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Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, I, 131-140.
[Continuation of Diary Extracts, 1755.]
June 1. Sunday. At ten o’clock part of the litany was read in English, followed by a sermon out of the Nine Public Discourses, the English being used because of Mr. Churton’s presence. Three strangers came by whom we suspected of being deserters as they wore mondour, but we took no notice of them except to give them the food for which they asked.
June 2. This morning early Br. Nitschmann set out for Bethlehem, taking important letters with him, He decided to go himself in order to consult with Br. Spangenberg about the 20,000 acres on the Yadkin, which he and Br. Jacob Loesch went to see. Adam Spach spent last night here,—he came searching for strayed horses.
June 3. Mr. Churton left, having surveyed about 1280 acres of good land for Br. Cossart. A woman came for medicine, as did also Georg Müller, who was recently ill here for several weeks. He brought us two bushels of salt, and was glad to see us, and we rejoiced to find him much improved, though his speech is somewhat affected. Mr. Altem sent us a deer by Adam Spach, and Br. Stauber bought some hens from him. Toward evening two strangers took a deer to the Brethren working at the mill. Br. Petersen took some linen to Adam Spach to have two shirts made.
June 6. Yesterday Br. Kalberlahn was called to a man who had cut his foot badly. As we expected, the only chance to help him is to bring him here for some days, as Br. Kalberlahn reported on his return. Afternoon we held a conference as to the best and cheapest and most satisfactory way to make bedsteads; we have no boards to use, and yet we do not wish to move into the new house until the bedsteads are made.
June 7. This morning the injured man, Abraham Wilson, arrived before we expected him. We hastily cleared out Br. Benzien’s cabin for him, moving Br. Benzien into the new house, where in the second story we improvised a partition wall out of a wagon cover. Wilson’s friends, who had brought him to us, left again in the afternoon. The patient seems to be a pleasant, quiet man, who will not inconvenience us.
June 8. Mr. Loving goes home, after a stay of two days to have work done at the smithy.
June 9. We brought in the bear which the Brn. Kobus and Holder shot in the woods last evening. We have finished corn planting. Nine Brethren are working on the mill-race. Br. Feldhausen has hurt his arm and will not be able to work for some days.
June 13. This afternoon Br. Lischer arrived, bringing Baumgarten, Rank and Steiner. They have been on the way since April 28th, were at sea for four weeks, partly because of head winds, and partly because the Captain ran into various harbors, and was detained there.
June 14. We put all the Brethren to work making bedsteads, and completed as many as we need, that is twenty-three. Then we moved out of our old cabin and sleeping room into the new house. In the evening we celebrated the event with a Lovefeast. First we sang several verses composed for the occasion; then welcomed the newly arrived Brethren; closing the service with a litany. We also made certain changes in assignment of tasks. Br. Merkli will be our cook, taking the place of Br. Kalberlahn who can not well continue in this position. Br. Kalberlahn will have charge of the house and table and sleeping hall. Br. Lung has had charge of the washing, the garden, and the cows, but it is too much for him, and we have given him Br. Nagel as assistant. The Night-watch will begin with today. This has been throughout a blessed day, and as we went to bed the Brethren were once more commended to the Saviour in several hymns.
June 16. Two Brethren made nails to fasten the boards on the mill dam. Br. Loesch went to Mr. Banner’s for a couple of hundred tobacco plants. Mr. Ferry and two other men were here, one to be bled.
June 20. A two-hour rain last night made it possible to re-sow our garden, where much that we planted did not come up on account of the drought. For this reason we have had very few vegetables this summer. Kobus went to two mills today with four horses loaded with corn, but could not get it ground for lack of water.
June 23. There was a good rain last night so we can re-plant corn and pumpkins where they did not come up. A stranger came to buy two dozen horse-shoe nails.
June 24. Seven Brethren go to clear five miles of the road to the Cape Fear.
June 26. The barley which was cut yesterday was hauled today and stored in our former sleeping room. We also sowed flax seed yesterday, to see whether it is possible to raise two crops a year. Five Brethren with ten horses went to bring in the mill-stones from Sweeten’s place.
June 30. Br. Kalberlahn went to Mr. Steward’s to see his patient. We staked fences, made two large wagon-racks, and brought the second mill-stone to the mill site. Mr. Volkerson brought us a letter from Bethlehem.
