REPORT OF THE COMMISSION TO LOCATE THE SITE OF THE
FRONTIER FORTS OF PENNSYLVANIA.
Vol.1, Thomas Lynch Montgomery, 1916.
Contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Georgette Ochs.
Transcription is verbatim.
The history of the places used for defence against the Indians in the Province of Pennsylvania would not be complete without reference to the stockade at the Moravian Settlement of Nazareth, and their Stockaded Mill at Friedensthal nearby.
The history of the Moravians, or more properly Unitatis Fratrum, is so closely interwoven with that of Northampton county, and the influence which they have brought to bear upon its welfare, so great, that it would be most desirable if it could here be given in full. But this is impossible, and indeed the connection of the Brethren with the epoch of the Indian War was, in itself, so extensive, as to prevent more than a passing account of their plans for defense against the enemy and for protection of the multitude of refugees who flocked to their settlements.
Casual mention has heretofore been made of their defenses at Bethlehem, but, whilst this was a most important town, yet it was so far distant from the actual scene of hostilities as to probably remove it from the scope of this report.
With Nazareth, however, this was different, and a chance occurrence at any time might have brought the savages to its door. I have therefore taken the liberty of making numerous extracts from the valuable papers of the late Rev. William C. Reichel entitled Disjecta Membra-Transactions Moravian Historical Society, part x, vol. I, and Friendensthal and its Stockaded Mill-Transactions Moravian Historical Society, Series 2, Part 1.
At Nazareth the Whitefield House is the central point of interest, and the one directly applicable to this article, as it was this building which became the Nazareth Stockade.
Old Whitefield House at Nazareth.
On May 3d, 1740, George Whitefield, the founder of Calvinistic Methodism, agreed with Mr. William Allen, of Philadelphia, for 5,000 Acres of land in the Forks of Delaware, the name given to all the country between the Lehigh and Delaware rivers, and including the whole county of Northampton. The price paid was £2,200 sterling. On this was to be erected a school for negroes, and a Methodist settlement to be found. This tract was called Nazareth. The Delawares, who had a village on the same land at this time, called it Welagamika, signifying rich soil.
Amongst the fellow passengers of Whitefield from Georgia to Philadelphia, in April, 1740, was Peter Boehler and the remnant of the Moravian colonists of the former Province. With him arrangements were made to erect the building. Taking with him the Brethren, Boehler at once started for Nazareth and went to work, but by the first week in September the walls of the school were built no higher than the door sill, and £300 had already been expended. Various things prevented progress in the work, until the spring of 1741, when Whitefield became pecuniarily embarrassed, and during the same summer consented to sell the entire tract to Bishop Spangenberg of the Moravian Church. The deed of sale was executed July 17,1741.
On Decr 2d, 1741, Count Zinzendorf landed at New York. In the summer of 1742 he instituted proceedings for the removal of the Indians on the property, but was not successful until the middle of December when the Brethren found themselves, at last, the sole possessors of their two log-houses with garden adjacent, and the stone walls of the ill-fated and unfinished school.
Meanwhile Zinzendorf abroad, in the summer of 1743, was busy fitting out a second colony of Brethren and Sisters, one portion of which he designed to locate at Nazareth. When intelligence of this fact reached Bethlehem in the second week of September, masons were sent up immediately thereafter, on the 18th, to resume work on the stone house (so called), and hasten it to completion. Two years, therefore, had fully elapsed since the trowel had last rung on the limestones of this now venerable pile. By the close of the year the work was done, and, on the 2d of January, 1744, it was occupied by thirty-three couples, members of the colony that had been imported on the Little Strength, Capt. Garrison, in November previous. The building contained eleven dwelling rooms, three large rooms or halls, and two cellars.
In 1745, the first of the group of buildings at the improvement called by later generations Old Nazareth, was built. Thither the adult inmates of the Stone house were gradually removed, and the building assigned for the children of the settlement, and for a boarding school for girls.
On January 7th, 1749, fifty-six infants, varying in age from fifteen months to five years, with their attendants and instructors (widows and single sisters) removed from Bethlehem into the Stone house, which henceforth was called the Nursery.
