was guilty of having the fame of a witch but not of witchcraft, a judicious compromise.  Her husband posted bond for her good behavior for six months, and that was the end of it.

In 1685 Gunnar was elected to the Assembly.6 (His brother Peter would also serve there.) The Swedes had maintained good relations with Penn in the earliest years, when he depended on them to act as translators and intermediaries to the Indians. But in the Assembly they generally sided with the country party, led by David Lloyd, which was often at odds with the proprietor and those who supported him. It is not known how Gunnar dealt with the politics of the Assembly.7

In November 1677, Gunnar had petitioned the Upland court along with his brother Peter and brother-in-law Lasse Cock; they wanted to settle in a town on the Delaware river near the falls, each with a hundred acres of land and a bit of marsh, somewhere around present-day Bensalem. The court rejected the petition, probably because the Indians still had title to the land.8 Instead he and Anna settled into farming at Shackamaxon. They duly paid the quitrents each year, and saved the receipts, which became important in 1691, when the Board of Property asked for proof of ownership. Gunnar went with his neighbor Michael Neelson before the Board and showed his receipts, and in return he was granted a patent for his lands.9 In the 1693 tax list of Philadelphia County, Gunnar was listed in the Northern Liberty, and taxed for property worth £100, somewhat in the middle range of property-owners.10

In 1696 Gunnar and his brother John bought land in Upper Merion. This was 20 miles up the Schuylkill River from Philadelphia, and considered very much up-country, with few roads and sparse settlement. A deed of 1699 refers to Gunnar as “now residing above the falls of the Schuylkill”, so he and Anna must have moved their family north between 1696 and 1699. In 1701 it was discovered that their land lay within the boundary of Penn’s Manor of Mount Joy, granted to his daughter Laetitia. To rectify the error, Penn ordered a survey for Gunnar, which was done and a patent granted to him. The story is that Penn was willing to sell land in his manor in order to make room for the English along the Delaware.11 Between 1712 and 1714, more of the Swedes settled around Upper Merion, including Gunnar’s son John, Peter Yocum, Matthias Holstein (married to Gunnar’s daughter Brigitta), and John Matson. They each took up tracts of several hundred acres, on the west side of the river, south of present-day Bridgeport. “On this tract the  names of Swedes’ Ford, Swedes’ Church, Swedesburg, Swedeland and Matson’s Ford sufficiently indicate the presence of these settlers.”12

Their land was fertile and well-suited for farming.

“They choose excellent land. While southeastern Pennsylvania in general was very good for agriculture, the Swedes’ tract lay on probably the finest of the region. A rolling terrain, it had a deep, well-drained loamy soil, free of loose stones and enriched by limestone deposits. It lay athwart a limestone belt about a mile wide extending east to west until it widened into the soon-to-be fabulously productive Lancaster Plain. Several streams arose in or ran through the area, such as Matsunk Creek and Frog Run, although none of them was strong enough to propel a mill. Amply wooded, with oaks, hickories, and poplars predominating, by with open grasslands as well, the area abounded with wildlife – deer, turkeys, bears, wolves, foxes, squirrels, and an occasional panther. The woods supplied material for rafts and canoes and for log cabins. The limestone which ranged from hard marble to soft stone, not only fertilized the soil but also provided stone for chimneys and ovens and for building more substantial structures. The Schuylkill River, which enhanced the soil and supplied shad and catfish for the table, was not deep enough for large vessels except during the spring flooding, but rafts and canoes could be used for carrying the settlers and goods to and from the City. Because of Penn’s prior treaty arrangements the few Indians in the area were friendly.”13

There was no nearby Swedish church at first. For important events like wedding or baptisms they would go by boat down to Gloria Dei Church at Wicaco. Traditionally they met for worship in private houses. About 1730, after Gunnar was dead, the Rev. Samuel Hesselius visited the Swedes of Upper Merion, and held services at the house of Gunnar Rambo.(By then Gunnar’s house was owed by his son Elias.) Hesselius advised the Swedes to build a schoolhouse that could also be used for religious services. The Rambo family donated an acre of land, and a building was completed in 1735.14 A larger stone church was built in 1760.15

Through the 1670s and 1680s Gunnar and Anna added to their family, eventually growing to nine known children. Two of the sons, John and Peter, would serve in the militia in 1704, along with a number of Anna’s Cock relations.16 Since the Quakers strongly opposed bearing arms, even against threats from the Indians, the membership in the militia was strongly Swedish and German.

In 1698 Gunnar’s father Peter died and left 300 acres in West Jersey to Gunnar. The same year Gunnar sold this to John Bowles.17 He had already sold off part of his Shackamaxon land to George Lillington, in 1697, to Thomas Fairman, in 1698, and to John Bowyer, a shipwright, in 1699.18 Gunnar’s land at Upper Merion had been granted for 500 acres. When surveyed, it was found to be 614 acres, but he surrendered the extra 114 acres, and in 1710 he sold 100 acres of his 500 to Hugh Williams. In 1721 he gave his son Gabriel 150 acres, and the remaining 250 acres were granted in his will to his son Elias.19

At first the settlers would have traveled down to Philadelphia and Wicaco by boat, since there were no roads. A few years after the settlement, they forged a road. “It was not an improved highway, laid out by practical engineers, … but merely an improvised cart-track through the woods, replete with turn-outs, and with all the pitfalls and windfalls known to wood-men. Even thus, it was accounted a convenience, for it opened the way to the lime region of the Chester valley, gave ingress and egress to Griffith’s mill, at the Gulph, and provided the ‘back inhabitants’ (as the residents of Upper Merion were called by their more fortunate neighbors) with a road to Roberts mill, on Mill creek, to Merion Meeting-house and to the Philadelphia markets.”20 Access to a grist mill was essential for farmers, and the mill built about 1690 by Edward Griffith on Gulph Creek would have been a  benefit to them.21

Gunnar wrote his will in January 1723/24 (1724 by modern-style dates). His wife Anna had died before him, as she is not named in it.22 He named his six surviving sons. He did not name his daughter Brigitta, although she was still living. He must have already provided for her at the time of her marriage to Matthias Holstein in 1705.23 He did leave 5s to her daughter Katherine, the oldest of Brigitta’s six children living at that time. For his sons he left 5s to John, a bed and bolster to Peter, 5s to Mounce, 5s to Gabriel, £40 to Andrew (to be paid by Elias in installments), and the farm to Elias.

He died before March of that year, when his will was probated and the inventory taken. The inventory of Gunnar’s estate, taken on April 10 1724, is startling in its brevity. Gunnar and Anna were relatively prosperous by the standards of the time, yet their goods amounted to two beds, three tables and two chests, with bedding, three cooking pans and pots, a Bible and some other books, a few pictures in frames, six cows, four yearlings and a steer, a grindstone, a pair of plow irons and an old cart.24 There were probably other sundries that the inventory takers did not bother to list, but this is still very sparse.

Gunnar is undoubtedly buried with Anna. They were supposedly buried at Old Swedes Christ Church, Bridgeport, but it did not exist until after their deaths.25 Perhaps the Rambo family had a place for burials on their farm that was incorporated into the land sold for the school and churchyard.

Children of Gunnar and Anna:

John, b. about 1673, d. late 1745 to early 1746, m. Anna Laicon, m. 2) Sarah. Sarah’s last name is unknown.26 Lived in Upper Merion on a tract of 350 acres. Served in the militia in 1704. Had seven children with Anna before her death, and four more with Sarah. In his will, he named his children and divided his land.27 Children: Peter, Måns, Gabriel, Michael, Ann, Eleanor, Ezekiel, Gunnar, Magdalena, Lydia, Israel.

