BIOGRAPHY - Paul Gullander

PAUL GULLANDER, minister of the Swedish Lutheran Church and former missionary in South Africa is a man of varied experience whose biography, if given in detail, would take up much space.
He was born at Gullackra, Bragarp parish, Skane, Sweden, June 16, 1863. His father, Nils Ericsson, who was a farmer, died when Paul was six years old. There were five other children, Paul being the youngest. He was educated in the common school and after confirmation went to the nearest city, Lund, and began to study privately, under the tutorship of a student of the Carolinian cathedral school, meanwhile coming in contact with the student body of the old university town and joining the local sharpshooters' association.
At about eighteen he was converted and from that time his desire was to work in the interest of Christianity. He began by circulating religious tracts and by bringing little street-urchins into the Sunday school, then a new thing in Lund, which was looked upon with suspicion by conservative churchmen there.
Despairing of ever being able to obtain the education needed for the ministry, the goal of his ambition, Mr. Gullander at the age of nineteen opened a small shoe store in Lund. The business, however, proved unprofitable, entailing losses which it took him several years to make up.
Several weeks each summer Mr. Gullander - a name adapted from his place of birth spent as colporteur, or traveling preacher and bookseller, in Western Skane.
In the fall of 1887 Mr. Gullander emigrated to America, whither two brothers had preceeded him. Coming to Chicago, he stopped with Rev. N. M. Liljegren, a Swedish Methodist clergyman, whom he had known intimately in Sweden. On his recommendation Mr. Gullander was enrolled in the Swedish department of the Chicago Theological Seminary, from which he was graduated in 1891.
Soon after he was given the desired opportunity to go as a missionary to the heathen, being sent to South Africa in the spring of 1892 by the Scandinavian Alliance Mission of Chicago. He was stationed at Peter Maritsburg, Natal, for five months, going from there by ox-cart to Swazieland, where the Alliance Mission established its first station, with Rev. Gullander as secretary.
Soon after his arrival in South Africa, Rev. Gullander was joined by his betrothed, Augusta Eleonora Hultberg, a graduate nurse of the Queen Sophia Home in Stockholm, and they were united in marriage. Within one year the union was dissolved by her death, June 1, 1893. The following August, Rev. Gullander went to Sweden to leave his motherless child in the care of his dead wife's parents in Engelholm.
From Sweden he went for the second time to the United States, intending to enter the Augustana Theological Seminary at Rock Island to pursue further theological studies. He was graduated and ordained to the ministry in the Augustana Synod in 1896 and accepted a call to Washington Depot, Conn. This seems to have been merely a perfunctory step, for the following November, after less than six months' service we find him on his way to Sweden, intent on a plan to become missionary to the Scandinavians of Johannesburg and the Boer Republic. Through the good offices of influential churchmen there he succeeded in raising by subscription the sum of 6,000 crowns. For the accomplishment of this end he visited many Swedish, Norwegian and Danish bishops, and other influential Scandinavian churchmen, and was also permitted to present his cause at an audience before King Oscar.
Leaving the bulk of the funds in care of Gottfrid Warholm, treasurer of the Lund Mission Society, Rev. Gullander again embarked for South Africa, arriving in Johannesburg March 28, 1898. On Easter Sunday of that year he conducted the first Swedish high mass ever celebrated in Transvaal.
President Kruger himself promised that the Transvaal government would donate real estate for the erection of a Scandinavian Lutheran church, other denominations having been accorded the same generous treatment. But the war with England prevented Kruger from carrying out the promise. Furthermore, the war played havoc with all missionary work in Boer territory. Many of the 1500 odd Scandinavians in Transvaal joined the Boer Army, and the loss of a large percentage of the Scandinavian corps in the battle of Magersfontein struck dismay into the entire Scandinavian colony.
In order to support himself Rev. Gullander for nine months held a position as librarian with the Rose Deep Company, one of the largest gold mining companies in Transvaal, devoting only Sundays to pastoral work. For half a year after the outbreak of the war he was compound manager at the company's mine, his duties consisting in keeping order among the 2,000 native laborers, when not at work in the mine. At one time he had as many as 90 native policemen to assist him in this task.
Feb. 25, 1900, about six months after the outbreak of the war, Rev. Gullander left Johannesburg for Sweden, going by way of an East African coast line to Suez. From Port Said he made an excursion to the Holy Land, proceeding thence via Gibraltar, Lisbon and Hamburg to Malmo.
After spending the summer in Sweden, Rev. Gullander proceeded to the United States in the early fall. He now entered upon a lecture tour of the Scandinavian settlements, designed to raise money for a church building at Johannesburg, a plan still cherished by him. In furtherance of the same cause Rev. Gullander published and sold 4,000 copies of a pamphlet dealing with mission work in Africa and the Boer War.

The principal literary work of Rev. Gullander is a 264 page volume in Swedish, with additional 80 pages of illustrations, entitled: "Three years in Africa, and Reminiscences of Sweden and of the Holy Land." At present he is engaged in writing another book to be entitled: "The Destinies of a Young Woman.”
Nov. 1, 1903, Rev. Gullander took pastoral charge of the Swedish Lutheran Church of Farmersville, near Paxton, Ill.
On June 28, 1905, Rev. Gullander again entered matrimony, his second wife being Esther Elvira, daughter of Dr. E. J. Werner of Rush City, Minn. She is an accomplished singer and musician, who was educated at Gustavus Adolphus College Conservatory and at the time of her marriage held a call to become one of its teachers. A daughter, Aurora Elvira Cecilia, was born to Rev. and Mrs. Gullander in June, 1906. Rev. Gullander's son in the first marriage died in Sweden, aged eight years.
In December, 1907, Rev. Gullander removed to the pastorate at Big Rapids, Michigan.

Extracted 28 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from History of Swedes of Illinois, published in 1908, Volume 2, pages 183-186.

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