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THE

WO. VI. IDIG, 1884. VOL. V.

AN ACCOUNT

of tlie arrival and first settlement of the Moravian Brethren at Bethabara in Wachovia, on the Vlth of November 1753; and of some of the principal subsequent events.

The well known act of Parliament, by which the Unitas Fratrum or Unity of the Brethren was acknowledged as a Protestant Episcopal Church, having passed in the spring of the year 1749, by which act the free exercise of all their rights as a church was secured to them throughout Great Britain and all her colonies, a resolution was adopted by the conference, held on the 29th of Nov. 1751 at Lindsey-house, London, to establish a settlement in the then but thinly inhabited Province of North Carolina, land for this purpose having been offered by several large proprietors.—An attempt to preach the gospel to the Creek Indians in the neighborhood of Savannah, Georgia, had been made as early as the year 1735; this, however, had to be given up after a few years.—Now the Brethren beheld a more promising field for their undertaking, trusting that by the Lord's blessing, they might not only have the opportunity to be of spiritual benefit to such persons, as in process of time might wish to settle in their neighborhood, but that they might gain access to various tribes of Indians, such as the Cherokees, the Catawbas, the Creeks, and the Chikasaws.—In furtherance of these objects a permanent settlement being desirable, a tract of land, comprising 100,000 acres, was to be purchased by Count Zinzendorf of Lord Granville. In order to select a tract of this extent, suitable for the intended settlement, br. Spangenberg, accompanied by the brethren Antes, Horsfield, Miller, Loesoh, and Merk, set out from Bethlehem in Pennsylvania on the 25th of August 1752; and having arrived at Edenton, they were joined by the Surveyor General, Mr. Churton, with a view of haviDg a propcr survey made of such a tract as might answer the purpose. After many unsuccessful attempts, and under many deprivations and hardships, in a mountainous country during the winter, some months of which they spent on the banks of the Catawba, the tract of land, on which our settlements are now located, was fixed upon; the surveying of it was commenced on December 27th and completed January 13th 1753. In the course of the following spring and summer all preliminary steps for taking possession having been arranged, the title deeds were executed on the 7th of August 1753, and the different pieces of land, all being adjacent to each other, were comprehended under one name of Wachovia, or Wachau, the name of an estate of Count Zinzendorf abroad. Thus it became possible to take immediate steps for executing the original plan, viz. : to establish a proper Moravian Settlement, as central as possible, and to afford convenient situations around it for such members of the church and others, as might subsequently wish to settle on this land. With this view, a company of 12 brethren set out from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, October the 8th 1753. Their names and occupations were:

Bernhard Adam Grube, minister.

Jacob Loesch, warden.

Hans Martin Kalberlahn, surgeon.

Erich Ingebretsen, carpenter.

Henry Feldhausen, do.

Jacob Pfeil, shoemaker.

Hans Petersen, tailor.

Christoph Merkle, baker.

Jacob Lung, gardener.

John Beroth, farmer.

Herman Loach, miller.

John Lisher, farmer.

They were accompanied by the brethren Nathl. Seidel, Koenigsdoerfer, and Haberland, from Bethlehem.

Their route led through the western part of Virginia. In a waggon with six horses, they carried with them various articles, needed on a long journey on untravelled roads. Not unfrequently they had to unload and carry a portion of the load across the mountains. Traveling by Winchester, after crossing the Blue Kidge at Evan's Gap, and passing by Upper Sauratown, they arrived on the 13th of November at the northern line of North Carolina. On Saturday, the 17th, at 3 o'clock P. M. they reached the spot, where stands to this day the town of Betliabara; thankful to the Lord for his gracious help and protection, vouchsafed unto them during their long and toilsome journey of upwards of 4 weeks. Here they found some shelter in a small cabin, built and inhabited some time ago by a man of the name of Hans Wagner, but now unoccupied, of which they immediately took possession. In the evening of that memorable day they met at a lovefeast, while wolves were howling round about their cabin; being confident, that the Lord, their guide through the wilderness, would continue to vouchsafe to them his gracious presence in this their new place of abode. In this confident hope their hearts felt strengthened by the Daily Word of the Church, appointed for this day: "I know, where thou dwellest." Rev. ii. 13.

Perceiving, that the country was almost uninhabited, they immediately set about, clearing some land; and 8 acres having been selected for that purpose, in the days following the clearing was effected and the ploughing done, so that on the 4th of December they were able to sow the first wheat in this hitherto uncultivatedsoil; from which, however, as well as from the corn, planted the following spring, they obtained a very scanty harvest. Four days after their arrival, November 21st, the brethren celebrated the Lord's supper, on which solemn occasion the Savior manifested his presence in their midst so graciously, that their faith and hope were greatly strengthened, notwithstanding the prospect of many trials and difficulties awaiting them in the prosecution of their labors. The original plan, to proceed further, in order to select a central situation for the principal settlement, was laid aside for the present; and it was resolved to erect a suitable building on the spot, they now occupied. The necessity of this measure became the more urgent by the new arrival of 7 brethren from Pennsylvania. On the 22th of November 1754, the corner stone of the first house, erected by them in North Carolina, was laid with due solemnity, thus providing for a habitation, where these brethren, all being unmarried, might live together in Christian fellowship.— About this time, their spiritual guide, br. Grube, returned to Pennsylvania, being succeeded in office by br. Jacob Pries. During a visit of br. Petrus Boehler in the course of this year, the name of "Bethabara," house of passage, was given fo this new settlement, still keeping in view at a future day the founding of a more central settlement, although it was resolved for the present to go on with the buildings at Bethabara. About this time more detailed surveys of the different parts of Wachovia were made, and on that occasion, names were given to the numerous creeks and branches, by which some of them are still known. On the 11th of March 1765 the above mentioned first house was dedicated during a visit of br. David Nitschman, and soon after the brethren moved into it. Ia the course of this year the number of inhabitants was increased by the arrival of several single brethren and 7 married couples. Br. Christian Seidel was appointed minister, and br. David Bishoff to assist in the special care of souls.—He appearing desirable, according to the then existing customary division of the country, to have the district of Wachovia formed into a separate parish.

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