Thomas Windsmore, Member of the Vestry (1884-1916)

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

A native of Milford, DE, Thomas Windsmore moved to Southwark with his family as a young child. As an adult he worked in the shipping industry and had a schooner named after him. He was a prominent member of the Board of Port Wardens, the State Quarantine Board and served as Vice President of the Maritime Exchange.

Arvid Hernbom, Lay Reader

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

Arvid Hernbom, who served as chaplain at the Swedish embassy, came to America around 1719. He was licensed to preach by Bishop Jesper Swedberg. Swedberg, who was one of Sweden’s most notable churchmen, had ordered Rev. Andreas Sandel to ordain Arvid Hernbom to the priesthood to serve the Wicaco congregation after Sandel’s departure.

But, after his arrival, Sandel and the other Swedish clergymen did not think he was qualified for the priesthood and he was not ordained. In 1719, on Sandel’s departure, Hernbom was promised 25L (pounds) a year to preach part time at Wicaco. After Sandel’s departure Arvid Hernbom alternated for a time with Rev. Hesselius, of Christina Church, and the Rev. Lidenius, pastor of Racoon Church, in New Jersey. These clergymen promised to perform divine service once a month. During the vacancy Hernbom maintained the church school and when the ministers weren’t available served as a lay-reader.


George Ord, Naturalist, Ornithologist, Writer (1781-1866)

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

Although George Ord was a devoted naturalist, ornithologist, and writer, he is also noted for his animosity towards famous ornithologist John James Audubon, who he called a “impudent pretender” and “neither a scholar nor philosopher.” He became interested in the study of science and literature at an early age. Following in his father’s footsteps, Ord joined his father in his rope-making business in 1800 and continued in the business after his father’s death in 1806, finally retiring from the business in 1829 to devote more time
to science.

Erik Leidzén, Composer (1894–1962)

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

While walking through the graveyard I noticed a marker with the name Erik Leidzén, Composer. I was not familiar with the name, but a bit of curiosity sent this writer on a search to find out who this person was.

Many of us are familiar with members of the Salvation Army playing their instruments during the Christmas holidays.

Their tradition of having large bands lead to the Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory publishing a book called the American Band Journal in the mid-1950’s. Subtitled “Brass Music for Evangelism,” it was intended for use by groups small enough to perform in the open air, as well as in regular meetings and concerts. The Journal featured music by American composers and American themes. However in the early days the Journal featured the music of Erik Leidzén, who emigrated from Sweden to the U.S. and became a passionate American patriot. According to the Journal Leidzén’s influence over the music played by Salvation Army bands in the United States was profound. Entire generations of Salvationist musicians were influenced by him, including well-known brass composers such as Stephen Bulla and Bruce Broughton.

Leidzén grave
Leidzén grave located in this area of cemetery

Leidzén also contributed eight pages of tunes to Carolers’ Favorites in 1953. The original tunes included Christmas carols. By 1957 he had written several Easter Carols. By the 1980s Carolers’ Favorite was updated, not just with new songs but with updates to some of the original songs. The noted brass band arranger and composer, Stephen Bulla, added an optional fifth part (for euphonium) to the original Leidzén arrangements, and created 21 new arrangements for songs such as The Christmas Song (sometimes referred to as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire). The new edition of Carolers’ Favorites was published in 1994.

Concertino for Band and Trombone, another brass band classic by Leidzen, has been a staple since it was written in the 1950s. Erik Leidzén has contributed hundreds of pieces to the concert band and brass band repertoire since the 1920s. This work is not just an accompaniment. The band and trombonist must work well together throughout the piece. Erik Leidzén, born in Stockholm in 1894, died in New York in 1962, buried at Old Swedes.

Conservation Assessment

Name(s): Erik Leidzén (1894–1962), Maria Leidzén (1896–1991).  Lisa Valborg Leidzén Kay (1894–1962), also listed on marker, was buried in Stockholm.

Type of Marker: Headstone on base
Material: Granite

Historic Integrity: Intact
Structural Integrity: Excellent
Material Integrity: Excellent
Legible Inscription: Excellent

Marker Details
Inventory Number: 90
Cemetery Section: 4
Orientation: East
Marker Height/Length (in): 30
Marker Width (in): 30
Marker Thickness/Depth (in): 14

The Battery

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

Did you know that there are historical markers on the Church property that have no direct connection to Gloria Dei?

One of the closest is on the outside of the front of the building just opposite the alter. In part it says “About 300 yards downstream from this marker stood the Association Battery of 27 cannon erected in 1748 by Ben Franklin’s Pennsylvania Association during King George’s war. The Battery was later enlarged to 50 cannons and was again manned during the French and Indian war. The British Army activated the Battery during the occupation of Philadelphia in 1777-1778. The site became part of the old Navy yard in 1800.”

