3: The First Year in Georgia
<< 2: Negotiations with the Trustees of Georgia || 4: Reinforcements >>
In the year 1735 a voyage across the Atlantic was a very different thing
from what it is in this year of grace 1904. To-day a mighty steamship
equipped with powerful engines, plows its way across the billows
with little regard for wind and weather, bearing thousands of passengers,
many of whom are given all the luxury that space permits,
a table that equals any provided by the best hotels ashore, and attendance
that is unsurpassed. Then weeks were consumed in the mere effort
to get away from the British Isles, the breeze sometimes permitting
the small sailing vessels to slip from one port to another,
and then holding them prisoner for days before another mile could be gained.
Even the most aristocratic voyager was forced to be content
with accommodations and fare little better than that supplied
to a modern steerage passenger, and those who could afford it
took with them a private stock of provisions to supplement the ship's table.
And yet the spell of adventure or philanthropy, gain or religion,
was strong upon the souls of men, and thousands sought the New World,
where their imagination saw the realization of all their dreams.
Bravely they crossed the fathomless deep which heaved beneath them,
cutting them off so absolutely from the loved ones left at home,
from the wise counsels of those on whom they were accustomed to depend,
and from the strong arm of the Government under whose promised protection
they sailed, to work out their own salvation in a country
where each man claimed to be a law unto himself, and where years were to pass
before Experience had once more taught the lesson that real freedom
was to be gained only through a general recognition of the rights of others.
On the 3rd of February, 1735, the Moravians arose early
in their London lodging house, prayed heartily together, and then prepared
to go aboard their vessel, The Two Brothers, Capt. Thomson,
where the Trustees wished to see all who intended to sail on her.
A parting visit was paid to Gen. Oglethorpe, who presented them with
a hamper of wine, and gave them his best wishes. After the review on the boat
Spangenberg and Nitschmann returned with Mr. Vernon to London
to attend to some last matters, while the ship proceeded to Gravesend
for her supply of water, where Spangenberg rejoined her a few days later.
On the 25th of February they passed the Azores, and disembarked at Savannah,
April 8th, having been nine and a half weeks on shipboard.
The story of those nine weeks is simply, but graphically, told in the diary
sent back to Herrnhut. Scarcely had they lifted anchor when the Moravians
began to arrange their days, that they might not be idly wasted.
In Herrnhut it was customary to divide the twenty-four hours
among several members of the Church, so that night and day
a continuous stream of prayer and praise arose to the throne of God,
and the same plan was now adopted, with the understanding
that when sea-sickness overtook the company, and they were weak and ill,
no time limit should be fixed for the devotions of any,
but one man should pass the duty to another as circumstances required!
Other arrangements are recorded later, when, having grown accustomed
to ship life, they sought additional means of grace. In the early morning,
before the other passengers were up, the Moravians gathered on deck
to hold a service of prayer; in the afternoon much time was given
to Bible reading; and in the evening hymns were sung that bore on the text
that had been given in the morning. Spangenberg, Tõltschig, and Seifert,
in the order named, were the recognized leaders of the party,
but realizing that men might journey together, and live together,
and still know each other only superficially, it was agreed
that each of the ten in turn should on successive days
speak to every one of his brethren face to face and heart to heart.
That there might be no confusion, two were appointed to bring the food
to the company at regular times, and see that it was properly served,
the following being "the daily Allowance of Provisions
to the Passengers on board the Two Brothers, Captain William Thomson,
for the Town of Savannah in Georgia.
"On the four beef-days in each week for every mess of five heads
(computing a head 12 years old, and under 12 two for one,
and under 7 three for one, and under 2 not computed), 4 lbs. of beef
and 2-1/2 lbs. of flour, and 1/2 lb. of plums.
"On the two pork days in each week for said mess, 5 lbs. of pork
and 2-1/2 pints of peas.
"And on the fish day in each week for said mess, 2-1/2 lbs. of fish
and 1/2 lb. of butter.
"The whole at 16 ounces to the pound.
"And allow each head 7 lbs. of bread, of 14 ounces to the pound, by the week.
"And 3 pints of beer, and 2 quarts of water (whereof one of the quarts
for drinking), each head by the day for the space of a month.
"And a gallon of water (whereof two quarts for drinking) each head,
by the day after, during their being on their Passage."
Another Moravian was chosen as nurse of the company,
although it happened at least once that he was incapacitated,
for every man in the party was sick except Spangenberg,
who was a capital sailor, and not affected by rough weather.
His endurance was severely tested too, for while the breeze at times
was so light that they unitedly prayed for wind, "thinking that the sea
was not their proper element, for from the earth God had made them,
and on the earth He had work for them to do," at other times
storms broke upon them and waves swept the decks, filling them with awe,
though not with fear. "The wind was high, the waves great,
we were happy that we have a Saviour who would never show us malice;
especially were we full of joy that we had a witness in our hearts
that it was for a pure purpose we sailed to Georgia," —
so runs the quaint record of one tempestuous day.
A more poetic expression of the same thought is given by Spangenberg
in a poem written during the voyage, and sent home to David Nitschmann
to be set to the music of some "Danish Melody" known to them both.
