1852 Swedish congregation of the M. E. church

The first formalized Swedish congregation in our area was organized in November 1852 within the Methodist Episcopal church of Jamestown by Rev. Olof G. Hedstrom.  This Swedish congregation was served by the Swedish Mission of the Erie Conference under the organization of the Jamestown church.  Its first minister was Rev. Olof Hamren who arrived in June 1853.

Local histories indicate that the impetus for organizing the congregation came from Rev. Hedstrom's first trip to Jamestown in June 1851.  That meeting was led by Hedstrom at Samuel Johnson's house on Barrow Street in Jamestown, at the base of what would become known as Swede Hill. Nearly all accounts note that there were twelve attendees but no further details have been found. Aside from the inferred attendance of Samuel Johnson and his wife, no other Swedes have been identified for this preliminary meeting (see M. Lorimer Moe, 1983: 19).

At the same time, Rev. Hedstrom was working with the informal congregation in Sugar Grove (Chandlers Valley). That group was very likely led by the couple who were the first settlers and who donated the land for a cemetery and church site:  Germund and Catherine Johnson. No documents from this congregation have yet been discovered.

Lists of founding members of the Jamestown congregation

The November 1852 meeting was held in the basement of the M. E. Church in  Jamestown. Historical accounts typically note that there were twelve attendees. No primary sources have been found that would provide documentation of this early congregation.  A membership list from 1868 provides incomplete documentation fifteen years later. In its stead, this list is based on compiling lists from secondary sources and the 1868 membership list.

Membership list. Swedish Mission, Methodist Episcopal Church, Jamestown, New York. Record Book, Vol 2 (1868-1874), not paginated. 

1868 Membership List (founding members were received by O.G. Hedstrom)
Note:  original spelling retained.

Samul Janson
Louisa Janson
Andrew Petterson    dead
Anna S. Petterson    (now Hultquist)
Joseph Lindqvist      Levant, NY
Sophia Lindqvist
Nils J. Swanson
Bingta Svenson
Jan Larson                 Fruwsburg, NY
Clara J. Larson         (received by B.A. Carlson 3 Sep 1867)
Isral Isralson
Anna C Isralson
Anders Svenson         Fruwsburg, NY
Carolina Svenson       received by S. B. Newman
Ann M. Jonson

M. Lorimer Moe.  Saga From the Hills, A History of the Swedes of Jamestown.  1983, p 19.

Father Johnson was assisted in these services by a John Larson and Andrew P. Peterson.  These three men and eight other persons became charter members of the church.  The others were:  Father Johnson's wife, Louise; Peterson's wife, Anna Stina, Nels Johan Swenson; Israel and Anna C. Israelson; John Ellickson; Mrs. Carolina Swenson and Anna Sjöstrand.

Helena M. Stonehouse. One Hundred and Forty Years of Methodism in the Jamestown, N.Y. Area. 1954,  p. 107-108.

On this visit [June 1851] of Pastor Hedstrom's, he conducted the first prayer service in Swedish held in Jamestown at the home of Samuel Johanson Sjostrand on Barrows Street.  There were only twelve persons present, but it was a rewarding service, for Samuel Johanson Sjostrand was converted.  He joined the M. E. Church at once, was licensed as an exhorter and securing the use of the basement of that church for meetings, he became the class leader for his Swedish brethren.  ...On a return trip to Chicago in November, 1852, Pastor Hedstrom again visited Jamestown and in the basement of the "American" M. E. Church, he organized the Swedish M.E. Church with a membership of twelve, which in two years increased to thirty-seven...Two other names are associated with this early church group -- John Larson and Andrew P. Peterson.

Source:  “Swedish M. E. Church. Prepares to Observe Its 80th Anniversary” Jamestown Evening Journal, Nov 15, 1932, p 10.

“The following were charter members: Mr. and Mrs. Samuel J. Sjostrand. Mr, and Mrs. Andrew Peterson. John Larson, Nels Johan Swenson, Mr. and Mrs. Israel lsraelson, John Larson.
John Ellickson, Mrs. Carolina Swenson and Anna Sjostrand. As far as is known these people are all dead.”

Composite List of early members

This listing is incomplete and not determinate, by which I mean that many Swedes likely moved from Methodist to Lutheran and vice versa.  Also, Swedes moved out and into "English" congregations.

