Matthias Claesson Holstein (1642 - 1708)

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Nicknames: "Matthias /Holstein/"
Birthplace: Dithmarschen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Death: Died in Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Managed by: Donna iLine Howse
Last Updated:

About Matthias Claesson Holstein

Matthias "Matts" Classen Holstein was born June 01, 1642 in Dithmarschen, Schleswig-Holstein Sweden. and died April 09, 1708 in Pennsylvania.   He married:

  1. Helena Cook 1672 in Passyunk, daughter of Peter Larssona Cook.    
  2. Cararina Månsdotter 1688.    
  3. ?? Brigitta Rambo October 10, 1705, daughter of Anna Larson Cock.  She was born in Passyunk Twp, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,

and He died 1758.

Links:

http://www.colonialswedes.org/forefathers/Holstein.html

by Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig

Fellow, American Society of Genealogists

Fellow, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania

Historian, Swedish Colonial Society

originally published in Swedish Colonial News,

Volume 2, Number 3 (Fall 2000)

In 1708, Pastor Andreas Sandel wrote in his list of burials at Gloria Dei Church the following entry (as translated from the original Swedish): "9 April. Buried old Matths Hollsten, born in Dithmarschen in Holstein."

The man referred to was the founder of the Swedish Holstein family, which left an enduring mark among the Swedish churches at Wicaco, Upper Merion and Swedesboro and gave its name to the Holsten River in Tennessee, whose first inhabitant was Stephen Holstein, a grandson of the immigrant, Matthias Claesson from Dithmarschen in Holstein which then, as now, lies east of the Netherlands on the North Sea.

Matthias Claesson was one of several Holsteiners who ended up as husbands of Swedish wives. Others with similar stories were Marcus Laurensen (progenitor of the Hulings family) and Otto Ernest Koch (progenitor of one of the Swedish Cox families).

In 1893, Mrs. Anna M. Holstein of Upper Merion, Montgomery County, PA, wrote a book entitled Swedish Holsteins in America from 1644 to 1892, one of the first genealogies to explore the families of the 17th century Swedes. In this book, she claimed that Matthias Holstein had been born in New Sweden in 1644 and that his father (name unknown) had arrived in New Sweden with Governor Peter Minuit in 1638. She was wrong on all counts.

From a special census taken in 1683 and from pastor Rudman's 1697 church census, we know that Matthias Holstein was born in 1642. From Sandel's burial record, we know that he came from Dithmarschen in Holstein. He was 21 years old in 1663 when he answered the pleas of the New Amstel colony for young farmers willing to go to the South (Delaware) River. Having taken over the former colony of New Sweden from the Dutch West India Company, the sponsors were anxious to recruit new farmers from outside of the country to better exploit the potential of their endeavor.

Shortly after Matthias Claesson's arrival on the Delaware, the New Amstel colony was taken over by the English. The local population, however, was still primarily Swedish. Matthias Claesson, now known as Matthias Holstein, found employment in Kingsessing and in 1671 was residing at Sayamensing Island on the west side of the Schuylkill River on land owned by Lasse Cock, eldest son of Peter Larsson Cock. Soon thereafter Matthias Holstein married Lasse Cock's eldest sister, probably named Helena Cock. With the aid of Lasse Cock, Matthias acquired land in Passyunk, on the east side of the Schuylkill from Peter Mattson, who (in an apparent exchange) acquired Sayamensing Island from Lasse Cock.

It is probable that Matthias Holstein married Lasse Cock's sister by 1672. He acquired his Passyunk property on 5 May 1672 and remained there until his death in 1708. Throughout this time, he was a staunch supporter of the Swedish church at Wicaco, serving briefly as a church warden and contributing £ 7 toward the building of the new church in 1698-1700.

In 1684, however, Matthias Holstein became a widower, with four small boys to raise. He hired as his housekeeper Catharina from the Crane Hook congregation, whose father Måns Pålsson had died in 1682. Later, in 1688, he married Catharina Månsdotter and had two more sons and a daughter by this marriage.

