Bishop Hill is a village in Henry County, Illinois, United States, along the South Edwards River. The population was 128 at the 2010 census, up from 125 in 2000 and it is the home of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, a park operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Bishop Hill is located at 41°12′3″N 90°7′6″W, according to the 2010 census, Bishop Hill has a total area of 0.53 square miles, all land. The village was founded in 1846 by Swedish immigrants affiliated with the Pietist movement, as Janssons ideas became more radical, he began to lose support from many of his sympathizers and was forced to leave Sweden in the midst of growing persecution. According to Jansson, this community would become the New Jerusalem, as a result,1400 colonists emigrated from Sweden to their new home in western Illinois. The colony struggled early on after its founding, many of the first 1000 colonists died from disease on the way to Bishop Hill, while others became disillusioned and stayed in New York. The quarters in Bishop Hill were cold and crowded and food was scarce, after the first winter, life at the colony began to improve. In the next few years housing was upgraded from dugouts to brick living areas, by 1849, Bishop Hill had constructed a flour mill, two sawmills, a three story frame church, and various other buildings. The Bishop Hill Colony was communistic in nature, as dictated by Jansson, thus, everything was owned by everyone and no one had more possessions than another. Work in the colony was highly rigorous and regimented and it wasnt uncommon to see hundreds of people working together in the fields or large groups of laborers engaged in other tasks. The Bishop Hill colony underwent a major upheaval in 1850 after the murder of Erik Jansson, Jansson was assassinated by a former colony member, John Root, who was upset with Jansson for interfering with his marriage to one of Janssons cousins. After their leaders death, the people of Bishop Hill appointed a group of seven trustees to run the affairs of the colony. Among the trustees were Jonas Olsson and Olof Johnson, who would become the leaders of the colony as they had been two of Janssons closest aides. Under these two men and the rest of the trustees, the continued to grow and flourish. The workforce was reorganized to become efficient and more buildings were erected. However, despite Bishop Hills success, in 1857 financial problems arose in the midst of accusations of mismanagement against Olof Johnson, Johnson had made several large investments, without colony approval, that had turned out to be disastrous. As Bishop Hill headed for ruin, colonists voted to end the communal system. In 1861 the formal dissolution of the colony was official, the Janssonist emigrants were a significant group of men and women to move from Sweden to the United States
Bishop Hill Street
Colony Church built in 1848.
Image: Henry County Illinois Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Bishop Hill Highlighted