Started by Kirk Riegle on Tuesday, June 15, 2010


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6/15/2010 at 5:33 AM

Nils Larsson arrived in New Sweden on the "Swan" in 1648 and, during Rising's administration, served as 'gevaldiger' (warden).

Jean Paul Jaquet reported in a letter dated 9 August 1656 to Governor Peter Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam that Niles Larsen's intended marriage was being postponed for three months by pastor Lars Carlsson Lock in order to investigate the charges (which Jacquet presumed to be false) by a woman of ill repute in Manhattan. (Gehring, "New York Historical Manuscripts (Delaware Papers-Dutch", 68) From this record, it may reasonably be inferred that Nils Larsson was married about November 1656. Source - "The Family of Nils Larsson Frande (Friend)" by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, 1988. (See pg. 2)

By 1668 Nils Larsson had adopted the name Frande, meaning "kinsman" or "blood relative" in Swedish. Nils Larsson played a very prominent role in the Swedish community until his death at Upland in the winter of 1686-87. He became known as Nils Larsson Frande, meaning "kinsman" or "blood relative" in Swedish, possibly because of his influence among the Indians who considered him a "blood brother." Under English rule, his adopted surname became anglicized to "Friend."

In 1668, with Olle Rawson and Olle Jonsson, he was granted a permit by the New Jersey governor to buy West Jersey lands in present Gloucester County from the Indians. The resulting acquisition led to a large Swedish settlement centering around Raccoon Creek (present Swedesboro). Nils Larsson Frande also acquired lands in present Bucks County, which he traded to William Penn in return for 800 acres east of Red Clay Creek in New Castle County. Penn built his Pennsbury estate on Frande's former land.

"Laerson, Neels, (alias Friend) an early Swedish inhabitant of Upland. He owned 182 acres of land, embracing what is now the central part of the present town of Chester, most of which subsequently became the property of David Lloyd. The earliest Courts of Upland County of which we have the records, were held at his house, and subsequently at the "House of defence," which was built on his land, where, doubtless, the Courts under the Proprietary government were for some time held. He kept a kind of tavern, and entertained the Justices of the Upland Court, a service which he had also performed for the Justices of an earlier Court, the records of which are now lost. There is evidence that he acted as an arbitrator by appointment of this Court as early as 1673. As early as 1668, in conjunction with Oele Rawson, he purchased land on the east side (New Jersey) of the river, which they had previously bought of the Indians. This noted Swede died in 1689, leaving a widow, Anico, (Ann) and several sons, who were afterwards known by the name of Friend, or had that name as an alias. The widow survived her husband till about the year 1724, when she died at the advanced age of 106 years. (See file of O. C. papers, office of the Clerk of Q. Sessions, West Chester.) From this circumstance it may be concluded that Neels Laerson was a native of Sweden." Source - "History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania From the Discovery of the Territory Included Within its Limits to the Present Time", by George Smith, M.D., Philadelphia: printed by Henry B. Ashmead, Nos. 1102 and 1104 Sanson Street, 1862. (See page 476)

"The Court was held at the house of Neeles Laerson, who also entertained the justices. The account made out by the Court of the public indebtedness to Laerson for "the Charges of Keepeing of Court and Justices dyet there," establishes the fact that the former Court, of which the Records have not been discovered, was held at the same place. Laerson probably kept a public house. His charge for entertaining the Court during its present sitting, which appears to have lasted but one day, was 100 Gilders." Source as above - see page 108.

"The interests of the Church also claimed some of the attention of the Court. "Complaint being made by the Church Wardens that Neeles Laerson has taken in (wth Lotts of Land by him bought of dom: Lasse Carolus here in Upland Towne) some of the Church or glebb Land; - ordered, that Neeles Laerson shall haue his due of the 2 Lotts by him bought of sd dom: Carolus Equall wth the other Lotts in Upland, but for what shall be againe annexed to ye other Church Lotts." Source as above - see pages 120 and 121.

"It is probable that the marsh lands appertaining to any particular settlement along the river, were for a long time held and used as a common pasturage. That this was so in respect to Upland, would appear from a complaint being made by James Sanderling, "In behalfe of ye Rest of ye Inhabitants of Upland that Neeles Laersen wth a fence stopps up the old and usuall way to the fly (marsh); and Neeles Laersen being thereupon heard," the Court ordered the way to be left open as formerly." Source - as above - See page 121.

Nils Larsson's residence was at Upland, where he continued to live until his death in December 1686. His house was the usual meeting place of the Upland Court.

A Map of the Early Settlements of Delaware County, Pennsylvania (Undated), (Lith. of Bowen & Co., Philadelphia) - The North side of Chester Creek at its mouth on the Delaware River - Chester (Upland) - Neals Laerson, David Lloyd - (along waterfront * House of Defence - THE GREEN). Further North - adjoining Albert Hendrickson and Anthy Nealson and Ridley Creek. Behind land of Neals Laerson - James Sunderland's land and David Lloyd's land and Caleb Pusey's land, Chester Mills, Henry Wartry2, Andrew Job and Thomas Brasey.