The Indian War broke in rudely upon the quiet of this home of little ones, and when the savages came down into the settlements in the autumn of 1755, it was thought prudent to remove the nurslings and the pupils of the Boarding School to Bethlehem.
It then became a place of refuge for settlers from the frontier. In December, 1755, sentry boxes were erected near the principal buildings of Old Nazareth. They were made of green logs having the chinks filled with clay, and so considered as practically fire proof. In each of these four men watched at night. Whilst Capt. Isaac Waynes Company were on duty at Nazareth these sentries were detailed from his command. In February, 1756, a stockade was erected around the cattle yard, and on May 26th, 1756, was begun a trench for the palisades to be erected as a stockade around the Whitefield House and two log houses adjacent. This stockade was 236 by 170 feet and 10 feet high, being flanked by sentry boxes in which sentries were constantly on duty, no less than eight men constituting a watch. To celebrate the completion of their work, the Brethren met, on June 4th, in a Love Feast. The timber for this stockade was cut in April, prior to its erection.
After the Indian War it was occupied by various families as a domicile, but has now been rescued from the decay incidental to neglect and become the headquarters of the Moravian Historical Society. It is a large antique edifice, built of limestone, with a hip roof, and has in front between the stories a brick bank with crank-shaped ends, similar to those in many old houses in Philadelphia. This band marks the limits of Whitefields labors.
It stands in Old Nazareth, which shows plainly the ravages of Time. In 1771 New Nazareth was laid out around Nazareth Hall and grew apace until it became the principal place in the Barony, now the Borough of Nazareth. The Whitefield, or Ephrata House is S.E. from Nazareth Hall, and on what is now the southeast corner of Centre street. Of this Rev. Reichel says, There was a time within our memory, when it stood back from the dusty street, and when its approach from the highway was by a stile, which being crossed, led you under the shade of embowering trees, to the carpet of green that spread out invitingly on the sunny side of its gray limestone walls.
The Moravian Church was a Church of Missionaries. Its first care, when planted in its new home, was for the souls of its Indian neighbors, many of whom were converted and became inmates of their settlements. During the terrible atrocities incident to the Indian War the settlers became incensed against all red skins to a degree difficult, at this day, to fully realize. With their families butchered before their eyes, and their property laying waste, all Indians were to them enemies, whether actually friendly or not, and were of no value except for the bounty their scalps might bring from the Government. Not a few innocent Indians were actually slaughtered, and suspicious eyes were especially cast on the Moravian Indians who were accused of treachery and of taking part in the forays against the white settlers. Even the Moravians themselves were said to be in league with the French. Much has been said on the subject and many arguments made pro and con. I do not propose to take any of them up, but merely to quote Bishop Jos. Spangenbergs letter of July 31st, 1758, to Secretary Richard Peters, which I believe places the matter fairly before the reader:
Mr. Richard Peters:
I humbly thank You for giving me an Account of Mr. Smiths Information, vizt, That he, being a Prisoner in the French Countries, saw there the Moravian Indians go and come most every week, &c. Give me leave to observe, first, that a Moravian Indian is a Sideoxylon. Moravia is no Religion, but a certain country. But I suppose he means either some Indians who once have lived at Gnadenhutten, or he means Indians who were coming from Bethlehem.
If he calls them who once lived at Gnadenhutten, Moravian Indians, he may have seen such amongst the French. For several Indians who once lived at Gnadenhutten went up to live at the Susquehannah, before we had any Wars, and have been involved in them, some with, some against their Will.
If he means Indians who came from Bethlehem, I suppose he was not mistaken either. For when Governor Morris issued a Proclamation, setting forth a Cessation of Arms on this Side Susquehannah, numbers of Indians came to Bethlehem, stayed there some Time, went off again, and returned at Pleasure. The Brethren acquainted the Governor with it, not only by Letters, but also by Two Deputies, earnestly requesting and intreating, that the said Indians might be offered to be somewhere else. For Bethlehem was become a Frontier Place, and in continual Danger of being set on Fire and cut off cruelly by their very Guests. But the Government had weighty Reasons for leaving the Indians at Bethlehem, and when once they were removed to Easton for bringing them back again to Bethlehem.
