Collection on Bishop Hill Colony (Ill.), 1856-1917
Collection on Bishop Hill Colony (Ill.)
1 box (.25 linear feet)
English (bulk), Swedish
Ijams, Ethel W.
Bishop Hill (Ill.)
Swedish Americans--History--19th century
Naturalization records--Illinois--Henry County
Paper money--Illinois--Bishop Hill
Collective settlements--Illinois--Bishop Hill
Western Exchange Fire & Marine Insurance Co.
Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.
This collection was compiled by Peter Wislander of Henry County, Illinois. It includes a naturalization document for a colony member, money printed for Bishop Hill, receipts, contract of dissolution of the colony, and a quit-claim deed for property in the colony. Bishop Hill, a communal colony, was founded in 1846 by Erik Jansson and his religious followers who sought freedom from religious persecution in Sweden.
RIGHTS AND ACCESS
Conditions Governing Access:
Collection is open for research.
Reproduction and Use:
Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the Swenson Center and the copyright holder.
[item identification], in I/O:24 Collection on Bishop Hill Colony (Ill.), Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.
ACQUISITION AND RELATED MATERIALS
The papers were donated to the Augustana College Library on July 20, 1967 by Ethel W. Ijams from the estate of her father, Peter Wislander.
Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Ethel W. Ijams, from the estate of her father, Peter Wislander, in 1967.
The papers were originally cataloged into the Immigration Collection, but moved to the archives in 1983. The fourteen religious tracts published by Svenska Bibliska Traktat Sällskapet (1870-1887 and undated) were again cataloged into the Swenson Center library’s immigration collection in August 2018.
Processed by Kermit Westerberg, 1980s. Finding aid written by Shelby Jensen, 2018.
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Bishop Hill Colony was founded in 1846 by Swedish pietist Erik Jansson and his religious followers, who were seeking freedom from religious persecution in Sweden. Jansson and 400 of his followers who survived the journey to America lived at Bishop Hill for 15 years until the colony disbanded in 1861. In 1850, Jansson was shot and killed in the Cambridge Courthouse by his cousin’s husband John Root. Bishop Hill is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2018, this historic landmark is a tourist destination with gift shops, eateries, and art galleries, as well as museums which help to preserve the history of the Bishop Hill Colony.
Bishop Hill printed its own money, which was legal tender within its borders. Olof Johnson, one of the colony trustees, initiated this endeavor. The State Bank of Nebraska was known for its loose banking laws, and the Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Co. was likely a shell insurance company created for the business of printing money. Due to the financial panic of 1857, it is believed that the colony bank notes never made it to circulation.
Peter Wislander (1877-1951) was the son of Anders and Stina Swenson. He immigrated to America in 1892. He married Nellie Munson in 1906 and had four children, Luther, Arthur, Ethel and Agnes.
Scope and Content:
Collection includes receipts for payment by members of the colony, a naturalization document, money printed for Bishop Hill, a contract of dissolution of the colony, and a quit-claim deed for property in the colony.
System of Arrangement:
Materials arranged in original order of donation.
- Three receipts for payments by members of the Bishop Hill Colony, Anna Stenberg and John Axling. 14 August 1865, 18 August 1865, and 8 January 1866, English.
- Naturalization document for Jonas Stenberg. 4 September 1856, English.
- Three pages of money printed for Bishop Hill. One, two, three, and five dollar bills labeled “Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Company” (Omaha, Nebraska), signed by Leroy Tuttle, 2 November 1857, English.
- Photocopy of a two-page article titled “The Bishop Hill Colony and The Notes of the Western Exchange Fire and Marine Insurance Co.” printed in The Numismatist by Phillip J. Stoneberg, November 1917, English.
- Contract of dissolution of Bishop Hill Colony, 14 February 1860, Swedish.
- Quit-claim deed to Anna Joneson signed by trustees of Bishop Hill Colony, 24 February 1866, English.