July 3. Abraham Wilson, who can now use his foot somewhat, was taken home by friends. Br. Petersen went along to get the pay for his treatment, which is two cows, valued at 50 shillings each. Wilson’s friends brought a letter from Br. Nitschmann, written from Orange Court House, in which he said that he found it necessary to take Herman Loesch the whole way with him, [instead of letting him return after two days]. As Br. Kapp has been sick some days Br. Pfeil is appointed nurse. Br. Feldhausen is setting up his carpenter shop in our old dwelling, Br. Schmid is put in charge of the iron tools, Br. Erich of the wooden farm implements, and Br. Michael Rank of the harness. Br. Petersen remains Fremden Diener.10
July 13. The litany and sermon were in English, as Owen and Altem are here.
July 19. Br. Feldhausen has finished a large chest, to be used for things we have to sell. Christensen and Kobus made for the mill two bran boxes, a bolting chest, a case for the mill-stones, and a hopper, and have finished shaping the mill-stones. Mr. Davis from the Yadkin came to consult Br. Kalberlahn, remained over night, and begged a book to read; we lent him the Berlin Sermons. Late at night the Brethren returned with the wagon from the Cape Fear.
July 22. A so-called Dunkard or Bearded Man came to the smithy. He has just come from New River with his entire family, fearing to remain there longer because of the Indians, who are wandering about. Although his home was only about seventy miles from here the journey has taken them three weeks, as they had no other road to take than to the Roanoke. The man told us that some ten weeks ago a man named Stahlnekker, living on Holston River, about 100 miles from the New River Settlement, had been captured by the Indians, and his entire family murdered. It was believed that he would be cruelly tortured, since the Indians hated him. A few days before the Dunkard left several families had been attacked, and part murdered, part captured; and the last night before his flight the family of one of his nearest neighbors had been murdered, only three miles from him. So far as the man knew 28 persons had been killed or taken prisoner. When the man reached the Roanoke he found other refugees from New River, but it was no place to stay, for the settlers there were much alarmed by the news they brought; so this man decided to take his family to the Town Fork, twelve miles from here. There he found Mr. Altem and his family packing up and moving; so the poor fellow is at a loss to know what to do next. When his work at the smithy was finished he went back to his people on the Town Fork.
During our evening service Mr. Benner and one of his neighbors arrived; they had been out several days looking for strayed horses. We gave them something to eat, and they went on home. About four o’clock in the morning the Brethren were awakened by a terrible crying, and when they investigated they found it was Mr. Benner, who was almost frantic. When he had reached home he had found his wife and four children gone, and that his house had been robbed; he had searched the near-by woods in vain, and then knew nothing else to do but to come back to us. We did our best to comfort the poor man, but in vain. As we were all up we now held our morning prayers, kneeling before our dear Heavenly Father, and beseeching His care and protection. The Texts for the day suited our circumstances wonderfully. This was the first time that at morning prayer we have used the trumpets, which the last company brought with them from Pennsylvania. At the close of the service Br. Loesch ordered the gun to be fired twice, and that the blowing of the trumpets be continued, so that if any one was near it would be known that we were not asleep. As the trumpets began again we heard a call, ran thither, and found Mr. Benner’s wife and four children; one child she carried on her back, another little one was in the arms of an older child. We were overjoyed, hastily called Mr. Benner, and when he came to his family they fell on each other’s neck, and could not speak for weeping. We brought them into our house, full of sympathy for the poor people and their great joy. We gave them food, and when they had somewhat recovered their composure the wife told us what had happened. During the night, as she waited for her husband, the dogs had become very restless, and running toward the woods had returned howling. She went to see who was there, and stones flew by her; then running into the house she took the children and hastened away. As she fled she saw three persons spring into the house, but did not know whether they were whites or Indians. So she and the children fled into the woods, and fortunately found their way hither, though they had never been here before. Probably the robbers were driven away by Mr. Benner’s arrival. About eight o’clock Mr. Benner set out, accompanied by Br. Loesch and Lischer, partly to see how things were at the Benner home, and partly to warn the neighbors. When they reached the Benner place they found not much had been taken, so evidently the thieves were frightened away by Mr. Benner’s approach during the night. Br. Loesch and Lischer rode towards Mr. Altem’s, but met William Owen, who told them that all the families on the Town Fork had moved away, etc. Hearing this Br. Loesch came home.
Meantime a man from the Little Yatkin came to the smithy, and without knowing what had happened here last night told us that the people on the Yatkin were planning to get together, in order to be safer from the Indians. Mr. Benner returned during the afternoon and remained over night. We spent the day to good advantage, though near the house, for we did not want any of the Brethren to be far away. Doors and window-frames were made, and other work done on the new building. We divided the night-watch, one Brother to watch until 1 A.M. and the other from then until dawn, instead of one man taking the entire night as heretofore.
July 24. Work was resumed as usual. We heard many reports, especially that people were moving away from this neighborhood. Mr. Benner begged that he and his family might remain with us, and this request was granted, and our old cabin was cleared out for him.
July 25. Mr. Benner’s brother-in-law and the younger Mr. Guest were here, and said that their settlement also was going to move, but they did not yet know where. In the evening we had conference, and decided what to do in case it became impossible for us to remain here, for instance, to bury all our iron implements in the creek, and to bury in the ground all else that would not be injured that way. We also agreed to keep ourselves well supplied with provisions, especially meal, for Br. Lischer, who has been to the mill today, reports that the miller is leaving tomorrow, though he will leave his mill in such condition that any one who wishes meal ground can use it for himself.
July 27. Sixteen strangers were here, eight remaining over night. Among them was Mr. Altem. Last week he moved his family to Haw River, but it is too far from his farm, and besides they do not feel safe, so he asked to come with them to us, to which we agreed. A man came to call Br. Kalberlahn to a German named Johann Dop, who had been accidentally shot through the body; the man was dead when the doctor reached him.
July 28. At the request of Mr. Altem three of the Brethren went to his home for some of his things. Next day he and his family arrived and we lodged them in our former cabin for strangers.
July 31. A store-keeper from the Meho came with a constable, and asked our help in arresting William Owen, who was suspected of having robbed his house several days ago. We politely excused ourselves. Since the 12th of this month we have had cucumber salad several times a week, and beans also since the 20th, and it looks as though they would continue for some time.
Aug. 3. Sunday. Early this morning we were rejoiced by the coming of the three Brethren, Sauter, Keiter, and young Joseph Müller. On the way they heard all sorts of alarming reports about us, and were tempted to turn back, but the Saviour moved their hearts to go on, and they found us in peace, and the people who fled from their farms are beginning to return to them. The Altems and Benners went home today, thanking us heartily for all the love that has been shown to them.
Aug. 8. Yesterday the Brn. Benzien and Loesch returned from a visit to Mr. Guest on Dan River, and report that everything is again uncertain. Today Mr. Altem, his family, and another family living two miles from him, arrived unexpectedly, saying they did not feel safe at home and asking to remain with us. We received them kindly, and again lodged them in the cabins.
Aug. 10. Sunday. Adam Spach here on a visit. Mr. Altem and his two older children go home, but ask that the wife and two younger children may stay a few days, as they do not feel safe though the alarm is again subsiding.
Aug. 11. Br. Sauter and Br. Keiter leave for Bethlehem, taking letters with them.
Aug. 12. Br. Kalberlahn went to the Yatkin to see Hans Wagner, who has been very ill, but is now better. Mr. Crank, his wife and two children came to see the doctor, and remained over night, as did also young Mr. Guest. A man came from the Yatkin and offered to sell us his 50 head of cattle and 800 bushels of corn, as he wishes to move away. Br. Loesch promised to go and see the cattle; and on the 15th bargained with him for £35 for the lot, large and small together.
Aug. 16. Mrs. Altem and her children went home.
Aug. 18. The Brn. Benzien and Stauber set out for Newbern, Br. Lischer going with them as far as the Cape Fear to buy wine. Two more men came from the Yatkin offering to sell their cattle.
Aug. 26. A consumptive came with his mother, and asked to remain two weeks for treatment, and we could not refuse. We lodged him in the old house. In the evening there was a heavy thunder-storm with much rain.
Aug. 29. Saturday. The Covenant Day of the Single Brethren, but at the morning prayers it was announced that the services would be postponed until tomorrow. Work on the mill is being pushed.
Aug. 30. The usual festal services were held. Justice Hughes was here to list us for taxation, there are 22 of us registered, as Joseph Müller is still too young.
Sept. 1. The consumptive was taken home by his brother, who came for him last evening. He,—Mr. Boon,—returned on the 6th, accompanied by his father, who remained over night. On the 15th his brother came for him once more, and he left, there being small hope of his recovery.
Sept. 13. Today we ate the last of our cucumbers; they have done well this year, and we have had them for nine weeks, and every day for the last four weeks.
Sept. 15. In the afternoon our dear Brethren Wütke, Gross, Richter, and Göpfert, arrived from Bethlehem. They were rather worn, for three of them have had fever for three days. Br. Richter had fever a week ago, but is now well, and has nursed the others. It has been warm, and food for the horses has been scarce, but they have encouraged each other, making light of their hardships. And indeed they have fared better than might have been expected in these times, for on no day have they lacked bread. They brought letters from Br. Joseph, Matthew, and Lauterbach. We are thinking often these days of our Brn. Benzien and Stauber, and their mission to the Assembly.
Sept. 16. We have found and cleaned out a fine spring a hundred paces from our house, and plan to build a house there.
Sept. 17. Work at the mill continues. Today the frame was raised, and we sang several verses to the Saviour as we laid the foundations of this building in His name, placing our names under the sill at the south-east corner.
Sept. 18. Today for the first time this year we made hominy.
Sept. 19. Gathered our second crop of flax, and this year it is better than the first crop.
Sept. 24. Today we are without bread; we can eat meat with hominy, and stewed pumpkins. As it rained a little last night Br. Rank took corn to the mill, but could not get it ground. Next day he went to the Town Fork, seventeen miles away, to a mill that was reported to have some water. On the 28th, the Brethren once more had bread to eat.
Sept. 26. Began to cut buckwheat, which was hurt by sharp frost last night. The frost has come a month earlier this year than last.
Sept. 29. The night-watch has been divided among several Brethren. The clock that has been given us is especially useful for them, and we appreciate the gift.
Sept. 30. We began to make brick for a chimney, and a new bake-oven.
Since the 26th there has been frost every night until last night; now the weather has changed, and it looks like rain.
We are eating meat every day, in the evening pumpkins, and for breakfast milk or thickened soup. We are using as little bread as possible, partly because grain promises to be high, and partly because just now it is difficult to have meal ground.
Oct. 2. In the singstunde we remembered that two years ago today the first company destined for this place left Christiansbrunn for Bethlehem, to make the further start from there.
Oct. 6. Br. Lischer went 20 miles from here, beyond the Yatkin, for salt. Six strangers were here, and four of them spent the night. They were very curious to know how much more land we expect to take up. It is reported to us that people on the Yatkin have sent a messenger to Wilmington to the Assembly to find out.
Oct. 7. Br. Steiner is helping Br. Pfeil in the tannery. Five and a half pieces of good sole leather are now ready, and four have already been used. Little Joseph Müller cut his foot, but thanks to the buckle the injury was not serious.
Oct. 8. Two years ago today the first company set out from Bethlehem for the Wachau.
Oct. 11. During the evening service Br. Herman Loesch arrived with four other Brethren, all in good health.
Oct. 13. Yesterday Br. Lischer went beyond the Yatkin to send an order for nails by a man about to start to the Cape Fear. A man from the Town Fork brought five cows, two calves, and two yearlings, which we bought for £10. In the morning we had two hours of good rain, and in the afternoon a thunder-storm and an hour of heavy rain, which was very badly needed. There was another good rain on the 17th, after which it turned cold.
Oct. 21. Altogether we have planted seven acres in rye, and nineteen in winter wheat. We have also begun to fell timber for building a new house for the use of the seven married couples who are now on their way hither.
Oct. 22. The place for the new house was staked off today, and work begun in excavating for the foundations.
Oct. 23. Today we killed ten pigs. It is too expensive to feed them at home, and to let them run wild in the woods and profit by them requires conditions that do not exist here. They have too many enemies, wild-cats, and foxes, and wolves when they are small, and bears when they are older.
Oct. 24. Corn is hard to buy, and costs about two shillings a bushel.
Oct. 25. Saturday. Today we laid the corner-stone of the new house, placing it at the front corner toward the west. First some specially composed verses were sung, then we had Lovefeast, during which a poem was read in honor of our dear Johannes von Watteville’s birthday. Several appropriate chorals were sung: we also remembered the fact that two years ago today the second company of settlers reached here. We also sang a few verses for Br. Lung, in honor of his birthday yesterday.
Oct. 26. Three men came today,—they are Germans from New River, but now living on the Town Fork. Two of them undertake to make us 3000 shingles in three weeks, the third will fell and trim 100 trees, the pay to be a pair of shoes each. During their stay they will be lodged in the strangers’ cabin. A man from beyond the Yatkin sold us 40 barrels of corn, at 10 shillings the barrel.
Rain on the 28th and 29th interfered with the building of the mill and new house, otherwise the latter was particularly pushed. More corn was bought. There were many visitors, hunters, and also men seeking strayed horses and cattle. A man who owed money at the smithy worked it out on the mill dam.
Nov. 3. Yesterday Sauter arrived and announced the approach of the new company; today we all worked hard on the new house, and Br. Loesch rode back with Sauter to meet the new-comers, who arrived toward evening on Nov. 4th, and were heartily welcomed. There were seven married couples, ten Single Brethren, and five drivers for the wagons. The Single Brethren were lodged in the old dwelling house, and the married people in the first story of our new Brothers House, where they made a partition with their tent cloth until it can be replaced by boards. We are much crowded, but the Saviour makes it easy for us to bear what otherwise would be uncomfortable, and blesses us with His consolation.
Nov. 5. The new-comers unpacked, the rest busied themselves with various kinds of work, seeking to bring matters into better order. Evening in the singstunde letters were read from Br. Joseph and Matthew [Hehl]; the former stated that Br. and Sr. Christian Henrich11 [Rauch] had been appointed to take spiritual charge of the congregation, and Br. Gottlob Hoffman to be Pfleger of the Single Brethren. On the 6th the Henrichs held the first Enge Conference.12
Nov. 7. Besides the usual work we today cut reeds in the Black Walnut Bottom, which will be sent in the wagons to Bethlehem. The Sisters had a Lovefeast. After supper the Communicants had a conference, and among the rest they were told that the wagons will leave for Bethlehem next Monday; also that Br. Bachhoff is to be the Diarist, and assist Br. Christian Henrich in the reading meetings; and that Br. Sauter is to be the Vorsteher of the Single Brethren.
Nov. 9. After morning prayers Br. Christian had a conference with the Brethren about to leave for Bethlehem, that is Br. Friis, Georg Schmid, and the five drivers, Pitschmann, Rubel, David Kuntz, Giers, Martin Hirt. At 11 o’clock we prayed the litany, spent the rest of the day quietly. In the evening we had Lovefeast followed by the Communion. In the latter service Br. Christian Henrich presided, and he with his Anna served the Sisters, while Br. Friis and Br. Gottlob Hoffman served the Brethren. There were 60 communicants,—46 Single Brethren, and 7 married couples.
And here this Diary of the Single Brethren comes to an end. What shall the Diarist [Friis] say who has written it for a year and a half? I bow in the dust at the feet of the Lamb, and thank Him for all the grace and mercy that He has vouchsafed to us. To Him be thanks and praise to all eternity.
FOOTNOTES10 The man appointed to look after visitors. 11 Christian Henrich (or Heinrich) Rauch seems to have used his last name very little. In the Wachovia lists his name appears as Christian Henrich, and his wife as Anna Henrich. m. n. Roberts. Before coming to Wachovia he was a missionary to the Indians; and he left Wachovia to become a missionary in the West Indies. 12 At this time wives of ministers, and officers among the married or single Sisters, were ordained as Akoluthie or as Deaconesses. The wife of the presiding minister frequently assisted in the distribution of the bread and wine to the Sisters in the Communion. Sisters holding office were members of certain Church Boards, attending the sessions when the matters to be discussed affected the women. The Enge Conferenz was a conference of leaders, as distinguished from larger conferences which all attended.
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