Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rescued! Peter John Bloom

This story tells of the multiple rescues of a man named Peter John Bloom.

First Rescue

 Pehr Jonsson Bloom was a Swedish shoemaker.  He had a wife, Kerstin, a son, Jonas, and three little daughters, Kerstin (Christine in America), Margta, and Karin.  They lived in the Alfta Parish of Gavleborg—near the center of Sweden.  It sounds simple, but his life was becoming more complicated.  Unbearable, even. 

Sweden has not been at war since 1806, when Peter was tiny.  While he was growing up Sweden had faded into the background of political and economic power among the countries of Europe.  Sweden was poor, illiterate and drunken. There were some positive changes happening, though.  Education was becoming more available to the masses.  This, of course, led to increased literacy.  Lo and behold, the people began to want to study the Holy Bible for themselves.  A new religious movement was vibrant in Peter’s home province of Hälsingland around 1825, when Peter was a young adult, called Devotionalism, or Läsare (readers).  The Läsare would gather in private homes to study the Bible.  (Public religious gatherings without official clergy were highly illegal.) 

Many of the Läsare were disgusted by the corruption and alcoholism of the clergy.  For example, one of Peter’s fellow immigrants, a leader named Jonas Olson, witnessed a drunken priest conducting a mockery of the Last Supper at a dance.  The Läsare wanted a purer religion and a higher degree of reverence and piety.  They were also active in the temperance movement.  Although they wanted change, the Läsare were not yet separatists from the state-sponsored Lutheran religion.  Things continued on in this uneasy impasse for seventeen years, when the time was ripe for a hero to emerge.  This man’s name was Erik Janson, and he would change Peter’s life and the life of his descendants forever. 

It is unknown at what point the Bloom family became Jansonists, whether they had been Läsare for years and then followed Janson, or if they were swept up in his movement in the 1840’s, when Peter was nearly forty.  In any case, they threw their lot in with his, so something must have compelled them to make such a tremendous choice.  Stay with me here while we learn a bit about Erik Janson. Because Peter Bloom was one of his followers, the two have a valuable shared history.

Erik Janson was an eloquent, dynamic man who had had a profound religious experience.  At age 26, while plowing in the fields, he suffered such a painful attack of his chronic rheumatism that he fainted. 

“On regaining consciousness, he heard a voice saying: ‘It is writ that whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive; all things are possible to him that believeth.  If ye shall ask anything in my name, I shall do it, saith the Lord.’  Eric Janson recognized in the voice a message from God, and, falling upon his knees, prayed long and fervently that his lack of faith might be forgiven him and that his health might be restored.  On arising, his pains had disappeared, never to return.” 

This occurrence completely changed Janson and made him want to learn anything he could about religion.  He read everything he could get his hands on but became frustrated with religious commentary, finding solace only in the Bible.  More study made him disagree with core Lutheran beliefs.  He began to preach stricter adherence to the Bible, increased faith, and a return to “primitive Christianity”. 

In 1842, Janson heard of the Läsare movement and preached at many of their gatherings.    He gained many followers, attracting the negative attention of Sweden’s Established Church.  The Church took harsh religious measures, denying any of Janson’s followers the sacrament.  Jansonists were also denied the legal right to testify in court, basically becoming defenseless against the law. 

 "As the influence of Janson increased, so also the number and hostility of his enemies.  His followers were subjected to the abuse and insult of the rabble.  Their meetings were disturbed, their houses pelted with stones, and their persons assaulted.  But they praised the Lord who tried their faith by allowing them to be persecuted.  They marched along the public highways at night and sang spiritual hymns, or gathered in front of the parsonages to pray for the conversion of their unregenerate pastors.  When their conventicles were prohibited they assembled in the woods and in out of the way places to partake of the Holy Communion.  Faint rumors of these midnight gatherings came to church authorities, and the spectre of a new peasant insurrection stalked abroad.  Eric Janson…was charged with all sorts of atrocious crimes.” 

 Things came to a head in June of 1844.  All along, Janson had preached against using so-called devotional literature, such as the writings of Martin Luther and others.  He considered them to be usurpers of the Bible.  He decided to stage a book burning.  The burning drew a crowd and caused general outrage.  Janson was arrested two days later, possibly in Langhed, Alfta Parish—Peter Bloom’s hometown.  He was eventually released without any decrease in followers and back at the pulpit. 