Before his death, Matthias Holstein gave most of his lands to his sons Laurence and Matthias. In his will, he made bequests to his other four sons and designated his wife Catharine to be the executrix, "desiring my friends William Carter and Peter Mounts [his wife's brother] to be assistants to my said executrix."

Six children (all males) were listed in the will of Matthias Holstein dated 14 December 1706:

1. 1. Laurence Holstein, born 15 Sept. 1677 at Passyunk, was married about 1702 to his cousin Gertrude Mattson, daughter of John Mattson and Maria Lom. He served on the Gloria Dei Church council and vestry from 1708 to 1710 but moved soon thereafter to Pilesgrove in northern Salem County, where he lived for the balance of his life. He also served as a vestryman of the Swedish church at Raccoon, but after this church lost its minister he was among those joining the new Moravian church at Pilesgrove in 1747. He died in January 1751.

     Laurence and Gertrude Holstein had nine known children: Matthias, born c. 1703; Maria, born c. 1705; Sarah, born c. 1707; Catharina, born c. 1709; Andrew, born c. 1711; Susanna, born 31 Aug. 1713; Johanna, born 5 Sept. 1715; Lawrence, baptized 19 March 1717; and Elisabeth, born 26 June 1723.

2. Andrew Holstein, born 19 Jan. 1679, had left home by 1704 to try his luck elsewhere. By 1715 he was a resident of Talbot County, where he married Frances, the daughter of Captain John Davis of St. Michaels River. He died in 1718 and his estate was administered by his widow and her second husband, William Elbert. Andrew had no known surviving children.

3. Matthias Holstein, Jr., born 1 July 1681 at Passyunk, was married on 10 October 1705 to his first cousin, Brita Rambo, daughter of Gunnar Rambo and Anna Cock. He was a warden and vestryman for Gloria Dei Church from 1707 to 1709, but soon moved to Matsunk (the Swedes' tract in Upper Merion Township in present Montgomery County), where he established a large farm in the vicinity of present Bridgeport. He was also active politically and was five times elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly (in 1718 and from 1722 to 1725). He died at Matsunk shortly before 11 May 1737, when his will was proved. His widow Brita died in 1758.

     Matthias and Brita Holstein had 12 children, the first three of whom died in infancy: Peter, born in 1706; Fredrick, born in 1709; Brita, born in 1711; Catharina, born c. 1713; Debora, born 5 Sept. 1714; Andrew, born 15 April 1716; Matthias, born 2 Dec. 1717; Maria, born 23 April 1720; Brita, born c. 1722; John, born 26 March 1724; Elisabeth, born c. 1726; and Fredrick, born 11 Feb. 1728.

4. Fredrick Holstein, was born in Passyunk on 13 Jan. 1684. Like his elder brothers Laurence and Matthias, he served on the Philadelphia County militia in 1704, at a time when there was concern about possible attacks by the French and Indians in the wake of the Deerfield Massacre in Massachusetts. He died unmarried in 1708, when his brother Laurence was appointed to administer his estate.

5. Peter Holstein, born 16 Jan. 1691, was apparently hired by his uncle, Peter Månsson (Mounts), to manage a farm which he had purchased in 1709 on Drawyers Creek in St. Georges Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. By 1722, Peter Holstein married Sara Peirce, daughter of John Peirce. Their daughter Maria, two months old, was baptized by pastor Andreas Hesselius of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes') Church on 21 July 1723. Peter Holstein disappears from New Castle County records after December 1728. It is presumed that he died of smallpox, which was of epidemic proportions in 1728-1729 and killed a large number of his Månsson cousins.

6. Henry Holstein, born 29 March 1694 at Passyunk, also hit the road as a laborer, but initially he remained in the Philadelphia area, marrying by 1715 a daughter of Stephen Evans, a Welsh Quaker who had immigrated to Radnor, PA, from Radnorshire, Wales. In 1734 Henry and his family resided in Providence Township in present Montgomery County, where he farmed (but did not own) six acres of corn. In 1737, he obtained warrants for land in Robeson Township in present Berks County. However he soon moved again, this time to the Northern Neck of Virginia, ultimately settling on Craig's Creek in present Botetourt County, where he died after 1754.

