John Gustav Princell1

b. Sep 18, 1845, d. May 1, 1915
FatherMagnus Gunnerson2 b. Apr 4, 1812, d. Feb 8, 1896
MotherMaria Jonasdaughter2 b. Apr 8, 1821, d. Nov 30, 1893
     John Gustav Princell was also known as Johan Gustaf Gunnerson. John was born in Tolgs parish, Kronoberg lan, Smaland, Sweden, on Sep 18, 1845.2,3,4,5,6,7,8
     John Gustav Princell emigrated with Magnus Gunnerson and Maria Jonasdaughter in 1856 in Kallreda Nastagard, Tolg, Kronobergs lan, Smaland, Sweden; The note appears to indicate 6 males and 1 female left for America.7,9

     John, Magnus Gunnerson's child, resided with Magnus, in Chicago, Cook Co, IL, in 1856.10 Magnus, Maria, John and Carl immigrated on Jul 4, 1856 to Chicago, Cook Co, IL; They traveled through New York. The family arrived two years after what is considered the early peak Swedish immigration year, 1854, when 4,000 people arrived. (Emigration from Sweden reached its all time high in 1888 when 45,000 people came to America.)11,12,4,8
     John, Magnus Gunnerson's child, resided with Magnus, in Princeton, Cook Co, IL, after 1856.10
     Johan Gustaf Gunnerson attended Immanuel Church School in 1860 in Chicago, IL. He lived with the family of the teacher, Erland Carlsson, and served as a teacher for his daughters.13
     John Gustav Princell attended Augustana Seminary in 1862 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.3
     John Gustav Princell attended Augustana Seminary in 1863 in Paxton, Ford Co, IL.3
     John was employed by Hemlandet between 1863 and 1869 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL; Hemlandet was a Swedish language newspaper.3
     Circa 1863, he changed his name from Johan Gustaf Gunnerson to John G. Princell. Karl Olsson says he took his name from the town of Princeton..2,3
     John was listed as a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Chicago, Cook Co, IL, between 1863 and 1869.10
     John Gustav Princell attended Chicago University from 1869 to 1870 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.3
     John Gustav Princell attended German-American College from 1870 to 1872 in Philadelphia, PA.3
     John Gustav Princell graduated from Philadelphia Seminary in 1872 in Philadelphia, PA.1
     John Gustav Princell was employed by pastor circa 1872 in Campello, MA.3
     John Gustav Princell was employed by pastor circa 1872 in Boston, MA.3
     John Gustav Princell was employed by Gustavus Adolphus Church as a pastor from 1873 to 1879 in New York, NY.3,14
     He married Maria Josefina Lind on Sep 18, 1876.15,16,17,4,14
     In 1878, Augustana Lutheran Synod removed his pastoral credentials and rights (defrocked) him.10
     In 1880, Princell founded Skandinaviska Emigrant Hemmet, a society to assist and protect new Swedish immigrants. The society first rented a building on Carlistle, then moved to Greenwich Street in 1889; both sites were within walking distance of the Castle Garden immigration center. The society's operations ceased when the first World War dramatically decreased the number of Swedish immigrants.18
     John Gustav Princell was employed by Ansgar College as a president between Sep, 1880 and May, 1884 in Knoxville, IL.5
     John, Josephine, Gustave, Joseph and John and family returned from Sweden on Sep 7, 1883.19
     John Gustav Princell caused controversy during the preliminary discussions and organizational meeting that eventually led to the formation of the Mission Covenant church. During this period, he was extremely vocal in his criticism, in person and in print, of both the old Lutheran church and the proposed new Covenant church, to the point that he was thrown out of the organizational meeting. circa 1884 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.5
     John Gustav Princell was employed by Chicago-Bladet as a associate editor fall 1884 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.5

     "The Evangelical Covenant Church of Batavia, called originally the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church... was organized November 17, 1871 as one of 16 churches "mothered" by the First Covenant Church of Chicago. Prior to 1886 the group was served by visiting clergymen from Chicago and elsewhere, among them C. A. Bjork, the first president of the Covenant, J. G. Princell, P. Wedin, C. J. Nyvall, N. N. Gustafson, J. M. Sanngren, C. M. Youngquist, and others.20 "
     John Gustav Princell attended the second Bible and Prophetic Conference, which discussed theories on the millenium, on Nov 16, 1886 in Farwell Hall, Chicago, IL.21
     1889, John started the magazine Frihet och Frid (Liberty and Peace.)5
     John Gustav Princell lived in 1890 in 903 Sherman Avenue, Rogers Park, Cook Co, IL.22
     John Gustav Princell was employed by Frihet och Frid as a editor in 1890 in 1 N Clark, Chicago, Cook Co, IL.22
     John Gustav Princell translated three books by Dr. Waldenstrom from Swedish to English. He also published his own book, Chief Events in the Jewish History.5
     John Gustav Princell was employed by Temple church as a pastor in 1894 in Minneapolis, MN.5
     John Gustav Princell was employed by a little county church as a pastor in 1896 in Franconia, Chisago Co, MN.5
     On February 4, 1896, the following notice appeared in the Salina Journal: "Prof. J. G. Princell will preach in the Swedish Methodist Church, this evening at 7:30 and Sunday morning at 11 o'clock." This is puzzling, since this was about the time of his father's death. Was he in town for Magnus' funeral? If so, why can't I find an obituary for Magnus? And why the Methodist church? His parents were founding members of the Swedish Lutheran church in Assaria.23
     1897, "Under the leadership of Rev. P. J. Elmquist and Rev. J. G. Princell, 22 men and women of the Swedish Free Church began a 10-week Bible course in Oak Street Hall, the site of the First Swedish Evangelical Free Church of Chicago."24
     John was listed as the head of a family on the 1900 Census in Franconia, Chisago Co, MN. John was a minister. Paul and Ben were in school. The family had a boarder, Maria Halsor, and a servant, Maria Nelson, living with them. They were renting.4
     John Gustav Princell was employed by Swedish Bible Institute as President and teacher in Oct, 1903 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.24,5
     John Gustav Princell and Josephine Princell lived in May, 1905 in 209 Oak Street, Chicago, Cook Co, IL.8