Peter, b. 1678, d. 1753, m. Magdalena –; her last name is unknown.28 Lived on Perkiomen Creek, warden of St. James Church in Perkiomen, had  six children.29 Magdalena must have died before he wrote his will in August 1744, as she was not named in it. Peter was living with his son John. He left most of his estate to John, in return for “meat, drink, apparel, lodging, and washing suitable to my age and condition”. He left another tract to his son Peter, who was to pay the cash legacies to the younger sons William and Gunnar. The married daughters Ann and Mary each got a shilling, “on consideration of what I have already given her and other reasons best known to myself”.30  Children: Ann, Mary, John, Peter, William, Gunnar.

Gunnar, b. 1680, did not marry, died before 1724, not in his father’s will. He was alive in 1717 when he cut eleven logs for a new parsonage at Passyunk.31

Anders. b. 1682, d. 1755, did not marry, lived on the homestead with Elias, named Elias’ children in his will, written and proved in 1755.32 Elias’ sons Peter and George were the executors.

Måns, b. 1684, d. 1760, m. 1715 Catharine Boon, daughter of Sven and Brigitta. He bought land in Plymouth Township and later moved to Kingsessing. He wrote his will in April 1760, a month before he died.33 He left his Kingsessing plantation to his son Swan, but Catherine, a daughter Mary and two Campbell granddaughters were to have the privilege of living there. His daughter Brigitta had married William Campbell and died in 1758. He left £20 to his daughter Ann, wife of Jacob Lincoln, and another £20 to her son Abraham.34 Catherine died in 1761. In her will she left land inherited from her father to her daughter Mary, and the rest of her property to be shared between Swan, Mary and the two granddaughters. Children: Britta, Ann, Swan, Maria. Neither Swan and Mary is known to have married.35

Brigitta, b. 1685, m. Matthias Holstein, he served in the Assembly for five terms, lived in a stone house in Upper Merion. Church services were held in their stone barn while Christ Church was being built.36 Matthias owned over 1,000 acres in Upper Merion, including Swede’s Ford, an important crossing over the Schuylkill. Matthias wrote his will in 1736, named his wife Brigitta and eight surviving children.37 Children: Catherine, Debora, Andrew, Matthias, Maria, Britta, John, Elizabeth, Frederick.38

Gabriel, b. 1687, m. Christian about 1715, inherited 150 acres of his father’s land with river footage. He died in 1734, and left no will. His wife Christian survived him and administered his estate.39 Children: Matthias, Christina, Martha, Gabriel, Andrew.

Matthias, b. 1690, d. before 1724, not named in his father’s will.

Elias, b. 1693, d. 1750, m. Maria Van Culen40, lived on his father’s plantation on the Schuylkill, owned a ford across the Schuylkill called Lower Swedes Ford. In a road petition about 1746, his neighbors stated that, “Elias Rambo hath built a boat which is of very great Service when the river Schuylkill is High, in helping the Neighbors over said river.”41 He died in 1750; Maria had died before him. He named his eight children in his will, written in September 1748.42 His sons Peter and George were to divide the plantation. Children: Peter, George, Elias, Anna, Andrew, Jonas, Jeremiah, Gunnar.

  1. By Old Style dating, using in Pennsylvania until 1752, he was born in 1648. In modern dates, with the year starting in January instead of March, it was 1649.
  2. The primary source for the lives of Gunnar and Anna and their children is the massive family tree compiled by Beverly Rambo, and supplemented by Ron Beatty, here called Rambo Family Tree. The several sections are available in published form and as downloads at (as of 2/6/18). The page numbers given here are for Volume 2 of the tree. According to the Rambo Family Tree, p. 23, they lived on land from Anna’s father Peter. However Peter did not die until January 1689. Perhaps he divided the tract among his children before his death. The entry in Craig Horle, Lawmaking and Legislators said they lived in Shackamaxon for twenty years, selling their land there in 1697, which suggested that they moved there in about 1677.
  3. There does not seem to be a historical record of such a treaty, in spite of its fame. Records of Penn’s activities in the first few months in the colony are scanty.
  4. Mary Maples Dunn and Richard S. Dunn, Papers of William Penn, Vol. 2, pp. 337-39.
  5. Council held 7th 12th mo 1683, in the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania: Minutes of the Provincial Council, 1851.
  6. Craig Horle, Lawmaking and Legislators in PA, vol. 1.
  7. John R. Young, Memorial History of Philadelphia, 1895.
  8. Upland Court Records, November 1677.
  9. Minutes of the Board of Property, Minute Book E, 4th mo 1691.
  10. 1693 tax list of Philadelphia County and City, available online.
  11. E. Gordon Alderfer, The Montgomery County Story, 1951.
  12. Theodore Bean, History of Montgomery County, 1884, chapter on Upper Merion.
  13. Gibbons, Edward J. “Matsunk or Swedes’ Land.” Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, vol. 21 (Norristown, PA: Fall 1977): pp. 41-72, quoted in Rambo Family Tree.
  14. Bean, History of Montgomery County.
  15. History of Christ Church (Old Swedes), Upper Merion, 1760-1960.
  16. Jane Gray Buchanan, Peter Stebbins Craig, and Jeffrey L. Scheib,  “Captain John Finney’s Company of Philadelphia Militia, 1704”, PA Genealogical Magazine, 1987, vol. 35, p. 165.
  17. Gloucester County Deeds, Documents relating to the Colonial History of the State of NJ, p. 671.
  18. Rambo Family Tree, p. 23.
  19. Rambo Family Tree, p. 23.
  20. Charles R. Barker, “Glimpses of Lower Merion History”, online at, accessed 2/10/18.
  21. Charles R. Barker, “Gulph Mill”, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol.53(2), 1929, online at journals.psu.ed.
  22. A Findagrave entry for Old Swedes Christ Church, Bridgeport, says that she died in 1693. Without a gravestone, it is not clear where this date came from.
  23. Rambo Family Tree, p. 59.
  24. Philadelphia County estate papers, City Hall, Philadelphia, Estate D.388.
  25. Findagrave for Old Swedes Christ Church, Bridgeport.
  26. Since she gave one of her sons the uncommon name of Israel, she may be a descendant of Israel Helm, a soldier and magistrate on the Upland Court.
  27. Magdalena Bauer mentioned her god-daughter Anna Rambo in her will, and this has been misinterpreted as granddaughter, starting with the Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, vol. 5. However the journal of Henry Muhlenberg, her pastor, described her as a “maiden lady of New Providence”, who was living at the time of her death with a good Reformed man and his Lutheran wife (Peter Rambo, son of Peter, and his wife Mary). (Rambo Family Tree, pp. 51-52)
  28. Rambo Family Tree, p. 48.
  29. Rambo Family Tree, p. 49-51.
  30. Rambo Family Tree, p. 54.
  31. Philadelphia County Wills, K.359.
  32. Rambo Family Tree, pp. 56-57.
  33. Jacob Lincoln’s father Abraham was a brother to Mordecai Lincoln of Chester County, the great-great grandfather of the president. The brothers Abraham and Mordecai were in the iron foundry business together. (Rambo Family Tree, vol. 2, p. 138).
  34. Rambo Family Tree, p. 56.
  35. Rambo Family Tree, p. 59.
  36. Philadelphia County Wills, F.36, quoted in Rambo Family Tree, p. 61-62.
  37. When did John die? He was apparently not named in the will, but Rambo Family Tree gives his death as about 1755.
  38. Her last name is unknown.
  39. Maria was the daughter of George Van Culen and Margaret Morton, and the granddaughter of the John and Annake Vanculin who had testified at the witchcraft trial of Margaret Mattson in January 1683. (Peter S. Craig, “Johan Grelsson and his Archer, Urian and Culin Descendants”, Swedish Colonial News, 2001, Vol. 2(5), online at: (accessed 2/9/2018).
  40. Charles Barker, “Historical gleanings south of Schuylkill, part 3”, in the Bulletin of the Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1945, vol. 5(1).
  41. Philadelphia County Wills J. 305, quoted in Rambo Family Tree, p. 64.

