52 Ancestors, Week 43: Peter Gunnarson Rambo (part 2)

Credit:  Allertaler, CC0 on Pixabay

This is the work of Ronald S Beatty, with information from his website, with a few of my own edits and embellishments:

There are three interesting documents concerning Peter Rambo:
1.  An official encounter with some Native Americans
2.  A letter written to his sister in Sweden
3.  His Will

The first document:  
"During his years of trading with the Indians Peter Rambo learned enough of the language to serve as Interpreter.  Of interest is a colonial document describing a conference between the governor, magistrates of Newcastle and Indian sachems of New Jersey:

'At Newcastle, May 13th 1675

Upon an Appearance of the Indyans before the New Magistrates in the afternoone.    The names of the Chiefs were Renowewan of Sawkin on the Eastern side, Ipan Kickan of Rancokeskill, Kitmarius of Soupnapka, Manickty of Rancokestill heretofore all of N. Jersy side.  

The Govenor declares his desire to continue in friendship with them and his readiness to protect them, and thanks them for their coming down.

They by Israel Helme the Interpreter expresse thie rediness to continue in good friendship, & return their thanks to the Gov.  They are told that it is not, that the governor wants their help -- if the other Indyans will bee bad, he can deale well enough with them, but now is wishing to be kind to those that will live quietly and well.  

They are told they must not kick the beasts or swine belonging to the Christians & the Christians shall not doe them any injury.

The first sachem rises up and walks up and down taking notice of his old Acquaintance P. Rambo & Peter Cock, Lansa Cock with C. Cantwell then taking a band of sewant, he measured it from his neck to the length downward & said his heart should bee so long & so great to the Gov. & the Christians & should never forget the Gov. so presents the belt of wampum, throwing it at the Gov. feet.  

The next rises up & professing much friendship & thanks to the Gov. for his kind expressions presents another belt of wampum.

The Gov. (Andros) tells them the two belts shall be kept as bands of friendship between them.  The belts of sewant were written upon to be kept in token of a continuance of Peace.  The first belt was 15, t'other 12 wampum high.

The Gov. presents them with 4 Coates and 4 lappeloathes.  They return thanks and fall a kintacooying with expressions of thanks, singing kenon, kenon."

Secondly, Peter Rambo's  Letter to his Sister undoubtedly written 31 May 1693.

On 16 Nov 1692 postmaster Johan Thelin of Gothenburg wrote a letter to America containing the inquiry of a woman who wanted to know if her brother, Peter Gunnarson Rambo, was still alive in America.  That letter arrived in New Sweden in May 1693 and Peter's reply has been preserved in the Riksarkivet (Royal Archives) in Stockholm, along with letters written at the same time by his fellow colonists Charles Springer and Lars Cock.  

Peter Gunnarson Rambo had 37 grandchildren by Jun 1693 and was about 81 years old when he wrote this letter to his sister:

"Highly honored Dear Sister: Greetings! by the power of God, your letter, dear Sister, came into my hands here the 23rd of May, dated Gothenburg, the 16th of November 1692; from which letter I understand your temporal condition; that you are still alive, God be praised which makes me, my wife, and children glad at heart, that I might once again be permitted to hear of your condition and the Fatherland, before it pleases God to call me from this world.

Inasmuch as I have also understood from your letter that you now, and for some years past, have lost your eyesight and hearing (which comes as a great blow for me to hear); and you write to me that I should support you with assistance in your poverty, which I should with all my heart to do, but there is now such discord, war, and naval warfare that there would be great doubt whether you should receive it or not.  I have already sent you money several times, but I understand from your letter that you have received none of it. 

Therefore I beg you, Dear Sister, to have patience until I can hear from you again, and safer conditions may be found for my letters and what I send you.

Now what concerns my trade and conduct, and what my life has been here in this land: after eight years I entered the state of Holy Matrimony with Britta Mattzdotter, who (God be praised) is still living; she also came from Sweden, from Wassa, whom I have lived with in harmony and love for 46 years, and have had with her 4 daughters and 4 sons, but the one daughter when she was 8 years old fell asleep in the Lord.  And so I have still 4 living sons and 3 living daughters; all are well provided for and live in plenty with their husbands, wives, and children, so that now from my lineage there are living 37 souls of my children's children.

And I have served faithfully, both the Swedish regime, the Holland Dutch, and now the English: I also sat on the court for 29 years, both in the Swedes and the Hollanders' time; for the Swedes have a rule that no case should be decided at court unless the Swedes had their voice in it; but I am old and can no longer endure that toil.  Our nations also live faithfully with one another both in harmony and affection.  Our land is a very splendid fruitful land, so that we have no lack of anything on which the sustenance of our bodies and lives depends, for the nearby islands are fed by us with the land's goods, with seed, flour, and beer.  We have cause also to thank God that we live in harmony, affection, and faithfulness with the Indians, while the surrounding lands and neighbors have had great duress from the Indians; and I may truthfully say, that God has wonderfully preserved and shielded us and has shown a peculiar grace toward us in this heathenish land.

Nothing more occurs to me to write this time, but my dear wife and children send greetings to you and all good friends who may or can be found living, hoping for and awaiting your reply by the first ship that can come.  Commending you to the protection and care of God Almighty,

Always remaining your most obedient brother until death,

s/ Petter Gunnarson Rambo"

Peter's wife Brita died 12 October 1693.

Third, is Peter Rambo's Will: 

Peter Rambo's will was signed 3 Aug 1694, probated 6 November 1698, and recorded in Will Book A: pages 423-425, #183.  The will reads as follows:

"In the name of God Amen, I Peter Rambo Senior of the Countie of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsilvania in parts of America, being in good health of bodie & in perfect sound mind & memorie, praise be therfore given unto Almightie God, do make & ordain this my Last will & testament in manner & form following; that is to say, first & principally I commend my Soul into the hands of Almightie God hoping through the meritts, death & passion of my Savior Jesus Christ to have full & free pardon & forgiveness of all my Sins and inherit eternal life, And my bodie I committ into the earth to be therein decentlie buryed att ye burying place of Wicacoe, att the discretion of my exers [executors] herein after mentioned; and as touching the disposition of all such temporal estate as it hath pleased God in his Mercie to bestow upon mee I give and Dispose thereof as followeth ... 
FIRST I will that all debts & funeral charges be first paid and discharged ...  
SECONDLY I give & dispose unto my son Gunner Rambo three hundred acres of land in West-New-Jersey on Homons Creek ... 
THIRDLY I give and bequeath unto my Son John Rambo the tract of land which hee now liveth upon in West-New-Jersey aforesaid Lying on Little Mantua Creek ... 
FOURTHLY I give unto my Son Anders Rambo  that tract of land whereon I now live Containing three hundred fiftie three acres of fast land, marsh, and frirse.  As also twelve acres of Meadow ground Lying opposite to the Township of Passayunk on the west side of the creek as also together with fifteen acres of meadow in the township of Passyunk, With all and singular rights priviledges & Appertenances thereunto the said Marsh and privgs [priviledges] belonging & sipstaining to his Heirs and Assigns forever after my decease, 
FURTHER I give unto my sd Son Anders all my right title and interest in Costers Saw Mill, and 
FURTHER all my moveables, Lands, goods and Chattells, besides what is particularlie above disposed of, & I equallie give & Dispose thereof unto my Sons Gunner, Peter, Andreas & John Rambo  & to Yertrud Bankson  wife of Andreas Bankson & Catherin Dalbo wife of Peter Dalbo, all which Said Six persons' Hoefore b. justlie equal & order not anie one to have any greater part or share in value than the other of the sd Lands, goods & chattels as aforesd mentioned, 
AND unto this my Last Will and Testamt I ordain and Appoint my Son Anders Rambo my full,  ___& sole exers to this my Last will and testam, Revoking annualling and making void absolutie by these presents all will & Wills or testaments whatsoever heretofore by me made either in words or writing and this & none other is to be taken for my Last Will and Testament.  In Witness whereof I Peter Rambo have Set my hand and Seal the 3rd Day of August 1694."  Locus Sigilli Signed Sealed
Witnessed by
Robert Langshore       his
Peter Dalbo [#4] Peter      Rambo
Matthias Holstein       mark
Lasse Cock

Peter Gunnarson Rambo was buried in the churchyard at Wicaco on 29 Jan 1698, one of the last survivors of the original Swedish settlers.

From the now long-lost Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) churchbook of 1697-1750.  Under the list of 'F”de i Sverige' (born in Sweden) was an entry in Swedish:  'Peter Rambo of Hisingen, 85 years and almost 8 months [old] buried 29 Jan 1698, married 7 April 1647 - 12 Oct 1693, had 4 sons and 3 daughters ..... Brita Matsdotter.' “ (1)

(1) https://sites.google.com/site/rambofamilytree/


  1. Peter's letter to his sister is an impressive historical document in itself contrasting the old country with the new and all the circumstances or each. Thirty seven grand children is an amazing legacy and the truest wealth of Rambo's long life in the new settlements.

  2. Peter's descendant married a man named Easterling, who was descended from James Bennett, headman of an Algonquin speaking tribe in coastal North Carolina. Bennett sold some acreage to an English planter with a recorded deed . Martha Jane Easterling is my Great Grandmother, who lived in the Hill Country of Texas. We have seedlings of Rambo apple trees planted here in Oregon.


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