More book burnings, arrests, and persecutions were to follow, until Janson became an outlaw with a price on his head.  He hid out in the mountains of Alfta, masterminded a mass emigration of his followers, and then escaped in 1846 to New York and Illinois, where he met up, as planned, with another Jansonist leader.  They created a city in Henry County, Illinois, and named it Bishop Hill, the English term for Janson’s birthplace, Bishopskulla.
Colony Church at Bishop Hill, built 1848.

By this point Janson’s views had expanded considerably; he considered himself “the second coming of Christ”, that he would “far exceed that of the work accomplished by Jesus and his Apostles.” For starters, he wanted to build a utopian community, a “New Jerusalem” in America, which would eventually expand to fill the earth.  This would usher in the millennium, where Eric Janson or his heirs would “reign to the end of all time.”  (He should have stuck to reading the Bible.)

Megalomania aside, Janson did manage a mass migration from Sweden to America, really the first to do so.  These brave Swedes, (around 1,100) were fleeing their home country because they desired religious freedom.  Peter’s granddaughter Martha confirmed this, years later, in writing that her mother’s family had immigrated because “At that time there was much religious persecution in Sweden.”  Because of this, we will deem Eric Janson’s influence, drawing Peter Bloom out of Sweden and bringing him to a free land, the First Rescue.

Original Nauvoo Temple
America provided a perfect situation for a community looking for religious freedom, or so it would seem.  At this point of the narration I must interrupt and bring to light an enormous irony:   The Jansonists planted their religious city-on-a-hill in Henry County, Illinois, in 1846.  Less than 100 miles to the west lay another religious city, violently forced to vacate or be destroyed,  THAT VERY YEAR.  This religious persecution was sanctioned by the government, or at the very least, not in any way prevented by the government.  It was Joseph Smith’s beautiful Nauvoo, and the people were known as the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).  Joseph Smith was martyred, shot to death in 1844.  Eric Janson would suffer the SAME fate in 1850, albeit at the hand of a single man, not an angry mob.  Janson may have been a bit reckless (or ignorant?) to start a religious community in such close vicinity to the violence at a time when prejudices were running high, but he was lucky, and Bishop Hill was not really bothered.  Janson’s religious community would formally disband in 1860, its people morphing into traditional churches.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints remains, and is a vibrant, growing international church, numbering in the 15 millions.  (This author is descended from members of both groups.) 

Both Nauvoo and Bishop Hill have restored buildings from the period and museums.  You can visit the two in a single day.

Second Rescue

The Mormons had a wonderful system for helping its converts get to America from Europe.  It was called the Perpetual Immigration Fund, and worked as a kind of rotating loan that would pay for passage on ships, etc.  The Jansonists could have used such a thing.  They were poor as a group, and had to take passage on whatever floated, whatever room it had, passenger ship or not, seaworthy or not.  This sometimes meant that part of a family would disembark while the rest of the family waited for whatever became available, sometimes for years.  Peter Bloom’s family was able to travel together as a unit, but this blessing was bittersweet, as we will soon see.

Peter and family left Sweden in early fall of 1846, arriving in New York in October.  They would have been part of the second or third wave of Jansonists to leave.  The journey was harrowing, to say the very least.  The family would have sailed out of the port city of Gävle (most of the Jansonists left from here—and there was a “feverish excitement” to leave because they assumed Sweden would be destroyed for its wickedness!) 

Looking at a map of Sweden, you will see that it is no picnic to leave town.  Unlike other immigrants, such as those coming from Ireland or Plymouth, England, the Gävle, Sweden travelers had to sail through the Baltic Sea, around Denmark, through the North Sea, and then either through the English Channel or North of Scotland through the Norwegian Sea, passing Iceland and Greenland.  (I’m not sure which route was taken.)  That sounds dreadful even in the best of circumstances. 

And it was most certainly not the best of circumstances.  The first ship of Jansonists to leave Sweden wrecked before even getting to Denmark.  Another ship was lost completely, with about 50 souls aboard.  A third ship was shipwrecked off the coast of Newfoundland.   And the colonists were constantly starving or sick, stalked by the quick killing Asiatic cholera, THE plague of the 19th century.  At this point in our story the timeline becomes a little unclear, but the bare, for-certain facts are these: 

1. Peter left Sweden with a wife and four children.   
2. He was shipwrecked off Newfoundland. 
3. He arrived in New York in 1846 with a wife and two children. 

