Hedstrom, Olif G
Hedstrom, Olif G.
a noted Methodist Episcopal minister, was born in Sweden in 1803, of humble parents, who gave him a fair education. When twenty-two years old he joined a band of adventurous youths, who volunteered to take two frigates from Sweden to their purchasers in one of the South American republics. After a tempestuous voyage, instead of reaching South America they landed in New York. Mr. Hedstrom soon made arrangements to return to Sweden, but on the eve of his departure was robbed of his money. He was shortly afterward led to Willett Street Methodist Episcopal Church, N.Y., experienced religion, and on reaching his Swedish home began holding Methodist class-meetings and prayer-meetings, the first ever held in that land. In 1835 he returned to New York, joined the New York Conference, and in it travelled the following circuits: Charlotte, Jefferson, Coeymans, WindhamCatskill, and Prattsville. In 1845 he was appointed to the Swedish mission, with his headquarters in the famous Bethel ship for Scandinavian seamen, foot of Carlisle Street, N.Y. He began by boarding, when possible, every incoming ship from Scandinavia or Denmark before it touched the shore, and distributing among the emigrants Bibles and tracts, telling them where they could find good temporary homes, and inviting them to the Bethel ship. In a single day he might be found in the counting- room of the rich gathering funds for the mission, far out on the deep seeking the lost sheep, at his desk answering letters from all parts of the world, at the bedside of the sick and dying, and pleading from his pulpit with the waiting throng to accept Christ. Thus he continued till his death, May 6, 1877. Mr. Hedstrom was thoroughly devoted to his work, had a simplicity of manner and fund of experimental Christianity that won the hearts of all. His religion was full of joy, and his life of success. See Minutes of Annual Conferences, 1878, 1:42; Simpson, Cyclop. of Methodism, s.v.