"The story of the peopling of America has not yet been written. We do not understand ourselves," complained Frederick Jackson Turner in 1891.1 Subsequent immigration history contributed to national self-understanding. A century later, historians of the Church, as well as of the nation, have turned their attention to a second chapter in the half-told tale of the peopling of America. They have begun to concentrate on the story of the regrouping of citizens along racial, ethnic, and religious lines. The cultural explosion of ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s called on historians to attend to the long- neglected history of African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. At the same time, late twentieth-century historians began to reassess their treatment of "older ethnics," the Germans, the Irish, the Italians, and the Swedes, to name only a few. Though these groups have been more or less assimilated in the mainstream of American culture and religion, the full story of their role was often untold in midcentury texts, which stressed white, Protestant, mainline churches as normative. Henry C. Whyman's study of the Hedstroms and the Bethel Ship saga contributes to the rediscovery of the rich diversity of American religious history.
Although the first Swedes settled in Delaware in 1638 shortly after the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, they did not come to North America in great numbers until two hundred years later. Between 1840 and 1940 about 1.25 million Swedes emigrated. Although most of the newcomers settled in the Midwest and kept their Lutheran faith, a New York-based Methodist pastor played a crucial role in Swedish