Peter Gunnarson Rambo and Britta Mattsdotter

Peter Gunnarson Rambo was one of the first Swedes to settle on the Delaware and he became one of the most prominent. He was born in 1612 in Hisingen, Sweden. Hisingen is an island formed by the Göta River, and is now part of the city of Gothenburg.1 His adopted surname of Rambo was probably based on a place, such as the mountain near Hisingen called the Ramberget. In early 1640, as a young man, he came on the Kalmar Nyckel.  The ship originally sailed in September 1639, but twice it sprang leaks and had to turn back for repairs. It finally started across the Atlantic in February of 1640. According to one account, “The journey was far from pleasant for the Swedish colonists. The Dutch master of the ship spent his time smoking and drinking with the Company factor. They showed their dislike of the Swedes by scolding and cursing them. Both men were contemptuous of the Lutheran religion, and extremely disrespectful toward Rev. Torkillus who was being sent to a post in New Sweden. However, the ship safely reached port in New Sweden on 17 Apr 1640.”2

The Swedish colony was established at a time when Sweden was a strong power in Europe, due to the success of King Gustavus Adolphus in battle. His daughter Christina supported the idea of a colony in America, and Peter Minuit (formerly the Director in New Amsterdam) agreed to lead it. The first shipload of colonists arrived in 1638, but Minuit was killed in a hurricane on the return voyage. After that blow the colony floundered. The authorities in Sweden were reluctant to support the colony with shiploads of people, animals, or goods. Swedes were not eager to leave their country for an unknown adventure in a new colony. Some colonists came as workers for the Swedish West India Company; others were sent as punishment for various infractions. Peter Rambo, who came as a worker for the Company, became a leader in the new colony.

In 1683 Peter gave a deposition in the boundary dispute with Lord Baltimore, in which he gave more detail about the settlement. He signed it with his mark.

“In the year 1638 Came into this Countrey …two shipps, Who anchored in Cristina Creek & Lay thee six weeks and three days, supplying themselves with wood and water only, Expecting that if any under the crown of england had any just pretensions to the adjacent Lands, they might then have an Opportunity to Claime. At the expirations of the saids six weeks and three days and no body Claiming nor hindering they went a shoare and built a fort. Theafter they agreed with the Susqauhanna Indians and bought from them as much of the Adjacent Lands as they could shoot over with a Cannon bullet from Cristina… In the year 1639, 10th March one of the abovesaid shipps returned with Peter Holland deputy Governor for the Sweeds, Peter Rambo, Andrees Bown, and several other Sweeds, who bought Land from an Indian kind Named Kekesikkun… These Antient Sweeds doe Certify respectively from the time of their arrivall.”3

Once in America Peter settled in as a farmer. He had signed on with the Swedish West India Company as a farm hand, probably for a term of four years. He received 10 guilders each month as his wages. In 1643 and 1644 he sent part of this home to his father Gunnar Peterson. He was listed in the 1644 roll list of the colonists, taken by Governor Johan Printz, as a farmer and tobacco grower.4

According to the recollections of his grandson, who met the Swedish traveler Peter Kalm in 1749, Peter had brought apple seeds, other garden seeds, rye and barley. According to Kalm, “His grandfather has prospered, so that Governor Penn had often lodged at this house; and when the English first came here it had been rather difficult for some of them, so that Rambo not only helped them as much as he could, but for ten years gave to everyone that came to him free food and lodging. The old man was very kind, but liked to drink a bit at times.”5

He became a free man when his contract expired in November 1644, and settled on his own farm near Cobbs Creek, Kingsessing, part of present-day Philadelphia. In April 1647 he married Brita Mattsdotter, from Vasa, Sweden and they started their family. She may have come over as a servant to Mäns Nilsson Kling, commander of the Swedish fort.6

Governor Johan Printz led the colony after Minuit was killed. Printz was a forceful leader and alienated many of the colonists. In July 1653 twenty-two freemen, including Peter Rambo, signed a bill of complaint against Printz. They charged that he had forbidden the colonists from grinding their own grain at the mill, forbidden them from trading directly with the Indians, that they did not feel secure in their life and property, and more. Printz was furious, had Anders Jönsson, one of the ringleaders hanged, and threatened others. There were limits to what he could do, since the signers were fully one quarter of the adult male population of New Sweden.7

In 1655 there was a confrontation between the Swedes and Dutch. The Dutch under Peter Stuyvesant, after years of jostling with the Swedes over trade on the South River, finally determined to oust them. They raised a fleet of ships and sailed around the cape and up the South River, arriving in early September. The Indians, who favored the Swedes over the Dutch because of better treatment, warned the Swedish governor, Johan Rising, who had succeeded Printz. Rising made what preparations he could with his outnumbered force. He gathered the most loyal men, including Peter Rambo, and had them travel by boat and canoe from their settlements to Fort Christina, the chief fortification of the colony. A few days later the Dutch arrived and surrounded the fort with troops and cannons.8

For two weeks there were negotiations back and forth. Peter Rambo was in the thick of these. On September 7, he was part of a group of Swedes who met with Stuyvesant. They asserted the Swedish claims to the country and that they would defend it to the last. Stuyvesant was unmoved. A week later, facing mutiny and illness within the fort, Rising capitulated. A treaty was signed, on favorable terms to the Swedes, allowing them to keep their land and property and to manage their own affairs under the sovereignty of the Netherlands.9

After this the colony settled into a period of stability. In May 1656 Peter Rambo was selected as a magistrate.  He served on the court (the only court in the state until the arrival of William Penn) for 29 years, under Swedish, Dutch and English rule. The court heard all civil and criminal cases, levied taxes, arranged for roads to be built and named county officials.10 It was effectively the local government. Along with men like Peter Cock and Sven Skute, Peter Rambo was one of its leaders.

Peter was on good terms with the local Indians, the Lenni Lenape, and may have learned some of their language.  In 1671 murders by two drunken Indians had aroused fears in the colony. The official William Tom reported to the Governor Lovelace in New York that the Indians wished to avoid retribution. At a council at Peter Rambo’s, Tom met with the sachems, who promised within six days to bring the murderers. They fulfilled their promise, and warned their young men to avoid a similar fate. As Tom wrote, “How to believe them we know not, but the sachems seem to desire no war.”11

The good relations with the Indians were maintained by many interactions where both sides asserted their desire for peace. In May 1675 the magistrates, including Peter, were present at a conference between Governor Andros and the sachems of both sides of the river.12

“… The names of the Chiefs were Renowewan of Sawkin on the Eastern side, Ipan Kickan of Rancokeskill, Kitmarius of Soupnapka, Manickty of Rancokestill heretofore all of N. Jersy side. The Govenor declares his desire to continue in friendship with them & his readiness to protect them, and thanks them for their coming down….They by Israel Helme the Interpreter expresse their rediness to continue in good friendship, and return their thanks to the Governor. …They are told they must not kick the beasts or swine belonging to the Christians and the Christians shall not doe them any injury, but justice shall be done as they might see today in the case of Jam[es] Sandylands.13