But if Mr. Smith means by Moravian Indians those Indian Families, who, when the war broke out, and our People were cruelly murdered on the Mahony, fled to Bethlehem, and gave themselves under English Protection, which also was granted them, and who afterwards had their Houses at Gnadenhutten burnt, their Provisions destroyed and their Horses carried away, he is certainly mistaken. For these very same Indians were, as well as all other Men in Bethlehem, continually employed in the Time of War, in keeping Watch, &c, and kept about Bethlehem for fear of being hurted by others, or of frightening them. And when Peace was a making they were our Watchmen in the Harvest Time, or they set themselves to work, which is so notorious that, on Occasion, one could bring One Hundred Evidences to prove it. After Peace was made, they have ventured out a hunting again, but did not go further than just behind the blue Mountains, except one or another of them were sent as Messengers from the Government. But with Respect to any Imputation that may ly on our Characters, as if we were on any Account carrying on a political, or any other Correspondence with the French, I do declare that there is no such Thing; and if either Mr. Smith, or any body else, is of Opinion that nay one of us had a Hand in a Correspondence with the French, or that any one of us even had known of the Indians going to them, or coming from them, further than what we immediately have communicated to the Government of this Province, He is certainly mistaken.
I am, Sir,
Your most humble Ser't,
(Penn. Arch., iii, p. 500.)
As the Moravians had extended their operations from Bethlehem to Nazareth, so they advanced from this place to Gnadenhutten, on the Lehigh River above the Blue mountains. We read of the flourishing condition of this Mission and then of its utter destruction in November, 1755. This was quickly followed, on December 10th, by the murder of the Hoeth family, on the Poco Poco creek, near Fort Norris, and the next day by the attack on Brodhead's, near Stroudsburg. Then came the flight of the luckless inhabitants across the mountains, in all conditions of wretchedness. Then it was that the old Whitefield House, opened its doors and received the poor refugees, until, on January 29th, 1756, it held 253, many of them children. It was a dark winter in the history of Old Nazareth.
The gravity of the position, at the outbreak of hostilities was so great that the Government felt constrained to give assistance to the Moravians in their defence of Nazareth.
The first regular officer stationed there, of whom I can find record, was Capt. Wayne, of Chester county. The following orders were sent him by Governor Morris, on January 3d, 1756, who was then at Reading and had just received the news of the destruction of Gnadenhutten and murder of Capt. Hays soldiers:
You are upon your return from Depeu's to Halt with your Company at Nazareth, and there to remain until further orders, taking care all the while you are there to keep your company in good order, and to post them in such a manner as most Effectually to guard and secure that place against any attack; and if you should be past Nazareth when you receive these orders, you are then to return thither, and remain there, posting your men as above you are directed.
You are, as soon as you can, to augment your company with the number of twenty men, each man to find himself with a gun and a Blanket, for the use of which a reasonable allowance will be made by the Government. And, in making this Augmentation you are to take care to keep an exact account of the time when each man enters himself with you, so that you may be enabled to make a proper return to me upon oath.
You are to inform the men of your company and such of the other companys as you shall Joyn or have occasion to send to, that They shall receive a reward from the Government of forty Pieces of Eight for every Indian they shall kill & scalp in any action they may have with them, which I hereby promise to pay upon producing the Scalps.
As there may be occasion for the immediate use of your Company in another part of the Country, you are to Hold yourself in readiness to march upon an Hour's warning. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 542.)
His stay at Nazareth was but short. Benjamin Franklin very shortly after took charge of the direction of affairs. On January 14th, he reported to the Governor from Bethlehem that he found Wayne posted at Nazareth, as ordered; that he had sent a convoy of provisions and supplies to Trump and Ashton, who were erecting the forts on the Delaware, which was to be escorted as far as Nazareth by Lieut. Davis and the twenty men of McLauglin's company who had come with him, Franklin; they then were to remain at Nazareth to guard that place while Capt. Wayne, whose men were fresh proceeded with the convoy. (Penn. Arch., ii, p. 549.) Upon his return Capt. Wayne accompanied Franklin to Gnadenhutten to assist in the erection of Fort Allen.