1849.026Samuel Johnson1 Apr1815Lönneberga Lönneberga aka Samuel Sjöstrand and Father Johnson. Tanner. He was the first Swedish settler in Jamestown.
1852.077Andrew P. Peterson27 Feb 1814Lönneberga Karlstorp
1852.244John Lawson9 Feb 1825KarlstorpLönneberga Brother-in-law (ex) of Samuel Johnson
1850.004Mrs. Samuel (Louisa) Johnson3 Oct 1823VimmerbySödra Vi
1852.078Mrs. Andrew P. (Anna Stina) Peterson22 Oct 1819KarlstorpKarlstorp
1852.182Nels J. Swanson9 Sep 1822UnknownUnknown
1852.183Mrs. Nels J. (Mary) Swanson20 Sep 1827UnknownUnknown
1851.160Mrs. Israel (Anna C.) Israelson31 Aug 1814MörlundaMörlundaShe was a widow in 1852. She married her brother-in-law in 1853 when he arrived from Sweden.
1852.186John P. Lawson26 Aug 1834MörlundaMörlundaHe arrived in the summer of 1852, a year after his mother and siblings.
Pre-1865 Members - Rev. Olof G. Hedstrom (1852-1853)
1853.011Israel Israelson9 Jan 1812MörlundaGårdvedaHe arrived in November 1853 after a horrendous voyage aboard th SAGADAHOCK where about 60 Swedes died from cholera.
1852.105Joseph Lindquist9 Dec 1815KölingaredKölingared
1852.106Mrs. Joseph (Sophia) Lindquist10 Mar 1827KölingaredKölingared
1850.041John Lake20 Dec 1807KråkshultHässleby
Jonas Sjö family, resides in Wrightsville. Jan 1, 1853 (1868 Membership List).
i0427Mrs. John (Sarah) Lake1826--
1850.044John M. Lake15 Oct 1836HässlebyHässleby
1852.197Mrs. John M. (Louise) Lake19 Mar 1845Norra ViNorra Vi
1852.194Charles Anderson21 Oct 1814Norra ViNorra Vi
Carl and Britta M. Anderson, resides in Wrightsville. Jan 1, 1853 (1868 Membership List) Parents of Mrs. John M. (Louise) Lake.
1852.195Mrs. Charles (Betty) Anderson21 Oct 1814Norra ViNorra Vi
1851.010Andrew Swanson27 Aug 1812TjärstadSödra Vi
Anders and Carolina Swanson, Frewsburg, Class 5.
1851.011Mrs. Andrew (Albertina) Swanson1 Dec 1824Södra Vi Södra Vi
Pre-1865 Members - Rev. Olof Hamren (1853-1854)
"At year end July 1854, he reported 20 full association and 25 on trial" (Witting, 1902: 268)
Pre-1865 Members - Rev. Jacob Bredberg (1855-1858)
Pre-1865 Members - Rev. Sven B. Newman (1859-1866)
1851.193Charles F. Londquist1 May 1825AsbyNorrköping
Carl and Maria Lundqvist, Frewsburg, Class 5. Also in Lutheran congregation list: Jamestown, Family No. 25
1852.150Mrs Charles F. (Mary) Londquist25 Jul 1832AsbyTorpa
1851.088Elias Sanbury18 Feb 1812HässlebyVena
Elias and Lotta Sundberg, Busti, Class 2. Also in Lutheran congregation list: Sugar Grove, Family No. 41
1851.089Mrs. Elias (Charlotte C.) Sanbury20 Jun 1822HässlebyVena
1852.251John P. Ellickson18 Aug 1830MörlundaMörlundaJohn Erikson, Bakers, NY (? Baker Street)
i0905Marcus Jacobsen23 Jun 1834Bornholm, DKBornholm, DK
Marcus and Sophia Jacobson, Class 2. She was the daughter of Anna C. Israelson and the sister of John P. Lawson
1851.162Mrs. Marcus (Sophia) Jacobsen25 Oct 1839MörlundaMörlunda
1852.097John Frank14 Jul 1817IngatorpMålillaClass 2
1852.022Mrs. John (Louise) Frank15 Jul 1825MålillaLönneberga Class 2
i2985Mrs. George (Betsy) Arnold1823--Bety Arnold, On the P. Road, Class 4
i2974Louise Cedarburg1835--Lovisa Sederburg, Dead. Class 2. Died 10 April 1869
Anna M. JonsonFrewsburg, Class 5.
Maria JohnsonFrewsburg, Class 5
Pre-1865 Members (Date Unknown)
i0525Frank Jones27 Apr 1832MålillaMålilla
 "I lived to begin with brother Frank Jones, but then we were given a small private home - I and my dear wife Erika." S.B. Newman, Sjelfbiografi, p 176-178. Translation by John Everett Jones. The title "brother" strongly suggests that Frank Jones was a Methodist. Frank Jones's older brother, Charles (Klang) Jones [1852.055] was a founding member of the Lutheran Church in Jamestown.
1851.057Mrs. Frank (Helen) Jones17 Nov 1834Lönneberga Lönneberga 

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