There is a beauty of rhythm in the original which the English
cannot reproduce, as though the writer had caught the cadence of the waves,
on some bright day when the ship "went softly" after a season of heavy storm.
"Gute Liebe, deine Triebe
Zuenden unsre Triebe an,
Dir zu leben, dir zu geben,
Was ein Mensch dir geben kann;
Denn dein Leben, ist, zu geben
Fried' und Segen aus der Hoeh.
Und das Kraenken zu versenken
In die ungeheure See.
"Herr wir waren von den Schaaren
Deiner Schaeflein abgetrennt;
Und wir liefen zu den Tiefen,
Da das Schwefelfeuer brennt,
Und dein Herze brach vor Schmerze,
Ueber unsern Jammerstand;
O wie liefst du! O wie riefst du!
Bist du uns zu dir gewandt.
"Als die Klarheit deiner Wahrheit
Unsern ganzen Geist durchgoss,
Und von deinen Liebesscheinen
Unser ganzes Herz zerfloss,
O wie regte und bewegte
Dieses deine Liebesbrust,
Uns zu hegen und zu pflegen,
Bis zur suessen Himmelslust.
"Dein Erbarmen wird uns Armen,
Alle Tage wieder neu,
Mit was suessen Liebeskuessen
Zeigst du deine Muttertreu.
O wie heilig und wie treulich
Leitest du dein Eigentum;
O der Gnaden dass wir Maden
Werden deine Kron' und Ruhm.
"Wir empfehlen unsre Seelen
Deinem Aug' und Herz und Hand,
Denn wir werden nur auf Erden
Wallen nach dem Vaterland.
O gieb Gnade auf dem Pfade,
Der zum Reich durch Leiden fuehrt,
Ohn' Verweilen fortzueilen
Bis uns deine Krone ziert.
"Unser Wille bleibe stille
Wenn es noch so widrig geht;
Lass nur brausen, wueten, sausen,
Was von Nord und Osten weht.
Lass nur stuermen, lass sich tuermen
Alle Fluthen aus dem See,
Du erblickest und erquickest
Deine Kinder aus der Hoeh'."
(Love Divine, may Thy sweet power
Lead us all for Thee to live,
And with willing hearts to give Thee
What to Thee a man can give;
For from heaven Thou dost give us
Peace and blessing, full and free,
And our miseries dost bury
In the vast, unfathomed sea.
Lord, our wayward steps had led us
Far from Thy safe-guarded fold,
As we hastened toward the darkness
Where the sulphurous vapors rolled;
And Thy kind heart throbbed with pity,
Our distress and woe to see,
Thou didst hasten, Thou didst call us,
Till we turned our steps to Thee.
As Thy Truth's convincing clearness
Filled our spirits from above,
And our stubborn hearts were melted
By the fervor of Thy love,
O Thy loving heart was moved
Us Thy righteous laws to teach,
Us to guide, protect and cherish
Till Thy heaven we should reach.
Without merit we, yet mercy
Each returning day doth bless
With the tokens of Thy goodness,
Pledges of Thy faithfulness.
O how surely and securely
Dost Thou lead and guard Thine own;
O what wonderous grace that mortals
May add lustre to Thy throne.
In our souls we feel the presence
Of Thine eye and heart and hand,
As we here on earth as pilgrims
Journey toward the Fatherland.
O give grace, that on the pathway,
Which through trial leads to heaven,
Without faltering we may hasten
Till to each Thy crown is given.
Though our path be set with danger
Nothing shall our spirits shake,
Winds may rage and roar and whistle,
Storms from North and East may break,
Waves may roll and leap and thunder
On a dark and threatening sea,
Thou dost ever watch Thy children,
And their strength and peace wilt be.)
Before the vessel sailed the Trustees had followed up their request
to Spangenberg by requiring the forty Swiss emigrants to promise submission
to his authority, and consequently numerous efforts were made
to be of service to them. It was disappointing work, in a way, for attempts
to give them religious instruction were met with utter indifference,
but their material needs were many. There was a great deal of sickness
among them, and four died, being buried hastily, and without ceremony.
The Moravians themselves were not exempt, several being dangerously ill
at times, even Spangenberg was prostrated, from having, he supposed,
stayed too long on deck in the night air, tempted thereto by the beauty
of a calm night in a southern latitude. But having work to do among the Swiss
on the following day, he roused himself, and soon became better.
Two of the Moravians were appointed nurses for the sick Swiss,
and by the use of the medicine provided by the Trustees,
supplemented by unwearying personal attention, they were made
as comfortable as possible.
Nor were the crew forgotten. From the day when the Moravians
helped lift the anchor as they sailed from the coast of Dover,
they busied themselves in the work of the ship, always obliging,
always helpful, until the sailors came to trust them absolutely,
"even with the keys to their lockers." When the cook was suddenly taken sick
they nursed him carefully, and then appointed two of their number
to carry wood and water for him until his strength returned,
and it is no wonder that such accommodating passengers were well regarded.