Christine’s daughter Martha wrote in a short memoir that “Among the passengers on the ship the Asiatic cholera broke out and my mothers’ two little sisters died of it and were buried in the sea”.  What a detail for a six year old to live with and pass down to her children!  (Note: It also made me emotional to realize that Christine named her daughter Martha, the English form of Margta, her four year old sister who perished. They were probably close playmates.)

The "Yellow Jack" sometimes has a black circle or black checks.
Asiatic cholera was a horrible pandemic that would affect much of the world for decades at a time.  It was a bacterial disease affecting the small intestine that first began in India.  Spread by contaminated water or food, it would cause severe vomiting and a strange white diarrhea, sometimes even seizures, leading to death by dehydration within a matter of a few days or even hours.  Ironically, abstinence from water was thought to be a cure.  Cholera still kills hundreds of thousands of people, mostly in third world countries.  Imagine being trapped on a ship (and probably a rickety one at that) with such a plague.  It must have been horrifying.  I wonder if the captain flew the quarantine flag (as required) or if he looked the other way. 

Then came the shipwreck.

Martha’s memoir does not capture the full story.  Martha’s brother Frederick adds this detail.  “On the voyage over they suffered shipwreck and one of his [Peter’s] daughters was lost”.  This statement makes it sound like one of the daughters was lost during the shipwreck (or it could just mean that she was also lost during the voyage and the two facts were put into the same sentence).  This particular wreck did claim at least three casualties among the Jansonist passengers, so Frederick Cooper’s version is entirely plausible.  With that in mind, picture this scenario:

Somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland.
What would cause a child to die in a shipwreck when many other passengers, including the child’s parents, survived?  Wouldn’t a child be protected by his or her parent?  My two guesses would be that the child was washed overboard, or I think even more likely, that the people were actually in the water (with parents doing their best to hang on to their children) and hypothermia set in.  Grim.  I think I prefer the “lost to cholera” version.  We may never know which is the truth.

We don’t know many of the details of the wreck.  One source claims the ship was called the Betty Cathrine, but this could also refer to one of the other two Jansonist ships that wrecked.  Other sources say the wreck was the Caroline.  If this was the case, we know the Caroline must have been repaired well enough to bring Peter and his family the rest of the way to New York, where they are recorded as arriving on that ship’s manifest.  The Caroline was also shipshape enough to bring another load of Jansonists to America in 1854.  We don’t know what caused the shipwreck, but that far north it could have been an iceberg, bad weather, or even the rocky coastline.

Peter’s ship was wrecked somewhere near the coast of Newfoundland.  I couldn’t find any newspaper accounts of the wreck for that time period, particularly since I don’t know where on the coast it wrecked, and also because that is a pretty rustic part of the world with not a lot of newspaper coverage—it was 1846.  Newfoundland claims a huge number of the shipwrecks on the Northern Maritime Research’s database, including an unsinkable ship named the Titanic.

And how do we know the wreck was somewhere near the coast?  According to Peter’s obituary, the passengers were actually rescued by fishermen and then taken to Newfoundland.  I don’t know in what manner the fishermen rescued them—if they pulled people from the water, or if they came upon a sinking ship or lifeboats and provided passage, or if they somehow towed a floundering ship to shore. 

They may have been unaware of the danger, but if the captain had been flying the quarantine flag, these fishermen were doubly brave, knowing that they were putting at risk their lives and the lives of their families to rescue strangers.  Hopefully all the lives of the rescuers were spared from the plague.

Third Rescue

This sad tale takes two more turns for the worse before it gets better.  When Peter and the remainder of his family arrived in New York, they had two children.  By the time they reached Illinois, their thirteen-year old son had also died; I’m assuming that the cholera carried over.  Since the Jansonists traveled on the wondrous Erie Canal and then across the Great Lakes, odds are very good that Peter’s son Jonas was buried “at sea” in the Great Lakes.

