Johan Grelsson // Johan Cornelius

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Johan Cornelius (Grelsson)

Also Known As: "Johan Grelsson"
Birthplace: Fryksdalen, Värmland, Sverige
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Husband of Helena Grelson Martensson
Father of John Archer; Elisabeth Johansdotter; Anna Morton Johansdotter; Anders "Mink" Johansson and Eric Johansson

Managed by: Private User
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About Johan Grelsson // Johan Cornelius

Johan Grelsson, his wife Helena and their three children arrived in New Sweden on the ship Mercurius in 1656. He was described as a Finn from Fryksdalen, the valley of the Fryken Lakes in Värmland, Sweden. Otherwise, little is known about Johan Grelsson's life in Sweden. His patronymic, Grelsson, indicates that he was the son of Gregor.

In America, Dutch and English scribes had difficulty spelling Johan's patronymic. The Dutch scribe Ephraim Herrman called him Jan Cornelissen. In 1671, the English census taker Walter Wharton called him John Gilsaw. Piecing together the evidence, however, we find that Johan Grelsson settled in the Finnish community known as Ammansland and shared a large tract of land along Mill (now Darby) Creek in what later became Ridley Township, Chester (now Delaware) County, PA. Here the family of Johan Grelsson joined the family of Matthias Matthiasson (also a Mercurius passenger from Fryksdalen) and the family of Mårten Mårtensson (who had arrived on the Örn in 1654).

The Matthias Matthiasson family abandoned its interest in this tract in late 1671 when it moved across the Delaware to Boughttown (present Penns Grove in Salem County, NJ). But both Johan Grelsson and Mårten Mårtensson remained at Ammansland until their deaths. A contemporary survey placed the cabin of Mårten Mårtensson on the site now occupied by the Morton Homestead. Grelsson's cabin was a stone's throw to the west, on a small creek called Stony (now Amosland) Creek.

Johan Grelsson led a quiet and unassuming life. He last appeared in public records on 27 June 1683, when (as "John Cornelius") he served on the new Chester County court's grand jury. He died shortly thereafter and his widow Helena married, by 1685, the widower Mårten Mårtensson. She also survived her second husband and was buried on 8 February 1713 at Gloria Dei Church at the reported age of 97 (probably somewhat exaggerated).

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Johan Grelsson // Johan Cornelius's Timeline

Värmland, Sverige
Age 24
Calcon Hook, Chester, Pennsylvania
Age 25
Age 27
Age 29
Age 35
Age 58