Captain Thomson was disposed to favor them, but when they realized
that they were receiving a larger share of food and drink than went
to the Swiss, they courteously declined, fearing it would breed jealousy.
His kindly feeling, however, continued, and when Tõltschig was ill
he brought a freshly killed fowl from which to make nourishing broth,
and on another occasion, after a severe attack of sea-sickness,
they all derived much benefit from some strong beer which he urged upon them.
There were a few cabin passengers on the ship, and on one occasion
Spangenberg was invited to dine with them, but their light jesting
was distasteful to him, and the acquaintance was not pursued.
Making a Start.
The vessel entered the Savannah River, April 6th, and the Captain,
taking Spangenberg and Tõltschig into his small boat,
went ahead to the town of Savannah, the capital of Georgia,
now the home of about six hundred people. Spangenberg had
a letter of introduction to Mr. Causton, who received him and his companion
in a friendly fashion, entertained them at supper, and kept them over night.
Mr. Causton was one of the three magistrates charged
with all civil and criminal jurisdiction in Savannah, and his position
as keeper of the Store, from which all provisions promised by the Trustees
were dispensed, gave him such additional power that he was really
the dictator of Savannah, ruling so absolutely that the people
finally rebelled, and in 1738 secured his dismissal from office.
On his return to England in 1739, he found great difficulty
in trying to explain his accounts to the Trustees, was sent back to Georgia
to procure some needed papers, died on the passage over, and was buried
in the ocean. His treatment of the Moravians was characteristic,
for he was courtesy itself to the new-comers who had money to spend,
inconsiderate when hard times came, deaf to appeals for settlement
of certain vexing questions, and harsh when their wills were opposed to his.
The next morning, before sunrise, Spangenberg and Tõltschig
went apart into the woods, fell upon their knees, and thanked the Lord
that He had brought them hither in safety. The day was spent
in gaining information as to the customs of the place,
Mr. Causton again claiming them as his guests at dinner,
and in the evening they accepted the invitation of a merchant to supper.
As they ate, the report of a cannon announced the arrival of their vessel,
and Tõltschig went to spend the night aboard, Spangenberg remaining on shore
to push the preparation for the reception of the company.
Early on the following morning, April 8th, he had their town lots assigned,
(Nos. 3 and 4 Second Tything, Anson Ward), in order that their baggage
might be brought directly to their own property, for he had found
that lodgings in the town were very dear, and decided that a small cabin
should be built at once and a house as soon as possible.
Going then to the ship he guided the company to their new home,
and the entire day was consumed in moving their belongings to the town,
as it was some distance, and everything had to be carried by hand
to the little hut which was hastily erected and roofed over with sacking.
Evening came before they had really finished the arrangement
of their possessions, but before they prepared and shared their evening meal,
they humbly knelt and thanked God for His mercies, discussed the Bible text
for the day, and joined in several familiar hymns. A New York merchant
stopped and asked them to sing one of his favorites, which was done,
and an Indian who had joined them near the river and followed them home,
stayed through the service, and at parting beckoned them to come
and visit him. Despite their fatigue, the "Hourly Intercession" was observed
throughout the night, their slumbers rendered more peaceful by the knowledge
that one and another in turn was watching and praying beside them.
On the following day two more Indians visited the Moravians.
Their faces were adorned with streaks of red paint, and they seemed
very friendly, rejoiced over the gift of two pewter mugs,
and on leaving made signs that some one should go with them,
an invitation that could not then be accepted.
The 10th of April, the first Sunday in America, Spangenberg attended service
in the English Church, and heard a sermon on the text,
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,"
well fitted to be the watchword of the Moravian settlers
in the trials that were before them.
No unpleasant presentiments, however, troubled them,
as they went busily about their work during the next weeks.
Mr. Causton was very pleasant to them, selling them provisions at cost,
offering them credit at the store, and promising Spangenberg
a list of such Indian words as he had been able to learn and write down.
He also introduced him to Tomochichi, the Indian Chief, and to John Musgrove,
who had a successful trading house near the town. Musgrove had married Mary,
an Indian princess of the Uchees, who had great influence with all
the neighboring tribes. At a later time, through the machinations
of her third husband, she made much trouble in Georgia,
but during the earlier years of the Colony she was the true friend
of the white settlers, frequently acting as Interpreter in their conferences
with the Indians, and doing much to make and keep the bond of peace
between the two races.
On the 11th of April the five acre garden belonging to Spangenberg
was surveyed, and work was immediately begun there, as it was just the season
for planting corn. Nine days later Nitschmann's garden was laid out
aside of Spangenberg's. By the 14th the cabin on Spangenberg's town lot
was finished. It was twenty feet long, ten feet wide, and fourteen feet high,
with a little loft where they slept, their goods, with a table and benches
being in the room below. At daybreak they rose, sang a hymn,
and prayed together, breakfasted at eight o'clock, the daily text
being read aloud, then worked until half past eleven, when they dined
and read the Bible. More work, an evening prayer service, and such conference
as was needed that each might engage in the next day's labor
to the best advantage, prepared them for their well-earned repose.
With this simple program steadily carried out, much was accomplished.