That other troops were, off and on, constantly at Nazareth, as long as there was any need for them, seems most probable. The nature of the stockade, however, was so different from that of the other forts, and the organization of the Brethren themselves so complete, that it can hardly be called a regular military station, as some others. Nevertheless, its importance and the noble work which it accomplished, cannot be gainsaid I believe a tablet, commemorating some of the facts just set forth, would add materially to the interest now attached to this venerable building at Nazareth.
The Stockaded Mill at Friedenstahl.
One mile Northeast from the old stone Whitefield, or Ephrata House, at Nazareth, stood the mill which the Brethren had erected on the banks of the Bushkill creek, and which they named Friedensthal, or the Vale of Peace. This was also stockaded and played its part in the terrible drama of the times. It was in what is now Palmer township of Northampton county.
The matter of converting their grain into flour had become a serious matter to the Brethren at Nazareth already in 1749. It is true a mill had been erected at Christian's Spring in 1747, about one mile to the south of west from Nazareth, on the Monocasy creek, of which the lower story was a grist and the upper story a saw mill, but this was of very limited capacity.
Nearly all the grain therefore had to be transported annually to Bethlehem at great loss of time and money.
It was resolved, therefore, to erect a second mill, and, on October 28th, 1749, John Nitschmann and Henry Antes, both from Bethlehem and men of experience, came to Nazareth to select a desirable site. Failing to find what they wanted on the Monocasy creek, within the precincts of the Barony, they turned their footsteps eastward and, coming to the banks of the charming stream, which the Van Bogarts from Esopus named Bushkill, and which the Scotch-Irish called Lefevre's creek, after Johannes Lefevre, whose meadows, distant a short mile to the south were irrigated by its waters, they selected the spot which was afterwards named Friedensthal. This tract comprising 324 acres, was also the property of William Allen, of Philadelphia. Negotiations with him for its purchase were finally concluded on January 3d, 1750, the consideration being £324, lawful money of the Province.
(See illustration of FRIEDENSTHAL, A Settlement of the Moravian Ecomony, Near Barony of Nazareth, Northampton Co., Penna., 1758.)
Immediately the Brethren commenced to clear the land, and the mill building, under the supervision of Mr. Antes, was started. In the second week of August, 1750, this was completed and in running order. It was located on the left bank of the creek, about one hundred yards north of the spot on which its successor stands, and was a substantial limestone structure with a frontage of 34 feet towards the south and a depth of 48 feet, and had four rooms. It was furnished with an overshot water-wheel and one run of stones,
which were cut by Peter May in his quarry on the Neshaminy and were delivered at the Kill at a cost of £9 10s. currency. The mill irons were wrought at the iron works of Messrs. Wm. Logan & Co., Durham.
On August 21st, 1750, the new mill was inaugurated in its career of usefulness. The dwelling, or farmhouse, meanwhile, was still in the hands of the carpenters, being, in fact, not ready for occupancy until the spring of 1751. It stood directly east of the mill, was built of logs, 32 by 20 feet, was two stories high, and had four apartments. A flaring frame barn and three annexes, one for the horses, one for the cows, and one for the sheep, with a total frontage of 88 feet towards the south and a depth of 30 feet, eventually flanked the dwelling on the east.
For a few brief years this was indeed a Vale of Peace. Then came Braddock's defeat, and the merciless tomahawk of the Indian. We are already familiar with the terrible events of the months in the latter part of 1755, and how the poor settlers were obliged to flee for their lives, abandoning home, property and all, for mere safety. We also know how the stream of refugees flowed into and past Nazareth, and, like a river overflowing its banks, inundated that Barony. On January 29th, 1756, there were 253 at Nazareth, 52 at Gnadenthal, 48 at Christian's Spring, 21 at the Rose and 75 at FriedensthaI. Of this number 226 were children.
In the annals of Friedensthal Economy, the first arrival of fugitives is chronicled on the 13th of December, 1755; and special mention made of a poor Palatine who had barely escaped from the hands of the murdering savages near Hoeths. It was late in the night when word was brought to him that Hoeth's had been cut off. There was not a moment to be lost, so, taking his helpless wife upon his shoulders, as she lay in bed (she had but lately given birth to an infant) he fled for his life. On the 21st a fugitive brought the report to the farm that the following night had been fixed upon by the Indians for a simultaneous attack upon the five plantations on the Barony. Brother Nathaniel Seidel, of Bethlehem, who, so to say, was in command at the upper places since the breaking out of hostilities, with his headquarters at Christian's Spring, thereupon took precautionary steps to avert a surprise, and, there being two companies of riflemen at Nazareth, he posted Lieut. Brown of Captain Sol. Jenning's Company of Ulster-Scots, with 18 men, at Friedensthal. There was, however, no need of their presence, or possibly, because of their presence, the enemy desisted from attack.
