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Last Updated 10/20/00

Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, I, 106-113.
edited by Adelaide L. Fries and others


Continuation of the Bethabara Diary, 1754

[Extracts translated.]

Aug. 14. After Bro. Loesch’s departure all the Brethren went to their work. The 1st field was ploughed for turnips, and seed sowed in three acres on the 16th.

Aug. 17. Built a stable for the calves, though for the present it will be used for drying tobacco.

Aug. 19. Made hay in the meadow one mile west of our cabin, and on the 22nd mowed the bottom on the Grassy Fork, near the good spring, a mile and a half north-west from our house, where a good meadow could be made. We had expected to do more with hay in the future than this year, but on account of the very favorable weather we can use what we have made now.

Aug. 27. Built two corn cribs near our cabin.

Aug. 31. We thatched the fodder huts built in the 1st field yesterday; also gathered a quantity of fox grapes for vinegar.

Sept. 2. We built a pig pen.

Sept. 9. Built the third corn-crib near our house.

Sept. 12. Felled a large poplar tree in the 1st field, and began to saw it into boards. For two weeks Br. Pfeil has been making us shoes, and Br. Feldhausen barrels for storing food.

Sept. 21. Finished gathering and shucking corn from the 1st field.

Oct. 3. Began to reap the buckwheat. When threshed it made more than thirty bushels.

Oct. 10. Gathered pumpkins. Otherwise this week was largely spent in felling trees, burning the brush and hauling the logs to the site for the new house soon to be built. Land was also broken for rye, seven acres being sowed in this grain by Oct. 28th; a little spelt was also sown for seed.

Oct. 21 to 24. The Brn. Loesch, Ingebretsen and Feldhausen were busy clearing the new road toward Pennsylvania, cutting it out for five miles. Others continued gathering corn and pumpkins. The evenings for some weeks were given to shucking and sorting corn.

Oct. 28 to 30. The Brn. Christensen and Kobus examined various creeks, and measured the fall of water, [searching for a good mill site.]

Oct. 29 to Nov. 11. Seven acres were planted in winter wheat, two acres in oats, and one acre in rye.

Oct. 31. Christensen and Kobus began to saw boards; Kobus was later replaced by Beroth, as he was troubled by an old injury and found the work too hard.

Nov. 8. Dug potatoes.

Nov. 11. Threshed the wheat we hold for seed. Br. Pfeil will spend some time making shoes for us, and Br. Petersen tailoring.

Our dear Br. Peter13 [Boehler] arrived on Sept. 10, much to our joy. He was accompanied by Br. Höger and Herman Loesch. At a Love-feast that evening he told us that our tract of land had definitely received the name WACHAU; also gave us much interesting news, among the rest that Br. Joseph and many Brethren and Sisters had arrived in Pennsylvania.

One main object of his visit was to inspect the tract and measure it, and many days were devoted to this, various Brethren being appointed to accompany and assist him. A map was made by Höger, who also made a copy to be retained in the Wachau.

Sept. 27 and 28. The site for a new house was selected and staked; it was also decided that hereafter a small charge would be made to strangers seeking food and lodging.

Sept. 30. Br. Boehler left for Newbern, taking Br. Herman Loesch along as guide. They returned in good health Oct. 28th; found that the Brethren from Pennsylvania had arrived (Oct. 26th), and that evening Br. Boehler told us about his trip, and that we were well thought of by the officials.

During his stay with us he became thoroughly acquainted with all our circumstances. He held many services for us,—singstunde, Love-feasts, Unity Days,14 Liturgies, and Communions; on Sept. 29th he preached in English, five strangers being present, and they were glad to hear him. He also spoke with the nearest Captain of Militia about various things, especially our freedom from military service,15 and the Captain was quite satisfied.

Nov. 16, was the first Sabbath we were able to observe with him, the press of work having been too great before. We had a blessed Communion, preceded by our first Pedalavium.16

Nov. 17. Sunday. Was the anniversary of the arrival of the first company, and their taking possession of this house. We celebrated the day appropriately; also held a general conference in which many things were discussed that needed to be settled together.

