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Last Updated 10/20/00

Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, I, 147-151.
edited by Adelaide L. Fries and others

Diary of the Brethren and Sisters in the Wachau.

[Extracts translated.]

Beginning with Br. Friis’ departure for Bethlehem, Nov. 10. 1755, it will be continued by Br. Bachhof.

Nov. 10. Breakfast was followed by a little Lovefeast in honor of Br. Friis and the others who were about to set out for Bethlehem. They left at ten o’clock in a heavy rain, Br. Hofmann and Jacob Loesch going with them a short distance. The Single Brethren who had slept in the little Brothers House [the first cabin] now moved their beds to the garret of the new Brothers House. After supper Br. Jacob Loesch assigned some of the Brethren to special quarters in the lodging for strangers, the little Brothers House, the shoe-shop, the kitchen, the smithy, and the wash house.

Nov. 11. The Brethren who were not working on the new house fitted up their quarters in the small houses with tables, chairs, and benches, arranging them to suit their trades. Br. Betz took charge of the smithy, Br. Georg Schmid having left. In the evening there was a Congregation Council at which the new-comers were assigned to work; in preparation for this the master-workmen had a conference in the afternoon.

Nov. 13. At morning prayer Br. Christian Henrich spoke of this day,—the day dedicated to our Chief Elder.17 He wished that we might give the entire day to worship, but work on the new houses was so pressing that it was a case of taking the ox out of the ditch on the Sabbath. Therefore work should continue during the morning, each Brother and Sister in heart communing with the Saviour; the afternoon and evening would be devoted to appropriate services in the Gemein Saal.18

Nov. 14. The shoe-maker took down his house to kill the rats, which have done much damage. Many were found. By evening the logs were nearly all laid up again. Georg Müller, and the wife of his neighbor Wisnand, came to consult Br. Kalberlahn. Next day both were bled. Müller bought 1000 nails, and ordered mill-stones.

Nov. 15. Saturday. At two o’clock we had a liturgy; at four a reading meeting. At six was our Sabbath Lovefeast, at which our flutes were used for the first time. Br. Christian Henrich reminded us that two years ago the first Brethren arrived, of whom eleven are still here. They found only one small, poor cabin, but we have found a new Brothers House and six cabins, which their industry has erected. They had then no music except that provided by the wolves, today they furnished their own music. Br. Sauter’s travel Diary was read, and after other hymns remembering two recent birthdays the service closed with the hymn

As long as Jesus Lord remains

Each day new rising glory gains.

During the next ten days work of all kinds continued. Until a new wash-house was built for the Sisters they washed the first part of the week and the Brethren had the second part. The Brethren made soap; the Sisters helped gather corn. Cattle were bought and killed, for the turnip and cabbage crop was poor and much meat needed to be salted for winter use. Christoph Schmid began to make brick; Augst [a potter] went out to look for flint which he could use in making glazing. Feldhausen took charge of the cooper-shop.

Nov. 27. Br. Jacob Loesch started for Salisbury, where he wished to consult the Chief Justice about his proposed trip to Newbern. Hearing that many were there ahead of him seeking audience, and not wishing to give much time to it, nor to force himself in ahead of others and so give offense, he turned back, and learned later that the Chief Justice did not attend court this time.

Nov. 28. This afternoon the mill was run for the first time; the sawmill is not yet ready, and the dam is not finished. The mill was first tried in grinding flint for glazing, — it made a fine powder. Then it was a difficult task to remove the upper mill-stone, clean and recut it. Then a little corn was ground, and finally two bushels of wheat, which the Brethren threshed today; it made very nice flour.

Nov. 30. First Sunday in Advent. At ten o’clock a liturgy was sung. This was followed by a meeting in which a sermon, preached by Count Zinzendorf the preceding year, was read. In the afternoon the married people were “spoken” for the Communion, the Brethren by Br. Christian Henrich, and the Sisters by Sr. Anna. At five o’clock was Lovefeast, and we used for the first time bread made from flour ground in our own mill. Br. Christian Henrich said he wished greatly that Br. Friis could have been there to eat of it with us, and that he knew Br. Joseph and other dear ones would also have been glad to share with us in this great blessing. Shortly afterwards the Lord’s Supper was celebrated. And so we closed the month, and with it the Church year.

Dec. 1. Several bushels of wheat were threshed, ground, and baked into Zwieback for the Brn. Jacob and Herman Loesch to take on their trip to Newbern, on which they started the next day.

During the first half of the month work was pushed on the new house; Pfeiffer and Melchior Rasp, who had been breaking stone, were appointed to build the wall, Christoph Schmid to plaster it on the outside. Br. Christensen worked on the steps when the mill was not running. Br. Krause taught Br. Angel to break and hackle hemp. Br. Feldhausen, besides his usual cooper work, put together the Sisters’ spinning-wheels; they began to spin on Dec. 5th. Br. Augst dug clay and made pottery, for which the people were eager; he also began to make clay pipes. Several Brethren sawed boards, relieving each other hour by hour. The cows and calves were branded. Adam Spach came and ordered a coat for his child; Mr. Banner asked for a book to read, and was given the Berlin Sermons; Mr. Loving arrived, and was paid in full for the small amount owing to him.