     John Gustav Princell was naturalized on May 15, 1906 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.4,8
     John, Josephine and Ben returned to the U.S. on the S. S. Caledonia, which sailed from Glasgow, Scotland on August 24, 1907, and were processed through Ellis Island on September 1, 1907. They were traveling second-cabin class.6
     John Gustav Princell and Josephine Princell lived in Aug, 1907 in 205 Oak Street, Chicago, Cook Co, IL, with Benjamin.6
     John Gustav Princell was profiled by Ernst Wilhelm Olson in History of the Swedes of Illinois, Vol 2 in 1908.25
     John was forced by failing heath to retire 1914.5
     John died on May 1, 1915 in Chicago, Cook Co, IL, at age 69.2,17 An obituary was published on May 4, 1915 in the The Daily News in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.17 John's private services were held on May 5, 1915 at his home, 913 Galt Avenue in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.17 John's funeral was held on May 5, 1915 at Swedish Mission Church, corner Whitting and Orleans in Chicago, Cook Co, IL.17 He was buried on May 5, 1915 in Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Cook Co, IL.17
     A memorial service in honor of John Gustav Princell was held at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Cook Co, IL, on Jun 18, 1927.26

     A profile was published on Apr 20, 1945 in the Makers of Covenant History.5


Maria Josefina Lind b. October 12, 1844, d. March 3, 1937


  1. [S1227] 1864 - 1923 Classes of Philadelphia Seminary, online,%25201864-1923.htm+joseph+princell&hl=en&ie=UTF-8, citing Philadelphia Seminary Biographical Record 1864-1923. Edited by Luther D. Reed.
  2. [S90] Gunnerson Family Bible.
  3. [S402] Book, Into One Body , page 29, note 3.
  4. [S1256] 1900 U. S. Census, Minnesota, Chisago County, Franconia, ED 5, sheet 9B, line 94, dwelling 169, family 173, Minnesota, Chisago County.
  5. [S1255] J.G. Princell, unlabeled clipping, possibly from "Makers of Covenant History", April 20, 1945 North Park University Archives.
  6. [S1317] John J., Josephine, and Ben Princell, Caledonia passenger manifest, August 24, 1907, page 14.
  7. [S1698] Anna (avipe), "Magnus Gunnerson/Gummesson," e-mail to Julia Langel, July 21, 2008, Magnus Gunnerson/Gummesson.
  8. [S1848] [database on-line] Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950, NARA M1285, roll 142, no. P-652, Provo, UT.
  9. [S2377] Kronoberg County, Sweden Tolg Parish, 1855 - 1863, Husforhorslangder, vol A1:14:356, Utflttade.
  10. [S402] Book, Into One Body.
  11. [S402] Book, Into One Body , this source says May 21.
  12. [S2] William G. Cutler, History of the State of Kansas, McPherson County, Lindsborg, page 5.
  13. [S1847] Swedish Churches, online
  14. [S1345] Edla C. Matson, "Josephine Princell: A woman of true vision."
  15. [S104] Website, SwedAmer Bibliography.
  16. [S402] Book, Into One Body , page 93.
  17. [S1250] The Daily News, May 4, 1915, page 2, column 7.
  18. [S1344] Swedish Emigrant Insitute Website, online
  19. [S1849] J. G. Princell, S.S. Island Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897, September 7, 1883.
  20. [S103] Website, Ev Cov Church Batavia.
  21. [S1420] Waukesha Freeman, November 18, 1886, page 4.
  22. [S1228] Evanston, IL, 1890.
  23. [S156] Newspaper, Princell, J.G. , page 3.
  24. [S381] Website, Trin Evang Div School.
  25. [S1823] Ernst Wilhelm Olson, History of the Swedes of Illinois Volume 2.
  26. [S99] J. G. Princell, Funeral Bulletin, June 18, 1927 Julia Langel.
  27. [S1251] Chicago Sunday Tribune, January 21, 1945, part 2, page 6, column 7.
Copyright 2017 Julia Langel. This is a work in progress, so please be patient with errors and omissions!