World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

John Campanius

Johan Campanius
Born August 15, 1601
Stockholm, Sweden
Died September 17, 1683
Education Uppsala University
Church Church of Sweden
Title Ordained pastor, missionary to North America

John Campanius (Swedish: Johannes Jone Holmiensis Campanius) (August 15, 1601 – September 17, 1683), also known as John Campanius Holm, was a Swedish Lutheran priest assigned to the New Sweden colony.[1]


  • Background 1
  • New Sweden 2
  • John Campanius Holm Award 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Additional Sources 6
  • External links 7


Johan Campanius was born in Stockholm and attended Uppsala University, where he studied theology and graduated in 1633. He was ordained into the Lutheran ministry during 1633. He served as the chaplain to the Swedish delegation in Russia in 1634. He then moved to Norrtälje, where he served as a schoolmaster beginning in 1635. He also served as chaplain and preceptor of the Stockholm Orphan's Home, a position he continued in through 1642.[2]

New Sweden

Campanius left Stockholm on August 16, 1642 and arrived at New Sweden on February 15, 1643. He came to accompany the first Swedish settlers to Tinicum Island. Johan Campanius dedicated the new church at Tinicum on September 4, 1646. One of the few items which remain from his time of service is a gilded silver chalice used in celebrating the Eucharist.[3]

Campanius also began to make notable headway in evangelizing the Lenape. He gained a good grasp of their language, and learned how to preach to them with good effect. He also transliterated their words, numbers, and common phrases for the use of later missionaries. For example, he accommodated the Lord's Prayer to the American circumstances by substituting for “daily bread” “a plentiful supply of venison and corn.”[4] After gaining experience in this way, he eventually was able to translate Luther's Small Catechism into the Lenape language. This effort, which was not printed until 1696 (Stockholm),[5] is one of the first attempts by a European native to create a written document in one of the native Native American languages. It was published in the Delaware and Swedish languages, together with a vocabulary.[4]

Campanius also studied the traditions of the natives, and recorded them in his journal. While this did help to preserve some anthropological information on them, it also helped perpetrate the idea that the Native Americans were descendants of the lost tribes of Israel.[6]

By 1647, he wrote to his Archbishop in Stockholm that he had gotten weary of his work in New Sweden, and requested that he be allowed to return home. In 1648, three other ministers were sent to New Sweden to continue his work and Campanius was allowed to return to Sweden. There he served as minister of churches at Härnevi and Frösthult in Uppsala County in east central Sweden until his death in 1683. In these positions, he also worked on completing his translation of Luther's catechism.[4] Both Johan Campanius and his wife Margareta were buried at the Frösthult Church in Enköping Municipality.[7]

John Campanius Holm Award

Johan Campanius was the first person known to have taken systematic weather observations in the American Colonies. He is considered by some to be the first weatherman in America because he kept a daily record of the weather at New Sweden. The records included at least 1644 and 1645 and were published in Sweden in 1702. The prestigious John Campanius Holm Award is granted annually to honor cooperative observers for outstanding accomplishments in the field of meteorological observations. No more than twenty-five awards are given annually. The certificate is signed by the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).[8]

See also


  1. ^ Campanius, Johan (Christian Cyclopedia. The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod) [1]
  2. ^ Early Clergy of Pennsylvania and Delaware(S. F. Hotchkin, Philadelphia, PA: P. W. Ziegler & Co., Publishers, 1890) [2]
  3. ^ Dictionary of American Religious Biography. (Henry Warner Bowden. Westport, CT: Greenwood, Press, 1977)
  4. ^ a b c  
  5. ^ Bente, Friedrich, 1858-1930. American Lutheranism Volume 1: Early History of American Lutheranism: Lutheran Swedes in Delaware. Concordia: 1919, p.11.
  6. ^ New Sweden on the Delaware 1638-1655 (C. A. Weslager. Wilmington, Delaware:The Middle Atlantic Press. 1988)
  7. ^ This Day In Religion. (Ernie Gross. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 1990)
  8. ^ The Weather Factor ( David M. Ludlum, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1984, p. 7-8)

Additional Sources

  • Clay, Jehu Curtis Annals of the Swedes on the Delaware (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: J. C. Pechin. 1835)
  • Myers, Albert Cook, ed. Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey, and Delaware, 1630-1707 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1912)
  • Jordan, John W. A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania (History of Timicun Township. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. 1914)
  • Ward, Christopher Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware, 1609- 1664 (University of Pennsylvania Press. 1930)

External links

  • Good Christian Deeds
  • Christian Cyclopedia, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
  • Christ Church (Old Swedes') Upper Merion, Pennsylvania
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.