Nov. 18. Br. Boehler took tender leave of us; and in parting shared with us the Cup of Thanksgiving.

During this period [Aug. 14th to Nov. 18th], the following trips were made by Brethren.

Br. Friis accompanied Br. Loesch as far as Mr. Altem’s on Aug. 14th, returning that evening.

Br. Jacob Loesch left for Bethlehem Aug. 14th; reaching here again Sept. 22nd, while we were in Communion. On Sept. 26th he went beyond the Etkin to Mr. Wagner’s, seeking a new road toward Pennsylvania. Nov. 5th he went to Mr. Altem’s, looking for strayed horses.

Br. Kalberlahn made professional trips as follows. On Aug. 19th to Mr. Fry, beyond the Etkin; later three or four more visits to the Etkin neighborhood; Sept. 2nd beyond the Town Fork; Sept. 23rd to 27th he was in Virginia.

The Brn. Beroth and Merkli made several trips to the mill.

Br. Lischer made a two day trip into Virginia, seventy miles from here, to get salt. We having been informed by a constable that within two weeks we must report our taxables he made two trips to the Justice. Finding him away from home both times he finally left a letter giving the desired information. Sept. 30th he left with fresh horses to meet the Brethren coming from Pennsylvania, finding them at the forks of James River, and returning with them Oct. 26th. They were all well except Br. Holder, who had fever. Nov. 18th he left for Bethlehem with the Brn. Boehler and Höger.

During this period there have been 136 visitors here, of whom 59 spent the night, and 12 came for medicine.

Among the strangers was an English minister, who was here Aug. 29th. He gave his name as Charles Wesley, and had traveled about, claiming to be a Brother, and preaching and baptising. On arriving he claimed to be a Brother, kissing several of the Brethren; but before he left we told him rather plainly that we considered him to be an evil man; and the people who had already doubted him because of his love of whiskey know now that we do not acknowledge him.

Two other ministers were here, a Presbyterian on Sept. 26th and a German Reformed on Oct. 12th. Both said frankly who they were, and were courteous and polite.

Another stranger, here on Sept. 19th, was Adam Spach, from the Manakesy in Pennsylvania. He lives three miles from our line, and says he settled as near as possible so that he might attend our services. To that end he has cut a road from his house to ours. On the 6th of October he attended a service at which a sermon preached at Marienborn, May 14, 1747, was read.

Sept. 14th an Englishman came with his wife,17 who had been ill more than a year, and bed-ridden for six months. When they reached here she was too sick to go further, and had to stay until Sept. 29th, when she died; her body was removed the next day. Soon after reaching here she asked to borrow a book, and we lent her the Seven Sermons on the Godhead of the Lamb. Her husband read much to her from it, otherwise little was said to her, but the Saviour revealed Himself to her. She believed that He died for her, and went home in peace.

In addition to those already mentioned the surveyor, Mr. Churton, with three others, was here Oct. 13th. He came to survey some land for Br. Antes, bringing a letter from Br. Peter to Br. Loesch requesting that he help Mr. Churton. They rode together into the forest, but Mr. Churton left for the Cadaver18 on the 17th, telling us to look over the land carefully while he was away, as because of poor land he had not been able to measure the full amount for Br. Antes. There was so much danger from Indians on the Cadaver that he could do no surveying there, and returned much sooner than we expected him, and therefore he could not survey the Antes land for us but postponed it until a visit next spring. A very heavy rain detained him here until Oct. 25th.