The first sachem rises up and walks up and down taking notice of his old Acquaintance P. Rambo and Peter Cock, Lansa Cock with C. Cantwell then taking a band of sewant, he measured it from his neck to the length downward and said his heart should bee so long and so great to the Gov. and the Christians and should never forget the Gov. so presents the belt of wampum, throwing it at the Gov. feet. … The Gov. presents them with four Coates and four lappeloathes. They return thanks and fall a kintacooying with expressions of thanks, singing kenon, kenon.”14

When William Penn got his charter for Pennsylvania from King Charles in 1681, he invited Quakers to immigrate to the new colony, where they would have freedom to worship without persecution. Thousands responded, buying land and coming over in the summer of 1682 and 1683. Many came with few goods and none of them came with enough food to sustain them through their first winter, until they could raise a crop the next summer.  The Swedes and Indians were invaluable to the Quakers, selling them food and animals. Swedes like Lasse Cock and Peter Rambo smoothed the dealings of the Quakers with the Indians. In July 1683, when Penn bought land in present-day Delaware County from the Indians, Peter Rambo witnessed the sale, and probably acted as interpreter.15 In 1683 a Quaker who lived near the Swedes in Kingsessing wrote that, “Most of the Sweads and Finns are ingenious people: they speak English, Swead, Finn, Dutch and the Indian.”16

On January 11, 1683, many prominent Swedes, including Peter and his son Gunnar, were naturalized as English citizens, to have full privileges for owning their land and serving in the Assembly.17  Penn appreciated the Swedes and added Peter Rambo to a list of prominent people he “saluted” in a letter from London in March 1685.18 In 1683, Peter’s son Gunnar was on the jury when Pennsylvania’s only witchcraft trial came up for trial. Margaret Matson was accused of being a witch, and tried before the Provincial Council, with Penn himself presiding. Various people told stories about how she was believed to bewitch cows. In her defense she pointed out that the evidence against her was hearsay. The jury returned a verdict that she was guilty of having the fame of a witch but not of witchcraft.19

In 1685 another court case struck closer to home for Peter and his family. His son John, youngest of his four sons, was sued by Bridget Cock and her father Peter for breach of promise and for ruining her reputation. He had opened a plank in the roof, jumped down into her bedroom, and stayed until morning. He promised to marry her, but did not. She bore his child, sued him again when he attempted to marry another woman, and forced him to marry her. They went on to have eleven children and moved to Gloucester County, New Jersey, where John served on the West Jersey Assembly. Emotions had run high in the trial. Bridget’s father Peter was fined for swearing at the court. This must have strained the relation between the Rambo and Cock families, in spite of the marriages between their children.

In 1693 Peter was an old man. It must have been a surprise to him to receive a letter from his sister back in Sweden, whom he had not seen in over 50 years. He immediately replied to her, in a letter that has been preserved in the Riksarkivet (Royal Archives) in Stockholm, along with letters written at the same time by his fellow colonists Charles Springer and Lars Cock.20 At the time when the letter was written, Peter was about 81 years old. His wife and third daughter were alive, but they died before he wrote his will on 3 Aug 1694.

“Highly honored Dear Sister: Greetings in God almighty! Your letter, dear Sister, came into my hands here the 23rd of May, dated Gothenburg, the 16th of November 1692. From this letter I understand your temporal condition. That you are still alive, God be praised; which makes me, my wife, and children glad at heart, that I might once again be permitted to hear of your condition and the Fatherland, before it pleases God to call me from this world.

“lnasmuch as I have also understood from your letter that you now, and for some years past, have lost your eyesight and hearing (which comes as a great blow for me to hear); and you write to me that I should support you with assistance in your poverty, which I should with all my heart to do, but there is now such discord, war, and naval warfare that there would be great doubt whether you should receive it or not. I have already sent you money several times, but I understand from your letter that you have received none of it.  Therefore I beg you, Dear Sister, to have patience until I can hear from you again, and safer conditions may be found for my letters and what I send you.

“Now what concerns my trade and conduct, and what my life has been here in this land. I have been here in this country 54 years last March. When I had been here for eight years I entered the state of holy matrimony with Britta Mattzdotter, who (God he praised) is still living. She also came from Sweden, from Vasa, whom I have lived with in harmony and love for forty-six years, and have had with her four daughters and four sons, but the one daughter when she was eight years old fell asleep in the Lord.  And so I have still four living sons and three living daughters. All are well provided for and live in plenty with their husbands, wives, and children, so that now from my lineage there are living thirty-seven souls of my children’s children.

“And I have served faithfully, both the Swedish regime, the Holland Dutch, and now the English. I also sat on the court for twenty-nine years, both in the Swedes’ and the Hollanders’ time; for the Dutch had a rule that no case should he decided at court unless the Swedes had their voice in it – but now I am old and can no longer endure that toil.

“Our nations also live faithfully with one another, both in harmony and affection. Our land is a very splendid fruitful land, so that we have no lack of anything on which the sustenance of our bodies and lives depends, for the nearby islands are fed by us with the land’s goods, with seed, flour, and beer. We have cause also to thank God that we live in harmony, affection, and faithfulness with the Indians, while the surrounding lands and neighbors have had great duress from the Indians; and I may truthfully say, that God has wonderfully preserved and shielded us and has shown a peculiar grace toward us in this heathenish land.

“Nothing more occurs to me to write this time, but my dear wife and children send greetings to you and all good friends who may or can be found living, hoping for and awaiting your reply by the first ship that can come. Commending you to the protection and care of God Almighty,

“Always remaining your most obedient brother until death,”

{Signed Petter Gunnarson Rambo}

He added a postscript to John Thelin, the postmaster in Gothenburg, thanking him for delivering the letter to his sister and for appealing to the Swedish King for books and ministers for the Church.

The early Swedish settlers brought their Lutheran faith with them to Pennsylvania. They built a log church on Tinicum Island, in the Delaware River, in 1646. The second church was built at Wicaco in 1677, now part of south Philadelphia. Later churches followed, including Gloria Dei, built in 1698, and Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, Delaware.21 The churches were the center of social life for these families for a hundred years – serving as the site for marriages, funerals and christenings. The Rambo family were supporters of the church. Peter’s son Peter served as church warden, and Peter himself asked to be buried in the churchyard.

Between 1669 and 1682 Peter acquired three large tracts of land and smaller tracts of marsh. He bought 300 acres in Passyunk in 1669, on the east side of the Schuylkill, and moved his family there from Kingsessing. He later added another 233 acres of adjoining land. He attempted to buy 250 acres in Wicaco in 1677, but a court later ruled that the Swansons held prior rights to the land. In 1682 Peter bought 625 acres in Gloucester County, West Jersey. These tracts went to his sons in his will.22

Peter’s wife Britta died in October 1693. They had been married for over 45 years. Peter then lived with his son Anders. Peter died in January 1698, at age 85.23 He and Britta were buried together at the church at Wicaco, now Gloria Dei.24 Peter left a will, proved in Philadelphia County in 1698. He named his six living children, four sons and two married daughters. He left land to three of the sons, and the remainder of his property to be shared equally by the six children.25 Besides his legacy of service as a citizen and magistrate, Peter and Britta left a substantial heritage in form of their numerous descendants.

Children of Peter and Britta:26

Gunnar, b. Jan 6 1648/49, d. 1724, m. in 1670 Anna Cock, daughter of Peter Cook and Margaret Lom. Lived in Shackamaxon. In 1685 served in the Pennsylvania Assembly. Supported Gloria Dei Church with contributions. Later moved to Upper Merion. He died in January 1724 at the age of 75. Anna died before him. Children: John, Peter, Gunnar, Anders, Måns, Brigitta, Gabriel, Matthias, Elias.

