Carl Springer: The Power of Perseverance and Prayer (52 Ancestors #10)

Carl Springer (also Karl or Charles) was born in 1658 in Stockholm Sweden to parents Christopher and Beata (Salina) Springer.1,2,3  Beata was the daughter of the court physician to King Karl X of Sweden and Christopher was a court musician and member of the treasurer’s secretariat.  Carl, therefore, had a comfortable upbringing.  He had been sent to study in Riga and was well educated.  After he turned eighteen, Carl went to London to study English and mathematics.  He stayed with Johan Leyonberg, the Swedish Ambassador.  After he had received his education, before going back home to Sweden, he was kidnapped in 1678.1,2,3,4  The story of his captivity is best told in his own words.  The following is from a letter to his mother dated June 1, 1693, from “Pennsellvania on the Delaware River.”

When I was in London, and was of a mind to journey home to Sweden… having learned the English speech and writing and reading….. I was kidnapped and against my will taken on board an English ship, carried to Virginia, and sold off like a farm animal…. and held in very slavery for five years together.

My work was unspeakable.  In the summer it was extra ordinary hot during the day, and my work was mostly in the winter, clearing land and cutting down the forest and making it ready for planting Tobacco and the Indian grain in the summer.  I had a very hard master.  But now – to God be praise, honor, and glory! – I have overcome it all.

When I had faithfully served out my time I heard, accidentally, that there were Swedes at Delaware River, in Pennsellvania…. and…. I made that difficult journey of about four hundred miles.  And when I got there I beheld the Old Swedes, and they received me very kindly.1,2

About a year and a half after his arrival, Carl married Maria Hindrichsdotter (Hendricksdotter/Hendrickson) on December 27, 1685.2,3  He bought two plantations and had crops and livestock.  Carl served his community by writing out wills, deeds and other legal documents in English.  He served his church congregation as a reader, churchwarden and record keeper.  Carl was naturalized in Philadelphia in 1701 and was appointed one of the justices of New Castle County Courts in 1703.2,3

Carl and Maria had eleven children:  Anna Elisabeth, born circa 1687; Rebecca, born circa 1689; Maria, born circa 1691; Charles, born 1693; Christopher, born 1696; John, born circa 1698; Anders, born circa 1700; Jacob, born 1703; Israel, born circa 1705; Magdalena, born circa 1707; and Joseph, born 1709.  Maria died in March of 1727 and was buried in Holy Trinity churchyard.1,2

Carl married Annika Walraven in June of 1727.  Carl and Annika had no children together.1,2  Carl died on May 26, 1738 of a stroke while crossing the Delaware River in a boat.  He was on his way home from testifying the validity of a deed in court.1,2,3  Carl Springer was buried near the South wall of Holy Trinity.  In 1762, a portico was added and was built over Carl’s resting place.1,3  “He was buried in the church that he loved.”2

Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church, Wilmington, Delaware

Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church, Wilmington, Delaware

Historical Plaque, Holy Trinity Church, Wilmington, Delaware, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Delaware

Historical Plaque, Holy Trinity Church, Wilmington, Delaware, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Delaware

Photographs from smilla4blogs.


1.  Springer, Jessie Evelyn. Charles Springer of Cranehook-on-the-Delaware His Descendants and Allied Families. Edwardsville, IL: Publisher Not Identified, 1959. Print.

2.  Craig, Dr. Peter S. “Forefathers: Charles Springer and His Family.” Swedish Colonial News 1, No. 19 (Spring 1999): 2. Print.

3.  Montgomery, Elizabeth. Reminiscences of Wilmington: In Familiar Village Tales, Ancient and New. Philadelphia: T.K. Collins, Jr., 1851. Print.

4.  Vandervelde, Kate Annelia Cross. Cross-Howell, Glover-Stoddert and Related Families Records. Emporia, Kan.: K. Vandervelde, 1959. Print.

10 thoughts on “Carl Springer: The Power of Perseverance and Prayer (52 Ancestors #10)

  1. Wow! I have heard of these types of captures in San Francisco in the late 1800s. There were dangers then just as today. Thanks for sharing Carl Springer’s story!

  2. Melissa, I am so happy I found your posts about Carl and his mother Beata! Charles/Carl was my 7th great-grandfather and I have just begun to research the Springers. Catherine Springer married my 5th great-grandfather Strange Backhouse. I only wish I had known about my Swedish ancestry while I lived in Sweden in the late 70s! I hope to go back to Gripsholm Slott (Castle) and find Baltazar and Beata’s graves. Thanks for your great genealogy work on this 🙂

  3. Thanks for this informative post. I am descended from Karl Springer through my maternal grandmother. I am interested in any information about the Springer family.

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