A fence was built around a small kitchen-garden on their town property,
and a chicken-yard was enclosed, while the neighbors came to look on and opine
"that the Moravians had done more in a week than their people in two years."
As the gardens (the five acre lots) lay at some distance from Savannah,
a hut was built there, to serve as a shelter against sun and rain,
a heavy storm having chased them home one day soon after their arrival.
Either from the noonday heat, or other conditions to which
they were not yet acclimated, Gotthard Demuth and George Haberland
became seriously ill, causing Spangenberg much anxiety,
for he did not feel at liberty to send for a physician,
as they could not afford to pay for medicine. So resort was had to bleeding,
then an approved practice, and to such medicine as remained from their voyage,
and Rose was fortunate enough to shoot a grouse, which gave them
some much needed palatable meat and broth. Perhaps the most serious case
was Gottfried Haberecht's, who suffered for several days with fever
resulting from a cut on his leg. Finally oak-leaves were heated
and bound about the limb, which induced free perspiration
and quickly relieved him, so that he was able to return to work!
A day was appointed on which Spangenberg and several others
were to ride out into the country to select the five hundred acre tract
granted to Count Zinzendorf, and the additional two hundred acres
which the Trustees had promised to hold in reserve,
and grant to the Count's "servants" whenever he should request it,
but there was rumor of a raid by hostile Indians, under Spanish influence,
so the expedition had to be postponed, with the promise, however,
that it should be made as soon as possible.
By the close of the third week in Georgia the invalids were better,
and matters were in such a shape that the Moravians resolved
"that on each Saturday work should stop early, and every Sunday should be
a real day of rest." As an immediate beginning, they on Saturday evening
united in a Lovefeast, where "we recalled much loving-kindness
which God has shown us hitherto; Tõltschig washed the feet of the Brethren;
we remained together until very late, and were truly blessed."
Aim and Attainment.
When the "first company" left Herrnhut for London and the New World,
they took with them Count Zinzendorf's formal "Instructions"
for the conduct of their affairs:
"I shall not attempt to tell you what you are to do from day to day.
I know that in many ways Love will lead you, prepare the way,
and point out your path. I shall only bid you remember
the principles and customs of our Congregation, in which, if you stand fast,
you will do well. Your one aim will be to establish a little place
near the heathen where you may gather together the dispersed in Israel,
patiently win back the wayward, and instruct the heathen tribes.
"You have and will ask nothing more than the opportunity to attain this end
through your own labors, but you will request free transportation
for yourselves and those who will follow you,—if they receive
your present small number the Lord will send you more.
"If you should be tempted to injure any work of the Lord for my sake,
refrain from doing it, remembering that I am under a gracious guardianship
which nothing can disturb.
"You will take absolutely no part in the Spangenberg-Halle controversy;
you know the mind of the Congregation regarding it. If you find people
prejudiced against you leave it to Him who has bidden you go to Georgia.
Enter into no disputes, but, if questions are asked, give the history
of the Congregation, being careful not to censure our opposers, and saying,
which is true, that the Congregation at Herrnhut gives them little heed.
Entire freedom of conscience must be granted you, but there may be points
which you can yield without injuring the cause of Christ, —
if so you will find them in due time.
"You must live alone, establishing your own little corner,
where your customs will irritate no one; and as soon as you are settled
an ordained minister will be sent you, out of consideration
for the scruples of the Salzburgers, although our Brethren in other Colonies
are served by laymen, as permitted by our ancient constitution.
"God willing, I shall soon follow you, and only wait until He opens the way
for me. Our dear Elder (Spangenberg) will quickly return from America,
and in his absence I commit you to the mighty grace of God.
Your brother and servant,
Lewis Count v. Zinzendorf.
"At this time one of the Elders at Herrnhut. November 27th, 1734.
"`He everywhere hath way,
And all things serve His might, etc.'"
That these sensible and liberal instructions were not fully carried out
is at once apparent, especially in the two points of free transportation
and settlement in a quiet, secluded spot. The inability of the Trustees
to grant their request for the first, burdened the Moravian colonists
with what was, under the circumstances, a heavy debt, while the location
of Zinzendorf's five hundred acre tract was responsible for their failure
in attaining the second.
When Gen. Oglethorpe planned the fortifications and defense of Savannah
in 1733, he decided to erect a small fort on the Ogeechee River,
some miles south, in order to command one of the trails by which the Indians
had been accustomed to invade Carolina. This "Fort Argyle" was garrisoned
with a detachment of rangers, and ten families were sent from Savannah
to cultivate the adjacent land. The tract selected in London
for Count Zinzendorf, was to lie on the Ogeechee, near Fort Argyle,
an excellent place from which to reach the Indians in times of peace,
but the worst possible location for noncombatants when war was threatening.
