The Bishop Hill Colony was founded in western Illinois in 1846 by dissenters from the Swedish Lutheran Church. Known as lasare (or readers), they read the Bible for themselves and followed the preaching of their leader Erik Janson. Many of the settlers perished during a difficult first winter at their new home in the United States. Additionally, Janson was murdered in 1850. Despite these set backs the colony existed as a communal settlement until 1861.
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