Gertrude, b. 1650, d. after 1705, m. in 1668 Anders Bengtsson; he had arrived in 1656 on the Mercurius; lived in Moyamensing; Anders was a church warden and lay reader at Wicaco, a Court justice and in the Assembly for three terms. Children: Children: Bengt, Anders, Peter, Catherine, John, Jacob, Brigitta, Daniel. Drowned in the Delaware River in 1705. His wife survived him. Descendants used the name Bankson or Bankston.27

Peter, b. 1653, d. 1729, m. Magdalena Skute, daughter of Sven Skute; Capt. Skute was chief military officer under the Swedish regime. In 1677 a warrant was issued to “Pelle Rambo” for 300 acres. In 1678 the land, called Ramsdorp, was surveyed from the Pennypack Creek  northeast along the Delaware.28 He died there in December 1729. Active in Gloria Dei Church, as a warden, assisting the minister, contributing for the building. Served in the Assembly for one term in 1709. His wife survived him. Children: Sven, Brigitta, Peter, Anders, Elias, Jacob, John.

Catherine, b. ab. 1655, m. in 1674 Peter Mattsson Dalbo, son of Matts Hansson.29Called Dalbo from his stepfather, Anders Larsson Dalbo. Owned land in Passyunk and on Little Mantua Creek, Gloucester County, NJ. Served in the NJ Assembly. He died in late 1699. She died after 1709. They were devoted to the church and two of their daughters married ministers. Children (surname Mattson): Brigitta, Elisabeth, Catherina, Maria, Peter, Matthias, Margaret, Johan, Jacob.

Anders, b. 1658, d. 1698, m. Maria Cock, daughter of Peter Larsson Cock and Margaret Lom. Anders died in 1698; his wife was living in April 1717. The heirs divided his 400-acre estate in Passyunk. Children: John, Anders, Peter, Brigitta, Maria, Martha.

John, b. 1661, buried 17 Oct 1741, m. Brigitta Cock, daughter of Peter Larsson Cock and Margaret Lom. In 1685 Brigitta and her father sued John for damages after she bore John’s child and he was unwilling to marry her. Faced with the court fine and the order to maintain the child, John married Brigitta, probably in 1686. They settled in Gloucester County, NJ on land given to John by his father. Brigitta died in 1726. John served in the West Jersey Assembly. In 1740, as an old man, he gave testimony in the boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland over the three lower counties. Brigitta died in 1726. Children: Brigitta, Catherine, Margaret, John, Peter, Maria, Elisabeth, Anders, Gabriel, Martha, Deborah.

a daughter who married Anders Nilsson Friend, son of Nils Larsson Fränd.30 Lived in Ridley Township, Chester County, then in New Castle County. The wife died between May 1693, when Peter wrote to his sister in Sweden, and August 1694, when he wrote his will. Anders married again, ended up on the Potomac in Virginia. He had children Israel, Charles and Mary (surname Friend), probably with his second wife Isabel, possibly a daughter of Israel Helm.

a daughter who died at the age of 8 years

  1. There is a plethora of source material for the Rambo family. The best source is the massive family tree compiled by Beverly Rambo, and supplemented by Ron Beatty, here called Rambo Family Tree. The several sections are available in published form and as downloads at (as of 2/6/18). The dean of Swedish researchers was the late Peter Stebbins Craig, with his series of articles on Swedish forefathers, originally published in Swedish Colonial News, as well his 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware, and 1671 Census of the Delaware. Many other sources exist, both original records and compiled histories: Craig Horle’s Lawmaking and Legislators in Pennsylvania, land records such as Philadelphia county deeds and the early Minutes of the Board of Property, wills and administrations, records of the Upland Court, histories of the Swedes such as Linn and Egle’s Dutch and Swedish Settlements, the work of Amandus Johnson, the diary of Peter Kalm, numerous published county, city and township histories.
  2. Amandus Johnson, Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664,  1915.
  3. A.R. Dunlap & C.A. Weslager, “More missing evidence: Two depositions by early Swedish settlers”, Penna. Magazine of History and Biography, 1967, vol. 91(1), now online at Notice that Peter is certifying some events that happened before he actually arrived.
  4. Rambo Family Tree, p. 8. Each of the pdf files starts with a biography of Peter Rambo. The page numbers given here are from volume 2.
  5. Peter Kalm, Travels in North America, 1966, Dover Publications, vol. 2, pp. 712-13.
  6. Rambo Family Tree, p. 10.
  7. Amandus Johnson, Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 1915, pp. 239-240.
  8. Amandus Johnson, Chapter VIII.
  9. Amandus Johnson, Chapter VIII.
  10. Rambo Family Tree, p. 13.
  11. George Smith, History of Delaware County, 1862.
  12. By now the Dutch had been ousted by the English, and Edmund Andros was governor of the English colonies from New England.
  13. James Sandilands was a prominent merchant of Upland, brought before the Upland Court on a charge of manslaughter in the case of the death of an Indian. Several days later he was let off with a fine. ( Edmund O’Callaghan, Calendar of Hist Mss in the office of the Secretary of State, Albany, 1865.) The case was tried at the house of Peter Rambo.
  14. New York Colonial Documents, Vol. XII, p. 523, reprinted in NJ Archives ,Series 1, Vol. 1, p. 182.
  15. Pennsylvania Archives, 1:1, pp. 65-66. Since Lasse Cock, the usual interpreter, was not present, either Rambo or Swan Swanson (the other English witness) must have interpreted.
  16. Peter Craig, 1693 Census of Swedes on the Delaware, 1993, p. 7.
  17. Papers of William Penn.
  18. By then Penn was back in England, contesting the boundary dispute with Lord Baltimore. Papers of William Penn, vol. 4.
  19. Minutes of the Provincial Council. Lasse Cock was the interpreter for some of the Swedes who did not speak English.
  20. Translated by Dr. Richard Hulan; published in Peter S. Craig, 1693 census of Swedes on the Delaware, 1993, pp. 161-62.
  21. Letter from Peter Craig to Ron Beatty, Rambo Family Tree, p. 18.
  22. Rambo Family Tree, p. 16-17.
  23. The dates are from four pages of death records from the old church book of Gloria Dei (now lost), copied before 1800 and filed with the papers of Amandus Johnson at the Balch Institute in Philadelphia. (Rambo Family Tree, p. 7)
  24. The location of their graves is unknown. The story that he is buried under the altar is probably untrue. See the page of rumors on the Rambo website (footnote 1).
  25. Philadelphia County Wills. The original is hard to read, but the Rambo Family Tree has a transcription on pages 18-19.
  26. The last two were not listed in Peter Craig, “Peter Gunnarsson Rambo”, Swedish Colonial News, Vol. 1(2), Fall 1990. Details of the children’s lives are from Craig, 1693 Census…, pp. 27-28, 33, 67, and the Rambo Family Tree, pp. 22-39.
  27. Peter Craig, 1693; Craig Horle, Lawmaking and Legislators in PA, vol. 1, as Andrew Bankson.
  28. Joseph Martindale, History of Byberry and Moreland.
  29. Matts Hansson signed the 1653 protest against Governor Printz and afterwards fled toward Maryland, but was killed by Indians who were acting for the Swedish authorities. His widow Margaret married Anders Larsson Dalbo. (Craig, 1993, pp. 66-67.)
  30. Peter Craig decided on this marriage between 1993, when it was not listed in his 1693 Census of Swedes on the Delaware, and 1997, when he wrote about it in a letter to Ron Beatty. (Rambo Family Tree, p. 66).