In 1747, England and her Atlantic colonies were at war with France and Spain. Spanish warships ventured up the Delaware River seizing 15 Philadelphia merchant vessels in two years. The Pennsylvania Assembly, dominated by pacifist Quakers, refused to fund any sort of defense. This attitude incensed the city’s shipbuilders and other craftsmen.

Benjamin Franklin, a printer, called for better military preparedness in Pennsylvania in his 1744 pamphlet “Plain Truth.” This launched his political career. He used a lottery to fund the 1000 men needed to build and staff the fort. The group was called the Associators and the fort, the Association Battery.

Pictures of the fort show three buildings enclosed by a brick or stone wall rising out of the water to a height of perhaps 15 feet. Guards were posted every night, and no boat was allowed to pass between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. By the time of the Revolutionary War, the Association Battery was described as abandoned, although British troops briefly mounted three cannons there. According to the book, “The Buried Past: An Archeological History of Philadelphia,” the site is near Pier 56 South. It says that archaeologists suggest the fortification likely survives under the soil.


Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church at Wicaco, Southwark, Philadelphia

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

“At a special Court held by the Governor at New Castle in Delaware River the 13th and 14th days of May 1675, it was ordered, that the Church, or place of worship in this Town and the affairs thereunto belonging be regulated by the Court here, in as orderly and decent a manner as may be,

“That the place of meeting at Craine Hoeck do continue as heretofore- that the Church at Tinnecum Island do serve for Uppland and parts adjacent.

A Look at Money in the Colonies

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

Philadelphia was a major seaport in colonial times. Sailors would come in from many ports, not only on the east coast but from around the world. Native Americans were in the area. They exchanged wampum for goods and services. Can you imagine all of the ships coming from in cities along the east coast? The Church records are full of stories of sailors wanting to get married before their ship went to sea.

American merchants and traders in the 1600s relied heavily on the barter system. They traded one commodity for another: furs for rifles, salted fish for shoes, grain and tobacco for cloth. The British government prohibited the colonists from accepting cash for American exports, although the same colonists were often forced to pay cash for their imports. This left them with very few coins to meet the ever-increasing demands of the expanding colonial economy. Colonists had to rely on foreign coins, which were often of Spanish origin.

As the colonies grew so did the types of paper money. In 1770, George Washington recorded his trip expenses in the currencies of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Once the Revolutionary War was declared, each colony felt free to produce its own paper money.

It wasn’t till after the Civil War ended that national bank notes provided the U.S. with a more uniform currency. These notes were accepted throughout the country at face value. State banks’ notes stopped being issued in 1865.

So you can see many people, business, and churches had to exchange funds by what ever method was available to then.


Member by Subscription

By Bob Josuweit
History Committee

In writings about the early days of Old Swedes, it is said that the Church was built mostly by subscription. Some paid in money and others in work and materials.

In less than 4 years after the church was built the walls “had perceptibly given away.”
A committee determined that rooms should be built on each side of the church, to strengthen the walls. Although this plan was the most expensive, it would allow one end
to be a vestry-room, and the other could be used for a vestibule or entrance to the church. To pay for the work a subscription or pledge was started. Rev. Sandel complained that the new construction “gave him a great deal of trouble.” Many of the subscribers were behind in making their payment even though the wardens were attentive to their duties. The workmen were anxious to be paid, and he was obliged, with one of the wardens, to go from house to house to collect what was due.

Soon after the church was built, arrangements were made for renting the pews. By renting or subscribing to a pew you were able to reserve your seat in the church. By the mid-1800s Rev Jehu Curtis Clay noted the “attention shown by this congregation to strangers, in the visits they often pay to our church.” However he noted that “it frequently happens that persons visiting for a while in our city, feel desirous while here of attending some place or places of worship, that they may spend the Lord’s day in the manner that God requires, and to which they have been accustomed at home.” He continued “what opinion must such persons form of the Christian courtesy or politeness of a congregation in which they find themselves ordered out of the pew or pews into which they may enter. Or suppose a person caring but little about going to a place of worship, is induced in some way or other to enter one of our churches. He takes a seat, supposing, perhaps, as well he might, that the followers of Christ would be glad to see him coming to unite with them in the holy services of the sanctuary. But he finds himself mistaken. The renter of the pew comes to the door and gives him to understand that he is an intruder. He goes into another pew and is treated in the same manner. Indignant that persons having the name of Christians should act thus, he leaves the church, and can never again be persuaded to enter it, or, perhaps, to enter any other place of worship.”