Travel on the Erie Canal.
Peter, Kerstin, and their lone little six-year-old daughter Christine arrived in Chicago and then traveled on foot or by wagon to Bishop Hill.  It was an extremely difficult winter with little food and rough shelters—communal dugouts, tents, and cabins.  Many died, so many that there were new bodies to remove almost every morning. They were buried in mass graves.  Kerstin, around age 38, worn down by grief and the physical difficulties, was one of these deaths, probably killed by cholera, joining her lost children.  She is most likely buried in an unmarked mass grave at Bishop Hill.  There are no lists of the dead from that first winter.
Rendering of the early habitations at Bishop Hill.

Like her children who had been buried at sea, Kerstin was wrapped in a sheet.

At this point Peter must have thought his life was over.  He had no more desire to remain at the Bishop Hill colony, whether caused by grief alone or by disillusionment with Janson’s so-called utopia and America in general.  He also had probably been weakened by sickness and starvation himself.  What happened next was really a miracle, a case of angels among us.  He was rescued and because of the Good Samaritan kindness of others, I am an American today.

I love the few tender details in his granddaughter Martha’s account.

Many of the people of the colony died there [at Bishop Hill], among them my mothers mother. 

After they were there a while my grandfather took my mother by the hand and started to walk to New York City to go back to Sweden.  When he went as far as Layfayette, Ill. [only about ten miles from Bishop Hill] he became so sick he went into a barn and laid down on the hay and the owner found them there early one morning.  He took them in the house and his wife doctored him till he was well.  He stayed there with Ira Reed and his good wife for a few years and, being a shoe maker, he made shoes and Ira Reed drove around the country and sold them.

Later my mother and her father went back to Bishop Hill and he married a Mrs. Johnson who had a boy Peter, and two girls, Ann and Kate.  Later a boy was born to them, Fred Bloom.  Grandfather bought a farm close to Bishop Hill and spent the remainder of his life there.  He lived to be eighty three years old. [Actually eighty one.]

As my mother did not enjoy her step mother nor step sisters very much she did not stay long at one time with them.  She lived between times with Mrs. Reed, who taught her to be a good housekeeper and all kinds of needle work.  She later went to Peoria to work, where she met my father, Thos. Cooper, and they were married there when she was seventeen yrs old. 

Ira Reed of Layfayette (yes, the locals really pronounce it that way) and his wife Maria were younger than Peter.  When Peter basically collapsed in their barn Ira would have been around 26.  They would have had a little two-year old boy named Robert.  Ira’s farm as shown on the 1850 Census was a sizable 3200 acres, but interestingly, after years of working with Peter, he claims his profession as “shoemaker”.  By 1850 Peter had moved back to Bishop Hill to start his second family.  Mrs. Reed really did serve as a foster mother to Christine—the little “orphan” is present in the Reed home in 1850 as Christine “Peterson” (remember, she is “Peter’s” daughter) from Sweden, age 8.  She must have looked small, she was actually 10.

It seems that Peter’s story has come to a happy end, and Christine grew up, married, and had a family of her own, ironically spending much of that happy time on a boat.  (Her husband Thomas ran a fleet that shipped produce to Chicago.)  There is one more rescue, however, that I wanted to include here.

Fourth Rescue

Whenever it is time for me to choose a new research subject, I make it a matter of prayer.  I believe that we are closer than we think to those who have gone beyond the veil.  I remembered vaguely the sad story of Peter Bloom’s children and began to feel increasingly drawn to them and their story.  I found myself thinking about them often.  I believe that this intensifying interest is caused by the subjects themselves—they WANT to be found.  As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I also believe that the members of this little torn-apart family wanted to have the chance to be reunited once and forever.  For that, though, I needed to know their names.

As I learned more about Swedish research and started combing the histories of Bishop Hill I began to despair that we would never know the names of Christine’s mother or her siblings since those names were not included in Martha’s memoirs.  Since they died at sea (or in Kerstin’s case, were buried in a mass grave) we have no record of their death.  I did not know the name of the ship they traveled on to be able to check for ship’s manifests.  And they came from Sweden!  The land of Peter Petersons and John Johnsons! Christine’s death certificate is not to be found, which should have listed her mother’s maiden name.  What few living relations there are do not have any record (or photos, which would have been nice) of this family.  I did not know the all-important name of the home parish in Sweden, only having Christine’s birthday and Martha’s incorrect guess that her mother was born in Stockholm.  I checked the holdings at the Family History Library in Salt Lake and found nothing.  I was really stuck. 

There was one general reference book about Swedish Immigration that caught my eye, but I was sure it would be too general.

