American Colony in Jerusalem, 1870 to 2006
American Colony in Jerusalem Timeline, 1828-1980
1828 to 1873
1828 Oct. 20 Birth of American Colony founder Horatio Gates Spafford, in Lansingburgh (North Troy), N.Y. (d. 1888). His father Horatio Gates Spafford, Sr., (b. 1778) was born in Vermont, in a family originating in Yorkshire, England. Named for the Revolutionary War general Horatio Gates, the elder Spafford was an inventor and writer, author of a popular gazetteer of the state of New York.
1873 to 1881
1873 Nov. 22 - Dec. 1 While progressing across the Atlantic ocean in the middle of the night, the luxury steamer Ville du Havre is mortally damaged in a shocking collision with another vessel, the Loch Earn, under starlit skies. The Spafford party and a group of ministers who befriended them on the ship are among the passengers who gather on deck as the...
1881 to 1896
1881 August 17 - September The Spafford family and a core group of their millennialist "Overcomer" friends depart the Chicago area and travel to the Holy Land. The travelers includes Mary and John C. Whiting and their young daughter Ruth (b. 1880), Horatio Gates Spafford's visionary sister Margaret Lee (d. 1891), well-to-do Chicago widow Amelia Gould (Sister Elizabeth) (d. 1914), business man William Rudy...
1896 to 1915
1896 April and August The American Colony increases dramatically in size and ethnic diversity as groups of Swedish millennialists migrate to Jerusalem to join the community. Members of the Swedish Evangelical Church of Chicago, Ill., led by Olaf Henrik Larsson arrive in Jerusalem in April, after becoming impressed by Anna Spafford during her time in Illinois. Other Swedes, including Tipers Lars Larsson and many...
1916 to 1930
1916-1918 The population of Jerusalem drops significantly in war time, as residents are deported, drafted into military service or labor, and suffer from famine and disease. American Colony members engage in relief efforts and public health and social welfare activities for the local populace during World War I, including operation of a volunteer nursing corps and a supper kitchen. Bertha Vester organizes a sewing...
1930 to 1980
1931 As the economic Depression deepens, the struggling Vester and Co.—American Colony Store in New York is sold to Nils Lind, son-in-law of Frederick and Bertha Vester.