On the 15th of January a company of refugees at Bethlehem set out for the mountains to look after their farms and cattle. Among them was Christian Boemper, a son of Abraham Boemper, of Bethlehem, silversmith, and son-in-law of Frederick Hoeth. With him was Adam Hold, his servant, a Redemptioner. The party, and some soldiers who escorted them, fell into the hands of the Indians, near Schupp's Mill, Hold alone escaping, with a severe flesh wound in the arm, which eventually cost him the loss of that limb. The killed, according to Capt. Trump, were Christian Boemper, Felty Hold, Michael Hold, Laurence Kunckle, and four privates of his company, then stationed at Fort Hamilton (Stroudsburg). Andrew Kremser, in a letter, dated Friedensthal, January 22d, alludes to this sad affair, and gives the following additional information: Yesterday there came to us three men from the mountain, whose parents are here with us. They report that the bodies of the eight were found, and buried by the soldiers.Christian Boemper's body was stripped quite naked-of Culver they knew nothing. Our dogs made a great noise every night 'till 12 O'cl0ck, and run towards the island, which is very bushy; and not without ground, I am inclined to suspect. John Adam Hold, here mentioned, was a native of Hanau on the French border, where he was born September, 1737. He was taken to Bethlehem, where, on January 29th, Dr. John M. Otto amputated the arm. He recovered and, in January, 1767, removed to Christian's Spring. Despite the loss of his arm, he was an expert axeman. He was a short, thick-set man, and was always accompanied by two dogs when he went to Nazareth. He died in 1802.
A person, named Mulhausen, a Palatine, while breaking flax on the farm of Philip Bossert, in Lower Smithfield, was shot through the body by an unseen Indian, receiving a wound which, it was feared, would prove mortal. One of Bossert's sons running out of the house on the report of the gun, was shot by the enemy in several places, and soon died. Hereupon old Philip appeared on the scene of action, and exchanged shots with one of the attacking party, striking him in the small of the back, a reception that sent the savage off howling. He himself, however, received a flesh wound in the arm. At this juncture some of Bossert's neighbors came to the rescue, and the five remaining Indians made off. Mulhausen was taken to Friedensthal Mill for treatment, at the hands of Dr. Otto, but the poor man was beyond help, and on the 3d he breathed his last.
Although many of the Brethren had conscientious scruples against taking up arms in ordinary warfare, they certainly had none in doing so to defend themselves. On the 9th of March the Commander-in-Chief at the upper places called a Council of War at Friedensthal, at which it was resolved to stand vigilantly on the defensive, and to stockade the place. As there was no time to lose, timber for the piles was commenced to be felled on the third day after the Council, and before the expiration of the month, the Friedensthalers, with the assistance of the young men of Christian's Spring, had completed the work. It enclosed the mill, the dwelling, the barn and the stabling over the way.
On June 25th, 1756, Commissary Jas. Young visited this stockade, and reports as follows:
At 3 P. M. Sett out from the Wind Gap for Easton, ab't half way past by Nazareth Mill, Round which is a Large but Slight Staccade ab't 400 ft. one way, and 250 the other, with Logg houses at the Corners for Bastions. (Penn. Arch., ii, p.681.)
Whether this rude stockade was retained as long as those at Nazareth and Gnadenthal is very questionable.
On August 24th, 1756, the shingled roof of the dwelling took fire from sparks from the bake oven, and had not LeFevres people lent helping hands, the entire settlement would probably have been laid in ashes.
