Reorus Torkillus

Reorus Torkillus (1608–1643) was the first Lutheran clergyman to settle in what would become the United States. Torkillus was born at Mölndal, near Gothenburg, Sweden in 1608. He studied for the ministry at Lidköping and Skara in Sweden. After completing his education, he served as a chaplain and lecturer at the high school in Gothenburg. Torkillus sailed with the second expedition of Swedish settlers to New Sweden, aboard the Kalmar Nyckel. He arrived at Fort Christina near present-day Wilmington, Delaware on April 17, 1640. Initially, Torkillus officiated at church services held in a blockhouse at Fort Christina. Planning for and construction of the first log churches in the New Sweden settlement was probably begun during his tenure. Torkillus died at Fort Christina in 1643 and was succeeded in his pastorship to the New Sweden colonists by John Campanius. Today Holy Trinity Church, also known as Old Swedes', is a National Historic Landmark. It was built from local blue granite and Swedish bricks that had been used as ship's ballast on the site of the Fort Christina's burial ground. The church is stated to be the nation's oldest church building still standing as originally built.

Personal details

Date of birth
Date of death
1643 at age of 35
Place of death
New Sweden


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