Spangenberg urged the survey of the five hundred acre tract
as often and as strongly as he dared, but from various causes,
chiefly rumors of Indian incursions, the expedition was deferred
until Aug. 22nd, when Spangenberg, Tõltschig, Riedel, Seifert, Rose,
Michael Haberland, and Mr. Johnson, the Trustees' surveyor,
prepared to start on their toilsome journey, going by boat,
instead of attempting to follow the circuitous, ill-marked road
across the country, impassable to pedestrians, though used to some extent
At one o'clock in the morning of Aug. 23rd the seven men embarked,
taking advantage of the ebbing tide, and made their way
down the Savannah River. It was very dark, the Moravians were unaccustomed
to rowing, and Mr. Johnson, who steered, went to sleep time after time,
so when they accidentally came across a ship riding at anchor
they decided to stay by her and wait for the day. When dawn broke
they hastened on to Thunderbolt, where a fort had been built,
and some good land cleared, and there they found two Indians,
who claimed to know the country, and agreed to go with them as pilots.
Toward evening they reached Seituah(1), where a stockade was being built
as a protection against the Indians, and the night was spent
with a Captain Wargessen (Ferguson), who, with several soldiers,
was out in a scout boat watching the movements of the Indians and Spaniards
in that neighborhood.
The next day they made their way among the islands until they reached
the mouth of the Ogeechee, up which they turned, but night overtook them,
and they were forced to drop their anchor. The Indians had been
left behind somewhere, and with the return of day it became necessary
to retrace their course for some hours in order to learn where they were.
That night was spent at Sterling's Bluff, with the Scotch who had settled
upon it, and the next morning they proceeded to Fort Argyle.
As they rowed up the river, a bear left one of the islands,
and swam across to the main land. "He was better to us than we to him,
for Peter shot at him twice when he came near us, but he left us in peace
and went his way!"
The following morning Spangenberg and Johnson, accompanied by
the Lieutenant from Fort Argyle and several of his rangers,
rode out to inspect the land selected for the Moravians.
The horses were accustomed to service against the Indians,
and went at full gallop, pausing not for winding paths or fallen trees,
and the University-bred man of Germany expected momentarily to have
his neck broken, but nothing happened, and after looking over the tract
they returned to Fort Argyle.
Despite the exertions of the morning Spangenberg then manned his boat,
and started up the river to visit an Indian town, where he hoped
to find Tomochichi. Much floating timber rendered the trip
dangerous and tedious, and it was not until early Sunday morning
that they reached their destination, only to find the place deserted,
as the band had left a few days before for a hunting expedition,
and, if fortune favored them, for a brush with the Spanish Indians,
with whom they had a perpetual feud. Soon Johnson appeared,
guided by some of the rangers, who, after a hearty meal with the Moravians,
returned to the Fort, Johnson remaining behind.
Monday morning, August 29th, before the sun rose, the party repaired
to the Moravian tract, which Johnson surveyed, the Moravians acting
as chain-carriers. Spangenberg was much pleased with the tract.
It had a half mile frontage on the Ogeechee, extended two miles back
into the forest, and gave a good variety of land, some low and damp
for the cultivation of rice, sandy soil covered with grass for pasturage,
and dry uplands suitable for corn and vegetables. A rapid stream
furnished an abundance of pure water, and site for a mill,
while the thick growth of timber guaranteed a supply of material
for houses and boats. Near the river rose a high hill,
where it had once been the intention to build a fort,
and a house had really been erected. This the Indians burned,
and later another site had been chosen for Fort Argyle,
but the place retained the name of "Old Fort", and the hill would serve
as the location for the Moravian dwelling.
Indian tribes which were friendly to the English lived at no great distance,
and the trail to Savannah and Ebenezer led directly by Old Fort,
while the opening of two roads would bring both those towns
within a four hour's ride of the settlement.
Well content, therefore, with their new acquisition, the Moravians returned
to Fort Argyle, whence Johnson rode back to Savannah, leaving them to follow
with the boat. At the mouth of the Ogeechee they encountered a severe storm,
against which they could make little headway, try as they would.
Their anchor was too light to hold against the current,
and there was a marsh on one bank and rocks on the other,
but at last, after night-fall, in the face of a terrific thunder storm,
they forced their way to a place where they could land,
and where they passed the rest of the night, enduring as best they could
the heavy rain, and the attack of insects, against neither of which
they were able to protect themselves. "This place takes its name,
— `Rotten-possum',—from an animal frequently found here,
which they call a Possum. I am told that it has a double belly,
and that if pursued it puts its young into one belly,
runs up a tree until it reaches a limb, springs out on that
until it is among the leaves, and then lays itself across the branch
with one belly on each side, and so hides itself, and saves its life!"
The rest of the journey was uneventful, and on Friday morning, September 2nd,
they reached Savannah, having been absent ten days.
It seems a great pity that the Moravians were unable to establish themselves
on this tract, where their industry would soon have made an oasis
in the wilderness, but one thing after the other interfered,
and the "second company" which arrived early in the following year,
found them still at Savannah.
In Savannah matters moved toward a fair degree of prosperity
for the Moravians. About four acres of Spangenberg's garden
were cleared in time for the first summer's crop of corn,
which yielded them sixty bushels. They also raised some beans,
which came to maturity at a time when provisions and funds were very low,
so helping them greatly.
