Hans Mansson in America
On November 7, 1641, the ships Kalmar Nyckel and Charitas anchored in front of Fort Christina on the Delaware River, in New Sweden. Among the passengers on these ships was a 29 year old soldier named Hans Mansson, and a 7 year old girl named Ella Stille. They had completed a six months journey across the Atlantic Ocean from Sweden to become colonists in America.
By 1652, Ella Stille had married Peter Jochimsson, a German soldier, and friend of Hans Mansson. Peter Jochimsson died in 1654 while on a diplomatic mission to New Amsterdam, and Hans Mansson married the young widow. Hans Mansson and Ella Stille became the founders of the Steelman family in North America. The surname of Steelman was adopted by their five sons following the death of Hans Mansson, ca 1691. The Swedish practice of the sons bearing the first name of their father (for instance Hans Mansson was Hans the son of Mans) was no longer practical in a society that was dominated by the English. The name of Steelman may have been a combination of Stille and Mans, or it may have been nom de guerre used by Hans Mansson during his service as a soldier prior to coming to America.
Hans Mansson and Ella Stille resided at Aronameck plantation, located on the south bank of the Schuykill River, in present day Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1672, Hans Mansson was designated as captain and commander of the first militia organized in Philadelphia. In the mid-1670's the family moved across the Delaware River to what is now New Jersey. Hans Mansson died around 1691. His wife, Ella, lived until January of 1718, when she died at age 83. Ella Stille is buried at the Old Swedes Church in Swedesboro, New Jersey.
The only tangible reminder that we have of Hans Mansson and Ella Stille are the marks that Hans Mansson made on two affidavits given on January 11, 1683 and June 25, 1684. These statements were used by William Penn before the Lords of Trade, in London, England, in September of 1685 to successfully defend a claim on a portion of Pennsylvania by Lord Baltimore.
The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation site contains information on the ship Kalmar Nyckel which brought many of the early Swedish settlers to America.