On the morning of Oct. 30th Col. Schmidt rode through our yard, and without permission held Muster in our meadow, for his five companies. We had planted the meadow with grass-seed in the spring, but it was so badly trampled that it will have to be re-sowed as soon as we can get more seed from Pennsylvania. Capt. Guest was very considerate, he stopped and spoke to us only in passing, for fear others would follow him in, and gave orders to his company to stay out of our yard, but nearly all the rest rode right through. The noise and shooting frightened our horses badly, and the four new horses broke away into the woods. Two of them we found on the third day thereafter, but the other two were brought to us on Nov. 7th by hunters who had seen our advertisement. We had to pay them for their trouble though we had already lost much time in seeking the horses. In general the people behaved better than is usual on such occasions, though this does not apply to Capt. Hampy and his men. During dinner they passed through our yard and we asked that the beating of the drums cease because it frightened our horses and made them tear around the wagons, etc. They not only refused our request, but began shooting in addition. Capt. Hampy did not know the road through our farm, and when we offered to show it to him replied that he would ride where he pleased and make a way through our fences. After the Muster the men were so full of whiskey that they fought each other until they were covered with blood. However, through all the tumult, we safely continued our work. We hope the soldiers will hereafter find another place for Muster, and not use our land. However, this time there was this much benefit,—the neighboring people have found out that we have all sorts of things to sell, that we know exactly what we have, and that we will sell only for immediate payment.

Until Sept. 25th we have eaten mush for breakfast and supper, and at noon either green beans, which were planted in April, or pumpkins, which grow well here. During this period we have had no meat except one deer, which Mr. Fry gave us on Sept. 6th.

Partly because we were out of grease for our mush, and partly because we needed food that the Brethren could take with them when they went surveying, we on Sept. 25th killed a small steer weighing 150 lbs. On Oct. 11th we killed another steer, weighing 300 lbs.; on Oct. 29th a 300 lb. cow, and bought half a cow; and on Nov. 5th killed a hog. In addition Mr. Haltem gave us a small bear. After we began butchering we usually had meat for dinner every other day, especially as the garden began to fail. With the meat we had potatoes or white turnips, which are very good, or else sequata.19 In October we could have milk only once a day; the first part of November only every other day; and now we can have it only every third day. Therefore in the morning we have mush with milk or drippings; at supper mush with drippings, or pumpkins, or squashes; and at noon, when we have no meat, we use pumpkin or beans.

While our water-melons were not a great success we did have some good ones, especially late in August. We began to eat them early in August, and could still give some to the Brn. Peter and Höger when they arrived.

Sept. 15th we had the first mush and bread from our own corn, and it was a pleasure that the Brn. Peter and Höger could share in the first fruits of our fields. While much corn spoiled, and much was eaten by cattle and birds, still we had a good crop; and the corn planted on the 3rd field in June did as well as that planted earlier. Corn must serve us with bread and mush this year.

During this period we have killed no game except a bear and a deer shot by Br. Herman Loesch on Oct. 29th.

If one wishes to purchase cattle in this neighborhood it usually costs forty to fifty shillings a head, therefore it is cheaper to buy in South Carolina, if one wishes enough to make the trip worth the trouble. But if one can wait for an opportunity, and especially if one can pay in silver, which is scarce, cattle can sometimes be secured for half price here, and meat is cheaper food than corn.

Besides what we killed one calf died, so we now have 11 cows, 10 calves, 1 bull, and 1 steer.

In this period we have lost 9 pigs, and now have 11 old and 12 grown hogs, and 23 pigs, in all 46.

In the middle of August the weather cleared, and the second half of the month was dry and hot, with only one hour of rain. September began with two days of rain, which broke the hot spell, and except for rain on the 13th the month was dry and the weather pleasant. Oct. 3rd there was a hard thunder storm, with heavy rain, and it rained again on the 17th, otherwise it was dry until Oct. 23rd, when it rained heavily all day and night. The 24th was the first day that seemed like fall and thereafter it was not so warm, though the dry weather continued until Nov. 4th, when it rained and thundered. The next day it cleared, and the following night, Nov. 5th, we had the first frost. The weather continued dry and colder, with some ice at night on standing water, until Nov. 12th, when it began to rain, and the rainy weather has continued since then. We notice that in fall whenever it rains the weather grows colder.

Our services have continued as usual. On Aug 29th we celebrated our Choir Festival;20 and Nov. 17th the anniversary of our arrival here.