Peter Larsson Cock and Margaret Lom

Peter Larsson Cock and Margaret Lom were early settlers in New Sweden, and founders of a large family. Peter was born at Bångsta, Turinge parish, in 1610.1 In 1641 he was sent to New Sweden as a punishment. Many of the early colonists had been convicted of minor crimes such as poaching; we do not know what Peter did to deserve being deported. It could not have been too serious, since he apparently received payment of 2 dalers for food and clothing. Peter got his surname from serving as a cook on the Charitas on the voyage.2

In 1643 he married Margaret Lom, one of the seven daughters of Måns Lom and his wife Anna Petersdotter. Margaret and her family had also come over on the Charitas, on the same trip.3 Peter and Margaret lived on two islands at the mouth of the Schuykill, later known as Fisher’s Island and Carpenter’s Island. His plantation there was called “Kipha”. A farmer, like almost all of the Swedes, he became relatively prosperous by the standards of the time.

He served on the court of justice under the Swedes, Dutch, and English. He was a magistrate under Dutch rule, a justice under the English, and a councillor under the Duke of York.4

In 1653 Governor Johan Printz accused Peter of illegally selling guns to the Indians. A jury found him innocent, but Printz nevertheless sentenced him to three months of hard labor. This was one of the grievances of the freemen against Printz in the protest of 1653.5 His name does not appear in the dramatic events of 1655 when the Dutch fleet arrived from New Amsterdam to take over the colony, led by Peter Stuyvesant. As a law-abiding  and loyal Swede, he must have been in the fort with the other adult men, ready to fight if necessary. Margaret would have been at home with four small children under ten years. In the end the Swedes capitulated, the Dutch sailed away, and life continued as usual, except that Peter was now a magistrate for the Dutch court.6

The Dutch allowed the Swedes to keep their property and hold their court. But in 1658, Stuyvesant grew concerned about reports of fraud and smuggling. He visited the South River himself to meet with the magistrates including Peter Cock, Peter Rambo and Olof Stille. Stuyvesant appointed a vice-director to watch over the business of the Dutch West India Company; this probably made little difference to the law-abiding farmers.7 In 1664 the Dutch themselves were ousted from the colony, when the English took over. In the South River this was a formality. The Swedes again kept their property, but now they were under the rule of the Duke of York and his appointed governors. Peter Cock was still on the court, now a justice.

In the fall of 1669 Peter was deeply involved in an insurrection of the Swedes against the English; however he took the side of the English, as did most of the more prosperous Swedes. A man appeared in the colony and claimed to be a member of the noble Konigsmark family. He went among the Swedes and Finns and made speeches urging them to throw off the rule of the English. Peter Cock played a part in the downfall of this rebel.

“A large proportion of the Swedish colonists let themselves be persuaded, and concealed the alleged Konigsmark in the Colony a long time, that no one might learn about his presence. They carried the best food and drink they had to him, so that he lived exceedingly well, and what is more, they went to Philadelphia and bought powder, bullets, lead, etc .to be ready at the first signal. He had the Swedes called together to a supper, and after the drinks had been passed he exhorted them to throw off the old rule, reminded them of what they had suffered, and finally asked them whether they sympathized with the King of Sweden or the King of England. A few declared themselves at for the Swedish ruler, but Peter Kock pointed out that since the land was English and the settlement had been duly ceded to the English crown he ought to support the English sovereign. Thereupon he ran out, slammed the door, and braced himself in front of it so that the alleged Konigsmark could not get away, and called for help to arrest him. The imposter tried to force open the door, and Kock stabbed his hand with a knife; though the swindler got away [temporarily]. But Kock reported the matter to the English, who out and made the alleged Konigsmark a prisoner. Captain Kock then demanded his real name, for, he said, “We can see that you are not of noble blood.” He then admitted that his name was Marcus Jacobson. He was so ignorant that he could neither read nor write. After being branded, he was sold in the Barbados as a slave. The Swedes who had sided with him lost half of what they own – land, cattle, clothes and other goods.”8

The next crisis in which Peter played a part was two years later, in the fall of 1671, when there was talk of war against the Indians, in reprisal for the murder of two Dutch men on Matiniconck Island. A Council met at Peter’s house to decide on their position.9 Peter Cock, Peter Rambo and the other magistrates decided that war was inevitable, “there must upon necessity a warr in the spring”, but that it should not be started until then. William Tom, the high sheriff, wrote the letter laying out their reasons.”

“The Result And Reasons Of The Magistrates Of Delaware Against Declaring War Against The Indian Murderers. … The Indyans not bringing in the Murtherers according to their promise I went up with Mr Aldrichs to Pieter Cocks and there called the Raedt (Council) together to informe your honor what wee thinke most for or preservacon and defence of the river.

First wee thinke that att this time of the yeare itt is to late to begin a warr against the Indyans, the hay for our beasts not being to be brought to any place of safety and so for want of hay wee must see them starve before our faces: the next yeare we can cutt it more convenient.

2nd our corne not being thrashed or ground wee must starve for want of provisions which this winter we can grind and lay up in places of safety.

3rd that there must upon necessity a warr in the spring and by that time we shall make so much as we can preparacon but wayte from yr honor assistance of men ammunition and salt.

4thly wee intend to make Townes att Passayuncke, Tinnaconck, Upland, Verdrieties Hoocke, whereto the outplantacons must retire.

5thly we thinke that your honor’s advice for a frontier about Mattinacunck Island is very good and likewise another at Wicaquake for the defence whereof your honor must send men.”

It was signed by Peter Cock and Peter Rambo, both by mark, and others.10

This crisis blew over and there was no war the next spring. However relations with the Indians were always tinged with fear. In 1675 there were rumors that the Indians had killed two Englishmen and Governor Andros called a conference between the magistrates and the Indians to calm the situation. They met on May 13, 1675 at New Castle, with Israel Helm, Lasse Cock, Peter Cock, and Peter Rambo among the group of English. The Indians were a group of four sachems from both sides of the Delaware. The governor assured them, with Israel Helm translating, of his desire for friendship and thanked them for coming. The first sachem stood up and took notice of his old acquaintances Peter Cock and Peter Rambo. He presented a large belt of wampum to the governor, who reciprocated with gifts of four coats. The calm approach of Andros defused the situation.11

Peter Cock stayed on the court, as it met in Upland (present-day Chester). In April 1678, in a typical meeting, the court met at his house. They paid out money to Peter Rambo for the court’s accommodations (probably food). They paid a bounty for wolves’ heads brought in. They paid the salary of Sheriff Cantwell, and heard actions of debt over money not paid for tobacco and corn and wheat and oxen. 12 After the Quakers arrived in 1682 and 1683, the Swedes were very helpful to them, in selling food, translating between the English and the Swedes, acting as intermediaries with the Indians. In one meeting, in June 1683, several Indian sachems sold the land later to be Byberry and Moreland to Penn. They exchanged the land “between Pemmapecka and Nesheminck Creek”  for “Wampum,…guns, shoes, stockings, Looking-glasses, Blankets and other goods, as ye said William Penn shall be pleased to give unto us.” Lasse and Peter Cock were both witnesses.13

Peter Cock served William Penn in another way, one that was critical for the province. When Penn’s commissioners needed to buy land to lay out the city of Philadelphia, the Swanson family and Peter Cock owned the bulk of the land they needed. “The Commissioners had power from Penn, in case they found the site they might pitch upon already occupied, to use their best endeavors to persuade the occupants to give up their claim. They accordingly offered Cock and the Swansons larger tracts of land elsewhere in lieu of their present possessions. The plan was entirely successful.” 14 The Swansons were granted a tract of 600 acres and  Peter Cock got 200 acres, both laid out north of the city in the Liberties.15

By now Peter Cock was an old man, in the last few years of his life. He almost disappears from the public records, as his son Lasse followed him as a magistrate and leader among the Swedes. We only see one more glimpse of Peter and it is not a happy one, rather an event that must have been traumatic for his family.

