Israel Acrelius

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Israel Acrelius
Israel Acrelius by John Sartain.jpg
Born (1714-12-04)December 4, 1714
Österåker, Sweden
Died April 25, 1800(1800-04-25) (aged 85)
Fellingsbro, Sweden
Religion Lutheran

Israel Acrelius (December 4, 1714 – April 25, 1800) was a noted Swedish Lutheran missionary and priest.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in Österåker, Stockholm County, Sweden, in 1714 to Johan and Sara Acrelius. His brother was the surgeon Olof af Acrel.[1] He attended Uppsala University and was ordained as a priest of the Church of Sweden in 1743. He served as the pastor of churches in Riala, Sweden starting in 1745.


Beginning in 1749, Acrelius took a similar post in Wilmington, Delaware, site of a Swedish Lutheran congregation which dated to the time of the New Sweden colony. At that time, Holy Trinity remained a Swedish Lutheran parish. The church would remain so until placed under the jurisdiction of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1791. Acrelius served simultaneously as both pastor and provost to the Swedish congregations in the area. He learned English and provided aid to German Lutherans in Pennsylvania. He also made notable zoological, botanical, and geological collections.

Because of health concerns, Acrelius returned to Sweden in 1756.[2] The king gave him a large pension, and he received the lucrative pastorate of a church in the parish of Fellingsbro in the province of Västmanland during 1758.[2] Shortly thereafter in 1759, he published his History of New Sweden, which dealt with the religious and secular history of the area. This book was translated into English in 1874.


  1. ^ Kastrup, Allan (1975). The Swedish heritage in America: the Swedish element in America and American-Swedish relations in their historical perspective. Swedish Council of America. 
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Acrelius, Israel". The American Cyclopædia.