In previous installments, we first looked at Louis Hanson’s possible connection to the Jansonist Movement and the Bishop Hill Colony. Then we looked at Louis’ trip to California as a gold-seeker. And then last time we looked at the Hultman family’s upper-class background in 18th-century Sweden and the slow decline of the family’s fortune and standing.
The Hultman family arrived in America on July 24, 1854 and most likely traveled by train to Illinois. An 1855 Illinois state census should tell us more, but they are missing from that census. This is actually a clue – the 1855 census records for Henry County (the county that Bishop Hill is in) are missing. Other counties in the vicinity with significant Swedish populations were: Rock Island, Mercer and Knox. These other counties all have census records. So I’m assuming that because I can’t find them anywhere else in the 1855 census, they might have been living in Henry County.
Our next clue about the family’s activity and whereabouts actually comes from the obituary for Jonas Peter Hultman (Lisa Stina’s father). He died in 1903 in Randolph, Kansas (more about their move to Kansas in a future installment). Anyway, his obituary says:
In his earlier life he filled many places of trust and importance both in his native and adopted countries, in a true and credible manner. He was converted in the year of 1857 and joined the Methodist Episcopal church of which he since remained an earnest faithful member, always desiring to see the welfare of the church as well as those nearest and dearest to him.
This is interesting – when the Jansonist movement failed, many of its members turned to the Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church. Although I don’t believe that the Hultman family were Jansonists, it seems credible that the Hultmans may have started to question traditional Lutheran teachings and may have joined with their neighbors in examining alternative denominations. One of the largest Swedish Methodist Episcopal churches was in Galesburg, in Knox County just a few miles away from Bishop Hill. In fact, the Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church of Galesburg* called its first minister in 1857 – is this coincidence? I have much to learn about all the different denominations that my Swedish ancestors joined upon their arrival in America. It seems like I have almost every denomination covered by one branch or another of my family tree…
The next sighting for this family in the records is February 6, 1859 when Louis Hanson and Lisa Stina Hultman obtain a marriage license in Mercer County. Lisa Stina was 11 years old when she came to America. At age 16, she marries Louis who is 10 years her senior. She is perhaps the youngest bride in my family tree. The marriage license would have been issued at the county seat, Aledo, about 40 miles northwest of Galesburg.
Not too far from Aledo, we find the rest of the Hultman family living in Eliza township in Mercer County in the 1860 census. This census record is interesting – even though almost every aspect of it is wrong, I still believe it’s the right family!
Census vs. Actual
|Joseph Holdman (50)||Jonas Hultman (47)|
|Annie (40)||Anna Christina (41)|
|Augustus (12)||Claus August (12)|
|Joseph (8)||Joel Fritjof (8)|
|Franklin (6)||Frank Oscar (6)|
|Edney (2)||Edna Pauline (1 yr 11 mos.)|
|Andrew (4 mos.)||Andrew Peter (4 mos)|
Every single one of the names have been “Americanized”, but the birth dates and locations all match pretty close. I wonder if the Americanized names are bias on the part of the census taker, or if the Hultman family is trying to present themselves as more American? It is also interesting to note that they are shown as renters, not owners, of the farm they are living on.
Anyway. My working theory is that the Hultman family may have lived in the Bishop Hill/Galesburg area upon their arrival in Illinois and staying there until at least 1857. Then they moved to a rented farm in Mercer County sometime around 1858., where Lisa Stina must have met Louis.
After marrying, Louis and Lisa establish themselves on a farm in Sparta Township in Knox County – not very far from Galesburg. The 1860 census lists the two of them and their infant daughter Emma. Louis and Lisa Stina OWN their farm, not rent it, so maybe Louis managed to return from California with some gold in his pockets after all!
I am really into maps these days and have learned how to superimpose vintage maps onto Google Earth. I found an 1860 land ownership map of Knox County and was able to find Louis and Lisa Stina’s farm. It’s so amazing to find a land ownership map with a date that corresponds exactly to the census! Wow!
They were a couple of miles south of Wataga and about five miles east of Galesburg:
They remained in Illinois for about four more years, and then when the Civil War was over, packed up and moved to Kansas. More about that next time!
*For more information about the Swedish Methodist Episcopal Church, Bob Greenwall has a transcription of a 1944 historical sketch about Swedish Methodism in Nebraska on his website: