Christen Brunberg (1684-1753)

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Christiern Brunberg (1684-1753) and Maria Peterson were married at Holy Trinity Church on 2 July 1719. Christiern's parents are unknown, but he is thought to be related to the Brunsberg family of Varberg, Sweden, and the erlier Bruns family of Lubeck. (See "Family History of the Matthias Brimberry and Mary Anderson Families‎" for details of this possible relationship.) Maria's family line is presented graphically at Matthias Brymberry's Swedish Ancestors.


Holy Trinity Church Record: Christiern Brunberg and Maria Petersson's Marriage Record, 1719 (Item 4; Click to enlarge)

Faithful communicants at Holy Trinity the remainder of their lives, Holy Trinity Church records tell us much that we know about their 31 years together. Horace Burr's translation of the Records of Holy Trinity (Old Swedes) Church contains numerous references to this couple, including baptismal, marriage, and other church records, as well as several petitions to the King of Sweden. Church records also show that Christiern was instrumental in establishing a school in his home. No doubt his interest in education was handed down through his eldest son Sven to his son Peter Brynberg (1750-1819), Revolutionary War patriot, publisher, statesman, and founder of one of the first free libraries in America. Some years ago, this researcher was fortunate to receive three books published by Peter Brynberg from now deceased Professor C.A. Weslager, noted Delaware historian and author of "A Man and His Ship: Peter Minuit and the Kalmar Nyckel". I was also blessed with a letter from the late Ruth L. Springer stating to me that all that she and her husband Charles Springer, authors of many Delaware Historical Society articles, had ever learned about Christiern Brunberg indicated that he was well educated and a person "one truly would like to have known."

I am of the view that history is story-telling and those of us who are fortunate enough to have an interest in history have an obligation to preserve and share what we know. Hence, this endeavor. In this same vein, I donated one of the books acquired from Professor Weslager to the Old Swedes Foundation Museum where it is on permanent display. The other two books are primers or textbooks of the day (circa 1800) published by Peter Brynberg.

It is also noteworthy that 19th century Swedish churchman and historian Israel Acrelius in writing about the Swedes on the Delaware in 1693 mentioned several arrivals who came in later times, including Brunberg. Suffice that Christiern Brunberg was active and prominent in the affairs of Holy Trinity Church following his marriage in 1719 to Maria Petersson, who subsequently became the progenitors of the Brimberry family in the United States. However, only one of their three sons, Matthias, the youngest, had male lines to carry on the name.


Holy Trinity Church Record of Christiern Brunberg's Death. Recorded in Swedish, the document states his age and that he was born in Halland län in Sverige (Sweden)

Befittingly, Christiern and Maria are both buried at Holy Trinity Church, where they worshipped regularly. The burial record of Christiern Brunberg reports that he "died of a pitchfork" (heart attack) at the age of 68, that he was born in Halland, a province in southern Sweden, and that he was buried 28 March 1752. Christiern's will, however, was signed six days later on 3 April, 1752. This anomaly is explained by the fact that the Swedes were still using the Old Calendar, while the English were using the New Calendar.

1750 Holy Trinity Church Record of Maria Brunberg's Death Written in Swedish

Christiern's wife Maria Petersson, daughter of Matthias Petersson and Elisabeth Justis, was buried 31 July 1750 at Holy Trinity Church where she was baptised in 1698 soon after the now oldest church in continuous use in the United States was built. Holy Trinity is the same church where she and her husband of 31 years were married in 1719. Her obituary, located near the bottom of the document and recorded in Swedish, reads: "Mary Petersson, wife of Christiern Brunberg, 51 years and 9 months."


Last Will & Testament of Christiern Brinberg/ Brinbery, 1752 (Signature Page, Click on Image to Enlarge)

Matthias was 14 when his mother died, and 16 when his father passed away. His father's last will and testament, on the preceding page, devised that Mathias, his youngest son, "be lett out" to a trade. It is interesting to note that whoever actually prepared the document for Christiern intermittently spelled his last name as Brinberg and as Brinbery. Christiern scrawled his signature, no doubt due to his enfeebled condition.

As previously reported, Christiern arrived in New Castle County prior to 19 September 1714 when he made his first of many appearances at the Holy Trinity communion table. He served as church warden 1721-24 and was elected to the church council in 1729. In March 1723, he gave the preistland (glebe) 30 apple trees which he planted himself in the orchard. Holy Trinity Church records also show that Christiern Brunberg and his wife Maria Peterson had ten children:


  • 1. Elisabeth Brunberg, born 14 Dec. 1719, buried 29 Jan. 1720.
  • 2. Sven Brunberg, born 17 Nov. 1720, who married Anna Pierce 4 Aug. 1751, Margaret Lynam 1760. His name appeared on a militia roll during the American Revolution as Swithen Brinberrey, which prompted this researcher to investigate the Holy Trinity Church records during the early 1960s. His sons John Brynberg and Peter Brynberg, both of whom were Revolutionary War patriots, are also buried at Holy Trinity.
  • 3. Peter Brunberg, born 26 Sept. 1722, who married Ann Owens July 1746, Margaret Vickory (widow of John Vaneman) c. 1750. He moved at Penns Neck, NJ and had a daughter, Margaret, and a son, Christian, who disappeared from available records during the Revolutionary War.
  • 4. Susanna Brunberg, born 15 Aug. 1724, who married Philip Stalcop, son of Andrew and Anna Barbara Stalcop, in 1744. They had seven children, five of whom died in infancy or young. Her first husband, Philip Stalcop, died of pleurisy in 1758, leaving Susanna a widow with two small children. In 1759, she married Eric Anderson. She and her brother, Matthias, moved with their Anderson spouses and in-laws to Orange Co., NC in 1768; thence to southwest Virginia.
  • 5. Matthias Brunberg, born 15 Sept. 1726, buried 24 August 1730. The Swedish practice of renaming children after deceased siblings was common, as evidenced below.
  • 6. John Brunberg, born 19 Jan. 1730, buried 29 Aug. 1730.
  • 7. Maria Brunberg, born c. 1734, married Samuel Seeds 12 April 1753.
  • 8. Matthias Brunberg,born 22 March 1736, married Mary Anderson 11 March 1766. Orphaned when he was 16, he was living in 1753 with his eldest brother Sven in Hans Peterson's ward in Brandywine Hundred. In the 1764 church census, he was shown as a bachelor farmer living in Christiana Hundred adjacent to widow Margareta (Stalcop) Lynam, widow of George Lynam. He probably worked her farm. If so, it is reasonable to assume that he visited the log house Lynam built pictured elsewhere (see Lynam 6.3)

Holy Trinity Church: Mathias Branberry & Mary Andersson, 11 March 1766 (Click to enlarge)

In 1766, Matthias wed Mary Anderson at Holy Trinity Church. Two years later, they moved with his sister Susanna and her husband Eric Anderson to Orange County, NC where Matthias Brumberry appeared on the 1771 tax list with his Anderson kin. The Orange County tax list for 1779 also listed Peter Anderson Sr., Peter Anderson Jr. (Eric's younger brother) and Arruk (Eric) Anderson, as well as "Mathias Brumberry" (Brunberg).

  • 9. Christina Brunberg, born 20 Jan. 1738, buried 28 April 1752 at age of 14, smallpox. She died within a month of her father and her death is recorded beneath that of her father (see above)
  • 10. Elisabeth Brunberg, born 9 April 1741, married William Derickson 6 May 1763.

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