Here Rev. Reichel relates an interesting tradition given him by the venerable Philip Boerstler, whom he visited in the spring of 1871:
There, said Philip, at the base of that limestone ridge which bounds the meadows on the south ran a trail between old Nazareth and Friedensthal, and on that trail one of our Ministering brethren, in the times of the Indian War, escaped with his life from the deadly aim of an Indians rifle as by a miracle. It was the custom of our brethren to make the tour of the settlements on the tract, dispensing words of cheer or ghostly comfort to men whose hearts were failing them amid the harrowing uncertainties in which they lived. Thrice had the passing evangelist been marked by the lurking savage in his covert on the ridge, and thrice did the painted brave pass his fingers across the notches in his tally, which reminded him that there was but one scalp lacking of the needed twelve, to insure him a captainship in his clan. The love of glory fired the dusky warriors bosom, but he hesitated to perpetrate the foul deed, for in his intended victim he recognized the man whom he had once heard speaking words of peace and mercy and forgiveness, in the turreted little chapel on the Mahoning. But when the coveted prize was within his view for the fourth time, casting from him the remembrance of better things, and calling upon the Evil Spirit to smite him a paralytic, should he quail in taking aim, the frenzied Delaware drew a deadly bead upon his brother, and almost saw himself a Chieftain when lo! His rifle fell to the earth, and the brawny limbs and the keen sight lost their cunning for those of an impotent. And what was the subsequent fate of this so marvelously thwarted savage? I asked. He became a convert, replied Philip, and a helper at the mission. And did you learn the evangelists name? I questioned. Said Philip, it was Fries or Grube, I believe.
The precautions taken to secure Friedensthal from a surprise o the part of the savages were kept up unintermittingly until 1758.
In the third week of March, 1757, the stewards in the upper places were cautioned to keep vigilant watch to reset the shutters on the houses, and to secure the gates of the stockade with strong fastenings. There was certainly need of this vigilance for, on the 24th of March, the Delawares who were residing in an apartment of Nazareth Hall (then not fully completed), reported finding, not a stones throw from the house, suspended from a sapling in the woods, an Indian token wrought from swans feathers, such as served to mark the chosen site of a rendezvous for warriors, when about to strike a blow.
By this time, however, it had been decreed that the setting of watches might no longer be done without the Governors special leave. Warden Schropp accordingly wrote Gov. Denny for the necessary permission, which was promptly accorded and six commissions to Captains of Watches, as follows:
1st- To George Klein and John Ortleib, for Bethlehem
2nd-To Godfried Schwarz, in Christians Brunn
3rd- To Abram Hessler, in Gnadenthal
4th- To Nicholas Shaffer, in Nazareth
5th- To Philip Trenston, in Friedensthal
6th- To Henry Fry, to be Chief Captain, or overseer, of Christians Brunn,
Gnadenthal, Nazareth, Friedensthal
In April the savages were again at work in the townships of Lehigh and Allen, and a petition for military protection presented to the Governor, in behalf of the people, by Frederic Altemus, James Kennedy, and others. So it came to pass that in the first week of May, the Mill was once more filled with fugitives. It was one of this number who brought the sad intelligence that Webbs place had been burned last Sunday by some Indians led on by a Frenchman. Webbs wife, Abraham Millers widow, and her son Abraham, were taken prisoners. This statement was confirmed a few weeks later by the lad, who had affected his escape.
On August 22d, of the same year, Warden Schropp reported to the Governor, In Friedensthal Mill they all have arms and are constantly on the guard and watch by turns.
At the time Commissary Young visited the Stockade, in June, 1756, or, at least, in that month, Captain Inslee, Ensign Inslee and twenty-four men were stationed in the Mill. So well, however, did the Brethren care for themselves that the presence of soldiers in their midst was hardly at any time a matter of great necessity.
With the peace of 1758 came tranquility until the outbreak of the savages in 1763. Once more then were the palisades placed in position, and again did the Brethren take up their arms and stand guard, only to be laid aside in a short time, never more to be taken up.
On the 20th of April, 1771, the Vale of Peace passed out of the hands of the Moravian Brethren into that of strangers, being sold to Samuel Huber, of Warwick township, Lancaster county, for $2,000, Penna currency.
About 1840 the demolition of the old mill was completed, no vestige of it remaining except the well in the barn yard.
The present mill was built in 1794 by Jacob Eyerle, of Nazareth.
