Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Holm, John Campanius

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1311501Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography — Holm, John Campanius

HOLM, John Campanius, Swedish clergyman, b. in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1601; d. there, 17 Sept., 1683. He sailed with Gov. Printz from Gottenburg, 1 Nov., 1642, and arrived at Fort Christina, on the Delaware, 15 Feb., 1643, where he entered on his duties as chaplain to the Swedish colony, and continued to officiate in this capacity during six years. Prior to his coming he had been preceptor of the orphans' seminary in Stockholm. Under his ministry in the colony a church was erected at Tinicum, the seat of government, and was consecrated by him, 4 Sept., 1646. This was the first house of worship that was erected within the limits of Pennsylvania. He manifested a deep interest in the welfare of the Indians, and performed missionary work among them. They visited his house and came to hear him preach. To further his work he applied himself to learning their language, into which he here began the task of translating Luther's catechism. His labors in New Sweden ended in May, 1648, when he sailed for home in the ship “Swan,” arriving at Stockholm on 4 July following. On his return to Sweden he was made chaplain to the admiralty, and afterward rector at Upland, where he completed his translation of the catechism into the language of the Delawares, or Lenni-Lenape, which is probably the first translation of any work into an Indian language of this country. It was published in the Delaware and Swedish languages (Stockholm, 1696), together with a vocabulary, a copy of which is in the library of the American philosophical society. In the translation he accommodates the Lord's Prayer to the circumstances of the Indians by substituting for “daily bread” “a plentiful supply of venison and corn.” He was buried in the church of Frost Hults, where there is a monument to his memory. — His grandson, Thomas Campanius, published a history of New Sweden, known as “Campanius's,” which is largely made up, it is said, of data that were obtained from his grandfather, and partly, too, it is supposed, from information that was given verbally by him to the author.