In October 1685, Peter and his daughter Bridget sued  John Rambo for breach of promise and for ruining Bridget’s reputation. The court testimony was sensational. Bridget’s sister Catherine said that one winter night she heard a noise about midnight, and a plank opened and John Rambo jumped down into the room and then came into the bed where she was with her two sisters. It was pitch dark but they recognized him by his voice. He jumped into the bed. There was no room so Catherine and Margaret got out of the bed and left Bridget there, and they lay on the floor until daybreak. John asked Bridgett if she would have him. She answered no at first and then when he asked her again she said yes. He swore “the devil take him if he would not marry her”. And in the morning he heaved himself out of the bed and left.

A friend testified that when Andrew Rambo was married to Peter Cock’s other daughter, he heard John Rambo, between the dwelling house and cow house, about midnight, say to Bridgett Cock, “God damme me my brother hath gott one sister and I will marrie tother.” Lasse Cock, Bridget’s brother, deposed that about the end of February last, his sister Bridget went to the mill with corn, and they saw John Rambo. Bridget said, “John Rambo you are going to cheat me”, and he answered “God damme me I shall never marrie another woman but you.” The jury found Rambo guilty. Bridget’s father Peter was fined five shillings for swearing in court.

But it did not work out quite as smoothly as that. A year later they were back in court. In the meantime Bridget had borne a child, which John refused to maintain, and he was trying to marry another woman. Bridget sued him for 150 pounds damages. He claimed that he never offered to marry her. She produced the records of the earlier court.16 It would seem a cut-and-dry case in her favor. But Lawrence Hiddings, a neighbor of the Cock family in Kingsessing, testified that Bridget had refused to let John have the child when he offered to maintain it, she saying that it was more than he was able to do and that he did not have a nurse ready. The  jury found for him.17 But in the end John decided to marry Bridget. They went on to have eleven children, and moved to Gloucester County, New Jersey, where he served on the Assembly and on the Court.

In 1693 Lars Cock, oldest son of Peter and Margaret, wrote a letter to his uncle Måns in Stockholm. It has been preserved and almost serves as an obituary for Peter.18

“… In the first place, what pertains to my late father: He came out here to the country of New Sweden, sent by his Royal Majesty to settle the land with the others, his countrymen; which he also did honorably for the high authorities. My late father was selected as a president [justice] in New Sweden which he did with the greatest loyalty; and during the Holland Dutch regime he was also a president on the court; and in the English regime’s time likewise. My late father was always in advice and counsel with them. My late father, after he had been in this country one year and a half, gave himself into the state of holy matrimony and had with his dear wife thirteen children whereof now, God be praised, six sons and six daughters are living, all well provided for with wives and husbands, so that of all my late father’s lineage in the first degree, that is children and grandchildren, there are living seventy-one souls; and in the year 1687, the 10th of November, my dear father fell asleep, in the name of the Lord, at a good age, leaving after him my dear mother… If my uncle Mouns Larsson is dead, or the other brothers of my father, then I hope that their children or grandchildren may be alive, that I may receive a gladdening answer to this my letter. They lived at Bängsta hamlet in Södermanland. My father’s father’s name was Lars Persson. He lived at the same hamlet. Now … praying that you direct your letter to Gothenburg to His Royal Majesty’s Postmaster, Johan Thelin, and he shall certainly have it delivered. And we live at Passayongh on the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. Commending you together with our whole family to the almighty, and under his gracious protection, and will ever be found your most obedient, Lars Persson Cock

P.S. When you write a reply to me, write to me thus, “Lars Persson Cock”. Since we were living here among foreign nations, my late father took that surname so that we and others could be distinguished from one another.

Dated and written at Pennsylvania on Delaware River, the 31st of May 1693.”

Peter wrote his will in June 1687. He wrote it at his island plantation, which he called Kipha. He left all his estate to his wife Margaret, and after her death to his twelve children, six daughters and six sons. All the children were to share equally, except that Gabriel was to have the island and £30 in consideration of his care for Peter and Margaret. The island of Kipha was to be kept, if possible, in the family forever. He signed it with his mark. All six of his sons witnessed it: Lasse, Eric, Mounce, John, Peter, and Gabriel, in addition to two sons-in-law, Gunnar Rambo and Robert Longshore.19 Peter died on November 10, 1687, but the will was not proved until the next March.

The inventory of the estate was taken in March 1688/9 by two of the sons, and showed substantial wealth for the time. In addition to his great coat, two pairs of breeches and five shirts, Peter and Margaret owned five beds with their bolsters and pillows, brass hanging candles and candlesticks, pewter porrigers, pots and plates, funnels, bottles, pots, farm implements like cow bells and plow irons, a large copper still, tubs, forms, boards, dripping pan, Bible, large German book, steers, young oxen, young bulls, hogs and sows, ewes and lambs. The total value came to almost £200, not counting the value of the plantation, which was another £255.20

After he died Margaret probably stayed in the house, as Peter wished, although all of her children were married by about 1691.21 She outlived Peter by about fifteen years. She did not leave a will; administration was granted to her son Gabriel on February 13, 1702/03.22 The inventory was taken the same week. The substantial list of goods suggests a comfortable life. She owned four feather beds, pillows, bolsters, coverlets, blankets, sheets, table cloths, pillow cases, towels, a looking glass, butter churn, pestle and mortar, candlesticks, iron kettles and pots, brass kettles, iron, yearlings, horses, sheep, swine.

It is not known whether Peter and Margaret are buried on their island or at Gloria Dei.

Their children intermarried with other prominent families such as Rambo and Helm.

Children of Peter and Margaret:23

Lars (Lasse), b. 1646, d. 1699, m. Martha Ashman in 1669. Lars, known as Lasse or Lassey, was a prominent figure in the early records. He served as an interpreter for sales of land from the Indians, and on court cases involving Swedes. In 1682 he took a message from the Swedes to Penn that they would serve him as good citizens.24 He interpreted in 1683 for the witchcraft trial of Margaret Mattson before the Provincial Council.25 He was elected to the Assembly in 1681. In 1677 he was one of a group of Swedes who petitioned Governor Andros for land in present-day Bucks County where they could lay out a town and settle together. This was denied because the land had not yet been purchased from the Indians. 26 Instead Lasse and Martha settled at Passyunk, where he died in October 1699. He wrote a will, naming his wife Martha and children Peter, John, Andreas, Catherine, Robert, Mouns, Lawrence, Gabriel, Margaret, and Deborah.27 Martha was still living in 1724.28

Eric, b. ab. 1650, d. 1701, m. Elizabeth, daughter of Olof Philipsson (a Finn), moved to Gloucester County, New Jersey, where he died in 1701. Elizabeth died in 1735. Children: Peter, John, Lars, Olof, Helena, Margaret, Anna, Maria, Eric.29

Anna, b. about 1652, d. before 1722, m. Gunnar Rambo, son of Peter and Britta, moved to Upper Merion on the Schuylkill. Anna died before Gunnar. He died in 1724. Children: John, Peter, Gunnar, Anders, Måns, Brigitta, Gabriel, Matthias, Elias.