I herewith reproduce roughly, a map of the Barony of Nazareth, as it was in 1758, on which are shown Nazareth, founded in 1743, Gnadenthal, or Vale of Grace, founded in 1745, Christians Spring, founded 1748, Friedensthal, or Vale of Peace, founded 1749, and the Rose, founded 1752, all of which had their share in the events of the times, more or less of which have been given the reader.
Historical Map of the Barony of Nazareth.
I also produce, separately, a map of Friendensthal, showing in detail the localities already enumerated.
Whilst Nazareth, because of its greater size and importance, and the Friedensthal Mill, because of its more exposed position and also great importance, were especially defended and stockaded, and thus call for especial mention, yet a history of the Moravian defences about Nazareth would be incomplete without further and more extended reference, besides the casual remarks already made to Gnadenthal, Christians Spring and The Rose Inn, which constituted the remaining three settlements in the Barony. Here I am again indebted to the papers of Rev. W.C. Reichel, valuable information furnished by Jno. W. Jordan, Esq., Pennsylvania Historical Society, and to the kind aid of Rev. Paul de Schweinitz, of Nazareth.
Next in age to old Nazareth itself was Gnadenthal, founded as already stated, in 1745, one year after the Nazareth Farm, from which it was distant two miles west by north. Nestling, as it did, in a hollow at the foot of the ridge which traverses the great tract from east to west, surrounded on all sides by evidences of the Creators bounty, it was well called the Vale of Grace.
In the Autumn of 1753, just prior to the times of which we are writing, there was a great gathering of the head men of the Moravian Church at Lindsey House, in the metropolitan suburbs of Chelsea, Kensington Division of the Hundred of Ossulstone, Middlesex, O.E., for the purpose of examining into the financial circumstances of their Society, which then was on the verge of disastrous bankruptcy.
From the report on that occasion submitted by the five representatives of the American Province of the Brethrens Unity, at the head of which stood Bishop Spangenberg, we glean the following facts as to the composition of the Gnadenthal settlement:
1- A Dwelling-house, with Brick walls and a tiled Roof, 51 feet long by 30 feet broad,
two stories high besides the Garret Story, containeth 10 dwelling Rooms, 2 Halls,
1 cellar ..Value £300
2- A House with Brick walls, 36 feet long by 22 feet in Breadth, with 4 Rooms and 1
Cellar ..Value £200
3- A Work-shop .Value £10
4- A walled Cow-house, 72 feet long by 50 feet in Breadth ..Value £180
5- A Sheep-house ..Value £10
6- A Cow-house, 50 feet long by 20 feet broad ..Value £25
7- Horse Stables, 20 by 16 feet ..Value £10
8- A second Sheep-house 30 by 20 feet ..Value £10
9- A Milk-house and a Wash-house ..Value £10
10- A Barn, 40 by 20 feet ..Value £10
All the minor buildings gradually sprang up about the main and central building of the plot, from the turret of whose red-tiled roof a bell sounded faintly down the peaceful vale, thrice on every day of the year, summoning its devout people to the services of the sanctuary.
The outbreak of hostilities in the fall of 1755 found Gnadenthal a happy and prosperous settlement. The stream of fugitives from the frontiers began pouring into the Barony immediately after, until, on January 29th, 1756, Gnadenthal, which had become literally a Vale of Grace, was sheltering 52 of these sufferers within its hospitable walls. The need of defensive operations was at once apparent, and, on January 22, 1756, a stockade was commenced. The date of its completion and its appearance are not given, neither is there any record of its occupation by Provincial troops. It was doubtless similar to that at Friedensthal, and was, unquestionably, guarded by its own people, assisted in time of need by detachments of the Brethren from the neighboring settlement at Christians Spring. We have already seen that, in 1757, Gov. Denny issued, amongst others, a commission as Captain of a watch to Abram Hessler in Gnadenthal. During these perilous times the farm, or grange, was in charge of John Nicholas Weinland, who removed thence from The Rose, and assumed control in 1756. Mr. Weinland and Phillippina, maiden name Loesch, his wife (a daughter of the patriarch George Loesch of Gernsheim, near Worms, in the Palatinate, who lived to be ninety-two years of age and to see gathered around him fifty grandchildren and fifty great-grandchildren) came from Thuringenland, Saxe-Meiningen. He was a musician as well as a farmer. It is related of him that, whilst on a visit to Bethlehem, his love of music induced him to enter a hall in which he heard some amateur musicians rehearsing. His intrusion, of course, arrested their attention, but, in his rustic garb, with whip in hand, he sat down, in no wise disconcerted. Shortly after one of the performers stepped down from the platform to twit the countryman, but the latter was too artless to see the point of his jokes. On being asked, Weinland replied that he loved music and sometimes practiced it. This created merriment and it was at once suggested that he give them a specimen of his skill. A violoncello was handed him, a music stand placed in front of him, and on it the music laid, upside down. However, none abashed, our worthy farmer allowed the sheet to remain on the stand as it had been placed there and then played it perfectly.