The two farm lots were laid out during the summer, Spangenberg assisting with
the survey. By the close of the year twenty-six acres had been cleared, —
on the uplands this meant the felling of trees, and gradual removal of stumps
as time permitted, but on the rice lands it meant far more. The great reeds,
ten to twelve feet high, grew so thick that a man could scarcely set foot
between them, and in cutting them down it was necessary to go "knee-deep"
below the surface of the ground, and then the roots were so intertwined
that it was difficult to pull them out.
Every acre of land that was cleared and planted had to be securely fenced in,
for cattle roamed in the woods, and ruined unprotected crops.
Indeed, the colonists in Georgia derived little benefit from their cattle,
which ran at large, and when a few were wanted for beef
or for domestic purposes, they were hunted and driven in.
The Moravians had to wait until midsummer before they could get
their allotment, and then they received a cow and calf,
six hogs and five pigs, with the promise of more. Before the others came
the cows had again escaped to the woods, and the swine had been drowned!
In July Spangenberg wrote to Herrnhut that he had given his fifty acres
of land, including the town lot, to the Moravian Congregation at Savannah,
and that he would at once apply to the Trustees to vest the title
in that body, and if he left Georgia before this was accomplished
he would give a full Power of Attorney to Tõltschig.
From the first his land had been used as the common property of the party,
and he desired that the nine men, who, with him, were bound to the repayment
of the £60, borrowed from the Trustees, should have the use of it
until that obligation was met, and then it should be used
as the Savannah Congregation thought best.
Nitschmann's land seems to have been held in a different way,
although granted at the same time, and under similar circumstances.
July 11th, Spangenberg sent him a detailed description
of the town and garden lots, explaining the advantages and difficulties
of cultivation, suggesting several methods by which it could be done,
and giving the approximate cost, urging that instructions be sent
as to his wishes. Later he wrote that the company had decided
not to wait for Nitschmann's reply, but to clear the garden on the terms
usual in Georgia, e.g., that the man who cleared a piece of ground
held it rent free for seven years, when it reverted to the owner.
This had been done, and the garden was ready to plant and fence,
and if Nitschmann approved they intended to clear the farm,
and would build a small house on the town lot. Zinzendorf had suggested
that negroes be employed on Nitschmann's land, but at that time
slavery was prohibited in Georgia, and any negroes who ran away from Carolina
were at once returned to their masters.
The two farms lay side by side about four miles from Savannah,
the gardens, also adjoining, were about two miles from town,
so it was necessary to build cabins at both places,
as shelters from sun and storm, which the settlers found equally trying.
Two additional cabins had been built in Savannah on Spangenberg's lot,
and by the end of the year a house, thirty-four by eighteen feet in size,
was under roof, though not yet finished. This gave an abundance of room,
not only for themselves, but for the second company to whose arrival
they were looking forward with such eagerness.
When this reinforcement came they hoped to move to Zinzendorf's tract,
and then, as soon as they could be spared, Demuth, Haberecht,
Waschke and the two Haberlands wished to claim the twenty acres apiece
which the Trustees had promised to the Count's "servants".
Riedel was of the same mind, but he did not live to see the arrival
of the second company. Some months after reaching Georgia,
he was dangerously ill with fever, but passed the crisis successfully,
and recovered his full strength. He was one of the party
who went to survey Zinzendorf's tract, but was taken sick again
three days after the boat left Savannah, and by the time they returned
he was obliged to go to bed, and soon became delirious.
The other Moravians were greatly distressed, but could do nothing
except nurse him carefully and pray for him earnestly, and toward the end
his mind cleared, though his body had lost the power to recuperate.
He died on the 30th of September, the first Moravian to "fall asleep"
in the United States, though others had given up their lives
for the mission work in the West Indies. His spiritual condition
had at times caused much concern to Tõltschig, who was especially charged
with the religious welfare of the first company, many of whom
had been under his care in Germany, but in the main he had been
an earnest man, a willing and industrious partaker in the common toil,
and his death caused much regret. The burial customs in Savannah
included the ringing of bells, a funeral sermon, and a volley of musketry,
but learning that these ceremonies were not obligatory
the Moravians declined the offer of the citizens to so honor their Brother,
and laid him to rest in the Savannah cemetery with a simple service
of hymns and prayer.
As they were robing Riedel for his burial, a young man came to the door,
and asked if he could not make them some pewter spoons. In the conversations
that followed it developed that he was a native of Switzerland,
the son of a physician, and after his father's death he had sailed
for Pennsylvania, intending there to begin the practice of medicine.
But his fellow-passengers stole his books and everything he had,
he was unable to pay for his transportation, and forced to sell his service
for seven years as a redemptioner. At the end of five years
he had become quite ill, and his master, having waited six months
for his recovery, heartlessly turned him out, to live or die
as the case might be. Instead of dying, his strength returned,
and then his former master demanded £10 Pennsylvania currency,
for his unexpired term, although only £5 had been paid for him,
and he had served five years. The young man was obliged to promise
to pay this, and Spangenberg encouraged him to push his spoon-making,
in order to do it as speedily as possible. Meanwhile the Moravians
were so much pleased with his appearance and speech, that they agreed
to receive him into their company for as long as he chose to stay,
and John Regnier soon became an important factor in their comfort.
