December 4, 1714|
|Died||April 25, 1800
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Early life and education
He was born in Österåker, Stockholm County, Sweden, in 1714 to Johan and Sara Acrelius. His brother was the surgeon Olof af Acrel. 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. 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. 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.
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. (Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1963)
- Holy Trinity (Old Swedes') Church (The Swedish Colonial Society. Wilmington, DE.)
- Burr, Horace The Records of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church, Wilmington, Del., from 1697 to 1773 Holy Trinity Church. Wilmington, Del. Published by Historical Society of Delaware, 1890)
- Wallington, Nellie Urner Historic Churches of America (New York: Duffield & Co., 1907)
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Acrelius, Israel". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.