At the time of his death, Nils Larsson was serving as constable for Chester township. His wife Anna survived him by about 40 years and was said to be over 106 when she died. They had ten children, including Brigitta (married to John Cock, Anders, Catharine (married to Olof Dalbo) and Maria (married to Gabriel Cock). His six younger children lived with their mother in 1693. His sons used the patronymic Nilsson and the surname Friend interchangeably. Ultimately, Friend became the family name. (Source - " The 1693 Census of New Sweden" by Peter Stebbins Craig)

Vrende or Frende (1668). Frande (With an umlaut over the "a") in contemporary Swedish means kinsman. Under the English in the late 1600s the name Frande attached to Nils Larsson's name evolved to Friend.

In 1669 Nils Larsson received a patent for 150 acres of land at Upland, Pennsylvania.

"June 13th, 1670 - To James Sandilands, a grant to him "of a lot of land at Delaware * * * lying in Upland, bounded on the South West by the kill, on the Northeast by the land of Niels Lawson, on the East by Jurian Keen's land and North and by West by the lands of Niels Matson, containing by estimation five acres of ground - as also another piece of land bounded by the kill as above, North & West by the land of Jurian Keen and on the South East by the land of Lawrence Lock." Source - "History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania from the Discovery of the Territory included within its limits to the present time", by George Smith, M. D. 1862. (see page 521)

LOCATION OF THE EARLY COURT HOUSE - The first Court of Upland County of which any record has been preserved, sat at the house of Neeles Laerson, which no doubt was a tavern. Its precise location is not known, but it doubtless occupied a position on the northern part of the lot marked "2." on the old draft of Chester in the possession of Thomas Darlington, a fac simile of which is given at page 138. The southern part of that lot had been recently purchased by Laerson from Eusta Anderson, (See will of "Neels Laerson," Register's office, Philadelphia, Book A. No. 62.) From the universal custom of the Swedes in building, it may also be concluded that the residence of Laerson was very near the creek, and consequently in the immediate vicinity of the House of Defence.

The location of the House of Defence, marked A. on the annexed draft is arrived at with great precision from the description contained in a deed for the adjacent lot, from Lydia, the widow of Robert Wade, to Edward Danger, October 10th, 1699, (Deed Book A. 270, West Chester.) The credit of having first accertained the location of this ancient Court House is due to Edward Armstrong, Esq., of Philadelphia. (See his note to the "Record of Upland Court" p. 202.) Source - "History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania", by George Smith, M.D. Philadelphia: Printed by Henry B. Ashmead, Nos. 1102 and 1104 Sansom Street. 1862.

In 1671 the first English census listed Nils as "Niels Lausa". Upland court records indicate that in 1673 the court met at his house. " The Court was held at the house of Neeles Laerson, who also entertained the justices. The account made out by the Court of the public indebtedness to Laerson for 'the Charges of Keepeing of Court and Justices dyet there,' establishes the fact that the former court, of which the Records have not been discovered, was held at the same place. Laerson probably kept a public house. His charge for entertaining the Court during its present sitting, which appears to have lasted but one day, was 100 Gilders (the Gilder was estimated to be worth about 40 cents of our money). (History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, pg. 108)

On November 13, 1677 Neeles Laersen and son were granted 200 acres of land "up the river" near Israel Helm, probably in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

About 1678 Nils Larsson acquired the 350 acre plantation of Pastor Lock.

On March 13, 1678/79 Nils Larsson was ordered to leave a lane from Upland Creek to the House of Defense (Block House). The Block House stood on his land (near the present intersection of Front Street and Filbert Street in Chester, Pennsylvania). The "House of Defence," appears to have been built on the private property of Neels Laersen. At the first Court held this year he was ordered "to make or leave a lane or street from Upland creek to ye: house of defence or County house," sufficiently indicates the uses to which the "House of Defence" was now appropriated. We have seen that its completion was urged in order that the Courts might be held there, and it is probable that it was used as a place for the transaction of public business generally. For whatever other purpose the House of Defence may have been used, it was certainly the first Court house within our limits. ( History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, pg. 122)

In February, 1682/83 Nils (Larsson) of Upland brought suit in Burlington County, New Jersey court against Lassey Coleman. The land in question was by 1686 a part of Gloucester County, New Jersey (300 acres to James Justason, Lassey Coleman and Neales Lawson).

The last session of the Upland Court was held on September 12, 1682. Upland was renamed Chester.

On June 27, 1683 Nils sat on a Grand Jury in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

New Castle County tax list for 1685/86 shows Neels Lawson of Upland owned 700 acres north of Christina Creek. On June 15, 1686 Neales Lawson was granted a tract of 800 acres called "Oak Hill" on the east side of Red Clay Creek in Newcastle County (now part of Delaware).

In September, 1686 Neales Lawson was named Constable of Chester Township.

By early December, 1686 Nils Larsson (Friend) became gravely ill. On December 3, 1686 Nils' son Andrew took over as Constable in his father's place.

On December 20, 1686 Nils made his last will.

"One may reject the notion that there was a daughter named Gertrude who married John Archer or a daughter named Elizabeth who married John Urian (whose name was actually Hans Georgen, which was pronounced and later spelled as "Urian"). The wife of John Archer was Gertrude Bartlesdotter and there is no evidence that I have found suggesting in any way that Hans Georgen's wife Elizabeth was a member of the Friend family." Source - "The Family of Nils Larsson Frande (Friend)", Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig, 1988. (See pg. 3)

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