Spiritually he was somewhat at sea. At one time he had desired to be
a hermit, and then he had drifted from one sect to another, seeking something
which he could not find, but acquiring a medley of odd customs.
Spangenberg advised him to turn his thoughts from men to God,
learning from Him "what was better and higher, Faith, Love, Hope, etc.",
and under the Moravian influence he gradually laid aside his unwise fancies,
giving them encouragement to believe that he would eventually come
into the clearer light, as they knew it.
In material things John Regnier was of great assistance, owing to his ability
to turn his hand to almost anything. The shoes of the party were badly torn,
but though they had brought leather and tools from England
none of them knew the cobbler's trade. John Regnier had never made a shoe,
but he took it up, and soon provided for them all, and then he mended
their clothing, and added new garments. He also showed much aptitude
for nursing, and Spangenberg put him in charge of several cases.
A man from a neighboring village sent word that he had severed an artery
and could not check the bleeding, and asked for help. Regnier went to him,
and was so successful in his treatment that in two weeks
the man was entirely restored. Some one discovered a poor Scotchman,
dying with dropsy, lying utterly neglected upon the floor of a miserable hut,
and appeal was made to the Moravians to take him and care for him.
They did so, moving him to one of their cabins, where they made him a bed,
and Regnier nursed him until death ended his sufferings.
Another man had high fever, and no friends, and him also the Moravians took,
and cared for, the Trustee's agent furnishing food and medicine for the sick,
but offering no recompense for the care they received.
Indeed, as the months passed by, the Moravians established a reputation
for charity and for hospitality. Not only had they kept free of dispute
with the Salzburgers, but the friendliest relations existed,
and the Moravian cabins were always open to them when they came to Savannah.
Nor were they slow to avail themselves of the kindness.
Gronau and Bolzius often lodged with them, and others came
in groups of nine or ten to spend the night. During the evening
stories would be exchanged as to their circumstances in the home lands,
and their reasons for leaving there, and then sometimes the hosts
would spread hay upon the floor for their guests, at other times
give up their own beds, and themselves sleep upon the floor.
With their nearer neighbors in Savannah, they were also upon cordial terms,
though they found few who cared for religious things. The Jews were
particularly courteous to them, inviting Spangenberg into their Synagogue,
and bringing gifts of meat and fish on several occasions when help
was sorely needed on account of the illness of some of their number, —
for Riedel was not the only one who was seriously ill, though no others died.
All the conditions in Georgia were so different from what
they were accustomed to in Germany that it took them some time
to adapt themselves, and longer to become really acclimated,
and they noticed that the same was true of all new-comers.
All of the Moravians were sick in turn, many suffering from frosted feet,
probably injured on the voyage over, but Spangenberg, Tõltschig,
Haberecht and Demuth were dangerously ill. Nearly all of the medicine
brought from Europe was gone, and what they could get in Savannah
was expensive and they did not understand how to use it,
so they were forced to depend on careful nursing and simple remedies.
Turpentine could easily be secured from the pines, Spangenberg found an herb
which he took to be camomile, which had a satisfactory effect,
and with the coming of the cooler autumn weather most of the party
recovered their health.
Probably the food was partly responsible for their troubles,
though they tried to be careful, and cooked everything thoroughly.
Rice and salt-meat were their chief articles of diet, for bread cost so much
that they soon gave it up entirely, substituting cornmeal mush,
and butter was so dear as to be entirely out of the question.
During the summer months which preceded the harvest, they could get
neither corn, rice nor beans at the store, so lived on mush, salt-meat,
and the beans they themselves had planted. Fresh meat was a great treat,
particularly when it enabled them to prepare nourishing broth
for their sick, and once Rose shot a stag, giving them several good meals,
but this happened so seldom as to do little toward varying
the monotony of their fare.
Drinking water was held to be responsible for the swollen feet and nausea
from which many of them suffered, so they made a kind of sassafras beer,
which proved palatable and healthful, and used it until they had become
accustomed to the climate, when they were able to drink the water.
When the Moravians came to Georgia they brought with them
a little ready money, the gift of English friends,
and their cash payments secured them good credit at the Trustees' store.
Other merchants sought their patronage, but they decided to run an account
at one place only, and thought Mr. Causton, as the Trustees' agent,
would give them the most liberal treatment. Their hardest time financially,
as well as regarding health, was during the summer,
when credit came to be accorded grudgingly, and finally Spangenberg,
personally, borrowed £15, and applied it on their account,
which restored their standing in Mr. Causton's eyes. On Feb. 8th, 1736,
they decided to buy enough corn, rice and salt-meat to last until harvest,
having learned by sad experience how very dear these necessities were
later in the year. Very little work had been done which brought in
ready money, for their time had been fully occupied in building their house
and clearing the land, but all things were prepared for the coming
of the second company, with whose assistance they expected to accomplish much.
In February the two carpenters were engaged to build a house for Mr. Wagner,
a Swiss gentleman who had recently arrived, and rented
one of the Moravian cabins temporarily, and this was the beginning
of a considerable degree of activity.