Finally, I threw a hail Mary and wrote an email to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, at least hoping that they would have more information about Peter’s shipwreck.

Not so much the shipwreck, but they did have a file on Peter John Bloom.  And vital statistics on his entire family, as taken from the parish records in Sweden. 

Some of the information they sent me was taken from a certain general reference book about Swedish Immigration, the same one that had caught my eye.  It would have been my next step.

I am certain that Peter and his family wanted to be rescued one more time.  

Source List

Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle County, Illinois.  Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1900.  Internet Archives.  http://www.archive.org : 2014. 

Dowell, Cheryll, Bishop Hill Heritage Association.  Report to Jaclyn Day, 6 Oct 2014.

Galva, Illinois.  Galva News.  27 March 1884.

Heagy, Martha J. (Cooper).  Manuscript.  April 1842.  Privately held by Ebert Heagy, Fairfield, Montana, 2014.

Illinois.  Stark County.  1850 U.S. census, population schedule.  Digital images.  FamilySearch.org.  http://www.familysearch.org : 2014.

Issakson, Olov, and Read, Albert (translator).  Bishop Hill, Illinois:  A Utopia of the Prairie.  Stockholm:  LT Publishing House, 1969.

Johnson, Eric.  Svenskarne i Illinois.  Chicago, Illinois: Tryckt Hos, 1880.  Internet Archives.  http://www.archive.org : 2014. 

Mikkelsen, Michael A.  “The Bishop Hill Colony:  A Religious Communistic Settlement in Henry County, Illinois.”  Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Tenth Series, No. 1, (January 1892).  Google Books. http://www.books.google.com  : 2014.

Northern Maritime Research.  http://www.northernmaritimeresearch.com : 2014.

Olson, Ernst W.  The Swedish Element in Illinois: Survey of the Past Seven Decades.   Chicago:  Swedish-American Biographical Association Publishers, 1917.

Olsson, Nils William. Swedish Passenger Arrivals in New York, 1820-1850. Chicago: Swedish Pioneer Historical Society, 1967.

Setterdahl, Lilly.  “Emigrant Letters by Bishop Hill Colonists.”  Western Illinois Regional Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, (Fall 1978).  Internet Archives.  http://www.archive.org : 2014. 

Wikipedia.  http://www.wikipedia.org : 2014.


First Rescue
1. shoemaker:  Martha J. (Cooper) Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 4;  privately held by Ebert Heagy, Fairfield, MT, 2014.  Martha was the granddaughter of Peter John Bloom.
2. names of wife and children:  Cheryll Dowell, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, report to Jaclyn Day, response to inquiry on Peter John Bloom, 6 Oct 2014.
3. Alfta parish:  Dowell, response to inquiry on Peter John Bloom.
4. increased literacy:  Lilly Setterdahl, “Emigrant Letters by Bishop Hill Colonists”, Western Illinois Regional Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Fall 1978); Internet Archives (http://www.archive.org : accessed 6 Nov 2014), p. 124.
5. Devotionalism in Hälsingland:  Michael A. Mikkelsen, “The Bishop Hill Colony:  A Religious Communistic Settlement in Henry County, Illinois,” Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Tenth Series, No. 1 (January 1892); Google Books (http://www.books.google.com : accessed 6 November 2014), p. 13.  
6. Läsare:  Setterdahl, “Emigrant Letters by Bishop Hill Colonists,” p. 124.
7. gatherings illegal:  Ibid.
8. Jonas Olson’s account of corruption:  Mikkelsen, “The Bishop Hill Colony”, p. 12.
9. “On regaining consciousness…”:  Ibid., p. 17.
10. return to primitive Christianity:  Ibid., p. 20.
11. Janson’s preaches to Läsare :  Ibid., p. 19.
12. denied right to testify:  Ernst W. Olson, The Swedish Element in Illinois:  Survey of the Past Seven Decades, (Chicago, Illinois:  Swedish-American Biographical Association Publishers:  1917), p. 40.
13. arrested in Langhed, Alfta:  Eric Johnson, Svenskarne i Illinois (Chicago, Illinois: Tryckt Hos, 1880), p. 25.  Internet Archives. ( http://www.archive.org : accessed 11 November 2014).  Assisted by Google Translate! 
14. mountains of Alfta:  Mikkelsen, “The Bishop Hill Colony”, p. 24.
15. Bishopskulla:  Bishop Hill, Illinois”, Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org : accessed 12 November 2014).
16. Janson’s expanded views:  Ibid., p. 25.
17. first mass migration:  Bishop Hill, Illinois”, Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org : accessed 12 November 2014).
18. 1,100 immigrants:  Mikkelsen, “The Bishop Hill Colony”, p. 28.
19. “much religious persecution”:  Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 3. 