The Settlement at Christians Spring comes next in order of time, to that of Gnadenthal, which it adjoins on the Southwest, being separated from its buildings by the ridge previously mentioned. It was begun in 1747. Here the waters of the Monocasy were made to turn the overshot wheel of a grist and saw mill, and, after the erection of dwellings and stables, of a smith shop and a brewery, the settlement was complete. Men marveled much at the quaintness of its houses, quartered and brick-nogged, hip-roofed and tiled; they marveled much, too, at the quaintness of the brotherhood, which for almost half a century divided its time between the management of the mills and the raising of horses and cattle. It was named Albrechts Spring at first, subsequently, however, Christians Spring, in remembrance of Christian Renatus, a son of Count Zinzendorf.
From the same report mentioned in connection with Gnadenthal I find the following details concerning the buildings which composed this grange:
1- A House of 47 feet long by 30 feet in Breadth, two Stories high, with 5 Rooms, 1
Hall, 1 Cellar and 1 Fore-house ..Value £200
2- A new Brick-house, 36 feet long by 28 feet, three Stories high, with 8 Rooms, 1
Kitchen and a Bake-house Value £200
3- A Smiths Shop, 40 by 21 feet ..Value £30
4- A Saw-mill and Millers house .Value £150
5- A Coal-shop and Stable .. Value £5
6- A walled Brew-house with a vaulted cellar and Grainary, 50 by 30 feet ..Value
7- A Cow-house of quartering and Brick-nogged, 70X30 feet ..Value £90
8- A Barn, 75 feet long, 36 feet broad, 16 feet high ..Value £75
A peculiarity about Christians Spring was the fact that during the interval between December, of 1749, and April, 1796, this farm was the seat of an Economy of unmarried men, known in Moravian parlance as The Single Brethrens Economy at Christians Spring. Therefore during the Indian depredations about nine-tenths of the inhabitants of the place were men, unburdened by the care and protection of wives or little ones. This at once placed them in a position entirely different from that of the other settlements. They not only needed no especial protection for themselves, but were always in a position to go to the assistance of others, which they cheerfully did. I can find no record of the erection of a stockade at Christians Spring. So many of its principal buildings being either of stone or brick, it became only necessary to set a watch and provide temporary shutters for the upper windows of the main buildings to insure against any possibility of capture, surprise or destruction by fire.
Here, too, the ever hospitable doors of the Brethren were thrown open to accommodate the refugees of January, 1756, of whom 48 were sheltered and cared for within them, as we have already seen.
At the outbreak of hostilities Brother Nathaniel Seidel, of Bethlehem (afterwards a Bishop), was in command of the Upper Places. He made his headquarters at Christians Spring. It is related of him, on one occasion, that, as he was starting for Bethlehem on foot and had gone probably a mile from the settlement, he detected three Indians in hiding who were trying to capture him. Being fleet of foot, he managed to escape by dodging between the trees, and finally regained the Spring.
It was at this place also that Zeisberger, the renowned Indian missionary, finished the compilation of his well known Indian Dictionaryfrom the letter W to the end.
The history of Christians Spring during the Indian War may have been comparatively uneventful, but this, in itself, only adds to its luster. Owing to the peculiar character of its inhabitants, it became a species of Flying Camp, or rather a body of Emergency Men. Was aid needed at Friedensthal or Nazareth, it was immediately afforded by a detachment from the Spring. Did The Rose send an appeal for help, it was the men of Christians Brunn who answered it. So, whenever needed and wherever needed, they were always ready to aid. Let us accord them the praise they well deserve for their unselfish action.
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