The intercourse of the Moravians with the other residents of Savannah
was much impeded by their ignorance of the English language,
and it occurred to Spangenberg that it might be a good thing
to take an English boy, have him bound to them according to custom,
and let them learn English by having to speak to him.
About July a case came to his knowledge that roused all his sympathies,
and at the same time afforded a good opportunity to try his plan.
"I have taken a four-year-old English boy into our family.
He was born in Charlestown, but somehow found his way to Savannah.
His father was hanged, for murder I have heard, and his mother has married
another man, and abandoned the child. A woman here took charge of him,
but treated him most cruelly. Once she became angry with him,
took a firebrand, and beat him until half his body was burned;
another time she bound him, and then slashed him with a knife across the back,
and might have injured him still more if a man had not come by
and rescued him. The magistrates then gave him to other people,
but they did not take care of him, and hearing that he was a bright child,
I decided to offer to take him. The Magistrates gladly agreed,
and will write to his relatives in Charlestown, and if they do not claim him
he will be bound to us. He is already proving useful to the Brethren,
as he speaks English to them, and they are rapidly learning
to speak and to understand. I am sending him to an English school,
as I would rather he would not learn German, but being bright
he is learning a good deal of it from the Brethren."
On October 31st a widow and her seven-year-old son were received
into their household. The woman was in destitute circumstances,
and anxious to work, so after four weeks' trial she was installed as maid,
and promised $14.00 a year wages. She proved to be quiet and industrious,
but not very bright. On Dec. 17th another boy, six years old,
was taken, his mother being dead, and his father a day-laborer
who could not care for him.
Of the Indians the Moravians had seen a good deal, but no start had been made
toward teaching them, except that some of their words had been learned.
Spangenberg decided that the only way to master their language would be
to go and live among them, and this Rose professed himself willing to do
as soon as he could be spared. With Tomochichi they were much pleased.
"He is a grave, wise man, resembling one of the old Philosophers,
though with him it is natural, not acquired. Were he among a hundred Indians,
all clothed alike, one would point him out and say, `that is the king.'"
When the Indians came to the Moravian cabins they were courteously received,
and supplied with food and drink, often remaining as silent listeners
at the evening service. In turn their good will took the form
of a gift of grouse or dried venison, which the Moravians gratefully received.
The English were very anxious to keep the friendship of these Indians,
on whom much of their safety depended, and when one of the nations
came five or six hundred miles to renew a treaty with them,
they planned a spectacle which would at once please and impress them.
All the settlers were put under arms, and led out to meet them,
saluting them with a volley of musketry. With great pomp
they were conducted into the town, presented with guns, clothing, etc.,
and then, through an interpreter, they were assured of the good will and faith
of the English, and urged to be true to the treaty, and protect the settlement
against those Indian tribes who were under French and Spanish influence.
Spangenberg was ordered out with the others, but excused himself
on the ground of weakness from his recent illness,
and when the officials offered to depart from their custom,
and allow one of Zinzendorf's "servants" to take his place,
he explained that the Moravians did not understand English,
and knew nothing of military manoeuvres. During the first year
the question of military service was not sufficiently prominent
to cause real uneasiness, but Spangenberg foresaw trouble,
and wrote to Herrnhut, urging that the matter be given serious consideration.
When the Moravians passed through London they had fully explained
their position to Gen. Oglethorpe, who promised them exemption, but they had
no written order from the Trustees to show to the local officials,
and not even a copy of the letter in which reference to the subject was made.
As Count Zinzendorf's "servants" nine of them were ineligible,
but Spangenberg, as a free-holder, was expected to take part
in the weekly drill, which he quietly refused to do.
All free-holders were likewise expected to take their turn in the Watch,
composed of ten men, who patrolled the town by night and day.
Spangenberg admitted that the Watch was necessary and proper,
but decided that he had better not take a personal share in it,
other than by hiring some one to take his place, which was permitted.
As the turn came every seventeen days, and a man expected fifty cents for day
and one dollar for night duty each time, this was expensive, doubly so
because the officers demanded a substitute for the absent Nitschmann also.
Twice had Spangenberg been before the Court, attempting to have
the matter adjusted, but he found that this, like many other things,
could not be settled until Gen. Oglethorpe came. "All men wait
for Gen. Oglethorpe, it is impossible to describe how they long for him."
The Salzburgers especially wished for him, for they did not like the place
where they had settled, and wanted permission to move
to a more favorable location which they had chosen.
On the 14th of February, 1736, Capt. Thomson arrived,
bringing letters from England, and one to Spangenberg announced
that the second company of Moravians was on the way
and might soon be expected. At three o'clock in the morning of February 17th,
the town was roused by the sound of bells and drums. Thinking it meant fire,
the Moravians rushed out, but learned that Gen. Oglethorpe's ship
had reached Tybee, and the people were awakened to welcome him.
Full of interest to learn whether the second company was with him
the Moravians paused for a hasty meal before going to meet the ship,
when to their great joy Bishop Nitschmann appeared before them,
"and his face was to us as the face of an Angel!"__________
On Skidaway Island, exact site unknown.
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