Second Rescue
1. poor as a group:  Olov Issakson, Bishop Hill, Illinois:  A Utopia of the Prairie, (Stockholm:  LT Publishing House, 1969).
2. fall of 1846:  Nils William Olsson, Swedish Passenger Arrivals in New York:  1820-1850, (Chicago:  Swedish Pioneer Historical Society, 1967), p. 118.  Entry for Peter Jonsson. 
3. third or fourth wave:   Mikkelsen, “The Bishop Hill Colony”, p. 29-30.
4. Sweden would be destroyed:  Ibid., p. 28.
5. three shipwrecks:  Olson, The Swedish Element in Illlinois, p. 41.
6. left with four children: Peter’s obituary says he lost three children on the journey (one survived).  “Peter J. Bloom,” obituary, Galva (Illinois) News, 27 March 1884.  Transcribed by Cheryl Dowell, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, report to Jaclyn Day, response to inquiry on Peter John Bloom, 6 Oct 2014.
7. shipwrecked off Newfoundland:  Ibid.
8. New York with two children:  Olsson, Swedish Passenger Arrivals in New York:  1820-1850,  p. 118.  Entry for Peter Jonsson. 
9. “Among the passengers”:  Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 3.
10. Margta was four:  Dowell, response to inquiry on Peter John Bloom, 6 Oct 2014.
11. Asiatic cholera:  “Cholera”, Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org : accessed 12 November 2014)
12. “on the voyage over”:   Biographical and Genealogical Record of La Salle County, Illinois,  (Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), entry for “Frederick G. Cooper”, p. 404.  Internet Archives.  http://www.archive.org : 2014.  This article contains several factual errors but does mention some facts that can be confirmed elsewhere.
13. Betty Cathrine:  Olov Issakson, Bishop Hill, Illinois:  A Utopia of the Prairie, (Stockholm:  LT Publishing House, 1969).
14. Caroline wreck:  Setterdahl, “Emigrant Letters by Bishop Hill Colonists,” p. 126.
15. three casualties:  Ibid., p. 126
16. Newfoundland claims:  “Newfoundland Shipwrecks”, Northern Maritime Research (http://www.northernmaritimeresearch.com : accessed 30 November 2014)

Third Rescue
1. arrived in New York:  Olsson, Swedish Passenger Arrivals in New York, p. 118.  Entry for Peter Jonsson.
2. son died before Illinois:  “Peter J. Bloom,” Galva News, 27 Mar 1884.  The obit mentions that Peter lost three children in the crossing but we know that only the two younger daughters died before New York.
3. canal and Great Lakes to Chicago:  Mikkelsen, “The Bishop Hill Colony”, p. 29.
4. dugouts and tents and cabins:  Ibid., p. 30.
5. new bodies every morning:  Ibid., p. 30.
6. mass graves:  Olson, The Swedish Element, p. 44.
7. Kerstin died:  “Peter J. Bloom,” Galva News, 27 Mar 1884.  A letter from the Bishop Hill Heritage Society confirms that her death was probably caused by cholera.
8. no lists of the dead:  Dowell, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, response to inquiry on Peter John Bloom.
9. wrapped in a sheet:  Olson, The Swedish Element, p. 44.
10.  “Many of the people…”:  Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 3. 
11. Ira Reed’s family:  1850 U.S. census, Stark County, Illinois, population schedule, p. 429 (handwritten), dwelling 275, family 312, Ira C. Reed and Christine Peterson; digital image, FamilySearch.org (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 30 November 2014); citing NARA publication M432, image 00052. 
12. Peter’s second family:  Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 4.  Peter married a Mrs. Mary Johnson in 1850. 
13. Christine lived on a boat:  Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 4. 

Fourth Rescue
1. Stockholm: Heagy, (MS, April 1942), p. 3.

1 comment:

  1. I am pretty sure we are related through Peter John Bloom and would be interested in knowing any more information you might have. Could you shoot me an email - john.r.taylor@gmail.com