Dec. 16. A cloudy, rainy day. The wind unroofed the little Brothers House, so the Brethren put on a new roof, building a chimney. Next day, at bed-time, the tailor shop was found to be on fire, but the flames were extinguished before they did much damage.

Dec. 19. The weather was beautiful, clear and cold. The teamsters hauled to the mill the logs which had been prepared for building a small house for the miller. Br. Erich finished some window-frames for the Single Brothers House, and they were then filled with paper. The Brn. Kalberlahn and Peterson went to see Isaac Ferry, who was ill; the Brethren consider him one of their best neighbors. In the evening the Brn. Jacob and Herman Loesch returned from Newbern. The Governor [Dobbs] had received them most graciously, had re-issued Br. Jacob’s Commission, had given him the Act recently passed by the Assembly in our behalf, and had courteously offered to further serve the United Brethren in any possible way. Br. Jacob also brought with him a letter written by Br. Benzien during his stay in Newbern. It was addressed to Br. Friis, and had been in-trusted to a man who was not friendly to the Brethren, and he had left it in Newbern, where it remained until Br. Jacob Loesch arrived. Br. Benzien heartily praised the Governor’s kindness, love, and friendliness toward us, in which most of the Assemblymen joined, and recommended that as often as we thought of it we should thank the Saviour for their favor. Br. Jacob also brought a newspaper, containing a letter written by a French officer in Canada, in which the Brethren were described as friends of the French.19 This is unfortunate, and if this newspaper circulates here it is likely to make trouble for us. Br. Christian Henrich spoke to the congregation about it, advising that if anybody spoke to a Brother about it, he should keep quiet and not answer back.

Dec. 21. St. Thomas’ Day. The first snow of the season fell. Next day the miller’s house was raised.

Dec. 24. At ten P. M. the congregation had the Watch-Meeting. Hymns were sung by pastor and people, Br. Christian Henrich made an address, and also read from the large Hymnbook hymns written in all centuries concerning the night of Christ’s nativity, drawing special attention to one written by Count Zinzendorf thirteen years ago. The service closed with a Lovefeast, and evening prayers. A deep snow fell during the night.

Dec. 25. Thursday, Christmas Day. The trumpets wakened us. At 10 A.M. Br. Christian Henrich preached an earnest sermon on the Text for the day. In the afternoon a Christmas sermon of Count Zinzendorf’s was read, Col. I. furnishing the text. In the evening service Br. Christian Henrich made an address on the text “Abide in me, and I in you”; and so this day of great grace and blessing was happily and thankfully ended.

Dec. 26. Two of the Brethren felled trees, from which troughs were made, to be used for converting maple sap into vinegar.

Dec. 27. An express from Mr. Haltem brought word to Br. Jacob Loesch that Mr. Owen, — who owes us money, — has joined the Highwaymen. There are a great many Highwaymen about, and they have gathered in a fortified place. The express said further that day before yesterday the Justice called for 100 men to attack the Highwaymen and destroy their fort, and yesterday 70 men set out. These Highwaymen are keeping the land in terror, as they both rob and murder.

Dec. 31. Already in morning prayers there was an especial sense of the presence of the Saviour. Work continued as during the last days, except that the Brethren who yesterday made laths sawed boards today. Those who have been threshing today finished with the rye. Br. Lischer branded five head of cattle; Br. Angel broke hemp. At noon the congregation sang a liturgy in honor of the Holy Spirit. In the afternoon the teamsters returned with their horses; the man from whom they were to get corn was not at home, so they left the wagon there. Toward evening a woman and her son came, bringing us butter. At ten in the evening we gathered for the Watch-Meeting. Hymns were sung, and then Br. Christian Henrich read the account of the Jüngerhaus Watch-Meeting in 1754, the reading being interspersed with chorals. Br. Peter and our Br. Kapp have had birthdays this week, and hymns were sung asking God to bless them. Then the Brethren were reminded of all the grace and mercy which we have received from God our Heavenly Father, our gracious Lord, and the Holy Spirit, in the year just passed, for which we render Him our thanks and praise. A poem was also read, composed by one of the Brethren, in which he recalled the goodness which the Saviour had showed him from his cradle to this hour. Then Br. Christian Henrich spoke on various topics :—the Lord’s purpose with this land, the attitude of the Brethren toward the Indians in case they should visit us, and also how a child of God should conduct himself when there was tumult and unrest abroad. Finally, with the singing of a hymn, we passed from the old year into the new, then knelt and thanked our Saviour for all His goodness to us, and besought Him to bless us anew with grace and power, and to accompany us through the new year with His mercy. With a final petition for blessing on our slumber, the Brethren then went peacefully to bed.


17 Nov. 13, 1741, there was “a powerful experience, in the Unity of Brethren, that Jesus is the Chief Shepherd and Head of His Church,” its “Chief Elder.”

18 A meeting hall used for church services.

19 The Brethren in Pennsylvania were accused of this because they sheltered the Christian Indians, some thinking, without foundation, that the Christian Indians were in the pay of the French. The massacre of the Christian Indians and missionaries at Gnadenhütten refuted the accusation beyond doubt.

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