Nov. 18. After our dear Brn. Peter, Höger and Lischer had started for Bethlehem we went to our work. Christensen and Kobus hewed logs for boards; Br. Holder, who has recovered his health, and Br. Beroth sawed the boards. Br. Pfeil worked on shoes, and Br. Petersen at his tailoring. We dug potatoes, and placed them in a hole in front of our fireplace.

Nov. 19. Four of the Brethren went to finish the new road toward Pennsylvania;—it is only a foot-way. The first path in the Wachau leading to Deep River was blazed. We fastened four cows in the stable for the winter, and drove the rest to the Black Walnut Bottom, where there are green reeds.

Nov. 20. Two strangers had their horses shod,—the first smith’s work we have done for strangers. This evening we began to shred pumpkins for drying, as they spoil otherwise.

Nov. 25. Blazed a new path to the Black Walnut Bottom.

Nov. 26. Brought in turnips and buried them in a pit. This evening we laid the cornerstone for the new dwelling house two hundred paces south-east of our cabin. We placed it at the front corner, toward the west, and placed our names in it. Then we had Lovefeast, and discussed the Text for the day.

Nov. 27. We began to build the house, and this was our chief work until it was finished in January.

Dec. 18. We ate the last of our potatoes. We have had them hardly three months, but more than 20 bushels rotted because we could not dig them at the right time, being too busy with

other things. Dec. 23rd we had the last of the pumpkins. They also would have lasted longer if we had been able to bring them in at the right time, but still we have had them for five months.

Dec. 21. Built a small house 24 feet from the new dwelling house,— it will serve for the present as a smoke-house. It was finished by Jan. 2nd, and the first meat hung in it to smoke. For salting we killed cattle as follows: a cow weighing 400 lbs; an ox, 460 lbs; a cow 350 lbs; two oxen, each 400 lbs; and a cow, 200 lbs; all these between the 21st and 30th of December.

Of game during this period we shot two small deer and two wild turkeys. Bear fat, which is the best fat here, will be scarce this year, for the snow drove the bears to their dens unusually early.

Concerning the weather during this period we may say that Nov. 20th it cleared up cold, and ice formed on standing water. Several inches of snow fell on Nov. 22nd, continuing very cold until the night of Nov. 26th when it rained, followed by freezing weather until Dec. 10th, when it rained. From then until the last of the month there was alternate raining and freezing, the year ending in rain.

During this period 51 strangers have been here, 20 spending the night. Two came for medicine.

Adam Spach was here Dec. 22nd, and asked that one of us would come each Sunday and preach at his house, but we could not do this for him.

Our services continued as usual. On Dec. 24th we kept the Nativity Night-watch, and observed the 25th of December also.

And so with the forgiveness of our sins, and fresh grace and blessing from the Saviour, we closed this year and entered upon the new.


FOOTNOTES

13 Bishop Peter Boehler, a leader in the Renewed Unity of Brethren; widely known outside of the Moravian Church because of his influence on the religious life of John Wesley. He was born Dec. 31, 1712 at Frankfurt-am-Maim; died in London, Apr. 27, 1775.

14The day on which a congregation met in several sessions for the public reading of the Gemein Nachrichten (“Unity News”), the manuscript newsletter of the Moravian Church.

15The Moravians of this period were conscientiously opposed to bearing arms, and by the Act of May 12, 1749, the English Parliament had granted them full liberty of conscience and worship throughout Great Britain and her Colonies, with freedom from military service, and the right to affirm instead of taking an oath.

16The form of this service is unknown. It was in remembrance of the washing of the disciples’ feet just before the institution of the Lord’s Supper. The service has been long extinct.

17 Anna Greson, m. n. Johnson. [Wachovia Church Book.]

18 No doubt the Catawba River is meant.

19 Sequata, probably a local form of squanter-squash, generally contracted into squash. At another place it is spelled squata by the Diarist, who writes it always with English letters, as he does all English words used.

20 The Covenant Day of the Single Brethren came on Aug. 29th, on which date, in 1741, the unmarried men of Herrnhut mutually pledged themselves to preparation for active service for the Saviour.



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