     Henry Holstein had four known children: Mary, born c. 1716; Stephen, born c. 1718; Sarah, born c. 1720; and Henry, born c. 1723.
     Stephen Holstein became the first white settler on a river later named after him (the Holsten River in Tennessee), then moved to the Carolinas, West Florida and finally the Natchez District on the Mississippi River, leaving many descendants in that area. Henry Holstein remained in Botetourt County, Virginia, leaving many descendants in that area.

Notes for Matthias "Matts" Classen Holstein:[108018.GED]Matts Holstein, as the name was written in the earliest Swedish records, the ancestor of this long line of descendants was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1644, two years after the second emigration of Swedes to America. Who his parents are we have no means of knowing, but it has been a long family tradition that they came from Sweden with Governor Peter Minuit on the good ship"Kalmar Nykel" or  "Key of Calmar." In 1693, Matts Holstein was one of the Swedish congregation known as Wicaco, which is an Indian name meaning pleasant place. In 1693, in the lists of heads of families sent at the request of King Charles XI of Sweden, is found Matts Holstein's name and thosecomprising his household, even their date of birth. There is a family legend that the name Holstein descended through a noble line. The Swedes of that time were a thrifty, industrious people, inclined to farming pursuits more than trade. We can imagine what Philadelphia was like in the 17th century, when our American ancestors of this ancient family were living on the banks of theDelaware, or dwelling peacefully upon their farms that are, at present, in the center of Philadelphia.There are other records which show Matts as "Matthais Claesson Holstein", born in 1642 in Dittmarschen, Holstein, Sweden, and that he was the son of early Swedish Settlers. But since the record of Old Swedes Lutheran Church show him as being baptized there in 1642, I find the other records in doubt.

-------------------- Matthias "Matts" Classen Holstein was born June 01, 1642 in Dithmarschen in Holstein., and died April 09, 1708 in Pennsylvania.  He married Helena Cook 1672 in Passyunk, daughter of Peter Larssona Cook.    He married (2) Cararina Månsdotter 1688.    He married (3) Brigitta Rambo October 10, 1705, daughter of Anna Larson Cock.  She was born in Passyunk Twp, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died 1758.

Notes for Matthias "Matts" Classen Holstein:[108018.GED]Matts Holstein, as the name was written in the earliest Swedish records, the ancestor of this long line of descendants was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1644, two years after the second emigration of Swedes to America. Who his parents are we have no means of knowing, but it has been a long family tradition that they came from Sweden with Governor Peter Minuit on the good ship"Kalmar Nykel" or  "Key of Calmar." In 1693, Matts Holstein was one of the Swedish congregation known as Wicaco, which is an Indian name meaning pleasant place. In 1693, in the lists of heads of families sent at the request of King Charles XI of Sweden, is found Matts Holstein's name and thosecomprising his household, even their date of birth. There is a family legend that the name Holstein descended through a noble line. The Swedes of that time were a thrifty, industrious people, inclined to farming pursuits more than trade. We can imagine what Philadelphia was like in the 17th century, when our American ancestors of this ancient family were living on the banks of theDelaware, or dwelling peacefully upon their farms that are, at present, in the center of Philadelphia.There are other records which show Matts as "Matthais Claesson Holstein", born in 1642 in Dittmarschen, Holstein, Sweden, and that he was the son of early Swedish Settlers. But since the record of Old Swedes Lutheran Church show him as being baptized there in 1642, I find the other records in doubt. Links:

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Matthias Claesson Holstein's Timeline

1642
June 1, 1642
Dithmarschen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
1672
1672
Age 29
Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
1677
September 15, 1677
Age 35
Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
1679
January 19, 1679
Age 36
1681
July 1, 1681
Age 39
Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
1684
January 13, 1684
Age 41
1688
1688
Age 45
1691
January 16, 1691
Age 48
1694
March 29, 1694
Age 51
Passyunk, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
1708
April 9, 1708
Age 65
Passyunk, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA