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Last Updated 05/24/00

Records of the Moravians in North Carolina
edited by Adelaide L. Fries and others


SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE JOURNEY OF
BR. JOSEPH AND HIS PARTY TO CAROLINA

[Translation of the official copy, filed with the Spangenberg Diary.]

On Aug. 25, 1752, Br. Joseph,1 Timothy Horsefield,2 Joseph Müller,3 Hermann Loesch, and Johann Merck set out from Bethlehem. The next day, at Frederickstown, they were joined by Henry Antes,4 who, two days before, had been so prostrated by an attack of gall-stones that he was unable to hold a pen to answer the letter asking him to accompany the party to Carolina; he had, however, improved rapidly, and now seemed quite well.

On the 27th we called on Mr. Daniel Benezet’s brother-in-law in Philadelphia to inquire about conditions in Carolina, and the best way to reach there, since he had stayed for a time in Edenton. His information was not encouraging.

On the 29th we set out again; and on Sept. 4th reached Virginia, which swarmed with negroes. On the 9th we reached North Carolina, and on the 10th arrived in Edenton, remaining there until the 17th. We were courteously received by Lord Granville’s Agent, and others, who had already been informed of the purpose of our journey. We would gladly have left sooner, but could not get ready. While we were there a very heavy rain fell, washing away many bridges, so that traveling would have been almost impossible.

On the 18th we left Edenton, accompanied by the surveyor, and the next day visited the Tuscarora Indian town.5 Their Interpreter, Mr. Whitemeal, went with us, and introduced us to their Captain, who greeted us, asked us to be seated, then went outside his house, and with a loud shout called in his people. They asked about our journey and its object, about the northern Indians, and gave us a message to the Catawba Nation. They treated us politely, and bade us a friendly farewell.

On the 21st Br. Antes was attacked with fever, but we went on to the house of John Sallis,6 who had met and aided our party. There Br. Antes became seriously ill, and Br. Merck, who had also commenced with fever on the road, had to go to bed. Soon after Br. Hermann had to give up, and then Br. Horsefield. Probably the fever was the result of the stay in Edenton, which is a very unhealthy place. Finally Br. Joseph also became ill with a high fever, and only Br. Müller remained to serve as nurse, which he did with all care and faithfulness, and the tenderness of a mother. While we were ill there was a terrible rain storm, so that all the streams overflowed their banks, washing away fences and houses, and drowning many cattle.

When we began to improve a little Br. Joseph suggested that we start again, saying that he had prayed to the Lord, and felt sure He would help us even though we were weak. So we tried it one day, but had only gone five miles when he fainted. The ground was so wet that the Brethren who were with him were afraid to put up the tent, so they helped him back to the nearest house, left him there over night with Br. Müller, and returned to Sallis.

Next day Br. Joseph wrote to his company as follows:

“I am still confident that the Saviour will give to me and to my associates the necessary health for our journey, so surely as He is the Christ, the true Light. We will go on in our weakness, especially I, for whom you will have to do more than for any of the others.” He dictated this to Br. Müller, and when the others arrived they set out once more. It went as might be imagined,—sometimes he had to be lifted from his horse, but after resting a while he would be lifted to his saddle again, and so we made our way to Captain Sennet’s.7 There Br. Müller suggested that Br. Horsefield be left to recover, since his fever continued to return. Br. Joseph believed that he would recover more quickly on the road than by lying in bed, and said so, but Br. Müller insisted, so Br. Horsefield was left there, with Br. Müller to take care of him.

Br. Joseph, Antes, Loesch, and Merck therefore went on alone, taking with them the Surveyor,8 and two hunters, who could carry the chain when needed, and at other times seek game in the forests. So we proceeded to the Catawba, at first finding travel difficult, but daily growing stronger.

We spent a couple of days with Andreas Lambert, a Scotchman, where we provided ourselves with provisions for our journey into the forest. Hitherto we had been on the Trading Path,9 where we could find at least one house a day where food could be bought; but from here we were to turn into the pathless forest.

In the beginning of November we found the first piece of land that seemed suited to our purpose; and at the end of December we found the land in the Three Forks of the Yadkin which finished out our required number of acres.

Jan. 13, 1753, we finished surveying; then took up our return journey, going first to the home of Capt. Sennet, where we had left the Brethren Horsefield and Müller. They had left for home the first of the year, but we heard much about them, for Br. Horsefield’s illness and Br. Müller’s care of him had attracted much attention, and everybody was saying “Oh, if people like this would only move here quickly!”

At Sennet’s we made the final arrangements with our surveyor about reports; then left for Bethlehem, reaching there Feb. 12th, well and happy.


FOOTNOTES

1 August Gottlieb Spangenberg was born July 15, 1704, in Germany; educated at the University of Jena; and took orders as a Lutheran minister. While a professor at Halle, and superintendent of the Orphanage there, he became acquainted with the Moravians, and joined them in 1733. He was Zinzendorf’s most able co-worker, steady, practical, scholarly, far-sighted, and after the Count’s death he became the leading member of the Unitas Fratrum. The name “Joseph” is said to have been given him by Zinzendorf, and was generally adopted. He took the first Moravian Colony to Georgia in 1735; had a prominent part in the early settlement of Pennsylvania; selected the site for Wachovia in 1752, and for many years directed its affairs by letter; held important positions in the central Boards of the Unity in Germany; wrote various valuable books; and was universally respected, trusted and beloved. He died Sept. 18, 1792, at the age of eighty-eight, and was buried on the Herrnhut Graveyard.

2 Timothy Horsefield was living on Long Island when the Moravians came to Pennsylvania. He soon learned to know and like them, showed them much kindness, and ultimately joined them, moving to Bethlehem in 1749. He became one of their leading members, was Henry Antes’ successor as Justice of the Peace, and did much to guard the town from the attacks of unfriendly neighbors, and to promote good understanding with the government. He died at Bethlehem, March 9, 1773.

3 Joseph Müller was also a native of Pennsylvania, living in Long Swamp when the Brethren came. When Count Zinzendorf finished his American visit, and returned to Europe in Jan. 1743, Müller went with him, and spent six years abroad, giving part of his time to the study of medicine. he was living in Nazareth when Spangenberg selected him for one of the Carolina party, and during the trip his medical knowledge stood them in good stead. His son, Johann, came to Wachovia in 1764; lived in Bethabara and in Salem; and returned to Pennsylvania in 1775.

4 Henry Antes, also a native Pennsylvanian, was one of the strongest friends made by the Moravians on their arrival in that Province. He aided them in many ways, took title for them to the land on which Bethlehem was built, and in 1745, at Spangenberg’s request, moved to Bethlehem and took charge of their farming, building, and manufacturing operations. In 1748 he was ordained Senior Civilis for the Moravian Church in America, “Senior Civilis” being an office which had been created somewhat earlier in Europe to relieve the Bishops there of certain important secular duties. Only men of marked practical ability and proved faithfulness were raised to this rank. In 1750 he returned to his home in Frederickstown, but remained in close touch with affairs at Bethlehem. The hardships of the trip through North Carolina, and the injury there received, had a lasting effect on his health, and he gradually failed from that time on, dying July 20, 1755.

5 In Bertie County, on the east bank of the Roanoke River, not far from Quitsua Landing.

6 In Guilford County, on the Trading Path, near the Knap of Reeds Creek crossing.

7 In Orange County, on the Trading Path, a short distance east of Hillsboro.

8 William Churton.

9 The Trading Path, beginning at Edenton, crossed the Catawba River at Island Ford, about two miles west of New Sterling Church. Probably Andreas Lambert lived at the ford, in Iredell County.



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