Among the soldiers arriving in New Sweden on the Eagle in 1654 was a young man named Olle Matthiasson, who had recently been drafted into the Swedish army. As was the custom, he was assigned a soldier’s name befitting his appearance or personality. In this case Olle was assigned the name of Isgrå, meaning “ice-gray,” probably because of his prematurely gray hair.
Olof Isgrå first saw military action on 21May 1654 when the Dutch surrendered Fort Casimir, renamed Fort Trinity.
In the summer of 1656 Olof Isgrå agreed to sell his plantation north of the fort at Swanwick to another former New Sweden soldier, Constantine Grönenberg,
After that time, the name of Olof Isgrå disappears from the record. The reason, it turns out, was that he migrated to the Sassafras River in present Cecil County, Maryland.
Among the things Olle left behind in the New Castle area was his soldier’s name. Reverting to his patronymic, Olle Matthiasson, his wife Anna and their three small children were granted head rights in Maryland in 1664 and 200 acres, which he called “Sweedland,” were surveyed for him on the south side of the Sassafras River in 1665. Later, about 1670, he moved with his family to a tract on the north side of the same river, called “World’s End.” The English scribes in the area had some difficulty with Olle’s first name and often entered it as Olive or Oliver.
The Naturalization and Death of Oliver Caulk
The name of Olle Matthiasson disappeared from Maryland records after 1671. Thereafter the owner of “World’s End” became known as Oliver Caulk. The name, quite obviously, came from the fact that his once ice-gray hair was now chalk white. (“Calk,” now spelled “kalk” in Swedish, means “chalk.”) On 6 June 1674, Oliver Calk, described as a native of Sweden, became a naturalized citizen of Maryland, meaning that he could convey or will his land to his children or others. By 1683, Oliver Caulk had been named a Commissioner in Cecil County.
Oliver Caulk died at “World’s End” shortly before 30 May 1685, when his widow Ann and his eldest son Isaac Caulk were named administrators of his estate.
3. James Caulk, the third son, was married
by 1695 to Sarah Allum, daughter of Nicholas and Ann Allum. Sarah’s mother had been born Anna Wheeler, the daughter of JohnWheeler and Catharina Lom of New Sweden. They lived in Talbot County, where James Caulk died c. 1706. One child has been identified: > James Caulk, born c. 1700, in Talbot County, moved as an adult to Northumberland County, VA, and then to Prince William County, VA, where he died in 1776. By his wife Eleanor, he had two known sons: James Calk, born 5 July 1729, and William Calk, born 7 March 1740.
William Calk, We know as the Kentucky Pioneer.
Swedish Colonial News
Volume 2, Number 8 Spring 2003
Preserving the legacy of the New Sweden Colony in America
In this Issue...page 2 & 3