The Hedstroms and the Bethel Ship Saga: Methodist Influence on Swedish Religious Life

By Henry C. Whyman; Kenneth E. Rowe | Go to book overview

9
Jonas Hedstrom Migrates West

More Swedish immigrants settled in Illinois between 1845 and 1880 than in any other state in the Union. With those arriving in 1880, the scale for the first time was tipped in favor of Minnesota. The earlier pattern of Swedish immigrant settlement must be attributed to the presence in Illinois of Jonas Hedstrom. Oliver A. Lindner, a contributing editor of the four-volume Swedish Element in America, has written:

Group after group of Swedish immigrants arrived at New York where they were first met by the elder Hedstrom, and with his knowledge of conditions in Illinois, acquired through his brother, he was in a position to recommend that region as a desirable place of settlement. And to those who followed his advice, Jonas Hedstrom at all times stood ready to offer assistance of all kinds. . . . And thus large numbers of Swedish immigrants came all the way from New York to Illinois, although tracts of good land were to be had much nearer. To the brothers Hedstrom there is due no small share of credit for the continued influx of Swedes into Illinois.1

Jonas Hedstrom was born in Nottebäck parish in Sweden on August 13, 1813.2 At the age of fifteen he left home and resided on the island of Öland off the coast of southern Sweden in the Baltic Sea. In all probability, he was apprenticed to a blacksmith, whose trade provided Jonas's livelihood during his early years in America. We have previously recorded that, when Olof Hedstrom returned to New York from his missionary journey to Sweden in 1833, he was accompanied by two younger brothers, Jonas and Elias, the latter only seventeen years of age. During the trans-Atlantic voyage and

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The Hedstroms and the Bethel Ship Saga: Methodist Influence on Swedish Religious Life
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xv
  • 1 - The Unintentional Immigrant 1
  • 2 - Steps Toward the Methodist Ministry 11
  • 3 - The Circuit Rider 27
  • 4 - Hedstrom's Relation to the Läsare 40
  • 5 - Peter Bergner, Pioneer Missionary 58
  • 6 - The Bethel Ship John Wesley 77
  • 7 - From North River to Swedish Bethel 87
  • 8 - Jenny Lind 104
  • 9 - Jonas Hedstrom Migrates West 114
  • 10 - Bishop Hill and Victor Witting 126
  • 11 - From Ship to Scandinavian Shores 138
  • 12 - An Accomplished Mission 153
  • Notes 159
  • Index 179
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