Måns, b. ab. 1654, d. after 1720, m. Gunilla, daughter of Jonas Nilsson. Måns was an Indian trader. By 1697 they moved to Senamensing, Burlington County, then to Gloucester County. They were in frequent litigation in the Burlington Court. In 1705 he was found guilty of shooting the horse of Elias Toy and fined £10.30 In 1720 he pledged money for the church at Raccoon Creek.31 Children: Margaret, Peter, Jonas, Helena, Gabriel, Maria, Catherine.32

John, b. 1656, d. 1713, m. Brigitta, daughter of Nils Larsson Frände. They lived in Passyunk until 1700, then moved to St. George’s Creek, New Castle County. He died in 1713; she was still alive in 1720. Children: Peter, Catherine, Charles, Magnus, Anna, Maria, John, Augustine, Elias.33 In 1685 John admitted to stealing a sow from Harman op den Graeff and was fined £9 plus costs of suit.34

Peter, b. 1658, d. 1708, m. Helena, daughter of Israel Helm. He was a church warden of Gloria Dei. They lived in Passyunk where he died in 1708. Children: Maria, Helena, Peter, Margaret, Israel, Måns, Catherine, Deborah, Susannah.35

Magdalena, b. 1659, d. after 1723, m. Anders Petersson Longacre in 1681. Anders inherited his father’s farm at Syamensing. Children: Peter, Anders, Margaret, Helena, Maria, Catherine, Gabriel, Anna, Magdalena, Britta. He died in 1718; Magdalena was still alive in 1722.36

Maria, b. 1661, d. after 1717, m. Anders Rambo, son of Peter and Britta. They lived in Passyunk, where he died in 1698. Maria was still living in 1717. Children: John, Anders, Peter, Brigitta, Maria, Martha.37

Gabriel, b. 1663, d. after 1714, m. Maria, daughter of Nils Larsson Frände. Gabriel inherited the island from his parents, but sold it in 1714 and moved his family to St. George’s Creek, New Castle County, to live with the family of Maria’s widowed sister Brigitta. Children: Peter, Gabriel, Rebecca, Margaret, David, Anna, Ephraim, possibly two others.38

Brigitta, b. 1665, d. 1726, m. John Rambo, son of Peter and Britta. Brigitta and John had a tempestuous courtship. John climbed into the garret of the Cock family house around December 1684 and stayed with Brigitta all night. She became pregnant and took him to court, twice, before he finally married her around 1686. They moved to Gloucester County, to land from John’s father. John served on the Gloucester County Court and on the West Jersey Assembly. Brigitta died in 1726; he died in 1741. Children: Brigitta, Catherine, Margaret, John, Peter, Maria, Elisabeth, Anders, Gabriel, Martha, Deborah.39

Margaret, b. 1667, d. 1701, m. 1) Robert Longshore probably in 1687, 2) Thomas Jenner in 1696. Robert Longshore was an Englishman, a deputy surveyor for Penn. He and Margaret had two children, Euclid and Alice, before Robert died in the spring of 1695. The next year Margaret married Thomas Jenner, a carpenter and another Englishman. They had a daughter Maria. He died before October 1701, when Margaret wrote her will, dying soon after. She left her land in Kingsessing to Euclid.40

Catherine, b. 1669, d. 1748, m. Bengt Bengtsson. He was active at Gloria Dei for years. He died in Moyamensing by 1748. Children: Daniel, Peter, Jacob, Maria.41

  1. Rambo Family Tree, p. 14, by Beverly Rambo with additions by Ron Beatty, available in published form and as downloads at (as of 2/6/18). (The page numbers here refer to volume 2.) The other standard source for the life of Peter Cock is by Peter Stebbins Craig, “Peter Larsson Cock (Cox)”, Swedish Colonial News, 1990, vol. 1(1), no longer on the web except through the Internet Archive.
  2. Craig, 1990.
  3. Craig, 1990.
  4. “Officers of the Dutch on the Delaware”, in Pennsylvania Archives, series 2, volumes 8 and 9, ed. by Linn & Egle.
  5. Peter Craig, 1693 census of Swedes on the Delaware, 1993, p. 29.
  6. Amandus Johnson, Swedish Settlements on the Delaware, 1915, Chapter VIII.
  7. George Smith, History of Delaware County, 1862, pp. 73-74, taken from colonial records.
  8. Peter S. Craig, Colonial Records of Swedish Churches, vol 1, 2006.
  9. Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, vol. 8, Papers relating to the Dutch and Swedish settlements on the Delaware River, p. 756. Note that this letter is out of sequence, and properly belongs with documents on pp. 741 through 744.
  10. PA Archives, 2(8), p. 756. Spelling modernized slightly for readability.
  11. PA Archives, 2(8), p. 768.
  12. Upland Court Records 1676 to 1681, 1959, available online.
  13. Joseph Martindale, History of Byberry and Moreland, pp. 17-18. See other records of land sales in the PA Archive, 1:1.
  14. Lawrence Lewis, Essay on original land titles in Philadelphia, 1880.
  15. Minutes of the Board of Property, 3rd mo 15 1704. In 1698 Peter’s sons Lasse and Eric conveyed that land to their sister Margaret as her portion of the estate.
  16. She also produced the records of an ecclesiastical court held at Wicaco in July 1686, which forbade John to publish the banns of marriage with Anneke Vanderslice until he made sufficient satisfaction to Bridget. (Samuel Pennypacker, Pennsylvania Colonial Cases, 1892, pp. 79-84, 112-114.)
  17. Pennypacker.
  18. Peter Craig, 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware, 1993.
  19. Philadelphia County Wills, Book A, page 126. Indexed as 1688, 56.
  20. Philadelphia County estate papers, included with the will.
  21. Exact marriage dates are not known for them, since the early records of Gloria Dei at Wicaco were not preserved, but the children are generally supposed to be married between 1669 and 1687, with only one (the youngest daughter Catherine) after that. (Peter Craig, 1990, in which he gives estimated marriage dates).
  22. Philadelphia County estates, Administration Book B, vol. 20.
  23. The best source for the capsule biographies of this generation is Peter S. Craig, The 1693 Census of Swedes on the Delaware, 1993. He used an extensive variety of sources to identify the Swedes in a list made in 1663 by Charles Springer and sent in a letter to Johan Thelin, postmaster at Gothenburg, as part of a request for his assistance in sending ministers and materials to the Swedes on the Delaware. (Craig, 1993, pp. 15-17)
  24. Samuel Hazard, Annals of Pennsylvania starting 1609, 1850, pp. 614-15.
  25. Minutes of the Provincial Council.
  26. Upland Court Records; W. W. H. Davis, History of Bucks County, 1876. Lasse’s brothers Mounce, Eric and Peter also petitioned, along with his brother-in-law Gunnar Rambo.
  27. Philadelphia County Wills, Book B, p. 28.
  28. Craig, 1993, p. 29-30.
  29. Craig, 1993, p. 30
  30. Burlington Court Book, p. 298.
  31. Craig, 1993, p. 30.
  32. Craig, 1993, p. 30.
  33. Craig, 1993, p. 31.
  34. Samuel Pennypacker, Pennsylvania Colonial Cases, 1892, pp. 76, 84-86. This is an odd incident, since Harman lived in Germantown, far from Passyunk.
  35. Craig, 1993, p. 31.
  36. Craig, 1993, p. 42.
  37. Craig, 1993, p. 28.
  38. Craig, 1993, p. 31.
  39. Craig, 1993, p. 27
  40. Craig, 1993, p. 57. Her will was contested and the estate packet has pages of testimony about its validity. (Phila County Wills B.129.)
  41. Craig, 1993, p. 52.